5 Tricks to Treating Yourself on Halloween

There’s nothing scarier than approaching Halloween (or any holiday) with a mindset that you can’t join in on any of the fun.

But how do you go in with a plan that makes you feel good November 1st? You try my five tricks (my treat for you!)

How do you approach a Happy Halloween? Leave your favorite celebration mantras and philosophies in the comments below.


Trick 1: Lose the Food Rules

It’s called will power, not won’t power. Unless you want to feel like it’s Night of the Living Dead, you will want to keep your self control in check, which means you need to stop saying “I won’t eat this or that or that or….” The human brain is a powerful organ and it really tries to follow your arbitrary rules, but the reasonable part gets tired quickly and then the unreasonable part takes over and sends you reeling toward your sugary food reward except now moderation is out the window. Stay rational and say I will enjoy some Halloween treat.

The rest of the “tricks” I offer will help you keep your self control.

Trick 2: Play Favorites

When it comes to candy, I’ll be honest everything is my favorite except maybe black licorice, circus peanuts, and candy corn (I know blasphemy on the last one.) If I had to choose, it would be Reese cups, hands down. The more choice options you have the more you want and the more you are probably going to eat. A sign of good self control is that you can rationally pick your favorite candy and come up with a plan for what you want to do. Ask yourself What treats would I enjoy most in my ideal Halloween evening? 

Trick 3: Savor the Flavor

Most of us don’t know how to savor our food anymore – especially treats and desserts. Part of the problem is the food rules situation I mentioned above. When you decide you dig in, your brain also (counter intuitively) says “let’s get this over with!” It makes no sense, but it’s because you feel bad deep down about your choice. You take your mind out of the game and you tend to overeat it and feel guilty later. (Where is the fun in that?)

Savoring your Halloween treats is easy. Just use your senses – all of them. Notice how it looks, the aroma, mouthfeel and taste. A sign of a flexible eater is the ability to sit with that urge to gobble it up like a Gremlin and just enjoy the food anyway. Give yourself a challenge to make it last, then get on with other Halloween fun to savor. gremlins2_48-12

Trick 4: Let Yourself Get Satisfied

Many of my clients will say something like “It’s so hard to do moderation when my husband/kids/friends are going crazy with the candy. It’s not faiiiiiiiiiirrrrrr. What’s happening here is that we are all a little bit childish and want immediate gratification with what all the cool kids are doing. If you are only letting yourself have one and then you’re back to food policing, you’re a restrained eater. Instead of telling yourself how much you can have, Ask yourself How much do I think I would want to get satisfied?  Summons the rational thinker.

If you’re eating mindfully and recognize you’re not satisfied, I bet it’s the just got out of jail and the cops are looking for me problem. Tell yourself that it’s OK to eat more as long as you are calm and mindful about it. Usually, the free feeling of permission allows you to recognize that you are satisfied or slows you down so you eat less staying “checked in” rather than “checking out” and acting like a Gremlin.

Trick 5: Show Yourself Some Love

No matter what goes down on October 31, there’s good news. The day ends and November 1st is here. Don’t use honest mistakes as an excuse to continue to avoid your long term goals. Also, don’t beat yourself up. That only makes you feel bad, stressed out, and (shocker) emotionally hungry for MORE candy!!!!

If you overdo it on Halloween, forgive any mistakes you made. You are human. It’s part of the growth process. Instead, ask yourself What can I learn from this experience? What did I truly enjoy and what did I do that is not who I want to be?

How do you approach a Happy Halloween? I’d love to know what “tricks” you have up your sleeve.

Leave your favorite celebration mantras and philosophies in the comments below.

Speaking of Love, Link Love!

I’m not the only level-headed realistic dietitian who follows the rule of “no rules”! Check out some of my favorite blogs, tips, and recipes from some of my fabulous RD colleagues!

5 Tricks to Help Kids Manage Halloween Treats

Teal Pumpkin Project (food allergies and non candy treat options)

Treating Without All the Tricks

Halloween Ravioli Recipe

Want More?

Rebecca Scritchfield's Feel Great GuideGet my free Feel Great Guide if you would like to create a healthy, happy life you love.It’s 20+ pages of creative and realistic ideas for living joyfully (and yes, still being healthy!) You’ll get on my  e-mail list which offers additional tools, resources and tips I don’t provide anywhere else.

If you love it, recommend it to your friends too. Muchas gracias

Also check out from my fellow mom RD friends: Self care tips for moms and Treating Yourself (on Mother’s Day) but we know we need this 365!

DIY Freezer Smoothie Bags + Recipe




DIY Smoothie Bag

I make smoothies almost every day, for breakfast, exercise pre- or post-fuel, or as an after-school snack for my kids. But when I’m trying to juggle work, being a mom, and all the craziness life throws my way, even the simple task of throwing together a quick smoothie can seem overwhelming. So, what’s a busy mom to do? Prep ahead of time, of course! Prepping and assembling smoothie ingredients in smoothie bags ahead of time can make all the difference in the world between getting a nourishing, frosty smoothie in your belly STAT versus ravenously grabbing whatever food you can get your hands on.

