Sunday, August 29, 2010

August 29th: More Herbs; Less Salt Day

Instead of salt, use spices and herbs to enhance the taste of your food.
The health benefits are life-long.

Wikipedia has provided an extensive list of culinary herbs and spices. The list does not contain salt (which is a mineral) or plants used primarily as herbal teas or medicinal herbs. Explore the different flavors and cultures.

Tips for Selecting and Storing Herbs and Spices

Cutting Back on Salt in Your Diet
from the American Dietetic Association

Where does sodium come from?
Sodium comes from natural sources or are added to foods. Most foods in their natural state contain some sodium. However, the majority of sodium Americans consume comes from sodium added to processed foods by manufacturers. While some of this sodium is added to foods for safety reasons, the amount of salt added to processed foods is above what is required for safety and function of the food supply.

Reading Labels
When you buy prepared and packaged foods, read the labels. You can tell the sodium content by looking at the Nutrition Facts panel of a food. Listed are the amount for sodium, in milligrams (mg), and the “% Daily Value.” Also read the ingredient list to watch for the words "soda" (referring to sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda), "sodium" and the symbol "Na" to see if the product contains sodium.

Salt and/or Sodium Descriptors

Salt Free:  Meets requirements for "sodium free."
Sodium Free: Fewer than 5 milligrams sodium per serving.
Very Low Sodium:  35 milligrams or less sodium per serving.
Low Sodium: 140 milligrams or less per serving 
Reduced Sodium:  At least 25 percent less sodium per serving.
Unsalted:  Has no salt added during processing. To use this term, the product it resembles must normally be processed with salt and the label must note that the food is not a sodium-free food if it does not meet the requirements for "sodium free".

The FDA and USDA state an individual food that has the claim "healthy" must not exceed 480 mg sodium per reference amount. "Meal type" products must not exceed 600 mg sodium per labeled serving size.

Sodium and Hypertension.
In order for a food to make an Allowable Health Claim it must contain a defined amount of nutrients. In relationship to sodium and Hypertension the amount is 140 milligrams or less sodium per serving.

American Heart Association (AHA)
The American Heart Association recommends you choose and prepare foods with little or no salt to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Aim to eat less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day (less that 3/4 teaspoon of salt).
The AHA is working with federal agencies to identify ways to reduce the amount of sodium in the food supply. The association is encouraging food manufacturers and restaurants to reduce the amount of sodium in foods by 50 percent over a 10-year period. AHA will help Americans lower the amount of sodium they consume by the following strategies:
 1. Reduce the amount of sodium in the food supply,
 2. Make more healthy foods available (e.g., more fruits and vegetables); and
 3. Provide consumers with education and decision-making tools to make better choices.

Tips for reducing sodium in the diet
 1.  Choose fresh, frozen or canned food items without added salts.
 2.  Select unsalted nuts or seeds, dried beans, peas and lentils.
 3.  Limit salty snacks like chips and pretzels.
 4.  Avoid adding salt and canned vegetables to homemade dishes.
 5.  Select unsalted, lower sodium, fat-free broths, bouillons or soups.
 6.  Select fat-free or low-fat milk, low-sodium, low-fat cheeses and low-fat yogurt.
 7.  Use spices and herbs to enhance the taste of your food. 
 8.  Add fresh lemon juice instead of salt to fish and vegetables.
 9.  When dining out, ask for your dish to be prepared without salt.
10. Don’t use the salt shaker. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Banana Lovers Day, August 27th

Choose bananas that are firm and free of bruises. Bananas are best to eat when the skin color is solid yellow and speckled with brown. Bananas with green tips or with practically no yellow color have not developed their full flavor. Bananas are overripe when they have a strong odor.

To ripen bananas leave at room temperature for a couple of days. Once ripe store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. The peel may turn brown in the refrigerator, but the fruit will not change.

If you love bananas, Eating Well has a collection of Banana Recipes you are sure to enjoy.

Chiquita Banana The Original Commercial 
Produced by Disney Studios in the 40's, this commercial appeared only in movie theaters, and for over 50 years kept us humming its catchy tune.

DOLE Banana Growing and Planting
Dole explains the growing and planting of bananas.

Banana Farm
The banana farm at EARTH University uses socially and environmentally responsible practices at every stage of the process. The farm plants trees along river banks to promote biodiversity and reduce harmful erosion. In addition, they do not use herbicides. The farm's eco-friendly practices produce some of the most flavorful bananas in the world.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School Nutrition
A Collection of Articles, Blogs and Videos

School nutrition: Healthier ingredients, more education for 2010-11. Among the new menu items schools are serving up for 2010-11: jicama, star fruit, sweet potato puffs, collard greens, edamame, egg-white omelets, and fish tacos. A new website from the SNA,, educates parents about healthy school meals and highlights innovative approaches around the country.

