Posts Tagged ‘school nutrition’


The Top 5 Worst Kids’ Lunch Foods

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

When it comes to providing kids with the best nutrition to keep them going strong, traditional PE programs alone may not suffice. Since kids are notorious for being picky eaters, this can make it difficult as a parent or after school program coordinator to find foods that kids will enjoy eating and that are healthy for them as well. Teaching healthy eating habits is just one of several elements of a coordinated school health program. Whether it’s the ingredients, labeling, or nutritional value, learn why each of the popular kids’ foods listed below that can actually do more harm than good in fighting childhood obesity.

Top 5 Worst Lunch Foods

National Childhood Obesity Facts, Figures and a Solution to End the Epidemic

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Childhood obesity is a major concern in the United States. Over the past few decades there has been a dramatic increase in the number of children suffering from obesity. Kids are staying indoors more with limited physical activity and increased caloric consumption, resulting in a nationwide epidemic of obesity in our children. There are hundreds of organizations, large and small, fighting to stem this trend and help get our kids’ health back in check. But a business or non-profit can’t do it alone. Parents and kids must both be willing to change their habits to create a healthier lifestyle.

Causes of Childhood Obesity
There are many causes for childhood obesity, and sometimes a complex combination of circumstances work together to put our children at risk. One thing we know for sure is that reduced physical activity in school is a component and a risk factor for childhood obesity. Studies have shown that throughout our nation, less than one third of school-aged children (age 6-17) engage in physical activity – that is, activity that makes them sweat and increase breathing and heart rate for at least 20 minutes. And that’s just the minimum recommended amount of physical activity. There is no surprise here that childhood obesity has become a frightening epidemic in our country.

Risks of Child Obesity

  • High Cholesterol and Blood Pressure: High levels of “bad” cholesterol called LDL and also high blood pressure are common in obese children.
  • Bone and Joint Problems: There have been numerous cases of obese children experiencing a slipped growth plate in their hip bone.
  • Sleep Apnea: Obstruction of the child’s airway is common and can result in many other day-to-day problems like poor school performance and nighttime bedwetting on top of the primary risk where the individual stops breathing in their sleep.
  • Psychological Problems: Probably the most severe risk of obesity in kids is their emotional and psychological health. Kids will develop poor self-esteem and accept the fact that they will be obese their entire lives, making it extremely difficult for them to change their lifestyle in later years.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: What used to be only of concern in adults and very rare in children is not a major concern for obese kids.

Child Obesity Statistics

  • Prevalence of Obesity: Among children ages 6-11, there was a 6.5% rate of obesity in 1980 which increased to 18.6% by 2008. Ages 12-19 increased from 5% to 18.1% in the same time period.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: 70% of obese children from 5-17 years have at least one symptom and risk factor of cardiovascular disease like high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • Low-Income Obesity: 1 of 7 low income children in preschool is obese.
  • 13 million children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese.
  • Obese adolescents are 80% more likely to end up as obese adults.
  • Healthcare expenses directly related to childhood obesity are $14 billion every year.

One Solution to the Epidemic: Quality PE in Schools
The problem of childhood obesity is urgent – changes need to be made immediately. Children need positive influences from the adults around them to make better choices. And who better to provide that than a physical education teacher? In general, children attend about 5 or 6 hours of school, 5 days per week. Physical education classes might take up about an hour per day. Imagine the good that could be done for children if that time was optimized with fun, challenging, and healthy activity.

Implementing quality PE in children’s school schedule would be a great first step to turning this epidemic around. PE classes should be used to really teach children about how important a healthy lifestyle is. We can reverse the stigma about PE classes being boring, awkward, and repetitive by breathing new life into old games and activities. Children can learn that challenging themselves and staying healthy are great for self-esteem and making new friends. Teachers should be passionate about their purpose, and lead by positive example.

When students are able to connect with teachers and create a respectful relationship, they are highly more likely to engage in activities and try their hardest. With energetic and fun teachers, a challenging and exciting curriculum, and education about the crucial importance of physical activity and healthy eating, children will take fitness seriously. We will improve the PE in our schools, and let our children reap the benefits.

3 More Nutrition Education Questions Answered…

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

This week we’re excited to feature three more nutrition education questions answered by our partner Healthy Kids Challenge- enjoy!

