- Created on 28 August 2013
AP Photo /Hans Pennink, File
After just one year, some schools around the country are dropping out of the healthier new federal lunch program, complaining that so many students turned up their noses at meals packed with whole grains, fruits and vegetables that the cafeterias were losing money.
Federal officials say they don't have exact numbers but have seen isolated reports of schools cutting ties with the $11 billion National School Lunch Program, which reimburses schools for meals served and gives them access to lower-priced food.
Districts that rejected the program say the reimbursement was not enough to offset losses from students who began avoiding the lunch line and bringing food from home or, in some cases, going hungry.
"Some of the stuff we had to offer, they wouldn't eat," said Catlin, Ill., Superintendent Gary Lewis, whose district saw a 10 to 12 percent drop in lunch sales, translating to $30,000 lost under the program last year.
"So you sit there and watch the kids, and you know they're hungry at the end of the day, and that led to some behavior and some lack of attentiveness."
In upstate New York, a few districts have quit the program, including the Schenectady-area Burnt Hills Ballston Lake system, whose five lunchrooms ended the year $100,000 in the red.
Near Albany, Voorheesville Superintendent Teresa Thayer Snyder said her district lost $30,000 in the first three months. The program didn't even make it through the school year after students repeatedly complained about the small portions and apples and pears went from the tray to the trash untouched.
Districts that leave the program are free to develop their own guidelines. Voorheesville's chef began serving such dishes as salad topped with flank steak and crumbled cheese, pasta with chicken and mushrooms, and a panini with chicken, red peppers and cheese.
In Catlin, soups and fish sticks will return to the menu this year, and the hamburger lunch will come with yogurt and a banana - not one or the other, like last year.
Nationally, about 31 million students participated in the guidelines that took effect last fall under the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
Dr. Janey Thornton, deputy undersecretary for USDA's Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, which oversees the program, said she is aware of reports of districts quitting but is still optimistic about the program's long-term prospects.
"The vast majority of schools across the country are meeting the updated meal standards successfully, which is so important to help all our nation's children lead healthier lives," Thornton said.
"Many of these children have never seen or tasted some of the fruits and vegetables that are being served before, and it takes a while to adapt and learn," she said.
The agency had not determined how many districts have dropped out, Thornton said, cautioning that "the numbers that have threatened to drop and the ones that actually have dropped are quite different."
The School Nutrition Association found that 1 percent of 521 district nutrition directors surveyed over the summer planned to drop out of the program in the 2013-14 school year and about 3 percent were considering the move.
Not every district can afford to quit. The National School Lunch Program provides cash reimbursements for each meal served: about $2.50 to $3 for free and reduced-priced meals and about 30 cents for full-price meals. That takes the option of quitting off the table for schools with large numbers of poor youngsters.
The new guidelines set limits on calories and salt, phase in more whole grains and require that fruit and vegetables be served daily. A typical elementary school meal under the program consisted of whole-wheat cheese pizza, baked sweet potato fries, grape tomatoes with low-fat ranch dip, applesauce and 1 percent milk.
In December, the Agriculture Department, responding to complaints that kids weren't getting enough to eat, relaxed the 2-ounce-per-day limit on grains and meats while keeping the calorie limits.
At Wallace County High in Sharon Springs, Kan., football player Callahan Grund said the revision helped, but he and his friends still weren't thrilled by the calorie limits (750-850 for high school) when they had hours of calorie-burning practice after school. The idea of dropping the program has come up at board meetings, but the district is sticking with it for now.
"A lot of kids were resorting to going over to the convenience store across the block from school and kids were buying junk food," the 17-year-old said. "It was kind of ironic that we're downsizing the amount of food to cut down on obesity but kids are going and getting junk food to fill that hunger."
To make the point, Grund and his schoolmates starred last year in a music video parody of the pop hit "We Are Young." Instead, they sang, "We Are Hungry."
It was funny, but Grund's mother, Chrysanne Grund, said her anxiety was not.
"I was quite literally panicked about how we would get enough food in these kids during the day," she said, "so we resorted to packing lunches most days."
- Created on 27 August 2013
A new study released today by Duke University finds a new approach for black women to embrace in the battle against obesity.
