Make Your Own: Baby Food

Once upon a time, a company had a really great idea. They dreamed up this awesome little machine that would first steam, then puree any food one might wish to feed a baby. It even doubled as a bottle warmer. Then they charged buyers $99.00 each to buy one. I wish that had been my idea, because there are apparently a whole lot of people out there with three conditions I wouldn’t have expected to be so prevalent in these troubled times: enough money to buy one, enough kitchen space to store it, and a sore lack of frugal habits to prevent them from wasting said money and space.

More power to the manufacturers, I guess, but they’re not getting their hands on my money that easily! Neither are the baby food pushers on aisle 7 at the local grocery store. I could waste just as much money buying baby food as I would if I bought the aforementioned appliance. The frugal way, and the healthier one, is to make your own baby food. Making your own baby food is so easy that I swore off it not too long after my first baby started solid foods. (I admit, I’ve had to buy baby food to get the jars before because nothing else would do for a craft, but otherwise, there’s just no good reason to waste your money on pureed green beans.)

What do I feed my baby?

Whatever you eat, of course! While you don’t want to start baby on spicy black beans or anything, it is usually easy to plan your meals to include something a baby can have. For first foods, I start them around six months, except for this last baby who didn’t want food until he was 7 months old. Nearly any vegetable or fruit will do. I even do chicken or fish occasionally! Bananas and avocado are two of my favorite first foods, because you don’t need to do anything but smash them with a fork. Remember to always use a strainer for peas, as the hulls are yucky and hard to swallow no matter how soft they get. My babies also get a lot of plain yogurt mixed with banana, prunes, or apples. Don’t buy flavored yogurt for them (or yourself!), as it has a lot of junk in it.

prunes

A few foods that simply do not work for baby food? Corn, rice, beans (really hard to digest for a baby under one year of age), tomatoes (too acidic), and potatoes (maybe that’s just me). Skip the rice and oatmeal cereals in the baby food aisle, even if your doctor says to start with them. They just constipate the baby, and he doesn’t need those carbs anyway! Follow the usual advice to space new foods out with a few days between trials so you can be aware of allergic reactions.

How do I do it?

I guess you could do it the old-fashioned way and just pre-chew your baby’s food yourself, but…well…no. We won’t go there. Technology is good.

Do you have a steamer basket? If not, that’s really the only tool you really need, so go buy one. A small metal colander will do just as well. Steamed foods retain color, flavor, and nutrients much better than boiled ones do. Carrots, broccoli, or sweet potatoes are some of my favorites. Some foods, like apples, are better peeled and cooked with a little water. Experiment with different ways for different foods. After steaming, you can strain your baby food through a fine sieve, or use an inexpensive stick blender to puree the food. If you want to do chicken or fish, you’ll have to use a stick blender. As baby gets a little bit older, you can easily add shredded cheese to many vegetables. Use your imagination.

For bigger babies (from 9 months on), all you need is to dice the foods very small and steam them enough for them to smash them. No pureeing required!

Make ahead.

Whether it’s because the meals I have planned aren’t going to be very good for a baby’s tummy or I have to travel and need convenient baby-sized portions, sometimes I need some fast baby food. I try to always have something in the fridge or freezer for those times. Bananas and avocado make perfect convenience baby foods. Just peel, smash, and serve. For veggies and other fruits, I steam and puree big batches and then store them in the freezer in single-serving sized plastic storage bowls.

What about prunes?

Babies can get constipated when they start solid foods, especially if there are a lot of bananas in their diet. First, lay off the bananas for a while. Then get some prunes! I had been in the habit of buying my prunes from the baby food aisle, because they were too sticky to blend. Then it occurred to me that the baby food factories didn’t have any special magic that I don’t have, so there must be a better way. I was right. You can steam those suckers and rehydrate them! A pack of baby food prunes costs about a dollar for two servings, and that’s not too bad. However, an 18 oz. canister of whole prunes only costs around three dollars, and you can get at least five times as many servings out of that. My homemade prunes are so much thicker that I think I must have been paying for a product that was mostly water! Steam whole prunes for 10 minutes, puree with enough water to make them the right consistency, and you’ve just saved yourself a few dollars a week. They taste better, too. I even put some on my own pancakes this morning. Almost as good as apple butter!

pancakes

Baby food makers like to let us think that there’s some unfathomable mystery about introducing foods to our babies, as if the human race has always had a Gerber plant right down the road. All it really requires is five or ten minutes a week (seriously) to give our babies foods that are as nutritious and fresh as the foods we eat.

