President Obama’s proposed budget was at the top of the news this week, and those who follow childhood nutrition were pleased to learn that all programs will retain their current level of funding, with $7.9 billion for discretionary nutrition program support (as per Obama Foodorama).
However, as The Slow Cook pointed out in Grist this week, school lunch will get more expensive under the new legislation, which isn’t necessarily a good thing for kids who pay “full price” for lunch.
For a contrarian view on whether President Obama is really helping on the kids’ nutrition front, check out “Froot Loops vs. Real Fruit: For Real Change, Don’t Look to Obama,” by Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA, writing in The Atlantic. His argument is that Obama is not going to take on the bigger issue: changing the rules that make food and farming practices so damaging to nutrition practices in this country.
Sugary Cereals: In other news, everyone seems to be taking on sugary cereals this week. First Fooducate breaks down the advertising hype on Froot Loops and Apple Jacks. Are they really as nutritious as the ads say they are? Uh…no. Then Andy Bellatti of Small Bites calls out Trix for what they really are: “Twizzlers + Flinstone Multi Vitamin + Corn Dust.” When you put it that way…
Calorie Counts: In other news, a new NYU study shows that posting calorie counts at fast-food restaurants did not seem to inspire teenagers and parents of young children to order healthier meals (via US News & World Report’s HealthDay News and Food Fun). What will it take?
The Default Choice: Marion Nestle of Food Politics highlights a new project by the Center for Science in the Public Interest on making healthy kids’ meals the default option at restaurants. As the theory goes, if you are presented with fresh fruit as the lunch, and you have to ask to change it to French fries, you’ll have more kids eating fresh fruit.
Energy Drinks?: A new study in Pediatrics (as reported by MSNBC) finds that energy drinks can be dangerous for teens. The potential harms, caused mostly by too much caffeine or similar ingredients, include heart palpitations, seizures,strokes and even sudden death.
Girl Scout Cookies?: How do you feel about Girl Scout cookies? We don’t want to be the bad guys attacking this long-revered institution, but Fooducate (via a guest post by Spoonfed) takes up the charge. Their issue is with the trans fats, refined sugars, and artificial colors and flavors.
Healthy Lunch: What did you pack in your child’s lunchbag today? Gina Rau of the Feed Our Families blog highlights a cool tool from Parenting.com that lets you calculate how healthy that lunch really is.
What Did They Really Eat?: Did your middle-schooler eat breakfast today? You may be surprised to learn that the answer is “no” for nearly a third of California 7th-graders, according to Kids Data. In related news, Fruit and Veggies: More Matters has statistics on how many fruit and vegetables kids eat, in comparison to the recommended intake for each age group.
Kids’ Cooking Contests: Last but not least, if you have a young chef in your house, he or she may want to enter one of two kids’ cooking contests. The Kids Can Cook contest by Sweet Potato Chronicles and The Kids Cook Monday is accepting recipe entries from all kids until April 1. There’s also a “Stirring Up Health” cooking contest from Healthy Kids Challenge, which is accepting recipe entries from 7th and 8th grade students until March 11. Cook on, kids!
Happy Friday to all!