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Scaring up a week of Halloween food

Published 4:34pm Saturday, October 26, 2013

Don’t wait until Halloween to cook up some scary good food.

Right now is the perfect time to get the kids together for some spooky, fright-filled baking and cooking.

Halloween is a great holiday to emphasize healthy choices along with the treats. Use this opportunity to talk to your kids and explain to them that candy, like many of our other favorite treats, is a “sometimes” food.  “Sometimes” foods aren’t foods we eat every day because they don’t give our bodies the nutrients we need to grow and stay healthy. We enjoy “sometimes foods” on occasion, and because we enjoy them only once in a while, it makes them that much more special.

Instead of celebrating on just one day, extend the fun for the entire week before to build excitement. Wouldn’t it be great to have Yummy Mummy Pizzas for dinner before Halloween?

Use whole grain English muffins and explain to your kids that whole grains help fill their bellies and provide the energy they need to play.  Add a few chopped veggies, and hide them as you “wrap up” your mummy pizzas with pieces of reduced-fat string cheese.

To get a little more calcium, make Candy Corn Parfaits for breakfast, and mention the importance of dairy and other calcium-rich foods. Dairy and calcium help keep bones strong, so they are resistant to falls and injuries.

To help the kids fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables, let them dunk a few fresh vegetables in Critter Crostini. Research shows when kids are offered vegetables with an accompaniment (like cheese, dip or salad dressing), they enjoy the vegetables more and will consume a greater quantity and variety of vegetables.

Go ahead and give in to their sweet tooth by making Frozen Banana Ghosts. Fruit makes a great side dish, dessert or snack, as the natural sweetness can satisfy sweet cravings while also providing important nutrients, like potassium, vitamin C and fiber.

With such a healthy menu, there certainly is room to round out the meal with dessert. This is the perfect opportunity to explain that when the majority of our food choices are healthy, there is room in a balanced and healthy diet for a yummy chocolate treat, like spooky Halloween cupcakes!

Don’t be afraid this Halloween season to let the kids “be kids” and enjoy the sweet holiday.

Teach them a few things about moderation and a balanced diet and get them involved in Halloween treat-making.  Research that kids are more likely to try foods they help to make, so get their hands involved in something Halloween-themed and fun, but also something nutritious and delicious!

For the full version of the recipes mentioned above, please go to

Create-Your-Own candy corn parfaits
Create-Your-Own candy corn parfaits

Create-Your-Own candy corn parfaits

Serves 4

All you need

4 punch cups

1 (20 oz) can Hy-Vee pineapple chunks in juice, drained

2 (11 oz each) cans Hy-Vee mandarin oranges in light syrup, drained

1 (32 oz) container Hy-Vee light vanilla yogurt

All you do

1. Layer pineapple, mandarin oranges then yogurt in punch cups.

2. Enjoy. If you are not serving immediately, refrigerate.

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