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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!

What to do with all that Halloween Candy?

I'm pleased to introduce a guest blogger today!  Ginger Reeser is a dietetic intern and graduate research assistant at University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

Halloween is right around the corner, which means trick-or-treating, cute costumes, haunted houses, pumpkins and of course, tons of candy! I love Halloween, and in the past few years I have discovered one of my favorite things to do is visit my Grandma at the nursing home on Halloween night. A local store donates candy, and all the residents line up in the hallway with a bucket full of candy. Families bring their kids to trick-or-treat down the hallways. The residents love it, the kids love it, and the parents love a safe place to trick-or-treat. But the kids are getting a piece of candy every foot or two down a 200 foot hallway! So what can you do with all that candy?

Here are some ideas to help make the candy disappear (without overindulging and remaining in a sugar coma all week!):

Freeze it: throughout the year you can add it to shakes, top frozen yogurt, or bake into cookies.

  • Try this quick, yummy shake: Add a banana, mini candy bar, frozen yogurt and milk to a blender. Mix, pour, and enjoy!

Add a little sweet to a healthy snack:

  • Fill celery sticks with peanut butter and top with chocolate-covered candies.
  • Mix popcorn (a healthy whole grain), pretzels, nuts, and candy corn.

Make your own trail mix: mix chocolate-covered candies with pretzels, nuts, and dried fruit.

Chocolate covered fruit: Just melt the chocolate, dip the fruit, and enjoy!

Thanksgiving dessert: use Halloween candy for your Thanksgiving dessert.

Don't want to eat the candy? Try these fun ideas:

Use them in gifts: garnish boxes with candies or stuff in gift bags in place of tissue paper or fill coffee mugs and give as a gift.

Gingerbread house: save candies to decorate a gingerbread house.

Put in a piñata for your next birthday party.

Let your kids make a care package: send it to grandparents or take it to their teacher.

Donate it: Some dentists collect leftover Halloween candy in exchange for toothbrushes, coupons, or even money! They send the candy to Operation Gratitude ( to include in care packages for deployed U.S. troops.

Not only is there lots of candy around Halloween, but lots of pumpkins too! Try this yummy recipe on a cool, autumn day. Have your kids help measure out ingredients and mix it all together!


Autumn Stew

4 cups pumpkin or sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 can (14 ½ ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

½ cup chicken broth

2 cups fresh or frozen cut green beans

1 cup fresh or frozen corn

½ cup onion, diced

½ cup green pepper, diced

1 tsp minced garlic

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings, 1 serving = 1 1/3 cup

Nutritional analysis per serving (with pumpkin): 100 Calories, 1 gram total fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 77 milligrams sodium, 23 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams dietary fiber, 4 grams protein

Nutritional analysis per serving (with sweet potatoes): 165 Calories, 1 gram total fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 177 milligrams sodium, 37 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams dietary fiber, 5 grams protein

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Great ideas for spreading the fun/tasty treats of Halloween!
by Kathy Sweedler on Monday 10/29/2012