1) Can what I eat (as a teacher) affect what my kids eat?

Yes, it can and it does! Research tells us that being a positive role model is important if we want to change behaviors. If you want children to eat right, then model healthy eating behaviors. And not just in the school cafeteria! Children see you before and after school and in the classroom, so you must “walk the walk” if you expect them to do the same. For simple tips on healthy role modeling at school see www.healthykidschallenge.com.

2) Is it possible to integrate regular academic subjects into nutrition/health instruction?

You bet! And it’s simple, too! Healthy Kids Challenge offers curriculum, training, and resources to help you do just that. Our nutrition education curriculum, Balance My Day, is a research-based curriculum aligned with HECAT (Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool) Healthy Eating Behavior outcomes and standards. With Balance My Day nutrition education doesn’t need to be an add-on, it can easily be integrated into math, science and language!

Also, HKC offers an exciting menu of nutrition themed workshops for you to choose from. All are designed to bring nutrition education to life for your students and staff. The workshop “Balance My Day” guides you through simple solutions of how to easily incorporate nutrition education into the school day. We offer an array of free downloadable and affordable resources as well. For more information, visit www.healthykidschallenge.com.

3) Where can I find resources for a year-long nutrition education curriculum?

Healthy Kids Challenge is the source for nutrition education curriculum. Balance My Day- Nutrition Education Curriculum is research-based curriculum aligned with HECAT (Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool) Healthy Eating Behavior outcomes and standards.

  • Offers 30 lessons, divided into 15-25 minute sessions.
  • Behavior themes focus on breakfast, snacks, beverages, portion sizes, fruits and veggies, active play, energy balance, body image, weight management and food skills
  • Nutrition education doesn’t need to be an add on, it can easily be integrated into math, science and language with Balance My Day
  • Goal setting, skill building, take home activities, parent tip sheets, food skills and tasting activities, logs, worksheets and student assessment included
  • Bonus additions are three nutrition education event guides and a set of 156 food picture cards for food identification, bulletin boards, or nutrition education games
  • Learn more

Healthy Kids Challenge (HKC), is a nationally recognized non-profit led by an exemplary team of registered, licensed dietitians with many years of school, program, and community wellness experience.

Integrating Nutrition into the School Day

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Energy balance is crucial to healthy living and while physical education classes can be found in most schools across the nation, nutrition education is being taught in only a small percentage of schools.  Why is this the case if healthy eating is so important?

Some reasons include a lack of standards and policies, lack of nutrition education curriculum, and time to teach this content with so many other responsibilities being placed on teachers today.  So what can you do to integrate nutrition into your day?  Here are some ideas to get you started! (For more in-depth information make sure to join our January webinar on this topic- Click Here)

  • Math- students can record their food and calorie intake into a food journal and calulate averages, servings sizes and portions
  • Art- create a colorful menu for a restaurant complete with healthy choices
  • Social Studies- teach students about different cultures by cooking traditional receipies in class
  • Language Arts- select books to read that talk about food and nutrition this can introduce them to foods they have never heard of before
  • Science- students can build a car out of fresh vegetables or do an experiment to learn about the properties of foods
  • Physical Education- have a relay where students have to build a balanced meal by running down and selecting one food item picture at a time

Healthy Holiday Recipes

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Holiday Pudding Cups

A light delicious treat which is fruitful, festive, and requires very little work. Plus it is in its own dish, so less clean up after a holiday party.

Ingredients:

  • 1pkg Philo dough (thawed)
  • 1pkg JELLO instant vanilla pudding (regular or sugar free)
  • Milk (for pudding)
  • ¼ cup Pomegranate
  • ¼ cup Strawberry (sliced)
  • ¼ cup Blueberry
  • ¼ cup Kiwi (diced)
  • Powder Sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Lightly spray muffin pan with cooking spray (for appetizer style use the miniature cup cake pans)
  3. Roll Philo dough into 1/8 inch thick sheets
  4. Cut dough into squares, so that when it’s laid into the muffin pan it will hangover ½ inch
  5. Gently press squares into muffin pan, shaping edges to form rims ¼ inch high
  6. Bake for 18 minutes or until pastry has a golden color. (Tip – for a glossy shine on the pastry cup lightly glaze beaten egg onto the top)
  7. Let cool
  8. Mix up the vanilla pudding per the JELLO package instructions
  9. Once the pastry cups have cooled, spoon pudding into each cup.
  10. Then top with a piece of each fruit and lightly dust with powder sugar.
  11. Serve chilled.
  12. ENJOY!

