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Scarily delicious, this Frankenstein Matcha Smoothie is filled to the brim with fruit, veggies, and probiotics! Made with organic matcha powder originally, you can substitute in spirulina powder if you wish! You can also keep this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free chocolate chips and cookies!

Frankenstein Matcha Smoothie

Ingredients

1 cup Lifeway Banana Protein Kefir
1 medium banana, sliced and frozen
1 generous handful of organic baby spinach
1 tsp organic matcha powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
Fresh banana slices, to garnish
Mini chocolate chips, to garnish
Crushed chocolate cookies, to garnish

Lifeway Protein Kefir Banana

Preparation

1. Add the kefir, frozen banana, spinach, matcha powder, and vanilla extract into the pitcher of a
high-powered blend. Blend on high until smooth, then set aside.
2. Carefully place one chocolate chip in the middle of one slice of banana to create the smoothie’s
eye. Repeat for the second eye. Stick the “eyes” to the inside of a glass.
3. Pour smoothie into glass and top crushed cookie crumbs. Slurp and enjoy!

*Recipe courtesy of Lifeway Kefir.*

Scarily cute little mummies are the perfect snack to serve at your family’s Halloween gathering! Your family, friends and neighbors will shriek at the sight of Moore’s BBQ Pigs in Blankets morphed into eerie little mummies. By strategically wrapping crescent rolls around the cocktail wieners, you can add eyeballs and drizzle the finished snacks with extra Moore’s Honey BBQ Wings sauce to give them a little spooky style!

To make the dish healthier, we like to use Annie’s Organic Crescent Rolls and Applegate Farms Organic Uncured Turkey Hot Dogs, cut into thirds.

Spooky Honey BBQ Pigs in Blankets

Ingredients

1 large package cocktail wieners (We like Applegate Farms Organic Uncured Turkey Hot Dogs)
2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls (We like Annie’s Organic Crescent Rolls)
1/2 bottle Moore’s Honey BBQ Wing Sauce

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Separate crescent rolls into triangles and then cut each triangle into 3 smaller triangles.

With a pastry brush, brush the triangles with Moore’s Honey BBQ Wing Sauce.

Place a cocktail weiner on the wider end of the triangle and roll to the point.

Place on a baking sheet, point side down.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with extra Moore’s Honey BBQ Wing Sauce for dipping.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Moore’s Marinades & Sauces.*

Serve up some creepily delicious Spooky Witch Fingers this Halloween for a scarily healthy appetizer using gluten-free Brazi Bites! These Brazi Bites Spooky Witch “fingers” are fun and easy to make so even the kids can get involved in the kitchen. Served with marinara sauce “blood” for dipping, this dish is a spook-tastic treat for your entire family!

Brazi Bites Spooky Witch Fingers

Ingredients

For the fingers:
20 ea. Brazi Bites, defrosted
2 eggs, beaten well with 1 tsp. Water
Almond slices
Vegetable oil or vegetable spray

For the marinara sauce:
1 – 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 c. Water (swished from the tomato can)
1/4 c. Olive oil
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp. Red pepper flakes
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. Dried oregano

RNDR_BraziBites_Retail_Pouch_GarlicAsiago cropped

Preparation

For the Marinara: Heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds until beginning to sizzle. Add tomatoes and 1 c. Water. Add Red pepper flakes, salt and dried oregano. Bring marinara to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until thickened. Serve with Brazi bites fingers.

For the Brazi Bites fingers: Preheat oven to 400 F. Coat hands well with oil. Knead Brazi Bite (1 ea.) well and roll into a 5 in. ‘stick.’ Using a small knife, cut 3 slits along the top, middle and bottom of the finger. Place an almond slice into the top of the “finger.’ Place onto a sheet pan coated with pan spray. Brush fingers with egg wash. Bake in oven for 18-22 minutes until golden brown. Brush the “nail” of the finger with marinara sauce.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Brazi Bites.*

Pumpkin Spiced LatteTis’ the season for Pumpkin! The harvest fruit is everywhere – from Jack O’ Lanterns on every doorstep to pumpkin spiced lattes and pies in every store! Besides pumpkin being a great decoration and having a delicious flavor for sweets and treats, pumpkins are healthy and nutritious for you.

