In this episode of Healthy Family Project, we talk to registered dietitian Holley Grainger of HolleyGrainger.com as part 1 of a two-part series all around holiday snacks.
For part 1, we’re focusing on all things Halloween. Holley shares tips and ideas on Halloween snacks including classroom party ideas, ideas for balancing Halloween candy and healthier foods, how to “boo’zed” your neighbors for some Halloween fun, and more!
Holley Grainger is a nationally-recognized lifestyle, culinary, and nutrition expert as well as a wife, mom, and business owner. She does her best to keep it real and have fun with her family, readers, and clients all while balancing a sink of dirty dishes, a clingy toddler, a preschooler that lives for endless games of hide-and-seek, and a glass of red wine.
Holley’s blog, Holley Grainger Nutrition, shares simple, healthy, flavor-packed meals as well as practical, doable nutrition advice.
The former nutrition editor for CookingLight.com and MyRecipes.com, she has instructed millions of accomplished and aspiring home cooks on how to make simple, healthy, family-friendly meals through online video, media appearances, speaking engagements, national news segments, online instructional guides and social media.
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Want to skip straight to a hot topic? See time stamps below. But of course, we recommend listening all the way through!
- 4:19 Healthy snack ideas for Halloween
- 11:30 Fun and healthy classroom party ideas
- 14:22 School restrictions on party snacks
- 19:15 How to balance sugar overload with healthier options
- 20:29 “You’ve been Boo’d” Halloween tradition
- 24:52 Where to find more Halloween inspiration
- 25 Healthy Halloween Treats for Kids
- Holley’s “Boo Bags”
- White Chocolate Ghost Haystacks
- Graveyard Ghost Cups
- Fruit & Veggie Halloween Carvings
- Teal Pumpkin Project
- You’ve Been Boo’zed Free Halloween Printables
- More Halloween Content from Holley Grainger
- Facebook Live with Halloween Snacks & Carvings
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Transcript for Episode 12
This transcript was produced by Otter.Ai. Please forgive any misspellings and grammatical errors.
Welcome to the healthy family project by produce for kids, covering the hot topics in the world of health,
food and family with a dose of fun. Hi, everybody today is actually the first in a two part series we are
doing with the awesome Holly Granger of holly Granger comm clever for living with Holly Granger. So
originally, I thought we could pull it all together in one episode, talk about all the holidays, get everybody
on board, get your lists made. But truly with all of Holly’s ideas and tips, there was really no way to, you
know, include all of those into one episode. And I really didn’t want to cut anything out or shorten
anything. So we’re splitting this up into two parts, so that we aren’t depriving any of you guys, our
listeners have any of the goodness to share. So today we are talking Halloween treats and tips, making
Halloween a little healthier without missing out on any of the fun. So really learning about balance and
moderation. And hopefully, at this point, no one’s logging off because I promise we’re not going to say
just eat orange carrots. And that’s all for Halloween season because we do recognize that trick or
treating is a tradition and candy is out there. And you know, it’s okay. And we learned you know, we need
to learn ourselves and teach our children about moderation and balance and really how to make those
choices. So as they grow older, they’re able to to live a life that’s well balanced. But still has fun. So okay,
so Holly has been a really close friend of produce for kids for several years now. She’s regularly writing
content on our site. She’s done several recipes for us and recipe development, and really helps us
spread the word on initiatives like power, your lunchbox, and other things that we have going on
throughout the year. You can spot her on her social media outlets with her daughter’s in the kitchen,
they’re always cooking up something fun. They’re usually laughing and you know, laughing their way
through whatever it is that they’re doing, making memories. And it’s just really inspiring. And a great
reminder that being in the kitchen with your kids does not have to be stressful, you can really make it fun.
