October 2010 | Hotlunch.com | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 10, Issue 1]

Milk Drinkers More Likely To Be At a Healthy Weight

Kid and adults who get their required servings of dairy products are more likely to be at a healthy weight.  Why is that?  It may be due to the idea that people who drink milk are more likely to eat a healthier diet overall and some experts posit that vitamin D or calcium found in milk may have something to do with it.  Of course milk and dairy products are an important component of most kids diets because they're rich in calcium kids need to build strong bones and teeth.

This doesn't mean that just adding an extra glass or two of milk to a bad high-calorie diet will help someone lose weight.  It doesn't work that way - drinking milk doesn't burn extra calories or have any magic weight-loss qualities.  However replacing a sugary beverage with a glass of non-fat milk can mean fewer calories and better nutrients.

Research Suggests That Milk Drinkers May Have A Healthy Weight Advantage


Researchers in a recent 2-year weight loss study found that milk drinkers had more success on weight loss diets than non-milk drinkers. The subjects were placed on either a low-carbohydrate diet or a low-fat Mediterranean diet. Interestingly, the amount of weight lost correlated more with milk drinking than with the type of diet.

How to help kids get their milk and calcium:
  • Morning milk breaks add a calcium and nutrition boost.
  • Kids who can't drink milk can have calcium fortified orange juice, soy or rice beverages.
  • Teach kids why they should choose healthy beverages, such as low-fat milk, instead of sugary sodas and soft drinks.
Functional Ingredients In Kids Foods

We tend to think of 'added ingredients' as something bad that we don't want in our children's food. That's true of artificial food colorings, flavorings and other assorted chemicals, however there are some added ingredients that can be good for our kids. These ingredients are usually referred to as functional ingredients or nutritional ingredients.

Milk is fortified with Vitamin D, bread often contains iron and B vitamins, cereals contain an array of vitamins and minerals (just look out for large amounts of sugar) and even your orange may have calcium added to it.

Top Functional Ingredients In Kids' Foods and Drinks

This article from Food Navigator lists the most popular functional ingredients that you'll see in kids' foods and drinks.  The most common functional ingredients included water-soluble vitamins (B vitamins and vitamin C), calcium and iron.  Interestingly, even dairy beverages are often fortified with extra calcium.

Feeding Your Student Athletes

Active middle school and high school athletes need their calories to come from healthy meals, including a balanced breakfast and a sound school lunch.  It's also a good plan to have them replenish their carbohydrate stores before practice or game time with a light snack.

Hydration is important too.  Student athletes should drink plenty of water through out the day and during activities.  Whiles all beverages help to hydrate the body, caffeinated beverages and sugary soft drinks aren't the best choices (although athletes often need more calories).
Water Works: How Much Should a Young Athlete Eat and Drink?

This article explains why young athletes need good food and plenty of water. They don't need junk foods and 'sports drinks.' A young athlete should start the day with a good breakfast and lunch, drink plenty of water and choose healthy carbs later in the day.  Some schools have weekly team meals that serve two purposes – give the athletes and healthy meal and improve team bonding.

Here are some ideas for feeding your student athletes:

  • Set aside part of one practice session to teach the kid how to eat right.  Bring in a sports dietitian or nutritionist for a presentation.
  • Work with your high school booster clubs to provide healthy pre-meal snacks and post game refreshments that can replenish young bodies.
  • Make healthy after school snacks available in the cafeteria or in the vending machines and give your athletes a few minutes to eat before practice.
Another Way to Help Fight Childhood Obesity

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a new movement aimed at children from the ages of 8 to 13 called We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition). The NIH choose this age group because parents, family and caregivers are the primary influences at that age. The plan is to educate parents on how to increase their kids' physical activities and improve their diets.

We Can! focuses on three areas: Eating Right, Getting Active and Reducing Screen Time and offers help to parents in all three areas. To make the process easier, they offer sample menus and give tips on how to make family activity time.
About We Can!

We Can! Has been designed through a collaboration of four of the NIH institutes.  It's targeted to parents and also has resources for community groups too.

