March 2010 | | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 7, Issue 1]

Your School Can Help Kids Lose Weight

Childhood obesity is truly sad and the fact that the rates of obesity are rising is scary.  Some experts believe today's kids will not live as long as their parents because they're already showing signs of chronic diseases that are typically associated with aging.  Kids are showing up in their pediatricians offices with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.  We really need to do something about it... not next year, not next week.  Now.
First Lady and Let's Move!
First Lady Michelle Obama has chosen to lead the fight against childhood obesity.  At, we can all find ideas and resources for helping our kids lose the excess weight now.  Why does it matter?  Because losing weight doesn't get easier when you grow up.  Why is it important for schools to get involved?  Because those kids spend a lot of hours every day under your watch.  Here are some ideas for your school:

  • Introduce students to fitness in physical education programs - such as cardiovascular routines and age-appropriate types of resistance training or other exercises.
  • Take a look at your breakfast and lunch offerings.  If it doesn't look healthy (not enough fruits, vegetables and fiber), start changing the menu.
  • Teach kids about the importance of fitness and being at a normal weight in health class.  It's not about looking great in the latest skinny jeans, it's about being healthy.
It Takes a Whole Family to Help a Kid Lose Weight

Your school can do it's share to help kids reach and maintain a healthy weight, but it might take more than that.  Most kids are going to need support at home to overcome obesity.  Learning about fruits and vegetables and eating healthy lunches at school are going to solve part of the problem, but if your kids are being served fast food and frozen pizza at home every night, the whole process falls apart.  Same thing for physical activity - your physical education program needs reinforcement by parents who will get their kids moving as well.

When Children Are Overweight, Changes for the Whole Family
It may seem expensive to buy exercise equipment, gym memberships and to serve healthy food every night and weekend, but the costs of raising obese, unhealthy children are going to be higher.  Help your parents help their kids:

  • Offer evening or weekend workshops to teach parents how to help their kids with exercises and with eating healthy foods.  Maybe local dietitians, fitness professionals and chefs will be willing to get involved with you.
  • Have children design a fitness and healthy eating pledge form or poster to take home to the family.  Send along some helpful tips for moms and dads and ask them to post the pledge right in the kitchen where everyone can see it. 
Talk about nutritious, low-calorie foods in health class and come up with healthy grocery lists that can be copied and shared with busy parents at home.
Safety Reforms for School Lunch Foods

Can you imagine how terrible it would be if a foodborne illness spread through your student population because your kitchen served tainted foods?    There has been some concern lately about the safety of commodity foods, like beef, that's sold to schools for their lunch and breakfast programs.  Of course, you always have to be careful with the foods you cook and serve, and monitor food safety practices, but you sure don't want tainted foods entering your kitchens.
New Safety Rules for School Lunches Due by July
The first step in improving safety is stepping  up the testing of bacteria, like E. coli, in the beef that's sold to schools.  Hopefully, enhanced safety standards for eggs, poultry and produce won't be too far behind.  The new standards for beef should be in place by July of this year.


How Awesome is is the only web-based system of its kind. Take a look at these testimonials to see how made an impact for these schools.



Hotlunch goes multilingual!

Hotlunch is now available in Spanish and French. We want to welcome our Canadian Schools.



Nutrient Facts Good Fats and Bad Fats

Fats and cholesterol have a number of important functions, such as lubrication of body surfaces, formation of some hormones, energy storage, and they're needed to carry the fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E and K) and fats also are part of the membranes that surround all your cells.  You get fats from the foods you eat, although your body makes most of your cholesterol in the liver.  When it comes to getting fats from your diet, you need to know that some fats are better for your health than others -- the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids are generally good, and the saturated fats are bad. The largest amounts of polyunsaturated fats are found in plants, such as in seeds, nuts and vegetable oils. Fish and seafood are also rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially the omega-3 fatty acids. Olive oil, canola oil, avocado and nuts also contain healthy fats, which are good for your heart and your blood vessels.

The bad fats included saturated fatty acids and trans-fats. People who eat large amounts of saturated fats from red meats tend to have higher cholesterol levels, more inflammation and are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Trans-fats may even be worse. Most trans-fats are formed when hydrogen is forced into liquid vegetable oils to make them semi-solid. Some types of stick margarine contain large amounts of trans-fats and some highly processed foods have trans-fats. Some naturally occurring trans-fats are in dairy products; however, they don't seem to be as detrimental as the trans-fats that are created artificially.

All types of fats have the same number of calories, so it's important to watch your overall intake of fats, however the fats you choose should be good for you.  Replace some of the saturated fats your family might be eating with good fats; for example, less butter and red meats and more olive oil and seafood.
More About School Lunches and Healthy Kids

Kids and Nutrition: Passing on Healthy Habits to Your Children

Getting Kids to Eat Vegetables and Fruits

Antioxidants 101

Family Fun Recipe Ideas for Family Dinners

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 ( and is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies (