By Natalie Maughan
Growing up it was tradition at our home to eat a big bowl of chili before we went out trick-or-treating. It was my mom’s hope that we would fill up on chili and not eat as much candy. Isn’t that every mom’s hope and dream? I think no matter how much dinner we feed our kids they will inevitably find the capability to consume copious amounts of candy on Halloween Night. Or Beggar’s Night. Depending on your zip code.
My mother wore off on me and I, too, try to make a healthy dinner on Beggar’s Night and use ultimatums to get them to finish their plate. They are so excited and ready to leave the house but not before they finish that broccoli. I’ve compiled a list of various dinners to serve Halloween Night depending on how much effort you are willing to put into cooking a meal. I’ve made all these and they are easy to cook. Some are more festive than others, but all are healthy and filling.
If you’re looking for fun Halloween events for kids in Des Moines be sure to visit dsm4kids’ Halloween Fun Guide.
Here’s 4 healthy Halloween or Beggar’s Night dinner options:
Healthy Halloween Dinner Idea #1
The first one is pretty easy. A few times I have found Halloween-shaped pasta at places like Marshall’s or TJMaxx. Cook it up, throw some green basil pesto on it, add veggies in the shape of eyes or spider legs on the side and call it a festive Halloween dinner. Slices of Mozzarella cheese and olives make great eyes. Spider legs can easily be made from bell peppers or carrot sticks with strawberries for the main body.
Healthy Halloween Dinner Idea #2
If sitting down to dinner is hard on Halloween night, try making a green smoothie your kids can drink it quickly and it will fill them up. The key is lots of spinach or kale.
1 ½ cups milk (I use either almond milk or regular milk; coconut milk works as well)
1 ½-2 frozen bananas
2 handfuls, give or take, spinach and/or kale
One small carton vanilla or coconut Greek yogurt (optional)
This recipe is very adaptable. If it’s too thick, add more milk. Not thick enough, add another frozen banana. Coconut milk will alter the flavor some. If you’ve never given your kiddos coconut milk before, this may not be the night to take it out for a test run. Do you have bananas, but they aren’t frozen? Still add them to the smoothie but add a handful of ice cubes as well.
The best way to freeze bananas is to slice them while they are fresh, lay them on a parchment- lined cookie sheet making sure the sliced side is not facing down and stick them in the freezer for a couple hours, then put them in a Ziploc bag. I do this all the time if my bananas look like they are starting to ripen, and I know I won’t use them up in time. Make your smoothie more festive with black and white paper straws and cute Halloween cups.
Healthy Halloween Dinner Idea #3
Taco Soup is a family favorite at our house; one of my kids requests this recipe year-round. It’s full of good stuff and very filling. It will keep their tummies full while they are knocking doors and telling jokes for two hours. Find the recipe here at one of my favorite blogs, I Heart Naptime. It may not be as “festive” as the other recipes but if it’s a cold night, like many Beggar’s Nights in Des Moines, this is a great one to use. It freezes well also so double the batch!
Healthy Halloween Dinner Idea #4
My last favorite go-to recipe is One-Pot Chili Mac and Cheese. It has “mac and cheese” in the title so what kid wouldn’t like this? It also follows my mom’s holiday chili rule so bonus points there. My tip: cook the pasta separately and add it to the bowls individually. I have found this works better to avoid soggy pasta. This is also one that you can adapt and add more veggies if you’d like. Try adding carrots or zucchini.
As cute as some of the other Halloween dinner ideas may look out there, I know that I will not have the time nor the patience to have my meals look as impressive as those in the pictures. I want to spend my time with my kids helping them get ready in their costumes instead of shooing them out of the kitchen so mom can focus on an Instagram-worthy meal. Oh, and please don’t make the croissant-wrapped hot dog ghost. Cute, yes. Healthy, no.
What are some favorite Halloween or Beggar’s Night dinners you have made for your kids? What worked and what didn’t? Did they eat their vegetables and say they were too full for that Reese’s? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Featured photo by Natalie Maughan.