Baking Soda Helps Clean Up Bedwetting Accidents

Bedwetting accidents happen. It’s plain and simple. They just happen. My oldest daughter not so much, but we went through a few accidents with my youngest daughter. A few years ago, I heard from a friend about a great tip. I have been passing on this tip to friends. Obviously, you cannot purchase a new mattress after every accident, so this tip is much more doable on a family budget. baking-soda

1. Once the accident happens, immediately strip the bed. Try to blot the mattress with a paper towel to soak up the urine. Do not rub as this will cause the stain to get bigger.

2. Take a box of baking soda and sprinkle all over. Allow to sit for at least 8 eight hours, so it can draw out the remaining moisture and also take away the smell.

3. Take the hose from your vacuum cleaner and vacuum up all the baking soda.

4. Take a mixture of 1 -cup vinegar and 1-cup of hot water. Spray all over the mattress where the accident happened.

5. Grab a hair dryer and dry the mattress. OR open the shades or blinds in the room and let it air dry.

6. After drying, spray febreeze lightly over the mattress.

This works as I have used this tip many times and friends have used the tip. Hope it helps you.

 

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month this Saturday

Tomorrow starts the celebration of Children’s Dental Health Month. We are thankful for our site-wide sponsor hosting a fun event this Saturday at the Boone Mall. You all are invited!

op smiles boone nc
The Orthodontic and Pediatric Dental Offices of Drs. Mayhew, Scheffler, Conn and Hardaway will have a booth open from 10:00 am-4:00 pm in the center of the mall.  The office will be giving out toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste and lots of helpful information about dental health for February’s Children’s Dental Health Month. The theme this year is “Get a Gold Medal Smile”!  Their giant molar mascot Pearl E. White will also be there if you would like to shake hands, give a high-five, get a hug, or have your picture taken with her! Their Clown will also be blowing up helium balloons!  Take time to  drop byfor a visit or to even brush Dudley’s teeth.

Child Diet and Dental Health Tips

Child DentalWe are 15 days into the New Year. Last year, I made big health and wellness changes in my life. I am making it my goal to implement changes into my daughters’ health and wellness for 2013. Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Martha Hardaway from the office of Drs. Mayhew, Scheffler, Conn and Hardaway in Boone, NC is sharing her child diet and health tips with us.

FACTS ON FOOD

If children have poor diets, their teeth may not develop properly. Children need protein, vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and phosphorous, to build strong teeth and resist tooth decay and gum disease.

Parents should select meals and snacks for dental health and for general health, providing sound nutrition as defined by “MyPlate” of the US Department of Agriculture. Snacks, served no more than three times a day, should contribute to the overall nutrition and development of the child. Some healthy snacks are cheese, vegetables, yogurt, peanut butter and milk.

Sugars are essentially the same, whether natural or processed, to cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. All types of sugars and the foods that contain them can play a role in tooth decay.

A child who licks a piece of hard candy every few minutes to make it last longer or slowly sips a sugared drink while studying, is flirting with a high risk of tooth decay. Such long-lasting snacks create an acid attack on teeth for the entire time they are in the mouth.

Cooked starches (fermentable carbohydrates) can lead to cavities just as sugars can. In fact, such cooked starches as breads, crackers, pasta, pretzels and potato chips frequently take longer to clear the mouth than sugars. So the decay risk may last even longer.

A food with sugar or starch is safer for teeth if it is eaten with a meal, not as a snack.

DIET AND DENTAL HEALTH

Children’s dental health depends less on what they eat and more on how often they eat it. Food does not cause tooth decay, but constant eating does.

