What is Your Child Eating in a School Lunch?

logo for Tray talkThe School Nutrition Association (SNA) launched a PR campaign called Tray Talk in 2010. The official website (www.TrayTalk.org), is designed to emphasize the benefits of school meals and showcase success stories from school nutrition programs nationwide. SNA members can help send positive messages about school meals by submitting their own “school nutrition success stories” at the Tray Talk website.

Here is some of the information shared on the site:

School meals are well-balanced, healthy meals that are required to meet science-based, federal nutrition standards.

    • No more than 30% of calories can come from fat, less than 10% from saturated fat
    • Meals must provide 1/3 of Recommended Dietary Allowances of protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium
    • School meals are served in age-appropriate portion sizes
  • Every School Lunch Includes five choices that add up to a great value:
    • Milk – Fat free or 1% – flavored or regular
    • Vegetables – From jicama slaw to fresh carrot sticks
    • Fruit – Everything from kiwi to locally grown apples; often fresh
    • Grains – More whole grain items like rolls or sandwich bread
    • Meat or meat alternate –White meat chicken, bean chili, lean beef
  •  In January 2011, the US Department of Agriculture released proposed nutrition standards including new calorie and sodium limits, larger fruit and vegetable serving sizes and requirements to expand the variety of vegetables served in schools each week. The standards were finalized in 2012.

The School Nutrition Association makes the case for your child eating a school lunch saying, “A school lunch provides students with their choice of milk, fruits and vegetables, grains and proteins. School meals are a great value and a huge convenience for busy parents. School cafeterias offer students a variety of healthy choices and help children learn how to assemble a well-balanced meal. Parents can be assured that there’s no super-sizing in school cafeterias because federal regulations require schools to serve age-appropriate portions.”

For more information on healthy school meals, visit www.schoolnutrition.org.

Let’s Help Our Children With Storytelling

Dear Readers,

The children’s blog, that went up on Sept 21st, is about storytelling. 

storytellingStorytelling has almost become a lost art for many children. Yet, encouraging children to tell stories is the natural first step to transitioning them to writing stories. Simply put, good writing content comes from good storytelling. Coupled with good grammar, punctuation, and spelling a child can be a confident writer who enjoys, rather than dreads,  the writing process.

During the next few children’s blogs, the “Can Do” kids will be introduced to the art of oral and written storytelling by Storyteller Bill Wood, who began telling stories, writing stories, and putting on plays as a young boy. Now a senior, long involved in community theater, he is once again writing for children and producing children’s theater.

In the blog on the 26th, children will review a familiar children’s story that’s a bit on the scary side . They will see that the story can be made less scary, even funny, and still carry a learning lesson.

From time to time, I would like to use the children’s blog to continue encouraging children to practice storytelling.

As grandmas and grandpas,  moms and dads, aunts and uncles, teachers and coaches of young children, you all  have stories you can share.  I am inviting all who are reading this blog  to send me a story you have written,  or that was told to you as a young child, and now you tell to your children .

Once a month, we will pick a story for publication on the children’s site. Full credit will be given to the author of the story. Please send your story to me, jeanc@candostreet.com.

Let’s make writing interesting and fun by sharing our gift of storytelling! Let’s start sharing our stories!

All the best,

Jean

Fostering Caring for Family Far Away

Teaching a child to demonstrate caring behaviors to loved ones far away is a lot easier today than it was years ago.

caring

A big brother away at college, a grandma or grandpa who lives in another state, a relative serving in the armed forces overseas are all people who look forward to hearing from a child and are disappointed when they don’t hear. Children need to be encouraged to stay in touch with those who love them.

Here are some ways that make it easier to stay in touch:

  • Skype enables a  child to see and speak to a loved one via the computer when both parties have a webcam and this free software program.
  • E-mail enables a young child to send brief messages. When special holidays come around, a child can send a free card using programs such as Hallmark or Blue Mountain
  • Telephone calls, when possible, are also a good way to keep in touch
  • There is always the tried and true…send a hand made drawing or card in the mail.

A fun activity to foster caring for those far away is to make a “Caring Calendar” and hang it in the kitchen.

At the beginning of each a month, a child can circle dates for hello calls and holidays, birthdays or special events for each person that he or she wants wants to remember in a special way. When everyone has Skype they can see one another, which makes it a special visit!

