Pumpkin and White Bean Hummus

By Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Photo By Cooking Light
Photo By Cooking Light

Happy Fall! Starbucks’ pumpkin spiced latte doesn’t have to be the only festive food you try this season–this pumpkin hummus might be the perfect addition to your next gathering or family snack time.


1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

2 tbsp tahini

2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/8 tsp salt

1 (15-oz) can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained

2 garlic cloves, chopped


Place all ingredients into food processor, process until smooth (~30 seconds).  Serve and enjoy with pita chips or crunchy veggies!


Original Recipe by Cooking Light can be found here.

What Starts As Name Calling…

Squashing Name Calling before It Becomes Bullying
By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN and Mom

Photo Credit: shinealight via Compfight cc

I am mortified to write this personal account, but I do feel socially obligated to share this experience, as it will help in raising awareness of size shaming/teasing/bullying and how it can easily and almost innocently start at a young age. What seems like petty pestering can lead to unfortunate circumstances. What surprised me was this was happening at such a young age and my own child was involved.


So what was it? Well, calling kids names but names regarding body sizes. With that, I went into my youngest son’s class to make candy apples for Halloween. Keep in mind, I am the dietitian making apples coated in sugar. My kids eat cookies or ice cream almost daily, and my husband and I do our best to focus on discussing health as self-care not weight. Well, I took a handful of the children (all boys) with me to the kitchen for a fun hour of cooking. Making candy apples was a first for me and quite messy but definitely easier to deal with than what was about to transpire. While heating the syrup in preparation to dip the apples, the boys became restless. I don’t know who initiated the teasing (Of course I would hope it wasn’t my son), but I heard it. I heard the boys making fun of one child for his size. They were calling him “fat.” Well, before anything else could happen, I immediately intervened. I let the boys know all body sizes and shapes are great whether one is tall, short, thin, fat, or anything. But they were convinced that fat is bad. The little boy had retaliated with “You are ugly.” My son eagerly reported this. I asked my son if he was ugly, and he said no. This was easy for my son, as ugly is a perception and my son is seemingly body confident (I think, in part, due to his ability to recognize that his body is strong as evidenced by his athleticism,) where as the descriptive word “fat” is slightly more “objective” – in the kids’ minds and in our society, it has more negative associations than the word ugly.


I was shocked and mortified by the above circumstance. The boys quickly forgot about it and moved on, but I wondered if the little boy that was identified as fat internalized the name-calling. I know his mother and let her know what had happened. I also let the class teacher know what had happened so she could handle the class environment. She also said that she would let the other parents of the students involved know. This teacher was sensitive to the issue and did address it with the class as a whole.


To help raise awareness of this issue with children, I recommend the following books in an effort to prevent and/or offer your child a corrective conception of such as situation. My son and I read about body acceptance, via the book called Shapesville, embracing our differences in Stellaluna, and bullying in Chester Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully. Even though my son had read these books with me previously, it was helpful for him to connect the days’ name-calling experience with the books. The teacher and I agreed that the boys had no idea what this could domino into but that it is our job as parents and teachers to ensure it gets squashed beforehand.


As Stellaluna said, “I wish you could see in the dark, too.”

“We wish you could land on your feet,” Flitter replied. “How can we be so different and feel so much alike?”

“And how can we feel so different and be so much alike?” wondered Pip.

“Because we’re friends,” said Stellaluna, “and that’s a fact.”

-Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

Pumpkin-Applesauce Muffins

Even though Halloween has passed, we are still enjoying pumpkin! Take a peek at this delicious recipe from our contributor Christie Caggiani!

Pumpkin-Applesauce Muffins
From the kitchen of Christie Caggiani, RDN, LDN, CEDRD

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12


Serve with a glass of milk or Greek yogurt, and banana or other fruit for a quick breakfast or snack!  These are even better the next day, and they’re a super way to jazz up your kids’ palate when you mix-in some fruits and veggies.



