Healthy Gummies?

How healthy are these gummi vitamins?
Since the first ingredient is glucose syrup (a kind of corn syrup), and the second ingredient is natural cane sugar (plain sugar), these gummi vitamins contain surprises that parents might not expect!
If you'd like to give your children candy fortified with vitamins, this is the vitamin for you. If you'd like to avoid giving your children extra sugar, make sure to check labels!

USASEF: Candy and Ergonomics

This challenge, from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), was to unwrap a piece of candy using only one hand.

How would you unwrap these?

I unwrapped the Hershey kiss, and found it easier to open one-handed than to photograph! (hence the blurriness).
Apparently the M&M's were the hardest. I asked the girl what the trick was, but she just smiled and said she'd seen people try several different methods.

Marshmallow Construction

At this booth, put on by Operation Smart of girls inc., people were challenged to see how tall of a tower they could construct with marshmallows and toothpicks. They hoped people would start experimenting with different designs and see which were stronger.

For anyone who wants to try this with their kids, here's an online lesson plan from that gives a little more information.

Here's the beginning of a tower:
For me, the most important thing in this picture was the water bottle. I could certainly relate--hours and hours of teaching experiments is hard on the voice!

Here's a finished tower.

Marshmallows on NPR

NPR ran a short segment today about toasting marshmallows: hold them over the coals to get radiant heat, watch them puff up as the air bubbles inside expand, and don't catch them on fire because they burn so very well (their composition of C, H, and O makes them really good fuel). And here's a segment I missed when it aired: a recipe from Make the Bread, Buy the Butterhow to make your own marshmallows at home. My husband has made these before with a recipe from the Cooking for Engineers website. Put on a Trader Joes' graham cracker and melt with good chocolate, and you'll have the best S'more you've ever tasted.

Candy in Wonderopolis

I learned about from The Week magazine, which commented that while the articles are written for children, even adults will be happy to learn these crazy facts. Wonderopolis even has a section of posts on candy, including articles on gum flavor, candy cane shape, and the invention of cotton candy, which I can't wait to explore!

USASEF: "Smash your Food" App

A government grant paid for this really fun app, in which you smash your food to find out how much sugar, salt, and oil it contains. One nice feature is that you can fill in your own personal information for things like exercise and weight, to get recommendations tailored specifically to you. There's also a free iPhone app.

Smash your Food

This app was displayed at the booth, where I was told about all the facts I could find at Look there for information and statistics from various government departments and agencies, as well as ideas for the classroom.

Candy on Toast

One mom writes about Nutella--another kind of candy in disguise. My bottle of Nutella is more than 56% sugar, with palm oil as the second ingredient, and this Australian label lists the amount of hazelnuts as only 13% (they must have more rigorous labeling laws in Australia.) The Australian webpage also lists the breakdown of ingredients in Nutella vs. a chocolate bar with hazelnuts, showing that "Nutella almost mirrors chocolate in its composition. In fact, Nutella is more akin to milk chocolate with hazelnuts for fat, sugar and kilojoules, they're so close." Hidden candy, indeed!

So, serve it for dessert, but don't be tricked into thinking it's a healthy addition to your food!