In just about ten minutes, you can get smoothies for an entire week prepped and ready to go! Assemble them ahead of time and then keep in the fridge or freezer to pull out whenever you want them. Prepare them just like you would if you were making the smoothie right then and there. Here’s how to make it happen:

Chop and Prep Fruits and Veggies

  • Use whatever you like/have on hand. I like bananas, kiwifruit, blueberries, tart cherries, cranberries, kale, spinach, avocado, etc. Seriously, pretty much anything goes. Chop into small pieces, if necessary, and place in small, sealable plastic bags.
  • If you have any fruits or veggies that are about to turn, these smoothie bags are a perfect way to reduce food waste! Just be sure you freeze these ones when they’re assembled!

Add Extras

  • Toss whatever add-ins you like into bag with your produce. Nut butter, Greek yogurt, and protein powder are all good options. I also like cinnamon, vanilla, and other spices to enhance the flavor.

Seal and store

  • Roll up the bag to squeeze all the air out, and then create a tight seal to keep ingredients fresh. If you’re freezing your bags, use a freezer bag for optimal freshness.
  • If you prefer reusable containers, fill these up as much as possible to reduce amount of air in the container
  • Store in fridge or freeze them. The freezer will definitely keep everything fresh for a longer time, but be sure to pull them out the night before you want to use them to keep your blender happy.

Blend and Enjoy

  • Pop the contents of the bag in your blender. Add liquid to make it smooth (your preferred milk, water, coconut water, etc.) and ice to get it nice and cold, and blend as usual

Like I said, these are no-brainers that you really cannot mess up. Just about anything can go in a smoothie. Below is one of my tried and true recipes, but feel free to play around with it and find your own personal faves!

Banana Split Smoothie
Prep time
Total time
It's dessert in a cup! This creamy blend of cool sweetness delivers a heap of nutrition and fiber, making it a perfect option to satisfy that sweet tooth or refuel after a workout.
Recipe type: Smoothie
Serves: 3
  • ½ cup pineapple (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • ½ cup of strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced
  • 1 cup plain or Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate sauce
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup ice
  • ½ cup your favorite milk
  • 1 T peanuts, crushed, for garnish (optional)
  1. Place all ingredients except ice, milk and peanuts, in bag and freeze or refrigerate until ready to use. Place bag contents in blender, add milk and ice, and blend until desired consistency is reached. Top each with crushed peanuts, if desired.
  2. *Add spinach, kale, or avocado to “green” up this recipe


Think Outside the Lunchbox with Healthy Meal and Snack Ideas

It’s that time of year! Summer is over and the kids are headed back to school! This year think outside the lunchbox with nutritious and tasty snack and meal ideas that your kiddos will gobble up! Check out my recent appearance on DC’s Let’s Talk Live to help kick off the school year with healthy food tips that will make the transition back to school easier and healthier!

Get Your Goodness to Go

Cereal can be a smart choice for a quick breakfast. Look for high fiber, whole grain options like Post Grape Nuts and Shredded Wheat.
But what about when you really need “grab and go”? chocog2gPost has a new breakfast shake called “Goodness to Go”. These new dairy blend beverages are an excellent source of protein and are made with natural sweeteners and flavors. Post is making it easy to have a nutritious and satisfying breakfast. Its available in three flavors, Dutch Chocolate, Tahitian Vanilla and Mocha, so there is something for everyone. Check out Post Goodness to learn more.

Power Up Your Lunch Box

About half our plate should be fruits and veggies. Besides the sandwich, the sides and snacks can be a great way to get in fruits and vegetables.
Pack Zespri kiwifruit, it packs a “punch”. Two kiwifruit have more vitamin C than an orange and as much potassium as a banana. And they’re high in fiber and cholesterol free. Kiwifruit are easy and fun to eat, but most people cut them wrong–All you do is cut it in half with a knife and spoon it out. You can send a cut kiwifruit in the lunch box and let your kids scoop out the goodness. Or you can slice it, which are great to snack on or even place on a peanut butter sandwich instead of jelly. Another option is to dice it up for a fruit salad you make at the beginning of the week and pack each day. Kiwifruit is quite versatile. You can also add kiwifruit to your kid’s yogurt for a sweet tangy taste.Zespri_Landing_Hero_Gold

Did you know Zespri kiwifruit is available in two varieties? The Zespri Green kiwifruit is probably what you’re familiar with. The SunGold variety has a sweet, refreshing Tropical flavor and it’s newly available in the U.S. And, two SunGold kiwifruit have 2.5 times the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. Don’t miss out! Zespri kiwifruit are only in season through October. You can find the Zespri brand at Safeway, Whole Foods and Wegman’s– or check with your local grocery retailer. Be sure to visit ZespriKiwi.com for more inspirational recipe ideas.

