Healthy Ideas for Food in Classroom on Valentine’s Day



School Bites, a blog about bringing more healthy food into the school system, provides tips on having less junk food in the classroom on Valentines Day. Together the two healthy Valentine's Day posts include 27 unique ideas of how to incorporate healthier foods like fruits, vegetables, smoothies, and water into the classroom parties. There are also suggestions for active games to play during the day, like Musical Hearts or Valentine's Hopscotch. These activites can get kids moving, having fun, and thinking less about the sugary snacks that traditionally provided during classroom parties. These ideas are complied from her network of school-health blogs and ideas from other concerned parents. See the 2014 guide 12 Naturally Sweet Ideas for a Healthy School Valentine’s Day ...

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Howard County Group Launches New Better Beverage Campaign



  Supported by the Horizon Foundation, Howard County Unsweetened has tools, resources, news, and more on how parents and their kids can swap sugary drinks for healthier alternatives. Their latest video campaign suggests that big soda companies should focus on promoting healthier beverages, like water, and not high-sugar drinks. The campaign challenges folks to rethink what marketing beverages to children should look like. Check out their latest video here! Howard County Unsweetened hosted a contest inviting high-schoolers to submit short documentaries about the problem of sugary drink consumption, and creative new ways to deal with it. They announced the winner in February 2014---watch the ...

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Healthier Lunches at Sunset High



If you could wave a magic wand, what would you do to fix school lunches? If money was no option, what would you do to bring healthier foods into schools? These are the kinds of questions students at Sunset High School in Del Norte County, California asked while dreaming-up big solutions to their less-than-great school food. Fed up with the pre-packaged lunches and unhealthy options, the youth organized and advocated for change, building partnerships and leadership skills—using the PICO community organizing model—that will last a lifetime. Del Norte County and Adjacent Tribal Lands (DNATL) is one of the 14 communities selected to participate in the Building Healthy Communities (BHC) program. Funded by The California Endowment, BHC is a ten-year, comprehensive community initiative ...

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Get Authorized to be a Farmers’ Market SNAP Vendor with MarketLink


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Farmers' Markets are a great way to bring fresh, local produce into a community. To make sure this healthy fare is available to all, many markets purchase machines that allow them to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formally known as food stamps) benefits. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently contracted with the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP) to create MarketLink, a new way for farmers’ markets and direct-marketing farmers to get authorized as SNAP vendors and get the equipment they need to accept SNAP benefits. Click here to access MarketLink and to get authorized to be a SNAP vendor.  Before MarketLink, each new SNAP vendor had to search out an equipment provider, select a wireless plan, ...

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School, Students Use Fish to Grow Fresh Veggies for Community



Latino neighborhoods tend to have less access to fresh fruits and veggies. In Santa Ana, Calif., a high school that serves at-risk youth, offers a first-period gardening class. It started as a campus beautification project but ended in students growing healthy, nutritious food for their community in a unique, sustainable way using fish, called “aquaponics.” The problem of 'spicy hot Cheetos' The Academy, created by California philanthropists Susan Samueli and Sandi Jackson, is a unique high school for underserved teens in Santa Ana, Calif. The school opened in 2013 to maximize individual student attention and offers work-based and project-based learning, college readiness, and new technology. More than 80% of its students are Latino. When it comes to students diets, ...

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Catawba County, NC Works Towards Better Food Access for All



Catawba county is a small county in central North Carolina where Latinos are the largest minority group. Many folks living in the county don't have access to regular nutritious food. One college student has inspired her community to take action to get better food into areas that need it. Kayla Earley, a junior at Lenoir-Rhyne University, is developing a research project to learn more about the specific needs of visitors to Catawba County soup kitchens, with the goal of using her research reduce food insecurity in Catawba County 10 percent by 2016. Earley's work has called attention to food access issues in Catawa County. Catawba County Health Partners, a nonprofit that fosters coalitions to improve health countywide, has used USDA data to identify six “food deserts” in ...

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Parents Ditch Cookie-Dough for 5K Fundraisers


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Year after year when it came time for the annual fundraiser at Withers Elementary School in Dallas, students were forced to sell unhealthy products like cookie dough. When Becky Heller became PTA president, she and other parents decided that it was time to stop unhealthy fundraisers. Heller and a team of motivated parents took a “giant leap of faith” and organized a 5K in lieu of the unhealthy products—and not only did they meet their fundraising goal, they far exceeded it. Inactivity a growing problem Becky Heller, a parent with children at Withers Elementary—a dual-language learning school with an 82.6% Latino student population located in northwest Dallas—knew that childhood obesity and physical inactivity was a growing problem. After learning about the first ...

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Bringing Healthier, ‘Brighter Bites’ into Houston Neighborhoods



Hispanics make up almost half of the total population in Houston and many live in areas that lack easy access to grocery stores and fresh produce. To grow lasting healthy changes in these communities, teamwork is essential. One mom, determined to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to folks in inner-city Houston, teamed up with a food pantry that had been looking for a creative way to distribute fresh fruits and vegetables to families in need. This is the story of a unique partnership that led to students being sent home from school with a bag fresh produce each week to take to their homes in underserved Houston neighborhoods—and ended in kids demanding extra kale smoothies. EMERGENCE Awareness/Learn: When Lisa Helfman and her husband, Jonathon, wanted their family to eat healthier, ...

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Latina Corner Store Owner Makes Healthy Changes, Little by Little



Woodburn, Oregon, is a small, mostly Latino town south of Portland that’s miles away from a full-service supermarket. The Come N Go corner store, on the outskirts of town, provides hot pre-packaged foods and snacks for on-the-go families and farm workers who stop by on their way to the surrounding fields and farms. Find out how the owner of Come N Go, a Latina mother with two jobs, made it her mission to give customers healthier options. EMERGENCE Awareness: Elizabeth Montano had always toyed with the idea of opening her own shop, and when the security of her full-time job became uncertain, it looked like the time was right. In April 2012, Montano opened Come N Go, a convenience store that sells pre-packed snacks and drinks, as well as some hot items like soup and burritos that ...

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