Eat Well


Balanced Advice on Trick or Treating

Many parents worry about their kids consuming too much sugar around Halloween. Parents may try to restrict and avoid Halloween candy to protect their children from eating too much sugar at this time of year. While the intention to reduce sugar is positive, being overly restrictive about Halloween candy may deprive kids not only of enjoyment but also a learning opportunity. Studies have shown that kids who have regular access to treats actually eat less high-sugar, high-fat food. Dietician Ellyn Satter describes it this way, “Children who have regular access to sweets and other forbidden foods eat them moderately. Children who don’t have regular access load up on them when they aren’t even hungry.” Ellyn Satter offers a balanced approach for navigating the Halloween candy stash: When he comes home from trick-or-treating, let him lay out his booty, gloat over it, sort it and eat as much of it as he wants. Let him do the same the next day. Then have him put it away and relegate it to meal-and snack-time: a couple of small pieces at meals for dessert and as much as he wants for snack-time. If he can follow the rules, your child gets to keep control of the stash. Otherwise, you do, on the assumption that as soon as he can manage it, he gets to keep it. Offer milk with the candy, and you have a chance at good nutrition. Satter encourages parents to treat Halloween as a learning opportunity, with the goal of the child being able to manage their own candy stash. In our society where sugar and treats are widely available, learning to self-regulate sugar intake is a healthy skill to have in life. So this Halloween, have fun and help children learn moderation through a balanced approach to candy.

Pumpkin Soup / Soupe à la citrouille

Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients: 1 medium onion, grated or finely chopped 2 tbsp. oil (olive or canola oil or sauté in 2 tbs of water) 1 29-oz. can pumpkin puree 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (substitute water if you don’t have broth) 1/2 c. milk (or substitute ¼ c puréed cannellini beans) 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (a mixture of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ginger) Directions: Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, 5 minutes or until soft. Your child can help with the stirring on low heat. Have your child stir in the pumpkin puree, chicken broth, milk, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes or until soup simmers. Ladle into bowls and top as desired. Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (freeze leftovers after 3 days). *This soup contains a protein food group and a vegetable food group, serve with whole grain whole wheat bread for a balanced meal. See the 2019 Canada’s Food guide for more info. NOTE: If you are using canned pumpkin, make sure it is pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling (which contains sugar). To make this pumpkin soup from scratch, you will need to make your own pumpkin puree using two small pie pumpkins, if you have squash growing in your garden, feel free to use one of those instead. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut off the tops of the pumpkins and then halve them. Your children can use a spoon to scrape out all of the seeds and strings. Brush the inside of the pumpkins with oil and place face down on the baking sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the skin. Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then peel away skin and set pumpkin aside. Prepare the soup as described above. When it has simmered, puree the soup with a hand blender. Sources: Phraner, Erin – Behold, the Easiest Pumpkin Soup Recipe Ever Good Housekeeping, Oct 12, 2018, Easy Pumpkin Soup Minimalist Baker

Healthy Banana Split

Ingredients: 1 banana 3 tsp Greek yogurt 2 slices of strawberries 3 blueberries Directions: Cut the banana lengthwise. Place one of the halves on the plate, cut side up. Spoon yogurt onto the banana to cover. Place strawberry slices and blueberries on top of yogurt. Tip: Have the kids make their own banana split. It’s a great way to get them to practice fine motor skills and to have fun in the kitchen!   Adapted from:

Monterey Jack and Egg Pita Pockets

Ingredients:  ½ cup pizza sauce, no salt added 4 eggs, cooked and scrambled  2 ½ cups your choice of vegetables (zucchini, bell peppers, celery, green onions, etc), grated  6 oz Canadian Monterey Jack, grated 12-15 whole wheat mini-pitas (or 4 large pitas), cut in half Directions: Mix pizza sauce, eggs, vegetables and Monterey Jack. Stuff pita halves with the mixture and serve along with cut fresh vegetables and dip.   Adapted from Dietitians of Canada

Cooking and Learning with Children

Cooking is a wonderful learning opportunity for children. Don’t be afraid to invite children in the kitchen to help you. Whether it’s at home, at the childcare centre or in the classroom, children have so much to gain from preparing meals and snacks.. Encouraging children to help you in the kitchen  will increase their knowledge and curiosity in several areas. Children will develop math skills by counting and measuring ingredients. Introduce math principles by cutting portions of food. The concepts of subtraction, addition, multiplication and division are easy to demonstrate visually with foods. Help build literacy skills by saying everything you do aloud. Children will better understand the principles of steps and sequences. Teach them new words like cooking instruments and ingredients. Recipes with pictures will help children associate food with words. Fine motor skills will also improve as they practice skills like scooping, pouring, chopping, peeling and stirring. Give children specific tasks depending on their age and skill level.  For example, young children can remove cauliflower florets with their hands, wash fruits and vegetables, and tear off and rip lettuce leaves. The older or more experienced  children can cut soft foods like a banana with a plastic knife or shape cookie dough. Check out page 81 of LEAP™ Food Flair for more excellent examples of what children can do to help you prepare your next meal together. Here is a kid-friendly recipe to get them started in the kitchen: Salad in a Bag (LEAP™ Food Flair, p. 134) What you need: ½ cup (125 mL) Romaine lettuce or spinach leaves, chopped 2 tbsp. (30 mL) Grated carrots 3-4 Mandarin orange sections 2 tsp. (10 mL) Ranch or Italian salad dressing 2 Whole grain crackers 1 Plastic, sealable sandwich bag How to: Set out bowls of prepared salad fixings. Let each child each fill their own bag. Pour in salad dressing and close the bag for them. Children shake their salad then open it and eat with their forks as a snack (with whole grain crackers) or to start a meal. Serves one child  

