If you have a sweet tooth (as I do), the monthlong leadup to Halloween can be full of temptation. Despite no longer being of age to carry a plastic jack-o-lantern, everywhere from the drug store to the gas station to even the doctor's office seems to be trying to send you home with Reece's Peanut Butter Cups at the checkout counter.
There's nothing wrong with enjoying a few mini chocolates here and there. The key is to make sure that your gut has plenty of other good things to feed on to make up for the onslaught of sugary treats. And edible probiotic critters—the kind found in fermented foods, not creatively shaped gummy candies—are among the best options.
Here are some spooky ideas for your Halloween spread that include these creepy-crawly gut-loving ingredients.
Dragon Bowls with Kefir-Jalapeño Dressing
This veggie bowl can be made spicy with a variety of sauces. But my favorite way to get you breathing fire while at the same time cooling your mouth down is to top veggies and quinoa with a creamy Kefir and jalapeño-based dressing.
Kefir packs even more of a probiotic punch than yogurt, and many brands now make it lactose-free.
Devilish Eggs with Kraut
One of my favorite store-bought fermented foods is kraut, which gives a great acidic crunch to richer foods like eggs. Add a little cayenne or sriracha to your deviled egg filling to make it extra devilish, and top them with a small spoonful of kraut.
You can even use Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise in the filling for extra probiotics!
Meatloaf with Kimchi
Anything that involves tomato sauce (i.e., fake blood) is a homerun on Halloween. This gluten-free ginger meatloaf is made even better with ½ cup of chopped kimchi thrown into the meat mixture.
Heating fermented foods kills some of the beneficial bacteria, but the flavor will be worth it. Make sure to garnish with some extra kimchi to get the health benefits.
Wicked Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Garlicky Yogurt
Feel free to decapitate a jack-o-lantern or use canned pumpkin for this creamy soup. To get your critter fix and make it even more delicious, you can combine 1 cup of full-fat Greek yogurt with one large minced garlic clove and 2 tablespoons lime juice.
Drizzle it over the soup, preferably in the shape of a spiderweb.