by Cody Chandler Hilton
The Olympic Games have been a major focus for everyone who likes sport competitions. It was good to see America win so many medals, especially the swimming athletes. I think we are luck in America because the best athletes from all over come to live in America, and we have the best players. I think the Chinese put on an amazing opening ceremony event, and it included so many people. It's a good thing that so many countries come together in friendly competition, and show that a peaceful world is possible during the Olympic Games.
Thanks for reading the column, and I hope to see you next month.
CEDARS-SINAI MEDICAL CENTER EXPERT
SERVES UP THE SKINNY ON HEALTHY AND
FUN SCHOOL LUNCHES
In the battle against childhood obesity, the best way to defend your children against the fat-filled foods and sugary sweets lurking at school is to arm them with a healthy lunch made at home.
To prepare your children for all the options that will face them at school – from offerings in the cafeteria lunch line to vending machines and a la carte programs – remember that good eating habits start at home, said Netty Levine, R.D., a registered dietitian at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
“Kids spend most of their day in school,” Levine said. “The only way to make sure that they’re going to eat right is to help them pack their own healthy meal.”
Childhood obesity is one of the nation’s top health concerns. The percentage of children who are obese has more than doubled since 1980 – and among adolescents the rates have more than tripled, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This puts children at greater risk of Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
In addition to following common-sense nutrition guidelines – serving up a balance of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, calcium-rich dairy foods and whole grains – get children involved if you want them to learn healthy habits. Ask them to help pack their lunches. Let them make some of the choices the next time you’re browsing the grocery store produce department or local farmer’s market. And don’t forget a couple of important ingredients: creativity and fun.
“Let them play with their menus and experiment with new fruits and vegetables,” Levine said. “The lunch your child totes to school should be an extension of the good nutrition and meal planning that happens in your home every day.”
Six tips for healthy school lunches:
- Start off right. The first step to a healthy lunch is a balanced breakfast. Eating breakfast will help kids focus on their lessons and keep them from being ravenous by unchtime. Even a bowl of low-sugar cereal and some fruit will do.
- Keep it fun. Healthy eats are more appealing to the appetite when they’re appealing to the eye. Try cutting a turkey, chicken or tuna sandwich into shapes with a cookie-cutter for the little ones. Offer wraps made with whole wheat pita to work some grains into your children’s diets. A cold salad of whole wheat corkscrew pasta, lean chicken or turkey, colorful and crunchy veggies with light dressing fits lots of food groups into lunch in a fun way.
- Keep it cold. That healthy sandwich could go uneaten if it’s wilted by lunchtime. Try thermal-lined lunch boxes with a freezer pack. Or, freeze a box of milk, small bottle of water or juice to include in the lunch box – they’ll melt by meal time and keep the other food cold.
- Keep healthy snacks at hand. Help your child ward off hunger until lunchtime with tasty good-for-you snacks. Consider grapes and other fruit, reduced-fat peanut butter spread on celery, cereal, and trail mixes packed with healthy nuts and seeds.
- Keep it easy. Fruits and vegetables are more likely to be eaten when they’re bite-sized. Cut up fruit like apples – especially for children who are loosing teeth. Miniature bell peppers and other small vegetables are also good choices.
- Keep some “splurges” in the mix. Every kid is going to want some chips and candy sometimes – and these foods are fine in moderation. Levine suggests matching the portions to your child’s age. For example, nine chips for your nine-year-old or seven jelly beans for your seven-year-old.
New Flavors for summer incloude a great limeade beverage as well as great tasting take-along teas for kids. The kids tea drinks are perfect for lunch boxes or sporting events. Visit: www.honesttea.com for where to buy information.
BACK TO SCHOOL RECIPE
FROM "MOMS BEST NATURALS"'
*Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup granulated sugar, reserve 1 tablespoon for the topping
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup 1% lowfat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Mom's Best Naturals Toasted Cinnamon Squares
1 small apple, unpeeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously oil or coat 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2. Whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
3. Combine the eggs, applesauce, sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl and stir until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the topping by placing the cereal in a plastic, zip-top bag. Crush into small pieces (about the size of lentils) with your fingers or a rolling pin. Place the cereal, apple, flaxseed, remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl and stir to combine.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Top evenly with the apple mixture, pressing down gently into the batter.
6. Bake about 20 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes before removing.
Nutritional Information per Serving: 200 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated fat, 0.8g omega-3), 190mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 4g protein