  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup chopped raisins (optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts (optional)


  1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease 12 muffin cups, or line the cups with paper muffin liners.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.  Combine the brown sugar, oil, applesauce, pumpkin, buttermilk, and beaten eggs and mix until well blended.  Pour the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Fold in the raisins and nuts, if desired.
  3. Divide the batter evenly in the prepared muffin pans.  Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool the muffin pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing the muffins from the pan.


Other mix-in options: dried cranberries, granola, apple pieces, chocolate chips, pumpkin or sesame seeds, shredded carrots or zucchini, peanut butter….or get creative and try something new!

The Tricks about Treats

This post was originally published on The Feed Blog, to see the entire article please click here.

By Justine Roth, MS, RD, CDN

Photo Credit: Dave Malkoff via Compfight cc

Children require guidance in all areas of their lives— how to tie their shoes, when to speak in a quiet voice, and, of course, when, what and how to eat. As a parent, I know it is my job to think carefully about the messages I send to my child regarding food to start her on the path towards healthy self-regulation. But even as a dietitian who counsels others on developing a balanced relationship with food, I struggle to navigate this with my toddler.

My daughter loves food. Meal times are not stressful, and in fact are usually very enjoyable.  She usually finishes everything I give her (and that she often picks out) without an issue. If she doesn’t finish a meal, I just assume she wasn’t that hungry to start. But, it is a different story when we are around others. She often asks for food just because she sees friends or family eating it and, unlike most kids who do this but lose interest in the food once they get it, she will usually finish whatever she is given. Sometimes this results in her not feeling well. This is where it gets tricky. Do I give her food every time she asks, so as not to “restrict her,” or do I try to limit excess snacks and food outside of meal times to help her learn to identify her hunger and fullness cues?

Some parents may think I am too strict with my daughter.  The parent of a picky eater, for example, is likely to have different struggles than me – and to arrive at different solutions. Parenting is hard enough without us judging one another. Instead, perhaps we can learn from one another. Because although young, our children are certainly capable of starting to learn about their body and to establish healthy habits, and we must lead the way.

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A Mom & RD's View on Halloween Candy

How Much Halloween Candy Do You Let Your Children Eat?
By Elyse Falk, MS, RD, CDN

My kids, like all of yours, will be trick-or-treating soon.  The age-old questions always arise amongst my friends, “How much candy do you let your kids eat?”  “Do you throw it all out?”  “Do you donate it?” “Do you let them have a little bit of candy all week long?”  “Do you let them have the candy all at once?”

Photo Credit: EJP Photo via Compfight cc

I think my kids are like any other kids and love to eat their treats the night of Halloween.  Heck, I love to eat the candy we are giving out and the candy my kids collect too!   As a family, we know that too much candy in one night will make us feel sick (evidenced by real-life events).  So, I have the kids pick a few pieces to eat on Halloween night, put the rest in zip-lock bags labeled with their names for safe keeping, and place the bags in the pantry closet.  I find that if it’s not spread out on the kitchen counter all day, every day, it’s less likely that they will mindlessly snack on it.  I guess my sons would say that I let them enjoy their Halloween candy but put a limit on it only when the other food groups are being left out.  I may tell them to pair some pieces of candy with a nutrient-rich meal or snack.  Pairing some candy like this is always an option … it gives less value to the candy.


Interestingly enough, as the week progresses, their desire for the candy diminishes.  My truth is that the more I limit it, the more my kids want it.  It’s a great opportunity for them to learn moderation and to always know the candy is there when they want it and that I am not going to make a big deal about it.  If on any one Halloween night they do overeat the candy, it is certain that they will not feel good.  I chalk that up to a teachable moment.  If you treat the topic of the candy more neutrally, with less emotion or judgment, the Halloween candy won’t be a “thing” between you and your children.

Photo Credit: MattL via Compfight cc

Lastly, I believe that eating some candy with your kids is a must!  They need to know that eating a few pieces of candy on Halloween is okay and normal.  This is especially true when you have a child who may have heard sugar and candy is a “bad” food from a friend.  Remember, we as parents are role models.  I hope that we can teach them that there is no “bad” or “forbidden” food and that sometimes, on occasions such as Halloween, it is okay to enjoy some candy.  Happy Halloween!