Let’s eat healthier, and get ready
When it comes to getting the day off to a good start, research shows that most youngsters aren’t eating a good breakfast before they head out the door. A new study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reports that 20 percent of children and 32 percent of teens skip what’s known as the most important meal of the day.

Experts: Get kids involved in lunch-making process. With creative menu ideas, parents can pack healthy school lunches that their kids will actually eat. ``People eat with their eyes. Children get bored, just like adults get bored,'' said Donna Kinney, a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist with Gordon Food Service, which helps South Florida schools develop healthier menus. ``We don't want to eat the same things every day and neither do they.''

Back to School - Eating Healthy
Florida Hospital Dietitian, Tamara Dorway, talks about getting your kids ready for school with healthy breakfast and lunch ideas.

Little Kids, Big Appetites
Can little kids be food addicts or binge eaters? Take a look at the behavioral factors of children's eating habits and how parents can influence healthier eating in their families.

Child Nutrition - Lunch Line Choices PSA
As an adult you are a role model for the children around you. Kids follow the lead of the adults they see everyday. So remember, healthy choices start with you.

School lunches: the allergy debate
Food allergies and intolerances run the gamut and lunchtime at school can be tough to swallow for kids with special dietary needs.

Remember 'food groups' when packing school lunch
Packing a school lunch might seem like a daunting task to some. But, Miami-based dietitian Claudia Gonzalez, author of “Gordito Doesn't Mean Healthy,” says eating nutritious meals is easier than you think.

10 Easy Breakfast Recipes for Kids
Feed your children and get them out the door in a flash with these kid-friendly breakfasts that take 20 minutes or less.

Priceless: School Lunch
"Priceless" launched the One Tray campaign depicting the cafeteria tray as the conduit for a reformed school food system that supports healthy children, local farms, and smart schools.

Lunch Encounters of the Third Kind
Every child deserves the opportunity to eat food in school that ensures their health and well-being and Farm to School programs are one solution to incorporating healthier foods into school meals.

Sarah Hortman, RD is a feature writer for the Omaha Examiner. She has written a series of article to help parents and children get ready for the new school year.

  Top 8 kid friendly cereals. The top 8 kid friendly healthy cereals are based on a one serving size portion that contains 6g or less of sugar, 3g or more fiber, 100% whole grain as the first listed ingredient, no artificial colors & preservatives and are fortified with iron.

  Back to School Nutrition Part 1: BreakfastWhen it comes to children, a well nourished child who consumes a healthy breakfast is ready to learn as they have more energy, stamina, self-esteem, especially if they are physically active on a daily basis.

  Back to School Nutrition Part 2: Brown Bag Lunch Basics. A successful brown bag lunch will include a variety of a child’s favorite choices of whole grains, proteins, fresh fruits or vegetables and a beverage, ideally milk or water. To increase appeal there should be a variety of colors, textures and flavors. Make foods fun such as creating small kabobs from fruit, meat and cheese.

  Back to School Nutrition Part 3: Top 10 Strategies for Healthy Kid Friendly Brown Bag LunchesPlan the upcoming week of lunches together. Consider their likes and dislikes by having them write a list of foods for the month that they would like in their lunches and foods

  Back to School Nutrition Part 4: School Lunch Legislation. We have all been hearing the buzz around childhood obesity and the connection with a need for healthier school lunches. According to the CDC, childhood obesity rates in children aged 6-11 have increased from approximately 6% in 1980 to approximately

  Back to School Nutrition Part 5: School Lunch Strategies. While our schools begin to plan for implementing healthier food choices due to the new Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the following are additional guidelines for us to help score school lunches.

The School Breakfast Program (SBP) provides cash assistance to States to operate nonprofit breakfast programs in schools and residential childcare institutions. The program is administered at the Federal level by FNS. State education agencies administer the SBP at the State level, and local school food authorities operate it in schools.

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day. The program was established under the National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry Truman in 1946.

Eat Smart. Play Hard.™ The Eat Smart. Play Hard.™ Campaign was launched by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to encourage and teach children, parents, and caregivers to eat healthy and be physically active every day. Eat Smart. Play Hard.™ offers resources and tools to convey and reinforce healthy eating and lifestyle behaviors that are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPyramid Food Guidance System. Eat Smart. Play Hard.™ is about making America's children healthier. It's about practical suggestions that will help you motivate children and their caregivers to eat healthy and be active. Eat Smart. Play Hard.™ Campaign messages and materials are fun for children and informative for caregivers.

Team Nutrition is an initiative of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to support the Child Nutrition Programs through training and technical assistance for foodservice, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity.

