November 2016 | Hotlunch.com | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 8, Issue 11]

 
Is Frozen Produce as Good as Fresh?

Kids and adults all need to eat more fruits and vegetables, but it's hard to stock up on fresh produce because it can go bad in just a few days. One solution is to buy frozen fruits, berries and veggies. But, we're always told that fresh is better than frozen as far as nutrition goes, but does it really matter?

Are Frozen Fruits and Vegetables as Nutritious as Fresh?
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/11/18/are-frozen-fruits-and-vegetables

This Well blog post from The New York Times digs into the differences between fresh and frozen produce. It turns out there just isn't much difference. Some nutrients, such as fiber and minerals aren't affected by freezing. Vitamins differ a little bit, but nothing significant. So, feel free to stock up on frozen fruits and veggies.

What to know about frozen foods:

  • Freeze your own fruits and veggies at home. Be sure to use containers and bags designed for long-term freezer storage.
  • Stock up on frozen fruits, berries and veggies when they go on sale - a great money saver.
  • Frozen foods don't last forever. Use them up within about six months or so.
 
 
 
Kids Still Eat Too Much Sodium
 

Sodium is everywhere. It's in salt, so it makes foods taste good, and it's a common component in a long list of additives and preservatives so almost all packaged foods are high in sodium. Consuming excess sodium can be a problem for lots of adults but the CDC would like kids to eat less sodium too, as one way to reduce future heart disease risk.

Kids Continue to Consume Too Much Salt, Putting Them at Risk
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161103090750.htm

This news story published by ScienceDaily describes a study that suggests the average sodium intake for kids between the ages of 6 and 18 years was over 3,200 milligrams a day, not including table salt. The recommended amount of sodium for kids runs from 1,900 to 2,300 milligrams per day.

What to do at school:

  • Explain why kids need its important to watch sodium intake.
  • Urge kids to eat more fruits and vegetables that are naturally low in sodium and high in potassium, a mineral that can help balance out the effects of sodium.
  • Teach kids how to read nutrition labels. Nutrition Facts labels are required to include sodium content.
 
Which Non-Dairy Milk Is Best for Your Diet?

Plant-based milks are rising in popularity. For years, it was easy enough to find soy milk and rice milk, but these days you'll also find almond, coconut and cashew milk. We think of them as being healthful because they're made from plants, but is one better than the others?

Which Milk is Most Nutritious: Soy, Cashew, Almond or Coconut?
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/11/11/which-milk-is-most-nutritious

This Well blog post from The New York Times takes a look at the nutritional differences in these popular beverages. Plant-based milks are often used to replace cows' milk so it's important to look at calcium and protein levels. Plus cows' milk is fortified with vitamin D.

According to the post, soy beverages are high in protein but may not have much calcium unless they've been fortified (many brands are). Coconut milk is the least nutritious because it's low in both protein and calcium. The nut milks fall somewhere in between. Although we think of nuts as healthy, nut milks are mostly water.

So when you look for plant-based milks, choose brands that have added calcium and vitamin D and watch out for extra calories from the sugar in the flavored varieties.

 
 
Should Young Kids Be Screened for Obesity?
 

Changing behavioral patterns that can prevent obesity may be more effective when they're begun at a young age. Therefore, The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force urges health professionals to check the body mass index of kids as young as 6 years old.

To Fight Childhood Obesity, Task Force Recommends Screening All Kids Starting at Age 6
http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-childhood-obesity-screening

This news story from the Los Angeles Times explains that kids who are obese are more likely to have health problems such as asthma, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, joint problems, and are more likely to develop psychological issues. Reducing childhood obesity would reduce the incidence of all those issues.

The task force looked at ways to help kids. They reviewed counseling sessions and found programs that included at least 26 hours of counseling were the most effective. These sessions including help for improving eating habits, getting more active and they involved the parents.

They also looked at two medications, metformin and orlistat, but found they weren’t all that effective in kids and led to unpleasant side effects, so the Task Force decided against using these drugs.

 
Is It Really About Willpower?

As long as I can remember, people who gained weight have been told they have no will power and that's why they're overweight. They were told they were too lazy to eat right or weren't able to be responsible about their health. That type of shaming was mean and not accurate, but it still goes on today.

Americans Blame Obesity on Willpower, Despite Evidence It's Genetic
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/01/health/americans-obesity-willpower-genetics

This news story in The New York Times describes the findings of a study recently presented by researchers at The University of Chicago. While most Americans still believe 'sloth' or 'gluttony' are too blame, the study authors explain obesity has much more to do with a combination of environment and genetics. Some people are more prone to weight gain and we spend every day exposed to gigantic portions of cheap calorie-dense food.

 
 
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More About School Lunches, Nutrition and Healthy Kids
 

One in six U.S. households with children were food-insecure at some time in 2015
http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/chart-gallery/gallery/chart-detail/?chartId=80855

5 diet tips to forget
http://www.today.com/series/one-small-thing/5-diet-tips-forget-t104891

What Do We Know About Kids Who Rapidly Get Fatter?
http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/GeneralPediatrics/61370?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2016-11-12&eun=g411013d0r&pos=1

A non-pill treatment for many chronic illnesses: Exercise
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/a-non-pill-treatment-for-many-chronic-illnesses-exercise/2016/11/18/a04eb344-7a9d-11e6-beac-57a4a412e93a_story.html

Five surprising statistics from Feeding America's 2016 annual report
http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/news-and-updates/hunger-blog/five-surprising-statistics.html

 
About Shereen Lehman

Shereen Lehman is a health and nutrition writer with two decades of experience counseling people on nutrition and diet. She has a master's degree in human nutrition and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Association of Health Care Journalists.

Shereen writes about nutrition for the large website About.com (http://nutrition.about.com), is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies (http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470445394.html) and Clinical Anatomy for Dummies (http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118116437.html). She also teaches Evidence Based Nutrition to nutrition graduate students at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.