Posts Tagged ‘ school lunch ’

Kid Heroes: 3 Kids Who Have Helped Feed Their Friends

Monday, June 30th, 2014

school lunchSchool workers in Salt Lake City seized school lunches from about 40 elementary students earlier this year because their parents were deficient on meal payments. Meet a few inspiring kids who have taken matters into their own hands to help feed their friends.

Boy Wonder

When Cayden Taipalus, a Michigan 8-year-old, saw another student being denied a hot meal because he had no money in his lunch account, he started a “Pay It Forward: No Kid Goes Hungry” campaign by collecting donations and recycling cans and bottles. He’s raised more than $35,000 so far.

Birthday BFFs

Gabbie St. Peter and Alice Willette, 8-year-old best friends in Maine, asked for donations to stock their school’s pantry with food, in lieu of gifts at their joint birthday party. Their ongoing efforts have raised over $40,000—more than 800 percent of its annual budget!

Backpack Buddy

While on spring break, Vir Derola, a kindergartner in Georgia, decided to collect donations for Backpack Buddies of Pooler, Georgia, a local organization that gives a weekend backpack filled with nutritious food to kids in need. He raised more than $1,000 with help from others.

—Sabrina James

Lunch Monitor: What Are Kids Throwing Away?
Lunch Monitor: What Are Kids Throwing Away?
Lunch Monitor: What Are Kids Throwing Away?

Try our Recipe Finder for easy school lunch ideas.

Image: School lunch via Meredith Corporation

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Andre Agassi’s Box Budd!es Shake Up The Lunchbox

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Parents caught up with tennis star, humanitarian, father (and now snack-creator) Andre Agassi upon the launch of his new snack line for kids, Box Budd!es. Agassi teamed up with V20 Foods to create snacks from milk boxes to granola bars.We particularly enjoyed the fun new Peachy Apple Fruit Pouch as a twist on traditional applesauce. The chocolate granola bars win the Parents vote since they’re the perfect size for a lunchbox treat, with only 100 calories and 5 grams of sugar each. Not to mention, all of the proceeds from these foods benefit the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education. But aside from this endeavor, as dad to Jaden, 11, and Jaz, 9, this pro has plenty to say about healthy eating, kids and sports, and teaching your child kindness.

P: What got you started on the nutritional front for kids?

AA: The impetus was about education and it morphed into educating on two fronts. All the money goes to my Foundation for Education, so we can educate our future, and we also educate parents on how to make better choices for their kids.

P: The snacks are a bit healthier and the proceeds support education, but I have to imagine taste was a factor. Were Jaden and Jaz your taste-testers?

AA: They were two of them, let me put it that way. Their cousins were four more and their friends. As we got closer to the end product it became a fun thing in the house. We would line up all these blind taste tests and cut them into little tiny squares so you could compare them and then they would all do their little notes about them. It was actually a pretty fun process.

P: So are applesauce and chocolate milk some of their favorite foods?

AA: We have the same dilemma every parent has in that you keep your kids living a well-balanced health lifestyle and it starts with educating them on their choices and forcing them to eat something healthy before they eat something that’s not as healthy.

P: What are you tricks of the trade in getting them to choose that healthier option?

AA: Well, it’s a mandate. If you want something that’s unhealthy for a snack, you first have to eat an apple. You want to go to dessert, you have to finish this on your plate. It’s filling them up on the good stuff before they choose the bad stuff. If they ask for snacks, as long as they eat something healthy they can have the snack. We don’t discriminate against the snack as long as they start with the healthy option.

P: I know that you are involved with the Boys and Girls club, an organization that mixes education and athletics. Do Jaden and Jaz play sports to keep active and healthy?

AA: Yeah. My son plays baseball, full stop, and my daughter’s on two hip hop dance competition teams. She is rock hard now and she’s nine. I didn’t even know bodies could do those movements. It’s crazy to watch her do it.We’re there at competitions and games cheering all the time.

P: In your autobiography, Open, you talk a lot about how tennis felt pressurized for you. How do you keep athletics, or dance, or physical activity in general fun for your kids? 

AA: Well, we’re not the kind of parents who expect them to do this for a lifetime. We try to nurture what they gravitate towards and they both found their niche pretty quickly. We just support it. There’s nothing to push them at. They just have to see through their responsibility. It’s really smiple: You’re going to fulfill your responsibility. Jaz is part of two dance competitions. She doesn’t have to do it next year, but this year I say, “You’re going to every practice, you’re going to go to every competition.” Same with Jaden—he can make his choices year to year if that’s what he chooses, but I harp on being responsible.

