As a nursing student I had to sit through more than one nutrition class and frankly, I found them boring. I know healthy nutrition is important and understanding about all the different components of food and how they affect the body is a part of learning to make wise nutritional choices. But still, I wished for a better, more entertaining way to learn about eating healthy foods versus eating junk foods and what makes a food healthy or bad for you.
Enter a new app from Field Fresh Apps, LLC called My Food Fight!
The Field Fresh Apps website describes their new app this way:
“MY FOOD FIGHT!® is a fun interactive journey to combat the health enemies that we each encounter daily. Focused on nutrient density in food, players are rewarded for their consumption of high nutrient dense and organic foods.”
Great for kids and adults alike, this app is a game that rewards healthy food choices and makes learning fun! The creators, Eric Quick & Roger Cardoza wanted kids to learn how food affects health and impacts our lives. What better way to make it interesting and entertaining than to create an educational game app? Best of all, it’s free!
Currently the My Food Fight! app is only available for Apple devices but I believe they are working on an Android version too. Check it out and let me know what you think. And if your kids are getting bored during summer vacation, give them this game and they’ll be having so much fun they won’t even know they are learning!
Research shows that kids consume an average of 55 percent more calories when they eat out than when they eat at home. While you should limit fast food to an occasional treat, it’s not a nutritional disaster if you make healthy choices:
Keep your kids’ portions under control by ordering the child-sized meals that were meant for them — and try one yourself. Just this one move will cut half the calories and fat from your meal. Or share one order of fries with two or three people. This way, you still get to enjoy a little fast food without a lot of calories. Still hungry? Order a side salad with low-cal dressing.
Balance it out.
Cut calories and increase nutrition by making some smart substitutions. Chowing down on a cheeseburger? Forget the fries and order a baked potato or salad instead. Can’t give up the fries? Order a grilled chicken salad instead of a burger.
Skip the extras.
Save major calories by saying no to toppings like cheese, bacon, mayo and special sauces on burgers; pepperoni, sausage and extra cheese on pizza; and bacon bits, tortilla chips, Chinese noodles and regular dressings on salads.
Water it down.
A large cola weighs in at 310 calories, all of which come from sugar. Regular and diet sodas also contain phosphorus, which can prevent kids’ bones from absorbing calcium. The best bet for the whole family: water.
In January of 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today unveiled new standards for school meals. These are the first major improvements to school lunch programs in more than fifteen years and are expected to improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million kids that participate in school meal programs every school day across the nation.
Under the new rules:
- Schools will be required to double the servings of vegetable and fruits per meal.
- All grains must be whole grains and only low-fat and fat-free milk will be served.
- There will also be limits on the amount of trans fat and salt in each meal.
- Additionally, for the first time, there will be age-based minimum and maximum calorie levels set per day.
- A sample “Before / After Elementary School Lunch Menu” is available for download here
According to Sarah Fudin, Social Media and Outreach Coordinator for MAT@USC (the Master of Arts in Teaching program for the University of Southern California), “Childhood obesity has become parents’ number one health concern – ahead of smoking and drug abuse.”
We have won a significant battle here!
On the other hand, US kids watch approximately 44.5 hours a week of television and are exposed to approximately 30,000 TV ads per year, half of which are for candy, snacks, sugary cereal and fast food. Can we truly be surprised that 1/3 of our children are either overweight or obese?
In an effort to support the nutritional standards for school meals and our teachers and students, MAT@USC has created an infographic, “Targeting Children with Treats” with statistics sharing lifestyle, consumption, and media activity relating to children.
Can we afford to relax after winning 1 battle? What do you think?
When I was working on a recent television interview in which I discussed school lunch, I was prompted to check on the progress of my daughter’s school lunches this year. I was pleased to find out that her school district has taken on the HealthierUS School Challenge!
What is the HealthierUS School Challenge?
The HealthierUS School Challenge is a government-to-school encourager to voluntarily make school environments healthier. The participation rate started skyrocketing when First Lady Michelle Obama added incentives to schools that took part. The result is that more and more schools are cleaning up their kitchens – reducing fat, calories and sugar and adding more nutrient-rich foods in their place – for the sake of our growing children.
HealthierUS Food Guidelines
The initiative as a whole includes good nutrition and physical activity. Here is a brief rundown of what your child will be exposed to when he/she eats the school lunch:
- A different vegetable each day of the week
- Dark green or orange vegetables 3 or more days each week
- Dry beans and/or peas 1 or more days each week
- A different fruit each day of the week
- At least a serving of whole grains 3 or more days each week
- Only low-fat and fat-free milk each day
In addition to the foods that must be included, the schools must also:
Teach nutrition education to the children
Incorporate the teaching into the classrooms
Use multiple channels of communication including the cafeteria, classroom and home
I don’t know about you, but I see this as a big improvement. Hannah’s school is teaching them MyPlate, the new USDA food icon, so they can make their own decision to fuel up with great food choices. Educating, Exposing and Empowering are 3 of my keys to long-term proper nutrition. It starts in childhood! Talk to your children about the food choices they make and empower them to eat the super power foods that will help them make good grades and do better at their extra curricular activities.
Does your school participate in the HealthierUS School Challenge? Find out here. If this is their first year to participate, you may want to contact your child’s foodservice manager and ask them. If they are not currently participating, encourage them to do so! For more information on the HealthierUS School Challenge, go to: http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/HealthierUS/vision.html.
Candy is bad for your teeth. Well, that’s a no-brainer! Even 3-year-olds know that. But my patients are always caught off guard when I tell them that certain healthy foods are just as unkind to your chompers and can cause your teeth to rot. So grab a toothbrush and hear me out.
The Trouble: OJ, grapefruit, pineapple and other fruit juices are packed with sugar. Even though it’s the natural kind that’s better for the rest of your body, the decay-causing bacteria in your mouth like it just as much as any other type of sugar. They gobble it up and multiply in droves. Plus, fruit juices contain a lot of acid, and acid from any kind of food or drink — even nutritious ones — erodes tooth enamel.
The Fix: Chances are you drink these juices mostly in the morning. Brush and floss after breakfast, rather than before, and problem solved. If you happen to have a glass later in the day and don’t have your toothbrush handy, swish water around in your mouth to neutralize the acid.
The Trouble: Sure, raisins, currants, and other dried fruit supply your body with cancer-fighting antioxidants. But the bacteria in your mouth see a sugar feast. One small 1 1/2-ounce box of raisins contains 25 grams of sugar — as much as a slice of pie topped with ice cream! Making matters worse, dried fruit is super-sticky, just like gummy bears and jelly beans, so it often gets caught in between your teeth.
The Fix: You don’t need to give up dried fruit since it’s healthy for the rest of you. But after you eat it, brush and floss your teeth.
Chips and Pretzels
The Trouble: The bacteria in your mouth that love sugar also adore starches like potatoes, pretzels, white bread and white rice. These foods turn into a gluey paste that clings to your teeth. Bacteria prefer these kinds of starches, because they’re broken down much faster than whole grains, like whole-wheat bread and brown rice.
The Fix: Switch to whole grains — they’re better for your body as well as your mouth. Try whole-grain crackers with cheese, or whole-grain pretzels with peanut butter. You can even start by pairing one slice of white bread and one slice of whole wheat on a sandwich to get used to the taste. In the meantime, brush your teeth after a starchy meal or snack.