Stuffing with Sage and Chives

Ingredients:

  • 1 spray(s) cooking spray
  • 12 slice(s) whole-wheat bread, cubed*
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp light butter
  • 1 cup(s) onion(s), diced
  • 3 stalk(s) (medium) celery, diced
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 cup(s) canned chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp chives, fresh, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a 4-quart shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Arrange bread cubes on a large ungreased baking sheet in a single layer (use 2 baking sheets if there’s not enough room). Bake until lightly toasted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove bread from oven and set aside; leave oven set to 350ºF.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil and butter together for 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion and celery; sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add thyme, sage, salt and pepper; stir to coat. Cook until herbs are fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Transfer onion mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add bread, broth and chives; toss to combine. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish and cover with foil; bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Divide into 8 pieces and serve. Yields 1 piece per serving.

Notes:

  • Leave the bread bag open and somewhat uncovered for 1 to 2 days (at room temperature) before making the recipe.
  • Feel free to substitute your favorite bread, such as whole grain, sourdough or a light variety..
  • For added flavor, you can also add about 1 cup of diced Granny Smith or McIntosh apples to the stuffing
  • You can make this stuffing in advance and bake it just before serving. The stuffing will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking as directed.

Servings:  8

Preparation Time:  15 min

Cooking Time:  45 min

Level of Difficulty:  Easy

Enjoy!

Fueling Student Success with Food and Fitness

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Brain breaks for better focus and concentration…

Healthy eating messages sprinkled throughout the school hallways, cafeteria, and classrooms…

Nutrition education woven into PE and core curriculum K-12…

Where is this happening? Check out West Orange, New Jersey school district!

“Teaching our students to maintain a healthy balance with eating and exercise is our top priority. The SPARK program is helping provide the tools and training to achieve this goal”, shared Corinn Giaquinto, Health and Physical Education instructor, Thomas Edison Middle School, West Orange, New Jersey.

Hats off to Thomas A. Edison Middle School and their entire school district in West Orange. The district has been using SPARK in their physical education department for some time and recently received a grant from Mountainside Health Foundation to fuel student success by adding nutrition education.

Vickie L. James, Registered Dietitian and Director of Healthy Kids Challenge (HKC), the exclusive nutrition education partner for SPARK, was the trainer for the West Orange training, the first ever SPARK and HKC nutrition education training.

“From classroom to PE to wellness council members K-12, the representation and enthusiasm shown at the workshop tells me the commitment this district has to student wellbeing. They truly understand the strategy of using good nutrition and physical activity to create a culture of health in the schools that can do nothing short of fueling student success. This was the first of many great moments down the road for West Orange Schools.”

If your school district is ready to accelerate student achievement by combining physical activity and nutrition education, contact SPARK today. Full day SPARK/HKC nutrition education trainings as well as a new nutrition curriculum in three grade ranges, K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 all are available through SPARK.  Healthy Kids Challenge trainings are tailored to meet school needs for successful implementation of realistic wellness policies, school improvement plans, and TEAM Nutrition guidelines. And SPARK/HKC help you achieve the required criteria for the HealthierUS School Challenge program.

The HKC curriculum, Balance My Day, was developed to align with all HECAT (Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool) standards for nutrition education. This is a new requirement for PEP grant awardees and you won’t find many nutrition education programs that address it.

Stay tuned for exciting happenings and updates from West Orange schools! SPARK and HKC wish them well in their commitment to student health!

Empty Junk Food Calories: Half of Your Kid’s Diet?

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Many of you may already know what the experts recently revealed; kids these days are getting an exorbitant amount of their daily calories and nutrition (or lack thereof) from junk food, desserts, and an unlikely culprit: whole milk.

We all know that kids eat more junk food than they should, but we’ve always been told that their ability to metabolize at a faster rate made that completely acceptable. Recent findings claim that junk food makes up approximately 40% of the average kids’ diet. Perhaps this statistic will shine some much needed light on the matter at hand.

