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April 2017
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Real Food for Kids Welcomes Montgomery Chapter

RFFK is excited to announce the addition of our newest chapter in Montgomery County, Maryland. Montgomery began their advocacy work in the county in the fall of 2012 and through an agreement with RFFK, have used the name "
Real Food for Kids - Montgomery ", the abbreviation RFKM, and a different logo. Because of our close proximity, Fairfax and Montgomery have communicated frequently over the past several years. "We're really excited to officially join forces with our friends at Real Food for Kids," said Montgomery Executive Director and Co-Founder, Lindsey Parsons. "They were our original inspiration and we share the same mission, so it makes sense that we become one organization."
 
RFKM Executive Director Lindsey Parsons with RFFK Executive Director JoAnne Hammermaster 
One of Parsons' main goals with RFKM over the last several years has been to reduce the amount of sugar in school food. The chapter is also very interested in seeing salad bars in all schools, a goal shared with the RFFK parent organization. Parsons also coordinates the work of Healthy School Food Maryland, a coalition of organizations and individuals in the state of Maryland working for whole, real, local and safe foods for children in Maryland school cafeterias.
 
RFFK looks forward to working together and supporting RFKM in advancing their work in the county. For information on RFKM's work and how you can become involved, contact lindsey@realfoodforkidsmontgomery.org or see www.realfoodforkidsmontgomery.org. 

FOOD FOCUS: Doctor Yum
Dr. Nimali Fernando, aka "Doctor Yum" is a board-certified pediatrician practicing in Fredericksburg, Virginia and founder of The Doctor Yum Project, a nonprofit organization that empowers families with information on how to prevent illness through a healthy diet. What started as a recipe and parenting site in response to the growing rates of childhood obesity, quickly grew to a bigger project of educating the greater community on healthy lifestyles. Dr. Fernando is co-author of Doctor Yum's Preschool Food Adventure, and interactive nutrition curriculum being used in several Central Virginia schools and Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater. She is featured in the 2016 documentary Food Frontiers along with FCPS Food Services Director Rodney Taylor.
 
Dr. Fernando presented at the Real Food for Kids Culinary Challenge and Wellness Expo in March. She is interviewed here by RFFK's Colette Worm.
 
What was it like being the subject of the documentary, Food Frontiers, as one of the most influential people in the U.S. regarding nutrition for children? 
I was very excited to show others a different way that medicine can be practiced. The producers were excellent and really had a genuine interest in how I was able to create and sustain a pediatrics practice with a focus on healthy eating. It was even more exciting to see some of the other work that was done by inspiring people around the country. I was excited to meet some of these people, like Rodney Taylor, and learn more about their work in person. 
 
What were the types of medical problems you saw in your pediatric practice that could be improved with better nutrition? 
At first I was focused most on the growth curve and seeing kids whose body mass index fell into the higher percentiles. It was clear that many of those kids and their families needed nutrition education. But as I paid more attention to all my patients' eating habits, I was finding more and more connections between symptoms and diet. So many problems like anxiety, constipation, bed-wetting, attention issues, and abdominal pain may have direct connections to diet. When you consider all of these issues in addition to weight concerns, it is clear that there is an epidemic of diet-related disease in children. 
 
How did you come up with the nickname Dr. Yum?
When I was seeing patients in private practice, I saw the need for a place for parents to go to find information on how they could feed their kids better. I thought I would start a recipe blog and ask real kids in my community to rate the recipes and prove to parents that kids could learn to eat healthy whole food. The blog would also give me a place to write about things like how to overcome picky eating, what kinds of kitchen tools were helpful to have, where to buy the best ingredients and more. 
 
I come from a family of physicians, and when I told them the idea it encouraged me to use the word "Doctor" in the name of my blog, so families would know that the recipes and advice came from a health professional. I thought "Doctor Yum" was a fun way to convey that identity, and the natural tagline became "Kid-tested, pediatrician approved." 
 
