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Cub Pride Article (April 7, 2017) by Ms. Helen Wink, Food Service Director

Nutrition News You Can Use
“Learn How to Stay Properly Hydrated to Keep Your Body Healthy”

Staying hydrated is an essential part of staying healthy. Water accounts for almost two- thirds of our body weight, and it enables the success of our most important body functions. If you’re not drinking enough, you can quickly become dehydrated, which can lead to headaches, fatigue, and more serious issues. Staying hydrated can help you stay energized, active, and healthy. Most people know they need to drink in water hot weather or after exercising, but staying properly hydrated is important all year long and is just as important for the average person as it is for serious athletes. For healthy hydration, the trick is understanding what to drink, how much is enough, and when an extra glass can do you good.

Healthy Hydration Choices
Water, soda, sports drinks, fruit juices, coffee, and tea can all help you maintain healthy hydration; however, it is very important to remember that low-calorie or zero-calorie beverages are usually the best choice. Sweetened beverages can be high in calories and low in nutrients. While a sweetened drink is okay as an occasional part of your diet, too many sweetened drinks can lead to weight gain and other health issues.

How Much Is Enough?
There are many expert opinions about how much people should drink each day, but generally, about 9 to 12 glasses of water and other beverages is recommended for most adults. Specific recommendations vary based on your activity level, the temperature where you live, and your personal medical history. It’s important to adjust the amount you drink to your routine and environment. When you are more active or in very hot or cold environments, you should drink more. For every hour of strenuous activity, experts recommend adding an extra 18 to 36 ounces to help offset the amount of water lost. The old “8 glasses a day” advice is a good starting point, but it’s important to adjust the amount you drink to your personal lifestyle.

Tips for Getting Enough
• Fill your glass from a container that holds at least 64 ounces of water. Drink at least one such full container every day.
• Drink a glass of water or other beverage with every meal and every snack.
• Drink a glass of water in between each meal.
• Keep a log of your drinks for a week to see if you’re getting enough.
• Carry a water bottle with you on-the-go.

• Add fresh lemon or lime to your water since studies show that people drink more water
when it’s flavored, even without added sugar.
• Include more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet; they contain lots of water, and up to
twenty percent of your fluid intake comes from the food you eat.
• Begin and end your day with water. Drink a glass when you wake up and a glass before
you go to sleep.

Don’t Wait Until You’re Thirsty!
Experts advise that if you wait until you’re very thirsty, you may already be dehydrated, so drink
enough water and other fluids throughout the day, every day, to stay hydrated and to keep your body working normally.

Strawberry Parfait
These are available daily at each cafeteria!!
Cub Pride Article ( February 3, 2017) by Ms. Helen Wink, Food Service Director
Grab-N-Go Breakfast

Is grab-n-go breakfast right for my school?
Are your students in a hurry to get to class? Maybe they forgot to eat breakfast or maybe they get up early and are not hungry until later. These are all reasons “grab-n-go” breakfasts have worked for schools across the nation. It is a growing program, and with support from school administration, staff, and parents, students have shown a remarkable change in behavior, attendance, and test scores. You may wonder if it is right for your school. There are obviously several concerns, such as spills and extra trash. Some teachers may be concerned that the students will not focus if they are eating in the classroom. Depending on your location or other considerations, grab-n-go breakfasts can be eaten in a chosen location during a specific time. The disposal of the bags by students with grab-n-go breakfasts will occur more quickly than tray removal by students following a seated cafeteria breakfast, as they often must wait in line to dispose of their trays.

What should you consider before dismissing the idea of a grab-n-go breakfast?
Grab-n-Go brings breakfast to students, making it easier for them to eat breakfast.

Many of your students may not be hungry first thing in the morning, or they want to hang out with friends.

Because it is so easy and efficient for students to grab a bag, this method also
allows schools to serve a breakfast more quickly to students.

Grab-n-go breakfasts give students some flexibility.