So, every year when the holidays roll around, we produce for kids admire the flair that Holly brings at this
time of year. I know she’ll love that word. And then so that’s why we really felt like you know what we
need to chat with Holly. We need to talk about all things holidays, today is going to be focused in on
Halloween. And then in a few weeks, we’ll be back to talk about those holiday holidays beyond
Halloween to close out the year. Welcome, Holly Great to have you back and excited to talk about
something you are basically the guru of in my eyes, the healthy holiday snacks and treats. And really
today Halloween treats in particular. Now it
was so good to be back in and I appreciate the guru. But we sure do have a lot of fun. And we like to
experiment in the kitchen over and at my house. So hopefully some of the ideas we’re gonna talk about
today will inspire your listeners.
Wonderful. So I figured we can roll across the board of upcoming holidays, we’re kind of in that zone.
Seems like we were just starting back to school. And now we’re talking Halloween. So I figured maybe
we can roll across some of the upcoming holidays and chat a bit about different snack and treat ideas for
the family. So let’s start with Halloween. Right around the corner here. Classroom parties are on the
horizon, or even really hot Halloween parties in general. I know in our neighborhood, people have parties
that will flow through the month of October with lots of families hanging out and then so what are you
what are you thinking? What are we taking to the classroom? Easy fun. How about this Halloween
parties? What are your thoughts?
Oh, I mean, what’s what’s awesome to me is that year over year, on Facebook and on Pinterest, the
creativity is it just amazes me. And so I feel like I’m inspired, especially this time of year every day with
something cool and something new, something that we did last year that the girls had a lot of fun with.
We made little blue bags and essentially this is trail mix, just kind of a column blue bags haunted trail
mix. And you really could kind of play along with it, but it allowed them to sort of bring forth their
creativity. And then I did the same thing in the classroom last year for Ellie’s class for kindergarten and
I’m probably going to do it again this year because it went over so well, but we just had you know, little
are actually big bowls for the classroom it were for the girls that had little bowls. And it had things like
check cereal and the little skinny stick pretzels, mini marshmallows chocolate chips. At home, we had the
shell pistachios that they were green, and I just let the kids mix and match what they wanted in their trail
mix. You know, especially for the classroom just bring extra spoons or whatnot. But then we had a lot of
fun with figuring out what that was. So the check cereal we said they were monster tea or goblin tea.
That pretzels we were calling ghost bones or witches brooms. The mini marshmallows my girls thought
was really funny too called Ghost poop. You know, leave it leave it to my children. It’s chocolate chips
were like what they call witches warts and Toad words and then the pistachios were like, you know, frog
tones are Frankenstein’s tears, it seems like that. So they in the kids in the class too, it was the same
type of idea. So coming up with just a basic mix. And you know, that doesn’t it that isn’t necessarily a
totally sugar packed snack. Petition had on here and and I certainly am not going to be the Scrooge of
Halloween by any means, you know, it is what it is. But Halloween day and feasting on candy and
Halloween month and feasting on candy there, we have to draw a line here and there because my
children would eat candy all day every day until their teeth rotted out if I let them so it is nice and and I
found that they really like the variety as well especially when there is the cereal and the pretzels and you
know, marshmallows and chocolate chips. So you get that sweet and salty and crunchy and the different
textures. And those are really fun. And then I’ll just wrap them up, wrap them up with raffia just use those
little you can use a plastic baggie or you can use the little plastic gift baggies that are out you know
around this time of year, especially the one that things will come in. But those are really, those are
something fun and we there’s so many of these, especially if you’re at home something fun that that we
like to make the girls think that is traditionally called like dirt cake, you know, it’s like chocolate pudding
and swarms and Oreos, they just think that’s hilarious. And so we’ve played around with that just to
lighten it up slightly, and you use just plain greek Greek yogurt, and then we’ll sweeten it with honey
instead. Of course, you could use chocolate pudding, you know, you’re still getting calcium, and it is
putting is a serving of milk in the same way that yogurt is. So either one. And then if you use the plain or
vanilla yogurt, you can add some honey, you can add some cocoa and sweeten that up. And then we
had we made a little banana ghost to go with that. And so you know, just slice a banana in half and just
get like either chocolate chips or the little black gel, make a happy face, you can take a little mandarin
orange segment and make it like a little pumpkin. And then I got Oreo thins and we crumbled some of
that on. And it was just a fun, really visual but yummy activity that we could do at home and, and for me, I
love to bring the girls in the kitchen. It’s one way for us to be able to interact and we can make memories.
