Fun & Healthy Halloween Treats w/Chef Jill Houk & Best Vegan Baking Recipes

Halloween treats that you won’t be frightened to feed to your kids! Chef Jill Houk of Centered Chef Food Studios will share fun recipes you and your family make together.

Bonus: Cookbook author, Kris Holechek will be here to discuss The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes cookbook.

Surviving Halloween—Tips and Recipes

It’s the time of year when kids (and adults) begin over-indulging on sweet treats. The holidays, starting with Halloween and going through New Year’s, are prime times to eat candy, cookies and other empty calories. How can you reduce your children’s (and your) sugar consumption without becoming a monster? Here are some tips and recipes so that everyone has a sweet Halloween without going into sugar overload.

Halloween Trick or Treating
Create a trick or treating game plan that has limits. By setting a limit for the amount of time or the area that your child can trick or treat, you are limiting his or her “haul” of goodies. Your child is unlikely to notice that you are setting limits strictly to reduce candy intake, but will just be overjoyed about trick or treating in general. Also, by setting to limits and having your child agree before you set out on your escapades, you are less likely to experience resistance when you stick to your limits.
Ensure your child takes only one treat at each home. Many families will give out more than one piece of candy. In this case, you are flirting with disaster—because your child may double or triple his booty of candy. Tell your child that one piece is sufficient. This way, your child also learns moderation. Likewise, buy less candy per year and hand out only one treat per child to set a good example.
Make sure your child has a healthy snack before going out to collect candy. Feed kids a light lunch or afternoon snack of healthy protein, produce and whole grains and he or she will be full enough to avoid snacking on candy while trick or treating. If your child becomes hungry on the way, either head back home for a healthy snack, or bring a healthy snack to eat on the road.

After Halloween
Set limits for how many pieces of candy your child can eat per day. Two to three pieces of Halloween candy is enough to satisfy most kids without adding too many calories, and is a good pace for getting rid of Halloween candy by Thanksgiving.
Create an expiration date for candy. By limiting how long candy is in your home, you can control how much your child eats, as well. My rule of thumb is Thanksgiving. By then, most children will have consumed the candy they like the best, and are down to the dregs. This way, you also avoid doubling up on treats. For example, your child will not be eating Halloween candy with pumpkin pie, chocolate Hannukah gelt or candy canes.
Keep the candy out of sight. By keeping the candy in a closet, you force a situation whereby your child must ask for it. Out of sight is often out of mind, and you may find that your child forgets about the candy one or two days.
Buy candy back. If your child has received an unusually large haul of candy, consider buying it back at the same price it would take to buy the candy from the store in the first place. This way, your child can save to money to buy games, stickers, novelty clothing or video games.
Make healthy alternatives fun and delicious. Create tasty healthy snacks like popcorn trail mix, which is chock full of vitamins and fiber, with a sweet kick. Or give regular foods Halloween-type names to make them fun and interesting. For example, to encourage your child to eat whole-grain spaghetti, call it “blood and guts” or something seasonally creepy.
Mix candy in with healthy foods. For example, melt caramels or chocolate candies and serve as a topping for strawberries and apples. Or make the banana “ice cream” and serve a scoop with one fun-sized candy bar.

Recipes >>

Continue reading


Recipes for Breast Health with Chef Jill Houk

American Cancer Society Making Strides 5k

Image by drinkhoist via Flickr

Breast Health—Tips and Recipes


Next to smoking, your diet is the largest lifestyle factor in determining whether or not you contract cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 35% of all cancers are related to diet. For women, the correlation between diet and cancer is more prevalent, in that 50% or more of the cancer contracted by women is influenced by diet.
For cancer prevention, ACS recommends a diet high in plant-based foods, that is low in fat and high in fiber. Over and above the dietary recommendations for general cancer prevention, there are specific recommendations for prevention of breast cancer:

• Avoid or minimize consumption of alcohol. Consumption of alcohol is the #1 dietary risk in development of breast cancer.

• Avoid Omega-6 oils, such as soy oil, corn oil, sunflower, safflower oil. These oils break down into components that can lead to breast cancer. When cooking with oil, use monounsaturated oils and oils rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as extra virgin olive oil, nut and/or seed oil (walnut, flaxseed, grapeseed) or canola oil.

Eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

• Incorporate cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower) into your diet. These are particularly adept at preventing breast cancer.

Mushrooms have been show to halt or slow the growth of abnormal cells within womens’ breasts. Ensure you add mushrooms to salads, sandwiches or even pizza.

