1. On each of 10 bamboo skewers (8 inches long), spear
2. In a dry microwavable cup, stir chocolate chips and
oil. Microwave on medium power 30 seconds; stir. Microwave 20-30
seconds longer; stir until the chocolate is smooth.
3. Transfer melted chocolate to a resealable plastic bag.
Snip a very small corner off the bottom of the bag.
5. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the skewered
blueberries and immediately roll lightly in sprinkles.
Yield: 10 skewers
Nutrition per portion: 136 calories; 18 g carbohydrate; 7 g
total fat; 6 g saturated fat; 0.4 g fiber
Used with permission by the U.S. Highbush
As any mom or dad will attest, most kids are full of energy. Why
then, would they want their children to consume caffeine for an
The Food and Drug Administration recently began an
investigation into why certain food and beverage companies are
adding caffeine to products targeted at children. The agency also
is looking into caffeine's safety. In a related development, San
Francisco's city attorney sued Monster Beverage Corp., accusing the
company of marketing its caffeinated energy drinks to children as
young as 6.
A growing number of foods have added caffeine with labels
referring to "the right energy" and similar phrasing.
Caffeine is being added to trail mix, oatmeal, potato chips,
chewing gum, jelly beans, beef jerky, hot sauce, trail mix, as well
as energy drinks and energy shots.
These companies say they are marketing their products to
adults. Yet many of the items, such as candy and gum, are
attractive to children.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in coffee beans, tea
leaves and cacao. When caffeine is added to products, it must be
included in the ingredients, but the amount doesnt have to
The FDA does not set caffeine limits for energy drinks,
only for colas (capped at 6 milligrams per ounce).
Not much is known about the effects of caffeine on
children. The American Academy of Pediatrics says caffeine has been
linked to harmful effects on children's developing neurologic and
cardiovascular systems. It can also affect sleep. In large amounts,
caffeine can cause brain seizures and cardiac arrest.
A study published in the December 2010
Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology discovered boys are
more stimulated by caffeine than girls and that both genders have a
preference for so-called junk food after consuming it.
As many caffeinated parents can attest, the compound is
addictive and sudden withdrawal produces a throbbing
A single serving of any of these foods or beverages is
unlikely to be harmful. But what about a child who consumes
caffeine throughout the day?
Most health professionals say there is no role for
caffeine in kids' lives. Parents trying to control their children's
caffeine intake should educate their children what to look for.
Packages that tout "energy" should raise a red
Christine M. Palumbo, RD, is a nutritionist living in Naperville.
See more of Christine's stories here.
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