And you know, it’s like doing an art project but with food so you get the reward of being able to eat it
afterwards as well. So those are just a couple fun things. I have a lot of different ideas. On my website,
we have white chocolate ghost, haystacks like and a lot of times if you ever had the butterscotch and
ramen noodle haystacks, those little sweets, I made them into ghost using white chocolate and then
Fiber One cereal so instead of ramen noodles, which don’t have a lot of health benefits and a lot of times
fried, the fiber cereal gives you that same kind of texture and shape, but you are getting the benefit of
adding fiber and they taste great. I mean we really couldn’t tell the difference in the taste. So just some
little fun things like that. And then I mean, there’s always the oldies but goodies where you know, you
take the candy you take a plastic hand you know the little month like a plastic glove, and put a candy
corn for a fingernail and fill it up with popcorn and use it with I mean, things like that that I had when I
was little those those ideas don’t go away. I mean I feel like the creativity these days is continuing to just
grow and grow but at the end of the day for a parent that is just like you know what, I just need
something basic and easy. I don’t have time to make all that something like the beanbags. You know you
just buy a couple ingredients and mix them all together and put it in a bag and give it to the child already
made or again like I said, you know, let them all participate and make their own or even just something
like a mandarin orange like a halo or Cutie and getting a Sharpie and I think you’ll even have this on your
produce for kids side as well. You know you just make a little pumpkin face and call it a day and they love
it. I think it’s just all about having fun and getting getting into the holidays without you know parents not
having to worry about the hassle of being the perfect Pinterest parent, there’s, there are a lot of ideas out
there that can be really fun and creative without having to go all out or add the extra pressure.
Exactly, yes. And just to let all of our listeners know, we will be linking up to all of you know, all of the
ideas that we talked about today. I know talking through it, sometimes it’s hard to like, actually visualize
what it looks like. So what you can do is just go to the show notes for the podcast, and I’ll have all the
links up there. And then you can also go to over to Holly Granger comm or purchase for kids.com. And
we’ll have you know, you can do a search there. If there’s something that may not be in the show notes.
So and I have to say, I did put the Mandarin I did I went old school. I did the Mandarin, with the celery.
Yeah, my girls today.
And that’s such a cute idea. I mean, it’s simple for a lunchbox. So you’re saving them a minute at school.
So you know, you peel it for them. And then just that little piece of celery, that’s always easy and cute
and goes over so well. I’ve done that before. That’s always really fun. Like you’re asking about parties. I
just went one my oldest, Ellie is seven. And she just went to a seven year old birthday party. And the
mom that was there. Hosting was at her house. She had a platter. And she had I don’t know, she must
appealed about 20 different little mandarin oranges and had the celery. And so that was one of the
selections on the table. But it was it was adorable. And then she had little shot cups, little shot glasses,
which you know, the adults are laughing like, oh, what cute, tiny cups. I’m not sure where she found
them. They were adorable little plastic cups, but they had like, you know, a friendly ghost or a pumpkin
some different little pictures on them. And then she had some ranch dressing and I’ve done it with
hummus or guacamole as well. But a little bit of dip down and the bottom, maybe 1/3 of the cup. And
then probably two or three carrot sticks and about two or three celery sticks. And I just love those little
handheld, really easy to manipulate especially for small hands. And it’s fun, it’s visual, it’s creative, it’s
easy. And kids love it, you know, so yes, they love the candy and the cookies and all all that yummy stuff
too. But if you put out some of the you know, healthier options alongside it, then you can really kind of
balance your plate and not you know, in feel okay, knowing that they’re getting a little bit of everything.
