By Nicolette M. Pace MS, RD, CDE, CDN, CFCS
Halloween doesn’t have to be a time for belly busting eating and mind blowing violence. Celebrate Halloween like nature intended and enjoy the month-long harvest that marks an official end to summer. Reap the benefits of the season and boost your health as you prepare for winter.
1) Hijack Halloween Habits: Kick out the candy crisis and focus on fitness. Collecting candy door-to-door is a great time to spin out an outdoor activity program and make sure your loot doesn’t come back to bite you. Outfit the troops with pedometers and track your progress. Walking just over 2000 steps averages about a mile and a calorie equivalent of a 100 calorie piece of candy! Detour to a park to hunt for interesting leaves, pine cones and other tree prizes to use for crafts or homemade potpourri. If you do end up with extra candy, recycle it in holiday recipes or feel free to donate it!
2) Holistic Halloween: Nourish your mind-body spirit and use aromatherapy from essential oils to promote calm, concentration and learning. Seasonal choices include citrus, cedar, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender and ginger to unlock the body’s natural ability to heal, boosting your immune and respiratory systems. Prepare a relaxing and uplifting concoction for your bath, vaporizer or use as a steam inhalation to keep sinus passages moist, clear and toned as you promote restful sleep to help you settle in for longer nights.
3) Potent Potions: Brew-ti-full hydration begins with using seasonal herbal teas to soothe and hydrate. Choose tea blends with hibiscus, rose hips, berry and citrus peels to get vitamin C, anti-oxidants and limonene, an anti-inflammatory chemical, in the rinds of citrus fruit. Tone up water with slices of fresh ginger, succulent spearmint or cranberry juice for good digestion and cleansing. Juice up great in- season apples, pears, grapes, carrots, and celery for a super vitamin rich pick me up. The pulp has an after-life in a multitude of healthy recipes!
4) Bubble, Bubble No Toil, No Trouble: Savvy tricks for healthy meals start with convenient ways to use seasonal veggies to take your meals up a nutritional notch. Try oven roasting a batch of mixed root veggies like beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes and winter squash for an infusion of Vitamin A and E, folic acid and fiber. Pair with flavorful roasted celery, fennel, onions or leeks for an anti-cancer side dish. Advance prepping these veggies makes for an easy and super nutritious start to either a cauldron of soup or as a monster meatloaf.
5) No Cheats Just Treats: Snack time can be a yum-yum give-me some opportunity to sneak in seasonal fruits, veggies and whole grains into your diet. Try super quick microwave baked apples stuffed with instant oatmeal and drizzled with apple cider and cinnamon. Ramp up a PBJ by adding slices of fresh sliced apples, pears, raspberries or banana to help cut refined sugar from jams and jellies. Use your leftover carrots, sweet potatoes and corn in prepared muffin mixes, pancakes or corn bread. Trendy pets can copy-cat owners’ nutritional habits too! A small amount of cooked veggies can be mixed into a pet’s regular food instead of giving table scraps and other harmful snacks like chocolate. Better yet, costumed pets deserve a pooch pop or kitty cuisine specially created for their special needs!
Have a boo-ti-ful Halloween!!!
Nicolette M. Pace MS,RD,CDE,CDN,CFCS