How to include all kids on Halloween.
Do you have a kid with food allergies?
If you’d like to include all kids - including those with food allergies or those who have medical issues that prevent them from eating candy - in Halloween, then consider being part of the Teal Pumpkin Project! This important project encourages families to display a teal pumpkin and have non-food options available for kids who can’t have standard candies. You can even add your house to the map HERE so trick-or-treaters know where to find safe treats.
We know that it’s tricky maneuvering the food allergy world. In fact, both Judy and myself have food allergies, and I (Megan) grew up with a severe anaphylactic allergy in my immediate family. It’s hard.
If you have an allergic kiddo, try to focus on language about “keeping you safe” when discussing allergies. Phrases like, “All bodies react differently to foods. Some people can eat all foods, but some people can’t. Your body doesn’t like xyz, so in order to keep you safe we have to have other options.”
Make sure to have alternative treats for your kiddo to enjoy too. There are some great common allergen-free candies at Target, where you can also find a teal pumpkin most years (and it's reusable)!
You can also have alternative options to candy all together. Some ideas include:
If you're interested in joining the Teal Pumpkin Project, here's how to participate:
A great snack for kids and adults to enjoy.
It may be October, but it’s still hot in much of the world and smoothies are A-OK year round! We love featuring these each year because they’re tasty and appropriate for many allergy families too! (We aren’t dairy-free but know many of our followers are for various reasons!)
We found these fun glass Halloween milk bottles at Target again this year in the dollar spot! Worried about glass? Tuck the milk bottle in a sock before serving! It’s great to get toddlers used to handling glass (with assistance) so they can safely drink from it as they get older.
Each recipe makes about 2 cups of smoothie, but the glass bottles fit about 3/4 cup liquid each. Make them with your kids this month for a fun Halloween-themed drink that's tasty and satisfying!
Scary Berry Ingredients:
Sweet Pumpkin Spice Ingredients:
Green Goblin Ingredients:
For all recipes - throw all ingredients (liquid first) in a high powered blender like Vitamix. Blend until smooth and serve. Enjoy!
Delicious, festive pumpkin cookies!
I have always loved to bake. I started making cookies for friends and family in high school, and along the way I discovered this super simple combo: 1 can of pumpkin, 1 box of cake mix, 1 bag chocolate chips. Fortunately, I eventually learned about cake mixes with some pretty simple ingredients and not a lot of dyes or additives, and Immaculate Baking became my go-to cake mix for this recipe (not sponsored).
This is a cookie. It has sugar. It’s OK to have some - check out our post on sugar if you want more info. I like that Immaculate Baking mixes have sugar, flour, baking powder etc - the simple stuff! You could also use any store brand yellow or white cake mix. Or if you’re all fancy, I’m sure you could make the dry mix from scratch, but that makes it way less simple!
You can also make this recipe with spice cake mix, but I"m personally not a fan of cinnamon/pumpkin mixed with chocolate. Others are!
The best part about this recipe is that if made with Enjoy Life Foods chocolate chips, it’s dairy- and soy-free, as well as egg free if you use an allergy-friendly cake mix! It’s a cookie everyone can enjoy that doesn’t taste like a “modified” cookie. I have also tried gluten-free mixes with success for those who need it!
Here are the specifics:
Serve with milk/milk alternative of choice for dunking!
A festive and delicious recipe full of nutrients.
Even if it's still hot where you live and enjoying fall foods hasn't quite hit yet, keep in mind that pumpkin is a crazy good source of beta carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant and supporter of eye health! Just one tablespoon of pureed pumpkin can exceed your child's needs for vitamin A (as beta carotene) for the day.
This simple, freezable recipe is adapted from Wellness Mama and is seriously tasty!
Here's what you need:
Brown beef in a large pot. When beef is almost completely cooked, add the onions and cook until soft.
Add the pureed pumpkin, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, stock, beans and spices. Simmer for 10 minutes until heated through. Top with cheese, sour cream/yogurt or avocado slices. Feel amazingly festive and satisfied (even if you could still cook an egg on the sidewalk).
