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COVID reshaped how Michigan schools provide meals. Will the changes stick?

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This article is part of State of Health, a series on how Michigan communities are addressing health challenges. It is made possible with funds from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

When COVID-19 stay at home orders went into effect in March 2020, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools (P-CCS), the food service team has made big changes – and quickly. The catering staff in all 24 buildings in the district, each of which has its own kitchen, changed the diet of 18,000 students practically overnight.

P-CCS responded with a constantly evolving program that initially offered free breakfast and lunch seven days a week through pick-up points in selected school buildings. When the students returned to class on a part-time basis, they ate some meals at school and took others home with them. Meal pick-up points will remain open this summer.

“We don’t have a central kitchen. We do not have a central warehouse. Everyone ran their own kitchen and cooked on site, ”says Kristen Hennessey, P-CCS Director of Food Service. “We had to open a whole new school district food facility from scratch within 48 hours.”
Kristen Hennessey.
As COVID-19 shifted how, when, where, and to whom school meals were served, many schools in Michigan responded with hugely successful meal programs. Hennessey and many other Michigan education professionals hope these changes will result in permanent changes in federal school lunch funding that could mean better nutrition for all Michigan students.

“Why can you get a book at school, you get transportation, but to be able to eat you have to prove your income? Instead of an opt-in program, free meals should be an opt-out to relieve the child who is standing in line, “says Hennessey.” How nice it would be for a family to change when they had a bad financially Month they could just say to their kids, ‘Go have free lunch today’? A well-fed child is a child who is ready to learn. “

Innovations for Student Nutrition

Both federal and state policy changes have allowed schools to expand their meal programs since the pandemic broke out. Renouncement of the federal child nutrition program allowed schools to find new ways to feed students outside of the canteen, and granted state meal allowances to all students, not just those who meet income guidelines. Thousands of Michigan families Free meals picked up from sales outlets including schools, school bus stops and residential complexes. Electronic summer benefits for children funded meals for students eligible for free and discounted lunch when the 2020 school year ended.
A Plymouth-Canton Community Schools employee prepares meals for pickup.
With schools required by law to provide meals for students and virtual education options most likely to remain, Hennessey believes P-CCS’s hybrid approach will continue after the pandemic ends.

“We’re coming back next year with a simplified but better menu that is more robust in quality but simpler in the ingredients,” says Hennessey. “The children will like it better and the quality of nutrition will be higher.”
Carolyn Thomas.
Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD) took an innovative approach to feeding students from its schools who serve children with emotional or physical disabilities. School buses that were retrofitted with thermal coolers delivered meals worth seven days to the students’ homes every week. The 105 bus routes serve every corner of Macomb County and parts of Wayne, St. Claire and Oakland Counties, where some of MISD’s 1,500 students live.

“There are parents in our population who cannot leave their child. And even though we were face to face again on September 9th, we still have families who chose to stay remote,” says Carolyn Thomas, Food Service Consultant at MISD. “We’ll also be offering food deliveries throughout the summer. Many of our buildings are open all year round.”

An extension of the state waiver program will allow schools including P-CCS to redistribute these meals this summer. State-level education leaders say further extensions will only benefit children in Michigan.

“The research was very clear. The closer the child eats to a test, the better it is,” adds Diane Golzynski, director of the Department of Health and Nutrition Michigan Department of Education Michigan. “These programs are designed not only to ensure the nutrition of children who do not have meals at home to rely on, but also to ensure that they can be the best learners possible. Just like a teacher is taught how to be an academic supported, our district food is “Directors are there to teach healthy eating habits, the importance of meals and meal sharing, and the impact those meals have on the rest of their lives.”

Always Healthy Meals Healthy

March 25th, Golzynski Testified before a Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food and Forestry Hearing on “Re-authorizing Child Nutrition: Healthy Meals and a Healthy Future”. To ensure that breakfast and lunch should be free for all students in all schools, she said eight out of 10 Michigan students who qualified for free or discounted meals had breakfast at school every day before the pandemic . However, an additional 70,000 students who had qualified for the programs were enrolled in districts that did not serve breakfast.