About 90 percent of all foods contain sugars or starches that enable bacteria in dental plaque to produce acids. This attack by bacterial acid, lasting 20 minutes or more, can lead to loss of tooth mineral and to cavities.

Acids present in carbonated beverages can have a greater negative effect (ie, erosion) on enamel than the acids produced by bacteria from the sugars present in sweetened drinks.

Research showed 13 percent of children aged 2 through 10 had diets high in consumption of carbonated soft drinks, and these children had a significantly higher dental caries experience in the primary dentition than did children with other fluid consumption patterns.

CHEESE: THE CAVITY FIGHTER

Certain cheeses have been shown to have characteristics that disrupt the development of cavities when eaten alone as a snack or at the end of a meal.

Cheeses such as aged cheddar, swiss, mozzarella and monterey jack stimulate the flow of saliva, clearing the mouth of food debris and acting as a buffer to neutralize the acids that attack teeth.

The calcium and phosphorous found in cheese also reduce or prevent decreases in pH levels of saliva and promote remineralization of tooth enamel.

TIPS FOR PARENTS: DIET AND DENTAL HEALTH

  • Ask your pediatric dentist to help you assess your child’s diet.
  • Provide a balanced diet and save foods with sugar or starch for meal times.
  • Limit the number of snack times. Choose nutritious snacks.
  • Do not provide sodas or sweetened tea to your child.
  • Shop smart. Do not routinely stock your pantry with sugary or starchy snacks. Buy “fun foods” just for special times.
  • Do not put your young child to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice.
  • If your child chews gum or sips soda, select products that are sugar-free. Recent evidence suggests the use of
    xylitol chewing gum can decrease a child’s caries rate.

Drs. Mayhew, Scheffler, Conn and Hardaway office is located at 373 Boone Heights Dr. in Boone. Please feel free to contact them via phone (828) 264-0110. If you have any questions, you may leave them in the comments section on this post or email us.

Increasing Milk Supply 101 for Breastfeeding Mothers

I often get comments from parents who have long since weened their children about how difficult it was for them to breastfeed because they did not make enough milk.  Sadly, most of the time not making enough milk was probably not the problem that they were facing.  This is actually a very rare problem.  Most likely, they probably didn’t know enough about breastfeeding to start with in order to increase their milk supply before giving up.  And, on an even sadder note most doctors aren’t as skilled as they should be in helping mom establish a great milk supply.

Since I believe that breast milk is an very important part of an infant’s diet and being a mother/baby professional I want to try to help my clients be as knowledgeable as they can so that breastfeeding can go as easily and smoothly as possible.

The best way to start off with an adequate milk supply is to nurse frequently and on demand for the first 10-12 days after giving birth.  Nursing frequently will help establish your milk supply.  It is always easier to decrease your milk supply once you have enough coming in.  It is amazing how once your milk is established and your infant will take in what she or he needs that your body will regular the milk that you do need.

Other great ways to keep a rich and abundant milk supply is to drink plenty of fluids, mainly water, and eat plenty of calories.  Calories are best from whole food sources like fruits, vegetables, pastured butter, eggs, grassfed and pastured meats.  This way you are assured that what you are taking in is rich in nutrients.  According to the Le Leche League a nursing mom should consume about 500 calories more than she normally did before pregnancy.

Another great way to make sure you maintain and abundant and nutrient rich milk supply would be to supplement your diet with herbs that are great for nursing.  Herbs that are safe for breastfeeding and that can increase a mother’s milk supply are Fenugreek, Blessed thistle, Milk thistle, fennel, Red Raspberry leaf, Goat’s Rue, Alfalfa, Nettle, and Hops Flowers.  You can easily buy many of these herbs in bulk from The Bulk Herb Store or Mountain Rose Herbs and make your own tasty herbal creation!

Just for fun for when your babies are a little bit older I found this great website for making them cold treats from your breastmilk!  What a great idea for teething!  Happy nursing!

