Enjoy Halloween candy, but skip tummy aches
Halloween usually is eagerly anticipated among children. It can be a difficult day for parents, though. Safety is a concern and so is too much candy.
Karen Blakeslee, Kansas State University Research and Extension Rapid Response Coordinator, who spends her days answering questions about food and food safety, also has some practical ideas about managing the plethora of ghoulish goodies.
Put the candy in perspective. It's not advisable to eat too much of any food, says Blakeslee, who offered this advice for parents:
- Provide a sandwich or light meal before a child goes trick-or- treating. If hunger is satisfied, a child will be less likely to sample candy away from home, she says.
- Once home, help a child sort treats. Check candy wrappers to see if they are intact, and discard loose candy or anything else that looks suspect, Blakeslee says.
"There was a time when homemade cookies or a caramel apple would have been welcomed as a Halloween treat. Since many people are not well acquainted with their neighbors, it may be best to discard homemade foods," she says.
A familiar food safety rule applies: When in doubt, throw it out.
- Plan, together with your children, how the candy cache can be enjoyed. "People usually have a favorite or two. After sampling a bit, consider freezing candy bars for future use and storing hard candy in an airtight container for another day," Blakeslee says.
Incorporating holiday candy as a dessert or occasional treat over several weeks can spread out the candy and the calories, and also extend the holiday mood, she says.