According to researchers behind the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, children between the ages of 2-18 are getting about 40% of their calories from just six different foods:

  • Soda
  • Sugary fruit drinks
  • Grain desserts: cookies, cakes, donuts
  • Dairy desserts: ice cream, milkshakes
  • Pizza
  • Whole Milk

Two of these items are in the dessert category, and three others are junk food snacks. It’s a wonder that kids in the age bracket of 2-18 even have access to that much junk food. The most surprising item to make the “naughty” list is whole milk. Many parents feel that this provides a hearty serving of Vitamin D, Calcium, and other necessary nutrients. What they do not realize is that when moderation is not enforced, the high fat calories are no longer offset by the benefits of these nutrients. While a small serving of whole milk can be beneficial, most situations call for its skinnier sibling, skim milk.

Specialists across the country have weighed in on the causes of these startling statistics over the last few weeks. The majority of nutritionists and dieticians have come to a few similar conclusions.

Everyone is a role model, and we aren’t doing a very good job.

eating-right

(Image Source)

Parents, teachers, celebrities and food companies are all responsible for the dire state of our youth. While legislation now regulates many schools’ vending machine products, parents, teachers, and coaches can be doing much more. Creating a meal out of microwavable pizza doesn’t set a good example for kids. Children look to adults for guidance, and they tend to form habits that only get worse during the freedom of their impressionable teen years.

Kids just need to get up and move!

children-and-mom

(Image Source)

If 40% of the older generation’s caloric intake as kids was made up of these empty calories, our bodies would not have noticed nearly as much as today’s kids’ bodies do. Those were the days of walking to school and playing outside until dark. Nowadays, many children do not even get the minimum recommended activity per day – and that’s only an hour. While we cannot explicitly blame video games and television for obesity, they are definitely culprits for their lack of activity.

It’s not just calories that matter – it’s the type of calories.

junk-food

(Image Source)

For decades, people of all ages, shapes, and sizes have fallen victim to fad diets, misconstrued healthy options, and excessive portion sizes. One issue is that people think that the only thing to avoid is excess calories, and in some cases, that might help you lose weight. Although eating only pizza, soda, and ice cream in a day may fall within your daily caloric need, the nutritional value is completely absent. People forget that eating right is not supposed to be about being skinny or looking good; it should be about being healthy and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Many sources cite teenagers’ addiction to cheap, flavorful, and satisfying junk food as a main culprit. Others claim that mere negligence by parents and school officials is to blame. Either way, these startling statistics paint a very grim future for our youngest generation. Find ways to feed your children nutritious calories, lead by example, and get up and move!

For more information on SPARK’s Nutrition Education program (and our exclusive nutrition partner Healthy Kids Challenge), please Click Here.

3 Nutrition Questions Answered…

Monday, September 13th, 2010
1. What are the best snacks for kids to help them sustain their energy levels all day?

The best snacks for sustaining energy levels are ones that combine complex carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits or vegetables, with some lean protein such as nuts or cheese, and a little bit of fat to enhance taste and satiety.

Healthy Kids Challenge Top 10 Healthy Snack Choices

  1. ½ cup fresh fruit – with low-fat yogurt dip
  2. ½ cup vegetables – with low-fat dressing dip
  3. 5 whole grain crackers – with salsa or bean dip
  4. 1 cup whole grain cereal – with 8 oz. skim milk
  5. 3 cups popcorn – with 1 oz. nuts (10 almonds or 15 peanuts)
  6. 1 oz. low-fat cheese – with 1 thin slice lean meat and whole grain roll
  7. 8 oz. fat-free flavored yogurt – with cut-up fresh fruit added
  8. 1/3 cup low-fat cottage cheese – with pineapple chunks
  9. 1 oz. nuts (10 almonds or 15 peanuts) – with ¼ cup raisins
  10. 1 Tbsp peanut butter – with celery sticks
2. Where do we go for quick, easy, and healthy recipes?

Here’s a list of Healthy Kids Challenge favorites online.  Each of these is a Partner in Health with HKC.  You can count on all of them to offer a variety of healthy recipes, affordable family meal ideas, and even “kid friendly” recipes sections, too!

Cooking Light – Includes categories such as “quick and easy” and “kid friendly” and access to the magazine’s recipe list.

Cabot – In addition to recipes, the Healthy Eating section includes recipe makeovers and cooking with kids tips.