4 Ways to Be a Better Mom

Image Source “Microsoft Clip Art”

I don’t claim to have the “Mother of the Year Award” or even the “Mother of the Month” for that matter.  To be honest, many times I feel like an all around failure as a mom.  I just birthed my third child nearly 10 weeks ago and I feel like my life has been chaos since several months before little precious #3 was born.  Don’t get me wrong I love my children and I am extra thankful for every single day that they are on this planet with me, but that doesn’t mean that there are times that I’ve wanted to tear my hair out.  Now I know why everyone looks at you like you are crazy when you have three kids under four.  Sometimes I feel like a freak show the way people look at us. And, now I know what some of those other moms feel like that have the big families.

Now, let’s get a little raw here.  I’ve struggled tremendously at yelling at my children, even though I said I would never do it.  There, I’m outed, I’m a closet yeller, ok?  But, over the past several weeks and months I feel like God has really been working on my heart.  I grew up where my mom yelled often and she feels so guilty about it to this day.  Before I came a mother I had no idea that it might be that easy.  I’ve struggled with guilt, heartache, and just being down right angry at myself.

As I’ve been praying about this pattern about myself that I just don’t like I feel like there have been a few things that have surfaced.  God has spoken to me and I’ve tried them on my children, so I know that they work.  I hope that as you walk down your own road as a mother that these things will be helpful for you as well.  You may not struggle with raising your patience and your voice with your children that I do, but if you struggle with it or not I hope that these 4 ways to be a better mom speak to you.

  • Don’t Put Your Child in a Mold – Over the years I have prided myself in being keen on noticing the uniqueness of each individual person.  However, I’ve miserably failed to do with it with my children.  Each child learns uniquely and I’m sure you know has a personality unique to them.  They need to be disciplined uniquely, loved uniquely and have met needs that are completely unique to them.  I would caution against parenting the same way to each child.  And, even though parenting books can be completely helpful when you are lost, don’t take them for a blanket statement for each child you have.
  • Be a Student of Your Child – As I mentioned above each child in uniquely their own.  As a mother each of us need to be a student of our children so that we understand their uniqueness. We need to understand why they do what they do and what their needs really are.  After all, if we birthed them from our body they are very much part of us.  They have not only some of our DNA, but also our cells.  And, if you spend more time with your child than anyone, no one will know them better than you.  So sit back and watch them, know they tendencies, know their strengths, and their weaknesses, know how they love and need to receive love. And, be sure to give them love that way.  You will be so happy that you did.
  • Go Easy On Yourself – No one is perfect mama.  Even though you will know your child best it takes time to know them.  If you are like me and work from home make sure you carve out time from your day to play with them and observe them.  If you work outside the home it may take some extra intentional regular “date nights” with your child to get to know their ends and outs.  For moms who simply stay at home and manage their household be careful of the time you spend on facebook or other social media accounts.  Chances are it drives your kids crazy.  Don’t be hard on yourself when you mess up.  You can be forgiven by God, yourself, and your child for any mistakes.  This mothering thing is a learning journey.
  • Join a Moms Group – All moms need the support of each other.  Don’t do this moms thing alone.  Join a group like MOPS or get connected with the High Country Mommies.  We can learn so much from each other and other moms who have been moms longer.

I wish you the best in the parenting of the young mind that you are entrusted to.  It is a big responsibility, but it is also a privilege.  God has given you a child to shape and mold your life.  You may not feel like you deserve it, but God knows that he has designed you for this purpose.  I hope that you will enjoy all of it.

5 Reasons to Try and Have a Natural Birth

Do you need a reason to try and have a natural birth after all you’ve heard about the birth experience?  If so, here are 5 reasons to try and have a natural birth. I know, I know natural birth isn’t for everyone.  And, I don’t believe that any mom should ever feel guilty nor should she beat herself up for what happens during birth.  I’m am 150% for supporting a mother’s birth choices if she wishes to have a medicated birth.  I know many a mom who were completely pleased with her medicated births and I believe that if that is the choice a mother makes I want to support her in that.  With all that being said I am 200% for moms being educated on both the risks as well as the benefits that come with any procedure in the labor room or in the rest of the hospital for that matter.  If mom knows all her risks and benefits and makes an educated decision in her birthing room then I am completely on board.  Much of the reason that I desired to become a childbirth doula was to help moms be educated in each of their decision during childbirth so that they have no regrets when they walk from the hospital to the car with their precious new little one in their arms.  There are lots of moms who will choose to use a doula even if they have their heart set on a having a medicated birth.  Even though I am a little biased, being a childbirth doula myself, I don’t think it is a bad idea to have that support for whatever method you choose to have your baby.

