Pumpkins, Red Leaves and Spooky Treats

Posted on Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Written by Written by Bowen Ma & Bonnie Shao

As the leaves turn red and the weather gets colder, it becomes time for family celebrations and spooky treats! The nutrition department at the HPC would like to wish you all a happy coming of Fall. Whether you’re going out to see the beauty of the maple leaves or going apple picking this season, we’ve got you covered for all of your food-related celebrations. 

Halloween Hack!

We know you love seeing your child smile more than anything, but you could definitely forego the bellyaches after continuous noshing of those mini treats. If you’re fresh out of tricks to keep happy faces and happy bellies, perhaps give this approach a try: moderation.  Moderation is a key concept in the amazing field of mindful eating! Instead of tossing all the treats, try these mindful tactics to keep the candy, keep the fun, and keep the bellyaches at bay. Follow these steps, and you’re sure to succeed:

  1. Sort the candy: Once the kids get back from trick-or-treating, let them have fun with the candy! Let them sort it into piles and let them label their goodies with their eyes.
  2. Make a deal: After sorting, make a deal with them! You can let them keep control of their stash so long as they follow a few guidelines. Who could say no after all that hard work!?
  3. Timing: Be clear about where and when they can have candy. Offer it with meals or snacks.  Be consistent with when you offer the treats but let them choose what they want to eat.  It’s equally important to offer consistent meal and snack time with a variety of healthful foods.  If they get over hungry, just like adults, it makes it a mission impossible to strike the balance between healthful and less healthful foods.
  4. Be consistent: Be clear and consistent about the boundaries and let them know they will lose their privilege of reigning over their stash if they step out of bounds.  Just as importantly, be sure to let your kids know when they are doing a great job! 
  5. Smile and applaud your parenting skills: Setting guidelines while giving kids the freedom to choose will allow them to associate their candy as any other enjoyable food. This way they won’t binge on candy, but learn to enjoy it along with an overall healthful diet!

Falling for Ontario Produce

  1. Cranberries

    Ruby red cranberries are full of powerful, disease-fighting antioxidants. Vitamin C is one of the prominent antioxidants within cranberries. Vitamin C is very important to our bodies because it helps maintain our bones and muscles. It’s easy to remember, the “c” in cranberries is for Vitamin C! 

    Adding cranberries to your meal is deceptively simple.  They are so versatile; they can be added to a variety of foods to enhance their flavours. You can make cranberry muffins instead of blueberry muffins, or you can pair cranberries with chicken and pork dishes. Just remember: fresh cranberries are best stored in a tightly-sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. 

  2. Butternut Squash

    Squash is an excellent source of beta-carotene and potassium. Once eaten, beta-carotene can be converted to Vitamin A, which helps maintain our immune system which helps to keep our eyes and skin healthy. 

    When buying butternut squash, avoid ones with green skin as this means they are not ripe. Make your life easier and use a vegetable peeler to take off that stubborn skin. Making butternut squash soup is delicious, and the aesthetics of a bowl of brightly orange soup can’t be beat!

  3. Pumpkin

    Pumpkin is also an excellent source of Vitamin A and a good source of Vitamin C. As a bonus, the edible pumpkin seeds are high in protein and iron! 

    Small to medium sized pumpkins are best for cooking because of their fine flavour and texture. Not to mention, they are easier to carry too. However, the larger varieties certainly make for the best Jack-o-Lanterns around!

    Funny Names: Common Ontario pumpkin varieties include Funny Face, Small Sugar, Spooky, and Early Cheyenne Pie.

Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger Recipe

Surprise your taste buds with this recipe for butternut squash soup with ginger!


  • 2 butternut squash (about 4 3/4 pounds total), halved lengthwise, seeded
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
  • Chopped fresh parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Oil baking sheet. Place squash, cut side down, on baking sheet. Bake until squash is very soft, about 50 minutes. Using paring knife or vegetable peeler to remove peel from squash; discard peel. Cut squash into 2-inch pieces. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Mix in onion, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and cinnamon. Cover pot and cook until onion is tender, about 15 minutes. Add squash and 5 cups chicken broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Discard cinnamon.
  2. Working in batches, purée soup in blender. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover & refrigerate.) Return soup to pot. Season soup with salt & pepper. Bring to simmer, thinning soup with more broth if necessary. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with parsley & serve.

Talk to our Deititan

Have you tried the dieting thing more times than you can count?  If you’re exhausted from pinging back and forth between food guilt and deprivation with constant body worry, Alida is here to help you find your confidence in eating - without food or dieting rules. Alida Finnie is one of our lead Dietitians and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor.  Her passion is helping you find a plan that honours your individuality so you can experience true satisfaction and body trust. 

Get started by emailing Alida to book your complementary nutrition clarity call.  You'll learn more about the Intuitive Eating process and get clear on the next step that suits your needs, within your means. 
Let's chat! finniea@uoguelph.ca

Alida Finnie MSc RD
Registered Dietitian & Nutrition Therapist


Editors: Melanie Beck; Brooklyn Seal; Andrew Kegel; Sandra Clark; Alida Finnie MSc RD