Del Monte Recipes & Tools – Kid friendly recipes are simple to make and the “Meals Under $10” are healthy and tasty, too.

Mission – Look for “Family Meals Under $10” and “Fiesta Favorites” for a healthy spin on traditional tortilla fare.

3. Why is it important to eat whole grains and limit saturated fat?

A healthy diet including fiber from whole grains is important because whole grains help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may help with weight management.  The fiber in whole grains helps provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.  A food with 5 grams or more per serving is high in fiber.

It is important to limit saturated fat, which is solid fat, because it tends to raise LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, increasing your risk for heart disease. Limit solid fats like butter, stick margarine, or shortening. Instead, choose oils, which are more heart healthy, and in small amounts are a healthy choice.  Choose fat from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils more often. For more information, visit www.mypyramid.gov.

Q&A with Healthy Kids Challenge

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

January is finally here, and with it comes the usual list of well-intentioned New Years resolutions. For many of you, that means attempting to eat more nutritiously and live a healthier life, and here at SPARK we’re no different. But what about our students? Do we really believe they’re making the same healthy commitments? And if not, how can we ensure we create a healthier 2010 for them as well?

Well, we thought we’d enlist the help of our partner organization, Healthy Kids Challenge (HKC), to get some advice and answers on this topic.


Q: What evidence is out there to show why it is important to teach/promote healthy nutrition?

A: Many studies show a strong link between nutrition, physical activity, and academic success. A report from Action for Healthy Kids titled The Learning Connection is an excellent resource. (Get this version of the report as a powerpoint presentation and share it with others!) The link is just what you’d expect: Students who are well-nourished perform better, and students who are not well-nourished have weaker academic performance and score lower on standardized tests.

For example, we know research has shown increased participation in school breakfast programs is associated with increased academic test scores. In fact, eating breakfast is so important all year (not just right before testing times) that it is one of our 6 core healthy behaviors for which we’ve developed a theme, Breakfast GO Power!, and lessons/ideas for everyday fun learning.

Q: If I ask parents to bring in a healthy snack, what would be some recommendations of what they could provide?

A: First, I’d have you define for parents what is considered a “healthy snack.” Then list some healthy choices as examples. Consider getting the kids’ input – they will be more likely to eat if they’ve helped choose what is offered.

Healthy Snack How-To:

  • Choose snacks low in added fat and sugar – Think about More or Less! All foods fit when you choose MORE fruits and veggies and LESS sugary and high fat foods.
  • Recognize a healthy portion size – Check serving size on the label, and amounts of fat and sugar per serving: items should contain no more than 5 grams of fat or sugar per serving. Measure a serving to check it out!
  • Be aware of hunger levels –Are there distractions such as TV or videos while the kids will be eating? It’s easier for people of any age to keep from overeating if you eliminate distractions. Adding a little bit of protein to your snack will help kids stay full and focused.

HKC Top 10 Healthy Snack Choices
½ cup fresh fruit – with low-fat yogurt dip
½ cup vegetables – with low-fat dressing dip
5 whole grain crackers – with salsa or bean dip
1 cup whole grain cereal – with 8 oz. skim milk
3 cups popcorn – with 1 oz. nuts (10 almonds or 15 peanuts)
1 oz. low-fat cheese – with 1 thin slice lean meat and whole grain roll
8 oz. fat-free flavored yogurt – with cut-up fresh fruit added
1/3 cup low-fat cottage cheese – with pineapple chunks
1 oz. nuts (10 almonds or 15 peanuts) – with ¼ cup raisins
1 Tbsp peanut butter – with celery sticks

Q: Why is it important to eat more fruits & vegetables?

A: Less than 25% of school children (grades 9-12) and adults eat the recommended servings of fruits and veggies a day. (CDC, Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, 2007). Obesity levels are lowest among those who have high intakes of fruits and veggies.

Eating more fruits and vegetables will ensure you get a great variety of vitamins, minerals, and fiber needed for good health. Fruits and veggies are also the only source of phytochemicals, which give them their vibrant colors, and give us special protection against diseases.

For a simple send-home activity click here and explore the “For Parents” section of our Fit and Fun Families Toolkit.

Q: Which is healthier, a burger or a salad, and why?

A: Well, it depends. We really need to look closer at serving sizes and what you might have added to them before eating them.