For moms that are on the fence about what kind of birth they want and are still exploring their options I wanted to share some of the benefits of having a natural birth so that they can make the decision that is best for them.  So, once you’ve read this  go ahead and make a comment at the bottom and let me know what you think.  If you are interested in sharing your birth story I would love to hear it.  I’m in the process of collecting birth stories both medicated and non-medicated to share on my blog.  If you are interested in sharing hop on over to my facebook page and send me a message.  If you wish, your story can be shared completely anonymously!

 

But, without further ado here are the best of the best reasons to try and have a birth without medication:

  • A birth without an epidural deceases your chance for a c-section – Yes, it is true.  Interventions such as epidurals will increase your likelihood to have failure to progress and increase your chances for a c-section.  They may also cause a drop in blood pressure which could affect the health of your little blessing.
  • Faster Recovery – Most of the time a delivery without medication means much faster recovery time.  Moms who decided on a medicated birth are always extremely surprised at how quickly moms without medication recovered and are surprised at how quickly they are up and walking around.
  • It likely may be healthier for baby – There is really no conclusive research on the subject, but there is a lack of study on the overall health of a baby from an birth with an epidural opposed to a birth without one.  However, some speculate that a epidural could increase the risk of ADHD and other common childhood problems.  Who knows, but the medication does cross the placenta so who knows.
  • You miss out on natural euphoric feelings of oxytocin in the blood –  Once baby is born, your body will natural produce a hormone called oxytocin which causes feelings of bliss and euphoria.  With an epidural your body doesn’t have to produce oxytocin due to the fact that your ultimately can’t feel labor, plus mom has to have pitocin after her birth which also inhibits the release of oxytocin because it is a synthetic form.  This hormone also increases bonding between mom and baby.  It is a wonderful feeling for mom and baby after the birth experience.
  • A natural birth empowers mom – God created us women to do amazing things and birth is one of them. Our bodies are created to do an amazing work by bringing children into the world.  Once you experience birthing a child you feel as though you can do anything.  Plus, I believe it will give your partner a deeper sense of respect for you as well.  Birth can be an empowering experience when mom feels as though she is in control of her experience.

Have you had a natural birth or a medicated birth?  What are pros for either?  I’d love to hear about your experience.

A Tested Method of Getting Healthy Foods into the Diet of Your Kid

All of us parents, well I’m sure that most parents anyway are always trying to get our kids to eat a healthy well rounded diet.  My two solid eaters at home, 2 and nearly 4 years old, can be quite picky when it comes to food.  My almost 4 year old is the worst of the two.  He has always been at war with the textures of most foods.  If I’d let him he would eat bread and cheese at every single meal.  Since he began eating solids at right around 8 months of age he was a picky eater.  Then, his sister came  long and I was presently surprised that she did desire to at least try most foods.

Since I have a hobby and passion for in depth study of health and nutrition it has pained me to watch my kids eat an unhealthy diet.  I guess that sometimes ignorance is bliss to not know exactly what (insert name of famous American fast food restaurant here) does to one’s body.  Praise the Lord that our body is designed to recover for much of our bad food choices.

So, as a parent who not only wants to have healthy children, but also by nature reads everything she can get her hands on when it comes to health and nutrition I can’t sit back and feed my kids bread and cheese until they decide they want something else.  Nope, I just can’t do it.  Instead I developed my own method of helping my kids make good choices when it comes to their food so that I can only hope that someday they will want to take after their mama and make healthy choices.

Keep in mind that I’m not a parenting expert and I don’t try to stay politically correct, I am just doing the best that I can here folks and it seems to be working.  I’ve tested out this method on no other kids by my own, but hey if it works it works.

