By Carlie Saint-Laurent Beaucejour, RD,LDN

Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras, and lasts for 6 weeks. It’s a time a portion of the American population takes to engage in a routine that is not regularly done, like meditating, fasting, or donating household and clothing items. Sometimes the Lent engagement may mean surrendering to a guilty pleasure like social media, TV, clothes shopping, and most notably a certain food and beverages.

According to Christian daily, a whopping 86% of the18-24 year old age group, eliminate their favorite food or beverage, followed by 50% of 25-34 year old age group, 58% of 35-44 year old age group, 55% for 55-64 year old age group, and 43% of adults over the age of 65. The Lenten season also may entail meatless Fridays which can easily make ordering cheese pizza the fastest and easiest dinner selection for families.  Planning your meatless meals ahead of time can ensure a more nutritious, balanced, and healthy dish. 

Whether you celebrate Lent or not, meatless options can be a really healthy choice! Here are not 1 but 2 meatless recipes we found to bring variety to your weekly menu planning,  leading up to Easter Sunday or any day!  

Spinach and Artichoke Pizza

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INGREDIENTS

§  3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

§  1 pound pizza dough (store-bought or homemade)

§  1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

§  4 cloves garlic, chopped

§  1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach

§  1 (12- to 14-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained thoroughly (and sliced if needed; see Recipe Note)

§  1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

§  Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Special equipment: 

§  13×18 baking sheet

METHOD

1 Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Position an oven rack in the lower half of the oven. Grease a 13×18-inch baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

2 Roll out the dough: If your pizza dough has been in the refrigerator, remove it and set it on the counter at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Generously flour a pastry board, and then turn the dough out onto the board. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large rectangle.

3 Transfer the dough to the pan: Transfer the dough to the oiled sheet pan, stretching it out to the corners of the pan. If it springs back, wait a few minutes and then try again.

Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil onto the dough. Use a pastry brush or your fingers to gently spread the oil all over the dough, taking care not to create any tears. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning evenly over the dough.

4 Wilt the spinach: Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and the garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. When the garlic begins to bubble, add the spinach. Sauté until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes, then turn off the heat.

5 Top the pizza: If the dough has shrunk away from the corners, give it a final stretch to reach the sides of pan. Sprinkle on half of the mozzarella over the pizza, followed by the sautéed spinach and then the artichokes. Sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella.

6 Bake the pizza: Bake the pizza until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

7 Slice and serve: Use two spatulas to lift the pizza from the pan and transfer it to a large cutting board to slice into squares, or use a pizza wheel to slice it right in the pan. Serve the pizza piping hot, sprinkled with crushed red pepper flakes (optional).From Simply Recipes ~ https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/spinach_artichoke_sheet_pan_pizza/

QUINOA GADO-GADO BOWL (30 MINUTES!)

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Author: Minimalist Baker

PREP TIME7 minutes    COOK TIME23 minutes   TOTAL TIME30 minutes

Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Indonesian-Inspired, Vegan

INGREDIENTS

GADO-GADO

·         1/2 cup white or red quinoa (well rinsed and drained)

·         1 cup water

·         1 cup greens beans (trimmed)

·         1/2 medium red bell pepper (thinly sliced)

·         3/4 cup mung bean sprouts

·         2/3 cup thinly shredded red cabbage

·         2 whole carrots (thinly sliced with a knife or mandolin)

SPICY PEANUT SAUCE

·         1/3 cup salted creamy peanut butter (or sub almond butter, cashew butter, or sunbutter)

·         1 Tbsp gluten-free tamari (or soy sauce if not GF)

·         2-3 Tbsp maple syrup (to taste)

·         3 Tbsp lime juice

·         1 tsp chili garlic sauce (more to taste // 1 Thai red chili, minced // or 1/4 tsp red pepper flake // amounts as original recipe is written)

·         3-4 Tbsp water (to thin)

FOR SERVING optional

·         Cilantro

·         Lime wedges

·         Red pepper flake

INSTRUCTIONS

1.      Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add rinsed, drained quinoa. “Toast” for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, to remove excess liquid and add a nutty flavor to the quinoa. Then add water, stir, and bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 18-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Fluff with a fork, remove lid, and set off heat.

