March 2015 | | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 7, Issue 3]

Recess Is Important

Some schools are cutting back on recess time, which is unfortunate. It looks like kids need time to burn off some extra energy and learn some important lessons on the playground.

Recess: An Essential Part of the School Day

This news story published by HealthDay describes a study that examined recess time in low-income schools. According to the authors, they found real classroom benefits when kids had quality recess. They say that recess can improve academic performance, help kids make friends, and boost attendance.

What to do at school:

  • Keep recess as part of the school day.
  • Coaching or adult guidance is important to give recess some structure and keeps things in order.
  • Take a look at Playworks (
Smaller Households, Want To Eat at Home

The way we live together as families have changed over the past half century. Households are shrinking in size, but families still want to cook most of their meals at home. This means food manufacturers need to rethink how they package foods.

Shrinking household sizes are changing how Americans eat, buy food

This news story from Food Navigator describes our changing household sizes. Compared to the 1950s, there are more singles, fewer kids, and more female breadwinners. The story also discusses how the changes in family size impact what we buy at the grocery store. Consumers need smaller packages or resealable packaging, for instance.

Whole fresh foods are always best, but let's face it - they're not always convenient. Perhaps a good way to go is to choose the healthier packaged foods, such as rotisserie chickens, salad-in-a-bag, and vegetables that can be steamed in your microwave.
Bad Diet as a Kid May Mean Worse Health as Adult

I guess this isn't really a surprise, but kids who eat too much sodium and take in too many calories may be in trouble, health-wise, when they grow up. On the other hand, if a child learns to eat a healthy diet at a young age, they're probably going to carry that healthy diet into adulthood. And reap the health benefits that go along with it.

Kids' bad diets may mean worse health as adults

This news story from MedlinePlus describes a study done with almost 9,000 kids. They found that 40 percent had bad cholesterol levels, thirty percent were overweight or obese, and almost none of the kids ate a healthy diet.

What to do at school:

  • Make sure your kids get plenty of opportunities to snack on fresh fruit or vegetables at lunch and snack time.
  • Explain to kids why fruits and veggies matter - increasing intake automatically improves a diet.
  • Go back to basics and make sure kids know why they need to eat healthy foods every day.
Heart-Healthy Foods

Eating a variety of nutritious foods and the right number of calories is essential for a healthy heart - as well as the rest of your body. And there are specific foods that can take your healthy diet up a notch. Most of these foods are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids.

Heart-healthy food in 10 easy steps

This story offers a nice description of ten foods that are known to be good for your heart, including salmon, nuts, seeds, berries and more. (There's even room for red wine and dark chocolate on this list.)

What to do at school:

  • Talk about heart-healthy foods in cooking classes.
  • Have kids find recipes that feature some of these healthy foods. Have them focus on healthy recipes.
  • Tune up your own diet by adding these delicious and healthful foods.
Slash the Sugar

The World Health Organization says that we're eating too much sugar, which is a problem because added sugar is just empty calories with no extra nutritional value. So, new guidelines say that added sugars should make up less than 10 percent of our daily intake of calories.

UN: World eating too much sugar; cut to 5-10 percent of diet

This news story from the Chicago Tribune describes the WHO’s new recommendations. Currently most adults in the U.S. get 11 to 15 percent of our calories from sugar, which isn’t good, but it’s worse for kids – they get about 16 percent of their calories from added sugar.

I think it’s important to know that healthy foods like fruits and berries have naturally occurring sugar, but that doesn’t count in the sugar cutting. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and berries also contain fiber, a ton of nutrients, and overall, they’re generally low in calories.

These recommendations are for the added sugars in processed foods. Some are obvious, like sugary sodas and presweetened cereals, but sometimes added sugars are more hidden, like in ketchup. So, how do you slash your sugar intake? Read the labels and choose more whole foods over heavily processed foods.
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  • 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!

  • With Schools preparing for the new school year, allow us to show you how you can save time and money on your lunch administration. Click here for information.

  • Ask us how today. Call 1-888-376-7136 or email
Like us on Facebook has expanded our online  presence to Facebook. The new Facebook Page will provide you a wealth of information and updates on School and Children’s nutrition.

Fat-shaming Isn't Helpful

I know that sometimes parents and other family members believe that presenting obesity in a bad light will help their overweight kids become motivated to lose weight. But it doesn’t work -- it has the opposite effect because it can lower self-esteem.

That’s on the individual level. Interestingly, it probably works the same way on a public health level.

Stigmatizing the obese may worsen consumption habits, say researchers

This story from Food Navigator describes a study that looked at how obesity is portrayed in a negative manner in public health campaigns.  It turns out that stigmatizing obese people can actually ruin people’s weight loss efforts.

The news story also talks about calorie counting and color-coded labeling systems that are meant to encourage better eating habits. They may not work either.  So what does work? According to one expert, the way to help people reach a healthy weight is to give them reasons for eating nutritious foods. Knowledge is power.
More About School Lunches, Nutrition and Healthy Kids

10 Super Healthy Foods You've Never Heard Of

14 Percent of Toddlers May Be Drinking Coffee

Emotional Eating: Sad or Action-packed Movies Inspire More Munching

Restaurant Calorie Labels Less Likely to Influence Poor, Uneducated

About Shereen Lehman

Shereen Lehman 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 at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.