Tag Archives: school food

Richard Simmons Still a Force in Fitness

Richard Simmons celebrated his 62nd birthday this year. Most people are ready to retire by that age, and Richard Simmons is one of the few who could easily afford to. What keeps him working is his flamboyant energy and love for his fans. I realize why he’s the butt of so many jokes, but let’s be realistic. A man of that caliber deserves a little bit of respect. I personally find his enthusiasm to be over the top, but for the millions of people he has inspired to lose weight, he is the perfect motivator. Although he’s not often seen in the spotlight anymore, he’s still a big presence in the industry today running his empire behind the scenes.

On our journey to fitness, we all must take slightly different paths. Personality type, age, lifestyle and genetics will inevitably affect which path you take. Not everyone responds well to the kick-ass persona of fitness gurus like Jillian Michaels. Some people just want to be told that they are beautiful and that they can do it. Lots of smiling and positive reinforcement works wonders for motivating the masses. (more…)

Flavored Milk Better for Children Than Nothing

Kids prefer flavored milk. It’s pretty obvious, right? When given the choice, not many kids choose regular milk over chocolate. This, no doubt, raises the concern of increased sugar in the diet of school-age kids. The National Dairy Council has recently published news that negates this concern. Studies show that kids who aren’t offered flavored milk at school simply choose not to drink milk at all.

The impact of this study is larger than it seems at first glance. Reportedly, 58 schools were included and each one exhibited dramatic drops in milk consumption when flavored milk was taken off the breakfast and lunch menus. Some schools boasted a 50 percent drop, although the average was 35 percent. It occurred to me that perhaps the kids just needed to get used to their new options. Strangely, the study didn’t see any rise in the percentage of milk-drinkers even after a year or more of partaking in the study.

If kids refuse to drink regular milk, we could always supplement their diets with other food that contains the same nutrients, right? Although this is a decent and well-thought out solution, it doesn’t really work. In trying to do this, their diet would incorporate more fat and calories, which actually increases the risk of obesity. Furthermore, it could cost up to $4,600 more a year to feed every 100 students. (more…)

The Great American Salad Bar Project to Improve School Lunches

We’ve made no secret of the fact that the National School Lunch Program needs improvement. From processed chicken patties to tator tots served as a vegetable, many schools offer lunches that are well below the acceptable nutrition level. With more than 2/3 of all schools serving meals that exceed an entire days allowance of fat, greater numbers of children are afflicted with obesity and deteriorating health.

Whole Foods, the upscale grocery chain, has announced a partnership with Ann Cooper, “The Renegade Lunch Lady”, to help make a change across America. Chef Ann has already changed hundreds of lunch programs across America by helping schools switch from processed foods to fresh, natural ingredients, and this newest partnership promises a bigger payoff than ever. (more…)

Tune In: Healthy Eating at Amusement Parks and the Ball Park on the Rachael Ray Show

Tune in this Monday, May 17 to the Rachael Ray Show to learn how to eat healthy at the summertime events like amusement parks and the ballpark.

From corn dogs to soft pretzels, find out the healthiest treats to grab once you get off the roller-coaster. And while you’re spending a summer evening watching America’s favorite past-time, find out which snacks at the ballpark will hit a home run with your diet and which treats strike out.


Tune In: Rocco DiSpirito on the Rachael Ray Show

Tune in this Tuesday, May 11 to the Rachael Ray Show when chef Rocco DiSpirito transforms school lunches into healthy and creative meals that will leave kids of all ages making a mad dash for the cafeteria.

When a group of middle school kids are fed up with their constant PB & J sandwiches, they turn to Rocco DiSpirito for a cooking lesson that transforms their lunchtime.


Did Jamie Oliver Fail, or Did We?

Anytime someone attempts to make a change, other people will attempt to hinder those efforts through their own behavior or naysaying. Change is uncomfortable for some people, because the world surrounding them is altered, and it may also highlight their own need to change. Thus, it is not terribly surprising to me that the Internet is full of spoilers about Jamie’s “failure.”


School Cafeterias Get Healthy Makeover

One school teaches kids to grow and harvest their food.

I love watching Jamie Oliver in action working on the state of emergency we are in when it comes to the health of our children. Obesity rates continue to climb, but I feel a positive change is happening. It will take effort from all of us to make a difference. Jamie Oliver can only do so much on his own.

First lady Michelle Obama has been bringing national attention to the issue of healthy foods in our schools. More importantly, parents are getting involved and letting their schools know they want healthier foods in the school cafeterias.


Chicago Schools Make Positive Cafeteria Changes

Have you been watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution or reading the Mystery School Lunch blog? Are you wondering if changing the menu at your kids school is too difficult to even try. Do you feel like there’s no hope?

One city in America has made drastic changes in the menu plan for the next school year, which begins July 1. The  documents originally released to the Chicago Tribune show that nacho service will be reduced to once a week in Chicago high schools, and once a month in elementary schools; sweet packaged desserts will also be reduced to weekly treats; and donuts and Pop-Tarts will be eliminated in the new school year.


Teacher Punished for Offering Students Healthy Food

English teacher Mendy Heaps had never given much thought to the food her seventh-grade students were eating. Then her husband, an habitual junk food eater, was diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Suddenly the french fries, pizza, and ice cream being served in the cafeteria at her school began to affect her. Heaps decided to take action.

She began to teach nutrition in her language arts classes. Over and over, she sent emails of articles and news clippings to her colleagues, administrators, and the local school board, urging them to overhaul the school menu. She began selling fresh fruits and healthy snacks to the students on her own, wheeling healthier foods from classroom to classroom on a makeshift fruit cart, doling out apples for a quarter each.


Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Sneak Preview

The sneak preview of Food Revolution opened with Jamie saying goodbye to his wife and children to spend three months in Huntington, WV helping them renovate how they eat. From the start, Jamie spoke positively about the town of 50,000. Jamie’s first stop in Huntington was a radio program where he interacted with an unimpressed host, despite Jamie’s explanation that Huntington was deemed the unhealthiest town in America by a government statistic based on death.

It is not surprising that Jamie chose to start his revolution in a school, given his experience in his own country with Jamie’s Ministry of Food. His first day in the school, Jamie observed and asked questions. As he toured the school kitchen, Jamie stated that many restaurants in England would be jealous of the space and equipment they had, and was shocked to learn that the ovens were used primarily for reheating and rarely for cooking. As he had to ask the cooks to identify the food they serve school children, Jamie said in an aside that children in South Africa are getting better food than American school children. Despite the defensiveness and dissent of the cooks, Jamie remains positive and focuses on their strengths. Right as I was thinking how upsetting the entire situation was, Jamie said that he felt like crying. (more…)