International Walk to School Day 2015

By Kristen Urso, M.Ed, Community Program Specialist, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

IMG_9877On Wednesday, Oct. 7, Safe Kids Allegheny County, of which Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC,  is the lead agency, joined local teens, FedEx volunteers and community leaders from Allegheny County to raise awareness about teen pedestrian safety on International Walk to School Day.

Students from Riverview School District celebrated by attending educational assemblies and a community walk at Riverview Junior/Senior High.

This is the 16th year of the program and the partnership with FedEx.

More than 250,000 children across the United States and nearly three million around the world will participate in the annual event to learn about walking safely and to encourage the creation of safe walking environments.

Thanks to Safe Kids Allegheny County representatives, Children’s Hospital and FedEx volunteers, students, parents, teachers, and administrators from Riverview School District, and the Oakmont Police for a great day!




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Are Students Getting Enough Sleep?

By Jessica C. Levenson, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, and Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

News_Levenson_Jessica_103013What time does your teenager’s school start classes in the morning? Is it before 8:30 a.m.? If so, your child’s school is similar to the majority of U.S. middle and high schools that start classes earlier than 8:30 a.m., according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released last week. Schools that start before 8:30 a.m. are starting too early, according to the report, because they do not allow adolescent students the chance to get enough sleep.

What is enough sleep for a middle or high school student? The National Sleep Foundation recommends that teenagers get between 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night, but adolescents only get about 7.6 hours of sleep on average school nights. In fact, 45 percent of adolescents get less than 8 hours of sleep on school nights.

While it may be common for adults to start their workdays before 8:30 a.m., starting classes before this time makes it difficult for teenagers to get the sleep that they need to be healthy, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

There are several factors that contribute to insufficient sleep among teenagers. First,sleep sleep undergoes dramatic changes during adolescence. During this time, biological pressure to fall asleep accumulates more slowly in adolescents than younger children, making it harder for adolescents to fall asleep. In addition, developmental shifts in circadian rhythms contribute to changes in sleep timing, usually seen as a shift to significantly later bed and wakeup times on weekends compared to weekdays. Thus, teens have an increasingly difficult time falling asleep. Factors such as technology use, heavy homework demands, extracurricular activities, physical and mental health issues, and caffeine can also contribute to delayed bedtime, which, when combined with early school start times, squeezes the sleep window from both ends, resulting in insufficient sleep.

Though insufficient sleep is common among teens, it is associated with several damaging consequences, including poor academic performance, depressive symptoms, overweight and obesity, and risky behaviors like substance use and impaired driving. Delaying school start times may be an effective remedy to chronic sleep loss among adolescents. What else can you do to help your child get enough sleep?

Encourage them to use the bed only for sleep
• Doing things other than sleeping in bed (like reading, watching TV) sends the message that the bed is the place to be awake, making it harder to fall asleep in bed.

Regularize daily routines
• School start times force most teens to wake up earlier during the week than they do on the weekends. But, sleeping in on the weekends can make it harder for them to return back to weekday sleep schedules, resulting in more sleepiness and fatigue. So, encourage teens to keep sleep and wake schedules consistent across the days of the week and weekend.

Limit technology in the bedroom, especially mobile devices
• Not only can these devices distract youth from getting to bed as scheduled, many of them also emit a blue light that reduces the release of melatonin, a hormone associated with the onset of sleep.

Encourage your child to reduce substances
• It takes 5-6 hours for half of ingested caffeine to leave the body. Encouraging teens to avoid caffeine 6 hours before bed will ensure that sleep isn’t affected. Nicotine also has stimulating effects, which can take hours to wear off. Urge your child to minimize these substances as much as possible.

Reducing stress
• Stress can contribute to worry and anxiety at night, making it harder to get to sleep. Talk with your child about strategies for managing stress, especially around difficult times (school exams, sports meets, etc.)

Help your child take care of medical problems
• Many medical problems (for example, pain) can interfere with sleep. Facilitate contact between teens and their medical providers to address medical problems that may be impacting their ability to sleep well.

Make sleep a priority!
• There are many important priorities and distractions that can interfere with sleep. Model for teens how to prioritize sleep. Teach them to schedule sleep like you schedule any other activity and stick to the schedule!

For more information on the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, visit

Reference List
(1) Owens J. Insufficient sleep in adolescents and young adults: an update on causes and consequences. Pediatrics 2014; 134:e921-e932.

(2) Hirshkowitz M, Whiton K, Albert SM et al. National Sleep Foundations’ sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep Health 2015; 1:40-43.

(3) National Sleep Foundation poll task force. Teens and Sleep: 2006 Sleep in America poll. 2006.
Ref Type: Report

(4) Shochat T, Cohen-Zion M, Tzischinsky O. Functional consequences of inadequate sleep in adolescents: A systematic review. Sleep Med Rev 2014;18:75-87.

