Serve a Nutritious Dinner Before Trick-or-Treating

Make sure your trick-or-treaters get a healthy dinner before heading out.Kids look forward to Halloween all year long. From the time they get home from school they start begging to put on their costumes and swear they're not hungry. Trying to get them to sit down long enough to eat a healthy and nutritious dinner can be next to impossible. Sending them out to trick-or-treat for candy with an empty stomach, however, is probably not an option.

Serving them a nutritious finger food entrée helps get their mind off the distraction of Halloween. You can even have them grab one to go as you're walking out the door. Here are some great ideas for quick and healthy Halloween dinners that will get your kids' attention and fill them up.

Chicken and Broccoli Roll-Ups - These simple kid-pleasers are easy to make and pack a lot of nutrition in every bite. Use low fat chicken lunch meat from your deli counter, and cook your broccoli in advance. Spread some shredded cheese atop a slice of chicken and then sprinkle on some of the cooked, chopped broccoli. Roll them up tightly, and place them seam side down. You can prepare them to this point ahead of time and then just warm them in the microwave or oven. The cheese will melt and help keep them together nicely. You can also provide a dip of healthy ranch dressing made from Greek yogurt.

Inside Out Veggie Burgers - You can find really tasty veggie burgers in your grocer's freezer section. Cut them into quarters and heat them through. Spread each one with hot carrot puree and add some finely diced tomato and shredded lettuce to half of them. Take those with just the carrot puree and use them as toppers for the fully dressed wedges. Veggie burgers are not at all greasy, so these cute little inside out burgers are easily eaten with the fingers.

Frittata Sandwiches - Eggs are packed with protein and can easily be fashioned into great finger foods. Make a thin frittata using shredded chicken, mushrooms, spinach or any ingredients your kids like. Once cooked, remove the frittata from the pan in one piece and cut into two inch squares. These egg squares serve as the "bread" for the sandwiches, and you can stuff them with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese or any number of other healthy fillings.

Quesadillas - Use the small six inch flour tortillas so that the cut wedges are smaller and can be eaten in just a couple bites. From your child's perspective, this makes the meal look less time consuming to eat and will solicit less protest. Simple chicken and cheese is popular with most kids, but you can add whatever your family enjoys the most.

Turkey Snackers - You can't get much simpler than this, but everything about these little bites are healthy and nutritious. Start with your favorite low-sodium, high fiber snack crackers. Spread on a little hummus and then add a ribbon of thinly sliced deli turkey. Top it off with another dollop of hummus and a baby gherkin for some sweetness and crunch.

The key to these quick and healthy entrees is fun. The cooler they look and the more fun they are to eat, the more success you'll have getting your kids to calm down long enough for dinner. These all make great leftovers, too, for when your little vampires and princesses get home after an exhausting night of Halloween fun.

Content by Cherri Megasko.
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