& Views on Child Nutrition
For Parents, Educators, and Health Professionals
Editor: Connie Liakos Evers, MS, RD
Issue 76, September 2010
the School Year with Healthy Habits
The start of the school year is a great time
to start or renew healthy habits. This year, instead of lecturing kids
about the perils of weight gain or disease, emphasize how healthy habits
can lead to success, whether in the classroom, on the playing field,
or in the music room.
Download the Healthy Habits
This activity sheet is a great way for teachers or parents to start
off the school year. It's also a fun way to kick off a unit about health
A Guide for Teens
on teens, our four-page
interactive guide offers a practical approach to teaching good nutrition
habits to teens. (updated 2011 with MyPlate guide!)
TIP: Healthy Eating for Teens
"Open your nutrition book
to page 68 and we will read about mineral deficiencies, cholesterol
levels and nutritional diseases of the middle ages. Tomorrow, we will
discuss the history of scurvy," instructed Mr. Eatwell, as his
class of sophomores yawned and grumbled.
Nutrition diseases of the middle
ages or even nutrition diseases of those in middle age are not topics
that grab the interest of a group of anxious teens. But turn the talk
to fitness, sports performance, academic achievement and appearance
and adolescent ears will begin to perk up.
Most teens want to know how nutrition
can help them in the here and now. If you can convince students that
food is fuel and the proper fuel will make a difference in their life
today, you will succeed in getting them excited about healthful eating.
Emphasizing the link between sports
or exercise and food is a winning plan. More
than half of the average high school population are involved in
an organized school sport and many more participate in outside activities
such as dance, aerobic exercise, biking or the martial arts. Research
shows that teens involved in athletics have better eating habits. For
teens who are inactive, the challenge is to convince them of the importance
of both exercise and proper nutrition in developing a fit mind and body.
Eating for Achievement
- Active adolescents do best when
they fuel their bodies with a high-energy diet based on MyPlate.
By emphasizing a diet full of whole grains, fruits and vegetables with
a balance of lean protein foods and low fat dairy products, the body
will be tuned for peak performance.
- During exercise, carbohydrate
fuels working muscles via breakdown of glycogen, the storage form of
carbohydrate which releases glucose during muscle work. The body also
relies on a steady stream of blood glucose to fuel all body systems,
even the brain.
- The more active the teen, the
more carbohydrate is needed for refueling. Fatigue, "burn out,"
and lack of stamina can all be signs that body carbohydrate stores are
- Timing can also influence the
outcome of practice or the big game. Ideally, the pre-event meal should
be eaten two to three hours prior to the start of an event. On practice
days, a snack or light meal high in complex carbohydrates, moderate
in protein and low in fat and sugar can be eaten up to one hour before.
- Fluids should also be emphasized
prior to and during physical activity. Water is actually the nutrient
of most immediate concern to the athlete. Frequent water breaks, especially
in warm weather, are a necessity. Each pound of water lost through sweat
should be replaced with 16 ounces (2 cups) of fluid.
- When it comes to fueling the mind,
remind students to eat a balanced breakfast every day. Brain cells need
a constant supply of energy to work at their best. Kids and teens who
eat breakfast are better able to think, concentrate, learn and even
score higher on standardized tests.
School Snacking Reminders
Afternoons are a hungry time for
school kids. Children will often head off the bus and straight into
the kitchen. Make sure there are plenty of easy-to-eat healthful snacks
that are eye level and within easy reach. Hungry kids will eat whatever
is available so stock up on nutritious choices:
airtight containers filled with cleaned fresh vegetables such
as carrots, baby squash, broccoli florets, pea pods, celery, radishes
and jicama slices.
low fat salad dressing, salsa, hummus, or bean dips for dipping
airtight containers filled with washed fruit such as grapes,
melon balls, berries & kiwi chunks
low fat yogurt
reduced fat cheese sticks
nonfat or 1% milk
100% fruit juice
pitcher of chilled water
canned pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, refried beans,
tuna and vegetable soup
nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios and peanuts
dried fruit such as raisins, dried cranberries and apricot halves
whole grain crackers
whole grain mini-bagels, pita bread and tortillas (whole grain
corn or flour)
Fruit Juice Pops
bowl of fresh fruit
bowl of grape tomatoes
Snack times should be planned as
"mini-meals", emphasizing nutritious foods and beverages from
Encourage your child to include at least two of the five major food
groups at every snack.
