Imagine... A Healthy Halloween!

by Lianne Phillipson October 25, 2019

Imagine... A Healthy Halloween!

Halloween can be a parent’s worst nightmare. Just picture those sugar-infused little bodies that ultimately crash at the end of a late night in the form of one doozy of a tantrum. Now that’s a scary Halloween.

How are you going to deal with your little gremlin this October 31st?

Here’s a plan for parents to survive Halloween and avoid the extreme sugar highs and lows!

Plan a pre-holiday family meeting

Parents, meet with your kids before Halloween trick-or-treating or parties and work together to come up with a plan for how much candy they can have. Make them a part of the decision-making process so they feel they have some say.

For better or for worse

What’s better, what’s worse? Look out for food dyes and colours as some kids react; allergies, behavioural issues or difficulty sleeping. If chocolate is their favourite, have some healthier choices (organic or dark choc) on hand to trade the ‘junk’ ones for and talk about why you are trading (and don’t forget to mention that in your family meeting). 

Post-holiday crash

Ever notice an increase in colds, flu or tummy aches post sugar rush? Sugar can depress the immune system for hours, and as there’s already a bunch of colds going around, bear that in mind before she tucks into her bag of loot. Boost the immune system with some probiotics for a week or so before, give some extra vitamin C (powders like ALKA C work well) to try to dodge the sickness that’s likely to follow October 31st. I always see a spike in issues with breastfed babies or toddlers, parents and kids: from colds and flus to digestive upsets, headaches and eczema flare-ups. Sugar can be to blame in most cases here (sorry!). 

Balanced dinner before

Help keep those blood sugar levels from peaking and crashing with a pre-trick-or-treating meal, which is a balance of carbs, veggies and protein. In fact, my lasagna recipe would be perfect! Check it below, recipe taken from Sprout Right Family Food. Take a water bottle with you en route with diluted juice, or a thermos with herbal tea as it’s usually chilly.

The Ultimate Lasagna

Egg-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Wheat-free
Makes 3 mini lasagnas or 1 large lasagna

INGREDIENTS

  • 6-8 sheets rice or kamut lasagna noodles
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb organic ground chicken (dark meat)
  • 1 24 oz/710 ml jar tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 sweet red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped button or shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 handful baby spinach leaves, washed
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded organic mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add the lasagna noodles to a large pot of boiling water and cook until tender, taking care not to overcook, as they may fall apart. Drain noodles, drizzle with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the olive oil (so they don’t stick together), and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with
    a clean, damp kitchen towel.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Mix in the ground chicken and cook until browned. Stir in the tomato sauce, water, red pepper, carrot, mushrooms, parsley, and Italian seasoning. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft.
  3.  Assemble the lasagna in three 8- × 4-inch (1.5 L) loaf pans or one 13- × 9-inch (3.5 L) baking dish. Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 mL) of sauce in the bottom of each pan or baking dish, then layer the noodles, sauce, spinach, and cheese, repeating layers until the pans or dish is full.
  4. Heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling at the edges.
  5. Serve with Winter Sunshine Salad (also found in Sprout Right Family Food) or freeze, covered, for up to 1 month.
  6. To prepare lasagna from frozen, defrost overnight in the fridge, then bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 30 to 45 minutes (depending on size) until heated through.

TIP #1: Substitute organic ground turkey (dark meat) or grass-fed ground beef for the chicken for more nutrients and taste.

TIP #2: Canned tomato sauce may contain bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known for its link to a number of health issues. Use jarred tomato sauce as a safer alternative.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
This is a nutrient-rich meal containing antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and vitamin C. It’s also a balanced meal of protein, carbohydrate, and vegetables.

Do YOUR part

Ever thought about starting a new trend?  It’s easier with the younger ones. Start a new tradition of giving out small toys to your trick or treaters. Talk about giving out healthier choices and alternatives. My faves include:

  • Glow in the dark necklaces and bracelets – a visit to the dollar store got a whole lot healthier!
  • Stickers or temporary tattoos.
  • Candies and other treats made with alternative sweeteners. Whole Foods Market has a fantastic assortment of lollipops and individually wrapped treats that won’t have your dentist running for cover. 
  • Candies or treats made with natural food colourings including beet, carrot and others.

Trade up the Loot

Is there something that your little princess or Spiderman has been coveting? Suggest a trade of their bag of loot (after some nibbling of course) for a longer lasting treat, or have the “Halloween Pumpkin” (cousin of the tooth fairy) come a day after Halloween and leave that special something in its place.

 


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