Your Monday Kid-and-Food News Round-Up

by Bettina Elias Siegel on November 18, 2013

Happy Monday, TLT’ers! I was out of town and had to let the blog languish a bit, so here’s a link round-up to kick off the week and get you up to speed:

President Signs Epi-Pen Bill Into Law

Back in September I told you about pending legislation which would provide financial incentives to schools that stockpile Epi-Pens and would also allow school personnel to use them in emergencies — even on children who don’t have an Epi-Pen prescription on file.  I’m glad to report that last week President Obama signed this common sense, potentially life-saving bill into law.  More here.

Food Policy and Food Assistance Programs

There were two very interesting food policy opinion pieces in yesterday’s New York Times, the first looking at the “insanity” of the House Republican farm bill, which increases misguided subsidies to farmers and cuts needed food assistance to the poor, and the second examining how tweaks to the WIC and SNAP programs may alter behavior and reduce obesity.

Sleep Deprived Kids May Be More Prone to Obesity

A new study finds that kids may eat more after sleeping less.  Something to think about when so many American kids are navigating busy extracurricular schedules and crushing amounts of homework.

Economically Disadvantaged Kids Make Better Food Choices

An interesting — and encouraging — new British study finds that economically disadvantaged kids are making better choices in the school cafeteria compared to their more affluent peers.

Teaching Nannies to Break Out of the “Nugget Rut”

So you’re raising your kids in Manhattan and your full-time nanny’s reliance on nuggets and mac-n-cheese isn’t sufficiently challenging your little ones’ palates?  This may be the ultimate Rich Person’s Problem, but I suppose it’s a real problem nonetheless.  Enter marc&mark, a new service that, for a mere $2500, will teach your nanny to cook more diverse meals.

Hooray!

A Head Start on Healthy Eating

Turning to the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum, an exciting new curriculum called “Eat Play Grow” is teaching children in low-income areas the basics of healthy eating — and introducing them to new fruits and vegetables in the classroom every day.  You can read about the implementation of the program in one East Harlem Head Start class in this New York Times report.

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Happy Monday, and happy reading! :-)

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

brista November 18, 2013 at 10:20 am

I think there should be a cooking/meal prep/planning workshop for WIC recipients. How to plan well, cook with whole-foods, and use leftovers/think creatively are skills that most Americans struggle with and I can only imagine how that struggle increases on a very limited budget with only certain items allowed to be purchased.

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Bettina Elias Siegel November 18, 2013 at 10:21 am

I agree! I know there are such programs in many communities, but I’m sure more are needed.

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Susan L. January 19, 2014 at 2:21 pm

I so agree! I am so worried as I watch people using a SNAP card in front of me with a cartload of frozen pizza and processed food. I think (pardon if I step on toes) that the government dollars could be better allocated with education.

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Sarah@Kids Heart Real Food November 18, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Wow – I find the nanny cooking service quite interesting. Before I read the article, I thought it was a bit nuts that they were charging $2500 to teach them how to cook (there are a lot of nutritionists/food educators out there who could do that for a lot less), but it looks like their service is pretty all-encompasing. It’s great how they work with the parents and the children to come up with healthy meals that everyone will like.

Of course I do think it would be easier for the kids to expand their palate if the whole family were eating the new and healthy meals together – but I get that this is not realistic for some of these families.

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Maggie November 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Re: WIC and teaching/education.

I had the opportunity to have a dietary intern student work with me in the school kitchen this fall. She had already spent time in other settings, including working with the WIC program.

I had thought that the WIC program would indeed provide education (and I was hoping soon we’d be seeing elementary children that were more familiar with the red/orange and dark green veggies and so on), but apparently not!

She indicated they really can’t do or say much. They need to respect the family’s decision as to how to feed the children/family and thus, the WIC representatives really can’t say much about how a family “should” eat.

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Bettina Elias Siegel November 19, 2013 at 8:21 am

Maggie: I understand the motivation to stay out of it, but if someone is taking government assistance, is it a terrible thing for the government to also provide (totally voluntary) guidance on healthful cooking and eating? Back in 2009, when some right wing commentators decried the pending school food reform legislation as “nanny state” micromanaging, my answer was, “Hello? Providing federally subsidized school meals IS the ultimate nanny state program. So once we’ve overcome that philosophical/political hurdle (as we did, collectively, back in the 40s when the NSLP began), why not require Nanny feed our kids as healthfully as possible?”

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Maggie November 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I’m with you! Like I said, I thought that WIC would be providing such guidance, but apparently that is not part of what they do.

I suppose we need another agency to do that. *sigh*

On another hand, even a voluntary program might be intimidating for some – perhaps wary of appearing to admit that they might need help for that aspect of their family’s care.

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Sally Kuzemchak November 19, 2013 at 11:41 am

Wonderful news about the Epi-pen legislation. A child may not have an Epi-pen prescription because the reactions were never severe–but then suddenly have a severe reaction and require immediate, life-saving help. This happened to a family member of mine. As you say, it’s a common sense bill. Glad to see that common sense prevailed in Washington.

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