2.      While quinoa is cooking, steam green beans until just tender. You can do this either in the microwave (covered, in 1-minute increments) or by placing green beans in a steamer basket inside a large saucepan filled with 1 inch of water. Bring the water to a simmer on medium-high heat, cover, and cook until just tender – about 4 minutes.

3.      Once steamed, add green beans to a bowl of ice water to “shock” them (stop them from cooking). Set aside.

4.      Make peanut sauce by adding peanut butter, tamari, maple syrup, lime juice, and chili garlic sauce/Thai chili/red pepper flake to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Then add water 1 Tbsp (15 ml) at a time until a semi-thick but pourable sauce is formed.

5.      Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, maple syrup for sweetness, or chili garlic sauce/Thai chili/red pepper flake for heat! You want this to be a balance of tangy, sweet, salty, and spicy, so don’t be shy with the seasonings!

6.      To serve, divide quinoa between 2 serving bowls (as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and top with green beans, red bell pepper, mung bean sprouts, and carrots. Serve with peanut sauce and any additional toppings (optional), such as cilantro, lime wedges, and red pepper flake.

7.      Store leftovers separately in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days (peanut sauce keeps for 1+ week). Best when fresh.


*To reduce calories/fat, simply cut back the amount of sauce made (i.e. 3 Tbsp (48 g) peanut butter instead of 1/3 cup).

What is your favorite meatless dish?

source:

http://www.christianitydaily.com/articles/8898/20170308/americans-dont-observe-lent-according-lifeway-research.htm

By Carlie Saint-Laurent Beaucejour, RD,LDN

Did you know March is National Nutrition Month? Since 1973 the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as American Dietetic Association) have been celebrating national nutrition month in March. The purpose of this platform is to promote awareness of the “power of food”, educate the public on nutrition, and encourage informed lifestyle behavior changes.  Nutrition effects many aspects of life from our mood, energy, sleep, weight, growth, athletic performance, to health conditions like diabetes, cancer, and chronic kidney disease…the list goes on! If you are slacking on your New Year’s resolution, let national nutrition month get you back on track. 

Here are 5 suggestions and reasons to celebrate and gain more nutrition knowledge, make informed food choices, and instill healthy behaviors.

  • Attend a grocery shopping tour with a Registered Dietitian

Did you know that you can meet your Family Food Dietitian at a grocery store? Grocery tours are a fun way to gain confidence while grocery shopping to make healthy decisions and navigate the aisles of the plethora of food products. Schedule your grocery store tour now!

  • Sign-up for a cooking demonstration or class

Strengthening or acquiring the skill of cooking increases the consumption of healthier meals in all ages. Talk to your Family Food Dietitian about creating some simple recipes at home.

  • Schedule a nutrition counseling visit 

Whether you want to prevent or manage a health condition meeting with a Registered Dietitian can help you reach your health goals by providing realistic and sustainable evidence-based advice. 

  • Plan a farmers market trip 

Attending a farmers market is a great way to know and support your local farmers, taste new fruits and vegetables, and engage in the community. 

  • Volunteer at your local food bank or shelter

Not only are you helping your community you are helping your health by volunteering. By engaging with others this can help combat anxiety, stress, anger, or depression. 

How do you plan to celebrate National Nutrition Month?

Sources:

Watson, S. (2013). Volunteering may be good for body and mind. Harvard Health Publish retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/volunteering-may-be-good-for-body-and-mind-201306266428

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2017). 10 reasons to visit an RDN. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/learn-more-about-rdns/10-reasons-to-visit-an-rdn

By Jessie Funchion, MS, RD, LDN

1)    How long is it recommended to breastfeed? 

6 months exclusive breastfeeding (according to AAP/WHO/AND), and ideally longer with complementary foods. The AAP recommends at least 1 year and the WHO recommends at least 2 years. 

2)    How long does a feeding session take? How much milk is the baby getting? 