Lentil Granola Bars

Ingredients: 2/3 cup shredded coconut 2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats 1 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup pellet-like bran cereal 1/2 tsp cinnamon 3/4 cup lentil puree* 1/2 cup canola oil 1 egg, beaten 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, dried cranberries or raisins   Directions:  Preheat oven to 350F. Make sure rack is in centre of oven. In medium bowl, mix coconut, oats, brown sugar, cereal and cinnamon. Add lentil purée, oil, egg, and vanilla. Mix until dry ingredients are just moistened. Spread over a 10 ½ x 16 (25 x 40 cm) non-stick cookie sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. While bars are still warm, add chocolate chips, dried cranberries or raisins on top and cut into 35 bars.   *Lentil Puree: Rinse and drain a 19-ounce can of lentils. Place in food processor, add ¼ cup hot water, and puree until the mixture is very smooth, adding more water in small amounts to reach desired consistency, similar to baby food, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of the bowl as needed. Refrigerate or freeze unused lentil puree for your next batch!   Recipe adapted from: Pulse Canada

Edible Santa Claus

Ingredients: Pancake or toast without crust (face) Raspberries or sliced strawberries (hat and nose) Sliced bananas (eyes and beard) Blueberries (center of eyes) Yogurt and unsweetened shredded coconut (pompom and hat border) Small plate for each child Butter knife for each child Plastic wrap to cover Santa Claus and share with families Directions: Read a story related to the theme. Teach children about fruit portions with the help of the Canada’s Food Guide. Ask questions about what children know and would like to know about fruit. Make a brainstorming list with them. Sing and dance to the theme. Add empty clean strawberry/blueberry/raspberry containers in the block play area and the drama play area (kitchen corner). Invite children to wash hands and sit down to each prepare a Santa Claus. Teach children how to use a knife and cut a banana on their plate. Let children be guided by their creativity (they do not need to make a Santa if they rather make a Christmas tree for example.) They can choose to place the fruit where they want on their plate. Invite Santa Claus or an elf to come and talk about healthy eating. Take photos during the project and post them on walls. Invite children to also take pictures. During “Circle Time” ask children what they have learned and document their learning. Invite them to draw what they have learned. Share with parents and co-workers. Make your own bread crumbs by saving and drying out bread ends and crusts Get the children involved in the kitchen by grating the zucchini and cheese, mixing, measuring and forming the patties.   Source: Blessed Beyond Crazy

Cheesy Zucchini Bites

Ingredients: 5 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium or 4 small zucchini) 1 tsp salt 1 cup panko or regular bread crumbs 2 large eggs 1.5 cups grated old cheddar cheese (about 175g) Directions: Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine zucchini and salt in a medium bowl and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes. Strain any excess water and transfer zucchini to the centre of a clean dish towel. Wrap the zucchini up and twist the towel to squeeze as much excess water from the zucchini as possible. Transfer zucchini back to bowl and add panko, eggs and cheese. Mix thoroughly and shape mixture into 2 inch round disks. Bake for 22-25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Tips: Make your own bread crumbs by saving and drying out bread ends and crusts Get the children involved in the kitchen by grating the zucchini and cheese, mixing, measuring and forming the patties. Makes 16-28 bites Prep time 15 mins Cook time 25 mins Total time 40 mins   Source:

Yummy Yams

Ingredients: 2 medium sweet potatoes or yams 1 tbsp. of canola oil Salt and pepper to taste Directions: Preheat oven to 350⁰F (190⁰C) Peel the potatoes and slice them into rounds ½ inch (1 cm) thick Brush oil onto potatoes or dip them in oil. Place on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Loosen potatoes with flipper and turn over. Continue baking until brown on the outside, but very tender inside – about 5 to 10 minutes. Cool to eat. Serves 16 children Source: LEAP Food Flair, Legacies Now, p.143.

Baked bannock with berries

Ingredients: 3 cups of flour (use at least half whole wheat flour) 3 tbsp. of sugar 2 tbsp. of baking powder 1 tsp. of salt 1 cup of berries 1 cup of water ¼ cup of oil or melted margarine Directions: Preheat oven to 350⁰ F (180⁰C) In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients with a fork and stir in berries. Stir together the oil and water and add to the bowl with dry ingredients. Work mixture together with hands to form a ball. Knead about 10 times. With floured hands, pat into a circle on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes Serves 16 children   Source: LEAP Food Flair, Legacies Now, p.148

Veggie Tree Platter

Ingredients: 3 cups fresh broccoli florets 14 grape tomatoes ½ orange bell pepper, cut into strips Yellow bell pepper for star and trunk Instructions: Rinse and thoroughly dry vegetables. Trim broccoli floret stems. Arrange broccoli on serving platter to form tree shape and tomatoes to form ornaments. Arrange orange bell pepper to form garland and arrange yellow bell pepper for star and trunk Optional: Arrange cauliflower at base of the tree to form snow Chill, covered, until ready to serve with dip.   Recipe adapted from:



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