She gives two examples of these districts. A Michigan school district that caters to wealthier families is shying away from the extra effort it would take to provide meals to the 10% of its students (1,000 children) eligible for free or discounted meals. Another district, where 98% of its students meet admission standards, doesn’t want its community to think they are poor.
Diane Golzynski.
“As adults responsible for these children, we must put all means available to us to ensure their future success, including nutritious meals,” said Golzynski. “… For this reason, we have to offer a healthy breakfast in school that reduces stigma and increases the children’s chances of taking part, not just on the day of the exam, but on every day on which learning is an important part of their learning day. “

In her testimony, Golzynski also noted that the stringent nutritional standards of U.S. school lunches are critical in introducing children to healthy foods and ensuring they have access to them. She said more Michigan students said “yes” to healthier foods, including fruits and vegetables. With a universal free breakfast and lunch program, all students would be guaranteed at least two healthy meals a day. Healthy eating would be available as well as textbooks and teachers. Children from families with income problems wouldn’t be ashamed. Immigrant families would don’t have to be afraid.

“One of the things the pandemic taught us is that stigma is very real to everyone. The more we can remove this stigma, the better we can serve our children. During the pandemic, all meals were free for all children who were not ready to attend. They didn’t want anyone in school to find out that they qualified, “says Golzynski.” Second, think about all the problems we have with ICE. The families didn’t want the government to know where they are . “
Laurie Solotorow.
With universal free school meals, children from families not eligible for SNAP or other food aid would still receive two healthy meals if for some reason their parents did not provide them.

“If it’s universal, it takes away all school administration fears,” says Laurie Solotorow, a member of the Michigan State Food Security Council. “It removed [the school’s] Ability to say, ‘No, we won’t do that.’ It will become part of the regular school day and the administration and school staff are expected to support this part of the school day. “

The administrative and catering staff at P-CCS and MISD have no such concern. They believe that providing free meals to any student who so wishes should be as natural as reading, writing and arithmetic.

“Nutrition has to be part of the education day. Hungry children cannot study. You can’t and you can’t. We need to make sure that meals are an integral part of the educational experience, ”says Thomas. “We are ready. We have been feeding all children regardless of their income for 15 months and will continue next year. ”

As a freelance writer and editor, Estelle Slootmaker is happiest to write about social justice, wellness, and the arts. She is development news editor for Fast growing media and chairs The Tree Amigos, Wyoming City Tree Commissioner. Her greatest achievement is her five amazing adult children. You can contact Estelle at Estelle.Slootmaker@gmail.com or www.constellations.biz.

P-CCS photos by Nick Hagen. All other photos courtesy of the subjects.

Healthy Eating

6 dietary changes to improve heart health – Explica .co

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It’s no secret to say that Diabetes is one of the most dangerous chronic diseasesassociated with a long list of degenerative complications. One of the main risk factors that worries most specialists is that close link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), a heterogeneous group of diseases that affect both the circulatory system and the heart, which is where the name comes from (cardiovascular). The most important include diseases such as: arteriosclerosis, angina pectoris, arterial hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, cerebrovascular diseases and peripheral arterial thrombosis.

It is estimated that in the United States lThe prevalence of diabetes is 6.6% in the population aged 20 to 74 years and it is known that this percentage will increase further to 10% in the coming years. It is also estimated to be the death of American patients with diabetes for 15 to 20% of all deaths in the population over 25 years of age, and those numbers are doubled in patients over 40 years of age. The data doesn’t lie and is a clear warning, especially when you consider that the prevalence of diabetes in Western society is increasing due to an aging population, increasing obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Fortunately, a lot of treatment and prevention revolves around diet and habits. With that as a foundation, we’ve made it our mission to put together 6 expert recommended must-have eating habits that will be the perfect ally keep the heart strong and healthywhile they help keep blood sugar levels stable.

1. Eat more fiber

It’s no secret to say that fiber is one of the most important nutrients in any healthy diet. While it is vital for digestive, bowel, and weight loss function, it is known to be vital for heart health as it can help improve the level of cholesterol in the blood. In addition to increasing your consumption of high fiber foods, avoiding blood sugar spikes is also of great help. Fiber is very filling, so it makes it easier to control caloric intake and promotes weight loss. Great sources of fiber are fruits and vegetables; Nuts and seeds; Beans, peas and lentils; and whole grains, bet on adding them to your diet on a daily basis You can create healthy delicious combinations!

Fiber. / Photo: Shutterstock

2. Rely on the consumption of healthy fats

Not all sources of fat are created equal and so we have to say that fat is not always bad. In fact, unsaturated fat found in plant foods can help lower cholesterol, especially when it replaces saturated fat, which is mainly found in animal foods and a long list of highly processed foods. Consuming unsaturated fats has been shown to help reduce your risk of heart disease. The best sources of these types of healthy fats include foods like avocado, olive oil, vinaigrette dressings, nuts, seeds, and salmon. Best of all, they are very simple and versatile products for integration into the daily dieta, sprinkle nuts on the yogurt, prepare a rich salad with avocado, seeds and vinaigrette or a rich grilled salmon with avocado garnish. Remember, healthy fats are great to combine with carbohydrates, as the body digests them more slowly, which will help minimize blood sugar spikes.

