By Lisa Messinger
Author of: The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine
If you sometimes hide candy from your kidlets in anticipation of Halloween, or after your own cleverly dressed goblins have collected it, there are other more productive places to tuck it away.
You could "Halloweenize" healthy food with splashes of candy nuggets. That would mean your kidlets - or your own - consumption of sweets is measured, but not less of a treat. In fact, this kind of crafty ghoulish culinary work is a gourmet improvement to both Halloween candy and the healthy fare to which you add it.
Moderation, rather than complete restriction, we've all been advised for years, is the key to sustaining healthful diets. Putting a spooky spell on food, like the ideas that follow, helps do the trick.
Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for creating homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since these are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations. They can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests.
- HALLOWEEN START TO THE DAY
If kids - or spouses - have been begging you for heavily sweetened cereals they see advertised on TV, a Halloween start to the day might be a fun and more hearty way to go. Top cold whole-grain, unsweetened cereal or cooked, plain, unsweetened oatmeal with a small serving of a few minced Halloween candies, as well as a few dark chocolate-covered raisins and dark chocolate-covered almonds.
- CANDY CORN MEETS ITS MATCH
Top cooked store-bought or homemade corn chowder with a small amount of candy corn, crisply cooked, crumbled turkey bacon, freshly ground black pepper and a dash of curry powder.
- HAVE A SPOOKY SIP OR TWO
Carefully melt chocolate-based mini Halloween candy bars and stir into sugar-free hot chocolate along with a splash of coconut or almond milk.
- THESE TORTILLAS ARE TOPS
Spread a whole-wheat tortilla with peanut butter and all-fruit spread (found in the jam aisles of most supermarkets) and top with a small amount of gooey, ghostlike marshmallow creme, dried cranberries and dashes of minced Halloween candies, roll up and heat for about 10 seconds in microwave oven.
- YOU DON'T HAVE TO DUNK FOR THESE APPLES
Slice red apples of your choice in half and core them, leaving an indentation you can fill. Spoon in a tiny amount of maple syrup and diced chocolate-based Halloween candies. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake at preheated 350 F for about 15 minutes, or until apples soften. Let cool before eating.
- SWEETER SWEET POTATOES
In the last 10 minutes of roasting sweet potatoes, carefully stir in candied pecans, dark chocolate-covered raisins, and candy corn.
- PEP UP YOUR PUMPKIN PIE
Press Halloween candy into pumpkin pie. Top with whipped cream into which you've stirred unsweetened cocoa powder. Drizzle with maple syrup.
Lisa Messinger at Creators Syndicate is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.