(5) Carskadon MA, Acebo C, Jenni OG. Regulation of adolescent sleep: implications for behavior. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2004;1021:276-291.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA’s) Cancer Patients from Children’s Cheer on the Pirates to an Epic Comeback Win

By Peter Shaw, MD, clinical director of Oncology, and head, Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

shawIn Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC’s ongoing efforts to help create a peer-based support system for adolescents and young adults with cancer, we had our annual Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program outing to the Pittsburgh Pirates game at PNC Park on the evening of Sunday, August 9th.

While enjoying a nationally televised night game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, 20 of our AYA patients saw old friends and made new ones from the great vantage point of two adjacent luxury suites.

It is always amazing for our chaperones to see these survivors out having a great time while catching up with each other and us. Some are still in high school, but many are in college or out of college and working. It is exciting to hear about all of the great things our “alumni” are doing, including nursing, working for Make-A-Wish Foundation, and being a carpenter doing home construction.

Even though the suites, ballpark food, and desserts were great, the game was slow and notphoto1 looking good for the Pirates as they were losing 5-1 after 4 ½ innings.  But, the ballpark exploded with excitement when the Pirates scored 9 runs in the 7th inning! By the time we all headed out of PNC Park slightly before midnight, the Pirates came out victorious with a 13-6 win and an amazing time was had by all of our attendees.

From all of us, we would like to thank everyone who donates to the AYA Fund at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation and for making these momentous events possible.

Maybe at the next AYA Pirates game, we can call them “World Series Champions!” We all can’t wait until next year!

To learn more about the AYA program, visit If you are interested in making a donation to the AYA Fund, please visit

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dangers of Leaving Kids in Hot Cars on Sweltering Summer Days

By Richard A. Saladino, MD, chief, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

Saladino_RichardWith the hot temperatures rising this summer, we want to make sure families know  about the dangers of leaving kids in hot cars, even for a minute.

Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. On average, every 8 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle.

Being left in a car is quite dangerous for small children and infants since they don’t have as effective an ability to regulate their temperature as adults. If the outside temperature is 90, temperatures in the car can increase from 80 degrees to 130 degrees in 10 to 15 minutes.

The high temperature that occurs in a closed car causes the body core temperature to climb rapidly.  Elevated core body temperature in this sort of setting may result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke, defined as a body temperature is 106 or greater, and including other symptoms, such as altered mental status, headache, nausea and vomiting.

However, heat-related dangers go beyond hot cars, because simply being outdoors on ahot_kid summer day without proper hydration or over long periods of time can cause a child to overheat and become ill. Kids are more vulnerable to dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke because their bodies are less efficient at cooling than adults’ bodies are.

Here are some more tips to keep kids safe from heat-related illnesses:

  • Never, ever leave a child or infant in a car.
  • Be sure to keep kids hydrated with water, before, during and after activities, even if they say they are not thirsty.  Remember, the best hydration is “pre-hydration!”
  • Have children take frequent breaks to rest and cool down.
  • Have kids wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing.
  • Become familiar with symptoms of heat-related illnesses, including cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue and weakness.
  • If a child shows any sign of a heat stroke, remove them from the hot environment to a cool environment, and take him or her to an emergency room right away.

For more information, please visit

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Does my child have depression?

By Ana Radovic, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

RADOVIC_ANA_MD_ADL_20131113_ (1)It can be tough to decide whether you think your child has depression or does not. Why is that? Mental health symptoms happen on the inside – they don’t show up like a rash on the skin that everyone can see, even though some studies show how the brain does look different with depression.

When symptoms show up on the inside, the only way you can “see” them, is by the person explaining to you how they feel, or by what you see as their behavior. If they are also having trouble understanding how they feel and are worried about what you will think or that you will get upset if they say anything, they might not share that with you. That is one good reason why if you are the least bit worried, a good idea is to ask your doctor for help figuring it out.

If your doctor tells you that your child may be depressed, what does that really mean?

Maybe some of the “symptoms” they have could be from something else like:

  • trouble adjusting to a new situation at school or home
  • a bad break-up, a friend who let them down, or not making a sports team or other extracurricular activity
  • bullying at school
  • a medical problem like anemia (a low blood count), headaches, belly pain
  • not getting enough sleep from being overscheduled, overhomeworked, too much online time, or having to wake up too early
  • another mental health or physical problem like ADHD, anxiety, or anemia

Don’t some people even have thoughts of harming themselves, but in the end they don’t end up having depression?

It is true that depression can be difficult to diagnose, especially in adolescents and young people, whose moods seem to change every day. Young people have developing brains and because they keep changing, it is hard to know whether some of the symptoms they have are here to stay or not. That’s why health professionals might have to see your child for several visits before they can get a better idea of what is going on.