Summertime is Reading Time

readingThe lazy days of summer are a great time to keep the love of reading going in children. What follows is a list of books suitable for reading by children ages 4-8.

All the World

by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee

In an oceanside community, friends and family celebrate the smallest pleasures of the beach and life. A 2010 Caldecott Honor Book.

All in a Day

by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Nikki McClure

The author of the Henry and Mudge series captures the magic of a day in childhood that seemingly goes on forever.

Birds

By Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek

A young bird watcher is enthralled by the many colors, shapes, and sizes of her avian neighbors. Henkes is the author of the well-loved Lilly series.

How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?

By Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague

The ninth book in the zany How Do Dinosaurs… series, this book tells how, even when little dinosaurs mess up, there are many reasons why their parents still love them!

I Spy Fly Guy!

Written and illustrated by Tedd Arnold

In Arnold’s hilarious series about a pet fly, Fly Guy is hauled away by mistake to the local dump and Buzz must find a way to save him. A 2010 Geisel Honor book.

The Lion and the Mouse

Written and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Set on the African savannah, Pinkney beautifully illustrates the retelling of Aesop’s fable of the lion and the mouse. 2010 Caldecott Medal winner.

Little Mouse Gets Ready

Written and illustrated by Jeff Smith

Little Mouse is learning to put on his own clothes and is ready for adventure. Young children will love how Little Mouse’s challenges mirror their own. A 2010 Geisel Honor Book.

My Abuelita

By Tony Johnston, illustrated by Yuyi Morales

An eccentric and flamboyant grandmother shares the stories of her life with her young grandson. A 2010 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor book.

Red Sings From Treetops: A Year in Colors

By Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

A woman and her dog enjoy the changing seasons in a series of colorful poems and illustrations. A 2010 Caldecott Honor Book.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Written and illustrated by Grace Lin

Minli, a Chinese girl, lives in a poor village. When she buys a magic goldfish and joins a dragon that cannot fly, she embarks on an adventurous quest to find the Old Man of the Moon. A 2010 Newbery Honor book.

Source: http://www.schoolfamily.com

Food Safety at a 4th of July Fair

The Centers for Disease Control want us to practice food safety at fairs and festivals this 4th of July and throughout the summer.

foodOne of the CDC publications  asks us to remember that the usual safety controls that a kitchen provides, like thermostat-controlled cooking, refrigeration, and washing facilities, may not be available when cooking and dining at these events. Here are some things they suggest you do or find out to prevent foodborne illness:

Before you buy food from a vendor check out the following:

  • Does the vendor have a clean/tidy workstation?
  • Does the vendor have a sink for employees to wash their hands?
  • Do the employees wear gloves or use tongs when handling food?
  • Does the vendor have refrigeration on site for raw ingredients or pre-cooked foods?
  • Has the vendor been inspected? Requirements vary by state, but in general, temporary and mobile vendors, like those at fairs and carnivals, should have a license to sell food and beverages in a particular state or county. You can check with the local health department to see if the vendors are licensed and if a food inspection has been completed.

Are there healthy food alternatives to consider at fairs and festivals?

When purchasing food from a vendor, look for foods that are healthy for you. If they are not available, consider bringing your own food to save money and calories. Don’t forget to keep safe food storage practices in mind.

If bringing food from home, what are the proper food handling and storage practices?

If you bring food to a fair or festival from home, be sure to keep food handling and storage times in mind. Don’t let food sit out for more than two hours. On a hot day (90°F or higher), reduce this time to one hour. Be sure to put perishable items in a cooler or insulated bag

Remember to Wash Hands Often:

  • Find out where hand washing stations are located.
  • Always wash your hands right after petting animals, touching the animal enclosure, and exiting animal areas even if you did not touch an animal.
  • Always wash hands after using the restroom, after playing a game or going on a ride, before eating and drinking, before preparing food or drinks, after changing diapers, and after removing soiled clothes or shoes.
  • Bring hand sanitizers or disposable wipes in case there aren’t any places to wash your hands.

Report Illness:

Anytime you suspect you may have contracted a foodborne illness, report it to your local health department, even if it is after you have recovered. The local public health department is an important part of the food safety system. Often, calls from concerned citizens are how outbreaks are first detected. If a public health official contacts you to find out more about an illness you had, your cooperation is important. In public health investigations, it can be as important to talk to healthy people as it is to ill people. Your cooperation may be needed even if you are not ill.