Posts belonging to Category school lunch program



Good Food on a Tight Budget

The following post is courtesy of a email from  Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group, EWG, a nonprofit organization

EWG collaborated with Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters to create our newest shopping guide – Good Food on a Tight Budget, http://tinyurl.com/8rjd5mb – to help you shop smarter and fill your grocery cart with the foods that deliver the biggest bang for your buck.

foodThis brand new shopping guide looks at 100 foods that are healthy, inexpensive, clean and green. The guide features simple tips for eating well, tasty recipes for meals and kids’ snacks, as well as proven money-saving tools for tracking food prices and planning meals.

Click here to check out EWG’s Good Food on a Tight Budget – including 15 recipes that average less than $1 per serving and tips like, http://tinyurl.com/8rjd5mb:

:: A pear a day keeps the pesticides away – more fiber, potassium and folate than an apple and fewer pesticide residues.

:: Eat your garnish – parsley packs a punch as potent as kale for a quarter the price.

:: Not a carrot lover? Sweet potatoes pack twice the fiber, potassium, and vitamin A as carrots.

:: Super okra? Okra beat out more than 100 other veggies to rise to the top of our lists.

Did you know: one serving of filling oatmeal is about half the cost of a bowl of sugared cereal? For animal sources of protein – roasted turkey tops the list. But to eat on the cheap, you can’t beat pinto beans or lentils for one-fifth the cost.

These tips are perfect for back-to-school, too – and to help you plan out food choices for those important meals, the guide’s lead author, EWG nutritionist Dawn Undurraga, pulled together visual suggestions for a week of easy lunches. Click here to read her back-to-school blog, http://tinyurl.com/bs5sflt.

We believe that eating healthy and affordably should be easy. I hope you enjoy this new guide.

You can own a hard copy of the 32-page, full color Good Food on a Tight Budget Booklet. It’s filled with tips, shopping guides and all the information you need to shop healthier and save money. EWG will send you a copy of the booklet when you donate.

Click here to donate and get your guide today, http://tinyurl.com/9pe3877.

 

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HHS, wants all Americans to know about programs and resources to help children and parents curb obesity  including the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health’s We Can!! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition)® program.

Through public-private partnerships, safe places to play and nutritious food options are being made available in neighborhoods and schools across America. Exciting new programs include the Partnership for a Healthier America and Olympic Team USA’s commitment to provide 1.7 million kids the opportunity to participate in free and low cost physical activity programs offered by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USOC National Governing Bodies for sport, and others over the next year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released a new farm to school grant program designed to educate children about food sources, and increase the availability of locally sourced foods in schools.

obesityOver the past 30 years, the childhood obesity rate in America has almost tripled. According to the Centers for Disease Control,CDC, in 2010, approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years were already obese. Children and teenagers who are obese are more likely to become obese adults. Overweight and obese youth are at greater risk of developing serious adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

That is why HHS, with the President’s Council, supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal to end childhood obesity within a generation through her Let’s Move! program. Everyone has a role to play – parents and caregivers, school teachers and administrators, community leaders, local elected officials, after school programmers, and health care providers.

According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children and adolescents aged 6–17 years should spend 60 minutes or more being physical active each day.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, released by HHS and USDA, provide nutritional guidance for Americans to promote good health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity. The guidelines recommend balancing calories with physical activity, and encourage Americans to consume more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood, and to consume less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains.

To learn more about National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month or for tips on how to help your kids lead healthy lifestyle visit http://www.fitness.gov

 

Removing Sugary Sodas is a Good Beginning, But…

sugaryWhile many schools have removed sugary sodas from the school vending machines and other points of purchase,  sugary fruit beverages and Gatorade-like drinks are still available in most schools.

According to the findings in a new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation high-calorie drinks are the main source of dietary sugar among children. Making these drinks available at school can significantly increase students’ daily calorie intake.

The lead author of the study, Yvonne Terry-McElrath, a researcher from the University of Michigan and co-investigator with Bridging the Gap, a research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a foundation news release, “Our study shows that, although schools are making progress in removing sugary drinks, far too many students still are surrounded by a variety of unhealthy beverages at school. We also know that the problem gets worse as students get older.”

The researchers surveyed more than 1,400 middle schools and more than 1,500 high schools to track beverages sold by these schools outside of meal programs over four academic years beginning in 2006. Specifically, they looked at places where students could buy high-calorie sodas, such as vending machines, a la carte lines in the cafeteria, school stores and snack bars.

The study, published Aug. 6 in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found one in four public high school students could buy high-calorie soda during the 2010 school year. Four years earlier, sugary sodas were available to more than 50 percent of these students, the researchers said.