The cafeteria or gym is crowded or not available for breakfast, and large numbers of students have to eat in a short amount of time.

Buses arrive just before the start of classes, making grab-n-go an easy alternative so that students aren’t late for class.

Students may rely on sugary, starchy breakfast items from home or convenience stores, giving them a rush of false energy and a “crash” by mid-morning, resulting in tired and lethargic students.

You may not know that skipping breakfast is more likely to cause weight gain than it is to prevent it, and the biggest issue with overeating is undereating. I often hear parents say that their students are not getting enough food at lunch and come home hungry. Many of these kids skip breakfast, skip the fruits and vegetables, but then go home, begin snacking, and don’t stop eating.

Eating breakfast also impacts school performance. Studies have shown shows that kids who eat breakfast function better, do better in school, and have better concentration and more energy; in fact, children who eat breakfast are usually in better health overall than those who skip breakfast. Fiber has been linked to lower cholesterol levels, and most grab-n-go breakfast items have the fiber needed in that morning meal.

In conclusion, something to consider before dismissing the grab-n-go program is healthy students show improved academic scores, improved classroom behavior, and higher attendance rates. It can only be positive for schools to focus on student health and wellness.

Cub Pride Article - November 4, 2016 by Ms. Helen Wink, Food Service Director

Many children who live in low-income families depend on free or reduced school meals, without which they would literally go hungry. But what happens when the winter holidays arrive?
“According to the latest statistics released by the USDA, there are 3.9 million households in America in which both adults and children are food insecure—which means they have limited or inconsistent access to food which is both nutritious and safe.”

Hunger during the holidays is not just an issue of “believing” that every family should be able to enjoy a decent, healthy holiday meal. People often experience depression and anxiety from not being able to enjoy what many of us take for granted during the holidays. Those who are not living in poverty may not realize how much financial pressure is put upon these vulnerable families when their children aren’t receiving free lunches from school over their break. It is alarming just how many children depend on these free lunches as a primary source of nutrition and sustenance.

Although there are summer programs that provide some low-income children with meals during the break, there is no such program for the holiday break or for those missed snow days. There is also the added stress on low-income families from trying to find care for their children while they work and finding additional food to feed their children.

There are organizations across our community that have come together to provide for needs during the holidays by connecting with donors, but is that enough? There are at least ten full days our children are out of school over the holidays, and this does not include any missed days from bad weather that may occur. My wish for this holiday season is that each of you takes time to reflect on your many blessings and takes the time to help out in our community, whether it is donating food or volunteering for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for the homeless or less fortunate.

Helen Wink
Food Service Director
Monett R-1 School District

The Value of School Lunch:

Cub Pride Article September 2, 2016 by Ms. Helen Wink, Food Service Director

With the many rules placed on Nutritional Services, it is an important part of our daily program to be able to recognize and create meals for our students that are both healthy and appealing. Aramark and the Monett R-1 School District continually work together to make this happen for our students.

In order to follow the guidelines, everyone involved in planning, preparing, and serving meals is required to take annual training on identifying a “reimbursable meal.”

What exactly is a reimbursable meal and what should it look like? Based on the type of meal served (lunch, breakfast, or after-school snack), a school meal must contain a specified quantity by age/grade group for each of the food components: meat or meat alternative, vegetable or fruit, and grains/breads.

Many of the daily questions from students, parents, and staff revolve around why we are so strict with what is offered to our students.

I have put together a few facts, and I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to visit the DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) website and to take advantage of the articles and guidelines in order to understand the challenges that your Food Service staff face each day.

Under the DESE school meal nutrition standards, school children are offered more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains on their trays with more low-fat and nondairy products and less fat and sodium.

And, there it is, that dreaded word, SODIUM. This word has become a major source of many discussions in and out of the kitchen.

One tablespoon of ketchup doesn’t seem like so much. But think about how much you usually use— probably not just a spoonful.

Why is this an issue? In order for our students to understand the answers to the following questions, they must first understand WHY these issues are important. The following are just a few of the questions and comments we face daily.

