Halloween is just the beginning of many fall and winter holidays to come over the next few months. Holiday events include many social activities and provide many opportunities for family fun together.

Halloween is just the beginning of many fall and winter holidays to come over the next few months. Holiday events include many social activities and provide many opportunities for family fun together.

Food is often a big part of these holiday activities and family get-togethers. Assuring that family members eat healthy throughout these holiday events, meals, and snacks can be a challenge.

Kansas State University Research & Extension nutrition specialists suggest several ways to keep the holiday season healthy for your children.

• Plan a sandwich or a light meal before trick or treating, a family gathering, or a delayed meal. If children are satisfied, they may be less likely to choose unhealthy foods.

• Have healthy snacks available, such as fresh fruit or veggies with low-fat dips and crackers.

• When sweet treats have been given at the activity, help children sort their candy and encourage a selection of just one or two items.

• Store the remaining candy out of sight. Candy bars can be frozen and hard candy should be stored in an airtight container. Limit the number of items they may have each day, thereafter.

• Try not to make food an issue. Once candy is out of sight, children may forget it. If parents can avoid making too much of a child’s one-time food choice, food issues may be able to be avoided.

• Focus holiday activities around the fun and fellowship of the event or family gathering, rather than food and sweet treats.  Head outside after the mealtime and enjoy some robust physical activities. Create holiday memories and traditions from the fun times spent together.

Safe Halloween treats
For those treats that are such a tradition on Halloween, parents need to be sure that they are safe. If you are trick-or-treating this Halloween, health and safety experts with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provide the following safety tips.

• Teach children not to eat candy until it has been inspected at home.

• Tell children not to accept, or eat, anything that has not been commercially wrapped.

• Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as unusual appearance or discoloration, or tears in the wrapper. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.

• Parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.

Have a safe and enjoyable Halloween! Create memories and traditions through family fun times together!