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POSTED: Tuesday, January 7, 2014, 5:30 AM
Filed Under: Beth Wallace | Nutrition
A quarter for a carrot? (iStockphoto)

Parents have tried it all when it comes to getting their children to eat vegetables, and it seems that there is no end to their creativity. After making them into fries, hiding them in desserts, and sometimes begging for their consumption, it seems like there is no consistent way to ensure that your children are eating the recommended 1 to 3 cups of fresh vegetables daily to provide the necessary nutrients for their growing bodies.

A recent study from Brigham Young University and Cornell in Public Health Nutrition took a bit of a creative risk in finding a solution to the lack of veggie consumption by paying children to eat their vegetables. Yes, literally paying children. The study, aimed to determine if children would be motivated to eat more of the vegetables designated by the new federal school lunch regulations, offered children a nickel, quarter, or a raffle ticket towards a larger prize if they consumed the vegetables served to them.

Research suggests that a new federal rule has prompted the nation’s schools to serve an extra $5.4 million worth of fruits and vegetables each day, but it's also been found that about $3.8 million of that ends up in the garbage daily. The authors found that the small rewards induced big results: it increased vegetable consumption by 80 percent, and reduced waste by 33 percent. 

POSTED: Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 5:30 AM
Filed Under: Beth Wallace | Nutrition | Viruses

In the last several weeks, it’s become quite evident that viral season is upon us.  With the turn in the weather comes a rise in both respiratory and gastrointestinal (stomach) viruses.   Though it would be impossible to eliminate all viruses coming your child’s way, frequent hand washing, getting enough sleep, and proper nutrition is essential in helping their immune system resist a cold or stomach virus. 

There isn’t one single food that has been proven in warding off all viruses, but the combination of these foods below can help in giving your child’s immune system a fighting chance.

Five Foods to Fight Viruses

  1. Low-fat Yogurt: Much of our body’s immune protection comes from our intestinal tract.  Yogurt is a natural source of probiotics which helps to promote healthy intestinal barrier to resist harmful bacteria.  Though the exact connection is not exactly understood, several studies have found that children who ate yogurt daily had a reduction in respiratory viruses.
  2. Sweet Potatoes: These delicious dinner additions are a rich source of Vitamin A.  It has long been known that Vitamin A deficiency in adults and children has been associated with decreased immune function.  Vitamin A is also a key component in maintaining healthy skin, which is our body’s biggest defense organ. 
  3. Lean Beef: Sometimes I think beef gets a bad rap.  Beef is rich in zinc and protein, both of which are important for healthy cells.  Zinc deficiency has been associated with poor immunologic function, and just 2 ounces of lean beef will provide 50 percent of a 4-8 year old child’s needs.  Vegetarian?  Fortified cereals that contain at least 3 mg of zinc per serving are a good choice.
  4. Kiwi:  If I told you that this little green fruit packs more Vitamin C than an orange, would you believe me?  Well, you should.  Tasty, nutrient-dense, and easy on the budget during the winter season, Kiwi is really a “superfood” from many angles.  While eating enough vitamin C won’t prevent a cold, some research suggests that adequate intake can shorten the duration and severity of symptoms.   
  5. Water:  As simple as can be, water helps the body make sure that all systems are working as efficiently as possible, and helps to eliminate waste as needed.  Tack it on as another reason to avoid soda, sports drinks, and juice; nothing is a better hydrator for your children than water. 
POSTED: Wednesday, October 16, 2013, 6:00 AM
Filed Under: Beth Wallace | Nutrition

Editor's Note: We would like to thank the readers who have submitted questions to Healthy Kids! Our experts will periodically answer questions in their areas of expertise.


My 4-year-old daughter is a picky eater. She loves oatmeal, Greek yogurt and fruit, but it is really difficult to get protein into her. She eats PB&J every day. She will begrudgingly eat a scrambled egg, and she’ll eat edamame. It's a fight to get her to eat Quorn veggie chicken nuggets (prefers over real) or fish sticks, but I do make her eat each at least once a week. I’ve tried different brands and flavors (organic). Chicken or turkey breast is a no way. I don't want to give her red meat or pork and she has never wanted to eat it anyway.  

