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Two snowmen on a sunny day

What comes to mind with the mention of the holidays or holiday season? For me, warm and happy thoughts and feelings fill my mind and my heart as I remember past holidays.  Anticipation for the upcoming festivities and celebrations also prevail. While many of you share my thoughts and feelings, not everyone has the same view of the holidays. For millions of people struggling with loss or some type of mental health challenge, the holidays are anything but jolly.

Since one in four Americans has some type of mental health challenge in any given year, it is very likely that each us knows or will interact with someone who may be struggling. According to a survey from 2014, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reported that approximately 24% of people with a diagnosed mental illness found that the holidays made their condition “a lot” worse and 40% “somewhat” worse.” So, just because most people view the holiday season as merry and bright, does not mean everyone shares that sentiment.

The Mayo Clinic offers these suggestions to help reduce stress and depression that can occur with the holiday season:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
  2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
  3. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
  4. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  5. Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Here are some ideas:Hands with blue mittens on holding a snow flake
    • Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
    • Give homemade gifts.
    • Start a family gift exchange.
  6. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. Don’t forget to line up help for party prep and cleanup.
  7. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
  8. Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Try these suggestions:
    • Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
    • Get plenty of sleep.
    • Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.
  9. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. Some options may include:
    • Taking a walk at night and stargazing.
    • Listening to soothing music.
    • Getting a massage.
    • Reading a book.
  10. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

The holiday season can be stressful, but with some thoughtful planning and by using some of these suggestions, it doesn’t have to be.

 

Writer: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,  Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu

Photo:

https://pixabay.com/en/snowman-winter-snowmen-holiday-640366/

https://pixabay.com/en/snow-winter-mittens-snowflake-cold-1918794/

Sources:

National Alliance on Mental Health, (2017). Managing Your Mental Health During the Holidays. Retrieved from: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/December-2017/Managing-Your-Mental-Health-During-the-Holidays

National Alliance on Mental Health, (2014). Mental Health and the Holiday Blues. Retrieved from: https://www.nami.org/Press-Media/Press-Releases/2014/Mental-health-and-the-holiday-blues

Mayo Clinic, (2017). Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20047544

National Alliance on Mental Health, (2015). Tips for Managing the Holiday Blues. Retrieved from: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/November-2015/Tips-for-Managing-the-Holiday-Blues

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Christmas Tree

My Christmas Tree

I love the holiday season. The hustle, the bustle, the decorations and most importantly spending time with my family, friends and loved ones. I enjoy making home decor and gifts for others. But….. sometimes I take on a little more than I should and find myself stressed out. I bet I am not the only one who is over-committed.

It can also be common for our health goals to take a backseat to the celebrations and obligations of the season. Do you want some tips and ideas to relax and enjoy the holidays in a healthier way this year? Join the CALM Down for the Holidays email wellness challenge for healthy living tips and encouragement to help you make the most of this holiday season.

The “CALM Down for the Holidays Challenge is an on-line challenge designed to help you explore ways to simplify the upcoming holiday season. Messages will include tips to help you:

  • Find your Quiet Place
  • Reduce Stress
  • Move More
  • Practice Mindfulness
  • Explore Gratitude
  • Feather Your Nest
  • Eat Healthy Meals
  • Reflect on Wellness/Self Care
  • Simplify Holiday Routine
  • Improve Sleep Habits

Do you need a little extra motivation to help you get started? Are you stressed for time and need ideas to help you fit activity into your day? If so, join me for this Challenge!

Each week you will receive two free e-communications, containing wellness and reflection tips. In addition, a checklist will be available for download to help participants track their progress. Pre- and post- online surveys collect comments to improve future challenges and track participant progress. You will also have access to additional information on Blogs, Facebook and Wellness Text Messages.

Interested in participating in this on-line challenge? 

Sign up by following this link to enroll: http://go.osu.edu/calmpick18You will be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting the week of November 19th. While Facebook™ will be utilized; participants only need to have an email address.

Sample of Challenge Check Off

Challenge Check Off

Writer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

A staggering 30.3 million people in the United States have diabetes, millions of which are undiagnosed. Diabetes is a condition where blood sugar (glucose) levels are higher than recommended for good health.  Glucose is a type of sugar found in the foods we eat and is an important source of energy for the body.  Sources of glucose in the diet include: breads, cereals, rice, noodles, fruits, starchy vegetables, dried beans (examples navy and pinto), and milk.  Insulin allows the body to use glucose for energy. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes.  People with type 2 diabetes, the majority of who are adults, do not have adequate amounts of insulin or the insulin they do have does not work as effectively. This results in elevated blood sugar (glucose) levels and diabetes.

