Watch the fire – and the calories – during Hanukka

Hanukka is a time for celebration, but also poses dangers of house fires and significant weight gain.

November 30, 2010 03:46
1 minute read.

hanukka. (photo credit: NASA photo, graphics by Mall Mizrahi)


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Hanukka is a time for celebration, but also poses dangers of house fires and significant weight gain.

Beterem, the National Center for Child Safety and Health, reminds the public that during the eight-day festival, which begins on Wednesday evening, children under the age of nine should not be allowed to light candles alone. The hanukkia (candelabrum) must be left supervised in a place that children cannot reach, and on a nonflammable surface rather than on a tablecloth that can be pulled.

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A Beterem survey, conducted by MarketWatch, of 499 adults, including 237 parents or grandparents of young children, found that 30 percent leave the hanukkia in a place that endangers child safety – at the edge of a table, on a tablecloth, on the floor at the entrance to the home or other places that children can easily reach.

When candles are lit, children’s long hair should be pulled back so it is not set alight by accident; matches should be returned to a safe place; and the candles should not be left near inflammable objects such as curtains, or near chairs or other objects onto which children can climb.

When frying Hanukka doughnuts, one should use the back burner, rather than having a pan with hot oil on the front burner with a handle sticking out, which a child could access.

Aside from these dangers, a single fried, jam-filled doughnut consists of 350 to 450 calories, on average, while chocolate-topped and other fancier ones can have over 500 calories – more than a quarter of the recommended daily caloric intake for an adult. Several small doughnuts have a relatively larger surface area than one large one, and are therefore more fattening and should be avoided. Eating half a regular doughnut is better than two small ones.

Mixing whole-grain or soy flour with ordinary white flour reduces its absorption of oil during frying. Baked doughnuts are less fattening (albeit somewhat less tasty).

A single fried potato latke pancake has between 150 and 200 calories.

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