Study: Kids’ peers may help them eat more veggies

Kid eating carrotsWhat kids think their peers are eating may matter for how many vegetables they’re eating, suggests a new study. The study was published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity and could have an impact for cancer prevention decades later. Healthy eating habits can reduce risk of kids being overweight adults, and excess body fat is a cause of ten cancers for adults.

For this small study, 143 children ages 6-11 were recruited from North-West England and brought in individually for what they thought was a study of game-playing ability.

Children were shown a participant information sheet of six fictitious previous participants that included general information as well as the amount of carrots each child ate during the session. The carrots column either read “all” (high intake group), “none” (low intake group); the column was blank or omitted in two control groups. Children were also presented with a bowl. The bowl contained one carrot in the high intake group, was nearly full of carrots in the low intake group, and was filled with pens for the control groups. Continue reading

Five Ways to Use Leftover Halloween Candy that Could Even Be Healthy


10762288_sNow that Halloween has come and gone, it’s time for the annual question: what to do with the leftover treats your kids have racked up? Here are a few creative ways to use that candy, from quick snacks to science projects, that are both fun and educational.

1. Cereal and Nut Mix
This can be a delicious and healthful snack to make with kids. Use a mix of whole-wheat cereal, nuts – and this year – some of your Halloween candy. Whether you enjoy candy corn or crispy chocolate bars, adding small amounts make a creative addition to the whole-grain cereal and nut mixture. This would be a great snack for Thanksgiving dinner—you’re going to need something to hold you over while the turkey is baking!

2. Piñata
Do you have an upcoming party that will feature a piñata? Save that Halloween candy! No need to buy more when you have leftovers. Use it to fill the piñata and enjoy! Continue reading

DIY Plant Science: Grow Your Own Purple Carrots in 10 Steps

Last month we wrote about how plant scientists are developing these colorful new varieties of vegetables that contain different cancer-preventing phytochemicals.10520568_s

For the article, I spoke with Philip Simon, PhD from the University of Wisconsin who first introduced the anthocyanin-packed purple carrot in 1992. One of the best things I learned from my talk with Dr. Simon is that with a little bit of time and patience we can recreate the process at home! This can be a great activity for kids and adults alike.

The first step in the plant breeding process is to get the vegetables to flower. For most vegetables such as peppers or squash, flowers are the norm (think, stuffed squash blossoms). For carrots and other root vegetables, flowering is a bit more involved. They only flower after being exposed to cold. So, here’s what you do:

Step 1: Buy a bunch of carrots with the green tops on; chose both purple and orange.

Step 2: Cut off the tops of the greens leaving about an inch of green stem Continue reading