October is a time for ghosts and goblins but it's also a time to beware of some scary foods that registered dietician Kathrynne Holden calls "Health Horrors". After surveying a number of dieticians and other food experts, these are some of the foods that tops the list of "food horrors":
1. Frightful Fried Foods -- These would include many of the odd concoctions that have appeared at festivals and state fairs in recent years. Each year it seems to be a contest to see what can be the strangest thing to drop in a fryer and then sell to the public. It started a few years ago with turkeys and Twinkies and has expanded to deep fried Oreos, Coca-Cola, etc....
2. Big, Bigger and Biggest Burgers -- There seems to be no end to the amount of calories that can be fit onto a bun. Best advice to dieters or those who want to remain healthy, is to order your sandwich from the kid's menu and resist the temptation to up-size your order for just a few cents more.
3. Diet-Demolishing Drinks -- The problem with high-calorie drinks is that they go down easily, and don't tend to fill you up. It's not just sodas made with sugar, but also coffee drinks and smoothies that can really add lots of calories without being obvious.
4. Mammoth Mall Munchies -- That you smell and start wanting as you walk from store to store. These could be the aromatic cinnamon rolls, or giant pretzels and cookies. Best to avoid all together or at least share with a couple of friends or family members, so you don't eat the whole thing!
5. Dining-Out Disasters and Stupendous Serving Sizes -- Fifteen years ago it was frightening to see individual servings of fettuccine alfredo that topped 1,500 calories, but the trend has only gotten worse. Some restaurants even serve dishes on their children's menus that have more calories than are recommended for adults for an entire day.
It is no surprise to anyone that serving sizes whether it is a muffin, salad, entrée or dessert are nearly always larger than recommended. One way to fight this trap is to share a meal or cut it in two and put half in a "doggie bag" and take home for tomorrow's lunch.
Do "Food Horrors" really matter? Nutritionist and dieticians surveyed by Holden agree that they do. Many Americans were raised to clean their plates, so we when served a portion that is too big, the temptation is there to eat more than is needed.
Another factor is that more and more of us are eating out more often, so we're not only exposed to the giant servings but begin to think of them as 'normal'.
Knowing more about the food you're offered helps, and so does having a plan in advance. For more information about nutrition and or food safety, contact the Putnam County Office of the Purdue Extension Office at 653-8411.
Second annual Children's Halloween Festival sponsored by Putnam County Extension Homemakers is scheduled for noon to 3 p.m. on Oct. 29 at the Fairgrounds Community Building. Admission is free with a donation. Children are encouraged to bring a gently used book to exchange. Festival will include food, drinks, games and costume contest. The program is designed for children up to age 12 and must be accompanied by an adult.
For more information about the Halloween Festival, contact Jessie McFarland at 653-5610
Oct. 24-28 -- Extension Office Relocation
Oct. 25 -- 4-H Volunteer Meeting at Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 29 -- Halloween Festival Noon to 3 p.m. at the Fairgrounds
Nov. 5 -- 4-H Member Achievement and Volunteer Recognition Program, Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 8 -- Office Closed for Election Day
Nov. 16 -- Cooking 101 "COOKIES" at Area 30 Career Center. Cost $2; reservations necessary. Call Extension Office at 653-8411 to attend.
Nov. 29 -- Extension Annual Meeting, Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m.