• When taking in salads, ensure you eat an abundance of dark leafy greens (collards, kale, spinach). These contain more of breast cancer-fighting phytonutrients.

• When choosing fruits, tend towards citrus, berries and cherries. These fruits contain the most nutrients per calorie, are high in fiber and low in sugar.

• Breast cancer is directly linked to obesity. By maintaining a healthy body weight, you are able to prevent many types of breast cancer.


Continue reading

What is the Raw Food Diet?

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

Image via Wikipedia

Have you started hearing about the Raw Food Diet? It’s gaining popularity and buzz, not just as a diet to lose weight, but a diet for a long and healthy life.  A raw food diet means consuming food in its natural, unprocessed form.

Processing and cooking food can take so much of the basic nutritional value away.

The raw food diet means eating unprocessed, uncooked, organic, whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, dried fruits, seaweeds, etc. It means a diet that is at least 75% uncooked!

Cooking also alters the chemistry of foods, often making them harder to digest. High fiber, high water content fresh produce abolishes constipation of the bowels, cells and circulatory system. Obstructions are cleared and blood flow increases to each and every cell in the body. Enhanced blood flow is significant for two reasons:  blood delivers nutrients and oxygen to living cells, and carries away their toxic metabolites.

Obesity is at an epidemic level in this country. But in reality, our bodies are hungry, even though we may feel full. When you start giving your body the nutrients it craves, overeating will cease. Eating raw foods is a boost to your metabolism as well. It takes a little more energy to digest raw foods, but it’s a healthy process. Rather than spending energy to rid itself of toxins produced by cooking food, the body uses its energy to feed every cell, sending vitamins, fluids, enzymes and oxygen to make your body the efficient machine it was intended to be.

Continue reading

Eating Soulfully & Healthfully with Diabetes, Constance Riggs-Brown, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN

Constance Riggs-Brown is the National Spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and is frequently interviewed by ESSENCE Magazine for health-related stories. She designed the personalized weight-loss meal plans for the health and fitness makeover participants in the ESSENCE Total Makeover Book, published January 2001. She was also the nutrition expert for Lighten Up: The HealthQuest 30-day Weight-Loss Program, published October 2001. Constance is a nationally recognized nutritionist, registered dietitian, and certified diabetes educator. She is principal of CBR Nutrition Enterprises, located in Massapequa, New York. Her book, Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes includes Exchange List and Carbohydrate Counts for Traditional Foods from the American South and Caribbean.


How-To Add More Fruit & Fiber to Your Child’s Diet

Try Fruit Smoothies!

These recipes are very delicious and easy to make. And the kids enjoy coming up with creative combinations in color and taste. Experiment with your family’s favorite flavors and let me know what you come up with!

Tropical Smoothie

1 handful strawberries
1 cup milk
1 or 2 slices of pineapple
around 10 ice cubes
a small slice of watermelon, deseeded
1/4 cup of sugar

Add each ingredient into the blender. Blend for about 3 minutes until smooth.

Fruity Smoothie

2 cups strawberries
1 cup blackberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1 cup yogurt
12-20 ice cubes
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk

Blend in blender until thick.

Berry Smoothie

1 banana
1 handful of raspberries
1 handful of blueberries
1 cup milk
1 cup yogurt

Add the banana, raspberries, blueberries, milk and yogurt to the blender.

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

2 bananas
7 large strawberries
1 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
1 cup milk
1-1/2 cups chocolate syrup

Blend until smooth.

Strawberry Peach Smoothie

1 1/2 cups fat free vanilla yogurt
1 cup fat free vanilla ice cream
1 cup milk
4 large strawberries
1/2 cup canned peaches

Blend until smooth.

Strawberry Smoothie

1 cup milk
1 cup vanilla yogurt
4 large strawberries (or 1 cup frozen strawberries)
1 small banana cut up

Blend until smooth.

Cinnamon Apple Smoothie

1 cup milk
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 small apple
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
handful of ice cubes

Wash and peel apple. Cut up into cubes and take out the seeds. Blend until smooth.

Peaches and Cream Smoothie

1 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup vanilla yogurt
2 fresh peaches, washed and sliced, deseeded

Blend until smooth.

Looking for More Smoothie Recipes?

Getting your 5 A Day is fun and easy with Amazing Smoothies, Fruits and vegetables were never so simple and delicious. Many of the recipes found in Amazing Smoothies contain MORE than five servings of vitamin packed fruits and vegetables.