National School Lunch Week – Let’s Grow Healthy

National School Lunch Week (NSLW) is October 10-14, 2011.  The theme is “Let’s Grow Healthy”. “School Lunch – Let’s Grow Healthy” will help students understand where food comes from while highlighting the overall benefit that school lunch helps kids grow strong and healthy. The NSLW 2011 theme provides the opportunity to try something new and promote locally sourced foods. From a harvest-of-the-month menu to a school garden to a meet-the-farmer educational presentation and much more, there’s a farm-to-school model or activity that can fit the needs of any school or district!

Continue reading

How to Beat the Freshman 15

Choose foods packed with vitamins and minerals.

“Freshman 15” originally referred to the typical number of credit hours a full-time college student takes each semester. But pop culture also claims it’s the number of pounds college co-eds gain their first year away from home.

The Freshman 15 IS real. Research shows about 70 percent of students gain weight between the start of college and their sophomore year – but the good news is the “Freshman 15” has lost weight. In reality it is more like the “Freshman 8.” But whether it’s 8 or 15 pounds, it’s the same factor contributing to the obesity epidemic among all Americans – a small increase in daily calories causes significant weight gain over time. 

 College freshmen flunk when it comes to good nutrition. Results from a recent Tufts study show students should get an “F” in eating enough fruits or vegetables, a “D” in eating enough fiber-rich grains and a “C” in consuming enough calcium. On average college students consume only half of the recommended servings of dairy each day.  To make the dean’s list, freshmen must make nutrient-rich foods a priority.

 Many factors can tip the scales:

  • Like hectic schedules
  • Social eating
  • All-you-can-eat meal plans
  • The biggest culprit may be late night snacking. One study found that, on average, freshmen take in about 500 extra calories between the hours of 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.  For late night snacks, I recommend sliced fruit and cheese, yogurt topped with sliced almonds or whole grain cereal with fat-free milk.  

 Stocking up the dorm room: Undergrads should stock up on these fridge favorites: baby carrots and celery, hummus, string cheese, fresh fruit, yogurt, drinkable smoothies, water, pudding, low-fat and fat-free milk and lean sandwich meat.  These are healthy snacks perfect for the on-the-go student, and many come in single serve options that can be packed for class. 

 Students can fuel up between meals or for late night study sessions with easy grab- and- go healthy snacks such as:

  • Animal crackers
  • Canned fruit
  • Fresh or dried fruit
  • Granola bars
  • High fiber cereal (portioned boxes)
  • Nuts or seeds (pumpkin, almonds, sunflower, walnuts, pistachio)
  • Popcorn (light or fat-free)
  • Tuna fish
  • Trail mix
  • Pudding
  • Oatmeal
  • Reduced fat peanut butter
  • Whole grain crackers

               These snacks can be mailed in a surprise care package to hungry freshman.

For good health, college students need to exercise at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week.  It’s easy to include fitness in college life with these five tips. 

  • Walk or bike to class
  • Go for a walk with friends
  • Take a fitness class as a course.
  • Check out the college gym or wellness center.
  • Join an intramural sport.

 In addition to eating nutrient-rich foods and exercising regularly, freshmen can prevent packing on the pounds by:

  • Making Time for Meals
  • Don’t Skip Breakfast
  • Get Plenty of Sleep

 Eating nutrient-rich foods, including low-fat and fat-free dairy, and exercising regularly can help students beat the dreaded “Freshman 15!”

Celebration Around the Globe – World School Milk Day

By Mary Nicholson

There is only one beverage that brings children together from all around the world to celebrate…milk!  Wednesday, September 28th marks the 12th annual World School Milk Day (WSMD) promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.  World School Milk Day provides a chance for children around the world to learn about making healthy beverage choices and increases their knowledge about cultures around the world.  Launched in 2000, the day is used to promote the importance of drinking milk at school to children in a fun and educational way. The goal of World School Milk Day is to celebrate school milk on one day of the year at the same time all across the world.

Continue reading

It’s Almost Time To Start Thinking About School Lunches

By DeDe Hausmann

Before we know it, kids will be headed back to school.  The National School Lunch Program, which most public/private schools work with (for federal funding), requires that nutritious and economical meals must be prepared.  We work closely with Indiana School Nutrition Directors and cafeteria personnel so we know that they strive to make sure students get great tasting, nutritious and economical meals to enjoy.  Encourage your kids to try school lunches.

