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

[Volume 8, Issue 1]

Lobbying for School Lunch

If you're planning the budget for your school lunches, you already know how tough it is for schools to serve healthy foods at low costs. There are many people who believe the reimbursement rates for public school lunches should increase - maybe that would help schools serve healthier foods. Recently, celebrity chef and talk show host, Rachael Ray lobbied Congress to raise those rates.
Rachael Ray and Senator Lobby for School Lunch

Rachael Ray teamed up with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York to plead with lawmakers to increase school lunch reimbursement rates by 70 cents.  The current bill would only increase reimbursement rates by 6 cents - and that just isn't enough money to feed our kids good foods.

Organic Foods Are Expensive
Organic foods are thought to be safer than the typical foods sold in grocery stores and restaurants because they're not grown with artificial pesticides, herbicides and organic foods of animal origin must not be grown with hormones or antibiotics.  This is probably good - who wants these chemicals in their food - but organics are expensive.  Are they worth it?  Can't your body handle a little bit of these chemicals?

Is Organic Food Worth It?
From a nutritional standpoint, organic foods are about the same as non-organic foods and often cost twice as much. Some people feel the extra cost is acceptable so they can keep chemicals out of their bodies. Others just can't see paying extra for organic foods because they don't really see much added benefit. Maybe you're on the fence yourself. You like the organic ideal, but worry about the added cost. So here are a few tips to start buying organic:

  • Organic milk is one of the most common starting points for people.  Look for milk from grass-fed cows - it's even better.
  • Peaches, apples, strawberries and pepper often have the most pesticide residue, so buy these as organics.
  • Understand how organic labeling works. 100% Organic means all of the ingredients are organic.  Made With Organic Ingredients means that about 70% of the product is made with organic ingredients and the product may not be worth the extra cost.
Understanding Food Cravings
One thing that makes following a healthy diet difficult is having to deal with food cravings.  You know those times when not any food will do - you just feel you must have something specific.  And of course, most of the time that something specific is high in sugar, salt, fat or maybe all three.  Eating healthy foods would be so much easier if we understood food cravings and could figure out how to deal with them.
The Psychology of Food Cravings
Researchers in Australia believe a major component of food cravings is mental imagery.  It could be that we form a mental picture of a favorite food in our head and then we start to crave it.  The good news is that the researchers could stop food cravings by having their participants picture other non-food items in their heads or stare at black and white moving images.

You know what?  It's okay to give in to food cravings now and then - but be smart about portion sizes.  If you're craving chocolate, go ahead and have a small piece - about 1.5 ounces or so - and not a huge, double-sized candy bar.  You'll enjoy the flavor without blowing your daily calorie count.  But you don't need to give in to every food craving, so before you reach for that donut, try these:
  • Go for a walk - this might distract you long enough for the craving to go away.
  • If you're truly hungry, eat a piece of fresh fruit or cut vegetables first.
  • Call a friend - a good conversation might get your mind off the craving.
How Awesome is 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.



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 Sodium

Sodium is a major mineral and is found in the fluid surrounding the cells in your body. It's necessary to regulate blood pressure and fluid volume; sodium also helps maintain pH balance. Your muscles and nervous system also need sodium to function properly.

The most common form of sodium is table salt, however sodium occurs naturally in most foods, but usually in very small amounts. Dairy products, beets and celery are all significant sources of sodium. Sodium is added to many processed foods in the form of additives that are used as preservatives and flavor enhancers. Since the typical diet contains a large amount of processed foods, sodium deficiency is rare, in fact, it's more common to get too much sodium than not enough.

Eating a diet that is high in sodium is associated with high blood pressure and can increase calcium loss, which can increase the risk of osteoporosis. The Institute of Medicine suggests an intake of no more than 2,400 mg per day, but the typical American diet contains about twice that amount.

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).