The impact diabetes has on our health and wallet is eye-opening.  Diabetes contributes to cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, kidney disease and blindness.  The estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2017 was in the hundreds of billions of dollars!

In addition to diabetes, prediabetes has become a major health concern in the United States.  Over 86 million Americans have prediabetes, a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but are not high enough to be classified as diabetes.  Prediabetes increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.  Because prediabetes is often without symptoms, most people are unaware they have it.  Testing for prediabetes and diabetes identifies those with the disease and allows healthcare professionals to manage the disease sooner. Lifestyle changes, which include weight loss, may help to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.  If diagnosed with diabetes, early treatment can help prevent long-term complications of the disease.

picture of finger stick blood sugar test

Symptoms of diabetes include the following: increased urination, increased thirst, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, and sores that do not heal.  Anyone who has these symptoms should be tested for diabetes.  People without symptoms who are overweight or obese and have one or more of the additional risk factors, should be screened for prediabetes and diabetes.  These risk factors include: parent or sibling with diabetes, African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander ethnicity, history of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, low HDL (less than 35mg/dl), elevated triglycerides (greater than 250 mg/dl), polycystic ovary syndrome, and physical inactivity.  Other forms of diabetes include type 1 diabetes and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes usually is found in children and young adults. Often these individuals have diabetes symptoms and significantly high levels of glucose in their blood when they are diagnosed.  Gestational diabetes, is diabetes newly diagnosed in women between their 24-28th week of pregnancy.

Testing for diabetes is done through blood tests in a variety of ways.  These blood tests include: fasting plasma glucose, oral glucose tolerance test, random plasma glucose and a hemoglobin A1C test.  Below find a description of the main types of tests used to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes:

Fasting plasma glucose test– Blood glucose level is measured after not eating or drinking anything except small amounts of water for at least 8 hours.

Oral glucose tolerance test– Blood glucose level is measured every hour for 2 to 3 hours after drinking a glucose-containing beverage. First, you must have fasted (nothing to eat or drink except water) for 8 hours before drinking the glucose-containing beverage.

Random plasma glucose test– Blood glucose is measured at any time with no consideration to whether you have eaten or not. **Cannot be used to diagnose prediabetes.

Hemoglobin A1c test– This blood test gives you an average blood glucose level over the last 2-3 months.  This test is not accurate if you have anemia.

In order to confirm the diagnosis of diabetes it is normally verified with a second test on a different day.  A fasting blood glucose of 126 mg/dl or above on two different occasions, confirms diabetes.  A random plasma blood glucose of 200 or greater on more than one occasion is considered a positive test result for diabetes.  A hemoglobin A1C result of 6.5 % or above on more than one occasion is also symptomatic of diabetes.  Positive oral glucose tolerance test results differ between pregnant and non-pregnant populations. The main differences include the amount of glucose-containing beverage consumed, and the frequency of blood glucose measurements.  Generally, in non-pregnant women, a blood glucose value over 200mg/dl two hours after drinking a glucose-containing beverage (containing 75 grams of glucose) is indicative of diabetes.  In the pregnant population more glucose is given and blood glucose levels are measured multiple times.

Prediabetes is also diagnosed with blood testing.  Fasting plasma glucose levels between 100-125 mg/dl indicate the presence of prediabetes.  An oral glucose tolerance test between 140-199 mg/dl two hours after drinking a glucose-containing beverage also indicates prediabetes.  More recently hemoglobin A1C has been used to diagnose prediabetes.  A hemoglobin A1C result of between 5.7% and 6.4 % is consistent with prediabetes.

Please find below two links that can help determine if you are at risk for diabetes or prediabetes.

