prentice-helfrich, lindsey, nutrition

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” ~ La Rochefoucauld

external image veggieheart.jpg

“Today, more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice,
toxic food ingredients, nutritional deficiencies and lack of physical exercise.”~ Mike Adams

Why Nutrition?
I spent the first 4 years of my life eating all homegrown meats, fruits and veggies. My mom canned all of our food. She cooked every meal and we never ate out. Soda, juice or other sugary beverages were not in our diet. When I was 5 my mom went to work and that is when my brothers and my own health issues began to pop up. I began getting severe migraine headaches and was diagnosed with hereditary chronic migraines. I was also diagnosed with ADD, go figure…. Both my brothers also started getting migraines. My middle brother began having problems in school. He was acting out and couldn’t sit still in class. My oldest brother, who was a tag student, also began acting out and became very distant from friends and family. We all had less energy and more sick days. Looking back on my first several years it is clear how the drastic change in our diet brought about many health issues. Whole foods and plenty of water was the key to good health.
As an adult I have regained my good eating habits ~only organic and local~. My husband and I spend the extra money to be healthy.

The food we (and our students and children) are exposed to is full of hormones, pesticides, saturated fats, cholesterol, sugar, salt, preservatives, and the list goes on! Sure it may taste good but is it worth high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, etc. It seems like for every unnatural ingredient we add we also add an ailment.

If you can’t pronounce it, DON’T EAT IT!

Our students are malnourished, unhealthy, overweight and or obese. Childhood obesity is an epidemic that is only getting worse. Yes school lunches play a big role in this epidemic but also a child’s home life, independent food decisions, media influences, lack of activity, overeating, eating processed foods, etc……….. all play a role in the child’s overall health. Children are becoming less connected to their education and in my opinion it is partly due to poor diet.

Poor nutrition, in my opinion, is the cause of many of the ailments we have. Our students are no different. Studies have shown that a well-balanced diet, exercise and plenty of water can temper many of the issues our young students come with, hyperactivity, attention issues, migraines, seizures, orthopedic problems, etc…… I have had the privilege of working in a site base classroom. One more reason I am a very strong believer in good nutrition – several of my students were on strict diets designed to help them succeed despite their mental of physical disability. It is amazing to see how different they acted compared to a similar student with the same disability. I know, all children are different but the difference in their behaviors was significant.

While researching nutrition I went in several different directions:
Resource #1 ~ This was merely a good check in for teachers, parents and children. It gives some good eye opening information and quizzes to look at.
Resource #2 ~ Is a great website I found which give a good overview of childhood obesity. It gives scientific research along with facts and opinions.
Resource #3 ~ Is a YouTube video of an 11 year old boy discussing the issues with our food. He talks about industrial farming and slaughter houses. He also raises good points about buying organic and local, spending the extra money for good health.
Resource #4 ~ Is a new broadcast about the childhood obesity epidemic. There are several in the series.
If you could only view one~
Resource #5 ~ PBS/nutrition-this gave many different lessons and resources to use in the classroom.
Resource #6 ~ Ah the government guidelines-very eye opening.
Resource #7 ~ A Youtube/PowerPoint presentation with really great information. I really learned a lot in the first 15 minutes.
Resource #8 ~ YouTube videos on school lunches.


The below poerpoint could be a great tool for you to use to assess your own school. Take a look and see where your school stands on nutrition.

"Students spend an average of six hours a day, five days a week, for 12 to 14 years in schools-that’s more than 16,000 hours! This makes schools the ideal place to promote physical activity, mental health and healthy eating."

This powerpoint is from


"As childhood obesity rates climb, attention is increasingly focused on the importance of improving the healthfulness of school meals. The prevalence of childhood overweight could double over the next two decades, according to a recent study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. While many factors contribute to childhood obesity, poor nutrition plays a leading role."


This is a great youtube which could be used in the classroom to motivate students. The young boy is pushing for organic produces and buying local. "Would you rather pay more to the local farmers or pay the hospitals/doctors." He really brings up a good point. The food we are ingesting is full of hormones and pesticides, many of which are the cause of deadly illness. Unfortunately, in a school cafeteria ORGANIC AND NO GMO are not on the menu.


~How can parents~

This is a great youtube which give examples of how parents can help with the rising epidemic, Childhood Obesity. If you do watch it there are also a series of videos about this rising epidemic in our young children. I watched all of them and the are very informational.

The Skinny on Obesity


I went to pbs and typed in nutrition. Each link given was so wonderful and helpful I couldn't decide on one, instead I am adding the link. The lessons are not all geared around nutrition, rather health in general. The age is 9-12 but could be reassessed and changed for younger grades.


This site is a great resource for teachers and parents. The government has guidelines for school lunch and breakfast. Take a look at our governments guidelines, they are an eye opener. Does your school follow the guidelines for school lunches and breakfast?

"SUMMARY: This final rule updates the

meal patterns and nutrition standards

for the National School Lunch and

School Breakfast Programs to align them

with the Dietary Guidelines for

Americans. This rule requires most

schools to increase the availability of

fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-

free and low-fat fluid milk in school

meals; reduce the levels of sodium,

saturated fat and trans fat in meals; and

meet the nutrition needs of school

children within their calorie

requirements. These improvements to

the school meal programs, largely based

on recommendations made by the

Institute of Medicine of the National

Academies, are expected to enhance the

diet and health of school children, and

help mitigate the childhood obesity



I am going to be honest, this is a very dry hour long video but it has so much information. I learned so much! The video is presented as a PowerPoint with doctors discussing nutrition and activity,etc.
"(Bases on BMI~Body Mass Index %)1/3 of the high risk, 8-10 year old students are high risk with high insulin and skin discoloration."
"Children are not only overweight but also under-active."
"Most of our students are malnourished."


Please note: The last two minutes discuss marijuana and its helpful qualities compared to nutrition of fruits and veggies, etc. Sorry if this offends anyone.
These are two YouTube videos about school lunches. Very eye opening! One persons point of view. He discusses the lack of fresh cooked foods and lack of fruits and veggies from local farmers (natural). He also discusses the short amount of time we gives students to eat. "We are making fast food consumers." He also believes we need to have recess before lunch so kids don't rush to eat only to go play outside.

Five things I learned:
#1 ~ I really like the wiki. It took me a while to get started but now that I know how easy it is I am excited to use again.
#2 ~ Many of the foods we purchase for our school lunches are of lesser quality than what we feed our prisoners. #3 ~ Women determine the future of our society. An overweight or obese pregnant women's insulin levels are telling the fetus/baby to create more fat cells, therefore the baby/child is at a high risk of being overweight or obese.#4 ~ $1.00 more per student would be enough to purchase organic fruits, veggies and meats. It would also allow for cooking in schools rather than microwaving processed foods. $1.00!#5 ~ I learned you can copy and past a picture directly to your wiki without saving and embedding.