Continue reading

Fuel Up to Play 60

By Diane Ruyack

Nicholson Elementary School has been participating in NFL’s and National Dairy Council’s Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP 60) program all school year.  The students have had challenges built around the Colts’ football season and Indiana basketball’s “March Madness.”  The goal of the FUTP 60 partnership is to encourage children to be physically active and to eat nutritious food, such as dairy products, whole-grains, and fruits and vegetables.

Continue reading

Nutrition is Vital for Young Children

The Week of the Young Child, now in its 40th year, is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The purpose of the Week of the Young Child is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs. Today we know more than ever before about the importance of children’s earliest years in shaping their learning and development. Yet, never before have the needs of young children and their families been more pressing.

Too many children in the United States live in poverty, without good nutrition and health care.

•In the United States 18% of children under age 18 and 24% of children under age 6 live in poverty. It is estimated that 12 million children do not have enough food to meet their basic needs and approximately 3.2 million are suffering from hunger.

•In the United States 15% of children under age 18 and 24% of those living in poverty are not covered by health insurance.

•Approximately one-third of children and nearly one-half of black children born in the United States have at least one health risk at birth.

The Week of the Young Child is a time to recognize that children’s opportunities are our responsibilities, and to recommit ourselves to ensuring that each and every child experiences the type of early environment – at home, at child care, at school, and in the community – that will promote their early learning. Roughly 4 million children under age twelve go hungry each day.

Research demonstrates that children who lack adequate nutrition are more likely to have health problems and to have difficulty in school. There are several programs that help child care providers pay for meals and snacks. One of these is the Special Milk Program. The Special Milk Program provides milk to children in child care and schools that do not participate in other Federal child nutrition programs. Schools that participate in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs also may participate in the milk program in order to provide milk to children enrolled in half-day pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs that do not have a meal program. Children either purchase the milk or receive it for free. Families must meet income guidelines for their children to receive free milk.

Forty years later, the goal of the Week of the Young Child remains the same, but the scale of the event has grown. Communities nationwide buzz with festivals, parades, free museum visits, artwork exhibits, banquets for teachers, festivals for families, and crafts for children.

Have You Read Any Good Farm Books to Your Kids or Grandkids Recently?

By DeDe Hausmann

April 2nd was National Children’s Book Day. Don’t get stressed if you missed that day!!!  Kids always need to read or have good books read to them and that special day was just meant to recognize the important relationship that books should play in children’s lives.   Studies have shown that reading to a small child and then fostering that child to read on her/his own later will help them be better students.  And who doesn’t want our young people to be the best that they can be in school?

Do you remember your favorite “farm” books from childhood?  Little ones LOVE books about animals and I bet we all remember OLD MACDONALD HAD A FARM.  (And everyone remembers the accompanying song that can go on forever and ever, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm, E –I- E- I –O.  And on his farm he had a …………..” ).  I didn’t realize that there are loads of versions of OLD MACDONALD books and all are different.  Get your kids (especially ages 4-8) to compare the stories, pics, etc.  I’ve got to check out OLD MACDONALD HAD AN APARTMENT HOUSE, by Judi Barrett, with illustrations by her husband, Ron Barrett.  As tenants move out, the super, Old MacDonald, moved in veggie gardens and farm animals and they thrived; that is, until the owner came by to pick up the rent.  This has got to be a HOOT.

Remember the book, THE LITTLE RED HEN? Her grandson, in THE LITTLE RED CHICKEN, by Joy Cowley, wants to have a party but his buddies won’t help him plan and  set it up.  They just want to eat his food so he asks his grandma for advice and she tells him to “not let them in”.  But he’s a caring guy and invites his friends.  They realize how much work he did for them and they regret not assisting him and tell him so.

Another neat sounding ag book is MRS WISHY WASHY’S FARM, by Joy Cowley, with graphics by Elizabeth Fuller.  Pre-K thru 1st graders will love when they hear how Mrs. Wishy Washy loves to bathe the farm animals in a tin tub.  The animals revolt and run away to the city.  You’ll read about their urban “dirty” misadventures before they hurry back home to the farm.

ANIMALS SHOULD DEFINITELY NOT WEAR CLOTHING, by Judi and Ron Barrett, shows that animal “clothing” is perfect, as is.  It’s so funny to see animals in “human” clothing.  Kids of all ages will LOVE this book.

GOOGLE for more farm animal book titles and then head off to your nearest library or bookstore and check out these books for a great read for all (especially for the little ones).  You enjoyed reading about farm animals when you were young.  Bring that joy to the little people in your life!