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

[Volume 6, Issue 1]

Frustrated Parents
You know how difficult it can be to serve healthy meals that kids will eat and still meet your budget constraints. But it isn't always easy being a parent either - especially when you're concerned about what your kids eat for lunch every day. Some parents are just happy their kids are getting fed, but others want healthier meals and a few may even consider protesting school lunches. I like to know there are parents out there who want healthier school lunches, but I hope these kinds of concerns can be met without protests and arguments. We're all on the same side.
School lunches: Push for healthier foods faces barriers
One parent in Illinois talks about her frustration with the local school's Brunch for Lunch program because it's high in sugar (but the kids love it).  She also claims that kids shouldn't have much say in what's served to them at school.  Is she right? I don't think.  There are several examples of schools that have included kids' opinions in determining their menus.  Read on for one such school...
Kids Help Design the Menu

Of course you need to serve nutritious meals to your students, but the last thing you want to see is uneaten foods tossed into the dumpster.  That means your food is being wasted and the kids are going back to class with growling bellies. And that's bad for kids who need to be alert and ready to study. Maybe the solution is to let students serve as taste-testers when you choose the foods that make up your menus.
Memphis Students Decide The Lunch Menu
The Memphis Tennessee school district recently enlisted the help of 500 students in order to choose healthy and tasty foods.  The kids were offered various nutritious foods and their opinions were taken into consideration when buying ingredients and school foods.  I like this because it means less wasted food and I think it supports a healthy atmosphere and shows the kids that they're respected and that their feelings matter.  Maybe your school could incorporate this model.

  • Choose students from each of the schools in your district and arrange a tasting night - let parents test the foods too.
  • Let all the students and teachers know that you believe the opinions of the kids are important - they're part of the team along with school staff and parents.
  • Use tasting night to reinforce basic ideas on nutrition - let them know why that tasty piece of fish so good for their bodies and talk about fruits and vegetables too.
How Much Can You Really Serve for a Buck?

Federal funding gives you less than $3.00 per meal and that means you get about $1.00 for the ingredients - and you have to meet your budgets. What can you do with a buck a meal, and is it fair for the kids who may have to eat lower-quality ingredients such as meats that aren't even safe enough for fast food joints to serve. How much would it help your school if that funding increased?
School Lunches: We Can Do Better Than $1 Per Meal
Here's an opinion piece on how sad it is that federal funding is so low for school lunches. I'd love to see more articles like this so more parents think more about funding issues and school lunches. President Obama wants to increase funding for school meals - will it ever happen?

How Awesome is Aurora Hotlunch.com?

Aurora 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.

Nutrient Facts Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are needed for the brain and eye development and they'll help keep your heart healthy. Some experts believe getting adequate amounts of omega-3 fats will aid in normal brain function. These fats are essential for your health, but your body can't make them on it's own so you need to get them from the foods you eat. There are three types: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The first two types, DHA and EPA are found in fish oil while ALA is the type of omega-3 fatty acid found in plant sources. There are some differences, but your body can convert the ALA to either DHA and EPA, at least in the amounts your body needs for normal functions. Oily ocean fish have the most omega-3 fatty acids, especially salmon, herring, tuna, sardines and trout. You can also find omega-3 fatty acids in eggs laid by hens fed the right types of foods and in beef from grass-fed cattle. While fish are the highest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, pregnant woman and children should probably avoid eating too much fo certain types of fish because of the potential for mercury contamination. These fish include older sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Fish and shellfish such as shrimp, pollock, canned light tuna, salmon and catfish, are better choices because they tend to contain much less mercury. Plant sources of omega-3's include flax seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, soy and canola oil. There's no concern for mercury in any of the plant forms of omega-3 fatty acids so you can eat them every day.

Source: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
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