Right and it’s interesting to how because I’ve had parties here at our home where I’ve done the dip with a
spoon and a tray of all the veggies or even you know, a fruit, there’s fruit out and maybe there’s
mandarins and they’re not peeled. And then when I’ve done you know a Halloween where there the
mandarins are appealed and we do the celery, they’re gone. I mean I like over in the corner pilling more
mandarins and then the same thing with the dip when I do the when I’ve done the handheld, you know
single serve, grab, grab your dip that already has your veggies in it, they’re gone. But when I have the
platter, especially when it’s kids involved, you know, it’s more likely that I’m going to have that sitting
sitting there later. So I think just giving them that extra push and making it a little easier and making it a
little bit more fun. is totally worth you know, getting them to make that choice for those healthy healthy
Those are easy too.
So yeah, yeah, I mean, if you’re already gonna peel the carrots and put on the platter just pop them in a
few little. Me usually Yeah, the little plastic wine cups or the little you know, little shot glasses. Even Even
little paper. I’ve seen people do little paper bathroom cups, and they work great. You know that all it’s the
same. So yes, all of that is always fun.
Cool. So speaking of I guess, the holiday or the I guess the halloween snacks I know we have schools
we’ve heard from our listeners in our parties for kids audience that a lot of schools have restrictions on
what can be brought in it has can’t be something you know made in your kitchen at home it has to be
something prepackaged. Do you have any have any ideas on on what families can do when they’re
faced with that that kind of restriction at the school?
Yeah, I mean, I understand that for sure. And especially with the food allergies and everything else you
know, it’s it’s easier to be able to look at a label and be confident knowing that you know this is not free or
or whatever that might be. A lot of times I’ll just go to like even target or somewhere in the holiday section
because they always have the holiday themed prepackaged snacks. So whether that’s like the veggie
Straws i know right now that veggie straws has little individual bags of how and shaped snacks where
it’s, you know, a ghost and a pumpkin and things like that. And Annie’s. And I think mots and a couple
other brands as well, they have their gummies that are all, you know, Halloween shaped or whatever.
And with those, I usually try to choose ones that don’t have any artificial color, you know, look for the
ones with the natural ingredients. But normally, I’ll just sort of check out that aisle I do like the mini baby
bells, how know if it’s, if they have the option of being able to keep the cold throughout the day, or, you
know, apparently bring it to the party at the end of the day. And so they could stay cool and refrigerated
at Halloween mini baby built as a good job. And they’re so fun with the little monster faces on the outside
of the package. And so that’s a great way to you know, have a serving of cheese and whatnot. And then
there are so many ways right now to even in the produce section, where you can have the individual
apple slices with caramel dip or hummus with pretzels. And so it really it takes a little bit of creativity. But
there are a lot of options and ways that sure you can get the candy in this in the sweets and the salty
snacks. But that you can also get the like I said the little pre packaged carrots with a little pre packaged
ranch or even now gosh, they’re getting really creative in the snack area in the store. Where I think
people in the in the brands are helping help helping people fulfill that need and want for a balanced
snack. So it’s not just straight carbs or straight protein, but it’s a little bit of everything. And I made that I
don’t know how expensive that would be in if the school was not free. But I have seen some lately where
it’s like cheese, fruit and nuts or dried cranberries pretzels. And I haven’t seen y’all live I’d like what did
y’all recommend as far as some of your favorites?
Well, so we do we talk about the cheese stick, like where you draw the ghost on the cheese stick and
then also the simple the Mandarin where you can draw the pumpkin face kind of on the Mandarin there.
And then some of those pre packaged items in the produce department which, like you said, I feel like it’s
not as hard anymore, maybe with the pre packaged restrictions, because brands are really coming
around and even produce brands coming around, you know, to celebrating those holidays and
recognizing that that’s, you know, what families want and you know, are looking for so I think that you
know, we do have some good options out there. I love the baby bells, I buy those every year.
