Have a Very Veggie Halloween!

Let’s face it: If you’re a parent, and you care about what your kids put into their bodies, Halloween is nothing short of a nightmare. It’s a major—and I mean major—sugar hit tied to a holiday everyone loves, so keeping sweets away from the little ones when everyone in the world seems to be stuffing themselves with candy corn is—to put it mildly—a bit of a challenge.

We don’t have the answer. But we do have a suggestion for damage control.

Let us explain. Every parent in the world wants his and her kids to eat more vegetables. It’s just about the only thing all flavors of nutritional philosophy seem to agree on. But how in the world do you get them to eat veggies when miniature versions of every candy bar in the world are available everywhere?

Simple. You make a dip. And Chef’s got the perfect recipe for it!

Studies from the CBC—published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics—found that serving veggies with a spicy, or herb-infused dip significantly increased a child’s willingness to eat vegetables. Sixty-four percent of Kids 3-5 told researchers that they liked veggies with dips compared to only 31% who liked veggies alone or with a “plain” dip. Eighteen percent of kids refused the vegetable without dip, while only 6% refused the same vegetable with a flavored dip.(1)

This dip is creamy, light and tasty, but kids will love the Halloween green color. And hopefully they’ll eat more veggies and a little less candy. Damage control, here we come!

Notes from the Clean Food Coach:

This cute and tasty appetizer makes a fun, nutrient-rich dish for kids on a typically sugar-laden holiday. But it’s also a great healthy appetizer for adult parties. To make a spicy grown-up version, swap the granulated garlic for 2 cloves fresh, and add several shots of hot sauce or a chopped and seeded jalapeno pepper for some heat.

  • Makes 6–12 servings for kids and 4–6 servings for adultsServings

Ingredients

Witchy Brooms

  • 12 long baby bell peppers, assorted colors
  • 6 straight celery stalks, trimmed of leaves

Creamy Green Dip

  • 2 ripe Haas avocados, halved and pitted
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • 2 Tbs. water plus more to thin, if necessary
  • 1/3 cup plain organic Greek yogurt
  • 2 ripe tomatillos, husks removed (or 1 Roma tomato, chopped)
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. granulated onion
  • ½ tsp. sea salt or to taste

Preparation

  1. To make the broom bases: Cleanly slice off the stem ends of the peppers and scrape out any seeds.
  2. Turn the peppers over, and slice off just the tip of the other ends to make a flat surface. Insert the tip of a small sharp knife twice, to make a little, X-shaped cut in each one.
  3. Make lengthwise slices all the way around the stem bases with alternating long and short cuts to make broom “bristles,” being careful to keep the pepper intact. Set aside.
  4. To make the broomsticks: Slice the celery stalks into straight sticks—halving each stalk lengthwise.
  5. Sharpen one end of each broom stick and insert the point into the X cut of one pepper to make a little witch’s broom. Arrange the brooms on a platter, standing up or laying down in rows.
  6. To make the dip: Scoop the flesh out of the avocado halves and transfer to a blender or food processor.
  7. Add all remaining ingredients in the order listed and blend or process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add a small amount of additional water or yogurt if needed to thin.
  8. Divide the dip into a few colorful bowls to serve immediately with the broomstick crudités.
Catch artichoke fever this spring—this antioxidant powerhouse is one of the best foods for your liver, and it’s easier to prepare than you might think.

Easy Artichoke Lentils

This great little recipe is amazingly simple to throw together, tastes great, and is a health bonanza to boot! You can also use frozen artichoke hearts.