Dem bones

My recent bone density scan showed a 9% improvement in my spine, although I'm still in a danger zone for osteoporosis. The improvement over a year and a half was not due to the expensive prescription I couldn't afford and eventually forgot completely. It was partly due to taking calcium supplements. Calcium is inexpensive. Take it!

I mainly credit my role model efforts at preschool lunchtime for my bone density improvement. Every brown bag lunch I make contains a food from the dairy group. Lately I've rediscovered cottage cheese with fresh tomato slices, black pepper, and dill weed. It's simple and delicious.

Been pondering how to sneak some nutrition education into a pre-Halloween art class about dancing skeletons. One group will use styrofoam and draw skeletons for block-printing. The youngest kids will work together to make a skeleton on the longest lunch table with Wikki Stix, then make a crayon rubbing on butcher paper. An older group will take turns posing while classmates draw toothpick/raisin figure drawings. The oldest kids will work together to make a skeleton paper sculpture by folding, cutting and curling paper strips.

DanActive yogurt drink is the popular new kid in the the school lunchroom. DanActive is milk fermented by Lactobacilus casei along with sugar and live yogurt cultures. Students usually bring a 3.3 oz. plastic bottle of DanActive contains 90 calories. DanActive is supposed to reduce cases of pediatric diarrhea and allergies. A bottle contains 10% of the daily value of calcium needed, while containing 17 grams of sugar, or about four teaspoons.

Do kids really need to drink Lactobacilis casei everyday? What's wrong with drinking milk? I'm not a dietician, but I am curious. Please comment if you know the answer.

The lunchbox thermos bottle can be a creepy source of bacteria if not washed properly everyday. That was not my favorite task as a mom doing the dishes after supper. Even if washed carefully, thermos bottles still get a certain odor that taints the flavor of the milk. I can understand parents wanting an easier solution for the daily lunchbox.

Most students bring milk in the form of a Horizon organic single-serve aseptic package, similar to a juicebox. The plain unflavored box (120 calories) has 12 grams of sugar, or about three teaspoons in 8 ounces. The flavored strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla 8 oz. drinks contain between 27 and 31 grams of sugar, or about seven teaspoons, and 180-200 calories. The drinks contain 30% of the daily value of calcium needed.

The bottle of 2% milk in my refrigerator has 12 grams of sugar, or about three teaspoons in a single 8 oz. serving. A serving provides 30% of the necessary calcium daily value, and clicks in at 130 calories.

Other kids bring Silk soy milk in 8.25 oz. aseptic drink boxes. These drinks provide 35% of the daily calcium requirement, and have 16 grams of sugar, about four teaspoons. 130 calories.

Many times in Grimm's tales, a child is sent off with a hunk of bread wrapped in a cloth. The lucky child, or the favored son might also leave home with a chunk of cheese. A kindergarten student was learning about mountains today, and vague recollections of Johanna Spyri's Heidi and Peter sitting with the goats on the mountaintop flitted through my mind. Cheddar cheese contains no sugar, but has a high level of saturated fat. A one-inch cube meets 12.3% of the calcium daily value. I'm thinking chasing goats around in the Alps might negate the saturated fat...

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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