Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Give Tykes a Healthy Meal before They Head out for Halloween Trick-or-Treating

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Give Tykes a Healthy Meal before They Head out for Halloween Trick-or-Treating

Article excerpt

Give tykes healthy meal before trick-or-treating

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TORONTO - Don't get spooked when it comes to getting a healthy meal on the table for your little ghosts and goblins before they head out trick-or-treating.

As soon as it's dark, children are eager to troll the neighbourhood. It's best to send them off with something satisfying and nutritious in their stomachs so they're not as inclined to fill up with candy. But with many parents working, this can create a time crunch on weeknights.

"I think a lot of people will rely on pizza, but there's lots of quick and easy things you can have" that aren't takeout or processed, says Carol Harrison, a registered dietitian in Toronto.

"Certainly you want them to have a satisfying meal even if it's a quick one so that they're not famished by the time they come home after running around going trick-or-treating because, let's face it, that's quite active, going up and down the streets and in and out of houses."

With three children aged 15, 13 and 10, Harrison knows what parents are up against. Though two of her offspring are beyond the trick-or-treating stage, the youngest is still up for the fun.

"I remember the days when I had to get all three of them out," she says with a laugh. "Costumes, can't find this or my wing keeps bending in a weird way. The last-minute duct tape kind of craziness helping the kids have a terrific time because it's such a fun time of year."

The key is to prepare something fun to eat that isn't complicated or time consuming.

"Breakfast for dinner makes a lot of sense on Halloween night because it's quick, you often have eggs in the fridge anyway even if you're low on groceries, and kids like them and they're easy to prepare and there's so many different things you can do with them."

A big pan of cheesy scrambled eggs can go on toast, in a burrito, in a wrap with salsa, open-faced on an English muffin or piled into a hotdog bun.

Make up a pan of french toast you can bake while helping children get ready. Or bake it ahead, cut it into fingers and pop them in the toaster. A version with peanut butter and banana adds more protein and another food group.

In keeping with the creepy Halloween theme, make a variation on devilled eggs, another great finger food. The eggs can be hard-cooked ahead -- they'll keep for a week in the fridge, Harrison says -- then add avocado to the mashed yolks to turn them green. Top with a slice of black olive or piece of diced red pepper. Have the kids come up with a fun name, like Green Monster Eyes.

"If the child had three or four of those that's an excellent source of protein that's going to help them feel full throughout the night so they're not going to be so tempted to dig into that candy quite as much," says Harrison, who consults about nutrition issues for her company Citrus.

Team devilled eggs with leftovers, or serve with chunks of cheese, wedges of pita bread and some hummus. …

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