Diabetes Risk Test:  http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/

Prediabetes Risk Test: https://doihaveprediabetes.org/prediabetes-risk-test.html

WITTEN BY: Joyce Riley, MS, RD, LD, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Union County

REVIEWED BY: Daniel Remley, Associate Professor, Field Specialist, Food and Nutrition and Wellness, OSU Extension

 

SOURCES:

American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care 2018; 41 (Supplement 1): S13-S27.  https://doiorg10/10.2337/dc 18-S002

American Diabetes Association (2018) Diabetes Risk Test.  http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/

American Diabetes Association (2017) Prediabetes Risk Test. https://doihaveprediabetes.org/prediabetes-risk-test.html

Mayo Clinic (2018) Diabetes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444

MedlinePlus National Institutes of Health (2018) Diabetes. https://medlineplus.gov/diabetes.html

National Diabetes Education Program (2018) Guiding Principles for the Care of People with or at Risk for Diabetes.  https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/communication-programs/ndep/health-professionals/guiding-principles-care-people-risk-diabetes

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (2016) Diabetes Tests & Diagnosis.   https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes

WebMD (2016) Diagnosis of Diabetes.  https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/diagnosis-diabetes#1

With the holidays coming up and social events on the horizon, easy and nutritious appetizers and snacks are a must. That’s where deviled eggs come in. They’re fast and easy to make and are always a crowd pleaser. A buffet table without a platter of these is a sad sight, which is why it’s not uncommon to see several plates of them. Everyone seems to have their own way to make deviled eggs; they are so customizable that you can experiment and find which way is your favorite. Deviled eggs can also be a great way to get some extra protein and nutrients in a convenient little package.picture of deviled eggs

Eggs have been a food of controversy for years, but they are, in-fact, little power houses of nutrition. One egg contains 70 calories, 6 grams of protein, and over 13 vitamins and minerals including Vitamin D and Choline, making them a good addition to a balanced diet. Although egg yolks are a source of cholesterol, the American Heart Association now suggests that an egg a day can be part of a heart healthy diet.

Food safety is always something important to consider when working in the kitchen, so make sure to take appropriate precautions when dealing with raw eggs. When boiling eggs, make sure that both the white and the yolk are completely cooked and solid. Properly cooked hard boiled eggs may be stored in a refrigerator set to 40℉ or less for up to 1 week.

A typical deviled egg recipe calls for hard-boiled egg yolks to be mixed with mayonnaise, mustard and/or relish. The USDA Mixing Bowl offers a great basic recipe for deviled eggs with suggestions for garnishes and add-ins here. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg! There are an infinite number of possibilities for garnishes and add-ins you can use to create your own deviled egg recipe. Some examples are:

  • Hot sauce and blue cheese
  • Cheddar cheese and horseradish
  • Chives and paprika
  • Hummus
  • Guacamole
  • Green chilies and cayenne pepper

The next time you attend a gathering that calls for a healthy treat, consider whipping up some deviled eggs with your own twist and wowing everyone!

Writer: Ashley Barto, Dietetic Intern, Ohio State College of Medicine, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, barto.21@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Sources:

American Heart Association (2018). Are eggs good for you or not? https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/08/15/are-eggs-good-for-you-or-not

Egg Nutrition Center (2018). Nutrients in Eggs. https://www.eggnutritioncenter.org/topics/nutrients-in-eggs/

FoodSafety.gov (2018). Eggs and Egg Products. https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/types/eggs/index.html

What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl. Heavenly Deviled Eggs. https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/recipes/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap/heavenly-deviled-eggs

 

a plate with salad on one half and French fries on the otherA few months ago, I was treated to dinner at a former neighbor’s house. The host served sweet potato fries – one of my favorite sides! These fries were extra special, though, because they were prepared in an air fryer, without any added fat. Air fryers work by circulating hot air around food using a fan that cooks the food and produces a crispy outer layer while keeping the inside moist. They can be used to create foods like French fries, falafel and crispy chicken without the extra fat and calories that come from frying in oil. Air fryers do not replicate the flavor or texture of traditional deep fried foods, but if crispiness without excess calories is what you’re going for, they provide a way to “fry” small batches of food without the hassle or danger of deep-frying in large amounts of oil.

the USDA MyPlate iconA simple online keyword search will yield dozens of air fryer recipes and suggestions. When preparing to experiment with an air fryer, though, keep in mind that a crispy texture without added fat doesn’t necessary equate to healthy! To be sure, air-fried dishes are typically more healthful than their fried counterparts. But, dessert-like dishes made in an air fryer will still be high in sugar and low in nutrients and should be viewed as occasional treats, just like other types of dessert. For foolproof meal planning, use MyPlate and aim to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy in your snacks and meals.

crispy baked chicken on a plateIf you don’t yet have an air fryer and are not ready to purchase one, know that alternative versions of some traditional fried foods can be prepared in an oven. For example, there are many recipes available for oven-baked crispy chicken, such as this tasty recipe for baked, flaked chicken.

