Archive for March, 2009

A Great Way to Improve Your Child’s Nutrition

Favorite foods?  Most children don’t list carrots and broccoli at the top of their list. They would much prefer a chocolate chip cookie or a peanut butter sandwich to a dish of hot steamed vegetables. If you have run out of ideas to get your child to eat more vegetables, you may be interested in the results of a new study. It shows a unique and very effective way to motivate children to eat more vegetables instead of just pushing them around on their plate.

Motivation for good child nutrition

This study was carried out by a group of child nutrition researchers at Cornell University and showed that four-year-old preschoolers ate more vegetables when the vegetables were given catchy, funny, child-friendly, names such as “super sonic spinach” or “topsy turvy tomatoes”, for example. It seems these types of names resonate with children and inspire them to eat the same vegetables they previously would have ignored.

In child nutrition there is power in words

In this study when vegetables were given names and presented to a group of pre-school kids, the four-year-olds ate fifty percent more than when the vegetables were called by their standard names. While this may sound silly to adults, as it turns out, adults aren’t immune to the power of names either. When menu items at restaurants are given fancier, more descriptive names, sales of these items tend to go up. It seems that there is power in words, particularly when it comes to encouraging your children to eat more vegetables.

Your child will be asking for seconds

Would this clever naming trick work in your own house? Start by choosing a healthy vegetable and before preparing it for your child, give it a nifty new name. Try to relate the name to something your child enjoys such as a favorite television show, cartoon character, comic book character, or a sports name. This will help your child better identify with it. When your child sits down to dinner, encourage him to help himself to the “power peas” and “blast off broccoli”. To your delight, you may find your child asking for seconds instead of struggling to eat the first plate. And more vegetables mean more antioxidants to help keep your child healthy.

Although this child nutrition study was conducted on four-year-old children, there’s no reason to think the renaming game won’t encourage children of all ages to eat more vegetables. Give it a try in your house and see if doesn’t inspire your own children to eat more veggies with less of a fuss.

Find more help to get children to eat healthy ant Child n’Parent.

By:  Dr. Kristi

Add comment March 17th, 2009

Is It Safe for Your Child to Eat Apple Seeds?

Did your mom ever tell you not to eat apple seeds or an apple could grow in your stomach? Well, your mom may have been right. You shouldn’t eat apple seeds, but it’s not because of the apple tree. Apple seeds contain substances called cyanogenic glycosides (a cyanide containing compound) which could cause health problems if consumed in very high quantities. Apple seeds aren’t the only fruit seeds that contain cyanide, so do the seeds of peaches, apricots, cherries, and raspberries, to name a few. It’s quite likely you’ve swallowed a few apple seeds in your life, if they’re poisonous, why didn’t you experience any serious symptoms?

Cyanide ?
Cyanogenic glycosides, as the name suggests, contains cyanide attached to a sugar molecule. When this compound is acted on by an enzyme, the sugar molecule is cleaved off, leaving behind the well known poison, cyanide. The truth is if you were to eat apple seeds in large quantities, they could kill you, but in most cases, the seeds pass through the digestive system without releasing significant amounts of cyanide unless you chew on them to release the toxin.

Even if some poison is released from the seeds, your body has the capability of neutralizing small amounts of cyanide and you probably wouldn’t experience serious effects unless you were to eat apple seeds in very high amounts.

Unfortunately, a small child or a pet may not be so lucky. It might not take a large number of apple seeds to cause symptoms in a child or pet which means you should avoid giving your pets apples unless you remove the seeds. The same applies to children.

What kind of symptoms would develop if you were to eat apple seeds to the point of toxicity? You might experience neurological symptoms including seizures, headache, lightheadedness, and dizziness along with fluctuations in heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Vomiting and excessive salivation could occur. If you consumed enough seeds, you might develop severe breathing problems followed by respiratory failure and death. Because of the large quantity of seeds needed to poison a human, this isn’t commonly seen, although animals are not infrequently affected.

The bottom line? You probably shouldn’t panic if you swallow a few apple seeds. Just make sure your children and pets don’t eat apple seeds. (or other fruit seeds and pits).

Whatever you do – keep giving the kids those seedless apples! They’re a healthy source of fiber and antioxidants.

More great children’s health help at Child n’Parent.

Pregnant?  We can help!   Check our fun to read ebook “My Bloomin Belly.”

Dr. Kristi

Add comment March 4th, 2009


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