How you can help at school:

  • Teach kids about good nutrition and the importance of exercise.
  • Have the kids come up with ideas for healthy foods and their favorite activities.
  • Arrange these ideas into a tip sheet that you can send home with kids.
  • Set up a family night when you can give nutrition and family activity presentations to parents. 
What Makes This Superfood so Super?

Superfoods do more than fill your stomach; they offer extra health benefits. Yogurt is a superfood because it's high in protein and calcium, plus yogurt contains probiotics, which are friendly bacteria that will take up residence in your digestive system.  These probiotics keep your digestive system healthy and boost your immune system as well.

What to look for:
Regular yogurt has been around for years – you've probably seen all those single serving containers in the dairy section of your grocery store.  There are several types of yogurt available and some are probably better for you than others.  Some brands contain large amounts of sugar, food dyes or other food chemicals you may not want.  You can avoid that (and save money) by choosing the larger tub of plain low-fat yogurt, which will keep for several days in your refrigerator.

Make it tasty and keep it healthy:
The tangy flavor of yogurt mixes nicely with the sweet flavor of fruit, but most of those fruit-flavored yogurts in the little packs don't actually contain much (or any) real fruit.  Choose plain yogurt and add your own fresh blueberries or strawberries,


which will have even more superfood goodness.  Not sweet enough?  You can add a drizzle of honey or pure maple syrup for both sweetness and flavor (you'll still probably use less sugar than what's found in the presweetened varieties).  Top with a sprinkle of chopped nuts for a little more protein and a nice crunch.

Greek yogurt:
Creamy, with a milder flavor, Greek yogurt has become a hot new trend in superfoods.  Even the low-fat varieties have the most amazing smooth texture.  Read your labels, though – some brands are high in saturated fat and the flavored varieties have all that added sugar and extra calories.

High-protein Greek Yogurt Gains In Popularity

How Awesome is Hotlunch.com?

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

Here are some of the new features introduced in our 2010 version!
  • Parents can order from a calendar like menu.
  • Newly formatted coupons/ meal tickets.
  • School can offer discounted or free meals.
  • Add images to your menu items, great for fund raisers.
  • Multiple levels of Administrator  access, control access at your school.
  • Automated Cut-off dates.
  • Ability to issue credits for Snow days, or no lunch days.
  • Parents can  copy an order from one child to another.
  • Pre select drinks for the entire menu in advance.
We're now on Facebook

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Please show your support and become a "Fan" of hotlunch.com! ­Visit our Facebook­ Page and select the text "Become a Fan" from the top right.

Nutrient Facts Sodium

Selenium is a trace mineral that your body uses in small amounts for many different functions, but the main function is to help protect the cells in your body. Selenium combines with proteins to make antioxidants that help protect your cells from free radical damage due to pollution, smoking, some chemicals and other toxins. Free radical damage can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Selenium is also essential for normal thyroid function and is also necessary for a strong immune system.

Selenium is a popular mineral when it comes to research.  Some studies indicates there may be a lower risk of cancer and heart disease among people who have larger amounts of selenium in their diets.  So far, clinical studies haven't shown that taking selenium supplements makes much of a difference for preventing cancer, and more studies need to be done to see if selenium supplements may have any affect on cardiovascular disease. 

Selenium deficiency is not common except in people with severe digestive system problems.  You get selenium from plant-based foods, seafood and meat.  Three ounces of tuna or six ounces of beef give you all the selenium you need for a whole day, which is about 65 micrograms.  Brazil nuts contain the largest concentration of selenium - one ounce has 544 micrograms, or about 10 times your daily need.

Source: Office of Dietary Supplements. "Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet."

More About School Lunches and Healthy Kids

Grocery Stores Hiring In-Store Dietitians

Hydration, Proper Nutrition Part of Good Game Plan

Lose Weight By Reading? How To Decode Food Nutrition Labels

Noodle Promises No Carbs Or Calories

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 About.com (http://nutrition.about.com) and is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies (http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470445394.html).