There’s they’re just fun. I mean, you know, it’s just kind of one of those things where it’s just that little
extra effort it costs the exact same but but it’s a long lived checkout yells live and make sure to share that
because I know that’s something that my audience on Facebook would definitely get a lot out of as well.
And because stream cheese I feel like it’s so versatile for any party so you can like we talked about you
know, make the ghost with the faces. And then when you get to Christmas, it’s easy to make them into
little snowmen where you know you can just put like a little ribbon or something around its neck right and
either draw on with a sharpie a little top hat or I’ve seen you know if you want to get really creative cut
out a little top hat with construction paper and tape or glue it on but string string cheese lends lots of
possibilities for for creativity for sure and the in the kids love it so and again you know it’s a great way to
get a dairy serving and and some nutrition while also having fun.
Great so I think we talked a little bit about this or you talked a little bit about this throughout what you’ve
been sharing with us so far but really important in the question that we get and families have and I have
you know with Halloween candy, Thanksgiving desserts and sweet treats everywhere you’re going has
cookies and cake so how can we help families balance out sugar overload with healthier options? I mean
of course you don’t. You don’t want to totally cut out candy or treats you have to have that balance but do
you have any tips on how you know what’s a good strategy to make that happen?
At the main meal you know, go ahead and get your kids filled up with their dinner or a main food before
it’s time to go out trick or treating. So they’re less likely to just you know gorge on sons of candy because
their tummy is a little bit full. You can make little mummy pizzas by getting you know like the little mini
bagels and cutting those in half using a little bit of red sauce and for blood you can you can even go as
gory or as as safe as you want and then you know having your cheese maybe cutting it kind of into strips
so it excuse me runs across like mummy you know, wrap would use olives for eyes, but something like
that is in Nice way to have fun, it’s still Halloween, or whatever holiday it might be, you know, you could
definitely do something like that along the lines of of Santa or whatnot. But it’s a good way to fill them up.
And, and not necessarily have it be all about the sugar. Something else that we do in my family that we
it’s kind of weird how about traditions but it’s more of our Halloween tradition is we like to boo other
families. So I don’t know if you’ve seen the downloads that are called you been booed. I have those on
my side love people check them out. So we have you’ve been booed. And for the grownups, you’ve been
boozed. And so what we will do is go to the dollar store target or somewhere and just get a couple
different fun, you know, Halloween themed items. And we I think we got like Google Glasses and
vampire teeth, and they were selling packs of like 10 little containers of slime, you know, all the stuff that
when parents see it come into the house, it’s like, oh, goodness, it’s almost like almost like a party favor
bag that we would create. And then I had, we put a little bit of candy in there, I mean, like, one to two
pieces per child. And then we had a bag of for each child a bag of the Halloween veggie straws. And just
some other fun things, you know, coloring things and bubbles and whatnot, and then secretly put those
out around the neighborhood and with my nieces and whatnot, at their homes, and then that fun
continues. So then the next family, they the little signs in there, they put the sign on the door that they’ve
been booed, it gives instructions on how to download and get the free printable to then go and Boo
others. So it’s kind of, you know, it’s kind of taking it away from the candy and everything else and and
putting a fun spin on it. And right now I’m, I’m working on creating some some fun ideas like that around
Thanksgiving, and Christmas as well. Because it’s really about with the holidays, you know, having fun
and thinking about other people. And I know, every time we’ve gotten booed, the girls just feel so special
and excited. And so, you know, it’s just, it’s just one more way to do something around the holidays
without having to be so focused on the candy.
