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, www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/easy/a24873/easiest-ever-pumpkin-soup-recipe/ Easy Pumpkin Soup Minimalist Baker https://minimalistbaker.com/simple-pumpkin-soup/


Active games for your Halloween party

Need some ideas on how to keep the kids active during your Halloween party? Check out these great ideas from Active for Life: Monster Freeze Dance – Put on “Monster Mash” or other seasonal tunes. Have the children show off their silliest monster dance moves, but they must freeze in place when the music stops. Pumpkin Bowling – Choose small pumpkins with short stem. Set up 4L milk jugs and tape off a starting line on the floor. The children are then to roll the pumpkins at the targets to see how many they can knock down. To make it extra fun, have the children decorate the bottles with stickers, markers and other spooky materials. Musical Pumpkins – Cut pumpkin shapes from construction paper and arrange them on the floor. The children must move from pumpkin to pumpkin while the music plays, just like musical chairs. To keep children from being excluded, allow them to share pumpkins as you remove a pumpkin for each round. By the end of the game, all of the children have to squeeze onto one pumpkin!

Banana Ghost Pops

Ingredients: Bananas Yogurt Coconut Chocolate chips or raisins Instructions: Peel bananas and lay them flat on a cookie sheet. Place in freezer for a few hours. Once frozen, cut each banana into thirds. Put a toothpick or popsicle stick in one end of each banana. Dip banana into yogurt, making sure it is covered all the way around. Roll in coconut on all sides. Use fingers to push coconut on if needed. Once banana is covered in yogurt, place 2 chocolate chips or raisins on for eyes. Push them in good so they will stay. Enjoy! If not eating right away, place ghost bananas on cookie sheet and put them in the freezer to avoid the banana from getting soft and mushy.   Recipe adapted from: Super Healthy Kids

Edible Eyeballs

Ingredients: Carrots Cream cheese Pitted black olives Instructions: Slice carrots into 1-inch-thick chunks. Top each with a blob of cream cheese and one half of a pitted black olive. Serve and enjoy!   Recipe adapted from: Family Fun Magazine

Tangerine Pumpkins

Ingredients: Tangerines, mandarin oranges or clementines (seedless) Celery stalks and leaves Instructions: Peel tangerines, use your fingernail or a small paring knife to scrape off as much white membranes as possible. Wash, dry and slice celery. Cut 1-2 inch narrow pieces from the tops of the celery and insert into the peeled tangerines. Cut leaves from the celery tops and arrange to look like pumpkin leaves. Recipe adapted from: BrenDid.com

Trick or Treating @ Home

Trick or treating with a preschooler can be difficult. The weather may turn cold, October could welcome several inches of snow, and a late night for little ones can cause meltdowns. Not to mention the large amount of sugar children receive and having to dodge the many excited older children on the street; trick or treating on Halloween can quickly go from fun to done. Don’t stress! Below is a list of preschool friendly alternatives to traditional trick or treating:

Read moreTrick or Treating @ Home



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