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Want more energy and less stress? It’s time to rethink your packed lunch

The Guardian – Becky Alexander and Michelle Lake

“Eating a good lunch at work is so important: it gives you energy for a busy day, is a break from the classroom and helps balance stress levels. It’s especially key during exam time – long days teaching and invigilating, supporting pupils, as well as all the normal end-of-term activities can take their toll on teachers’ wellbeing. If you don’t have time to nip out at lunchtime and your canteen is heaving, the best option is to take your own food to school. It’s a good idea to have a stash of ingredients in the cupboard, freezer and fridge so you always have something decent to eat. We recommend buying bags of cooked lentils and nuts, tins of fish, and keeping longer-lasting veggies such as peppers, courgettes and radishes in the fridge. Sealed packs of feta, jars of olives and roast peppers all last for ages too and make a delicious, nutritious lunch.”(more)

Want to better comply with dietary guidelines, and save money? Cook dinner at home

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“The best culinary paths to better health are not always paved with cash, new research shows, and cooking at home can provide the best bang-for-the-buck nutritionally as well as financially. A study by Arpita Tiwari, a health systems researcher at Oregon State University, and collaborators at the University of Washington confirms what many mothers and grandmothers have said for decades: that habitually eating dinner at home means a better diet and lower food expenditures compared with regularly dining out.”(more)

Obesity campaigners call for more salads and fewer puddings in school

BBC – Staff Writer

“School meals should include fewer puddings and more fresh vegetables, according to a report. Obesity Action Scotland (OAS) said improvements to school meals could play an important part in reducing childhood obesity. It wants to highlight the issue ahead of the council elections in two weeks’ time. The Scottish government said a review of school food and drink nutritional standards was under way. OAS is calling on local government election candidates to commit to transform school meals in Scotland “from a feeding culture to an eating culture”. The organisation said it wanted unprocessed or “minimally processed” foods used wherever possible and vegetables, soup and salads prioritised over puddings.”(more)

Researchers find strong link between fast-food ads and consumption among pre-schoolers

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Pre-school age children who are exposed to child-targeted fast-food advertising on television are considerably more likely to consume fast-food products, according to a recent Dartmouth-led study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the greatest exposure to food advertising in the US for children aged 2-11 years comes from fast-food restaurant chains. In 2009, the fast-food industry spent more than $580 million on child-targeted marketing, with television being the predominant medium.”(more)

Restaurants pledged to make kids’ meals healthier – but the data show not much has changed

Medical X-Press – Alyssa Moran And Christina Roberto

“Chain restaurants are not known for serving up healthy kids’ meals. Most entrees on a kids’ menu are either fried, breaded or doused in cheese. Fresh fruits and vegetables are rare side dish options, and French fries abound. Looking at nutritional content alone, some drinks could easily be mistaken for candy. For example, one serving of “Sharks in the Water” – a blue raspberry soft drink sold at Friendly’s – has more than an entire day’s worth of added sugar. With options like these, it isn’t surprising that kids who eat more restaurant food have worse diets than other children. In recent years, restaurants have vowed to change up the menu and offer healthier choices for kids. But our analysis of the nutritional content of more than 4,000 children’s menu items from across the country shows that, despite the promises, kids’ plates still look much the same.”(more)

Should your school serve local food?

The Guardian – Nicola Slawson

“At a state school in Harrogate, Steve Ashburn is busy serving 950 lunches to hungry children – using ingredients sourced from local suppliers. The menu is impressive. Options include Easingword pork escalopes, stuffed with leek and Wensleydale cheese, followed by Wakefield rhubarb possett for dessert. As a foodie and proud Yorkshire man, Ashburn is a strong advocate for creating seasonal menus using quality ingredients, and putting as much business through local producers as he can. Within weeks of Rossett school hiring him, the former restaurant chef had set about changing how the children ate, by sourcing ingredients for school meals from his former restaurant suppliers.”(more)