The obesity epidemic has impacted black women on a higher level than other racial groups or genders. Four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese, according to federal statistics. This new research from Duke University provides an alternative method to avoid health risks by saying instead of trying to lose weight, black women should aim to simply try to maintain the weigh
- Created on 26 August 2013
There is a huge difference between a fruit smoothie you blend up at home and the concoctions you can get at your local retail shop. Yes, smoothies are loaded with fruit, and fruit is healthy. They can also be a wonderful, incredible, delicious component of a healthy diet, containing other "good for you" ingredients and nutrients that will leave you feeling satisfied.
However, a typical smoothie can also be packed with juice, yogurt, and sometimes, even sorbet. When you blend these ingredients together with the natural sugars found in fruit, you have yourself one sugary drink. Not to mention, hidden calories.
Keep Calories Low
To keep calories low, stick to fruit, juices and nonfat dairy products. Beware when you see chocolate, heavy syrup, premium ice cream, peanut butter or whole milk on the ingredient list. Other danger flags are coconut, honey, coconut cream, fruit nectar, and protein powder. These are destined to go straight to your waistline, without passing your digestive tract.
You can increase your vitamin and mineral value by choosing a smoothie with honeydew melon, or cantaloupe, any kind of berries, kiwis, bananas, low fat yogurt or milk and orange or other fruit juices. In addition, choose whole fruit whenever possible, to increase the fiber content and increase satisfaction by giving a feeling of fullness.
One thing to keep in mind is that not every smoothie is created equally. Some are dairy free while others are packed with it. Therefore, the calorie count and nutritional content of each smoothie will differ. Also, size does matter when it comes to a smoothie! Tip: You can shave several calories off your smoothie by going with the smaller size.
It is also important that you don't view a smoothie as a drink that supplements your meal. If you order a sandwich for lunch then run next door to wash it down with a smoothie, you are essentially consuming 2 meals. With this mindset, you could seriously impede your weight loss efforts. A smoothie should either be viewed as breakfast or as an occasional treat.
Keep The Price Low
Many smoothie franchises advertise special ingredients called "boosters" or "enhancers" touted as healthy additions to the basic smoothie. Some outlets may claim such health miracles as "cure a hangover" " promote healing", "burns fat", "increases immunity", "restores vitality" etc. Naturally, they come with an additional price tag. Many of these extra ingredients cost 50 cents a pop, which can increase a $3.00 smoothie to a $5.00 price tag quickly.
What are some of these "extra nutrition additives" and are they worth paying for?
One of the reasons consumers are drawn to smoothies is because of the additional supplements that are used to "boost" the nutritional content. In actuality, the supplements often used in smoothies are genetically modified and contain lots of chemical fillers and other synthetic ingredients. The actual nutrient being tooted, like vitamin C, is usually one of the last items on the ingredient list, and is generally of poor quality (meaning absorption rates and nutritional benefit are questionable).
Your sudden surge of energy is more likely from the sugar than the booster nutrient!
The best way to ensure a "booster" is indeed a healthy option is to make the retailer accountable for its ingredients. The ultimate scenario is that the retailer is using a smoothie booster made from highly raw and organic whole foods in powder form, without any added chemicals. That way, the vitamins and minerals are all naturally occurring and easily absorbed in the body.
Aloe Vera Juice. The famous burn remedy, appearing regularly as a miracle cure for a wide range of ailments. There is no scientific proof that swallowing it cures or treats anything. Not only that, some of the constituents may be carcinogenic and it could cause severe cramping, diarrhea and bleeding, in its form as a laxative.
Chromium Picolinate. This one is touted as a fat burning, muscle building substance, again with no scientific proof. It cannot increase lean muscle mass, only lifting weights can do that, and it has no curative effect on diabetes, as some claims assert.
Acidophilus. This is a good source of beneficial intestinal bacteria, valuable for assisting digestion, but is also the active ingredient in yogurt, so if your smoothie is yogurt based you can skip this additive.
Spirulina. Highly touted to do everything from cure acne to impotence, "purify blood" and cures most diseases. It is of little proven benefit. It does have a few vitamins, but not as much, nor as valuable as most fruits. Chlorophyll, one of its main ingredients, is of benefit to plants, not humans.
Ginkgo Biloba. Claims are it improves blood flow and circulatory disorders, prevents or cures absent-mindedness, memory loss, and dementia. Don't I wish? Actual studies show it may have limited benefits for some Alzheimer's patients, no proven benefit for others.
