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National Grant Promotes Local Farms, Healthy Eating

October is National Farm to School Month, which was enacted by Congress last year. The concept centers around creating and promoting strong relationships between local farms and schools.

A national grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is meant to provide support for not just schools, but businesses and other institutions in promoting the use of locally-grown produce in their cafeterias. The latest school to take advantage of this healthy initiative is the University of Missouri. The state of Missouri has 78 school districts that use locally grown produce.
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Build Your Own Healthy Snack Station for Nutrition on the Go

After a busy day of learning and recess, children often come home hungry from school and ready for a snack.

Snacks are a great opportunity to provide your child with healthy options that can replenish their energy and hold them over until dinner. Of course, having a wide variety of nutritious snacks to choose from can seem like quite the endeavor to undertake; especially after a long day of work or running errands. Luckily, with a little forethought, having a wide array of healthy foods ready to go after school is quite easy to accomplish.

One of the simplest ways to go about this is by creating your own after school snack station. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just filled with some of your family’s favorite healthy snack choices. As the reserves run low, simply restock as needed.


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Help Your Child go Back to School Safely with a Peanut Allergy

My son has a severe, life threatening allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. We discovered this food allergy when he was two years old and we just could not figure out why he had severe asthma, requiring multiple emergency room visits, steroids and the like. He also randomly developed enormous hives all over his body and had difficulty breathing when the hives occurred. We took him to an allergist who tested him with both a skin test and a blood test, and we learned of the severity and breadth of the allergies.

Food allergies are different from food intolerances. A food intolerance can cause stomach upset, gastric distress, and possibly digestive issues in the form of diarrhea and constipation. Many people claim that they have a food allergy when a food does not agree with them, and this diminishes the severity for those with a true, life threatening allergy. A food allergy is defined as an abnormal response to a food triggered by your body’s immune system, and is most often triggered by the so called “Big 8″.  These eight foods account for 90% of all food reactions and are milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, shellfish, sesame, wheat and soy.

You may hear of a person outgrowing their food allergies, but peanut and shellfish most often remain as lifelong allergies. A food allergy affects the breathing and heart and can, if not stopped in time, lead to death. People who have been diagnosed with a food allergy are often prescribed an epi-pen, an auto-injector of epinephrine that must be injected into the upper thigh to stop the reaction.


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Black Students Affected More by Soda Ban

A new study is suggesting recent state policies that eliminate junk food from school concessions has been successful, but more so with black students.

Daily soda consumption has dropped twice as much with black students. Overall consumption of soda in the states with junk food bans has dropped by an average of .09 servings of soda each day. However, among black students is dropped .19 servings per day.

“Soda is widely considered to be a contributor to the increase in obesity because it has been associated with excess energy intake and weight gain” wrote the study’s authors. “It became a larger source of energy intake among adolescents during the same period that obesity prevalence increased.”
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Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: Hope For the Future

The last episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution ended with a teaser about the appointment of a new superintendent for the LAUSD. This final episode of the season began with Jamie meeting with Mike of MLS at Patra’s restaurant.

Deno, Patra’s owner, reported that business had continued to be good with his new healthier menu. Mike informed Jamie (and us) that the new LAUSD school superintendent was willing to grant autonomy to schools that can show results. I also learned that schools are not eligible for reimbursement for the free lunch program if they do not serve flavored milk. Later, when we get to meet the new superintendent, he says that he wants to get rid of flavored milk in LAUSD schools, which we now know that he has accomplished. Jamie predicted that with Los Angeles taking such a proactive move, that soon we may see flavored milk eliminated from schools around the country.

With the new superintendent, Jamie was allowed to go back into West Adams High, even into the school kitchen, where he and his culinary arts students got to try out the new healthier school menu items.


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