I never thought I would actually become Doctor Yum, but as I started cooking with kids more and more, and founded our nonprofit, The Doctor Yum Project, the kids kept calling me "Doctor Yum," and it just stuck! Now we have a preschool curriculum, and Doctor Yum has her own avatar and teaches hundreds of Virginia preschoolers how to enjoy healthy food. It's taken on a life of its own!
 
Your program is huge from a website with a meal maker to a teaching garden, food truck, store, your own book, blog, preschool interactive curriculum, and cooking classes. How do you do all this and still find time to sleep? 
Since starting The Doctor Yum Project, I have been lucky to find people with a similar passion for educating families about the connection between food and health. I met Melanie Potock, a gifted feeding specialist on social media in 2013, and we were able to collaborate and write the preschool nutrition curriculum that now is reaching 600 students each year. We have such a passion for the work and found such a need for educating parents about establishing eating habits early. The natural next step was to write the book Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater  to reach even more families with our complementary experiences. In my work with The Doctor Yum Project in Virginia, I have found passionate people to serve on our Board of Directors, as cooking instructors, education specialists, graphic designers, web designers, and more. Our team is quite small, but we all believe in the work, and so we have been able to accomplish a lot as a team in a short time. We are a passionate tribe of folks looking to help families create a culture of wellness.

How Can You Get Kids to Make Healthy Food Choices at School?
A PTA President Weighs In
Jessica Carroll is a parent of two boys and PTA president of Mullica Township School in Elwood, New Jersey. During National Nutrition Month in March, she shared these tips with PTA One Voice, the newsletter of the National PTA.
 
1. Make them aware.
2. Make it fun.
3. Give them the tools.
4. Empower them.
 
How did Mullica Township School make this work? Read more...
Suggest a
Name for the FCPS Summer Food Service P rogram

The FCPS Summer Food Service Program is part of a county-wide effort to ensure that all students continue to receive nutritious meals through the summer when school is out of session. The program is held at 20 sites including some apartment communities as well as one library to facilitate easy access for students.
 
The program, currently known as F.E.E.D.S (Food for Every Child to Eat During Summer) is seeking a new name. Come up with an Acronym or Name for the program and you could win a Fitbit Alta! Submit your suggestion by Friday, April 21 to Morgan McGhee .
Decoding Your Kid's Sugar High, Part II
Maybe not the sugar itself, but something else? 
Shehla Dhar
George Mason University
MS Nutrition Candidate
School of Nutrition and Food Studies


In January, I shared information on how we might be mis-attributing kids' crazy behavior after eating sugary foods to the sugar itself. My argument was that, the circumstances often surrounding sugar intake, like a birthday party, are typically high-energy occasions, often leading to what could be viewed as explosive behavior.
 
So, it might be a relief to observant parents to blame the party, but that hyperactivity may stem from another connection: food dyes.
 
Artificial additives like dyes and coloring - chemicals - play a role in attracting kids to many processed foods including colorful cupcakes and candies. Many parents swear by elimination diets for their hyperactive kids, which point out dyes and colors as possible culprits behind their behaviors. Given that there has also been a marked increase in the claims that these petroleum-based artificial dyes might be linked to the increase in incidences of ADHD among children, it's important to make the connection between the dyes/colors to the list of possible reasons of hyperactivity observed in kids.
 
While at an isolated event, like a birthday party, we may naturally try to assume a link between sugar and hyperactivity, but in case of children consuming dye-based processed foods, food dyes may often be the culprit to watch for! While the list is increasing, dyes like Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5, Yellow No. 6; petroleum based preservatives like BHA, BHT, TBHQ; controversial additives like high fructose corn syrup, sodium benzoate, and aspartame are some of the most widely used in processed foods. As parents, it's important to be watchful when we buy for a party - not just for our own children, but our guests. Read those labels! Choose wisely, or bake your own goodies from scratch (which taste better anyway).
 
Putting it in the words of a prominent scientist working in this field, "Should we just wait for the research to be significant enough to prove how harmful these dyes and additives can be, or should we go ahead and try eliminating them to avoid any harm to our kids? I would personally go with the latter view. And if you really care about coloring your sweets - look at some natural alternatives like beet juice (red) and turmeric (yellow) for those bright, but true hues.
 
