Halloween is Wednesday, and my kids are jazzed. They’ve been rocking out their costumes since last week, but they are ready for the grand finale—trick-or-treating!
As a nutritionist, this holiday has me in an inner turmoil. Sweets and treats are a part of life and I most certainly don’t want to shelter my kids from all the Halloween candy excitement. I want them to enjoy Halloween like I did as a kid, and instead, teach them how to manage and self-regulate their eating habits and choices. I also, under the radar, try to balance out all the sugar (and food colorings) with healthy foods to keep them grounded and to boost their immunity. Here are a couple of tricks to get you and your family back on track after Halloween!
Post Halloween Trick-or-Treating Dinner
No matter what is going on that day, I make sure I have a warm dinner waiting for my family as soon as trick-or-treating is over. This means I’m making a slow cooker full of meat and veggies. I can prep it the night before, turn it on in the morning, and dinner is ready when we need it!
The focus for this meal is heavy on the protein and fat and low on the carbs—a perfect way to balance out the blast of sugar they are about to consume. More often than not, I make these two slow cooker recipes:
- Beef stew with onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, and potatoes
- Whole roasted chicken with carrots and onions
The Power of Probiotics
Eating or drinking too much sugar curbs the immune system. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after going on a sugar binge. Seventy percent (70%) of our immune system is found in our gut. This makes our gut the first line of defense between you and anything dangerous you happen to swallow whether it’s a pathogen or a food allergen. Probiotics (good bacteria) are responsible for activating immune cells found in the gut which trigger the steps needed to fight off these invaders.
Fermented foods and beverages are packed with these powerful probiotics. It’s important to consume something fermented daily, and especially important to up the ante after going on a sugar binge since sugar hinders your immune system. Yogurt, milk kefir, water kefir, sauerkraut/fermented veggies, and kombucha are excellent choices when trying to get probiotics into your diet.
Starting with our post trick-or-treating dinner and continuing the next couple days, I aim to get a fermented food into each meal. Yogurt or milk kefir at breakfast, KeVita (water kefir) or kombucha with their lunches, and fermented veggies as a condiment at dinner. And sometimes, all I can do is get them to eat yogurt at all three meals. But hey, it’s still probiotics at each meal and it’s helping to boost their immune system!
Check out our fabulous section of fermented foods and beverages!
Vibrant Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and has many functions as it relates to immunity. It is important to get your daily vitamin C to help keep your immune system in tip top shape. In the days following trick-or-treating, really focus on eating more fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C. Most of us think citrus when we think about vitamin C, but the highest source of vitamin C is actually found in red bell peppers. It contains 95mg in ½ cup! Other great options are kiwi, kale, strawberries, and broccoli.
Along with the options mentioned above, we have grapefruit and local, organic mini sweets and broccoli crowns from Family Farm Fresh (IN) in our store this week. Make sure to load up on your vitamin C foods!
Beth Blessing (Organic Beth) has a Masters in Nutrition and is the co-founder of Green Bean Delivery. She is a mother of three that loves supporting family farms and searching for unique, artisanal products. Her goal is to help others eat better and live a more natural, holistic life through healthy recipes and practical tips. Follow her on Facebook: @OrganicBeth