If you think you are ready to try out an air fryer, there are many makes and models of air fryers available for purchase. They can be found at most home and kitchen stores, ranging in cost from $40-$100 for simple, compact models to $250-$400 for larger, multifunctional models. Most air fryers need to be pre-heated for three to five minutes before cooking, and cooking times and temperatures will vary based on recipes created specifically for your fryer. If you want to try to adapt a deep-fryer recipe for air fryer cooking, a good rule of thumb is to decrease the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit and use a food thermometer to check for doneness five to ten minutes earlier than the recipe recommends.

Cleaning instructions may also vary from one fryer to another, but in general, you will want to clean the interior basket with hot, soapy water and a brush or sponge after each use. A moist kitchen towel can be used on the exterior of the fryer, and a hard-bristled brush can be used to remove any food particles from the cooled heating element.

Have you ever used an air fryer? If so, share your experience by leaving a comment in the box below!

 

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Fayette County, brinkman.93@osu.edu

Sources:

Cooper, E. (2018). Air Fryer: A Healthier Alternative to Oil-Filled Frying. Food and Nutrition Magazine, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://foodandnutrition.org/from-the-magazine/air-fryer-healthier-alternative-oil-filled-frying/

Steed, M. (2017). Air Fryers. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. https://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/answerline/2017/09/07/air-fryers/

USDA (2013). Deep Fat Frying and Food Safety.  https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/deep-fat-frying-and-food-safety/ct_index 

Got Your Buzz On?

Image result for energy drinks

Energy drinks have transitioned from being a niche product to one of the fastest growing beverage choices in the world. In 2017, the global energy drink market generated $55 billion, and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7% from 2018-2023. However, as the number of beverages sold increases daily, so do health concerns.

Energy drinks are different from sports drinks in that they add stimulants like caffeine and herbal supplements such as guarana and bitter orange. Unfortunately, as athletes and non-athletes find themselves revved up and energized from that drink, they come to rely on them more and more for the energy high. As one’s tolerance for caffeine ratchets up to higher levels, drinks are consumed more often, or are replaced by drinks that provide even higher levels of caffeine.

Caffeine is a strong and potentially dangerous stimulant, particularly for children and adolescents. It is produced in the leaves and seeds of plants. It can also be made artificially and added to foods or drinks.  Caffeine is classified as a drug because it stimulates the central nervous system, causing a temporary energy boost, mood elevation, and increased alertness. It can be helpful for people who need a “pop” of energy to keep them on their toes, at least for a couple of hours. It works by blocking adenosine, a chemical in the body that tells you to shut down when you are tired.

Caffeine is found naturally in coffee, tea, and chocolate. It is added to soft drinks and energy drinks.  Caffeine is considered safe in moderate amounts.  For an adult, 200-300 milligrams is considered average.  Teens should consume no more than 100 milligrams per day and kids should get even less. What happens if you are consuming too much?

According to the Mayo Clinic, energy drinks can put you at risk for the following:

  • restlessness, irritability, and/or anxiety
  • increased blood pressure
  • dehydration
  • weight gain
  • insomnia
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • panic attacks
  • increased PMS symptoms

Excessive consumption of energy drinks may also cause the following:

  • manic episodes
  • seizures
  • chest pain
  • heart attack
  • sudden cardiac death
  • bone loss

Why the concern?

Over the last decade, the number of ER visits related to energy drink consumption doubled. In 2017 alone, 20,000+ trips to the ER were attributed to energy drink consumption. Ingesting large amounts of caffeine can cause problems such as heart rhythm disturbances, increased heart rate and blood pressure, heart palpitations, anxiety, sleep problems, digestive problems, and dehydration.

Bottom Line:

Consumers need to educate themselves and their families on the dangers associated with energy drinks. Adults perceive them as healthy beverage options for themselves and their children, but children have not had the luxury of time to build up a tolerance for caffeine.

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

 

Sources:

https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/energy-drinks-market

https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2018/02/28/10/46/stimulant-containing-energy-drinks

https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0418p30.shtml

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/energy-drinks/faq-20058349

 

Are you hosting a Halloween celebration?  How about having healthy food?  Just because it is healthy doesn’t mean it has to be boring or not taste delicious.

