Hallowe’en is a holiday that children look forward to each year, but it is also fun for people of all ages - even dietitians! How can that be? Hallowe’en isn’t all about the treats! You can demonstrate this to children by emphasizing the other aspects of the holiday, such as parties, carving pumpkins, costumes and decorations. It is also a good opportunity for teaching moderation.
You can offer healthier treats; although it can be a challenge to find healthy, pre-packaged, individual-sized offerings, there are some options such as mini granola bars or mandarin oranges. Another possibility is to hand out non-food items like pens or stickers; this provides kids with food allergies a safe option. However, knowing that kids will be most excited over the chocolate, candy or chips, there are ways to fit these into a healthy diet if you prefer to go that route.
Providing a well-balanced supper before trick-or-treating is important so your kids have a healthy start to the evening. If your family’s schedule is tight between getting off work and going trick-or-treating, plan ahead and have supper ready so that you can avoid the drive thru. This recipe for Cauliflower Cheese Brain is an example of a fun holiday-appropriate supper option. To reduce the sodium in this recipe, you can use unsalted butter and choose a lower sodium sauce.
To avoid candy overload, limit how many houses you stop at. Of course, if you are stopping at every house in the neighbourhood, your kids will end up with an overabundance of treats! Consider the size of the bag for collecting treats; avoid a large pillowcase and choose a mid-sized Hallowe’en bag.
To help manage candy consumption, sort the candy with your kids at the end of the night. Allow them to choose their favourite treats to enjoy that night, after all, it is Hallowe’en! Then, set boundaries for the rest of the goodies. For example, allow a treat after supper for the following couple of weeks. The rule of thumb is to remember that a healthy diet is all about moderation; eating healthy 80% of the time and allowing treats the other 20% is okay, especially during the holidays.
Cauliflower Cheese “Brain”
2 tbsp (25 mL) PC Salted Country Churned Butter
2 tbsp (25 mL) PC Organics All Purpose Flour - Unbleached
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) 2% milk
3 tbsp (45 mL) shredded mozzarella cheese
Half 450 g pkg capelli d’angelo pasta
1 cup (250 mL) PC Sweet Basil Pasta Sauce
- Trim leaves from cauliflower. Cut in half vertically. Gently pull away a few small florets at cut edges to make it look less cut and more “brain-like.” Trim stalk so both pieces will sit flat. Place 1/2 inch (1 cm) water and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt in large saucepan. Add cauliflower halves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain. Place on rimmed baking sheet, floret side up.
- In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour; cook, stirring, for 15 seconds. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in mozzarella until melted.
- Preheat broiler. Drizzle about half of cheese sauce all over cauliflower. Broil 3 to 4 minutes or until browned in spots. Meanwhile, in large saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook pasta for 3 minutes or until just tender. Drain. Return to saucepan. Add pasta sauce; toss to coat. Arrange pasta on platter and drizzle with remaining cheese sauce. Place broiled cauliflower in the centre. Drape a few strands of pasta over cauliflower to make “veins.”
Per serving: 350 calories, fat 13 g, sodium 830 mg, carbohydrate 43 g, fibre 7 g, protein 16 g
Recipe source: pc.ca
Jillian Reid is a Registered Dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in Riverview, New Brunswick.
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