Omega 3Healthy fats / Photo: Shutterstock

3. Eat foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids

Another type of fat that should not be missing from any single-minded nutrition plan good control of diabetes and cardiovascular health, are omega-3 fatty acids. It’s a special type of fat that has been shown to support heart health, and there are three main known types of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA comes from plants and is considered to be Omega-3 “essential” because we have to get this fat through food, as our body cannot produce it itself. It is found in seeds like flax and chia, dried fruits like walnuts, and oils like soybeans and canola. ALA can be converted to EPA and DHA in the body, but the process is ineffective and must be ingested through food and supplements; The most common food source for EPA and DHA is oily fish. It has been shown that EPA and DHA are the best at protecting the heart. They’re also associated with great anti-inflammatory properties; they’re easy to find in oily fish like lounge, tuna, anchovies, and mackerel.

Fish steakOily fish. / Photo: Pexels

4. Rely on low-fat dairy products and lean meat

There have been many doubts about the consumption of these food groups, fortunately today we know that dairy products and meat are part of one healthy diet for diabetes and heart, but it is important to choose them carefully. Experts recommend reducing whole milk products, which are higher in saturated fat. This type of fat was made with a. connected increased risk of heart disease. It is advisable to rely more frequently on the consumption of low-fat and fat-free products, the same applies to meat: Put on lean meat variants in conjunction with other lean protein options like chicken, fish, and eggs, It keeps the absorption of saturated fatty acids to a minimum and at the same time supplies the body with important nutrients.

Filet.Filet. / Photo: Pixabay

5. Cook more at home

We all love to enjoy a restaurant meal More after a year in prison! However, it is important to be careful with repeating this delicious custom. Remember that most restaurant and take-away dishes are characterized by their high levels of calories, sodium, and saturated fat. The solution? Save it for special occasions and bet on cooking more at home, it’s not only fun and much healthier: it gives us control over what we eat, the quality of the ingredients and the methods of preparation. To improve the taste in a healthy way, recommend adding herbs and spices, 100% fruit and vegetable juices, vinegars, low-sodium broths, marinades, aromatic vegetables (such as onions and garlic), sauces made from pureed fruits and vegetables, and homemade sauces.

CookChef / Photo: Shutterstock

6. Use less oil when cooking

Another way to ensure healthier home cooking is to skip fried and high-fat recipes. Opt for cooking methods that use less oil, such as: fry, fry, sauté, poach, stew and bake. Most of the recipes that use these methods are based on using a few tablespoons of vegetable oil or olive oil in the recipe. Think about the importance of eating healthy unsaturated fats and bet on the use of olive oil and avocado.

Mediterranean cuisineOlive oil. / Photo: Shutterstock

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14 Healthy Foods High in Estrogen to Enjoy

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Many people think of estrogen as a “woman’s hormone,” but that’s not entirely true. Estrogen promotes reproductive and sexual health in both sexes.

Individuals assigned female at birth (AFAB) have significantly more estrogen than individuals assigned male at birth (AMAB).

Our body naturally produces estrogen at various levels throughout its life cycle. It’s a delicate balancing act of estrogen and progesterone to keep a person’s monthly cycles of AFAB consistent, according to the Clevland Clinic. For AMAB people, estrogen and testosterone are the two most important hormones that work together in a special balance for reproductive function and health.

Some plants contain phytoestrogen, a substance that is similar in structure and function to estrogen in humans. Many plant-based foods contain phytoestrogens, but some contain higher amounts than others.

Since the structure of phytoestrogens is so similar to the estrogen produced in the human body, these plant substances can bind to estrogen receptors. This could provoke a physical response as if there were actually estrogen in the body that could restore balance when estrogen levels drop, like during menopause.

Phytoestrogen has a much weaker effect on the body than estrogen, so binding to receptors may in some cases produce less than normal estrogenic effects, according to an October 2016 review in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

Some of the potential health benefits of consuming phytoestrogen-rich foods include:

  • Decreasing perimenopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats
  • Prevent osteoporosis
  • Improving heart health

Several studies support these health benefits of phytoestrogens, but more evidence is needed, according to the October 2016 review.

