Pelham - Windham News August 26, 2011 - 9
Five Tips to Help Your Child Choose a Healthy School Lunch A highlight of every school day is
lunch. It’s a break in the day, a time to hang out with friends and a time to get some much-needed energy back into the body and brain. But, some lunches come up short.
Poor food choices leave kids lacking in essential nutrients that won’t likely be captured later in the day. That has nutrition experts concerned. “School lunches can account for as much as one-half of the calories a child gets in a day,” says Susan Moores, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in St. Paul, Minn. “Lunch is a major meal for kids. It fuels them for the balance of their school day and can help them perform at their best in school and in their after-school activities. It’s well worth it to make that meal great tasting and meaningful.” Here are five nutrition strategies to
help your kids know how to put some punch in their lunch when they walk through the cafeteria line: 1. Have every meal contain some- thing good for their bones. Up to 90 percent of a person’s bone density is formed by age 18. Osteoporosis, though considered an older person’s condition, is really a problem that develops when kids are young; part of its risk depends on how well bones are “fed” during those early years. Make sure your child’s lunch contains bone-building foods rich in calcium, potassium, vitamin D and magnesium. Low-fat dairy foods like milk and some cheeses can contain all of the above. 2. Always have protein and a whole- some grain on the tray. Protein is im- portant for the growth of every cell in the body, including muscle and brain cells. Whole grains are an important
- and preferred - source of energy for the brain. School lunches can be a good source of both protein and whole grains as many menus are shifting to include foods that are more healthful. For example, Big Daddy’s(r) pizza from Schwan’s Food Service, Inc., the No. 1 pizza provider to schools across the country, offers pizza with a 51 percent whole grain crust and low-fat pepper- oni as part of its LiveSmart Schools(tm) portfolio of products. All of the company’s new school products meet the newly proposed USDA School Meal Rules for reduced sodium, less saturated fat and sugar, and increased whole grains. 3. Pick foods with bright colors,
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crunch and crispness. Fruits and veg- etables fill that role. Kids, and adults, eat with their eyes and nose as well as their taste buds. A steady diet of earth tones gets boring. Color, crunch and crispness put pizzazz on the plate and wake up the senses.
Apples, oranges and bananas are great, but consider adding peppers, kiwi, berries and sugar snap peas for more interest and fun.
4. Make the drink matter. Every day,
20 percent or more of caloric intake comes from what kids choose to drink. At lunch, choose a drink that makes a difference for the rest of the afternoon, and beyond. Milk is marvelous for its bone benefits. A 100 percent fruit juice works; so does plain water. 5. Make their plate MyPlate. Earlier this summer the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued an easy to under- stand visual of what a healthy meal looks like. In a snapshot it’s easy to see how a healthy meal should be propor- tioned. Show your kids the plate, talk about what’s on it and encourage them to make their lunch tray look the same. School lunches give kids the oppor- tunity to take ownership in their health by learning how to make good choices for their growing bodies. Kids want to
be strong, look good and perform well at what they love to do. Smart choices at lunch help them accomplish all this and more.
- ARA Content The Keys to a Healthy School Year
Most families know the domino effect of illness all too well: one child gets sick, then the other, and pretty soon the sound of sniffling and coughing is echoing throughout the house. And when the kids head back to school, they are exposed to even more germs, making it even more difficult to stay healthy. Maintaining your family’s health is a challenge, but there are a few tried-and-true methods for keeping germs at bay during the school year. Clean hands means fewer germs Simply put, frequent hand washing is one of the best
strategies for preventing germs from entering your body. The CDC makes the following recommendations: Always wash after visiting the bathroom and before eating. Teach
your children to wash their hands for as long as it takes them to sing the “Happy Birthday” song from be- ginning to end twice. Always use soap and water and always dry hands thoroughly. But when you need to clean your hands and
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can’t get to a sink, a good hand sanitizer such as PURELL(R) Hand Sanitizer can help protect you from winter germs, bugs and illnesses. For families on the go, products like the PURELL JELLY WRAP (TM) Hand Sanitizer can be easily attached to backpacks or belt loops for quick and easy access. A recent study determined that classrooms that make PURELL Hand Sanitizer available to students had 20 percent fewer sick days by students compared with those that didn’t offer the hand sanitizer. It’s a good idea to go over some of the best times to use hand sanitizer with your children. Some common scenarios that they may encoun- ter during the school day include: * When you cough or sneeze and can’t get to
a sink * When you feel the need to clean your hands during a lesson, but don’t want to interrupt * After you get done with gym class or playing on the playground * Before and after you eat lunch
Did you get your shots? Even if you are practicing the healthiest habits,
your body can’t evade every illness. A flu vaccina- tion is your best protection against catching the virus, according to the U.S. government. For other flu prevention tips and instructions on what to do if you are experiencing symptoms, visit www.flu. gov. If you get sick, stay home
Not getting the proper rest will only make your
sickness worse, and your child’s performance in the classroom - or your performance in the work- place - could suffer if you still attend when you are ill. But perhaps the biggest reason for staying home is out of courtesy to other students and workers. Spreading illness is not something you want to be responsible for. For more tips on staying healthy this school year and information on hand sanitizer, visit www. purell.com
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