P: Through your Foundation and all of the wonderful causes that you’ve been a supporter of, giving back is clearly an important value to you. How do you go about instilling that value in your children?

AA: All of those things I did that led me  to education. I got tired of sticking band-aids on issues and I wanted to give the tools for real systemic change. But I will tell you this, and one thing I’ve learned most profoundly as a parent: children will learn from what they see way more than what you tell them. So the fact that I’m in New York right now for two days and I’m not home with them, they want to know where I am and why I’m going. I walk them through what I’m doing, as an example, with Box Budd!es. They all of a sudden realize that I’m not really doing something I want to do—I don’t want to travel, I don’t want to leave them—but I have to because it is the right thing to do. So they see that more than telling them. Next thing you know on the weekend they’re having a lemonade drive for the ASPCA to save pets and animals. It’s remarkable how that correlates.

P: I know that Jaden has a birthday coming up, he’s about to turn 12. Do you have birthday plans?

AA: Both of them actually. Jaz wants to take her entire dance team to the Jabberwockies. So that would be the third year in a row she wants to do that. They’re better athletes than anyone I’ve ever seen on a tennis court. They’re remarkable what they can do. Jaden, his birthday is late October so he’s still sort of morphing back and forth between a very understated barbeque with just a few friends or a big movie night with his entire team.

P: Will you serve Box Budd!es at the birthday party?

I’m gonna push this as much as possible. I hope this brand builds. I hope that when people see that seal, that logo, that this is really going towards our future, that they trust the source, and that 100 percent of all my proceeds are going directly to our future.

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Cookbook Q&A: The Lunch Box Queen

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Back-to-school means back to packing lunch boxes, and any parent that packs a school lunch knows that putting together a healthy, appealing meal, day in and day out, can be a daunting task. Happily, Parents contributing editor and Weelicious blogger extraordinaire Catherine McCord is here to inspire us with her new book Weelicious Lunches: Think Outside the Lunch Box with More Than 160 Happier Meals

Why a lunch box cookbook? 

I’ve been obsessed with school lunch since my son first started preschool 4 years ago. I became fascinated with everything from the perfect lunch box to what goes inside.

How can parents encourage kids to expand their culinary horizons, especially when it comes to lunch?

The more you can get your kids involved, the better. Try taking your child to the farmers market or grocery store and let them pick out their fruit or vegetable of choice. Keep a running list of favorites. Remember that variety is the spice of life!

What should every lunch include? 

I make sure that every lunch I pack has a fruit, vegetable, carbohydrate and protein with a little sweet treat too. If you send a balance of foods you’ve done your job.

Why is it important to pack a colorful lunch?

Kids eat not only with their mouths, but also with their eyes. If lunch looks interesting to the eye, it can be more exciting to eat.

How often do you include treats in the lunchbox?

I like to add a little sweet treat almost everyday. That could be homemade fruit leather or a cookie or even a few yogurt-covered pretzels. 

Do you make your kids’ lunches in the morning or the night before? Is it okay to pack lunches the night before?

It always depends. Most times I get the fruit, vegetable and sweet treat ready in the lunch box the night before. Then I prepare the main event or sandwich in the morning.

What are some strategies time-strapped parents can use when it comes to making creative lunches?

Keep a list of your child’s top 10 favorite foods and make sure to have them on hand at all times. You would be surprised how many interesting, simple recipes you can come up with off that list.

How can the freezer help when it comes to lunchtime prep?

Your freezer is a total lifesaver. I freeze everything from pancakes to cookies, waffles, muffins and more. Whenever you bake pop a few items in labeled zipper bags so you can add a special treat or make pancake sandwiches when you run out of bread.

What are your kids’ hands-down favorite lunches?

That’s tough! The most requested are usually Veggie Tortilla Roll Ups, Sushi Sandwiches, Banana Dog Bites and veggies with Veg-Wee Dip. Having said that I’ve never given my kids the same lunch in 4 years, so they’re used to variety. 

What doesn’t belong in a lunchbox?

White food. I really hope that lunch can be an opportunity for kids to fuel their bodies with nutritious foods.