At first, probably each feeding will likely take 30-45 minutes and should occur every 2-3 hours, or on demand. From 0-6 months, the infant will likely get around 25-30oz a day, for a total of 400-600 calories. 

3)    What are contraindications to breastfeeding? 

Mothers who..

–       Are HIV positive in the U.S.

–       Have untreated brucellosis 

–       Have Human T-cell lymphotrophic virus type I or II or use street drugs

–       Use street drugs 

Infants who have galactosemia, an inborn error of metabolism that is diagnosed first few days of life, also should not breastfeed. 

If mothers have hepatitis C or are hepatitis B surface antigen positive, have a fever or take certain medications (See LactMed) or have exposure to low level environmental chemicals, they can still breastfeed! If the baby has jaundice, they can also still breastfeed (it may even help). Occasional alcohol or cigarette use is also compatible with breastfeeding, though not encouraged. 

4)    What is breast milk composed of? 

Breast milk composition changes over the course of the baby’s life, as well as over the course of a feeding. Colostrum is rich in protein and fat soluble vitamins and produced in very small amounts (only 1  tsp/feeding). Mature milk is actually 90% water and 10% macros, and is around 20 calories per ounce. The macronutrient composition is mostly carbohydrate (lactose), low protein (7-8%) and the fat content is variable. 

Breast milk also contains a ton of ‘non-nutritive’ substances such as immune factors, appetite regulating hormones and prebiotics. 

5)    What are the benefits of breastfeeding for babies? 

Breastfed infants have lower rates of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, ear infections, necrotizing enterocolitis and SIDS. There is also correlation between breastfeeding and lower risk of chronic disease such as type 1 diabetes, Celiac disease, obesity, asthma, dermatitis and leukemia, but more research is needed. 

6)    What are the benefits of breastfeeding for moms?

Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of hemorrhage after birth, post-partum depression and premature return of ovulation. There is correlation between nursing and body weight/weight retention, type 2 diabetes, cancer (breast/ovarian), heart disease and hypertension, but again, more research is needed. 

7)    What supplements should mom and baby take? 

It’s not a bad idea for women to continue taking a prenatal vitamin while nursing, but the biggest nutrients of concern are Calcium, Vitamin D and Iron. Exclusively breastfed babies should receive 400IU Vitamin D each day. 

8)    When should complementary foods be introduced? 

Generally 6 months of age. Some signs that infants are ready for food are…

–       sitting up on his own 

–       reaching for a spoon 

–       not spitting up food 

–       growing teeth 

It’s recommended to start with iron and zinc rich foods such as dark leafy greens, meat, fish or iron-fortified cereals. 

9)    How do I know the baby is getting enough milk? 

–       GROWTH: The infant should be progressing appropriately along his or her growth curve

–       DIAPERS: 1 dirty/1 wet on day 1 of life, 2 dirty/2 wet on day 2, etc., until infant produces around 3-4 dirty diapers each day and 5-6 wet diapers each day. 

–       BEHAVIOR: Infants should appear somewhat relaxed and satiated after a feeding 

10) What should mom include in diet? Avoid in diet? 

 Women’s diets should look pretty similar to their third trimester diets, about 400-500 extra calories a day. Focus on a well balanced diet that includes all 5 food groups. Women should drink to thirst, but aim for 3L total fluids each day. 

Limit caffeine to 300mg/day and seafood to 12oz/week. Alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation, but keep in mind alcohol in milk peaks about 30-90 minutes after consumption. 

And remember, while ‘breast is best’, we’re very lucky in this country to have formula as an excellent back up plan!  


Source: DietitianCentral.com, “Nutrition During Lactation: The First Year and Beyond” 
Resources: https://www.nutrition.gov/subject/life-stages/women/breastfeeding— 

By Elizabeth May, RDN, CSOWM, LDN

This is the time of year when many of us are focusing on our goals and getting back to meal planning, tracking and weight loss. We know that self-monitoring is the single most effective strategy for weight loss, so let’s talk about tracking!

