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Research Show Students are Eating Better at School

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MiPlato Poster

There’s good news from Pew Charitable Trust

More children are choosing and eating fruit with their lunches and kids are consuming more of their entrees and vegetables since the introduction of healthier school meals during the 2012-13 school year, a new study finds. The analysis, published March 4 in Childhood Obesity, is the first to reliably measure what students ate before and after the implementation of stronger national nutrition standards for school meal programs, and contradicts anecdotal reports about students rejecting healthier foods.

And the good news is reaching a lot of schools…

Nationwide more than 90 percent of schools are meeting the updated lunch standards; the Rudd Center’s findings add to growing evidence that children generally enjoy the healthier cafeteria fare. A national survey of school leaders found widespread student acceptance of healthier meals across all grade levels, and polling shows that parents support the current nutrition standards for school meals and snacks by a 3-1 ratio.

Learning ZoneXpress is here to help those students recognize the choices they are making to help them replicate them at home now and as they grow up!


National Public Health Week Celebrates 20 Years!

PublicHealthWeek2015During the first full week of April, the American Public Health Association (APHA) celebrates National Public Health Week and this year marks the 20th anniversary. The APHA takes this time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlights important issues that will improve the health of the nation.

The accomplishments of public health over the last 20 years are substantial. Public health is credited with adding 25 years to the life expectancy of people in the United States in this century. Some of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th Century according to the CDC include:

Healthier Mothers & Babies – Infant and maternal mortality rates have decreased in the U.S. Environmental interventions, improvements in nutrition, advances in clinical medicine, improvements in access to health care, improvements in surveillance and monitoring of disease, increases in education levels, and improvements in standards of living contributed to this remarkable decline.

Immunizations – Today, U.S. vaccination coverage is at record high levels! National efforts to promote vaccine use among all children has helped eradicate Smallpox and dramatically decrease the number of cases of Polio, Measles, Hib and other diseases in the U.S.

Motor Vehicle Safety – We’ve seen a huge reduction in the rate of death attributable to motor vehicle crashes in the United States, which represents the successful public health response to a great technologic advancement (the motorization of America). The response has spanned government, public health and driver and passenger behavior.

Family Planning – Increased contraception use, public health education and other factors mean that, today, Americans face fewer unintended pregnancies and are far more likely to achieve desired birth spacing and family size.

Tobacco as a Health Hazard – During 1964-1992, approximately 1.6 million deaths caused by smoking were prevented thanks to substantial public health efforts.

Decline in Deaths from Heart Attack & Stroke – Still the country’s top killers, the public health community has helped achieve remarkable declines in deaths from both diseases: since 1950, deaths from cardiovascular disease have declined 60 percent, and stroke rates have declined 70 percent.

To help the education efforts of public health, Learning ZoneXpress has developed a wide range of nutrition resources that are appropriate in both WIC and public health settings. These teaching tools are designed to help educate individuals and families on the importance of healthy choices.

So let’s celebrate these public health accomplishments during National Public Health Week and remember to help raise awareness about public health and the importance of making healthy choices all year long.

MN Fox News talks to MSNA about healthy eating

Last week, Mary Fish, President of the Minnesota School Nutrition Association was interviewed by FOX 9 about how to get kids to choose more healthy options at school and at home! (Click to watch video.)

LZX  -FOX clip

How to NOT Give Your Office Food Poisoning at the Holiday Party

food-safety-powerpoint-lesson-plansWe just loved this! Tips from the USDA to pass onto everyone you know. No one wants to be sick at the holidays and no one wants to the cause of someone else being sick!

Most offices host some sort of get-together this time of year and you may be asked to bring a dish. If you’re not bringing food to the office, you may be bringing something to another get-together with family or friends. Follow these tips to be sure your diners remember your nice contribution, instead of a naughty case of food poisoning.

Tip 1: Keep Hot Food Hot. Hot items are best served immediately after cooking or reheating. If you plan on serving a hot item at the office party, take it straight from the oven and either place it in an insulated bag or hot food carrier. If you can’t serve it as soon as you arrive, return it to the oven. Alternatively, you can completely chill the item and transport it according to Tip 2. Once you arrive at the office reheat it using a microwave, stove, or oven to 165 °F.

Tip 2: Keep Cold Food Cold. Cold items should remain in the refrigerator for as long as possible. When transporting cold dishes, place items in a cooler with plenty of ice or frozen gel packs. A refrigerator thermometer in the cooler is a useful way to make sure items remain at proper chill temperature of 40 °F or below.

Tip 4: Use Several Small Platters. For both hot and cold items, arrange and serve food on several small platters rather than on large platter. This way you can hold food at safe temperatures (cold foods below 40 °F and hot foods above 140 °F) until partygoers are ready to eat it.

Tip 5: Keep Track of Time. Keep track of how long items have been sitting on the buffet table and discard anything out longer than two hours. You never want to leave perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs and casseroles in the “Danger Zone” over two hours. The danger zone is between 40 and 140 °F where bacteria multiply rapidly. After two hours, enough bacteria may have grown in your food to make partygoers sick. Exceptions to the danger zone include ready-to-eat items like cookies, crackers, bread and whole fruit. If you follow these tips, those enjoying your dish will not suffer a bout of food poisoning. -

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Dining in for Healthy Families: Cookbook from Owatonna High School

How is our hometown of Owatonna celebrating Family and Consumer Sciences Day? We’re glad you asked and we’re happy to share the news from the local newspaper, the Owatonna People’s Press

“A few weeks ago, I asked them each to bring in two recipes,” said FACS teacher Connie Pittmann on Tuesday. “Some brought pasta, sides, salads. Some brought desserts. I just handed them today our class cookbook, so we typed them all together.”

The recipes were collected and then published in a cookbook with the theme “Dining in for Healthy Families.” Pittmann said the theme may change in the years following. Nonetheless, the FACS department will be participating every year around this time here on out she said.

On Dec. 3, students will take the cookbook home and make a healthy meal with their family. This day was proclaimed as Family and Consumer Sciences Day in Minnesota by Gov. Mark Dayton and the national organization has set a goal of 200,000 families across the country preparing and enjoying a healthy meal together.

We love the idea! It might be too late for other schools to create a clever cookbook – but not too late to have students find recipes to Dine In to recognize Family and Consumer Science Day on December 3!