how we deal with halloween candy in our home

halloween goodies Happy October! It’s Ben here. Ruby asks me to write about how we approach eating healthfully in our family, so here’s how we address Halloween candy with our kids.

You might think with being a dietitian, candy and anything “lo-nu” (what True started calling low nutrition foods a few years back) would be forbidden. Before I speak about that, I wanted to visit what may seem like petty semantics. We’ve learned not to refer to foods as good or bad, but rather, identify them based on their nutrient density. We’ll instead classify them as a high nutrition (hi-nu) food or low nutrition (lo-nu) food. All foods can be consumed within the context of balance and moderation. Furthermore, there’s no need to associate guilt/shame with a food traditionally labeled as “bad.” We strive to teach them how to make healthful choices, and how to recognize what is high nutrition versus low nutrition in our home.

So how do we address the lo-nu Halloween candy? We intentionally allow the kids eat all they want. Yup, you read that correctly. It’s a part of the approach we’ve adopted from dietitian and psychotherapist Ellyn Satter. We’re still learning how to best integrate what seems to be a very liberal strategy when it comes to “forbidden foods” like these after Halloween is over, so we go at our own pace as we continue to experiment with these principles. One of the goals is that kids won’t over-indulge/binge when parents aren’t around. The six of us are learning together; that’s parenting though.

When it comes to how we answer the “Trick or Treat!” request at the door, there was a study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior that helped form our decision in what we give out. Researchers offered kids aged 3-14 the option of candy vs. a Halloween toy. Half of them chose the toys… an interesting perspective on how many kids define “treat” on Halloween. Since there’s already enough candy being circulated around that night, we’ve opted for inexpensive toys. And for individuals challenged with weight or other conditions in which mindful candy-eating principles are welcome, this is a nice strategy for removing candy in the home that could be mindlessly consumed!

Have a safe and mindful Halloween!



family meals: week 90

family meals family meals Soba with Seafood and Spicy Korean Sauce. Made this dish again because it’s easy, delicious, and healthy!

family meals family meals Spicy Salmon with Wild Rice and Mashed Garlic Cauliflower. We haven’t had this particular dish in over a year, but that spice rub is so good. It’s super spicy, but you know us… the spicier it is, the more we love it! I’ll have to share the ingredients of it with you soon.

Week of 10/27 – 10/31
Monday: Simple Sesame Noodles
Tuesday: Turkey Taco
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: White Bean Chili
Friday: Pizza Party (with friends for Halloween)

While I love cooking now, I do get tired of it. Making breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a family of six is pretty taxing. I can see why people resort to fast food (or eating out). I’m tempted to do so after a full day of doing stuff because the last thing I want to do is cook. I suck it up and end up cooking because for our large family, it’s just much more economical to cook and get a balanced meal. Granted, fast food would be cheap, but it probably isn’t balanced.



family meals: week 89

family meals family meals Hainanese Chicken Rice. I use this recipe as a guide, but change it to use less oil and only use chicken breast. We love it every time! We serve it with brown rice and this delicious bok choy recipe.

family meals family meals Soba Noodles with Spicy Korean Dressing. I use this recipe for the sauce, which is delicious and easy, a total win! I use buckwheat soba instead of ramen noodles, and add some seafood for protein. Like the meal above, we have bok choy for our veggies. We all have really been loving bok choy lately.

Week of 10/20 – 10/24
Monday: Homemade Pizza
Tuesday: Soba and Spicy Korean Sauce
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Salmon and Wild Rice
Friday: Ceviche Night

The garden is out of sage, but once we get more in, I want to attempt a healthier version of this recipe. I need to figure out more fall recipes. What is your favorite food blog? I’m in need for some cooking inspiration.



packed lunch for our busy days

packed lunch Last week, Cristina asked in this post, how I handle lunches for our homeschool busy days. We jam-pack their swim, piano, and hip hop classes all on one day, so we are mostly on the go on that particular day. We start with two hours of homeschooling (usually we tackle our english language arts), then we head off to swim. On the way, we listen to our Latin or Spanish chants. Glow is the first to have swim lessons, so while she is swimming, we are reading from our history book. After the girls have swim, it’s back in the car and I serve them lunch on our way to piano. After piano, we get home and do more school (math and science) for about two hours, then we go to hip hop. Once we are home from dance, they finish up any work left undone and it’s about time for dinner. It’s a pretty intense day, but we have the routine down, so it makes it manageable.

For lunch, I just pack the girls some PB&J (sunflower butter for True) sandwiches, along with apples and carrots for all. Carrots are still a choking hazard for Glow, so she gets an extra fruit. That pretty well fills them up until we hit snack time at 3:30pm. I make the sandwiches in the morning, while I’m making Ben’s lunch, and I do everything assembly line style so it’s pretty quick.

I must admit, I’ve been really bad making sure I eat lunch on those days. I’ll bring a some sort of bar (I like these, these, and these) and fruit for me, but I’m usually starving by the time dinner comes around. Lately, I haven’t been feeling the PB&J sandwich, so it’s why I don’t make myself one; I probably should though.

Do you pick up fast food on busy days or are simple sandwiches your go-to like us?



family meals: week 88

korean pork stew korean pork stew Korean Spicy Stew. I used a lean pork instead of chicken like the recipe called for. It was good, and the girls liked it, but Ben didn’t. I think I know now that my husband doesn’t like stews. He said it reminded him too much of American food. HA! Guess I won’t be cooking that dish again.

Week of 8/6 – 8/10
Monday: Cheese & Wine Night with some friends
Tuesday: Homemade Pizza
Wednesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs
Thursday: Dinner with friends
Friday: Ceviche Night

I haven’t cooked a fish dish in awhile, and my girls love salmon, so I will definitely have to put that in the menu soon.




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