What did you eat for lunches when you were a kid?

I ate cafeteria food every day from kindergarten through high school. I dreamed about being able to bring my own lunch. I used to skip recess to hang out with the lunch ladies. When I look back I realize I have been interested in the subject of school lunch for years and years.

Interview has been edited and condensed.

 

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Philadelphia School Lunches Get Fancy With ‘Eatiquette’ Program (Photos)
It sounds more like a restaurant order than a school lunch menu: baked ziti with a side of roasted fennel salad and, for dessert, cinnamon apple rice pudding. But that’s one of the meals offered in the cafeteria at People For People Charter School in Philadelphia. And it’s served family-style. Students pass serving dishes around circular tables, where they eat off plates, not cafeteria trays, and use silverware instead of plastic utensils. (via Huffington Post)

NYC Schools After Sandy: Destruction, And Restoration Showcased in New DOE Images
Hurricane Sandy ravaged public schools in low-lying areas across the city — and new photos released by the Department of Education Tuesday show just how bad that damage was. (via Huffington Post)

The Legacy of Lead: How the Metal Affects Academic Achievement
Lead exposure may be on the decline, but it’s still taking its toll on children’s performance in school. Legal requirements to remove lead from gasoline, paint and other common products have led to decreases in lead exposure. But remnants of the metal remain, according to the latest study, and this legacy may be enough to affect children’s cognitive functions. (via TIME)

Sleep Reinforces Learning: Children’s Brains Transform Subconsciously Learned Material Into Active Knowledge
During sleep, our brains store what we have learned during the day ‒ a process even more effective in children than in adults, new research shows. (via Science Daily)

Increased Risk of Sleep Disorder Narcolepsy in Children Who Received Swine Flu Vaccine
A study finds an increased risk of narcolepsy in children and adolescents who received the A/H1N1 2009 influenza vaccine (Pandemrix) during the pandemic in England. (via Science Daily)

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

NYC Teen Pregnancies Down Over a Decade
Teen pregnancies among New York public school students have dropped by 27 percent over a decade.  Officials says the dip is due to contraceptives and delayed sexual activity, as reflected in new data released by the city Department of Health on Sunday. (via Fox News)

Insulin-requiring Diabetes Up in Young Children, Study Finds
The number of cases of insulin-requiring type 1 diabetes rose sharply in children under the age of Philadelphia over a two decade span, paralleling increases seen across the United States and in Europe, according to a U.S. study. (via Reuters)

Israeli and Palestinian Schoolbooks Fault Other Side in Conflict
Both Israeli and Palestinian schoolbooks largely present one-sided narratives of the conflict between the two peoples and tend to ignore the existence of the other side, but rarely resort to demonization, a U.S. State Department-funded study released Monday said. (via Huffington Post)

California Preschool, Rocked by Sex Sandal, Is Closing Its Doors ( VIDEO)
A California preschool is reportedly closing its doors amidst allegations of sexual activity among its young students. According to KABC-TV, at least two young boys say they received oral sex from a five-year-old girl on the premises of the First Lutheran Church of Carson School, where the three children are students. (via Huffington Post)

Key TB Trial Fails; More Waiting in the Wings
A highly anticipated study of the first new tuberculosis vaccine in 90 years showed it offered no added benefit over the current vaccine when it came to protecting babies from TB infections, a disappointing but not entirely unexpected outcome, researchers said on Monday. (via Reuters)

Junk Food in Schools: USDA Proposes Calorie, Sugar Limits
Most candy, high-calorie drinks and greasy meals could soon be on a food blacklist in the nation’s schools. For the first time, the government is proposing broad new standards to make sure all foods sold in schools are more healthful. (via Huffington Post)

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Ohio Third Grade Reading Guarantee Law One Semester In: PBS Reports On Progress
Ohio schools are one semester into its first year of the new “Third Grade Reading Guarantee” law, but some 30 percent of students — about 40,000 statewide — are still not reading at grade level. (via Huffington Post)

Healthy School Lunch: America’s Obsession With School Meals
With the passage of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010 and new school lunch requirements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2011, America’s school menus are healthier than ever – even if kids aren’t always happy about it. (via Huffington Post)

Modern Parenting May Hinder Brain Development, Research Suggests
Social practices and cultural beliefs of modern life are preventing healthy brain and emotional development in children, according to an interdisciplinary body of research presented recently at a symposium at the University of Notre Dame. (via Science Daily)

