Diet Detectives helping with Halloween

Dear Diet Detectives,

Halloween is coming up and I am having a Halloween party at my house to celebrate the holiday and I am at a loss for healthy recipes I can use. All I am coming up with are the typical festive desserts and I can’t figure out what festive, but healthy, appetizers/meals there are to serve. Please help me! Thank you for your help!

-Stacy R.

Stacy, you are in luck! There are numerous healthy options you can make for your party. One of our favorite spooky treats would have to be a festive Halloween veggie tray. This is something you can do by just arranging fruits/veggies in a spooky design and serve with a delicious hummus that you can either make from scratch or buy premade at the store. This is a wonderful appetizer that you can put out for all of your guests to enjoy. Healthy but also festive so it should work great for the party!

As far as meal options go, if you are looking for a healthy/spooky dinner idea, we have a great suggestion for you. These are some absolutely delicious and adorable stuffed orange peppers. Not only are they delicious, they also resemble miniature jack-o’-lanterns. Perfect for a Halloween occasion! These peppers are stuffed with brown rice, ground turkey and lots of delicious herbs and spices. Everyone will love these nutritious and festive little jack-o’-lantern treats. Not to mention, the most time consuming part of making these is carving the faces into the peppers… the filling takes a mere 15 minutes.

Now on to dessert! We know you said you had a lot in mind but we would love to finish this with a healthy dessert option. What is our favorite Halloween food item? I think for the majority of us it has to be, pumpkin! With that being said, it’s one of the healthiest fall food options out there. Pumpkins are heart-healthy and filled with antioxidants, potassium, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium.  These spice pumpkin cookies will be great for everyone to snack on at the end of the night. This recipe is heart-healthy, diabetic approved, low calorie, low carb, low sodium and low fat.

We hope that these ideas help you in deciding what you want to serve your guests at your Halloween party.

Stuffed Turkey Peppers


1 pound 93% lean ground turkey

1 garlic, minced

1/4 onion, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 large orange peppers, washed

1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

Olive oil spray

6 tablespoons part-skim shredded cheddar cheese


Heat oven to 400°F.

Lightly spray olive oil spray in a medium nonstick skillet and heat on medium heat.

Add onion, garlic and cilantro and saute about 2 minutes, add ground turkey, salt, garlic powder, cumin and cook meat for 4 to 5 minutes until meat is completely cooked through.

Add 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, mix well and simmer on low for about 5 minutes.

Combine cooked rice and meat together.

Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, and remove all seeds. Carve the face. Spoon 2/3 cup meat mixture into each pepper half and place in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Top each with 1 tablespoon cheese.

Pour the remainder of the chicken broth on the bottom of the pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes.

Carefully remove the foil and serve right away.

Spiced Pumpkin Cookies


1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 large eggs

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

¾ cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree

¼ cup canola oil

¼ cup dark molasses

1 cup raisins


Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 3 baking sheets with cooking spray.

Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg in a large bowl. Whisk eggs, brown sugar (or Splenda), pumpkin, oil and molasses in a second bowl until well combined. Stir the wet ingredients and raisins into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Drop the batter by level tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies 1½ inches apart.

Bake the cookies until firm to the touch and lightly golden on top, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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MATC West Allis Campus.