Tagged: Halloween

How to Donate Halloween Candy to Operation Gratitude

Operation GratitudeHalloween is arguably the most unhealthy day of the year.  Tonight, children across the country will travel door-to-door collecting approximately 1.9 billion dollars worth of sugar and empty calories.  While Halloween is a special, once-a-year celebration, donating most of your child halloween candy to Operation Gratitude can be a way to limit candy consumption while creating a teachable moment about the importance of giving back.

Operation Gratitude is volunteer-based organization that annually sends 100,000 care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to US Service Members deployed in hostile regions.  It is encouraged to include donations of dental hygiene products along with candy.

Plan, Prepare and Promote the Event

(1) Share this article with friends on Facebook and schedule a convenient neighborhood meeting place time this weekend.

(2) Put candy away until the weekend.  Tell your kids you have a big surprise.

(3) Purchase heavy-duty, durable boxes no larger than 24 x 24 x 20 (weight not to exceed 50 lbs. per box)

At the Event

(4)  Bring neighborhood kids together and show them this video to introduce Operation Gratitude.  Tell them how they can use their Halloween candy to give back.

(5) Have kids write letters of gratitude to the soldiers to include in with the donations.

(5) Have kids divide their candy into keep bags (no more than 25%) and donate bags (at least 75%).

(6) From the donate bags, have kidsseparate chocolate candy and all other candy into separate boxes marked “Chocolate” or “Non-Chocolate.” (Remove all pixy sticks, as they cannot be donated)

(7)  Adults should fill out this donation form to include with the boxes of candy.  (Remember the box should not exceed fifty pounds).

(8)  Send or deliver your candy donations by Mid-November to:

Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
Halloween Candy
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Attn: Rich Hernandez
Phone: 262-674-7281 (262-OPGRAT-1)

If you would like confirmation of delivery on your shipment to us prior to receipt of our acknowledgment letter, please use the tracking system provided by your shipper.

(9) Make sure to reward kids with praise to reinforce the good behavior


Keep It Seasonal: Pumpkins

Pumpkins:  healthy, not scary!

Pumpkins: healthy, not scary!

Pumpkins are more than just props to ward off evil spirits on chilly October nights.  The popular Halloween gourd also happens to be ultra-versatile, ultra-delicious and ultra-healthy.  According to this article from the Huffington Post, pumpkin contains over 200% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A, which is – like other orange-colored vegetables – converted from beta-carotene.  Even better, pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses as well, containing magnesium, zinc, and plant-based Omega-3 fats, which combine to offer a wide range of benefits to your heart and immune system.

Photo courtesy of TLC’s Pumpkin Patch Pictures.

Trick or Treat: Homemade Soup Instead of Pizza on Halloween

Jennifer Lynds' "Bride of Frankenstein" Wedding Soup

Jennifer Lynds’ “Bride of Frankenstein” Wedding Soup

When it comes to pizza sales nationwide, Halloween comes in second only to Super Bowl Sunday.  Don’t get me wrong, the occasional take-out pizza is a quick fix crowd-pleaser that comes in handy once in awhile.  But I’m convinced that on Halloween, arguably the unhealthiest day of the year, it pays to plan ahead and prepare a fast, healthy dinner to counter all those sugary treats.

Yes, yes I understand that Halloween is a once-a-year celebration.  But the chilly nighttime weather combined with all that excess sugar makes it even more more important to fill our kids with a warm, nourishing dinner before trick-or-treating.  This year, I’m making my “Bride of Frankenstein” Wedding Soup a week in advance, freezing it, and throwing it in the crock pot on the morning of.  Made in advance, this festively-named soup is an easy alternative to pizza, a perfect Halloween dinner for your little ghosts and goblins

I’ve posted my recipe below.  If you can get away with it, add cabbage to the soup to help stabilize your kids’ blood sugar levels.  And be sure to stop by again next week for a fun, engaging, and patriotic idea to manage your kids candy stashes.

1Aisle Supermom Jennifer Lynds

Jennifer Lynds is a mother of three (Jack, 6; Mark, 8; Rachel, 12) from Warren, PA.  Her approach to healthy eating includes obtaining the majority of her food locally and minimizing food waste.


Bride of Frankenstein Wedding Soup

1 qt organic chicken stock
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1/2 medium onion diced
1 garlic clove, diced
1/2 lb of chicken or chicken meatballs (recipe to follow)
Israeli couscous or small sized pasta
Various herbs
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

Heat oil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add onions, carrots and celery. Sauté vegetables for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1-2 additional minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add chicken. Cook for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. At this point you could serve the soup, place it in the crock pot on low or cool it and freeze it.

Before serving, cook the couscous or pasta according to package directions.  Portion cooked post into individual bools, add soup, and top with and top with fresh parsley or basil.

Chicken Meatballs

Ground chicken
1 egg
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 Clove garlic diced or shredded
Salt and pepper
Splash of water

Add all ingredients and mix well. Add just enough bread crumbs to bind – not dry out – mixture.  Add to boiling stock. Cook for 20 min or until cooked thoroughly.

From the Editor: We’re All In This Together

Dustin NewcombeI started working with Derin Oyekan on 1Aisle back in March when it was a far different concept.  The evolution of 1Aisle is a testament to Derin’s openness and his desire to create something bigger than himself.  I’m honored to be working with him to make healthy eating easy, accessible, and fun.

My personal relationship with food has always been contentious at best.  I guess you could say my problems began with my grandmother.  I did work for her – cleaned gutters, shoveled snow, raked leaves, and mowed lawns, etc. – and she rewarded me with as much food as I could eat.  Later, food provided instant comfort through some trying years in high school, that is before I quit eating altogether and lost 50 pounds in three months.

Since high school, my weight has fluctuated greatly as I’ve struggled to improve my love-hate relationship with food.   My work with 1Aisle is more than just a motivation to get healthy;   it’s an obligation, a commitment, a source for integrity.  While my journey is still in its early stages, the confidence that comes from community involvement is already a clear game changer.  When it comes to food, we all have different goals, different tastes, different skills, and different philosophies.  Despite our differences, we’re all 1Aislers and we’re all in this together.

This week is a particularly exciting one for 1Aisle.  In addition to recipes and tips spotlighting sunchokes and avocados, we’re featuring a breast cancer survivor for whom healthy eating has played an important role in recovery, newlyweds who have managed to successfully reconcile their very different healthy-eating philosophies, and our resident supermom who offers a healthy alternative for rushed Halloween dinners,  Plus, there’s a sneak preview of the 1Aisle mobile application.

If you’re interested in sharing your own healthy-eating story, please e-mail me at dustin@1aisle.com.  I am thrilled to share this exciting journey with you!

Happy, healthy eating,

Dustin Newcombe
1Aisle Editor