Newsletter Health and Food Articles

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Part Four: Health and Food Related…Timely and short tips and articles are a ‘good thing’ to occasionally post in parent newsletters. (A good way to provide valuable information.)


An Australian study reported in the March issue of Indoor Air found that PARENTS WHO SMOKE OUTSIDE THEIR HOUSE ARE STILL EXPOSING their children to the HARMFUL EFFECTS OF PASSIVE SMOKING. The study found that the levels of respirable suspended particles, including nicotine, were significantly higher in houses where smokers lived than in smoke-free homes –even if the parents only smoked outside.

Lead author of the study, Dr Krassi Rumchev of Curtin University of Technology, says the findings indicate that the level of passive smoking by children at home may be underestimated, as those whose parents smoked outside were exposed to levels of environmental tobacco smoke high enough to cause harm. “According to the study, smoking outdoors seems inadequate to protect children,” Rumchev says. “The results demonstrate clearly that if parents want a smoke-free environment for children, they need to stop smoking.”

She adds that children were more likely to have respiratory illnesses including asthma, coughs, and colds than those in tobacco-free households. She says smokers appear to disperse pollutants into the home when returning inside. “When people come inside they’re still breathing out smoke and it contaminates the air. It’s enough to do harm,” Rumchev says. “Nicotine attaches to the hair and body, and pollutants are dispersed into the air off clothes, because small particles can attach to clothes.”



Try not to use food to punish or reward children.
Withholding food as a punishment may lead children to worry that they will not get enough food. For example, sending children to bed without any dinner may cause them to worry that they will go hungry. As a result, children may try to eat whenever they get a chance. Similarly, when foods, such as sweets, are used as a reward, children may assume that these foods are better or more valuable than other foods. For example, telling children that they will get dessert if they eat all of their vegetables sends the wrong message about vegetables. Source: webmd



  • Make food fun by cutting sandwiches into different shapes. Cookie cutters are great for this.
  • In hot weather, keep foods cool by including a carton or plastic container of juice, frozen overnight, in the. The juice will be thawed by lunchtime.
  • Pack ‘kid-size’ foods like cherry tomatoes, baby bananas, and mini boxes of raisins.
  • You can control what goes into your child’s lunch box, but you can’t control what goes into your child. Send your kids to school with a lunch they like and one they’ve helped prepare and pack;  they’ll be less likely to toss or trade it.
  • Rely less on processed, packaged foods–replace them with fresh foods whenever possible.
  • Remember that kids can be influenced by peer pressure. Foods they love at home might be not-so-cool at school. Ask them what types of foods their friends bring for lunch.
  • Most kids will skip foods that take a lot of effort to eat. A little prep work can make almost anything more kid-friendly. For example, peel Clementine’s and oranges; cover them with plastic wrap before packing.



Bet on Breakfast: Mornings can be chaotic, leaving breakfast and better nutrition in the lurch. Nicklas’ research bears that out. Kids who eat breakfast take in more of the nutrients they need, she says. Breakfast skippers do not make up for the missed opportunity the morning meal provides.

What you eat for breakfast matters. Cereal (particularly whole-grain types) with milk and fruit make a quick meal that offers an array of nutrients.

Cereal can be good for the waistline, too. A recent Journal of the American Dietetic Association study that followed more than 2,300 girls from ages 9 and 10 found that girls who continued to eat cereal on a regular basis for 10 years were leaner than girls who did not eat it. Eating cereal was linked to increased intake of fiber, calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin C, and zinc, and decreased consumption of cholesterol and fat.

Other Than Cereal
There’s no need to limit breakfast foods to traditional choices such as cold cereal, however. The following healthy, kid-friendly breakfasts will beckon kids to the table (many are portable feasts to eat on the way to school or during morning snack time):

  • Half a whole grain bagel, spread with peanut butter and topped with raisins; milk
  • Leftover pizza and 100% orange juice
  • 8 ounces low-fat fruited yogurt, whole grain toast and 100% juice
  • Fruit and yogurt smoothie and whole-grain toast
  • Scrambled egg stuffed into half a whole-grain pita pocket and topped with shredded cheddar cheese and salsa or ketchup with 100% juice
  • Waffle sandwich: two whole grain, toasted waffles spread with almond, peanut or soy nut butters with milk.




