WELLNESS Got the Sniffles? Focus on Fitness! Tis the season—for sickness, that is. As someone who works in a school, you surely realize that the spread of cold, flu and other germs is par for the course during the chillier months of the year. You also know that healthy eating—and regular physical activity (30 minutes daily)— can help you steer clear of viral infections. But where’s the line between getting your sweat on and resting appropriately to feel better? It’s simple: Do the neck check. When your symptoms are all at or above the neck, such as a sore throat, congestion or sneezing, then it’s OK to exercise. It might even make you feel better by opening up your nasal passages and temporarily relieving congestion. The exception is when you have a fever of 101° or higher; exercising can raise your internal body temperature, making you even more ill. Do you have symptoms that manifest below the neck? Coughing, body aches or stomachaches? Then it’s best to lay low until you feel better. If you do decide to don your running shoes in the face of the common cold, keep a few things in mind. You probably want to take the intensity down a notch—instead of your typical run, consider taking a walk or doing 45 minutes of yoga. If you hit the gym, be considerate of others and contain your germs. This means washing your hands frequently, toting along hand sanitizer, using the provided sanitizing spray judiciously and putting a towel between you and your body on every surface you use. If you feel the need to blow your nose constantly, maybe this is the time to turn on an exercise DVD at home instead of potentially wreaking havoc on the general public. Of course, use a little common sense when making your activity decisions. Even if your symptoms are all in your head— that is, they’re above the neck, not in your imagination—if you feel too pooped to work out, take a breather. After all, everyone needs a rest day now and then! HOLIDAY GIVING Making Mindful Food Donations In keeping with the spirit of the season, you might be considering making donations to a local food bank or pantry this month. Make your contribution as effective and helpful as possible by choosing your selections carefully before donating. Although hunger relief organizations appreciate nearly all food donations, unhealthy choices that are high in salt, sugar or calories are harder to distribute. Recipients with high blood pressure, diabetes and other diet-related health problems might be unable to make use of your donation. Instead of simply cherry-picking from your own pantry shelves, consider adding some donation-specific items to your grocery cart the next time you head to the supermarket. Ideal donations include low-sugar cereals, peanut butter, 100% juice, dried pinto or black beans, rice, canned tuna, powdered milk fortified with vitamin D, low-sodium canned vegetables and low-sugar canned fruits. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has affirmed that low-sodium and -sugar canned vegetables and fruits have solid nutrition profiles— often as good as or better than fresh alternatives. And these tend to offer donors a better bang for their charity buck, notes the Canned Food Alliance. A new national campaign has been launched to counter Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and it urges consumers to commit to making charitable donations on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving (December 3, #GivingTuesday). It’s likely that by the time you read this, that particular date will have passed, but the campaign website (www.givingtuesday.org) offers a number of good ideas that you can tap any time during the month-long giving season ahead. Organizations will be all too happy to accept your donations 365 days of the year! Too Hungry to Learn Sobering statistics top Share Our Strength’s latest report, Hunger in Our Schools: Teachers Report 2013. Despite the efforts of school nutrition professionals offering multiple meal programs, three of four teachers and principals report regularly encountering hungry kids at school, and these educators are spending money out of their own pockets to offer sustenance to impoverished students. The 2013 research surveyed more than 1,200 K-8 teachers and principals across the country. Released in August, the report noted that, on average, teachers spend about $37 a month or $300 a year on food for their hungry students, while principals average $60 a month to do the same. Half of the responding teachers said that hungry students are a major issue in the classroom, the highest number of teachers to note the disturbing trend since researchers first started tracking it four years ago. “Closing this gap is critical to ensuring success for our students,” Bill Shore, founder and CEO of Share Our Strength, said in a news release. “Pioneering community leaders around the country have dared to reimagine our current, ineffective model that breakfast must be served before school, in a cafeteria that isolates kids in need from those who are not. Instead, these leaders have implemented an after-the-bell, breakfast-in-the-classroom model that’s effectively connecting kids to healthy meals, improving academic achievement and stressing social inclusion. It’s a model that deserves to be reimagined nationally.” Indeed, more than three-fourths of teachers and principals with breakfast-in-the-classroom experience have reported an improvement in student alertness, with 57% saying they’ve seen better attendance and 54% experiencing fewer disciplinary problems. To learn more about the importance of school breakfast, including helpful facts and statistics, visit www.nokidhungry.org/BackToSchool. To read the full version of Hunger in Our Schools: Teachers Report 2013, navigate to www.nokidhungry.org/pdfs/NKH_TeachersReport_2013.pdf. Nutrı NET Children’s Nutrition Research Center www.bcm.edu/cnrc This cooperative venture involving the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is one of six USDA/ARS nutrition research centers in the country. Its website offers helpful BMI and energy needs calculators, as well as a six-part video series on health and nutrition tips for families. Posters, articles, links and other nutrition resource materials are available. SNAP-Ed Connection http://snap.nal.usda.gov/photo-gallery Turn to an online complimentary resource for nutrition education and outreach messages, particularly through high-quality photos depicting nutritious food items and both children and adults making healthier choices. The images are made available by USDA’s