By Patty Onderko

Eggs are everywhere this season, but are they safe for your tot to chow down on? Not hard-boiled ones that have been outside the fridge for more than two hours, says Sarah Krieger, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. An eggu-cation:

WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO HARD-BOIL EGGS?

To cook eggs thoroughly and eliminate bacteria (salmonella is the biggest concern), cover them with at least an inch of water and bring to a gentle, rolling boil. Then turn off the heat and let the eggs stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Run cold water over them and refrigerate until you're ready to dye them.

ARE CRACKED EGGS SAFE TO EAT?

Throw out any raw eggs that are cracked in the carton, but eggs that crack during hard-boiling are safe to eat (don't hide them during an egg hunt, though, because they can pick up dirt and bacteria).

HOW LONG CAN I KEEP HARD-BOILED EGGS?

Not as long as raw eggs. One week in the refrigerator is the max.

ARE EGG DYES SAFE?

Yes, commercial egg dyes and liquid

food colorings are food-safe. If you use other inks, paints, or glues on eggs, they should be for decoration only.

WHAT IF SOME OF THE EGG WHITE HAS BEEN COLORED, TOO?

Dyes may penetrate the shell and tint the egg. That's fine; the egg may have a slight vinegar taste, though.

ry often, the stuff that's touted on the front of the box A is only part of the picture. ^

:ood Labels, Decoded

Is that soup or cereal really as healthy as it seems? Maybe not. How to read between the lines on packaging:

CLAIM "0 grams trans fat!" THE FACTS This doesn't mean that the fat the food does have is the healthy mono- or polyunsaturated kind. "I've seen some that are loaded with an entire day's worth of bad saturated fat. it's misleading," says Michael Jacobson, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a tritlon and food-safety advocacy group in Washington, DC. CLAIM "Ail natural!" THE FACTS Sounds great, but look at the ingredient list. Some products with manufactured high-fructose corn syrup are still allowed to make this claim, even though it's essentially a high-calorie sweetener and preservative. CLAIM "Supports immunity in kids!"

THE FACTS This is a biggie because parents make the mental leap from "supports immunity" to "prevents colds and flu." And who wouldn't want to snap that up? "You see this claim on cereals, juices, frozen veggies, and sugar-packed drink pouches. But there's nothing magical about that particular product versus another one. Any food with a decent amount of vitamins can say this—despite whatever other processed garbage may be in it—because the antioxidants in vitamins are, in fact, involved with immunity," Jacobson explains. And vitamins won't have any effect on kids' resistance to illness. CLAIM "Made with 100 percent fruit!" THE FACTS Whatever the item, it's unlikely to be as good for your kid as an actual piece of fruit. And don't be bowled over by the "100 percent" part; it means very little if that "real fruit" comprises only 1 percent of the cereal bar. Check the ingredients. If fruit isn't one of the first few on the list, it probably has only a scant amount.

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