Why eggs are an important first food for children
(BPT) - Trying to decide what first foods to feed your baby? Second-generation egg farmer Ross Dean knew that eggs would be one of his son's first foods once he was old enough to start eating solid foods.
"Many would say that I'm biased, or that they're easily accessible to me," said Dean, who works alongside his father and brothers in Iowa and Ohio. "Well, both are true — but the main reason I chose eggs is that they have varying amounts of all of the key nutrients that support neurodevelopment, and they're also a step in the right direction toward building healthy dietary habits that will help him grow."
The nutritional value of eggs
Dean knew that the many nutrients in eggs would make them an ideal food for his son, including:
Choline has been recognized as an essential nutrient that helps brain development, even from an infant's pre-natal months. Because of their key nutrients, eggs were specifically mentioned as a crucial food source for pregnant women, infants and throughout the lifecycle in the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's Scientific Report.
This Advisory Committee of 20 health and medical experts reviewed the latest scientific evidence on nutrition and highlighted eggs as a vital first food for infants, due to the important role they play in a growing child's health. For pregnant women, choline helps to develop their baby's brain and spinal cord.
In fact, approximately 90% of Americans don't get enough choline, an important nutrient for cognitive development and health. Eggs are one of the most concentrated food sources of choline in the American diet. One large egg contains 150 milligrams of choline — about 27% of the amount men need daily and 35% of the amount women need each day.
Early egg introduction and allergies
The Advisory Committee also shared a new recommendation based on up-to-date research. Early introduction of eggs — when a baby is 4-6 months old and developmentally ready to eat solid foods — may help reduce a child's risk of developing an allergy to eggs.
Additionally, based on this report, caregivers provide a variety of foods for children including meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy, along with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grain products beginning from 6-12 months old. The Advisory Committee specifically recommended eggs as an important first food for infants and toddlers as they are a rich source of choline and because early introduction of eggs (after 4 months of age), when baby is developmentally ready, may help reduce the risk of developing an egg allergy.
How to introduce eggs into your baby's diet
Dean recommends keeping it simple. He has tried the following ways of feeding eggs to his young son:
The recipe below is one that everyone in the family can enjoy. Banana, pumpkin and eggs come together to create a soft texture and sweet taste, making these pancakes perfect for babies and toddlers.
Total time: 20 minutes; Servings: 4
3 bananas (about 1 cup)
In blender, combine banana, pumpkin, eggs and baking powder. Blend until smooth.
Feeding your baby or toddler eggs not only provides them with crucial nutrients at an early age, but eggs are also quick to prepare and easy for infants and young children to eat.
Looking for more recipes for your family using The Incredible Egg? Check out IncredibleEgg.org/KidFriendlyRecipes for ideas.
Pandemic meal preparation: How parents are coping with kids at home
(BPT) - In March, parents across the country had life flipped upside down. All of a sudden, they had to figure out how to work from home, guide their kids through e-learning, prepare more meals and manage the other regular duties of parenting. Little did these parents know that all those stressors would return in the fall.
Three-fourths of America’s school children were engaged in some form of e-learning in late September, leaving the burden of food preparation on parents for almost every meal. According to a new Castle Wood Reserve consumer survey, seven in ten K-12 students get breakfast at home, while 66% get lunch from home and 74% get snacks at home.
Because of the demand to cook and eat at home more frequently, about one-third of parents said meal preparation is more difficult this school year than it was last year. Parents also cited food availability and the challenge of planning meals as top reasons that meal preparation is more difficult.
The coming months are not going to be any easier on parents. With COVID-19 case counts rising across the country, even more school districts are transitioning to full-time virtual learning. Parents are seeking convenient, delicious solutions that save them time in the kitchen.
Cargill’s Castle Wood Reserve brand is working to satisfy kids on each end of the K-12 spectrum. Cargill chefs have developed an array of quick and easy recipes with time-saving tips. Parents can make roast beef cheeseburger sliders, Monte Cristo rollups or ranch chicken club rollups for their younger kids and offer waffle toasted ham and cheese or a pizza melt to their older kids, who can handle a simple five- or ten-minute meal prep on their own.
Deli meats can also be used to vary your snack routine. Simple snack recipes, like pretzel bites with ham or melon and ham skewers, can be a fun snack time change of pace for kids and help keep them satiated.
Consumers can find a variety of deli meats and premium snack kits at their local retail stores that can make any meal convenient and provide the protein to keep kids full and energized throughout the day. In the survey, for most dayparts, parents cited protein as the most important nutrient that they seek for their kids.
According to the USDA Dietary Reference, the recommended daily allowance of protein is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight as part of a balanced diet. So, someone who weighs 120 pounds needs about 43 grams of protein each day.
Why is it important to achieve an adequate intake of daily protein? Protein helps repair cells, boosts energy and keeps us satiated longer, so kids are not constantly asking for another snack. Protein also serves a vital function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood.
With health and convenience in mind, parents are making the most drastic changes to their lunches and snacks. Three-fourths of parents in the survey reported that lunches in their household had been impacted by returning to school, and 68% said that snacking had been affected.
Planning these meals ahead of time can be a lifesaver for time-crunched parents. Consumers should map out daily meal choices based on activities and school schedules for the week. When students are at home for e-learning, parents can assemble bento boxes or pre-packaged meals, leave them in the refrigerator and allow their kids to grab them once they are hungry.
Smart shoppers will also plan meals before getting groceries and stick to the outside perimeter of the store to purchase fresh ingredients, including vegetables, fruit and lean meats. Creating a shopping game plan leads to healthier meals, while saving time and money. This approach will eliminate extra trips to grab takeout or fast food, while diversifying your cooking routine at home to keep everyone in the family excited for mealtime.
Digital tools can help kids build safe money habits
(BPT) - The earlier kids start learning basic financial skills, the better their financial health in the long run, according to research.
When it comes to teaching kids about money, caregivers are asking for help. In fact, 32% of parents are uncomfortable speaking about finances with their own children and 46% are looking for additional resources to help encourage good financial habits, according to a Chase survey of parents across the U.S., with children aged 8–14.
Traditionally, kids learn about money from shopping with adults and having related conversations. While discussions are an important part of learning about finances, online shopping has changed how kids experience spending.
"Families are juggling so many more responsibilities today than ever before, so it's understandably more complicated to find opportunities to teach financial wellness to children or to find hands-on purchasing moments to talk about the value of money," said Anastasia Morgan-Gans, an executive focused on family financial health at Chase.
Fortunately, new tools are helping meet the changing needs of parents and their children. For example, the free Chase First Banking account is designed to help families develop healthy financial habits by putting parents in control and giving kids and teens the freedom to learn how to earn, spend and save money.
Through the Chase Mobile app, parents can assign chores and provide allowance, set amounts and locations of where kids can spend money using a debit card, and help children reach savings goals. Kids interact with the app on their end, too, checking off assigned chores when completed and seeing when their allowance is paid. They can also see how much they can spend and where, as well as their savings goals.
This type of digital tool makes financial literacy discussions easier and brings family money management into the digital age, engaging kids in meaningful ways. In addition to adopting useful tools, it's important to have ongoing conversations about finances. Morgan-Gans suggests starting with some rules for a family ‘contract’ when it comes to having access to an account:
"These tools can help guide parents, so they have the confidence to teach kids about bank accounts and spending — it’s like an account with training wheels," says Morgan-Gans.
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