This month, Halloween sneaks up fast with all the yummy goodies. Since Halloween is the kick-off to the holiday season, it is a great time to practice mindfulness and portion control. Some easy ways to do that is plan your meals, eat a healthy snack before you go to parties (or before you go trick-or-treating) so that you won’t over-indulge, stay active, and read your labels. It’s ok to indulge! But don’t over-indulge. Instead of eating a full-size candy bar, eat a fun-size candy – you’ll thank yourself later!
If you’re carving pumpkins this year – don’t throw out those seeds! Keep them for a toasty treat.
Did you know that in just once ounce (about 86 seeds) of pumpkin seeds there are 5 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of fat? Pumpkin seeds are also rich in antioxidants, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and many other nutrients. An ounce (28 grams) contains about 126 calories.
There are many health benefits of pumpkin seeds:
- Heart Healthy Magnesium
- Zinc for Immune Support
- Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats
- Prostate Health
- Anti-Diabetic Effects
- Benefits for Postmenopausal Women
- Heart and Liver Health
- Tryptophan for Restful Sleep
To toast your pumpkin seeds, rise them off well. You want to make sure they are rinsed well to get all the pulp and strings off. Spread all the seeds on a baking sheet that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray or drizzle a small amount of olive oil over seeds and mix well. Bake at 325°F for about 30 minutes or until toasted to your desired color. Make sure you stir them occasionally during the cooking process so they cook evenly.
Try spicing them up and seasoning them with garlic powder or Cajun powder to give it an extra kick!
If you aren’t a fan of roasted pumpkins on their own, or you want to make a kid-friendly snack with your pumpkin seeds, try adding them with a few ingredients and you have a fun, easy, on-the-go snack for anytime.
- 2 Cups of Wheat or Rice Square Cereal
- 1/2 cup roasted whole pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup raisins
Mix all ingredients together and enjoy. You can separate in snack baggies and grab on the go when you need a quick snack.
Speaking of healthy snacks, sometimes the most delicious treats are made from the most simple ingredients. When you feel your sweet tooth coming on, instead of reaching for your Halloween candy, try my fast, easy recipe for Dark Chocolate Dipped Apricots. It doesn’t get much easier to make than this. Low-effort, high-presentation, high-taste, and high-health – just how I like it!
- 8oz Dark Chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao) (finely chopped)
- 18oz Dried Turkish apricots
Step 1 – Melt chocolate in the microwave. Try running at 50% power for 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between.
Step 2 – Work quickly and dip half of dried apricot into chocolate.
Step 3 – Transfer to parchment –lined plate.
Step 4 – Refrigerate until chocolate has set, about 1-2 hours, preferably overnight.
Step 5 – Wrap in recycled brown paper dessert boxes purchased from your local restaurant supply store. Tie with ribbon and recipe gift tag.
October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.
The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.
- If you are a woman age 40 to 49, talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them.
- If you are a woman age 50 to 74, be sure to get a mammogram every 2 years. You may also choose to get them more often.
Talk to a doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if a close family member of yours had breast or ovarian cancer. Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get mammograms.
I encourage you to talk to the women in your life and help spread awareness about the risk of breast cancer – October is a great month to do that! You can find more about breast cancer on the Breast Cancer Foundation’s Website and find more information on their Health Education Resource guide online.
Have a safe, healthy and happy Halloween!