Ask a DietitianLet our nutritionists answer your questions - from the truth about lactose intolerance to how to feed a picky eater.

Question:

I am the host house for our neighborhood Halloween gathering this year. Several families will be stopping by before and after trick or treating. What can I serve that will be easy and healthy?

Answer:



How fun! What a great idea to have a central gathering place for the Halloween festivities. Soups are a wonderful and easy menu item to serve to a group. They can be made ahead of time and kept warm in crock-pots. Borrow a couple of crock-pots from friends, and you can make two or three different kinds—something for everyone! Best of all, soups are an easy dish to make healthy. Chili is a good, hearty dish—you can use lean ground beef, chicken, or go meatless with an all-bean recipe. Offer toppings such as cheese, sour cream, green onions and jalapeno peppers and your guests can choose which they like best. Serve with cheddar and ham muffins. Celebrate fall with an Autumn Pumpkin soup. This soup can be made with regular milk, or if you have someone in your group that has lactose sensitivity, the soup can be made with lactose free milk. Since cheddar is a hard cheese, it is usually tolerated well by those with lactose sensitivity, so the cheddar and ham muffins will work with this soup as well. Now for the kids, you need something to compete with all that candy. Checkout these fun finger foods, sure to appeal to the kid in all of us. Trick-or-treaters will be too excited to sit and eat dinner, but these snacks are sure to catch their attention and nourish their bodies. Dairy foods are a good source of protein and bone-building calcium, and many of the recipes incorporate fruit, vegetables and whole grains, so you can be certain your ghosts, goblins, superheroes and fairy princesses will be well nourished. Happy trick or treating! NancyNancy Roman, RD, LD

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