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Friday Food News Feed: Nov. 19

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Let’s start this week with a call to action. Will the lame-duck Congress finally move on the Child Nutrition Act? Maybe, if you tell them so. Follow this link from Time for Lunch (a project of Slow Food USA) to contact your representatives. The Child Nutrition Act is a federal law that comes up for reauthorization in Congress every five years. It governs the school meal programs, which feed more than 31 million children every school day. You can read more about the latest efforts to pass the bill at The Atlantic.

Speaking of school lunch, we could use a few more efforts toward better nutrition. The Lunch Tray did a little experiment in her child’s school and found more than twice the recommended daily intake of sodium in school breakfast and lunch. The Child Nutrition Act, if passed, would likely address sodium content in school foods.

And speaking of more unhealthy foods, the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity has a new report on Fast Food FACTS (Food Advertising to Children and Teens Score). Among the findings:

  • The fast food industry spent more than $4.2 billion dollars in 2009 on TV advertising and other media.
  • The average preschooler (2-5 years) saw 2.8 TV ads per day for fast food; children (6-11 years) saw 3.5; and teens (12-17 years) saw 4.7.
  • Young people’s exposure to fast food TV ads has increased. Compared to 2003, preschoolers viewed 21% more fast food ads in 2009, children viewed 34% more, and teens viewed 39% more.

As Kelly Brownell observes at Eating Well, “Most important is for companies to remove children and teens from the list of groups to be recruited as loyal customers. It seems unlikely that industry will do so voluntarily—there is simply too much money at stake.” The whole report is definitely worth a read.

OK, let’s move on to some more uplifting articles and ideas. First check out this story from Psychology Today (via @eatdinner) on keeping family dinner interesting.  MyOptumHealth has a nice list of seven healthy foods and how to make them healthier. And E2Dietitian has some thoughts on the benefits of going grocery shopping with your kids.

Last but not least, this is the last Friday before the big Thanksgiving holiday. We love this little guide from Meals Matter for how kids can help in the kitchen, with special tasks for every age group. We also have some cute recipes: From Disney’s Family Fun, you can make these Teeny Turkey sandwiches to tide the kids over before the big meal (or better yet, have the kids make them). And if you’re willing to think outside the box, try these Pumpkin Pie Popsicles from Kitchen Corners (via TasteSpotting); or this Pumpkin Ice Cream Pizza Pie from Knuckle Salad. Mmmm…pumpkin…

Happy Friday to all!

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