At this sugary spooky time of year I am thrilled to be working with nutritional therapist and author Louise Mercieca who has a real heart for our children (and us!) being healthy. It can be a tricky (and very treaty!) time, I remember just a couple of years back my kids were in orbit with excitement about the amount of sugary booty they would gather on Halloween by the first of the month. We were right to be at least a bit scared, they came home with enough booty to last several months! They are a bit older now but still partial to a vat of sugar when it’s the only thing on offer.
I asked Louise for her take on Trick or Treat..
‘It’s that time of year again when Halloween hits the shelves of our shops and supermarkets in abundance, I don’t get scared by all of the ghosts and ghouls, but one thing that does give me the creeps is all of the garish sweets, chocolates, cakes and biscuits heavily promoted and sold cheaply to encourage the ‘treat’ element of Halloween.
What makes food become a treat? Its a complicated issue and one that I look at in detail during nutrition consultations and in my book ‘How Food Shapes Your Child’. There’s a lot of biology that goes into making food connections, food memories and food addictions, all of these issues go on behind the scenes when we eat food, but its what’s in the food that counts!
I aim to make food fun, engaging and exciting whilst also enabling it to do what it should (nourish us). When we eat food in this way it positively impacts on health, mood, sleep and behaviour plus creating the right food connections, memories and addictions. That for me is the real ‘treat’.
Check out the ‘Healthy Halloween’ download full of fun recipes.
Does it include chocolate? Yes! Does it include sweets? Yes! Making some tweaks and changes can not only make the foods we eat healthier but also change the emotional relationship we have with food and the brain connections we have with the foods we eat.
My aim is not to put a downer on the foods currently thought of as treats, more to show you an easy, healthy alternative route that can be just as much (if not more) fun but without any of the negative health associations seen with sugar, sweeteners and artificial ingredients.
How about this fabulous Autumnal soup…
Coconut Pumpkin/Squash Soup
1 diced onion
1cm fresh ginger finely grated
1 garlic clove
1 pumpkin (butternut squash) diced
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 litre vegetable stock
½ can coconut cream
- In a large saucepan over a medium heat add the onion, ginger and garlic to the coconut oil, and fry for few minutes
- Add the pumpkin or squash and stir for another 2 minutes
- Add the stock and bring to the boil
- Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft
- Once slightly cooler blend until smooth and creamy
- Stir in the coconut cream and serve