calraisinsSend the kids to school with a nutritious sandwich or wrap. I love tuna salad, egg salad, and the classic “PBJ”. The sides and snacks you send can be a great way to get fruits and vegetables.
California Raisins
are an all-natural, dried-by-the-sun fruit you can feel good about sending with your kids. The ingredient list says it all: Raisins. They have Zero fat, no cholesterol, no added sugar, California Raisins come by their sweetness naturally. Plus they have fiber, potassium and iron, too!
Convenient and portable, California Raisins are a great choice for wholesome, healthy, on-the-go snacking. Try them on their own or in one of the recipes from Love Your Raisins like the honey nut mix, crunchy cinnamon mix, peanut butter pretzel, or the cocoa peanut raisin mix. California Raisins have a great giveaway happening on their Facebook page for Back To School–if you love raisins check it out!

Choose a “Better Bar”

EnviroKidz Back to School Snacks Giveaway - prize graphicThere are lots of granola bars on the market to choose from. You want to pack a quality bar that tastes good and is good for you. EnviroKidz products come in delicious flavors that kids love like Chocolate and Berry Blast.
Parents can feel good about them because they are organic and non-GMO, which means they are not made from synthetic chemicals or Genetically Modified Ingredients. The entire EnviroKidz line is gluten-EnviroKidz Envirotrip contest graphicfree, so everyone in the family can enjoy them together. They are also whole grain, low fat, and trans-fat free. As part of their ongoing Conservation efforts, EnviroKidz is having a contest where you can win an all-expense paid family trip to Costa Rica to help save the Sea Turtles. Enter at EnviroKidz.com and learn more about their Environmental initiatives.

Hydrate Young Athletes

After school, the real fun begins with after school activities like sports. Pre-fuel those practices with high carbohydrate foods like fresh or dried fruits, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Most kids doing sports are probably going to ask their parents about a sports drink, but not all sports drinks are equal. Body Armor_BRANDEDBODYARMOR is a healthier alternative to other sports drinks because it has no artificial ingredients. It’s made with coconut water and is high in potassium and low in sodium. Most people get enough sodium through their diet and don’t need to get it from sports drinks. BodyArmor has 2.5 times the electrolytes and more vitamins than the other sports drinks on the market. It comes in 6 great tasting flavors fruit punch, orange mango, and strawberry banana so everyone can enjoy!

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or send a tweet to@ScritchfieldRD to share your favorite back to school tips and recipes for keeping the kiddos healthy and happy.

Disclosures: I was compensated by California Raisins, BODYARMOR, Post, Zespri Kiwifruit, and Nature’s Path for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.


Family…It’s What’s For Dinner

In the past 20 years family dinners have declined 33%.

With all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s difficult to contemplate sitting down to a relaxing family dinner each night or even a few times a week.  After all, who has time after a full day of work, sports practice/games, dance, homework, library, laundry, laundry, and laundry? Grocery shopping has to, once again, wait until tomorrow!

Family Meal

As a parent, it’s your job to raise your kids in a way that makes sense to you. Maybe there were some things about your childhood you loved and other things you’d rather not pass on. You focus on “breaking the chain” so things could be different for your kids.

When it comes to food and eating, What are you passing on to your kids? Children who eat with their families are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods and more likely to eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It’s about more than just food and nutrition. Family meals are critical to relationship bonding and connectedness.

Anita Gurian, PhD, a clinical assistant professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine, wrote a fabulous article summarizing why family meals need to be a priority once again.

What is parent-child connectedness? It’s an emotional and mutual bond based on warmth and trust that starts early and has a powerful impact on a child’s development.

read the full article

You don’t find time for family meals, you make it.

There are only so many hours in the day and you decide what gets done and what doesn’t. That’ the fact.

Living in D.C. we have the added stress of the work commute that eats into the day. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is possible. In my personal scenario, my husband works pretty long hours 5 days a week. While he is “supposed” to be off at 4 and home at 5 p.m. during his work week, it rarely happens.

We cope by staying committed to family meals on his off days, usually two a week. We do our best to work his schedule so that he can do another 1-2 workweek dinners. When dinners can’t cut it, we try for breakfast.

The studies have shown that benefits of family meals can be seen at 3 meals a week. If your schedule is like ours, then maybe don’t think so “all or nothing” and make an effort to increase family meals from wherever it is now.

Read About It

51GwUB2118L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_The Hour That Matters Most written by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott with Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna, sheds light on how families can come together each night and reap its benefits.  It has been proven that children who eat at least three meals per week with their family are less likely to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders, and consider suicide—and they are more likely to eat their vegetables, know which fork to use, learn big words, do well in school, feel their parents love them, and delay in having pre-marital sex.