U.S. Launches Study into Youth Sports Concussions
The U.S. government launched on Monday a sweeping study of rising sports-related concussions among the youth, amid concerns that the injuries may have contributed to the suicides of professional football players. (via Reuters)

Review Questions Blood Pressure Tests for Kids
Despite long-standing recommendations that doctors check children’s blood pressure at every office visit, a new review of research says there is not enough evidence to support that guideline. (via Reuters)

Fussy Infants Exposed to More TV
Although doctors say babies should not watch television, some mothers may use the tube as a way to calm fussy infants, a new study suggests. (via My Health News Daily)

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Language Learning Begins in Utero, Study Finds; Newborn Memories of Oohs and Ahs Heard in the Womb
Research led by Christine Moon, a professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University, shows that infants, only hours old showed marked interest for the vowels of a language that was not their mother tongue. (via ScienceDaily)

Circumcision On The Decline? What Parents Need to Know About The Procedure
Having your newborn baby boy circumcised used to be a common practice in the United States, but in recent years, more parents are opting out. According to Charge Data Master, newborn circumcision rates declined from 58.4 percent in 2001 to 54.7 percent in 2010. Yet these numbers don’t take into account circumcisions performed outside of the hospital – such as those for religious reasons. (via Fox News)

Ultrasound Parties: New Frontier in Pregnancy Oversharing
Thanks to improved ultrasound technology, parents-to-be can now invite friends and family to share in an intimate viewing of baby in utero. (via Today Moms)

Philadelphia School District Plans to Close Dozens of Schools
Now, facing deep financial problems, the Philadelphia School District has proposed an unprecedented downsizing that would close 37 campuses by June — roughly one out of six public schools. If the sweeping plan is approved, the district says it will improve academic standards by diverting money used for maintaining crumbling buildings to hire teachers and improve classroom equipment. (via New York Times)

More Food for Hungry Students: USDA Tweaks School Meals
Schools across the country continue to struggle with implementing the first new nutritional guidelines in 15 years governing meals served to nearly 32 million U.S. students every day. Some schools are finding it a challenge to meet the new requirements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National School Lunch Program, put in place in January 2012. Amid pressure from government officials, the USDA recently loosened up on some of its requirements on meat and grains. (via TIME)

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School Lunches That Make the Grade

Friday, October 26th, 2012

My elementary school didn’t have a cafeteria, but every Tuesday was pizza day. Drooling students lined up in the hallway clutching dollar bills to pay for a piping-hot pepperoni slice and a little carton of milk. I looked forward to it all week.

Luckily, pizza day was only once per week, and my other four lunches were comprised of healthy sliced fruits, veggies, and sandwiches on whole-grain bread (thanks, Mom). But these days, kids are eating in school more often—and that may mean that they’re gorging on fat-packed foods daily. We discussed the problem of unhealthy school lunches in this article from our September 2010 issue. These unhealthy meals have serious long-term effects—check out our recent story on the childhood obesity crisis. The National School Lunch Program dishes out 31 million lunches per day. This school year, the NSLP’s nutrition standards were updated in accordance with the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Lunches have an age-based calorie cap, and schools are required to limit sodium and saturated fat and serve more fruits, veggies, and whole-grain items. But are they measuring up?

Last week, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine released its eighth School Lunch Report Card evaluating meals served by the National School Lunch Program. Standout schools received high grades for offering veggie-packed side dishes, vegetarian and dairy/egg-free entrée options, and nondairy beverages. (The valedictorian: Pinellas County Schools in Florida, which earned a perfect score.) Schools also garnered points for implementing nutrition education in the cafeteria. Failing grades were assigned to schools that dole out cholesterol-heavy dairy products and processed meats such as hotdogs and pepperoni. Low-scoring districts in Houston and Milwaukee were criticized for serving meals such as chicken-fried steak fingers and breaded catfish.

The good news: healthy lunch options are on the rise. The average grade is a B (84%), up 5% from 2008. Healthier lunch options can help decrease students’ lifetime risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and colorectal cancers.

Looking for healthy meals you can stash in your kid’s lunchbox? We’ve got tons of creative ideas to please even the pickiest eaters.

Read the full report here, and tell us how your kid’s school compares.

Image: School lunch via Shutterstock.

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