Apps to Track

– LoseIt

– My Fitness Pal

– Calorie Counter

– SparkPeople

– See How You Eat

– Fitbit

– YouAte Food Diary

Journals to Track

  • Today is the Day:A  90 Day Food + Fitness Journal
  • Hello New Me

Other Ideas:

  • Jot down food in Notes section on phone
  • Take pictures of food and create an album on phone
  • Post your food pics on Instagram

How to Make Tracking a Habit:

  • Pick an easy to use method
  • Track immediately after a meal or snack
  • Set an alarm on your phone to remember to track each day
  • Choose favorites in your App to make tracking fast
  • Add friends to your App to keep you accountable
  • Set a goal with your Family Food dietitian to check your App at your next visit

How Does Tracking Help?

  • Keeps you accountable
  • Learn correct portion sizes
  • Creates awareness of food habits (“aha moments”)
  • Allows for a record of your improvements

By Carlie Saint-Laurent, RD,LDN

The new year brings new resolutions and like most of the US population health and weight loss are on top of the list.  Many people are looking to Complimentary Alternative medicine to rid their health condition. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of those natural ancient remedies believed to aid in diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, digestion, and weight loss still to this day.

So what’s the truth about apple cider vinegar when it comes to weight loss?

 

One 12-week study had consisted 175 obese Japanese participants split up in to 3 groups. 1 group consumed 1 tbsp, the other group consumed 2 tbsp and group 3 consumed no ACV. The results found both groups consuming ACV had lower BMI, visceral fat, and LDL cholesterol compared to the placebo group.

 

Apple cider vinegar however maybe more effective in managing blood sugars especially in people with prediabetes. The mechanism behind this is the acetic acid in the vinegar impedes the starch enzymes from breaking down therefore ACV (along with any vinegar for that matter) is beneficial when consuming starches like bread and pasta. When the starches are not broken down the blood sugars aren’t elevated, and this in fact could control appetite as well.

 

Nutrition recommendations:

–       Consume foods that already contain vinegar like dressings, pickled foods, condiments like relish or ketchup

–       For best results consuming consistently and regularly is key

–       If going to consume ACV ensure ratio is 1 tablespoon for  8oz of water to avoid damaging teeth, throat, and stomach lining due to the acid

–       Do not exceed more than three times a day of 1-2 tablespoons per serving as it can be harmful

–       For first timers start off with 1 teaspoon to see if any adverse reactions such as nausea occur

–       If one has gastroparesis it should NOT be recommended as delayed stomach emptying can be increased

–       Consume right before the meal where it can have the most synergistic effect

 

Sources:

https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S0308814616318076?token=6D9B5941533DE6B261116DBDB7B3F41EF6F0B79EE6710D50EBAA6A481B42D30719C736824DB9DFF9DBC74230ED9D83F0

https://edition.cnn.com/2017/07/19/health/apple-cider-vinegar-weight-loss/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/apple-cider-vinegar-weight-loss#section7

 

By Jessie Funchion, MS, RD, LDN

A lot of people assume they have to cut out sugar altogether, but I often encourage a more moderate approach. As we all know, complete deprivation often leads to binging. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 allows (or maybe just assumes), that we’ll all eat around 150 “discretionary calories” a day. Discretionary calories are excess calories to enjoy once your required nutrient needs are met (think sweets, salty snacks, alcohol).

 

Try and stick to these ground rules:

  • Have it once or twice week, 100-200 calories or less each time
  • Fruit is always best
  • Pre-portioned/single serving desserts are second best
  • Plan for it. Don’t let desserts ‘happen’ to you. Build them into your diet and enjoy them!