We do not cook separate meals just to appease my children.  We believe that it is important that they eat with my husband and I, plus that is just way too much work when I’m already chasing around two little ones and caring for a baby.  I almost always put a food or two that my children like on their plate and then I put foods on their plate that they do not like.  Many times I hear “Mooom, I’m NOT eating that.” Although we encourage our children to eat everything on their plate, we do not force them to eat what is on their plate.  We allow them to decide to eat whatever they like.  However, if all they want that particular night is bread we don’t allow any more bread (or any other food) until they eat everything that is on their plate.  If they want to eat nothing further than that one food they are given that is fine, we really don’t make an issue out of it.

I honestly didn’t really think it was working.  And, then just out of the blue one day after I’d been putting salad on my kids plates they started eating it like champs!  Then they started eating other things like carrots, cucumbers, and other things!  Whoo hoo!  Success!  Now they aren’t perfect and still are picky at times, but putting the food in front of them seems to really be worth it.

If you want more tips on how to feed your kids healthy try this article from Holistic Kid on 4 Food Groups All Kids Should Eat, it is really about much more than fruits and veggies!

14 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Baby

I am in no way trying to make any mom out there feel guilty about her choice on how to feed her baby.  I know that there are a number of situations out there where breastfeeding may be nearly impossible for one reason or another.  I also know that some moms may have a difficult time  for various reasons with prolonged breastfeeding.  But, as a mom of three, a childbirth doula, and a natural living advocate I highly recommend breastfeeding for as long as possible for any mom that is able to do so.  There are so many great reasons to breastfeed baby and it is more those moms who don’t even try for convenience reasons that make me a little bit sad.  Although I don’t condemn moms by any means who may not breastfeed for one reason or another I do require clients of mine to at least try, and at least plan on breastfeeding for as long as they are able.

I know that breastfeeding can be a hot button issue with moms.  Many moms can led to feel like they are less of a mom if they can’t breastfeed as long as others.  Hopefully, my explanation above can avoid any feelings of guilt.  So, let’s move past the guilt stuff and just get to the facts.  Here are the reasons that I feel as though you should at least attempt to breastfeed.  It really is best for your baby.

1.  It helps mom and baby bond more quickly. – From the time of birth skin to skin contact between mom and baby (or dad and baby) is so important.  Skin to skin contact helps develop baby’s brain as well as strengthen bonds.  When pairing skin to skin contact with breastfeeding mom and baby are able to bond more quickly an often feel more comfortable together.

2. It helps mom loose pregnancy weight – I just love this.  I have always been more hungry breastfeeding than during pregnancy.  I also happen to crave more breastfeeding.  You need many many calories to breastfeed.  Yeah for natural weight loss when you can still eat lots!

3. Helps the uterus shrink back to its original size – Not only good for baby, breastfeeding is so good for mama too.  Breastfeeding can also help in prevention of hemorrhage after birth.

4. Nutritional make up changes as Baby grows – Unlike formula the composition of breast milk actually changes as baby grows older to suit their needs.  How cool is that?

5. Easily digestible – Even though there are many babies that are sensitive to some foods that mama eats, breastmilk is made to be easily digestible for infants.  It is made for their little tummies that are slowly developing to handle solid foods.

6. Breastfed Infants have a higher IQ – Studies show that breastfed infants do have a high IQ than babies that are not breastfed.

7. Breast milk passes moms antibodies to baby reducing the risk of sickness in infants.  There are ALL  KINDS of sicknesses that breast milk is known to prevent and significantly reduce the chances of.  I won’t even take the time to list them all here.  Just trust me on this one.

8. Breastfeeding can be a natural contraceptive – You do have to be careful with this one.  All moms are different, but for many moms when you are breastfeeding your baby and not supplementing with formula it often keeps your body from ovulating and thus helping you to stay infertile.

9. Breastmilk is Free!  Formula is so expensive.  How great is breastmilk that it costs you nothing!

10.  Spit up stains are easier to clean.

11. Poop from breastfeed babies doesn’t smell bad. 

12. Breastfeeding lowers the risk of SIDS.

13. Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s chance of getting breast cancer. 

