May 2010 | | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 7, Issue 1]

Is Raw Milk Good or Bad?

Milk is a staple is most peoples' diets because it's an excellent source of calcium and it tastes good. The milk you buy in the grocery store goes through a process called pasteurization, which means it was heated to a high enough temperature to kill bacteria and other pathogens that can make you sick. Proponents of raw milk (milk that has not been pastuerized) claim that unpasteurized milk is better for your health because the heating also kills natural enzymes. The problem is that the potential food borne illnesses from raw milk can be dangerous.

'Raw milk' advocates, health officials step up dispute

This article examines the fight between groups that support drinking raw milk and the FDA and other groups who are concerned about the potential dangers. Raw milk can be difficult to obtain and it's illegal to sell raw milk in many states, and both the pro-raw milk and the anti-raw milk groups are creating websites and getting into arguments about both the safety and health claims. Here's a few things to think about:

  • Both raw milk and pasteurized milk contain the same amount of protein and calcium, plus pasteurized milk is also fortified with vitamin D, which is necessary for absorbing calcium.
  • Raw milk from small, clean farms is probably quite safe.  Some people buy or trade for raw milk directly from farmers.
  • Whether you drink any type of milk or not, your body needs calcium.  Other sources include dark green and leafy vegetables or you can add calcium supplements to your diet.
School Nutrition Classes and Gardens

It's spring time and that means time for planting vegetable gardens. Introducing students to gardening may be just the thing to get them more interested in eating healthier foods. School gardens are becoming a little more common in schools, which is great because kids learn more about how to plant a garden, how to tend to the growing plants and they find out how delicious fresh vegetables are when it's time to harvest.
School nutrition and gardening classes aim to grow healthy eating habits
The kids and Chicago schools may get to learn more about nutrition by taking part in an 8-week Fresh from the Farm program that includes classroom visits from farmers, tastings, cooking demonstrations, field trips to organic farms and they'll also get to plant gardens.  Nutrition and education experts hope that improving the students' awareness about where their food comes from and how it's made will help kids make smarter food choices.

Would this work for your school?

  • Introduce nutrition basics to your students - starting with the USDA's food pyramid.
  • Plan field trips to local farms or ranches so kids can see agriculture in action. 
  • Contact local restaurants to see if their chefs might interested in hosting food tastings for kids.
  • Plant a school garden or start seedlings for kids to take home for their own gardens.
How to Get Kids Back Outdoors
A few decades ago it was normal for kids to play outside, but these days kids spend more time inside. Maybe it's because the video games are more fun or perhaps as parents we're afraid to let kids wander too far off because we're worried about their safety. In any case, many experts believe outdoor activities are key for good health. Outdoor play usually means more physicial activity, which is important for fighting obesity, plus kids need to get in touch with nature every now and then.
Pushing kids to play outside
Sesame Workshop vice president Rosemarie Truglio says that more and more parents are asking for help on how to get their kids to play outdoors. She says that new episodes of Sesame Street will feature spots on nature and the outdoors that might encourage kids to go play outside.
Maybe parents and teachers are concerned about this in your area?
  • Hold some physical education classes and recesses outside.
  • Talk to parents about the importance of physical activity and enjoying the outdoors.
  • Arrange for outdoor field trips at local nature centers or plant conservatories.
  • Parents who are concerned about the safety of their kids can set up play dates at playgrounds or parks so kids can be supervised.

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.



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Nutrient Facts Iodine

Iodine is a dietary mineral that your body uses in small amounts to make thyroid hormones that are necessary for regulating your body's growth, development, metabolism and body temperature. Most iodine in your body is found in the thyroid gland, but some is also found in your blood and muscles.  It's most commonly found in iodized salt, seafood, and in lesser amounts in dairy products, fruits and vegetables.

Iodine deficiency can result in a thyroid condition called goiter when the thyroid become dysfunctional and a large swelling occurs in the neck.   It was common in the middle regions of the United States in the early 20th century because the soil there contained no iodine like the soil on coastal regions (plants grown on the coasts naturally contained iodine).  To correct the deficiency, iodine was added to table salt and now goiter is quite rare.
More About School Lunches and Healthy Kids
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 (