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Healthy Halloween

October 28, 2019

Rosemary Weaver, MPH, RDN, LDN, Clinical Dietitian at Northwest Community Healthcare Wellness Center

It’s nearly time for our little ghosts and goblins to hit the trick-or-treat trail. Here are some snack ideas to tame your little sugar monster during the doorbell-ringing trek as well as a make-ahead healthier dinner idea that will be a treat to come home to.


Encourage a quick, healthy snack at home to provide a little protein for satiety and carbs for energy, which will help limit candy consumption en route:

  • Crisp apples wedges with peanut or almond butter dip
  • Orange-colored smoothie: Blend 1 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt with (choose one grouping)
    • 1 cup drained, no-added-sugar mandarin oranges + a frozen banana
    • 1 cup frozen peaches or nectarines + a pinch of cinnamon + 2/3 cup lowfat milk
    • 2 Tbsp. canned pumpkin + a frozen banana + a pinch of pumpkin pie spice + six ice cubes
  • Cheese and crackers (cut slices of reduced-fat cheese with Halloween-themed cookie cutters and place on top of whole grain crackers)
  • Popcorn popped in olive or canola oil with a “ghost” cheese stick (Use a black marker to draw a ghost face on a wrapped, part-skim mozzarella cheese stick.)
  • Hummus with orange, crinkle-cut carrot dippers
  • Peeled whole clementines along with roasted pumpkin seeds or nuts (Put a small piece of celery at the top for a stem so it looks like a pumpkin.)
  • Be sure to grab some water bottles to hydrate well on your adventure!


Eat a healthy dinner!

Try this make-ahead Turkey Joes in a Pepper Jack-o’-lantern.

(8 servings)

Prepare the jack-o’-lantern peppers and turkey joes in advance but don’t stuff the peppers yet; refrigerate. When you’re ready to eat, re-heat turkey joe mixture and stuff the peppers with it; sprinkle with grated parmesan and replace pepper top.

Serve with long, whole grain bread sticks to scoop and eat pepper contents. Pair with a green salad and fresh fruit. Perhaps allow a selected item from the trick-or-treat stash for dessert.


  • 8 medium to large orange or yellow bell peppers, washed, hollowed out; tops cut off and reserved
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup natural tomato ketchup
  • 1–1/2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Long, whole wheat breadsticks (unsalted, bread-like consistency)


  • After washing peppers, cut off tops and hollow out contents. Carefully carve a small jack-o’-lantern face with triangle eyes, nose and mouth on one side of each pepper. Replace top.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add ground turkey, onion and green bell pepper. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until turkey is browned, crumbling turkey with a wooden spoon while it’s cooking.
  • Add tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and simmer for approximately 5 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened.

Nutrition information/per stuffed pepper with one long, whole grain breadstick:
Carbohydrate: 26 grams / Protein: 17.3 grams / Fat: 8 grams / Calories: 245