While this decrease in schools is encouraging, the investigators found many middle and high school students still have access to other sugary beverages, such as fruit drinks and sports drinks. In the 2010 school year, 63 percent of middle school students and 88 percent of high school students could buy some type of high-calorie drink at school.

The study also showed that while students’ access to higher-fat milk declined, in 2010 it remained available to 36 percent of middle school students and 48 percent of high school students.

C. Tracy Orleans, senior scientist at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the progress being made to remove sugary sodas from schools is encouraging. “But while this study does have good news, it also shows that we’re not yet where we want to be,” Orleans said in the news release. “It’s critically important for the USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] to set strong standards for competitive foods and beverages to help ensure that all students across all grades have healthy choices at school.”

 

Child Obesity: A Growing Problem

The following article, on the growing problem of childhood obesity, is a reprint of a article written by Staci Marks, a researcher and writer.

The article was published on May 2nd on

http://www.healthinsurancequotes.org/child-obesity-a-growing-problem/

obesityWhen you were growing up did you ever worry about what you were eating or about your physical appearance? Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States and more families are having to worry about the health of their children. It is now estimated that one in three children in the U.S. is either overweight or obese. This growing issue can be attributed to many factors. By understanding the issues we can help our children learn the benefits of proper nutrition and exercise.

Effect of Socioeconomic Status

Times have been hard for millions of Americans. Some people have to take any job that they can get or work multiple jobs to make ends meet. These hardships can enforce bad habits in how the family operates and how they look at a meal.

Though research has suggested that obesity rates may be going down, it appears that there is a measurable gap in rates of obesity in different socioeconomic statuses. It can often be hard for families to put food on the table consistently. Due to this reasoning there may be parents wanting their kids to eat as much as they can when there is guaranteed food if they do not know where the next meal will come from.

Also, since obesity causes health issues, we are seeing higher economic classes lower their rates. This can be attributed to the fact that they are paying for their personal insurance and do not want to deal with the rising rates unlike someone who might receive government help for health care. If there is not a way that we correct this problem, then we may see that obesity will continue widening the socioeconomic gap.

Does TV Play a Role?

The obvious answer is yes, but it is important to understand how TV plays a role in obesity. One of the most important ways that it affects children is through advertising. Recently researchers have looked at how many fast food restaurants and meals individuals could correctly guess when they removed the restaurant image. It was proven that the overweight and obese samples were able to correctly identify the food more consistently versus those individuals who were not.

Another way that TV affects obesity is that parents often have to rely on TV to entertain their children if they are busy working. Due to this, children are now spending more time in front of the TV rather than playing outside or doing other physical activities.

Is the Government Helping or Hurting?

As Americans we should expect that our representatives will battle for the issues that matter to us.

Since obesity is a problem that is affecting our children, we should count on parents to make smarter decisions for their children, and for the government to regulate the foods that are available to our children.

Think about school lunches for example, we want them to be as nutritious as possible. The problem with that is that the government provides meals for many students for free. Since this costs them lots of money they have unfortunately looked at alternative methods.

One current controversial move was the purchase of more than 7 million pounds of ammonia-treated meat for their meals. This meat, now referred to as “pink slime,” has been rejected by several fast food giants but was somehow deemed okay by the government.The decision was defended by the USDA, which swears that the food was safe. Talk about timing, the decision to buy the meat was announced after the government demanded new regulations on school lunches. They are now calling for more whole grains, produce, and less sodium and fat. The health fight seems to be on everyone’s mind in Washington.

First Lady Michelle Obama has pushed a child obesity campaign that will include better nutrition and daily exercise for our children. She also teamed up with The Biggest Loser to promote a healthier lifestyle.

Unfortunately, it seems that money is still the determining factor in Washington. Food and beverage companies continue to beat out government proposals.

  1. Secret Sabotage: Congress recently rejected a plan that would lower sugar, salt, and fat in the food that was marketed towards children.
  2. School Lunch Nutrition: In addition to buying pink slime, Congress recently declared pizza a vegetable so that it could continue to stay in the school lunch programs
  3. Lucky Streak?: Interestingly enough, the food and beverage industry has a near-perfect record when it comes to battling the health authorities and government
  4. Defeat: More than 24 states and five cities have tried to established a “soda tax.” Every time it was either dropped or defeated.

It is time that we stop making excuses for this growing obesity problem and think about our kids. As parents we should want the best for them and their well-being. The health tips that we teach them now are going to shape how they function for the rest of their lives. If we teach them the importance of a healthy lifestyle then we will all benefit in the end.