POSTED: Monday, October 7, 2013, 9:37 AM

If Kim Kardashian told you to eat an Oreo, would you do it?  How about if it was Serena Williams?  Or Peyton Manning? Now would you be more inclined to eat that Oreo? Would your kid?

The answer is yes, according to a new study published online today in the journal Pediatrics. The study, authored by a cadre of public policy and obesity researchers from Yale, Stanford, Harvard, and Duke, examined the number of food and beverages endorsed by professional athletes, the nutritional quality of those products, and reach of such television ads to children, adolescents and adults in 2010.

Previous research has already established that celebrity endorsements help sell products and, when it comes specifically to foods and beverages, parents perceive them as healthier when they are promoted by professional athletes.

POSTED: Friday, October 4, 2013, 9:42 AM
Filed Under: Beth Wallace | Nutrition | Recipes

What’s my secret favorite big-game indulgence? Wings. And being from upstate New York, I like to fancy myself as somewhat of a buffalo wing aficionado. Since it’s not a great idea to be eating fried chicken wings on a regular basis, this recipe is the best of both worlds:  a serving of vegetables and enough flavor to satisfy that buffalo wing craving. 

Most kids won’t be willing to try cauliflower on its’ own, however, this buffalo cauliflower looks and smells as delicious as its fried meat counterpart. Make it even more enticing with a side of low fat bleu cheese and celery sticks.  It’s so easy that you can toss it in the oven at kick off, and it will be ready half-way through the first quarter.     

Buffalo Cauliflower

POSTED: Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 6:00 AM
Filed Under: Gary A. Emmett | Nutrition

Editor's Note: We would like to thank the readers who have submitted questions to Healthy Kids! Our experts will periodically answer questions in their areas of expertise.

Question: Please comment about the pros and cons of fruit juice in general and orange, in particular. One hears so many bad comments about juice. Many times it's compared to soda, which I think obfuscates the 'eating healthy' message. — Robert

Gary Emmett, MD, FAAP weighs in:

POSTED: Friday, September 27, 2013, 10:23 AM
Filed Under: Beth Wallace | Nutrition | Recipes

Put that microwave popcorn back on the shelf.  This is your new savory snack that the whole family will love, and you will love knowing how healthy it is for them.  With just the right amount of cheese and a little garlic, these soybeans get crispy in the oven for the perfect eat-by-the-handful snack.  Edamame or soybeans, are a naturally good source of protein, fiber, and iron.  Edamame comes naturally in pods, but you can find them shelled with the fresh vegetables or in the freezer section. 

But you might want to make a double batch…I bet these will be gone by the first quarter. 


  • 1 (12 ounce) package of frozen edamame
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
POSTED: Thursday, September 19, 2013, 10:08 AM
Filed Under: Beth Wallace | Nutrition | Recipes

When it comes to a game-time favorite, nothing is as good as pizza…until you try this stromboli.  I know, you don’t see how a stromboli could ever be healthy.  Swap this with your regular pizza for a full serving of vegetables and so much flavor that you will never even miss the traditional meat filling.  The roasted vegetables and cheese provide vitamin C, iron, fiber, and calcium, and the small slices are perfect for portion control.  Enjoy each slice with some tomato sauce for dipping, and get ready for a big win at dinner time. 

Roasted Vegetable Stromboli


About this blog
The Healthy Kids blog is your window into the latest news, research and advice around children's health. Learn more about our growing list of contributors here.

If you have questions about your child's health, ask them here.

Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
Stephen Aronoff, M.D., M.B.A. Temple University Hospital
Christopher C. Chang, M.D., Ph.D Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Jefferson Medical Colg
Mario Cruz, M.D St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D. Lead Psychologist - The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic, CHOP
Gary A. Emmett, M.D. Director of Hospital Pediatrics at TJU Hospital & Pediatrics Professor at Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Lauren Falini Bariatric exercise physiologist, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D. Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Rima Himelstein, M.D. Crozer-Keystone Health System
Anita Kulick President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting
Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA VP for Programs & Research for Prevent Child Abuse America
Beth Wallace Smith, RD Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D. Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Jefferson Medical Colg
Flaura Koplin Winston, MD, PhD Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention
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