Ginseng. Another ingredient that's been making miracle cure claims for ages. No evidence that it does anything.
You may also see such enticing offerings as amino acids, echinacea, brewers' yeast, wheat grass and who knows how many other worthless at best additives advertised. Don't bother, you can spend a fortune on such expensive herbal and nutritional supplements in any health food store with equal questionable benefit.
Enjoy A Smarter Smoothie!
- Created on 23 August 2013
Are you interested in being healthier? How about slimmer, smarter, or more beautiful? Well, eat your greens and you’ll be on your way to all of those.
Greens are amazing and here’s why:
1. Weight Control. Leafy greens are extremely low in calories, yet super high in nutrients. Make them the base of your lunch and dinner and weight control can be breeze.
When I had a weight problem years ago and joined weight watchers, I learned that there are some kinds of vegetables that you can eat pounds of and still lose weight. As an over-eater, this was great news to me! While on weight watchers I’d cook two-pound bags of vegetables in a large pot and eat the whole thing. Greens are among the vegetables you can eat in unlimited quantities and still lose weight. Three cups of most kinds of greens contain less than 100 calories. I lost 20 pounds in a few months.
Of course, you can’t add high calorie ingredients like butter and creamy dressings, but you can season with herbs and spices, lemon, and low calories salad dressings.
If you’re trying to lose weight, but unable to master portion control, do consider satiating your need to chew and swallow with hefty helpings of greens as part of your meals.
Try them like this:
RAW: Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or lemon and a little (no more than one tablespoon) olive oil to flavor them. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and crushed pepper.
COOKED: Boil the greens in fat free reduced sodium chicken broth or water and add some chopped garlic and lemon juice. Cook until the leaves are tender.
Serve with broiled, or baked chicken, or fish and a baked sweet potato, or some brown rice.
2. Youthful Skin. Leafy greens like Kale, Spinach and Swiss Chard contain antioxidants including beta carotene, which helps renew and repair your skin.
I was traveling recently and did an experiment. Usually when I take the red-eye from LA to New York and get no sleep, when I arrive, my skin looks sallow and scary. On my last trip, before leaving, I ate a pound of greens that I’d prepared with chopped garlic and a bit of olive oil.
The next morning, instead of looking like the zombie I usually do after an overnight flight, my skin had an amazing healthy glow.
Greens also contain folate, a vital nutrient for DNA repair and lutein, which balances the lipids in the skin, increasing hydration and elasticity. Lutein also protects against sun damage that ages the skin.
3. Clear Skin. While researching a book I wrote about preventing acne, I discovered that leafy greens have clear skin benefits.
The long held belief that diet has no bearing on acne has been debunked. Studies have shown that high glycemic foods do trigger breakouts in some people. High glycemic foods are those that contain refined grains and refined sugars that cause a spike in blood glucose level, which your body tries to lower by producing more insulin and male hormones. These hormones cause the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, in turn, blocking pores. Too much sebum in the pores causes the acne bacterium (propionibacterium acnes) to over propagate, inflaming the pore causing a pimple.
Switching to a low-glycemic diet, which includes leafy greens, has proven to be effective. (Other low-glycemic foods that benefit acne include whole grains, fish, and green tea).
Leafy greens are chock full of inflammation fighting ingredients and they also contain lots of fiber, which helps keep blood sugar levels in check.
4. Beauty. Yes, leafy greens (and other high color vegetables) can actually make you prettier. Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Well, a recent article in the LA Times by Karen Ravn referenced a study done at The University of St. Andrews in Scotland, that sought to find out how many fruits and vegetables a person would have to eat, and for how long before this could be detected in the skin.
According to the article, scientists have long known that the pigments that give vegetables their color, “carotenoids,” accumulate in the skin and give it color, too. Apparently, they enhance our natural coloring and when we see someone whose skin reflects these enhanced carotenoids, they appear healthier and more attractive to our eye.
In the study, they showed undergraduate students sets of pictures; for each set of faces one reflected the look of having ingested about 3.3 servings of high color fruits and vegetables, and one did not. The students deemed the fruit/veggie eaters to be more attractive than the non-high color food eaters. More servings were associated with more attractiveness.
So, eat lots of leafy greens (as well as other high color vegetable and fruits) and you may find yourself getting more compliments than you used to.
To read more amazing benefits of getting in more greens, visit HelloBeautiful today!