April 2010 | Hotlunch.com | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 6, Issue 1]

Your Kids May Be Getting Too Many Calories From Snacks
Kids snack frequently - usually about three times every day - and those snacks can add more than 150 calories per day, which can mean several pounds of excess weight gain each year. Plus more kids are snacking on junk foods so they're increasing their intake of sugar, fat and sodium without adding more beneficial nutrients. This is probably one of the reasons childhood obesity is becoming a problem.
Study: Snacks Make Up 27% of Kids Calories

Researchers at the University of North Carolina found the number of children snacking has increased over the last quarter century and kids are now snacking on more junk foods.  Kids might easily gain up to 17 pounds per year with these high-calorie snacks.  But, does that mean snacks are always bad?  Not really.  As long as the calories in the snacks fit into a child's daily caloric need and the snack foods are healthy, then there's really no reason to eliminate snacking, just monitor the portions.  A low-calorie, healthy snack can include one of the following:

  • A piece of fresh fruit and a handful of nuts.
  • One serving of low-fat yogurt with berries and a teaspoon or two of honey.
  • Celery sticks or apple slices served with peanut butter.
  • Fresh raw veggies served with low-fat veggie dip.
Increasing Cost of Soda Could Reduce Consumption

Kids and adults love sugary sodas and the average person gets about 8 to 9 percent of their daily calories from soda - all from the sugar or high fructose corn syrup.    There's a very strong correlation between drinking more sugary soda and gaining weight so we really need to find ways to decrease the consumption of sugary sodas, starting with our kids.  Have you noticed how large the soda cups have become at convenience stores and even fast food restaurants? Maybe one way to reduce the consumption of soda is to increase the cost.
Study: People would lose 5 pounds a year if soda cost extra 18%
Increasing the cost of soda might mean an average decrease of 56 calories per day for people who regularly drink them.  Researchers believe this might result in weight loss of up to five pounds per year per person, which may lead to reduced risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses.  Of course you don't have to wait for the cost of soda to rise, you can just buy less of it.

But kids (and adults) love soda, so what can you drink that will satisfy their thirst?

  • Serve sparkling water with slices of lemons or limes to keep the fizz but lose the calories.
  • Blend 100% fruit juice with the same amount of sparkling water - less sugar and good nutrition. 
  • Milk is a nutritious beverage - especially important for teens who need to build strong bones.
  • Vegetable juice contains good nutrition too, just look for brands that have reduced the sodium.
Does Zinc Help Fight Off Ear Infections?
Ear infections can be very painful, especially for little kids, so moms and dads may be looking for ways to shorten their duration.  Some people claim taking zinc supplements will help reduce the time of infection for colds and for middle-ear infections, but is that really true?  Zinc is a nutrient normally found in high-protein foods such as meat and poultry and is widely available in supplement form.
The Claim: Zinc Can Help Fight Off Ear Infections
The claim that zinc shortens the duration is examined in this article in the New York Times.  Of course, now that it's spring, we're leaving the cold and flu (and the ear infections that often follow) season behind, but as long as kids are in school any viruses can still spread.  Here are some tips to help reduce illness:
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables - people who eat this way are less likely to get sick with colds and flu.
  • Promote hand washing - make sure your students and staff wash their hands several times throughout the day.
  • Teach children to cough or sneeze into their elbows instead of their hands.
  • Keep all common surfaces such as tables, door handles and counter tops cleaned.
How Awesome is Hotlunch.com?

Hotlunch.com is the only web-based system of its kind. Take a look at these testimonials to see how Hotlunch.com made an impact for these schools.



Hotlunch goes multilingual!

Hotlunch is now available in Spanish and French. We want to welcome our Canadian Schools.



We're now on Facebook

Hotlunch.com  has expanded Web presence to Facebook.  The new Hotlunch.com Facebook Page will provide you a wealth on information and updates on School and Children’s nutrition.  

Please show your support and become a "Fan" of hotlunch.com! ­Visit our Facebook­ Page and select the text "Become a Fan" from the top right.

Nutrient Facts Iron

Iron is a dietary mineral that your body uses for transporting oxygen to cells. It's also important for cell growth and differentiation. Most of the iron in your body is found in the red blood cells, with just a small amount in muscle cells and some enzymes.  Iron deficiency results in a reduced amount of oxygen that is delivered to the cells and leads to fatigue and anemia. Not getting enough iron can also negatively affect your immune system. Deficiency can occur from lack of iron in the diet, difficulty absorbing enough iron from the foods you eat, or from chronic blood loss.  Iron deficiency is more common in women than in men.

Dietary iron is found in meat, fish, poultry, oats, legumes and spinach, but there are two forms of dietary iron. The form found in animal tissue is called heme iron (from hemoglobin) and non-heme iron is found in plants. While both forms are acceptable, the heme iron from meat is more easily absorbed. You can increase the availability of non-heme iron by combining the plant sources with foods rich in vitamin C (for example, serve a spinach salad with fresh oranges. Iron is also available in supplements, however it is toxic in large amounts (over 45 mg/day) and must be sold in child-proof bottles to reduce the risk of accidental iron poisoning. Iron supplements should only be used with the supervision of a health care professional.

More About School Lunches and Healthy Kids
About Shereen Jegtvig

Shereen Jegtvig 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 American Dietetic Association.   Shereen writes about nutrition for the large website About.com (http://nutrition.about.com) and is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies (http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470445394.html).