The burger will have more protein, but it will also have extra calories and saturated fat. Is your burger larger than ¼ lb? Does it have cheese or bacon? All of these add more calories and fat. But I put lettuce and tomato and onions on it, you say? Those healthy fixins don’t amount to even one serving of vegetables – think again.

The salad will be loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, but did you also “load” it with your favorite dressing? What about cheese, bacon bits, or croutons? If you add all these toppings, you’ve added not only calories and saturated fat, but salt as well.

Fix your salad right, or order it right, and you’ll be making the healthier choice. Get your choice of dressing on the side, and dip your fork in it before getting a bite of salad. You’ll eat less and still enjoy the flavor. Add vegetables as toppings instead of the other high-calorie choices. In this case, the salad is the healthier choice with less saturated fat and fewer calories than a quarter-pound burger. The burger, by the way, has the same amount of saturated fat as a third of a cup of ranch dressing.

Q: What is the difference between all the different types of fat (saturated, unsaturated, trans fat)?

A:
1. All fats and oils are a mixture of saturated fat and unsaturated fats.
2. Solid fats contain more saturated fats and/or trans fats than oils.
3. Oils contain more unsaturated fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Solid Fats = more saturated and/or trans fats:
Solid fats are fats that are solid at room temperature. Some solid fats are butter, stick margarine, and shortening. Foods high in solid fats include many cheeses, creams, ice creams, ground beef, bacon, and poultry skin. Trans fats can be found in many cakes, cookies, crackers, margarines, and microwave popcorns. Foods containing partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils usually contain trans fats.

Oils = more unsaturated fats:
Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature, high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and low in saturated fats. Some common oils are canola oil, corn oil, and olive oil. Foods that are mainly oil include mayonnaise, salad dressings, and soft (tub or squeeze) margarine with no trans fats.

Choose Oils
Saturated fats and trans fats tend to raise LDL “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood, which in turn increases the risk for heart disease. To lower risk for heart disease, cut back on foods containing saturated fats and trans fats.

Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated (PUFA) or monounsaturated (MUFA) fats. Fish, nut, and vegetable oils are the major source of MUFAs and PUFAs in the diet. These oils do not raise LDL “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood. PUFAs contain some fatty acids that are necessary for health—called “essential fatty acids.” In addition, oils are the major source of vitamin E in typical American diets.

For more information, visit www.mypyramid.gov.

Q: What does vitamin A do for you?

A: Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes, healthy skin, and keeping your immune system strong. It is an essential nutrient, meaning your body cannot create it, so you must get it from your diet. Dark green and orange veggies have the highest vitamin A content. Choose these: broccoli, spinach, collard greens, mango, carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin.

Q: Why are some people allergic to nuts?

A: First you need to understand some allergy basics. I have an excellent resource to recommend for the answer you need, which is KidsHealth.org. According to them, “ An allergic reaction happens when someone’s immune system mistakenly believes that something harmless, such as a tree nut or peanut, is actually harmful. The immune system responds by creating specific antibodies to proteins in that food.” The following link will explain allergies, and also go into nut allergies in particular. If you need more information, let me know!
Click Here.

Q: When purchasing bread, what should you look for?

A:

  • Whole Grains on the ingredient list.
    • The key word is “whole”. It must say “whole wheat flour”, for example. Words such as “enriched wheat flour” and just “wheat flour” indicate it is NOT whole grain.
    • The first ingredient listed is present in the largest amount. If the first ingredient doesn’t have the word “whole” included, then it is not truly a whole grain bread. The front of the package may claim “made with whole grains”, but read the ingredient list carefully!
  • Calories, serving size, and fiber on the nutrition label.
    • Is a serving 1 slice of bread or 2 slices? You can get whole grain breads that range from 70 calories per serving up to almost 200 calories per serving. Read carefully and know what you are getting in a serving!
    • 2-3 grams of fiber per serving is a healthier choice. Just be sure to check what the serving size is. 3 grams of fiber per slice is much different than 3 grams per 2 slices! Eating more fiber aids digestion and helps you feel full longer.

Q: How much sugar is in a can of soda?

A: There are 10 tsp of sugar or 40 grams in a 12-oz can of soda. Help kids do a Drink Think using our free downloadable activity pages.