It’s time for Halloween! Most kids and adults associate Halloween with candy and treats. However, it’s important that we balance those out with good nutrition. Whether you’re taking the kids trick-or-treating or throwing a costume party, I’ve got the perfect plan for delightfully “frightful” fun in the kitchen!
My three dishes are perfect for a healthy Halloween snack, allow the kids to get involved, and provide lots of good protein and fiber before they load up on candy. Each is extremely affordable (downright cheap) and you likely already have most of the ingredients. Keep in mind that masks, bulky sleeves, body gear, tutus, and other attachments can be a safety hazard. So save costumes for afterwards. Set the “spooky” mood by playing music like “Monster Mash” and “Thriller”.
“Jack-O-Lantern” Rice Balls
Cook brown rice substituting half of the water for pureed carrots. I use Gerber 2nd Foods carrots because it has no added ingredients and is super cheap. You can also use bottled carrot juice, but it will be much more expensive and will likely have added sugar and preservatives.
The carrot juice gives the rice a stickier consistency so you will be able to grab a golf ball size amount and roll and it will hold its shape. If the rice sticks to your hands, wet them with just a bit of water. Kids love to help with this! Keep in mind that pumpkins aren’t perfectly round, so it’s fine if the kids’ aren’t either.
Once all the balls are made, cut black olives into the shape of eyes, noses, and mouths using a small paring knife. You can do this ahead of time so the kids can just grab olive pieces and add them to the balls.
For the stem, use small dices of green bell pepper.
Definitely choose brown rice over white – it has more fiber, antioxidants, and can help prevent diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Deviled Egg “Eyeballs”
Peel and slice hard boiled eggs. Dump the cooked yolks into a bowl and lay the egg white halves on a serving platter. Add plain Greek yogurt (or lowfat sour cream), salt, pepper, pickle juice, and a few drops of blue food coloring to the yolks and mix well. You may need to adjust the blue food coloring – you want a cool green color. Make sure the kids participate in this process so they see how yellow and blue make green. Spoon the yolk mixture back into the egg white halves. You could substitute mashed avocado for the yolks, or do half with yolks and half with avocado to give kids a different taste.
In a small bowl, mix a few dashes of hot sauce (I promise it will not be hot, but you could also use a little vinegar or water) with a few dashes of red food coloring. Let the kids dip a toothpick into mixture and drag it across the egg white to create bloodshot eyes. Next, add a sliced black olive to the middle of green filling.
Eggs are one of the most complete foods you can eat. They contain choline, which helps improve brain function, and essential protein. And you don’t have to add fatty mayo and sugary relish to have a tasty deviled egg!
“Spider Web” Black Bean Hummus
Rinse and drain a can of black beans. Add to a food processor with ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt, tablespoon tahini paste, teaspoon chopped garlic, and a pinch of smoked paprika. Blend until smooth. You may need to add a bit of water or more yogurt to get desired consistency and a dark gray color.
Pour the hummus into a wide-rimmed bowl and smooth the top. Add ¼ cup Greek yogurt into a baggie and push into bottom corner. Cut a very small opening into that corner so you can squirt a thin line onto the hummus. Starting in the middle, make a small circle. Then make slightly larger circles, working your way to the edge of the bowl. With a toothpick or bread knife, start in the middle and drag outwards to create a web. No spider web is the same, so kids can create their own web without fear of making a mistake. Use black olive pieces for the “spider” in your “web”.
Black beans are full of fiber, folate, and protein. Use colorful veggies or baked tortilla or pita chips as dippers.
All of these dishes can sit at room temp for a few hours or be eaten immediately, which make them perfect for Halloween night or any costume party! I encourage you to have some frightful fun in the kitchen! Who knew spooky could be so tasty!