We only call it treats due to Halloween but they are really candy, food, or food with lower nutrition.

No Tricks, Just Treats!

No Tricks, Just Treats!

Photo Credit: base10 via Compfight cc

Halloween is around the corner and kids are looking forward to trick or treating for their favorite candies! Trick or treating is a great memory for kids to make and can be so much fun, but for children with allergies, the candy they get in their bags matters more than those without them. So your child does not have to miss out on any of the fun, here are some great allergy free options for your favorite witch or goblin!

Though these products are reportedly allergy free, always check labels to make sure!

Photo Credit: Special via Compfight cc

Peanut and Tree Nut Free

  • Skittles
  • Peeps
  • Swedish Fish
  • Altoids Mints, Original & Cinnamon (not Chocolate variety)
  • Mike and Ikes
  • Hershey (plain) chocolate bars, personal size only (not King size, not Minis) 
  • Hershey (plain) chocolate Kisses (not King Size, not Holiday/Seasonal Bags)
  • Laffy Taffy
  • Runts
  • Dubble Bubble gum
  • Tootsie Pops & Tootsie Rolls (anything made by Tootsie) 
  • Junior Mints
  • Smarties
  • Sour Patch Kids – all kinds!
  • Whoppers
  • Sweet Tarts
  • Dum Dum lollipops
  • Jolly Rancher hard candy, lollipops and gummi candy
  • York Peppermint Patties
  • Twizzlers
  • Rolos

These candies contain no wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish or shellfish:

  • Smarties
  • Dots
  • Pixy Stix
  • Ring Pops
  • Skittles
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Mike and Ike
  • Jolly Rancher Hard Candies
  • Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
  • Charms Blow Pops

This year, the Food Allergy Research & Education organization is asking houses offering non-food treats, such as toys, stickers, or crayons, to paint a pumpkin teal to show to parents of young ones with allergies there are safe options available! Check out the initiative here: Teal Pumpkin Project

Photo Courtesy of FARE



We only call it treats due to Halloween but they are really candy, food, or food with lower nutrition.


Halloween Recipe Round-Up

With Halloween less than 2 weeks away, we’ve been searching for some festive recipes and activities to get into the spirit. Luckily there are tons of fun ideas on the internet! Here’s a few that we especially enjoyed:

Banana Ghosts from Weelicious

All you need for this festive snack is some bananas, chocolate chips, and/or raisins! They’re super cute and serve as a healthy after school snack. (Psst! Check out their tangerine pumpkins, too.)

Photo Courtesy of Cooking Light

Bittersweet Chocolate Cookies from Cooking Light

This recipe is a bit more labor intensive than the last, but it serves as a great weekend activity to get the family together in the kitchen!

Photo courtesy of Litehouse Herbs

Litehouse Foods’ Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes from Litehouse Foods

Have a cupcake decorating party and let your kids decorate their pumpkin cupcakes with Halloween themes! This pumpkin spice cupcake recipe from Litehouse Foods makes a great addition to a Halloween party.

For more great ideas, check out CNN’s guide to Healthy Halloween Recipes by clicking here.

A Creative Approach to Food Allergies and Trick-or-Treating

By Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP

*This post was originally published on ASHA’s online blog. The original can be found here.

Photo Credit: Nomadic Lass via Compfight cc

Ever notice how many kids who are in feeding therapy also have food allergies?  With Halloween just around the corner, I’m encountering parents in my practice who are scared to let their food-allergic kids go Trick or Treating.  As their child’s feeding therapist, I try to offer creative strategies to ease their minds and still allow their little munch bug an evening of safe but spooky fun!

Trick or Treat Nirvana (What’s a Parent to Do?) 

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. My neighborhood is a child’s Trick or Treating nirvana; street after street of tightly packed houses, much like enormous Pez® candies crammed inside a spring-loaded Casper the Ghost container. It’s the perfect setting for little fists holding giant plastic pumpkins to collect as many pounds of sugar as humanly possible in the shortest amount of time.  The neighbors are obsessed with decorating their homes to the hilt and consequently our sidewalks are packed with little Batmans, Disney Princesses and giant Rubik’s Cubes negotiating their way to each and every over-the-top decorated home and loading up on anything the neighbor’s offer when the kids shout “TRICK OR TREAT!”

