Halloween starts the Winter Food Olympics

Halloween begins three months of food events. Open the season with food safety in mind.

Starting with Halloween in October through Super Bowl Sunday in January, there’s one eating event after another for both adults and kids. This could be called the Winter Food Olympics, only these Olympics last for three months!

Halloween is the beginning of the Winter Food Olympics. The games begin with the Halloween Candy Kick-off. All kinds of sweets are collected by kids while trick or treating, at Halloween parties or at community parades and events. Then there is candy at your place of employment, Halloween parties, fall festivals and the list can go on and on as to where we encounter food. This kick-off can be dangerous because it is easy to gain pounds – not yards or lose a few pounds. What could be worse is if someone ends up with a foodborne illness.

Who wins the Winter Food Olympics? Those who maintain their weight and don’t get a foodborne illness. Start training now so a foodborne illness doesn’t weigh you down. Michigan State University Extension has four strategies for you to “kick” around.

  1. Have a game plan. Equip your kids and yourself. Set limits and let your kids know what those limits are. For example, when they are trick-or-treating they are only allowed to eat the food after you have inspected it.
  2. Choose events carefully. Know where your children are so they are safe from physical harm and safe from coming into contact with food that could make them sick. Take bobbing for apples as an example. Due to the nature of the game, where a number of individuals each place their face or entire head into a large bowl of water – it is an unsanitary game to play. A potentially more sanitary variation of the game exists, with the apples hung on string from a line, rather than in a bowl of water. Each person has their own apple on a string. Remember, no hands allowed!
  3. Sink your teeth and kid’s teeth into safe and tasty treats. There are always lots of sweet not so healthy treats, so make sure that at home you always have a supply of naturally sweet, healthier treats like fruit. Clean fruit by rinsing it with lukewarm water, scrub with a clean vegetable brush, rinse again and then dry the fruit with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  4. Enjoy the closing ceremony. Congratulate yourself on getting through the first of the Winter Food Olympics without any foodborne illnesses.

We all win if we take our health and our children’s health more seriously when it comes to food safety during the Winter Food Olympic months.

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