HEALTHY LIVING: Make some healthy diet choices for Halloween and fall

Published on Monday, 21 October 2019 18:11
Written by Jessica Richardson, RD, CD-N

Bristol Health

Fall is not only the season of Halloween but also the season of everything pumpkin-pumpkin spiced lattés, pumpkin pie, and the list could go on and on. So why not turn your regular chili into a healthier version using pumpkin? This month the featured recipe is turkey pumpkin white bean chili. All you need is a sauté pan and crockpot or an instant pot (see link below full recipe). What makes this recipe of healthier version than your normal chili? Let’s start off with the main ingredients: pumpkin puree, ground turkey, navy or white northern beans, and low sodium chicken broth.

Pumpkin puree is a low calorie ingredient packed with nutritional benefits such as fiber, Vitamin A, and Iron. Fiber aides in digestion, lowering cholesterol and glucose control. Vitamin A helps with vision, bone and cell growth. Iron has many functions such as being part of the process to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of our body. Pumpkin puree also creates a creamy texture and can be used to replace oil, butter or eggs in recipes.

Ground turkey is a lower calorie and fat alternative to ground beef along with higher protein content. A 4 ounce serving of 99 percent lean ground turkey contains 120 calories, 28 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat, whereas, most people tend to make beef chili with 80 percent lean beef which a 4 ounce serving contains 280 calories, 19 grams of protein and 22 grams of fat.

Navy beans are low calorie and add additional nutritional value to this meal including protein, fiber, iron, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. To reduce total sodium in the recipe, use low sodium (rinse and drain) or no salt added cans of beans.

Regular chicken broth usually ranges from 500-800 mg of sodium per serving which is almost half of your entire daily recommended sodium intake. A heart healthy choice would be to use a low-sodium or no added salt chicken broth that has less than 140 mg of sodium per serving.

In comparison to your average beef chili, this turkey pumpkin white bean chili is under 300 calories, less than 500 mg of sodium, high in protein and fiber and low in fat and sugar. These ingredients also include a blend of spices, creating a warm, creamy and cozy meal for fall. Being mindful of your ingredients and getting creative with your recipes can promote a healthy weight and heart.

For the full recipe and nutritional content, please go to the following link:

I also want to share with you some tips for a healthier you during Halloween:

Halloween trick-or-treat alternative ideas:

● Single-serve popcorn bags

● Natural fruit bars

● Mini boxes of dried fruit such as raisins

● Single-serve trail mix

● Clementines

● Granola bars

● 100 calorie pack cookies

● 100 calorie pack nuts

What to do with leftover candy:

● Halloween candy buy back programs (

● Donate (Treats for Troops, Operation Shoebox, Operation Gratitude)

● Make your own trail mix

● Bring to work

● Host a fundraiser

● Crafts (such as gingerbread house or school project)

● Gifts, other holidays, next Halloween (if not expired)

Jessica Richardson, RD, CD-N, is a clinical dietitian with Bristol Health.

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News on Monday, 21 October 2019 18:11. Updated: Monday, 21 October 2019 18:14.