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High-quality food is the foundation for a healthy life

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

There never seems to be enough time in the day, especially when you have a job and kids. After a long day of work the last thing most of us want to do when we get home is worry about preparing a meal. As a result, many of us stop for take-out, pop TV dinners in the microwave, or go through the drive-through on the way home.


While fast, pre-prepared, and restaurant food is quick, convenient, and satisfying it is often low in nutrients, fiber, and phytonutrients; high in refined carbohydrates; and full of artificial colors and flavors. In addition, these foods are generally easy to digest and high in trans-fats or processed vegetable oils. Worst of all, many prepared foods are designed for “sensory-specific satiety” which makes it easy for us to eat more than we need and to become addicted to the product.

Sadly, the impact of consuming these foods is not usually immediately apparent. In many cases, it takes years or decades for symptoms to develop. As a result, it is easy for parents to overlook the impact food may be having on the long-term health and welfare of their children.

More information on the hazards of poor food choices has reached the mainstream press recently. Dr. Eva Selhub wrote about the connection between food choices, brain structure and function, and mood in the Harvard Medical School Health Blog. “If your brain is deprived of good-quality nutrition, or if free radicals or damaging inflammatory cells are circulating within the brain’s enclosed space, further contributing to brain tissue injury, consequences are to be expected. What’s interesting is that for many years, the medical field did not fully acknowledge the connection between mood and food.”

Also, according to research conducted by Sanjay Basu M.D., Ph.D. at the Stanford University Medical Center, “increased sugar in a population’s food supply was (is) linked to higher diabetes rates, independent of obesity rates.”

Although it might seem overwhelming, ditching processed foods is possible even if you have a super busy schedule. The key is advanced planning, selecting healthy items when you get to the supermarket, and cooking enough extra food that you can have leftovers on days when there is no time to cook.

Once you adjust to the new approach to food, you will likely notice that everyone is less cranky and feels better, there are less sick days, and that you have more energy and patience.

Ten simple tricks to get children eating more plant-based food

The Guardian – Kate Arthur

“More and more people are beginning to understand that eating more plant-based foods such as fruit, vegetables, pulses and nuts is not only good for our health but for the planet too. It sounds simple enough, but encouraging children to eat more plant-based foods can be challenging. And all too often there’s a perception that preparing these kinds of meals can be daunting. The good news is that adding more plant-based foods can be simple, fun and tasty too, and there’s more choice than you may realise…we’ve spent time working with teachers, parents and children helping them to find easy ways to move to a more plant-based diet, and we’ve picked up some great tips along the way. It really can be simple to prepare this kind of food and get children involved. Why not try some of them as part of your growing and cooking activities? Or you could share as take-home messages. Here are 10 of our top tips.”(more)

The 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is Here!

Homeroom – Kelly Miterko

“It’s that time of year again – we’re inviting kids across the country to create healthy lunch recipes for a chance to win a trip to Washington, D.C., and the opportunity to attend the Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House!…The challenge invites kids ages 8-12, in collaboration with a parent or guardian, to create an original recipe that is healthy, affordable, and delicious…We can’t wait to see what kids create this year – so good luck and get cooking! Don’t forget to submit by April 4!”(more)

How to Get Your Kids Interested in STEM (Without Forcing It on Them)

Lifehacker – Melanie Pinola

“Hopefully your kids are getting a great education in science, technology, engineering, and math at school, but chances are those classes aren’t enough to instill a lifelong interest in these fields for most kids. As parents, however, there are a lot of easy ways we foster a greater love of learning and exploration in STEM subjects in our children…It’s important not just because STEM fields offer awesome job opportunities and our future depends on these kids. STEM is about a spirit of experimenting and evaluating information objectively, of understanding our world a little bit more. These are valuable skills and also mindsets to acquire, wherever the kids go next in life…when presented a different way, kids might actually find that they do like these subjects…here are three things we can do.”(more)