March 2011 | | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 2, Issue 3]

Teens Who Skip Meals

Sometimes teens would rather sleep a few extra minutes and just skip breakfast. Thatís completely understandable because kids that age still need a lot of sleep. But breakfast-skipping teens may think itís fine to wait until lunch time to eat, but they may not have the energy they need to get through a busy morning. But breakfast isnít the only meal teens skip. Letís look at teens who skip lunch.

Why would kids skip lunch? Some teens load up their schedules with extra classes and activities that interfere with their lunch time. And some kids may use that time as an unofficial study hall - a time to get some last-minute school work done. They may eat nothing at all or just grab an ala carte item or two instead eating a balanced lunch.

Running on empty

This article discusses the reasons why teens skip meals. Some kids are busy with heavy course loads, after-school activities, and maybe even part-time jobs. This results in skipped or rushed meals, which just doesnít work for teens.


Teen age boys and girls usually require more than 2000 calories per day - active teens may need even more. When teens donít get enough to eat they may have less energy and have some difficulty in school. Skipping meals often leads to over-eating late in the day - often on high calorie junk foods.

Here are a few ideas to help your kids eat regular meals:

  • Offering breakfast items helps those kids that skip breakfast at home.
  • Teach kids some easy tips for quick breakfast (see breakfast tips at the end of the newsletter).
  • Talk to teens about their schedules - leave time for lunch.
Energy Drink Worries

Energy drinks have become trendy among teens who want to feel the caffeine buzz or stay up late. Or maybe itís a kid thing - everyone else is drinking it, I should too. In any case, there are plenty of experts who fear there are dangers with excessive consumption of energy drinks.

Energy drinks can be dangerous for teens, report says

The energy drink market is the fastest growing beverage market in the United States; sales will top $9 billion dollars this year. About one-third of teens consume energy drinks. Occasional use is fine, but heavy use may lead to health problems in teens and young adults.

Indulging in large amounts of energy drinks has been linked to an increased risk of heart palpitations, seizures, strokes and even sudden death. The problem is probably due to the combination of caffeine and other ingredients in the energy drinks.

  Teach kids about energy drinks
Energy drinks are fine for occasional consumption.
Despite the fancy labels and claims, these drinks rarely offer any real nutritional benefit - just caffeine, herbs, amino acids and sugar.
A small amount of caffeine can boost energy, but more then a cup of coffee can lead to jittery feeling, anxiety and while the teen may stay awake, they won’t be at their best mentally.
Cutting Back on Salt

Every five years, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services publishes Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In the most recent 2010 edition, recommendations for sodium consumption has been cut to 1500 milligrams per day - mostly for adults over the age of 50, people with high blood pressure and for African Americans of all ages.

If you’ve tried to cut back your sodium intake to those levels, you’ve probably figured out just how difficult that really is. It’s almost impossible to keep your

Concerted industry effort needed for sodium reduction

Most experts agree that highly processed foods arenít so good for you for a variety of reasons - too much fat, sugar and not everyone is comfortable with the the article flavorings and preservatives. Processed foods are often very high in sodium - about 75% of the sodium we consume comes from processed foods. According to this article, food manufacturers need to work together to reduce the amount of sodium in processed foods to help Americans reduce their sodium intake.

Kids and Exercise

One reason childhood obesity is on the rise may be lack of exercise. Is part of that due to the loss of physical education in schools? Possibly, but what about parental involvement? We know that parentsí eating habits affect kids, so letís look at parental influence on exercise.

How to get your kids to exercise

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at how parents affect the the activity of their kids. They surveyed more than 5000 families and found that 78% of parent/ child pairings were active at least once per week, but 22% didnít share any activities together.

The researchers discovered some trends in the families that exercised more:

Parents were health concious
Parents and children also eat many meals together
The kids were often on sports teams
Parents usually set limits on TV watching
Parents felt the neighborhood was safe.

Spread the word to parents that being active with your children may help to increase their physical activity and reduce their risk for obesity.

Are you Ready to save time and money with is the only web-based system of its kind. Take a look at these testimonials to see how made an impact for these schools.

  • With 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.

  • 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

We're now on Facebook has expanded Web presence to Facebook. The new 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! ­Visit our Facebook­ Page and select the text "Become a Fan" from the top right.

Easy Breakfast Tips

How much time do you spend eating breakfast each day? Probably only a few minutes if you eat breakfast at all. We're usually in a hurry to get to work or school and we don't want to make much of a fuss over breakfast.

So we donít have much time and we want a breakfast that's easy and quick to prepare - the less cooking the better, so here are a few easy and healthy breakfast ideas to get you going every morning.


Cold Cereal
Pouring some dry breakfast cereal in a bowl and adding some milk is about as easy as breakfast gets. Most breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals, but many are also made from refined flour and contain large amounts of added sugar. Choose breakfast cereals that are higher in fiber and lower in added sugar.

The key to making a breakfast smoothie is using fresh and frozen fruits plus milk, water or juice. If you want a little extra sweetness, you can add a little honey, a sprinkling of sugar (not too much, though) or a packet of zero-calorie sweetener.
You can boost the nutrition of your smoothie by adding flax oil and plain yogurt or peanut butter, but avoid commercial smoothie mixes that are mostly sugar and contain no actual fruit.

Breakfast Sandwiches
Breakfast sandwiches are easy to make from scratch and only take a few minutes. Scramble or fry an egg and serve it on whole grain toast for a basic sandwich. You can add a slice of cheese for extra flavor. If you don't like eggs, make a healthier peanut butter and jelly sandwich with 100% fruit spread and natural peanut butter.

You can also buy ready-made breakfast sandwiches in the freezer section of your grocery store for a quick heat and eat breakfast. Some are better for you than others - be sure to read the labels to find the sandwiches that are lowest in fat, sodium and calories.

Choose a couple of these items for a quick grab-and-go breakfast:

  Individual yogurt cups
  Breakfast bars
  Individual bags of homemade trail mix
  Whole grain and bran muffins
  Fresh fruit
  Peeled hard-boiled eggs
  Single serving containers of 100% fruit juice
  Fresh fruit
More About School Lunches and Healthy Kids

Calorie Counts on Fast-≠Food Menus Don't In4luence Kid's Choices

Teen Momsí Breakfast, Snacking Patterns In4luence Kids≠moms-breakfast-snacking-pattern-inDluences-k.aspx

With Fast Food, It's Tough to Sort the Beef From the Chaff

A Simple Map to the Land of Wholesome

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 (, is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies (, and teaches Evidence Based Nutrition to nutrition graduate students at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.