Tag Archives: nutrition

Study: Children now like nutritious lunches

28 Jul


Although some elementary school students complained about more nutritious school lunches when they were first introduced in 2012, they like them now, according to a peer-reviewed study in Childhood Obesity released Monday.

More than 500 public schools participated in the study with most coming from the southern region of the United States and rural areas.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago surveyed administrators about the students’ reactions to new meals with standards s presented in the 2012-2013 school year. The new standards required that half of grains offered must be whole-grains, both a fruit and vegetable must be offered daily, milk must be nonfat or low-fat, and no trans-fats. The rules were created to address childhood obesity and were given a public relations push by First Lady Michelle Obama.

The study found that 70 percent of schools reported that students seem to like their new lunches. Fifty-six percent said that students complained at first, while 64 percent of schools agree that few students continue to complain about the lunches. Sixty-three percent of students are no longer concerned about the new changes, according to the research.

“This significant study reinforces what we have known all along:  America’s school lunch program works,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown.  “We hope this sends a strong message to Congress that schools should not be allowed to withdraw from or delay any federal nutrition standards.  By doing so, we may forfeit the fight against childhood obesity, and jeopardize our kids’ health.”


Excerpt from the American Heart Association’s  blog.heart.org. Read the full post here.

Kale Yeah!

7 Mar

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Have you ever tried Kale chips? Third graders at Garfield Elementary in Long Beach, CA used produce from their teaching garden to make this crunchy healthy snack.  Classes harvested the kale, washed leaves, shredded , mixed in seasoning, and prepared them for the cafeteria oven.  120 students participated and enjoyed tasting kale!

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How to Make Kale Chips:

  • Wash and dry leaves with a towel
  • Tear into bite-sized pieces
  • Drizzle with a little oil and black pepper.
  • Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes until crispy.

Read more about the health benefits of kale. 

Meatless dishes for National Hispanic Heritage Month

23 Sep

Happy Meatless Monday! In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, this week’s meatless recipe comes with a special Mexican flair! Chef LaLa has teamed up with the American Heart Association to show us how to make some of Latin America’s favorite dishes even healthier. Today she’s showing us how to make Jicama Salad. Its low in calories, packed nutrients and flavor, and a delicious meatless dish.

Vamos! Watch the video below and lets get cooking.




Are you celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month in the garden? Tell us how!

Fall Garden Checklist

17 Sep

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Happy Fall Teaching Gardeners! Its harvest time, and we know your kiddos are chomping at the bit to try those garden goodies.  Make sure you’re ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor with these quick tips.

  • Invite us to the party

We want to see your gardeners in action! Remember to invite your local AHA staff to your Harvest day. We’re ready to help you celebrate your success!

  • Brush up on your cooking skills 

Your students are dying to try those fresh fruits and veggies. Make sure you know how to prepare them. Check out Simple Cooking with Heart to find healthy prep methods and ways for your students to lend a hand in the kitchen.

  • Photos and video

Be sure to use the flip camera provided with your Teaching Garden to take pictures and video of your students in action. BONUS POINTS: Upload your best harvest photos to Instagram and use #TGHarvest during the month of October for a chance to be featured on our sites! Click here for contest details.

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  • Jot it down 

Keep your students engaged with the garden in the classroom with the Teaching Gardens Journal. Write about the changing seasons, which veggies they enjoyed the most, or what they would do different next season!

  • Be Generous

If you harvest more than you can eat, consider donating your surplus crop to a local food back. Its a great way to reach out to your community and show students the value of giving back. Not sure where to donate? Use this tool to find food banks in your area.

  • Survey Time! 

We want to see your growth, but we need data measure it.
For schools new to the Teaching Gardens program, make sure that you have filled out and submitted your Pre-Survey. Gardens in their second cycle after completing a harvest should have completed the Post Survey.

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Back To School – Back To Farm Learning

12 Sep

The new school year is underway and our friends at Moss Haven Elementary in Dallas Texas are getting back in the swing of things by heading back to the farm. Check out this excerpt from their blog about their first week back.

Every year students, teachers and parents feel excited and hopeful for a new year at school. At our school we have those same feelings, but in addition to those, we are thrilled about our farm and the hope for lots of green growth in the garden.

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It’s been a great start so far. Our wonderful Master Gardeners have helped align curriculum for every grade level, so that teachers can easily take their students out to enjoy a hands on lesson in the garden. They also taught all of our classes a lesson on garden safety, using tools correctly and helped the classes plan for planting their Fall crops. This partnership has been absolutely amazing!

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Our first week of school gave us an invitation to bring a few farmers to an American Heart Association board meeting. This group was made up of folks from all around the country who help decide how to spend money for the American Heart Association. They wanted to hear from us, so a few of my farm friends came along, because they are the best spokespeople for our farm. They were a hit!

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Our hydroponic tank has been set up and new growth has started there as well.

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Teachers have taken their classes out to teach lessons and the kids have been out to  make observations on the farm.

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We were lucky to have some farm hands show up on Saturday to wrangle our pullets and help them get used to being picked up, held, pet and loved.

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Our “Name the Pullets” suggestion list has grown to 3 pages and we will unveil their names next week at our school assembly “Round Up”.

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This year we will continue to “Hatch Healthiness” but also will be “Making A Difference” by planting our farm field full of veggies that will be donated to families who are in need.

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It’s going to be a great school year farm friends! I will be sure to keep you posted!
E I E I O….,

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To read the full article or check out more of the adventures on the Moss Haven Farm follow their blog!



Why we Veg Out on Meatless Monday

9 Sep

Ever wonder why we go green every Monday? Its simple. Diets high in red meat are linked to higher instances of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Does that mean we should give up meat all together? Not at all! But going green once a week on Meatless Monday makes great strides for your health. Watch this video and give it a try today!

Composting Basics: From Garbage to Garden

28 Aug

Just like we need nutrients to stay healthy and strong, your garden looks and produces better when it gets proper nutrition. By turning table scraps and a number of other things into compost you help create healthy soil where your plants can thrive.  Our Teaching Gardeners at Cook Elementary in Chula Vista California are starting their own compost bin this year. Read this excerpt from their blog below!

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Composting began officially today at Cook School in the Teaching Garden. Unused lettuce, tomatoes and cauliflower were added to a mix of dry leaves, plant matter and sticks. We are on our way to better soil.

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Composting Do’s

If you’re ready to create your own compost bin remember it’s important to balance “greens” and “browns”. A good rule of thumb is to remember that greens come from the kitchen and browns come from outside. Layer greens and browns to give your plants the most productive soil.


  • Fruit or veggies scraps
  • Table scraps
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea bags
  • Egg shells



  • Small sticks
  • Dry leaves
  • Dry grass clippings or hay
  • Wood shavings
  • Sawdust from untreated wood
  • Shredded paper, newspaper


Composting Don’ts

Keep animal products, sick or infested plants, pet waste, and non-organic materials like chemicals or plastics out of your compost. These materials can slow the compost’s breakdown, attract wildlife or even poison your garden.  Remember you’re making your plant’s food, so if you don’t want it in the garden keep it out of the pile.

Are you composting for your school garden this year? How did you get started?