Pumpkins are a potent antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory food. Juicing them can be better for you (instead of the overly sugar treats). So, instead of a super sweet pumpkin treat — try a healthy twist to the pumpkin craze. The juicing experts at Juicepresso created a healthy twist to a pumpkin spiced latte which also puts to use the pumpkin meat from your Jack O’ Lantern.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte

Ingredients

1/2 small pumpkin (seeds, hard rind and stem removed), chopped
1 red apple
1 Meyer lemon, quartered
1-inch piece ginger, well scrubbed

Preparation

Once all fruits and vegetables have been prepared, pressed, and placed in a glass, top off your drink with a dab of cinnamon. Enjoy!

*Recipe and image courtesy of Juicepresso.*

Five Tricks for a Healthy Halloween

By Vanessa Chamberlin, author of The Fire-Driven Life

Halloween is such a challenging time for health-conscious parents. Everywhere we turn, people are offering the least nutritious, most sugary food around: candy! From classroom parties to neighborhood and family gatherings—there’s no way to avoid it. But if you are prepared and have some tasty, plant-based recipes in your toolbox, it will be a lot easier to partake in the festivities without overdosing on refined sugar. Plus, there are some easy tips (and tricks!) that can help you have a happier, healthier Halloween.

Always eat a healthy meal first. Whether it’s trick-or-treating or going to a party, make sure your kids go on a full stomach so they’ll be less likely to fill up on sugary snacks. On the day of school parties, make a filling, nutritious breakfast, and send them to school with extra special healthy lunches. Pull out your whole toolbox for this one! We’re talking cookie cutters for fun shapes, carving the fruit—everything. Your kids won’t want to miss out on this lunch, which will help them feel satisfied and loved all afternoon.

Send your own snacks. Whenever possible, send your own snacks. Even if you know that your children are going to be eating candy and cupcakes at their holiday parties, at least you can send them with some more balanced foods and encourage them to get their friends to try.

Enlist the help of some professionals! It never hurts to make sure a trip to the dentist falls before Halloween, and ask their help in making sure to explain to your kids why their dental health is so important, and how candy is bad for their teeth. It doesn’t have to be a big scary lecture, but just a simple reminder that a healthy smile starts with a healthy diet is a nice thing to reinforce.

Plan or attend a party that’s more in line with your lifestyle. Many of us have friends who understand why we’ve shaped our habits and lifestyles for healthy living, and they either do the same or are at least supportive and understanding. You don’t want your kids to feel left out, so if they’re not participating in other events, give them something else that’s fun. You might be able to get some of their close friends and families to join in, too. Not many parents like the idea of their kids getting a heavy dose of sugar either trick-or-treating or going to a party, so I’ve found it’s a welcome invitation when I invite people to celebrate holidays with us and have a nutritious night of festivities!

Finally, just talk about it beforehand. Let your kids know that you want them to have fun, but not eat lots of candy and junk that will make them not feel good. Ask if there is anything they would like to bring as a treat or eat before a party, and see if you can accommodate their requests. It’s so important for children to feel loved and respected as humans who have their own desires and opinions. Asking them to be involved in your holiday planning can go a long way!

For your healthy Halloween toolbox, here is a great recipe that kids love, and would easily fit into any festive party platter spread!

Gone in a Day Cookies

Ingredients

3/4 cup chunky peanut butter

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 TBS maple syrup (add more for desired taste)

1 cup raisins

Preparation

Combine peanut butter and coconut. In a separate bowl, combine cocoa, and maple syrup. Combine the two mixtures and add the raisins. Dough will be stiff. Roll into balls. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.

Article courtesy of Vanessa Chamberlin, a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Lifestyle Coach and author of The Fire-Driven Life: How to Ignite the Fire of Self-Worth, Health, and Happiness with a Plant-Based Diet.

For more information, please visit, www.vanessachamberlin.com and connect with her on Twitter, @vkchamberlin.

*Image courtesy of Tina Phillips at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

This Halloween, offer trick-or-treaters healthier versions of favorite treats and snacks that they are sure to enjoy! “Mom” has compiled her picks for the upcoming festivities that are tasty and keep little ones away from overly sugary, processed treats. Both kids and parents alike will love these treats!