 

Try and nix dessert if:

  • Your 150 discretionary calories have already been used up that day (on beer, margaritas, chips, Cheetos, etc.)
  • You know it’s a slippery slope
  • You’re having trouble reaching your goal weight

 

Here are some of my go-to suggestions: 

  1. Dark Chocolate. My new favorite brand is Theo’s.
  2. Single serve ice cream bars (Skinny CowYasso). Individually wrapped desserts are guaranteed damage control!
  3. Banana ‘nice cream– basically frozen and blended banana chunks with any assortment of toppings.
  4. One piece of fruit, or 1 cup chopped fruit. This one may get an eye roll (surprise surprise, a dietitian is suggesting fruit for dessert, but you never know!)
  5. Parfait – Low-fat Greek yogurt with ½ cup berries. This one is sweet and has some staying power, thanks to the fiber and protein.
  6. Edy’s Outshine Fruit Bars
  7. Half a whole wheat English Muffin with a single serve Hazelnut Butter
  1. Healthy Cookie Dough Balls

 

By Jessie Funchion, MS, RD, LDN

Tis the season! For cookies, cakes, pies and more. Did you know that the average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day? For most people, that amounts to nearly 150 pounds of added sugar a year! This far exceeds the recommended daily intake of added sugar of 36 grams (9 teaspoons) a day for men and only 24 grams (6 teaspoons) a day for women.

1) Swap out the sweet drinks

Sweetened drinks are the most common source of added sugar in American diets. To start, skip sugar in your coffee and add sweetness with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Also, nix sweetened iced tea and sodas, and switch to fruit-infused water or flavored seltzer.

2) Switch to natural sugar sources

Sugar in the form of whole fruit (fructose) or dairy (lactose) is a healthier alternative to sugary foods. Fruit and dairy come packed with fiber, protein, fat, and/or phytochemicals (the antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables). Add fruit to your oatmeal or cereal or enjoy 100% fruit juice in controlled portions (4-8oz/day). And if you must splurge for dessert, try to limit yourself to one 100-calorie treat a day or less.

3) Log your food intake for a few days 

You may be surprised to find you’re consuming way more sugar than you realized. Tracking helps increase your awareness and helps you find ways to cut back. Apps like My Fitness Pal allow you to track the nutrition content of the foods you eat.

4) Check food labels for sugar content

Some foods that you THINK are healthy are often loaded with added sugar. The worst offenders include:

  • Instant oatmeal
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Yogurt
  • Jarred pasta sauce
  • Condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce
  • Salad dressings, especially fat-free dressings
  • Granola bars

As a general rule, add up the grams of fiber plus the grams of protein per serving—the number should be greater than the amount of sugar. Or, simply stick to foods that have less than 5 grams of added sugar per serving.

5) Drink some water or take a nap

You may not be surprised to hear that you crave sugar when you’re tired. But, you MIGHT be surprised to find that you crave sugar when you’re actually just thirsty. Think about whether you need to rest or simply drink a cold glass of water before you reach for the sweets.

 

By Elizabeth May, RDN, CSOWM, LDN

Researchers at the University of Guelph found an interesting link between hunger and mood. Read more about the study published in Psychopharmacology here.

The Basic Gist
Rats were given glucose blockers to induce hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). When the rats were removed from this chamber and injected with some water, they avoided going back in the original chamber where they experienced the hypoglycemic reaction. When researchers checked the rats, they found elevated levels of corticosterone (stress indicator). The rats were apparently stressed from the hypoglycemic experience. Not surpisingly, the rats were also more sluggish after being given the glucose blockers. However, when the rats were given antidepressants, they weren’t sluggish.
The rats experienced both stress and depression when given the glucose blockers. Researchers pointed out that hypoglycemia could have a negative long term effect on depression or even on causing depression. Nutrition yet again plays such a huge role in health!
How To Manage Hypoglycemia
  • Eat 5 to 6 small meals or snacks each day rather than 2 or 3 large meals to help steady the release of glucose into the bloodstream.
  • Eat consistent amounts of carbohydrates at meals and snacks each day and avoid skipping meals.
  • Spread carbohydrate foods throughout the day. Include protein foods and vegetables at each meal for satiety and extra calories, if needed.
  • Avoid foods that have a lot of sugar and carbohydrate, especially on an empty stomach. Examples are regular soft drinks (sugar-sweetened beverages), syrup, candy, regular fruited yogurt, cookies, pie, and cake.
  •  Avoid beverages and foods that contain caffeine. Caffeine can cause the same symptoms as hypoglycemia.
  • If you choose to drink, limit alcoholic beverages to 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks per day for men. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach and without food can cause hypoglycemia.