“Why do I only get two packets of ketchup?”
“Where is the ranch dressing? I need more!”
“You guys are being cheap! Let us have more.”
To answer that question, we need to look at the source of our nutritional guidelines.

Schools are reimbursed a certain amount by the federal government when we strictly follow their guidelines. If we fail to do so, all funding is removed, and the prices parents pay for their students’ lunches increase. One of these rules is the standard for sodium intake, which is when ketchup and Ranch dressing enter the picture.

The allowable weekly average sodium intake is as follows:
K-5 540 mg or less
6-8 600 mg or less
9-12 640 mg or less

These numbers include ALL sodium intake from foods we serve in the cafeteria to our students, not just the extras like salad dressings, ketchup, mustard, etc. The following sodium amounts may be surprising yet helpful in understanding:

1 packet of ketchup contains 167 mg sodium.
1 packet of Ranch dressing contains approximately 410 mg sodium.
Combined, that is more than 500 mg of sodium for just one serving of each. This comes close to the minimum amount for ALL food consumed from school meals which, again, does NOT include the sodium in the actual meal itself.

School lunches have always been intended to provide approximately one-third of the recommended daily caloric allowance for the average school student, with elementary schools’ lunches ranging between 500-650 calories; middle school between 600-700 calories; and high school between 750-800 calories. Who knew that one small packet of Ranch dressing contains approximately 60 calories?

These guidelines exist to make sure that school meals are healthy and "right-sized" for students based on their age. For most kids, this is more than enough calories. Although there are a relatively small number of very active students who may need more calories to prepare for after-school athletic activities than one lunch provided to all students can offer, a la carte programs help fulfill the need for the added calories for these students.

Educating students and parents is the key to our children eating a “filling” meal. Do we always want to eat those fruits and vegetables at school? If our parents are not there to decide what we put on our tray, are we likely to skip the fruits and vegetables? These are some of the questions that should be discussed with your children. The choice of eating the full tray of food or leaving the lunch room hungry is a choice our children make. The concern is the student who chooses not to fill his/her tray with the fruits and vegetables offered to him/her daily. All we can do is see that they have a full reimbursable tray by DESE guidelines and hope the choices our students make are sustaining them throughout the day. Our control ends once the student passes through the cashier. We never want a child of any age to be hungry when he/she leaves the cafeteria, but throwing away those three or four bananas, the salad, the mixed fruits or peaches, and maybe the green beans is something we observe daily. Waste in school cafeterias is and always has been a huge problem. “Take what you will eat; then eat what you take.” This is a very important thing to remember. There are many choices of fruit and vegetables offered; it is not required for students to take them all, but they are required to take the minimum requirement.

“ By law, children in high school must be permitted to decline lunch items they do not intend to eat. The program regulations allow schools to extend this same rule to elementary and junior high school children as well. This means that high school children may decline as many as two of the five items in a food-based lunch, and younger children may decline one or two items depending on local policy. For breakfast, a child may decline one item regardless of which menu planning option is used. This is our Offer vs Serve Initiative. School meals must look and taste good if children are going to eat them, which is why we offer a wide variety of options. Another suggestion for concerned parents is to eat breakfast or lunch at school with your children. See what the meals are like.”

Get a weekly menu of school meals. Ask for the nutrition facts. For your convenience, you may access the breakfast/lunch menus on each campus web site (side links) at monett.schoolfusion.us.

Discuss all the healthy choices with your children. Help them understand why the fruits and vegetables are there and how to pick and choose what they like and still have what they need.

Visit the school cafeteria. Get to know the staff. Let them know you value their services and appreciate good daily nutrition for your child.

Make sure your children appreciate how healthy breakfasts and lunches serve their minds as well as their bodies. Teaching our children should be a joint effort from everyone: parents, educators, administrators, food service workers-- anyone involved in our children’s lives.

Department Contacts
+ Lyman, Shannon
+ Wink, Helen
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