Pure Organic Fruit-and-Veggie-Strip-Strawberry-ApplePure Fruit & Veggie Strips

Hand out a healthy snack that both kids and parents will love this Halloween! The Pure Fruit Snack product line now offers Pure Fruit & Veggie Strips made with wholesome fruit and vegetable ingredients, with no added sugars, artificial sweeteners or preservatives. The Pure Fruit & Veggie Strips come in two yummy flavors including Strawberry Apple and Wildberry Apple. Our toddler gobbled them up, loving both of the delicious flavors! We were able to sneak in a bite of both and had to agree – they were really good!

Pure Fruit and Veggie Strips are certified organic, non GMO, vegan, gluten-free, soy free, kosher and made with fruit and vegetable juices and purees. The company uses no cane syrups or cane sugar, no artificial flavors or colors and the fruit snacks are produced in a peanut-free facility. The snacks retail for $1.09 for 1 bar/strip and $19.20 for a box of 20. Available at various Whole Foods nationwide, Sam’s Club or online at www.thepurebar.com.

Crispy Greens Crispy Fruit GroupCrispy Fruit Snacks from Crispy Green

Scare away the ghoulish consequences of unhealthy treats this Halloween by providing Crispy Fruit snacks from Crispy Green! Freeze-dried to perfection, these snacks are 100% pure fruit, nothing else! Kids love to munch on these delectable and satisfying treats – and so do moms and dads! With seven great flavors to choose from in convenient snack-size pouches, it’s a snack you can take anywhere and will be a welcome addition to any child’s trick-or-treat stash! These crispy little packs of delightful fruit were quickly devoured in “Mom’s” household, as they satisfy your snack attack with their light, crispy texture and fresh fruit taste. Our three year old loved the Pineapple, Asian Pear and Mango flavors the most! The best part is that you can recognize the fruit since it has been freeze-dried! Crispy Fruit Snacks contain no additives or preservatives, no fat or cholesterol, no skins or cores, and are Non-GMO Project Verified. At only 55 or less calories per serving, this is the ideal little snack to tuck in treat bags, lunch boxes, or backpacks! www.crispygreen.com

Justins Maple Almond Butter Snack PacksJustin’s Snack Packs

Hand out wholesome, tasty snacks this Halloween! Dip into Justin’s Snack Packs, which are sure to wow parents and kids alike. Each pack comes with gluten-free pretzels, in three decadent flavors, including Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, Maple Almond Butter and Classic Almond Butter. Yum! www.justins.com

Justins -BaggedMinisJustin’s Organic Mini Peanut Butter Cups

If you want to give out a healthier version to an old favorite, peanut butter cups, Justin’s Organic Mini Peanut Butter Cups are bite-sized treats of pure perfection for the candy lover in you that is looking for an organic treat to indulge yourself, I mean trick-or-treaters, in! According to Justin, “they’re every bit as tasty as my regular peanut butter cups with the added benefit of being smaller, more shareable, and let’s face it, more adorable.” Right now, Target is offering them in a bulk-size bag perfect for stocking up before Halloween, and if you use the Cartwheel App, you can save a bit, too! www.justins.com

Annie's Halloween Bunny GrahamsAnnie’s Halloween Bunny Grahams

We are crazy about Annie’s line of products at ‘Mom’s‘ house, so these single-serving packets that contain a mixture of honey and chocolate flavored bunny grahams made with organic wheat are perfect for handing out to tiny trick-or-treaters this year! Hopefully there will be some left over to tuck in lunchboxes next week, too! Annie’s Halloween Bunny Grahams can be found at Whole Foods Market as well as Target. www.annies.com

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this article.*

Keep little ghosts and ghouls hydrated while trick-or-treating this Halloween with SIGG’s new Fall collection, showcasing a favorite iconic character, Hello Kitty, dressed up for the occasion, too! On each reusable water bottle, Hello Kitty wears a different animal costume, including Elephant, Tiger, Leopard and Monkey.