Children learn important nutrition concepts through daily experiences involving food. Shopping for food, comparing labels, taste testing new foods, cooking, creating simple recipes and analyzing food ads are just a few of the many ways kids can begin to discover the wonderful world of food!


KIDS IN THE KITCHEN  How do you get kids to buy into good nutrition? Getting children involved in food choice and preparation is one of the best Giving kids a say in what they eat encourages the autonomy they crave.

Allow your child some veto power in the supermarket. For example, let your child choose between bananas and kiwis, or oatmeal and Cheerios. At home, encourage your children to prepare healthy brown-bag lunches and easy snacks.

Gather as often as possible for family meals, particularly when your child has been involved in making them. Research shows dining together without distractions — including the TV — translates into a better diet and lower chance of overeating, says Economos. Plus, it gives you and your child a chance to talk. Of course, family meals are often easier said than done! Source:


HOW DO YOU KNOW IF CHILDREN ARE GETTING THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF FOODS? — the government’s food guidance system suggested servings are based on age, gender, and activity level. The examples below illustrate how school-age children’s needs differ.

A 6-year-old, active girl every day needs:

  • 5 ounces from grain group
  • 2 cups from vegetable group
  • 1 1/2 cups from fruit group
  • 3 cups from milk group
  • 5 ounces from meat and beans group
  • 5 teaspoons oils.

An 11-year-old, active boy needs this every day:

  • 7 ounces from grain group
  • 3 cups from vegetable group
  • 2 cups from fruit group
  • 3 cups from milk group
  • 6 ounces from meat and beans group
  • 6 teaspoons oils.



To build a strong, healthy skeleton that will last a lifetime, kids should be sure to “bone up” on calcium. From ages 11-24, children have the opportunity to maximize their bone density, filling their bones to “peak capacity.” The best sources of calcium are lowfat dairy products like yogurt, nonfat/1% milk and lowfat cheese, calcium-fortified soy milk and tofu, calcium-fortified orange juice, sardines or salmon with bones and broccoli.


AGERecommended Calcium (milligrams)
1-3 Years500
4-8 Years800
9-18 Years1300
19-50 Years1000
51+ Years 1200



Sharing frequent family meals can have many positive benefits for children and teens, including enhanced school performance, more healthful eating habits and reduced risk of substance abuse. The following information is from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University .

Children and teens who have frequent family dinners:

  • Are at half the risk for substance abuse compared with teens who dine with their families infrequently
  • Are less likely to have friends or classmates who use illicit drugs or abuse prescription drugs
  • Have lower levels of tension or stress at home
  • Are more likely to say that their parents and families are proud of them
  • Are likelier to say they can confide in their parents
  • Are likelier to get better grades in school
  • Are more likely to be emotionally content and have positive peer relationships
  • Have more healthful eating habits
  • Are at lower risk for thoughts of suicide…

Remind Parents of this IMPORTANT Warm Weather Tip
Kids Playing Outside & Water Needs

WHEN IT’S HOT OUTSIDE… and kids are playing sports—or even just actively playing—head off problems by making sure they drink fluids before, during and after activity.

As a guideline, encourage at least 4 ounces of fluid every 15-20 minutes, or whenever there’s a break or time-out. Tip: One ounce equals about one “gulp.”  So kids need a minimum of 4 GULPS OF WATER EVERY 20 MINUTES!

Use caution when it’s hot outside, especially for active kids. In high temperatures, kids don’t sweat as much as adults do, so it’s harder for them to cool off. This makes them more at risk for dehydration and heat exhaustion.

The sections of ‘Newsletter Category’ are:

Click for the Entire Newsletter Category

Part 1. What to Put in Newsletters

Part 2. Prose, Poems and Cute items for Newsletters

Part 3. Timely Newsletter Topics to Connect Kids and Parents

Part 4. Newsletter Topics of Health and Food

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