There is some controversy as to whether phytoestrogens have positive or negative effects on the human body. High levels of phytoestrogens can act as endocrine disruptors (chemicals that can alter a person’s hormone levels) in some, especially babies and people trying to have children; However, according to a July 2016 study in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, they could be therapeutic for people with low levels of estrogen.

The health benefits of many phytoestrogen-containing foods likely outweigh the risk when consumed as part of a varied diet.

How Much Estrogen do you need?

The normal levels of estrogen in the body change as you go through different stages of life and as you differ between the sexes. There is no recommended amount of phytoestrogens to be consumed through food.

Foods high in phytoestrogens

Many plant-based foods contain a certain amount of phytoestrogen. These estrogen-rich fruits, vegetables, beans, and seeds are high on the list.

Soybeans are high in isoflavones and found in a wide variety of plant foods.

Credit: Fudio / iStock / GettyImages

Soy contains a phytoestrogen known as isoflavone. Isoflavones are being studied for the potential to improve bone health and prevent certain types of cancer in postmenopausal people, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Soybeans are found in many plant-based products such as tofu, tempeh, structured vegetable protein, and as an additive in many packaged foods.

Flax seeds contain a phytoestrogen known as lignans. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, lignans are metabolized by gut bacteria and converted to enterodiol and enterolactone, which have weak estrogenic activity.

Tempeh is a great plant-based meat alternative made from fermented soybeans, which means it is naturally high in isoflavones. A 3-ounce serving of tempeh contains 17 grams of protein, according to the USDA. It’s also an excellent source of manganese, copper, and vitamin B2.

Apples are one of the most estrogen-rich fruits, although many fruits contain some levels of phytoestrogens, mostly lignans.

Apples are inexpensive, nutritious, and a great source of fiber and vitamin C. Try adding chopped apples to your oatmeal, topping with peanut butter, or adding dried apples to your trail mix.

Fried chickpeas with turmeric in ceramic plate on an old wooden table background.  View from above.

Chickpeas (or chickpeas) are delicious, high-estrogen, plant-based protein.

Credit: kasia2003 / iStock / GettyImages

Chickpeas contain a compound called lectin, a protein that binds to sugar. Lectins are being studied as a potential cancer treatment because of their anti-cancer mechanisms in vitro and in animal studies, according to a May 2020 review in Biomed Research International. Human studies have not confirmed its effectiveness.

Just grab your favorite hummus or try one of these high protein chickpea recipes.

Tofu is made by curdling soy milk and pressing the curd into a small block. This common meat substitute contains isoflavones as well as many other important nutrients. A 3-ounce serving of tofu contains 15 grams of vegetable protein and is an excellent source of calcium.

Not sure how to make tofu or fed up with the same old recipes? Try something new in these anything but boring tofu recipes.

Strawberries are a rich source of phytoestrogens, as well as many other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Strawberries contain a phytoestrogen known as resveratrol. Blueberries, cranberries, grapes (and red wine!) Are also good sources of resveratrol, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

Hot cup of high estrogen coffee on an old wooden table.

Instant coffee is one of the most estrogen-rich beverages.

Credit: bancha singchai / iStock / GettyImages

Instant coffee powder was the highest among the beverages tested for phytoestrogen content in an analysis published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in September 2008. Of the other beverages examined, chamomile tea contained the lowest amount of phytoestrogens and alcoholic beverages were classified as moderate in phytoestrogen content.

Garlic is a source of phytoestrogens as well as many other health promoting compounds. Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and immune-sustaining, the allium could support heart health by helping to regulate blood pressure, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

You can enjoy garlic in different ways, cooked or raw. It’s a great way to take sauteed vegetables to the next level or add them to a homemade salad dressing for a zesty kick.

In addition to protein, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E, peanuts are also a good source of phytoestrogens.

Different preparations of peanuts result in different phytoestrogen levels. Roasted peanuts contained more isoflavones compared to peanut butter, which contains slightly less isoflavones than fresh peanuts, according to the September 2008 analysis in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Like many other seeds, sunflower seeds contain isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen. Sunflower seeds contain a variety of compounds and nutrients that have antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, wound healing, and cardiac beneficial effects, according to the September 2017 report in the Chemistry Central Journal.

For an easy nutritional boost, top your salad with a spoonful of sunflower seeds or stir a spoon into a spread.

High-estrogen Brussels sprouts in a wooden bowl.  Harvest.