 Try these food ideas:

  • Pumpkin Dip – canned pumpkin, Greek vanilla Yogurt, one inch pieces of carrot sliced crosswise and then put cream cheese on one of the sliced ends and add half an olive to make it look like an eyeball.cinnamon, and a little orange Juice – Served with mini graham crackers
  • Monster Mash – use your favorite guacamole recipe. You can always mash avocado, add lime juice, & salsa for an easy treat.
  • Carrot Eyes –  carrot with cream cheese and half of an olive
  • Veggie Skeleton – Veggie Girl – Put your dip in a dish and then add leaf  lettuceVeggie Girl – Put your dip in a dish and then add leaf lettuce for hair, broccoli eyes, and red pepper for a mouth, for the body use cucumber slices, cauliflower for a skirt & red pepper ribs and legs, carrot sticks for arms.for hair, broccoli eyes, and red pepper for a mouth, for the body use cucumber slices, cauliflower for a skirt & red pepper ribs and legs, carrot sticks for arms.
  • Scarecrow Veggie Tray – On top of dip add cucumber slices with olives for eyes, carrot nose and red pepper slice for mouth. Around the dip place slices of carrot, celery and peppers for the straw hair and bottom of dish.  Top with rows of crackers in the shape of a hat.
  • Jicama Bean Salad- black beans, chopped orange bell pepper, and choppped jicama with vinaigrette dressing. You can put the salad into hollowed out red or yellow pepper to serve.
  • Trail mix served in Pumpkin Dish – nuts, seeds (pumpkin seeds), raisins or dried cranberries, dried apricots could be added.
  • Pumpkin Peppers – Cut the tops off bell peppers and carefully remove the center section of each pepper. Cut faces into the sides of the pepper. Fill with vegetables – Kale, Asparagus, Celery, Carrots, Cauliflower, and/or Broccoli.  You could also add some hummus if you want.
  • Spooky Pizza – Add pizza sauce to a whole-grain crust. Top with cut outs of ghosts from mozzarella cheese.  Bake and eat.
  • Halloween Quesadillas – Add black beans, mashed sweet potato, chopped cilantro and some jack cheese to a flour tortilla. Heat until hot and serve.
  • Cook a spaghetti squash. Put the spaghetti squash in a bowl and add some white cheese (Mozzarella, Parmesan or your choice).  Put some different sauces around it and let people choose what to add.

For Dessert

– peel a banana and cut in half crosswise. Push into the pointed top 2 mini chocolate chips to make eyes and add one regular size chocolate chip to make a mouth.

  • Banana Ghosts – peel a banana and cut in half crosswise. Push into the pointed top two mini chocolate chips to make eyes and add one regular size chocolate chip to make a mouth.
  • Fruit Pops – Use a melon baller or medium cookie dough dropper to cut circles out of the apples and/or peaches. Add a stick. You can also dip them into peanut butter or chocolate and then into some crushed nuts
  • Draw faces (with non-toxic ink) on clementine to make Jack-o-lanterns. These can be for decoration and eating.
  • Peel oranges or clementine and stick a piece of celery in the top to make a pumpkin stem.

Drinks – Serve water, unsweetened Ice Tea, or a  Halloween-themed punch – try mixing sparkling water with a little 100% orange juice and float orange slices and black grapes or blackberries in the punch bowl.

For activities:

  • Pumpkin Game – Pin the Face on the Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin Painting Activity
  • Halloween Charades – Fill orange balloons with themed physical activities: Bat Flying (flap your arms), Frankenstein walk, spider crawl, zombie walk.  Pop balloons and act out.
  • Pumpkin Bob using feet
  • Pumpkin Hunt – hide items such as pennies, small toys inside a pumpkin which has not been cleaned out. Let children reach in & try to find an item.
  • Roll Apple
  • Apple Toss
  • Scarecrow Dress Up Relay

Be sure to decorate your home and your table.  Enjoy your healthy Halloween Celebration!

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer:

References:

American Heart Association, (2016). How to Have a Healthy Halloween. retrieved from: http://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/how-to-have-a-healthy-halloween

Ohio Action for Healthy Kids, (2012). Seasonal Fall Recipes.  retrieved from:  http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/game-on/find-challenges/1446

Ohio Action for Healthy Kids, (2017). Host a Healthy Halloween Celebration.  http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/storage/documents/game-on/Healthy_Celebrations_Halloween.pdf