Right. And it’s funny that you’re talking about being booed, we moved when we moved into the
neighborhood we’re in now, I had never heard of it before. And I don’t know, maybe it just had just started
a couple years ago being a thing. But you know, every year the girls, they really they just look forward to
that they just wait and wait. And then you know, the doorbell rings or not we come home and, you know,
the stuffs out there and the signs up. And then, you know, they’re strategizing on who we’re gonna go
and, you know, we go to Michael’s or same thing and kind of create a little fun basket and then you know,
they go and pick who they’re gonna go to. And it’s just it’s so fun. It’s, it’s really become a tradition that I
felt like I was just never knew it was a thing.
Feel like it has been something that’s pretty new over the last few years. And then and then with with the
adult version, which is still sort of fun for the grownups to be able to do their thing with with the bamboos.
So whether it’s, you know, a fun funny wine glass or drink holders, or a corkscrew or bottle or a split of
wine, you know, if that’s your thing, and you have that type of relationship with friends, I mean that with
that with, with the blog post, as you know, make sure you know who you’re delivering it to, it’s, you have
to kind of put those disclaimers in of course, but but for people that do, you know, enjoy that type of
thing, it is something kind of fun. And it you know, it’s just, it’s just one, something else, it’s kind of fun
and kind of funny, and it doesn’t have to be expensive at all. I think there’s some ways to the girls, for
some of the blue bags, you know, they were drawing pictures, and it’s just it’s it’s activities, and it’s
making memories. And to me, that’s what, that’s what the holidays are really all about and creating those,
creating those times together that that they’ll remember, you know, they’re not going to remember
necessarily that candy that they ate, but they’re gonna remember that we, we would go and ride around
in the golf cart and Boo the different neighbors. And you know, Ellie was afraid to ring the doorbell or
whatever it was, you know, so we had to do it in broad daylight every time. So but we’ve, we’ve already
had a blast with it this year and are excited for how the rest of the holiday season will carry out.
Well, it sounds like you guys are already having a lot of fun. This holiday season. And I’m sure that will
continue on here through Halloween. So can you tell listeners where I know you mentioned that there’s a
there’s a spot where they can kind of go to get all of your Halloween ideas and inspiration. So
all the Halloween things we talked about. It’s Holly grainger.com/halloween You know, I’ll make sure you
have it for the notes.
I know everyone that we talked to on the podcast has their different kind of social hubs. spots where they
hang out, you know are more likely to find them. And on these social media outlets, can you tell us where
our listeners can find you?
Absolutely. I’m on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, the works. But it’s Holly
grainger.com. And if you go to the website, Holly grainger.com, there are links in all of those places, but,
but I spend a lot of my time on Facebook and Instagram and playing and stories and the Facebook Lives
and everything else. So hopefully, they’ll join me over there. My Facebook page is clever for living with
Holly Granger, but you can just search my name and it should pop right up.
So I guess I should say Happy Halloween have so much fun. And we’ll be talking soon. So more holidays
to come happy all the holidays. But I
definitely hope it will connect soon. But it was it was a pleasure to be able to share all of all of the ideas
with your listeners. And yes, happy holidays, the run the gamut of holidays to all to everyone listening as
It’s always really fun to chat with Holly. And like I said we’ll be doing it again soon in the second part of
this holiday series, where we’ll be talking about the rest of the holidays that take place after Halloween.
So look out for that episode. It will be live on November 2. So the second part of our chat with Holly also
will be linking up to many of the ideas and recipes that Holly talked about on the show notes. So go
there. We also have a Facebook Live that we did it produce for kids, where we showcase some healthy
classroom snacks, and also carved into some of those fruits and veggies that seemed to be so popular
people are stepping outside of the pumpkin this year. It looks like so we did partake in that as well. So if
you’re your game for a fun video, head over to our Facebook page and you’ll be able to find that there.
And then also upcoming we have our produce for kids festive flavors ebook and that is totally free. You
can download that on our website and that will be just you know, just in case you’re prepping for getting
into the Thanksgiving holiday and beyond that we have some registered dietitian approved recipes
combined all in one spot for you. As usual. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest,
as well as YouTube. Be sure to subscribe Talk soon