February 2012 | Hotlunch.com | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 4, Issue 2]

Struggling With Weight Loss
Adults who deal with obesity know how difficult it is to lose and maintain weight. Imagine how much more difficult it is for kids who are constantly exposed to high calorie foods. Most food advertisements aimed at kids are for junk foods and vending machines with soda and candy are pretty much everywhere. To make things worse, kids who are overweight or obese tend to be the victims of bullying and they’re prone to isolation and depression.
Why is it so hard for kids to lose weight?



This article looks at some of the factors that make weight loss so difficult for kids, and it’s not just the treats we give kids. Family issues, poverty and other types of stress make it difficult for kid to lose weight. Part of it may have to do with what being stressed does to the body, plus low-income families may only be able to afford cheap calorie-dense foods.

Thinking about this in school:
  • Teach kids how to choose inexpensive healthy foods.
  • Design programs to teach kids how to deal with stress.
  • Host a family night with speakers who can teach parents how to help their kids.
Exercise and Heart Health

We want to keep our kids healthy and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. Heart disease is the number one killer of adults.  One way to go about it is to teach kids how to eat a healthy diet. Another important component is getting kids to exercise.

Study: Even Some Vigorous Activity Boosts Kids’ Heart Health


This article takes a look at the impact of vigorous exercise on kids. Turns out that adding a half an hour or so of moderate to vigorous activity can cut cardiovascular risk. Kids who move more have lower levels of cholesterol, blood sugar  and blood pressure.

Get your students moving:
  • Teach kids why they need exercise to stay healthy.
  • Choose vigorous activities for physical education class.
  • Set up afterschool exercise groups for kids who aren’t active in sports.
Vitamin D and Language Issues

Vitamin D is popular right now. Seems like a new study of some kind is published every day. Today I read about a study that looked at a possible correlation between vitamin D and language issues in children.

Kids' language issues tied to moms' low vitamin D: study

This article looks at the correlation of vitamin D levels in moms-to-be with childhood language impairment issues. The researchers measured vitamin D levels in pregnant women and followed up with the women and their children for ten years. They found that children born of mothers with the lowest vitamin D levels had a higher risk of language and behavioral issues. This doesn’t prove the low vitamin D levels caused the problems, but there does appear to be some type of correlation. More research is required to know for sure.
What To Do With Food Labels?

The United States Food and Drug Administration has required food labels called Nutrition Facts labels to be printed on food packaging. A lot of consumers say they use this information, but studies indicate that may not be true. So having this information available is only useful if people actually read it.

Seeking the right recipe for food labels

This article describes potential changes in food labeling. One possibility is called “Facts Up Front,” which puts the most important information on the front of the pack.

Help your students:
  • Talk about the nutrients listed on food labels and what they mean for the body.
  • Teach students how to read Nutrition Facts labels.
  • Discuss the types of health claims that can be made (the US FDA has this information).
Cholesterol and Kids

Most adults are familiar with cholesterol and it’s connection with heart disease risk. In fact, a lot of adults know their cholesterol levels (both the good kind – HDL, and the back kind – LDL). We don’t usually give much thought to the idea of kids and cholesterol levels, but we should – kids who are overweight or obese can have high cholesterol levels too.

Kids' diet counseling tied to better cholesterol

This article looks at a study that examines the impact of diet counseling on kids and their cholesterol levels. According to the study, kids who were given nutritional counseling eat less saturated fat than kids who didn’t get the same counseling. It was just a small decrease in saturated fat, but the kids in that group had consistently lower levels of cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
Are you Ready to save time and money with 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.

  • With Hotlunch.com you can publish lunch menus online, receive payments and automate administration of your Hotlunch at school.

  • Save up to 60 % of the time and resources you currently spend running your Hotlunch program.

  • Reduce errors, increase profits for you school and bring outstanding payments down to zero.

  • Hotlunch.com has been used by schools all over the nation  to manage after school care, volunteer recruitment, capital campaigns and much more!

  • Ask us how today. Call 1-888-376-7136 or email info@hotlunch.com

Enter our Facebook giveaway to win money for your school

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

Astaxanthin – Fish and Seafood

Astaxanthin is a natural substance found in microalgae, krill and such seafood as salmon, trout and shrimp. It's a carotenoid, so it's related to vitamin A, beta-carotene and other carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. It may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. If so, then it's possible that astaxanthin is part of the reason why fish and seafood are good for you (along with being low in calories and rich in healthy fats).

Carotenoids in general are thought to be beneficial for your health because of their antioxidant capacity. Population studies show that people who eat diets rich in carotenoids tend to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. But it's really not possible to know how much of that benefit is due to any specific foods or carotenoids.

Salmon, trout and shrimp are all good sources of astaxanthin. They're low in calories and total fat, plus they contain the essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Astaxanthin has been studied in the lab to see if it might help prevent or treat cardiovascular disease, upset stomach, male infertility, macular degeneration and diabetes, and reduce the discomfort of menopause. Laboratory research on animals has shown some promise, but clinical studies on humans are lacking. Only a few preliminary and small, controlled trials have been published, so it's too early to know if astaxanthin is really beneficial as a therapeutic agent or not.
Of course, strong evidence isn't always necessary for a natural substance to be extracted, packed into pills and sold as a dietary supplement. Astaxanthin is marketed with the claims that it supports muscle endurance, improves sperm quality, promotes healthier skin and is good for your vision. But these claims are made with little or no evidence.

Astaxanthin appears to be safe, but right now there isn't any evidence that the supplements will help prevent or treat any health condition. You're probably better off getting your astaxanthin from such foods as salmon and trout, and skipping the supplements. And always, speak to your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplements.
More About School Lunches and Healthy Kids

Half a billion children at risk from malnutrition

Healthy kids from teeth to feet

Chia seeds becoming new popular health diet

Mars candy bars downsizing -- but will you eat less?

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 and the Association of Health Car 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 and fundamentals of nutrition to undergrads at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.