Mad Scientists Launch Plot to Get Kids to Eat More Lima Beans

Filed under: Research Reveals: Tweens, Nutrition: Health, In The News, Research Reveals: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Research Reveals: Big Kids, Expert Advice: Big Kids, Behavior: Big Kids, Development: Big Kids, Big Kids, Your Kids, Nutrition: Big Kids, Education: Big Kids, Activities: Big Kids, Gear Guides: Big Kids, Health & Safety: Big Kids

lima bean picture

But lima beans taste just like candy! OK, they don't. Credit: Getty Images

Lima beans? Seriously?

Blecch!

Sorry kids, but a group of scientists say you need to eat more lima beans and other legumes. What's a legume, you ask? It comes from an acronym for Like Eating Gross, Ugly, Muskrat Entrails. Actually, it covers a family of beans from lima to kidney to soy to others really just too horrifying to get into right now.

But scientists say you need to eat more of them.

Stupid scientists. Why can't they ever come out with a report that American children suffer from a severe chocolate deficiency?

Oh, well. As you will be told many times in the coming years, life isn't fair.

The latest evidence of this cosmic unfairness comes from the American Academy of Pediatrics where, Bloomberg Business Week reports, those pesky researchers say infants and young children are not getting enough iron.

You get iron from (ugh!) legumes, shellfish, iron-rich fruits and vegetables and iron-fortified cereals that generally do not have chocolate coating or prizes in the box. In other words, nothing you actually like to eat.

No one said childhood was easy. However, it apparently gets a whole lot tougher if you don't get enough iron.

"Iron deficiency remains common in the United States," report co-author Frank Greer, a former chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on nutrition, tells Business Week. "And now we know more about the long-term, irreversible effects it can have on children's cognitive and behavioral development. It's critical to children's health that we improve their iron status starting in infancy."

The report, published in the November issue of the journal Pediatrics, recommends nursing infants get one milligram a day of iron supplements starting at 4 months, until they can start eating iron-fortified cereals. Infants on formula don't need more iron, according to the the report, and whole milk should not be given in the first year.

Dr. Robert Baker, a co-author and a member of the executive committee of the AAP section on gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, tells Business Week older kids should ideally get more iron from foods almost universally considered yucky.

He realizes that's not quite realistic.

"In some cases, children will still need liquid iron supplements or chewable vitamins to get the iron they need," he tells Business Week.

Woo hoo! Break out the Flintstones chewables! Dibs on Dino!

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.