The fall is a great time of year, full of timeless traditions such as apple picking, pumpkin carving and hayrides that are fun for kids and the young at heart. However, between Halloween parties and trick ’r treating, it also tends to be a time of overloading on not-so-healthy snacks for the kids.
So, in the spirit of Halloween and October as Children’s Health Month, let’s talk about the health benefits of soyfoods for children as well as some tasty and healthy Halloween treats. As a parent you want to do what is best for your kids. Providing nutritious food for children’s growth and development is very important, and soyfoods can easily fit into the picture. Great-tasting soyfoods provide essential vitamins and minerals and high-quality, complete protein for growing kids. Calcium fortified soymilk has comparable amounts of calcium compared to cow’s milk for building strong bones.
Myth: Eating soyfoods is not safe for children as it may cause them to have abnormal reproductive development.
Truth: Children who eat soyfoods will have normal reproductive development. Some parents worry about exposure to estrogen compounds in soyfoods, but soy phytoestrogens are not human estrogens and do not cause estrogen-like effects in the body. Research has shown soyfoods do not result in early puberty in boys or girls (1-4) and do not cause the feminization of boys (5).
Allergies tend to be another concern with soy. While soy protein is one of the eight major food allergens, research has shown that soyfood allergies affect less than 1% of children and most children grow out of them (6,7). People allergic to soy protein can refer to the ingredient list on the product to identify what foods contain soy.
Furthermore, studies show eating soyfoods during childhood and adolescence may help protect against diseases including breast cancer as an adult (8,9).
- Click here for more information on the health and safety of soyfoods for children.
- Check out this video, “The Benefits of Soyfoods for Energetic Kids” featuring Rebecca Scritchfield, RD.
- Check out this great article from Parents Magazine on the safety of soyfoods for kids.
Parents can offer tasty, kid-friendly and cost-effective soyfoods at home. The Soyfoods Association’s Pinterest page is a one stop shopping for a large variety of family-friendly soyfoods recipes. Halloween treats can be healthy and delicious. Here are some ideas we think your kids (and you) will love!
Chocolate Tofu Pudding Pots
from ABC’s The Chew
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
– great for trick or treating!
Check out this article full of clever Healthy Halloween snacks from the Food & Nutrition magazine blog. We are excited about the Witch Mix recipe that includes dried edamame.
Here is a brochure full of healthy soyfood snacks that the kids will love from the Soyfoods Council.
As always be sure to check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for more great recipes and interesting facts about soyfoods. Check out our YouTube page featuring with videos hosted by food and nutrition expert Rebecca Scritchfield, RD.
1. Cesario, S. K. and Hughes, L. A. Precocious Puberty: A Comprehensive Review of Literature. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing. 2007; 36: 263–274.
2. Cao Y, Calafat AM, Doerge DR, Umbach DM, Bernbaum JC, Twaddle NC, Ye X, Rogan WJ. Isoflavones in urine, saliva, and blood of infants – data from a pilot study on the estrogenic activity of soy formula. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2009;19:223-234.
3. Strom BL, Schinnar R, et al. Exposure to Soy-Based Formula in Infancy and Endocrinological and Reproductive Outcomes in Young Adulthood. J Am Med Assoc. 2001;286(7):807-814.
4. Gilchrist, J.M., Moore, M.B., Andres, A., Estroff, J.A., Badger, T.M. Ultrasonographic patterns of reproductive organs in infants fed soy formula: Comparisons to infants fed breast milk and milk formula. Journal of Pediatrics. 2010156(2):215-220.
5. Messina M. Soybean isoflavone exposure does not have feminizing effects on men: a critical examination of the clinical evidence. Fertil Steril 2010;93:2095-104.
6. Badger TM, Gilchrist JM, Pivik RT, Andres A, Shankar K, Chen J, Ronis MJ. The health implications of soy infant formula. AJCN. 2009;89 (Suppl):1S-5S.
7. Nowak-Wegrzyn A, Conover-Walker MK, Wood RA. Food-allergic reactions in schools and preschools. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001:155;790-5.
8. Mahabir S. Association between diet during preadolescence and adolescence and risk for breast cancer during adulthood. J Adolesc Health. May 2013,52(5 Suppl):S30-5.
9. Wu AH, Yu MC, Tseng CC, et al. Dietary patterns and breast cancer risk in Asian American women. Am J Clin Nutr. April 2009;89(4):1145-54.