Updates from Connie
Education Toolkit is a great value! Order online and for less
than $35, you will receive a complete elementary curriculum which
is both hands-on and fun!
See what's growing in
garden this summer and fall. Updated weekly, Connie shares her
tips and recipes for using fresh garden produce.
Keep up with Connie on
Receive frequent tips or links to pertinent programs, recipes, research
studies, special offers and more!
Minute Tips from FK Readers
May/June issue of the Feeding Kids Newsletter, I asked readers
to send in their favorite nutrition tips. I received some wonderful
tips and feedback thank you! Here are some of your great
MORE Nutrition Tips»
2 trivia calendars to be read during the morning announcements.
Students submit their answers by 9 a.m.; winner is announced the
next morning; winner receives a pencil.
Janice L. Swope
We do a Food
Facts question of the day. The kids love playing 'trivia' and
they learn so much about healthy foods and eating!! We also play
food group and portion size bingo. For the younger kids we do
food group and the older group we do portion size - they LOVE
it!! We also do seasonal 'New Foods Fairs' featuring seasonal
fruits and vegetables that the kids may not have heard of.
The kids loved
to see their class' name on a menu! When I was doing a nutrition
lesson I would take a poll on what the favorites were regarding
fresh fruits and vegetables. The food that won was featured on
a menu. The classroom was also identified on the menu (teacher,
grade and school). Participation was always higher on those days
that a winner was published on the menu.
Retired R.D., L.DN and school food service director
- Here's one tip I use here at
school: I create a nutrition-related bulletin board. Kids can easily
read it while walking by on their way to recess, etc.
- Have the students guess which
household items appropriately represent a food portion. For example,
a deck of cards = 3 oz of chicken/meat or a baseball =1 cup of fresh
To make it more challenging, you can make a contest out of it to see
who gets the most right in 1 minute.
Christine Cliff, MPH, RD, LDN
The Illinois NET Program
- Highlight a different fruit
and or vegetable every week. The schools showcase this weekly by reading
a short blurb on the morning announcements and the cafeteria staff
them prepares the items each Wednesday.
Jean Mosley, M.S., RD
Child Nutrition Director
- Place measuring scoops in commonly
used items, such as cereals or crackers, which match the suggested
portion size. This lets kids (and adults) practice portion control
and gives them a better understanding of terms such as 1 cup.
Children's Hunger Alliance
September is National
Food Safety Education Month®
With all the worry about eggs this summer,
September is a good month to review food safety guidelines. Check out
Food Safe from the CDC.
Recent Studies of Interest:
- Eating vegetables first: the use
of portion size to increase vegetable intake in preschool children Link
- Body-Image Distortion Predicts
Onset of Unsafe Weight-Loss Behaviors Link
- Computer Fun Helps Improve Girls'
Food Choices, Fitness Link
- Disparities in Peaks, Plateaus,
and Declines in Prevalence of High BMI Among Adolescents Link
Recommended: Rethinking Nutrition
Nutrition: Connecting Science and Practice in Early Childhood Settings
does a fantastic job of translating the most up-to-date science of child
nutrition into practical, common sense advice for those who care for
young children. From feeding relationships to food safety, everything
a child care provider needs to know about food and activity for young
children is covered in this book. Helpful charts, practice tips, and
real-world examples make for a user-friendly resource.
information contained in this newsletter is not intended as a substitute
for medical and/or nutrition advice. See your physician and/or registered
dietitian for individual health and/or dietary concerns.
by Connie Liakos Evers, All Rights Reserved.
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