Stop Food Waste: Don't frighten your kids this Halloween with scarily giant portions

Date released: Oct 21 2011

Don’t Frighten Your Kids This Halloween with Scarily Giant Portions
Stop Food Waste says: Make Halloween a food thriller not a food killer!

With Halloween rapidly approaching and fridges swelling with tubs of spooky shaped jellies, foil wrapped eyeballs and blood red liquorice sticks, the EPA’s Stop Food Waste programme reminds you to be careful once the party is over -- a fridge full of treats can end up straight in the bin to avoid temptation in some more health-conscious households. The STOP Food Waste programme, funded under the EPA National Waste Prevention Programme, advises that a little self-control at Halloween can go a long way towards avoiding food waste.

‘Halloween is the last major festival before Christmas and it is very easy to get carried away with the sweet element of the ‘trick or treat’ ritual – bowls of chocolates, sugar-coated sweets and jellies perched temptingly next to the front door. But like so many times during the year, we buy too much and by the morning the children are so sick of sweets that they end up in the bin to remove temptation,’

says Odile Le Bolloch, Stop Food Waste spokesperson at the EPA.

As well as the arrival of Halloween, October sees the clocks go back and the winter evenings drawing in. The nights are colder and households turn to larger and heavier meals of potatoes, meat and winter vegetables. As the stomach adjusts to the quantity and type of food on our plate we can find ourselves overwhelmed trying to clear the plates in front of us. This is especially the case for our children.


Nightmare quantities...

Perception is key in the relationship between children and food – it can be overwhelming for a child to be presented with an over-flowing plate, knowing that he or she cannot leave the table until the mountain of food is completely finished.
The more sensible option is to reduce the quantity until it appears manageable and offer more if they finish it all, using designs on the plate to make eating fun. Is there anything more exciting than a house made of carrots, a garden with tree broccoli and pea grass!

Measuring Madness...

Kids love to measure and this can be a real positive step in reducing excess in the kitchen – allow your children to pour, count and weigh the food you are about to cook. Measuring can give children a valuable lesson in portion control and be used to educate them on the issue.

‘Involving children in your cooking is definitely one way to ensure they eat the finished product,’ agrees home cook, TV presenter and Stop Food Waste supporter Donal Skehan.

‘It is so exciting to see the finished product of a well prepared meal. The appreciation of what is involved to get the food onto the plate increases and children will feel very proud of their efforts. Explaining where food comes from and how it grows is a fascinating topic for children – it really builds a sense of the wonder of nature and the hard work of all the producers in providing a meal for your child. The last thing they want to do then is waste food,’Donal added.


Lovely leftovers...

Leftovers from adult meals can be a perfect size for a child’s portion. Our eyes are definitely bigger than our stomachs and knowing when to stop eating is vital for healthy living. But leaving food does not have to mean waste – a portion of cold pasta, a few new potatoes or roast chicken sandwiches can make up school lunches the next day.

'Don’t throw out the half eaten apples or bananas – chop up the rest and mix in a small container to make the perfect stewed apple or delicious banana bread. It’s all about being a little creative and looking for opportunities to use what is left – the bin is an easy option but taking a bit of time to recycle what’s safe to use again can dramatically reduce the 100 kilos of food each person in Ireland wastes each year,’ suggests Odile Le Bolloch.

Leftover fruit Recipes from Donal Skehan (also available on the Stop Food Waste Facebook page)

Auntie Ann’s Banana Bread

This recipe comes from my auntie Ann who spent a lot of time in America over the years and has picked up some really great US inspired recipes. This banana bread is deliciously moist and is extremely easy to throw together. I add a little sliced banana on top before it goes into the oven, but if you want you sprinkle some nuts on top or even stir some chopped ones through.

Makes 8 mini loaves or 2 larger loaves
110g butter
190g caster sugar
2 large eggs
240g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 large bananas

The Method

Preheat the oven to 180oC/Gas Mark 4.

Cream the sugar and the butter in a bowl with a hand held mixer until light and pale. Add in one egg and a little flour and mix through, repeat with the other egg and the rest of flour and baking soda, until everything is mixed through and smooth.

Peel the bananas and mash them with the back of a fork. Add them to the bowl with the vanilla extract and mix through.

Pour the mix into a well greased loaf tin and place in an oven for approximately 50 minutes. You can cover it with tinfoil after 25 minutes to stop it browning too much on top if you need too.

Insert a metal skewer into the centre of the loaf and if it comes out clean the banana bread is ready. Remove from the loaf tin and place on a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy with a big cuppa and filthy smile!


Caramel Apple Granola Pots

I admit that this is quite a sweet breakfast but it is quite filling with the addition of granola. You can buy premade granola or else toast some rolled oats with some honey, cinnamon, and raisins in the oven until golden. It will store quite nicely in an airtight jar for use throughout the week so I often make a double batch.

Serves 4
For the caramel apples:
75g of butter
5 tablespoons of golden syrup
3 golden delicious apples, peeled and cored
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

To serve:
Handful of Granola per person
2 tablespoons of Vanilla yoghurt per person

The Method

In a small sauce pan bring the butter and golden syrup to the boil. Allow to simmer and bubble for approximately 4-5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Set aside.

Chop the apples into chunky slices. Melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the apples slices. Sprinkle over the cinnamon and caster sugar, toss to combine.

Fry the apples, tossing every now and then until you get a nice golden colour on all sides and they have become soft (About 3-4 minutes either side). When the apples are ready, add them to the butter and golden syrup sauce and stir gently to combine.

Layer the caramel apples with granola and yoghurt in small glasses and serve straight away.


The STOP Food Waste programme is funded under the EPA National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP). Waste Prevention is the preferred waste management option in Ireland. By not generating waste, we can eliminate the need to handle, transport, treat and dispose of waste. We can also avoid having to pay for these services. In light of the significant issues arising from the disposal of food waste, and the realisation of the costs associated with this, the NWPP Prevention Plan 2009-2012 set out to promote food waste prevention and home composting.