So what’s a parent to do when their child with food allergies so desperately wants to join in on the door to door fun?  Well, keep this in mind: For the kids, Halloween is about ringing a doorbell, shouting “TRICK OR TREAT”,  remembering to say “thank you” as they scurry off to the next house and most of all – giggling non-stop with their friends.  It’s truly about the social experience, and not so much about what gets thrown in the bag.  But for many of my clients, what ends up in their bags is vitally important for safety reasons. Here a few strategies for parents to consider.

Enlist the Help of a Few Neighbors 

1.    Secret Passwords Nobody wants a child to miss out on the big night.  Most friends and neighbors will be thrilled to stash your candy alternatives by their front door.  If your alternative candy needs to be kept separate from other food substances,  be sure to let them know.  If your child is old enough and/or you are not present,  just tell them that  Mrs. Smith needs to hear the secret password (e.g. “monster mash”) because she is saving something just for them.  The last thing you want is Mrs. Smith accidentally giving some random fairy princess your child’s special allergen free candy!

Photo Credit: Will Montague via Compfight cc

2.    Create a “TREASURE HUNT” with clues that lead your little pirate to the buried treasure where X marks the spot.  Give ten clues to ten neighbors; use brown grocery bag paper, black ink and even singe the edges for that authentic “treasure map” look.  Each piece of paper provides the next clue on where to go:  “Yo ho ho, ye pirate gents! Go to the next house with the white picket fence!”  Little do they suspect that the 10th clue will send them back to their own house, where they will discover a giant X and a special treasure buried beneath, just for them!

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We only call it treats due to Halloween but they are really candy, food, or food with lower nutrition.

Fun with Fall Flavors!

Fun with Fall Flavors!

With Halloween around the corner and the weather cooling down, there’s nothing better than mixing the wonderful flavors of fall into all your cooking! Chia pudding is a delicious and nutritious breakfast, but here I’ve switched it up and used Qi’a superfood blend, a combination of chia, buckwheat, and hemp seeds, to make a harvest breakfast pudding great for warming bellies on cold mornings!  

Photo courtesy of Natures Path

Qi’a Pudding
Serves 1


  • 2 tablespoons Qi’a Superfood Mix
  • ½ cup almond milk (or your favorite milk)
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (plus more for garnish)
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice


Combine Qi’a, almond milk, and pumpkin puree; let stand for five-ten minutes. In blender, mix Qi’a mixture, spices, and vanilla and blend until smooth. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!

Litehouse Foods' Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes

Halloween is fast approaching. Get ready with this festive recipe courtesy of our friends at Litehouse Foods!

Photo courtesy of Litehouse Foods


  • 4 eggs
  • ½ c. vegetable oil
  • ½ c. plain yogurt or applesauce
  • 15 oz. pure pumpkin puree (from 1 can)
  • 2/3 c. apple juice or water
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 2 ½ c. flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ground clove
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 c. butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
  • 2 2lb. bags powdered sugar
  • 1 16oz. tub Litehouse® Butterscotch Caramel Dip  plus more for decorating
  • 6 Tbsp. heavy cream



  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, yogurt, pumpkin puree, juice, and sugar.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until just combined.
  6. Pour ¼ c. of batter into each cupcake liner.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from pan and allow to cool completely.
  8. Repeat with remaining batter, makes 3 dozen cupcakes.
  9. In the bowl of a standing mixer whip the butter and Litehouse Butterscotch Caramel Dip until light and fluffy.
  10. With the mixer on low speed add the powdered sugar ½ a bag at a time, adding 1 Tbsp. of the cream after each sugar addition.
  11. Mix until fully combine before adding the next ½ bag of powdered sugar.
  12. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of cream and mix on high speed until light and fluffy.
  13. Decorate cupcakes!