Heralding the Halloween spirit, SIGG makes it fun for little ones to keep thirst at bay while running up and down the neighborhood! These cute character bottles are up to the mighty task on Hallow’s Eve. You can find them online at MYSIGG.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

ID-10010604310 Tricky Tips for a Healthy Halloween from the Pritikin Longevity Center

1. Buy candy you don’t like.

Love Snickers bars? Leave them on the store shelf. Otherwise, you can bet you’ll be breaking into that bag days before the costumed kiddies arrive at your doorstep. (And let’s not even talk about what happens if there are Snickers left over at the end of the evening.) Buy candy that does not call out to you, and on November 1, throw any leftovers out or take them to a homeless shelter.

2. Think outside the candy box.

“On Halloween night, trick or treaters love non-food goodies, too,” recommends Pritikin dietitian and educator Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD. Look in the party aisle of your favorite discount or dollar store for treats like glow stick necklaces (your little neighborhood princesses will love you!), spider rings, stickers, decorative pencils, stamps, notepads, erasers, balloons, play tattoos, game cards, and more. Better yet, buy treats that encourage kids to be physically active, like little bouncy balls, Frisbees, jump ropes, hacky sacks, and sidewalk chalk for drawing hopscotch or foursquare games.

3. Fuel up your little ones before they go trick-or-treating.

Before they head out the door, try to get them to relax (we know this isn’t easy!) and sit down to dinner, or, at least, a fruit plate and a cup of yogurt. That way, their appetites for the rest of the evening will be curbed, somewhat. (Maybe they’ll be happy with 6 little chocolates, not 16.)

4. Be firm but loving.

Keeping junk out of the house most of the year is important. “But realize that some junk on Halloween and other rare events is inevitable, and that’s okay. Embrace those moments, and at the same time make sure your kids understand how important it is to keep these indulgences occasional,” counsels Tom Rifai, MD, Medical Director of the Metabolic Nutrition and Weight Management program at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Oakland, Michigan, and member of the Pritikin Scientific Advisory Board. Always emphasize the many positive outcomes of eating fresh whole foods like fruits and vegetables, like a leaner body, clearer skin and excellent energy for all their activities and sports.

5. Perform trick-or-treat triage.

Once the kids bring in the candy, “get rid of the excess,” suggests Pritikin nutritionist Kimberly Gomer. “The children don’t need a ton around, and neither do you. Also, if there are certain treats that ‘glow and glitter’ for you, triggering temptation, put them out of sight, perhaps in an out-of-the-way kitchen cabinet or freezer in the garage. The kids often forget about the candy faster than mom and dad!”

6. Meter it out.

On Halloween night, allow your children to enjoy a few bites, not a binge. Then, stash the goodies they’ve selected as “keepers” in the pantry. Get rid of the rest. In the days that follow, dole out one or two treats at a time (but only if your children ask for them), and always in combination with a healthy snack or meal. When the excitement over the candy has waned (and before you start digging into them), toss them out or take them to a shelter.

7. Focus on fun, not food.

“Make dressing up in costumes a big deal,” suggests Kimberly, “and get in on the action, too. Dress up with your kids.” Carve pumpkins, and enjoy the exercise of trick or treating around the neighborhood. (Do make sure you’ve also eaten a healthy snack or dinner before walking out the front door.) And sure, nibble on a treat or two while out enjoying the evening, as long as you know you can stop after one or two. “And always remember that it’s one night a year,” says Kimberly. “Enjoy the evening, but don’t drag out the candy eating till Thanksgiving. Tell yourself, ‘I’ve splurged a little tonight. I’m back to healthy eating tomorrow.’” What a gift for your waistline and overall health!

8. Plan party fun on the front lawn.

“Get the kids (and grownups) up and moving with party activities,” advises Pritikin Fitness Director Scott Danberg, MS. Set up a costume/dance contest. Before the sun sets, enjoy a pumpkin hunt (hide miniature pumpkins throughout the yard), pinning a heart on a scarecrow, or musical chairs (instead of chairs, use big pumpkins). And, of course, kids never tire of running from the big bad bogeyman (you dressed up in a creepy costume) in a game of Halloween hide and seek. Lots of calories burned. Lots of fun!