Brussels sprouts are a phytoestrogen-rich cruciferous vegetable.

Credit: Sanny11 / iStock / GettyImages

Brussels sprouts, along with other cruciferous vegetables, are a rich plant source of phytoestrogens. They’re high in vitamin C, vegetable protein, and potassium. Try them in these creative Brussels sprouts recipes.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in lignan phytoestrogens as well as magnesium, zinc and iron. Just one ounce of pumpkin seeds contains 37 percent DV of magnesium.

According to the National Institutes of Health, 48 percent of Americans eat too little magnesium. Pumpkin seeds are an easy and tasty way to achieve your goals with this essential nutrient.

Zucchini is abundant in the summer months and, in addition to phytoestrogens, contains a variety of important vitamins and minerals. Zucchini is an excellent source of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for eye health and the immune system.

Try the low-calorie choices in these easy zucchini recipes.

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Weekly Meal Plan: In-Season Meals to Enjoy Before Summer Officially Begins!

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Eating in season is amazing because it allows you to enjoy the freshest fruits and vegetables in high season. Summer is just around the corner and there are so many wonderfully ripe summer fruits and vegetables to enjoy. These include arugula, beets, broccoli, cherries, mushrooms, radishes, rhubarb, sprouts, spinach, and strawberries.

However, summer doesn’t officially start until June 20th, so how do you eat seasonally when you are apparently in the transition period? Don’t worry, this food guide includes fruits and vegetables that are in season so you can eat in season before the midsummer season starts!

We also strongly recommend that. to download Food Monster App – With over 15,000 delicious recipes, it is the largest meat-free, vegan, plant-based and allergy-friendly recipe source to help you get healthy! And don’t forget to check out our weekly menu archive!

Are you ready for a week of delicious vegan foods that will keep you nourished and satisfied? Let’s begin!

This week we’re bringing you seasonal meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert! And they’re completely vegan and plant-based!

Monday

Source: Stew Pasta with Fried Mushrooms and Spinach

Nice Monday! Start your day with this strawberry pudding breakfast full of strawberries that are just in season! Follow this meal with a delicious salad, then pasta for dinner and a wonderful cake for a sweet end to the day!

Tuesday

Vegan mango and cherry popsicles

Source: Mango and Cherry Popsicles

The best way to mix up your scrambled tofu eggs is to add seasonal fruits and vegetables to your scrambled tofu eggs. Plus, there are plenty of delicious meals to enjoy during the season like these sandwiches, these donuts, and mango and cherry popsicles for dessert!

Wednesday

Vegan mini strawberry rhubarb cakes

Source: Mini Strawberry Rhubarb Cake

On this day, enjoy another wonderful seasonal dining day and make that kale salad! It’s filled with cherries and almonds for a sweet kick and balances out the savory and savory taste of kale. For dinner, try these tofu kebabs with grilled mango and sorrel salad!

Thursday

Vegan chocolate strawberry chia pudding

Source: Chocolate Strawberry Chia Pudding

Happy Thursday! These chocolate chia puddings are a sweet start to the day! Add extra strawberries when you have them on hand or when hungry later in the day, they are a great snack! For dinner, try this white bean and pesto pasta! It’s filling, has a good amount of protein from the beans, and is a great way to end your Thursday!

Friday

Vegan chickpea and zucchini burgers

Source: Chickpea and Zucchini Burger

It’s the last day of the week and summer is officially a few days away! Another way to use seasonal fruits is to make smoothies. Because smoothies are so versatile, just add anything you want to your smoothie! Use this recipe or make your own recipe. End the day with these filling chickpea and zucchini burgers for dinner.

Learn How To Make Plant-Based Meals At Home!

Vegan Matcha Latte with coconut milk

It is known to help reduce meat consumption and eat more plant-based foods chronic inflammation, Heart health, mental wellbeing, Fitness goals, Nutritional needs, Allergies, good health, and More! Milk consumption has also been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, Prostate cancer and has many Side effects.

For those of you who want a more plant-based diet, we strongly recommend that. to download Food Monster App – With over 15,000 delicious recipes, it is the largest herbal recipe source to reduce your ecological footprint, save animals and get healthy! And while you’re at it, we encourage you to find out about the environment and health benefits from a vegetable diet.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

For more daily published content on animals, earth, life, vegan food, health and recipes, subscribe to One Green Planet newsletter! Finally, public funding gives us a greater chance of continuing to provide you with quality content. Please note support us through donations!

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