And it's never a bad idea to add some wholesome, brilliantly colored fruits and veggies to your party. Real Food for Kids-it's naturally colored anyway!
 
Want to know more? Here are some interesting links:
FCPS Food and Nutrition Services Serves Up Samples at TJ Freshmen Preview Night

Students and parents attending the Freshmen Preview Night at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology were treated to samples of Fresh Express menu items by staff members from Food and Nutrition Services. Director Rodney Taylor brought team members Brian Head, Morgan McGhee, Christie St. Pierre, Lisa Diapoulos and Walt Leppin to serve up Southwest Chicken Salad and Turley and Cheese Croissant samples to the hungry crowd, prompting many students to return for seconds saying "this is good, can I have another one?" Students were also thrilled to hear about new initiatives including the upcoming outdoor BBQ.  Brandon Kosatka, Director of Student Services, expressed his thanks to FNS saying, "I truly believe that the evening's success can be attributed to the availability of food for our newest families to the TJ community."
Signature Lunch Menu for FCPS Employees - Delivered Right to You!

FCPS teachers and staff - did you know you can get freshly prepared salads, sandwiches and wraps, similar to what you might pick up at popular fast-casual restaurants, delivered right to you during the school day? Options like a Smoked Turkey Apple Cheddar Sandwich, Ciabatta Caprese, Fall Harvest and Summer Berry salads are just a few items on the made-to-order, chef-developed Signature Line Lunch, inaugurated last year by FCPS Food and Nutrition Services. Staff simply need to place their order by 8:00 AM (or after 2:00 PM for the following day) for delivery by 11:30 AM.
 
Ordering is easy! Download and complete the Signature Line lunch order form (FCPS intranet link) save, and email to the FNS Distribution Center for your school or worksite. Payment will be automatically deducted from your employee cafeteria account (which can be topped up at www.mySchoolBucks.com. Your order will be delivered to your school cafeteria or worksite main desk, typically no later than 11:30 AM.
 
The Signature Lunch Line means you don't have to spend your entire lunch break running up the road for fresh fast-casual food - it can be delivered right to you! Consider ordering for your next staff or team meeting to save time.
 
At this time, the Signature Line is not available on teacher workdays, school planning days or over winter or spring breaks. But that Chicken Po' Boy or Southwestern Chicken Salad? On every other school day it's just an email away. Questions? Talk to your cafeteria manager or contact the Office of Food and Nutrition Services.
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PTAs! Are You Looking for a Program for an Upcoming Meeting?

Real Food for Kids is currently scheduling PTA presentations for the 2017-2018 school year, especially with FCPS elementary schools that currently have salad bars, getting one this year, or are scheduled for next year. RFFK has been successfully advocating for more fresh foods for our students for seven years and educating students and parents on the benefits of healthy food choices. If your PTA would a representative to speak at an upcoming meeting, please contact
Mary Porter
 

Real Food for Kids Healthy School Advocacy Training
You can come to us, or we can come to you!

In addition to our next Healthy School Advocacy Training, scheduled for October 12, Real Food for Kids is also available to conduct this training for your group of 10 or more at your school or meeting site. This highly interactive training is for parents, educators, staff members or engaged school community members interested in elevating the culture of health in their schools. Since our inception, Real Food for Kids has been recognized as a successful model in school advocacy due a positive approach in policy and practice and building collaborative relationships to affect change. To find out more about how this training can turn the "desired future state" of your group into an action plan for success, contact
Mary Porter, Director of Programs.
 
Our Monthly Meetings are Open to All!
 
Join Real Food for Kids at one of our next monthly meetings to learn more about our work and explore engagement opportunities. If you are not able to attend but would like to learn more, Contact us!
 
April 20
 
May 18
 
June 15
 
All meetings are 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM. No meetings are held in July or August.



Real Food for Kids is committed to collaborating with school communities to elevate the quality and character of school food; develop and deliver programs that advance literacy in nutrition and health; and engage students, parents and schools in building a culture of health that spreads to their homes and communities.