February 2011 | Hotlunch.com | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 2, Issue 2]

Children and Heart Disease Prevention

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and although we tend to think of it as a middle-aged and older disease, the roots of heart disease may start in childhood. Children are more likely to be obese now than in decades past and obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease as well as diabetes.

Kids also eat more sugar now than in the past and that may do more than just add unwanted calories - the sugar kids eat may alter their good cholesterol numbers. A lot of that sugar being eaten by kids is just ‘added sugar’, or sugar that’s added to foods and not naturally occurring sugar like those found in fruits and vegetables.


Preventing Heart Risks at the Root: Childhood


Two recent studies help shed some light on childhood and risks for heart disease. One looked correlations with parental smoking, parents having high blood pressure and also with obesity. Sadly, as one of the researchers noted, kids who are obese tend to stay that way as adults.


The second study looked at children, sugar consumption and HDL cholesterol levels (HDL is the good kind). Turns out kids tend to eat about 500 calories worth of added sugars every day and that’s bad for their health.

Here are a few ideas to help your kids learn about eating right for a healthy heart:
  • Teach kids about heart disease risk factors such as obesity and high blood pressure, both are influenced by diet.
  • Use calorie calculators to help kids determine how many calories they need to stay fit and donít forget about cardiovascular exercise.
  • Talk about added sugars and how kids need to look for them and avoid them.
More About Added Sugars

So. We know that added sugar is bad for both adults and kids, but a lot of us have a strong sweet-tooth. So what do you do when your kids (or you) want something sweet, but you still want to avoid added sugars.

For one, you can offer fresh fruit instead of candy, donuts or other pastries. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit visible - when kids see them, they’re more likely to actually want to eat them.

The kids’ table: Unlocking sugar’s shackles

Registered Dietitian Ximena Jimenez offers some tips for eating less sugar while still enjoying the foods you eat.

Teach students about avoiding added sugars:

  Explore the Nutrition Facts labels in the classroom. How much sugar per serving?
  Don’t forget about the Ingredients List - kids can recognize the various type of sweeteners that are just sugar by other names:
High Fructose Corn Syrup
  Then teach them that fruit is good for them - fruits are sweet too, but they also have fiber and nutrients.
Better Vending Machines

Okay, so a lot of us like the convenience of vending machines. Pop in a couple of bucks, press a button or two and out comes a soda or snack. Unfortunately, most of the time, the stuff that comes out of the vending machine is loaded with fat, calories, sodium and sugar. But that doesn’t have to be the case, does it? There must be better vending machine foods, right? Sure! We can choose low-fat snacks and low sodium snacks and load up the vending machines with water, low-calorie vitamin waters and juice. Well, maybe that’s just the first step.

No Twinkies? Vending machines go organic.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 regulates the nutrition content of foods available in schools, including the vending machines. So a few companies are using that opportunity to sell healthier vending machine foods, including organics. Vending machine options can be labeled with stickers so kids know which snacks and beverages are the healthiest.

Food Marketing and Kids

According to the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, kids see about 15 commercials for food on television every day. About five of those are for fast food restaurants and the rest are mostly for sweetened cereals, snacks and candy. And food companies are increasing their advertising exposure, too, with the use of the internet - websites and social networking, and they’re even moving into video games.

Are children prey for fast food companies?

According to Yale researchers, food companies have been able to prevent government regulation that could restrict how they advertise to our kids. That would be fine if the food companies would sell mostly healthful products, but they don’t - a lot of the foods marketed to kids are loaded with sugar, fats, sodium and calories - and that’s bad because we’re seeing the effects of obesity and poor food choices on the health of our children.

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.

Here are some of the new features introduced in our 2010 version!
  • Parents can order from a calendar like menu.
  • Newly formatted coupons/ meal tickets.
  • School can offer discounted or free meals.
  • Add images to your menu items, great for fund raisers.
  • Multiple levels of Administrator access, control access at your school.
  • Automated Cut-off dates.
  • Ability to issue credits for Snow days, or no lunch days.
  • Parents can copy an order from one child to another.
  • Pre select drinks for the entire menu in advance.
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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.

Superfoods - Oranges

Oranges are brightly colored and easy to spot in the produce section of your local grocery store. Which is good, because they’re really nutritious. You probably already know that oranges and other citrus fruits are good sources of vitamin C. One orange gives you all the vitamin C you need for a whole day. But did you know that same orange also gives you potassium, fiber, several phytonutrient antioxidants, and even a bit of calcium, all for about 60 calories? Eating oranges will help to keep your immune system functioning normally and is also good for your bones, skin and blood vessels.

But maybe you only think of oranges as something to eat in the morning - with breakfast - probably in a glass as orange juice. And while it’s great to eat an orange or enjoy a glass of juice with breakfast, you could be missing out on all sorts of opportunities to get more of this superfood fruit into your daily diet.

Since most of us need to eat more fruits and vegetables, here are some tips for eating more oranges:
  Keep oranges in a fruit bowl for easy-to-grab snacks.  They’ll keep for up to five days.
  Slice up an orange and place the slices in a small plastic container and pack it with the rest of your school or work lunch.
  Add fresh orange sections to a salad.
  Make fun-to-eat frozen snacks by freezing orange juice in molds or small paper cups with wooden sticks or toothpicks.
More About School Lunches and Healthy Kids

Sesame and nut allergies may often strike together

Marketing fast foods to children

Cost of obesity approaching $300 billion per year

Getting kids to eat vegetables and fruits

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), is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies (http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470445394.html), and teaches Evidence Based Nutrition to nutrition graduate students at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.