9. Stock up on sweet and nutritious.

The rest of the year, continue to think outside the candy aisle for treats that are sweet and nutritious. Make fruit fun. How about a Fruit Parfait? In a pretty parfait glass, simply layer your child’s favorite fruit with fat-free or low-fat vanilla yogurt. Then top with a strawberry.

10. Make healthy treats together.

Every summer in the Pritikin Family Program, kids love the hands-on cooking classes and, afterwards, eating their own creations. Set up shop in your own kitchen, and with the kids as sous chefs, create tasty desserts, such as our chefs’ Very Berry Ice Cream, for a healthy Halloween and good health year-round.

About the Author

Kimberly Gomer MS, RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian and Educator: In addition to her undergraduate degree in Dietetics/Nutrition and Masters in Public Health Nutrition, Kimberly brings to the Pritikin Longevity Center more than a decade of experience teaching and inspiring thousands nationwide to eat and live well. At LIFE Saint Francis PACE Program in New Jersey, she provided medical nutrition therapy for individuals with diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and obesity. At community health centers throughout New Jersey, she developed and delivered several wellness programs, including individual and group weight-loss programs for a variety of ages, from students to seniors.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Pirate's BootyParents can swap sugar-laden candy treats for Pirate’s Booty, a deliciously baked, all-natural snack that kids love and moms can feel good about adding to the Halloween treat bowl! Pirate’s Booty has less fat and fewer calories than traditional Halloween candy and zero grams of sugar. Also, Pirate’s Booty is gluten, peanut and tree-nut free, so it’s safe for trick-or-treaters or classmates with these common food allergies. Pirate’s Booty is made without trans-fats and ingredients you can’t pronounce. Plus, the Pirate is already dressed for the occasion! “Mom” at Tiny Green Mom and her little ones love this fun and healthy little treat for an easy grab-and-go snack all October long. (Who are we kidding, all year long!)

Pirate's Booty 2

This year, it will be easier than ever to pass out Pirate’s Booty, as Target and Super Target stores across the county will be offering special Halloween 20-packs of half-ounce, 65-calorie bags of Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar. The Halloween 20-packs of Pirate’s Booty will be available from mid-September through October.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

ID-10062392 (1)Halloween is a celebration of make-believe, pumpkins, autumn, and most of all…candy. While kids wait all year for this holiday of endless sugar, it can often be a nightmare for parents. Candy usually contains sugar, which is the perfect environment for breeding bacteria that cause tooth decay. Consequently, to avoid future dental problems, it is important to keep two things in mind when eating candy:

1) Avoid excessive consumption of these sugary treats

2) Lessen the amount of time the sugar is present in the mouth

Dr. Margaret Mitchell, owner of Mitchell Dental Spa, a dental spa facility in Chicago’s Water Tower Place, offers the following tips for protecting children’s teeth at Halloween:

· Examine: Examine your child’s candy before he or she digs in to see if it meets your approval.

· Brushing: It is okay for your child to eat any candy that you approve of, but to help lessen the chance for tooth decay, have them brush as soon as possible after eating the candy. By brushing right after candy consumption, the impact of the candy on the teeth is minimal.

· Avoid: Avoid sticky candy such as taffy, gummy bears, caramel, etc. Sticky Candy adheres to teeth and leads to decay.

· Preparation: Prior to Halloween, visit your dentist to have sealants put into the child’s teeth grooves. This protects tooth enamel against decay caused by excess sugar.

If brushing soon after eating is not possible, here are these other tips that also can help:

· Together: Consume the candy with a meal. The increased saliva production while eating will help wash the sweet off the teeth.

· Rinse: Rinse the mouth with water.

· Gum: Chew a sugarless gum (especially those containing xylitol) after snacking on candy. The increased saliva from chewing will help wash the sugar off the teeth and xylitol gums help control the bacteria that cause tooth decay.

· Quickly: Eat the candy quickly in one sitting to decrease the amount of time it is contact with the teeth. Avoid eating any candy slowly over an extended time or over multiple sittings. Recent studies have shown that length of time eating a sweet can be more harmful than the amount of sweet consumed. This means hard candies, breath mints, etc. (long residence time in the mouth) can actually be worse for your teeth than a chocolate candy bar (shorter residence time in the mouth).

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*