When you think about Halloween what comes to mind? Sweet treats, right? Sure, Halloween is all about the quest for the goodies, but it is also all about the fall, pumpkins, and fun. No one is going to swap their candy for carrots, but how about some healthful pairing, not scaring, too. What do I mean? Well simply add produce and dairy to our Halloween festivities to provide versatility and creativity, not to mention nutrition to balance out the goodies.
Bone Thrilling And Gut Filling
I love the combo of dairy and produce not only for the taste but also to support the supporting structure. Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt provide the protein, vitamins and minerals to support bone health and produce provides phytonutrients that are part of strong bones, too. Don’t be bored — let’s conjure up a fruit/veggies cheese plate that is sure to please and taste just great. Try cheese dip with veggies and bean chips, or a ricotta, orange, honey and almond dip with sliced apples and pears. Or make a “pro” board packed with produce and protein such as prunes, pomegranate, roasted peppers, pickles and olives paired with protein sources like various cheeses and yogurt or cottage cheese-based dips.
No Need To Disguise The Goodness Inside
My favorite color is orange so naturally, I love any orange-colored fruit and veggie and am all about #poshsquash. Produce provides the fiber for our microbiome and the phytos to keep us healthier. As the weather gets colder, we should all eat foods that help to support a healthy immune system with our macros, micros and phytos. A dairy-produce combo may help to keep us healthier as the weather cools. Here are some ideas:
- Roasted squash with apples and carrots and topped with Cheddar cheese
- Pumpkin bisque made with evaporated milk and topped with pumpkin seeds
- Pumpkin and yogurt overnight oats topped with apples and cranberries
- Squash filled with spinach and cottage cheese
Share Tactics Over Scare Tactics
Is your family afraid of veggies? Get them to the table with a delicious and nutritious creation to be the ghostess with the mostest! Try broccoli cheese soup, zucchini lasagna, Buffalo cauliflower bites with a Bleu cheese/yogurt dip. It can be downright scary when we don’t eat enough dairy. Do your body a favor with flavors to savor. How about a sweet petite treat such as a “pear-fait,” cranberry/yogurt tart, baked apples or pears with custard sauce.
Dress Them Up Or Down
Halloween is all about the costume. So, we can amplify our produce and dairy to optimize the eye appeal. Think about the preparation method, colorful add-ins and texture in our pairings to make them so good for sharing. Try these ideas: Mini potato pancakes topped with cottage cheese and applesauce; eggs and veggies; roasted veggies and cheese; veggie quiche, whipped cottage cheese caramel dip with apple “chips;” potato boats with spinach, pesto and Parmesan; grilled veggie and Cheddar kebabs; or borscht with beets, cabbage and yogurt.
Fuel Your Ghouls
Trick or treating can be energy depleting if you don’t have enough fuel. Including a source of protein like dairy foods paired with your produce can help you feel fuller for longer and help make our bodies stronger. Plus, we may not eat all our candy haul in one sitting if we are not starting with an empty stomach! Put the “pro” in the glass, bowl or on the plate with the protein found in dairy foods. Score with your pour to help your beverages do more! How about a creamy apple cider chai? Or banana cocoa-nut smoothie? A grab and go snack before heading out the door of a peanut butter stuffed banana and a glass of chocolate milk, or cheese and fruit skewers, or a cored apple stuffed with ricotta or a mug of creamy chowder made with low-fat milk and extra vegetables can be warming and delicious as well as nutritious.
Candy can be dandy but putting the dairy and produce on your plate can help make your body great. This powerful combo of plants + dairy is not just a healthy way to eat but also a way to treat yourself well.