We are big fans of Trader Joe's Bruschetta sauce. It pairs so well with chicken in the oven, Instant Pot or slow cooker...and now you can also try it with pesto! This simple pour-and-cook meal pairs nicely with whole grain, gluten-free or bean/lentil-based pasta and some roasted veggies!
Full disclosure - the broccoli turns a little olive green (I literally had flashbacks to food science class and kicked myself for not remembering this!) so I would probably omit it next time in lieu of sliced olives, but feel free to try it if you don’t care about color!
Here’s how you make it:
Add some fun to your kid's afternoon snack.
Any snack on a stick can help kids become more interested in eating - think about how much fun it is to eat food in this way! Make our peanut butter yogurt dip (see below for allergen modifications) and pair it with pretzel stick, plus strawberries on a skewer. Safety tip: use kitchen scissors to cut the sharp end off the skewer, and don’t serve this to a young toddler who may poke themselves! Always supervise eating, especially with new tools.
Megan's DEVOURED this snack. It was the perfect sweet, salty and crunchy combo that was also full of fiber, protein and fat (the three key nutrients for keeping our bodies full and our blood sugar more regulated).
To make the yogurt dip, combine:
Allergy Families: use Kite Hill almond yogurt or coconut yogurt instead of dairy yogurt, sunflower seed butter or almond butter instead of peanut butter, and gluten-free pretzels instead of wheat pretzels. Strawberry allergy? Serve with blueberries and bananas instead
Different types of pasta offer different flavors, textures and nutrition.
So many kids love pasta - we call them "noo-noos" in our house. What's not to love? They're easy and fun to eat and are topped with delicious sauces.
I’m especially a fan of all the new alternative pastas like Banza is made from chickpeas and has a ton of filling protein and fiber. One 2-oz portion (which is a pretty decent size) has 14 grams of protein, just 4 grams short of their total daily need. We serve it so many ways - here's a few ideas:
Remember, kids learn to eat what is served to them, so mix it up! Offer different types of pastas with different presentations and different sauces. Sticking to the same dishes increases their likelihood of picky eating...try to get creative when you can!
Need a dairy-free option?
Calling all dairy-free peeps (and even those who love dairy)! Have you tried nutritional yeast? This deactivated yeast has a nutty or cheesy flavor and is highly nutritive (hence its name). One tablespoon contains 3 grams of protein, 180% of your adult daily value for thiamine, 140% of your daily value for vitamin B6 and 160% of your daily value for niacin, all important B vitamins. Dairy-free peeps like that it resembles cheese in flavor. It can be found at most health food stores and grocery stores.
Here are some fun ways to use it:
You're going to want to try this one!
Y’all went nuts on Instagram for our Lentil Pasta Tuna Noodle Casserole, so we’re finally posting the full recipe! This recipe is awesome because it feeds a lot of people and stores in the fridge/freezer well. It's also gluten-free for those who need it.
This casserole tastes best when reheated in the toaster oven, conventional oven or on the stove. It’s crazy high in fiber and protein plus has anti-inflammatory CLA (a type of fat), some omega-3s (more if you use salmon), and lots of calcium and iron! Plus, it’s CHEAP for how many it serves. My kids shovel this in, and it’s a nice comfort food on a cold winter night. I cook by taste, so follow your instincts on this one! Add more or less cheese, paprika, etc. depending on your family’s preferences. Enjoy!
Preheat oven to 375F. Cook pasta per directions on the box and drain. Place pasta in a large bowl and combine all remaining ingredients, leaving 1 cup of shredded cheese for the top. Press into 9x13 casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Cook for 25-35 minutes or until cheese starts to brown and bubble. Let it cool, then eat and enjoy!
Is breakfast a challenge in your home? Check out our free printable with 5 ideas you may not have tried yet, including modifications for kid with allergies! Click on the link below to download the PDF file, and don't forget to pin the image above!
Check out our Yogurt Buying Guide here. The full Inspiralized Beet and Oat Banana Muffin recipe can be found here.
Megan and Judy, co-owners of Feeding Littles, bring you helpful info on food, nutrition, picky eating, and feeding young children. Megan McNamee MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Judy Delaware, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist specializing in feeding therapy with children 3 and under in Boulder, Colorado. Megan and Judy are both moms of two and love helping families develop a healthy appetite for all foods!