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Halloween, an annual torture for parents of young children

OK here we go!

The Halloween candy is in the stores, making shopping trips torturous for all parents everywhere.

It’s normally placed at kid-height to capitalise on pester-power. As parents, we know we shouldn’t give in but after a long, long day at work and 45 requests to buy the giant bag of trick o’ treats, the answer is sometimes “yes”. Argh! I’ve often wondered if candy should be placed on the top shelf where it’s out of sight, out of mind. Not a smart sales tactic, but pretty great ethics. Most people WANT to be healthy, but it’s hard to make consistently good choices when the food environment doesn’t support that.

The trick of course is to try and shift to a mindset where you genuinely don’t want the candy. It’s my ultimate goal every time I teach Nutrifit – to try and get people to a place where they are making the healthy choice because they want to, not because they have to. In order to get there we need 1) a solid education so people understand the WHY behind the protocols and 2) really delicious recipes or product tips that make healthy eating something you look forward to.

One of the tips I give my clients is to try and choose carbohydrates that also give you a dose of immune-boosting, anti-ageing, nourishing antioxidants. So, instead of crackers with dip try carrots, or replace white rice with butternut squash or pumpkin. The vibrant colour is indicative of those all-important antioxidants and makes your plate look much prettier too.

Of course with Halloween right around the corner, pumpkin is everywhere right now. Eating in season feels great from an environmental perspective and studies show improved nutrient density too. Win-win! The only problem with pumpkin is that I sometimes find it goes soggy when I roast it. I prefer it a little crispy and then melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. It’s so good when it’s right!

I recently learnt that the trick is to roast on a pretty high heat and to make sure the pieces are well spread out on the tray. This leads to crispy perfection (but not blackened, because we don’t want those carcinogens please and thank you).

I absolutely love this recipe. It’s colourful, nutritious and packed full of flavour. Some people think fruit doesn’t belong in salad, so if you’re one of those weirdos (joking!) then just replace the strawberries with baby tomatoes – although that’s still a fruit, ha ha.

As the pumpkin and strawberries provide carbs, you don’t need a starch to make this a meal. Simply serve it with a quality protein such as grass-fed steak, local fish or organic chicken. Vegetarians could add goats cheese and pumpkin seeds. Vegans could add baked tofu. It’s super-versatile. Enjoy!

Pumpkin, Strawberry & Spinach Salad


1 large wedge of pumpkin, peeled and chopped (seeds removed)

Cinnamon, chilli powder, salt and pepper – for dusting

2 cups strawberries, chopped

1 large bag of spinach

Light olive oil – to spray the tray

Extra virgin olive oil – for dressing

Balsamic or Apple Cider vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 425F

2. Chop the pumpkin into 1 inch chunks. Spray or rub a large baking sheet with light olive oil. Dust the pumpkin with a little salt, pepper, cinnamon and chilli powder. Bake well-spaced out for up to 30 mins, tossing once, until the chunks are crispy outside and soft on the inside. Once cooked, cool on the counter top.

3. Pop the strawberries and spinach in a large bowl. Once the pumpkin has cooled a little but is still warm, add it to the leaves. Spritz with the EVOO and a little vinegar and then toss gently together. Some of the spinach leaves with wilt a little with the heat and that’s fine.

4. Enjoy!

5. Note: Avocado is an amazing addition here if you fancy it!

Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

Halloween candy makes grocery shopping difficult for parents everywhere

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Published October 15, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated October 14, 2021 at 2:59 pm)

Halloween, an annual torture for parents of young children

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