Recipes for Healthy Kids. The USDA is creating a nationwide challenge which will bring together teams of school nutrition professionals, chefs and students to develop nutritious, delicious, and kid-approved recipes for use in schools. Your school could have an award-winning recipe and a chance to compete in the national cook-off.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

National Creamsicle Day, August 14th

Creamsicle® is a frozen dessert with vanilla ice cream in the center and a fruit sherbet on the outside. The classic Creamsicle® flavor is orange and vanilla, but today there are numerous flavors to choose from.

The term “Creamsicle” is a registered brand name owned by Unilever. Creamsicles are available in several varieties, including 100 Calorie Bars, Low Fat Bars and No Sugar Added Bars.

Nutrition Tidbit
If one Low Fat Bar weighed 65 g,
(this is the same weight as the Regular Bar),
than the Low Fat Choice would have
more calories and slightly less fat.
106 Calories; 1.5 g Fat

Creamsicles® are a popular treat, especially during the hot summer months.

GoodGuide is a business that provides information about the health, environmental and social performance of products and companies. Their mission is to help consumers make purchasing decisions that reflect preferences and values.
GoodGuide includes a team of scientific and technology experts working to acquire and compile high quality data, which then can be organized and transformed into actionable information for consumers.

GoodGuide Ratings (0 to 10, 10 the most favorable).

Creamsicle, No Sugar Added  5.9
Saturated Fat: Low
Cholesterol: Low
Sugars: Low
Sodium: Low

Creamsicle, Low Fat 5.3
Saturated Fat: Low
Cholesterol: Low
Sugars: Medium
Sodium: Low

Creamsicle, 100 Calorie Bar   5.1
Saturated Fat: Low
Cholesterol: Low
Sugars: High
Sodium: Low

Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 12, 2010 International Youth Day

The United Nations proclaims August 12, 2010

This year’s International Youth Day is a particularly important day for youth around the world. In December 2009, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/64/134 proclaiming the Year commencing this International Youth Day (12 August 2010) as the International Year of Youth.

In line with the theme for the International Year, the theme for this year’s International Youth Day is “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”. The choice of theme reflects the General Assembly’s appreciation of the value of dialogue among youth from different cultures as well as among different generations.

International Year of Youth

Implementation of the Programme of Action requires the full enjoyment by young people of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and also requires that Governments take effective action against violations of these rights and freedoms and promote non-discrimination, tolerance, respect for diversity, with full respect for various religious and ethical values, cultural backgrounds and philosophical convictions of their young people, equality of opportunity, solidarity, security and participation of all young women and men.

Together We Can Change the World

In 1995 the UN General Assemply adopted ten priority areas for the world's youth:
Hunger and poverty
Drug abuse
Juvenile delinquency
Leisure-time activities
Girls and young women

In 2007 five additional issues were adopted by the General Assembly:
Information and Communication Technologies
Youth and Conflict
Intergenerational Relations

International Youth Day will be celebrated at United Nations headquarters in New York with the global launch event of the International Year of Youth. The event will be a celebration of young peoples’ energy, imagination and initiatives and will recognize their crucial contributions to enhancing peace and development. The event is an opportunity for the international community and the UN system to demonstrate their commitment to young people. But it will also be a fun occasion with musical guests and performances.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

How Plants Get Big
Saturday Cartoon without the commercials

Courgette is desperate to be big like the really big marrows. He asks lots of advice to find out how plants get big, but nothing works fast enough.

The Foodies Books are a series of picture story books for young children, set in a veggie patch. There is a different book for each month of the year and all the characters in each story are in season to grow or buy in the UK that month.
For more information visit

Friday, August 6, 2010

Purple Ribbon Month
Never Leave a Child Unattended in a Car

Please Remember - Never Leave a Child,
an Elderly or Disabled Person
and Pets in an unattened vehicle.

Between 1998 to 2010, 474 children left in cars died in the USA due to hyperthermia.
This is an average of 37 children per year who died due to hyperthermia.
These deaths could have been prevented.
  In 2010, 29 children left in cars died in the USA due to hyperthermia.
  In 2009, 33 children left in cars died in the USA due to hyperthermia.

4 R Kids Sake is a national non-profit organization that strives in making sure that children do not die due to preventable injuries. Their mission statement is to "Protect our children from preventable injuries and death in and around cars through: Awareness, Education, Legislation and Prevention." Their goal is to spread the message and assist in bringing about a greater awareness of the tragedies that can and do occur in and around cars. 4 R Kids SakeTM is making sure that people know how important it is to NEVER leave a child unattended in a car!

Safe Kids/Hot Cars: Never Leave Your Child Alone

A reminder from the
LA County Dept. of Public Health,
not to leave kids, pets, or the elderly
in cars when running errands.

Resources:4 R Kids Sake

Child left in car fought for his life

Mom Charged After Baby Left in Car Dies

California Councilman Cameron Smyth warns of the
dangers of leaving children alone in a car.
Created for the Child Care Resource Center by Steven Whetstone.