June 2013 | Hotlunch.com | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 5, Issue 6]

Diabetes and Kids

Type 2 diabetes is the form that’s most commonly due to obesity and diet. Years ago, it was considered a disease of older adults, but now it’s becoming more common in kids. That’s bad because it increases risk of heart disease and has other health complications. But what makes it even worse is that the disease may progress faster in kids.

Type 2 Diabetes Progresses Faster in Kids, Study Finds

This article from Health Day describes new information about diabetes and children. It appears that it progresses faster in children, which means we may start seeing signs of heart disease and kidney disease at younger ages.

Things you can do at school:
  • Talk about diabetes and what it does to the body.
  • Have students design healthier meals and menus – lower in calories, fat and sugar.
  • Help students understand how their weight and dietary choices will impact their health when they’re a bit older.
Taking Advance of Fast Food Calorie Counts

Maybe you’ve noticed some of the fast food joints display calorie counts next to the food items listed on their menus. It can be quite an eye-opener to see how many calories are in that big burger meal. It’s helpful information, but only if we use it – both adults and kids.

Too Few Kids Use Fast Food Calorie Info, Study Finds

Here’s another article from Health Day. This one describes a study that looked at how often kids used the calorie information on display at fast food restaurants. While girls were more likely than boys to take this info into consideration, there’s plenty of room for improvement. Of course, calories aren’t the only thing to consider when you’re eating a meal, but if you need to watch your weight, it’s crucial information.

Tips for teachers:
  • Give students formulas or online calculators so they can determine how many calories they need every day.
  • Talk about fast foods. Is this stuff really worth eating? Is it every okay to eat fast food? How much and how often?
  • Discuss how to choose healthier meals at the fast food restaurants.
Eating Healthy, But Eating Too Much

Have you ever discovered a food was really good for you, so when it came time to load it up on your plate, you piled it on high? If so, you’re not alone. Apparently, it’s common to eat more of a food when you think it’s healthier.

Sure, it’s great to eat healthier foods, but healthier doesn’t always mean lower in calories.  Even people who eat healthy foods may need to watch the caloric intake.

People Choose Larger Portions of ‘Healthier’ Foods

Here’s an article from Reuters describing a study that found subjects ate bigger portions of foods that were labeled as ‘healthier.’ It seems their perception was that healthier foods were automatically lower in calories. That’s not always the case. Some foods, like nuts and seeds, are good for you, but they’re also high in calories.

In Your School:
  • Teach kids about nutrient density – foods that are nutrient rich.
  • Explain what energy density is. Energy dense foods are high in calories.
  • Have students list foods that are energy dense, nutrient dense, and a list of foods that are both.
Age and Obesity

The older you get, the more difficult it is to lose or maintain your weight. Your calorie needs decrease unless you get more physical activity. It’s a good idea to put forth the extra effort to watch your weight, however, because obesity damages the body.

Age Amplifies Damage From Obesity, Study Finds
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_136956.html l

This article Medline Plus looks at the damage caused by obesity. Around middle age, obesity leads to hardening of the arteries, which increases your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure.  Scientists don’t know why this happens, but it’s a good reason to keep your weight in check.
Bring On the Cute!

I want to end the school year on a high note, so let’s bring up the cuteness factor. I’ve seen a lot of interesting foods, but this one makes me smile because it’s the cutest thing ever. It’s called the mouse melon and it looks like a watermelon. A very tiny watermelon about the size of a grape.
Mouse Melon, a.k.a. Mexican Gherkin: Tiny Fruit is Big on Cute

This article from Los Angeles Times describes an adorable little fruit called the mouse melon. Just look at that picture! I’ve never tried one before, so I don’t know how they taste, but they’re related to cucumbers, so probably some similarity there.

On that note, have a great summer!
About HotLunch.com

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Moderation - When Eating 'Bad' Foods is Okay

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) supports the idea of eating certain foods in moderation - that it's okay to eat something that isn't good for you as long as you only eat a small amount and/or not very often. It's good. It's normal. It's non-stressful. The key to eating in moderation is to watch your portion sizes. As long as you get all the nutrients you need and you stay close to your daily calorie target, its' okay to splurge on something fun, tasty and not perfectly good for you.

No Good Foods and No Bad Foods
Yeah - sure some foods have tons of health benefits and others don't (and when eaten to excess, can be bad for you). But that means you just have to avoid excess consumption of the bad ones. The AND says there's room for all types of foods in a healthy diet, and in fact, categorizing specific foods or food groups as good or bad is too simplistic and could lead to unhealthy eating habits.

Lessons In Moderation
The right way to practice moderation: focus on eating lots of healthful foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish and seafood, low-fat dairy (or another calcium source), and lean meats and poultry. As long as you follow a healthful balanced diet, it's okay to indulge in a piece of candy, a cookie, a serving of chips or your favorite dessert once a day.

This can take a little practice if your diet is out of shape. If you give into temptation to devour a whole banana split today, don't grieve at your dietary failure; just skip the treats for a few days. Next time, choose a smaller dessert.

The wrong way to practice moderation is to eat most of your meals at fast food places, with only an apple a day as a snack. If this is what your diet looks like right now, don't despair and fall for the latest fad diet. There's no need to overhaul your diet into a rigid regimen. Start by adding more fruits and vegetables, packing healthier lunches instead of going to fast food places, and if you do go, take a closer look at the menu and choose items that are lower in fat, sodium and calories. Get your fast food consumption down to one time per week or less.

More About School Lunches, Nutrition and Healthy Kids

Women Read Food Labels More Than Men

The  Flexitarian: Make Peace With Meat

Salt or Sea Salt – Is There a Difference?

Simple Health Rules For Shopping At Farmer’s Markets

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 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Association of Health Care 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.