14. Breastfed babies have less chance of being obese.

If you do desire to breastfeed your baby and are having a hard time, please call a lactation consultant for help and don’t delay.  If you get the proper help early on you will be so happy that you did!  When troubleshooting breastfeeding problems with a professional moms are often able to continue breastfeeding when they otherwise thought they might have to quit.  Feel free to contact me if you would like a referral!

North Carolina’s No Kid Hungry Program ~ Summer Meals For Kids!

More than 16 million children in America struggle with hunger, and even more so during the summer months when kids are not in school to receive free or reduced meals. This is not in a rural area or third world country, this is right here in our own back yard. We might be the ones seeing our children suffer from this, or we certainly might know a family around us who this affects. Now, there is good news!

 

 

Recently, our Governor Bev Perdue joined with No Kid Hungry North Carolina and launched a partnership with Share Our Strength, a national non-profit organization that North Carolina works with, along with others like our Governments, Non-Profit organizations, and Businesses. The goal is to bring about more awareness of the childhood hunger issue in NC and to present solutions that work.

 

The No Kid Hungry program is ending hunger experienced by our kids on a daily basis by joining kids with the healthy foods they need. They bring Governors, Mayors, Businesses and Owners, Chefs, Federal and State Agencies, Educators, and Community Leader together where youth Live at home, Learn at schools, and Play with their friends. The No Kid Hungry program also helps families and teaches them how to prepare and cook healthy and inexpensive meals through another program called “Cooking Matters”.

 

Just as North Carolina has school lunch and breakfast programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the USDA, now offers free summer meals to children across the state and is open to kids through age 18 who come to a summer meals site. Share Our Strength is making sure that the word gets out and lessens the barriers for kids and families to receive the assistance that is available to them. Some of those barriers include simple lack of awareness of the programs, a stigma or stereotype of people getting help, transportation problems, and parent’s trust. This program, along with the help of our communities, will tear these walls down as we come together. In addition, participating in this program helps to bring in federal funds to local communities resulting in a win-win situation. And, there are more than 1,000 sites serving free summer meals across the state, meaning that North Carolina has some great opportunities to help kids, families, and communities all in one!

 

Along with making sure kid’s nutrition needs are met through the summer months, many of the meal sites have exciting and fun activities for the children and youth so that they can stay active and be with their friends too.

Here are some specific details of the program:

  • All meals are FREE for kids and teens up through age 18 that come to a summer meals site.
  • All of the meals and food served follow the USDA nutritional rules and guidelines.
  • Foods and meals are funded by the USDA.
  • All summer meals sites are located at places that are safe for kids and teens to be at such as schools, churches, and community centers.
  • A lot of the meal sites have educational and recreational activities for kids of all ages to have fun, eat and be with their friends, and participate in.
  • There is no application for the program, parents can simply bring their kids to the meals site in their community.

 

In the High Country, summer meal sites are located at~

  1. Mountain View Elementary School – 2789 Hwy. 221 N. Jefferson, NC 28640  Open from June 7th through July 27th, 2012 from 8am – 12:15pm. Call 336-982-8493 with any questions.
  2. Alleghany High School – 404 Trojan Ave. Sparta, NC 28675  Open from May 24th through June 29th, 2012 from 7:30am – 12pm Noon. Call 336-372-8011 with any questions.
  3. Sparta Elementary School – 450 N. Main St. Sparta, NC 28675  Open from May 24th through June 15th, 2012 from 7:30am – 12pm Noon. Call 336-372-2169 with any questions.
  4. Piney Creek Elementary School – 559 Piney Creek School Rd. Piney Creek, NC 28663  Open from May 24th through June 15th, 2012 from 7:30am – 12pm Noon. Call 336-359-2988 with any questions.

Governor Perdue’s North Carolina’s No Kid Hungry program is sponsored generously by the Arby’s Foundation, supported by Weight Watchers, and is part of Share Our Strength’s national No Kid Hungry campaign. The campaign’s efforts are also supported by core partners in ConAgra Foods Foundation, Food Network and Walmart.

For more information or to get involved in any of these programs, visit their website at Strength.org. Also, to find a summer meals site online, go to NC.NoKidHungry.org, or text “FoodNC” to 877-877.