SNAP-Ed Connection service, which requests that the photos be used only for promotion, informational and educational purposes. Kettle Cuisine™ www.kettlecuisine.com/support/recipes With the encroachment of colder weather across much of the country, are you menuing soup with greater frequency? You can incorporate leftover soup as part of various entrée or side item recipes. Kettle Cuisine offers a selection of recipes that feature soups, including Buffalo Chicken Dip, Pizza Burgers and Three Bean Chili Flautas. Calendar13–14 Dec13 DEC. 9-12 2013 USDA/State Agency Training Workshop, U.S. Department of Agriculture & School Nutrition Association Arlington, Va., (800) 877-8822 DEC. 11-14 National Training Institute, Zero to Three National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families San Antonio, Texas, (855) 868-1192 Jan14 JAN. 8-10 Potato Expo 2014 San Antonio, Texas, (202) 682-9456 JAN. 19-21 39th Winter Fancy Food Show®, National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc. San Francisco, (212) 482-6440 JAN. 22-24 82nd Winter Meeting, The United States Conference of Mayors Washington, D.C., (202) 293-7330 JAN. 26-29 Dairy Forum 2014, International Dairy Foods Association Desert Springs, Calif., (202) 737-4332 JAN. 28-30 International Poultry Exposition, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association Atlanta, (678) 514-1977 Feb14 FEB. 6-8 Annual Conference, National Association of Secondary School Principals Dallas, (703) 860-0200 FEB. 7-10 Annual Meeting & Management Workshop, North American Association of Foodservice Equipment Manufacturers New Orleans, (312) 821-0201 FEB. 13-15 2014 National Conference on Education, American Association for School Administrators Nashville, (703) 528-0700 FEB. 22-25 Annual Convention, International Franchise Association New Orleans, (202) 662-8000 Date BOOK December National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month National Pear Month National Write a Business Plan Month Safe Toys and Gifts Month Tropical Fruits Month Worldwide Food Service Safety Month Cookie Cutter Week (Dec. 1-7) National Handwashing Awareness Week (Dec. 1-7) Kwanzaa (Dec. 26-Jan. 1) Pearl Harbor Day (Dec. 7) Human Rights Day (Dec. 10) Crossword Puzzle Day (Dec. 21) Christmas (Dec. 25) New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) January Be Kind to Food Servers Month Family Fit Lifestyle Month International Creativity Month National Clean up Your Computer Month National Personal Self-Defense Awareness Month National Soup Month National Volunteer Blood Donor Month Oatmeal Month National Fresh Squeezed Juice Week (Jan. 17-23) Healthy Weight Week (Jan. 19-25) New Year’s Day (Jan. 1) Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Jan. 20) National Pie Day (Jan. 23) National Peanut Butter Day (Jan. 24) Chinese New Year (Year of the Horse) Begins (Jan. 31) February American Heart Month Black History Month Library Lovers’ Month National Parent Leadership Month Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week (Feb. 2-8) Random Acts of Kindness Week (Feb. 10-16) Take Your Child to the Library Day (Feb. 1) Super Bowl XLVIII (Feb. 2) Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) Enter to WIN Healthy Recipes, Healthy Kids McCormick For Chefs®, Healthy Dining and the National Restaurant Association have announced the second annual Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge. Chefs and operators are invited to submit one or more recipes from their children’s menus that meet the nutrition criteria from Kids LiveWell and are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The deadline to submit entries is December 15, 2013. Winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Chicago during the 2014 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show. To enter or for more information, including the Kids LiveWell criteria, visit www.restaurant.org/recipe. Chocolate Challenge Are you adventurous when it comes to baking with chocolate? Try your hand at the Chocolate Adventure Recipe Contest. The contest theme, “bars,” includes traditional baking bars, frozen desserts, candy bars and more. Each entry must contain Scharffen Berger® Chocolate chocolate bars or chunks or cocoa or cacao nibs, as well as at least one “adventure ingredient” that is listed along with the contest rules at www.chocolateadventurecontest.com. The grand-prize winner will receive $25,000, a custom collection of Scharffen Berger products and a chocolate cookbook, while 10 runners-up each will receive an engraved iPad mini. Entries must be submitted by January 2, 2014. The Rice Stuff Congratulations to Fontana (Calif.) Unified School District and Henry County Schools, Ridgeway, Va., who were named winners of MARS Foodservices’ “Year’s Supply of Rice” sweepstakes. These school nutrition operations will receive two cases of one UNCLE BEN’s Whole Grain Rice product each month for a year. To learn more about UNCLE BEN’s products, visit www.marsfoodservices.com. Taste of the Holidays What’s your go-to holiday dish? Submit the recipe for your best main dish, side or dessert to Taste of Home’s Best Holiday Recipes Contest. Recipes will be judged on taste, visual appeal, feasibility and creativity/uniqueness. One grand-prize winner will receive $500, while one first-place winner will receive $300, one second-place winner will receive $150, one third-place winner will receive $75 and eight honorable mentions each will win a cookbook. Entries must be submitted by January 6, 2014. To enter or for more information, visit www.tasteofhome.com/Contests/Recipe-Contests/best-holiday-recipes. Fungi Frenzy Love mushrooms? Consider submitting your original recipe featuring wild or cultivated mushrooms to the Mad About Mushrooms Annual Recipe Contest. Any type of dish is eligible. Prizes include cedar planks and cookbooks. Entries must be submitted by January 14, 2014. To learn more or to enter, visit www.madaboutmushrooms.com. Sustainable Success Kudos to the culinary training program at Metro Tech High School in Phoenix, Ariz., which was named runner-up in the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education/Kendall College 2013 Green Awards; a college-level program took first place. Metro Tech’s program boasts a fully operational eatery featuring local, sustainable foods prepared by culinary students. The Green Award recognizes secondary and postsecondary culinary arts and baking/ pastry programs for their commitment to sustainability and teaching its tenets.
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