Posts tagged: school aged

Food Allergies in the Classroom

Allergies to all kinds of food have always existed, but over the last two decades they seem to have increased exponentially!!!

Some interesting statistics from The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAA):

  • The prevalence of food allergy among children under the age of 18 increased 18% percent from 1997 to 2007.
  • Peanut allergy affects 1.2% of children. Approximately 20% of children outgrow it by age 6.
  • Peanut allergy doubled in children from 1997-2002.
  • Skin contact and inhalation exposure to peanut butter are unlikely to cause systemic reactions or anaphylaxis.

I’m not here to speculate on why this is, but the question I have is how do schools and parents work together to ensure the safety of the children without alienating the child without making waves in the classrooms for the rest of the kids?

Cafeteria:

Our schools have an allergy free table in the cafeteria, that all children with food allergies sit at during their lunch period. They can invite a friend (if they buy lunch that day) and there is an absolute no food sharing rule throughout the school.  It seems to work out great.

Class Parties:

I am a room mom at my children’s elementary school.  We typically have about  four class parties each year.  In the recent years, the rules have changed. We no longer bring in what would be considered an “unhealthy treat”. Only small amounts of healthy foods are permitted for each celebration.  For allergy and food safety reasons, it’s been suggested that  home baked goods not come into the classroom for parties at all.  I agree completely.  But where do we draw the line?

Is it okay to offer a treat that is not “allergy free” as long as you offer an alternative?  Who’s responsibility should it be?  Of course we want to keep our kids safe, but are we helping these kids by protecting them from the foods that are dangerous to them? Or is it better to start making kids learn from the beginning that their situation is different and they always need to be their own advocate and be responsible to their own issues?  This is definitely a personal decision.  Some parents may not want their child to be singled out as the “allergy kid” and choose to leave “safe snacks”  in the classroom so that their child always has a treat if needed.  Some parents feel more comfortable knowing that the classroom is “allergy free” for their child.  Regardless,  a child should always be taught to be checking to make sure that any treat is safe for them before they eat it.  Is it fair to make a classroom allergy free for some specific food allergies and not for others?  It is also important to teach children without allergies to be respectful and aware of the dangers involved in exposing a child to a food that they may be allergic too.

As a parent of a child with these restrictions – what is your role?  Would you rather the party is “allergy free”, or do you choose to provide snacks (just in case) so that there is something available regardless of what happens in the classroom?   Are you against having an alternate “safe” option or would you choose no snack at all.

What are we trying to teach our children?… to overcome adversity, learn to cope with small samplings of the real world or hope everyone and everything changes for us.

How do you see this topic?

 

Nutrition Basics: What Food is Made of…

 

The foods we eat contain a mix of nutrients that provide energy and other things our bodies need.

Most of the nutrients in food fall into three major groups:

 

*CARBOHYDRATES

*PROTEIN

*FAT

 

 

 

CARBOHYDRATES

Starches and sugars that provide the body with most of the energy it needs.

Your body uses this sugar for energy for your cells, tissues and organs.

It stores any extra sugar in your liver and muscles for when it is needed.

Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals are a

good way to make sure your body gets enough carbohydrates.

 

 

PROTEIN

A naturally occurring substance found in animal products and some plant products.

Protein is in every living cell in the body.

Our bodies need protein from the foods we eat to build and maintain bones, muscles and skin.

You need to eat protein every day, because your body doesn’t store it the way it stores fats and carbohydrates.

Protein is found in dairy, meats, fish, eggs, beans and nuts.

 

FAT

Fat is the major source of stored energy for the body.

Some foods, including most fruits and vegetables, have almost no fat.

Other foods have plenty of fat.  They include nuts, oils, butter, and meats like beef.

Children need fat in their diets so the brain and nervous system develop correctly.

(That’s why toddlers (ages 0-2yrs old) need to drink whole milk, which has more fat, and older kids can drink low-fat or skim milk.)

Dietary fat helps a kid’s body grow and develop like it should. Fats fuel the body and help absorb some vitamins. They also are the building blocks of hormones and they insulate nervous system tissue in the body.

You should get most of your fat from lean meats, fish, and heart healthy oils.

Some fat is important for good nutrition, but too much can cause health problems.

 

Please review the chart below from the American Diabetes Association.

It’s important to eat a variety of foods. It’s all about balance!

 

This is just the beginning of our Nutrition mini-lessons…all the things we learned in school…but probably don’t remember.

In other posts we will discuss what else is in food:

*COMPLEX AND SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES    *VARIOUS TYPES OF FATS

*WATER     *VITAMINS      *MINERALS     *PHYTOCHEMICALS

*FIBER     *SALT      *CALORIES

We hope this is a helpful start!

Nutrition Basics for School Age Kids

 

Nutrition Basics for School Age Kids  5-18 yrs old

 

Eat often

Eating small, frequent meals is the best way for your body to digest and metabolize foods.

Don’t skip meals

The most important meal of the day is breakfast!! Many studies suggest that a healthy breakfast and  overall healthy eating help to improve memory, test grades, and school attendance.

Make your foods a variety of colors

…and we are not talking about Cheetos, M&M’s, and Doritos!

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables

This will give you the variety of colors which offers lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber too!!

Choose foods that are low in fat

Look for foods that are steamed, stir-fried, grilled, broiled, baked, roasted.  Use healthy cooking oils (olive oil) and PAM Non-Stick Cooking Spray.

Don’t drink your calories…

Drinking water is so important to keep your body hydrated.

Eat a variety of foods

Kids are picky.  Kids need to be offered a new food at least 15 times before they may be willing to accept it.  Keep offering and eventually they will try it and might even like it!!

Exercise!

Ages 4 to 6

  • Kids from age 4 to 6 need to exercise at least 30 minutes per day six days of the week. Exercise can consist of swimming, gymnastics, or throwing/catching a ball.

Ages 6 to 8

  • Kids from age 6 to 8 also need 30 minutes of exercise on at least 6 days a week. This age is a good time to introduce kids to organized sports such as soccer and baseball.

Ages 9 to 13

  • The National Association for Sports and Physical Education advises that kids at this age get at least one hour of continuous physical activity each day.

Ages 14 to 18

  • Kids aged 14 to 18 should get between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise each day. This time is a good time to introduce activities such as strength training and yoga.


Balance…Moderation…Education

We want your kids to have a good relationship with food.  We want kids to understand that every food has it’s time and it’s place.