March 2013 | | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 5, Issue 3]

Best Health Websites for Kids

Kids (and adults) use the Internet to search for things. Lots of things, including answers for questions about health issues. There are lots of good sites with legitimate information, but there are also lots of sites that aren’t good.

The Best Health Sites for Kids

This article from USA Today takes a look at some of the best health sites for kids. They looked at quality of information and presentation. That’s important because questions a college kid has about health are probably quite different from what a 4th grader wants to know. Take a look at the sites.

Things you can do at school:
  • Search for kids health websites and make a list of sites you think is appropriate.
  • Teachers who have class website pages can add links to these health sites.
  • Teach students how to evaluate health websites. Not sure how? Here’s good advice from University of California San Francisco Medical center: ( ).
Protein, Fiber and Flavor

Have you ever noticed that eating certain types of food make you feel full and happy while other foods leave you hungry later? There are lots of factors that go into appetite, hunger and satisfaction, and chief among these are protein and fiber content, along with flavor.

Protein, fiber and flavor key to producing satiety, expert says

According to this article on Food Navigator, the obesity dilemma is complex and offers multiple avenues of attack.  Portion control experts boil it down to being a question of how much, not what you eat.  But many experts say how food is formulated can play a role in limiting intake.

Tips for teachers:
  • Have students find healthful protein and fiber-rich recipes in cooking classes.
  • Children can design posters featuring their favorite protein-rich foods, and foods high in fiber.
  • Discuss how flavors can affect appetite in cooking and health classes.
Feasting on Fish at Home

Fish is good for your heart because it’s high in protein, but low in fat. And the fat it does have is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart, brain and probably the rest of your body. Fish can be a little tricky to prepare at home. But it’s good to learn how to cook fish properly while retaining the healthful benefits of being low in fat. You don’t want to rely on heavily breaded fish fillets be

Health tip: broil fish for a healthy dinner

This brief Health Day article cuts right to the chase and explains how to broil fish so that  it’s cooked properly.

In Cooking Classes:
  • Look for healthy recipes that feature fish, or have students attempt to change unhealthy recipes into better ones.
  • Have students plan meals featuring healthful versions of fish.
  • Discuss the heart health benefits of fish – the American Heart Association suggests we eat two servings per week.
Losing Track of Calories

I know some people like to snack while they’re watching TV or at a movie theater or ball game. Or maybe nibble on something while surfing the Internet. It seems harmless enough, but when you’re distracted by something else, there’s a good chance you’re going to eat too much.

Distracted eats consume more calories

This article from NBC’s Today show describes a study that found people who were distracted tended to take in more calories than people who were more focused on their meals. One way to snack without over-indulging? Don’t grab a whole bag of chips and start eating. Measure out one serving (read the label) and pour it into a bowl. Or, you can load up your refrigerator with low-calorie snacks like pre-cut vegetables, and fresh fruit.

Which Companies Make the Most Nutritious Foods?

Fresh whole foods are best, but let’s get real. Most of us rely on some processed and packaged foods. Not all processed foods are bad (milk, yogurt, orange juice and whole wheat bread are processed foods), but some are better than others. And, certainly, some companies tend to make processed foods with good nutrition. But how do you know which ones?
Food and beverage companies ranked by nutrition

This article from USA Today ranks companies based on the nutritional value of hteir offerings. The rankings were developed by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with a focus on preventing obesity and addressing poor nutrition. The winners? Danone, Unilever and Nestlé.
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How to Start a Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet has been in the news lately. It’s a healthful diet and isn’t too hard to follow. Oldways Preservation and Trust, Harvard School of Public Health and the World Health Organization introduced the Mediterranean Diet in 1993. It’s based on the traditional foods eaten by people living in the Mediterranean region, especially Greece.

The diet includes:
  • Olives and olive oil.
  • Whole grains, mostly in bread and cereal rather than pasta.
  • Very little red meat.
  • Fish and seafood.
  • Some cheese, but less milk.
  • Lots of vegetables and fruit.
  • Plenty of legumes and nuts.
  • A little red wine - regular or dealcoholized wine is fine.

People who live in this region tend to eat a diet high in fat, but they also have a much lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer than people in other parts of the world. This is unusual, since most high-fat diets are correlated with a higher incidence of disease and death. This difference could be due to the use of olive oil rather than other types of fats. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that help keep your arteries healthy.

The Mediterranean diet is also very high in fiber and antioxidants from vegetables, legumes and nuts -- much higher than the typical Western diet -- and low in saturated fat. Very little red meat is eaten in this region and milk consumption is limited as well, except for some cheese and yogurt.

Follow the Mediterranean Diet

Replace the fat you use now with olive oil. 
You probably don't want to add more calories to you diet so use olive oil in place of butter, margarine and other salad dressing oils. Olive oil is good for cooking too.

Eat vegetables -- lots of vegetables. 
This just can't be stressed enough. Every healthy diet includes lots of vegetables. Many people in the Mediterranean eat a pound of vegetables every day. Green and colorful vegetables are low in calories and high in antioxidants. Prepare Greek vegetarian dishes several times each week.

Enjoy a little starch.
Choose more whole grains because they’re high in fiber. Potatoes and polenta, which is made from corn meal, are also commonly used as starches in the Mediterranean Diet.

Eat poultry and fish.
Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart and your brain so it may be one of the reasons this diet protects your health. Plus, fish is low in total fat and low in calories. Poultry and eggs are also acceptable protein sources. Bake or broil your fish or chicken, don't deep-fry it. Breaded and deep fried foods don't fit into this diet at all.

Limit red meat consumption.
Red meat has a lot of saturated fat that's bad for your heart so there isn't much room for steaks and hamburgers in this diet (only about one meal per month). Instead of a greasy burger from a burger joint, make your own ground turkey burger on a whole grain bun instead. Add lettuce, a slice of avocado and tomato and you won't miss the red meat.

Discover legumes and nuts.
Legumes have lots of fiber, protein and nutrients and can be used in a main dish. Choose fava beans and other dry beans. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts and cashews make a delicious and healthy snack.

Enjoy fresh fruits as dessert.
Avoid sugary pastries, cakes and cookies. Fruit is lower in calories and high in fiber and nutrients.

Yogurt and cheese are sources of calcium.
Choose some low fat yogurt and cheese every day. You could make a yogurt dressing or try a healthy salad with tomatoes and feta cheese. Keep it light. Don't ruin your salad with heavy high-calorie toppings.

Drink water and wine (if you’re of age).
The Mediterranean pyramid includes six glasses of water every day and a glass or two of red wine. Water is good for everybody, but don't drink red wine if you are pregnant, under-age or if drinking alcohol puts you or others at risk.
More About School Lunches, Nutrition and Healthy Kids

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Positive Outlook Tied to Healthier Cholesterol

State Laws Aimed At Improving School Meals Help Teens Eat More Fruits And Vegetables, New Study Finds

Breast-Feeding Won't Prevent Pre-Teen Obesity, Study Finds

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