By Elizabeth May, RDN, CSOWM, LDN

Frozen meals have their time and place in a healthy eating pattern. They can be convenient, affordable and if you are careful, they can still be relatively healthy!

Frozen meals can even be effective for weight management. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Weight Management Position Paper  recommends utilizing 1-2 meal replacements a day as a weight loss strategy. With this in mind, let’s get to know some good options that are out there.

Brands to Look for: 
  • Healthy Choice Power Bowls
  • Health Choice Cafe Steamers Simply (low carb)
  • Health Choice Cafe Steamers
  • Lean Cuisine
  • Weight Watchers Smart Ones
  • Amy’s
  • EVOL
  • Kashi
  • Luvo
  • Sweet Earth
  • Caulipower Pizzas
  • Gardein
  • Red’s Natural Foods
  • Green Giant Steamers
  • Some Trader Joes meals (with discretion)
General Nutrition Guidelines for Frozen Meals:
  • <500 calories
  • <500 mg sodium
  • 0 g trans fats / no hydrogenated oils
  • >15 grams protein
  • >4 g fiber
  • No added sugar (read labels)
  • <4 grams saturated fat
Other Tips for Meals:
  • Meal Components: Protein (beans, poultry, lean meat, fish, edamame) + Veggie + Whole Grain/Starch (brown rice, corn, sweet potatoes, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, etc.)
  • Meal Balance: >1/2 cup veggies, 3-4 oz protein, small portion starch/grain
  • Look for lean meats (pork tenderloin, chicken, turkey, fish)
  • Skip fried foods, meals with gravy and cream sauces and pasta/carb heavy meals
  • To add more veggies to the frozen meal: Add side salad or pop a frozen bag in the microwave
  • To add more protein to the meal: Add beans, an egg or slices of chicken
  • To add healthy fat to the meal: Add some avocado
  • Omit the sauce from the frozen meal or use less of it
  • Wanting dessert after the meal? Choose some fresh fruit like berries with SF whipped topping or grill apples/pears or eat a few dried dates

By Jessie Funchion, MS, RD, LDN

 

1)    Eating before Trick-Or Treating. Hitting the streets with a hungry belly will mean lots of snacking throughout the night. Have a regular dinner with your family before trick-or-treating. Protein (think chicken, fish, beans) and fiber (veggies and whole grains) are especially satiating and will hold you over until that last doorbell rings.

2)    It’s not ALL about candy. Costumes, contests, games and music are all festive ways to get into the spirit.

3)    Portion control. Ever heard of eating off of a smaller plate to reduce portion size at dinner? Use this same trick for trick-or-treating. Swap out that XL pillowcase (which seems bottomless) for a smaller plastic bag. A full small bag is still less candy than a partially full pillowcase.

4)    Don’t plan ahead. Stocking up on Halloween candy weeks in advance is never a good idea. Chances are you’ll go through that stash and have to go buy more anyway. Instead of having that temptation in the house, buy your treats just a day in advance.

5)    Set some rules. Figure out what works best for your family, but here are some ideas…

  • Only take one piece of candy per house
  • Have X amount of candy on Halloween night, then X amount each day after. (i.e. as much as you want that night, and one piece a day after that)

6)    Smart Storage. Out of sight, out of mind. Try storing the excess candy in the freezer, or in opaque jars or containers. If it’s out in easy to access bowls or clear jars, it will be a constant source of temptation.

7)    Throw it out. Sometimes enough is enough. What’s that? Food waste? I hear you. But isn’t it a ‘waste’ of calories to fill your family on empty, sugary calories?

8)    Be mindful. Even the most health-conscious family should indulge in their favorite sweets every now and then. When Halloween comes around, enjoy your candy mindfully. Eating mindfully means focusing and enjoying your food. Turn off the TV/phone/game, eat slowly, and focus on the smells, textures and tastes of your favorite treat.