As if this wasn’t enough to give family meals a shot, parents enjoy benefits as well.  When time-starved and stressed-out parents made room for routine family dinner, they reported less stress and strain for themselves and their households.  They felt greater personal success as well as success in relationships with their spouses and kids.  They even felt more kindly toward their workplaces.

Making Family Meals Easier

When you are ready to make the most out of your family meals, I have found that the following suggestions are very helpful:

  • No electronics: Direct your full attention to your family and meal.
  • Spread the responsibility:  Let each family member take a night to plan/prepare meal or if you have little ones, set the table, pour drinks, place napkins. Having the table set before the meal eliminates the need for family members to leave the table to get things after the meal has started.
  • Don’t treat kitchen like a food court:  Prepare one meal.  Make a rule that kids must try everything that’s served to them, but they can decline to finish anything they don’t like. This helps kids try new foods and reduces extra work for the cook.
  • Discuss your day, what went well and what did not go well. Talking is key to getting the most out of the family meal. It may seem like “small talk,” but the value is quite large.
  • Listen and enjoy laughter:  Listening unearths hidden feelings, takes away the fear of feeling, and helps kids solve their problems.  Laughing warms relationships, smooth ruffled feathers, eases frustration and releases tension, besides just plain feeling good! Tell a funny thing that happened when you were a child or a joke. One of my son’s favorite jokes is Q: Why did the dinosaur cross the road?  A: Because the chicken hadn’t evolved yet!

Interesting side note:  our cardiovascular and respiratory systems benefit more from 20 seconds of robust laughter than from 3 minutes on a rowing machine!

It is important to remember to relax.

Not every meal has to be made from scratch.  Take out on paper plates can be just as good, as long as your family enjoys the meal together.  Keep in mind, however, that not every dinner hour is magical.  Sometimes kids (or mom) have an emotional outburst or the meal doesn’t turn out as planned.  Just continue to make an effort and you’ll realize that Family…..It’s What’s for Dinner!

The Case for Eradicating ‘Kid’ Food

Well said, Dr. Katz!  We Must Be Kidding! The Case for Eradicating ‘Kid’ Food encourages parents to resume control of what their children are eating, not to cave in to begging kids on the grocery aisles, relentless advertising, or convenience.

Imagine if baby whales, weaned from milk, didn’t learn to eat krill; they were indulged with sugar-frosted flukes or some such thing. Imagine the fussy eaters among the lion cubs who turned up their noses at wildebeest and held out for mac and cheese. Imagine mama and papa dolphin talking themselves into the need to indulge junior’s apparent aversion to fish. Crackers shaped like fish –fine, but actual fish? Fuhgeddaboudit!

read the full article

I have never understood “kid food” anyway. Shouldn’t kids eat what adults eat? I remember when I was visiting family in California and we asked the little boy what he was in the mood for — he said sushi! How awesome is that? We got sushi and he crushed it!

Feeding Kids What You Eat from the Start

As a new mom myself, I am dedicated to helping my daughter develop her food preferences. In that vein, I have decided to skip the whole “food stages” and spoon feeding purees in favor of providing her with the food I eat when I eat it and allowing her to regulate how much she eats and whether or not she eats, vis a vie Ellyn Satter’s “Division of Responsibility”

So far I can say it is going well after I got over my own “mom fears,” which I fully intend to write about soon. Suffice it to say, it takes some chillin’ out and rollin’ with it. F-L-E-X-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y.

Check her out! She’s only 7 months and she can pack down tomato, sweet potato, and even a lamb slider!


What Parents Can Do Anytime

One of the easiest ways to “eradicate” kid food is to choose quality foods that come into the house in the first place. Three simple grocery shopping tips:

  1. Fill the cart with a variety of unprocessed and minimally processed foods —  fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, fish, beans, nuts, seeds.  You can turn just about any fruit into a delicious snack or sweet dessert.
  2. Check the ingredients label of packaged foods. Can you pronounce them? Even something like potato chips can have few ingredients. However, lots of foods marketed as “kid friendly” or healthy in some way can have lots of colors, flavors, additives, or just hard-to-pronounce ingredients.
  3. Balanced house for balanced plates. After the abundance of fruits and veggies (half plate) and lean proteins (1/4 plate) and whole grains (1/4 plate), of course, there will likely be some dessert or snack foods that don’t get the A+ in nutrition. Pick one or two items to have around and offer them as part of meals.

These simple suggestions can help wipe out ‘kid’ food and pave the way for a healthier tomorrow.

Above all else, be a role model by eating healthy yourself.  Children tend to mimic the people they see daily, so be sure to send them the right message. Eat balanced and eat with them! I’ll be writing about the value of the family meal coming up!