Some behaviors can be signs of depression symptoms:

  • Feeling down most of the day.Maybe your child notices they are just feeling sad, empty, or down in the dumps. They might not even notice – but you might see they are tearful or irritable much of the time.
  • Not interested in things they used to like. Things they used to think were fun aren’t fun anymore. They don’t really do them and even if they don’t notice or say they don’t care, you notice the difference.
  • Changes in appetite or weight.They’re hungry all the time or they don’t feel like anything tastes good anymore.
  • Problems with sleep.They are tired and sleepy all day even when they get enough rest, or the opposite – they can’t fall asleep no matter how hard they try.
  • Tiredness or not having energy. 
  • They feel like everything is their fault.They feel like they’re no good at anything.
  • They have a tough time concentrating or making decisions.
  • They may have thoughts of suicide.

MOST important is that because of these symptoms, they are having trouble living the life they want to live. 

It might mean they are not achieving their goals, getting to school every day, getting to work, doing the fun activities they used to do, or being the kind of friend they want to be.

In the end, you know when your child is not being themselves. It’s normal for teensTTC_8191 to want to be independent and make their own decisions – sometimes this could lead to arguments. Being depressed is different – they should still be doing things they enjoy and think are fun. And how well they do in school or other activities shouldn’t be going downhill.

A health professional can help you and your child figure out if your child should get treatment for depression or if something else could be causing the symptoms. For example, having a low blood count can cause sleepiness, fatigue, and a tough time concentrating. Sometimes it can take many visits for you, your child, and your health professional to figure out the best way to help.

The most important thing is if you notice these symptoms in your child, something is wrong, and although it’s easier to say – maybe they will just go away – often they won’t. The good news is the sooner you do something about them, the better. The adolescent and young person brain is amazing – it is kind of like clay – moldable into many different things! Talking to a trusted health professional will be your next best step.

If your child does have depressive symptoms, there are two important reasons why getting treatment is a good idea to consider:

  • Seeing a therapist can help your child learn new skills which can help them a lot even if they don’t have depression. One of the major treatments that can help with sleep issues and anxiety and problems with pain or headaches is the same type of therapy which is recommended for depression: cognitive behavioral therapy.

For more information about diagnosing depression, see the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry Facts for Families handout.

If you have questions about depression, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or visit us in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine. To schedule an appointment, call 412-692-6677 or visit

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Children’s Hospital: An Institution to Which I Owe 7,868 Days of My Life (And Counting)

By Luke Ziegler, Heart Institute patient and volunteer at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC


Luke with Dr. Victor Morell, chief, Division of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery, in 2007

At less than one day old, I was flying through the sky on the way to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. My walnut-sized heart contained a congenitally defective aortic valve that would require an immediate catheter-based procedure, open heart surgery at 13 years old, and would necessitate life-long monitoring and re-intervention.

While the memories of my biannual cardiology appointments during my youth are quickly fading, the pervading feeling I recall is one of incredible safety within the walls of the hospital – a testament to the caring nature of the staff of the entire facility. My most notable symptom while growing was a complete intolerance for physical activity – 20 or 30 minutes of running and playing would result in 2 days spread out on the couch recovering from the exhaustion. As such, I was barred from playing any competitive sports, one of the biggest bonding activities of children at my small school. My childhood was filled with just as much happiness as any “normal” child, but that didn’t make it any less of a life-changing relief when I first attended Dr. Bill Neches Heart Camp for Kids, a summer camp where I was finally able to find others who could relate to my medical struggles. The mentoring I received from several counselors there made me realize that any social issues I was encountering due to my condition would fade to nothing in time, and that life promised to hold even greater joys for those of us who have known true pain.

It was around this time that I received open heart surgery. Being forced to contemplate one’s own mortality at such a critical developmental age fundamentally changes the way an individual views the world. Through this self-evaluation spent during many sleepless nights preceding the date of the procedure and weeks spent in bed following it, I began to recognize the fact that I wouldn’t be alive should I have been born even 40 years prior; that every day I have lived is a gift given by doctors, nurses, and every other staff member who has sacrificed and traded their time for my life. It was then that I began awakening to my desire to pursue a career in medicine myself.


Luke participating in Drum Circle at Heart Camp

Over a decade was far too long to wait to begin repaying this “debt” to the medical system. I wanted to take the first available opportunity – the position of senior counselor at the same summer camp that made an impact on my life just a few years prior. As a student facing the stresses of following the path to being a physician, it is a fantastic experience to be able to be a kid again and experience the sheer joy of a week of canoeing, swimming, campfire songs, and all of the other activities that take place at Heart Camp. Most enjoyable, however, is the experience of mentoring. While I certainly have some lessons and tips to teach my campers about navigating life as an adolescent with a congenital heart defect, I believe I have also learned just as much from them – lessons on courage in the face of adversity, friendship, and never growing too old and serious to smile at everything life brings your way. Seeing the same group of children grow up, mature, and take on leadership positions of their own over the course of several summers have been incredibly rewarding. I think that is the real beauty of Heart Camp – one is never too young nor too old to learn from each other, or to lean on each other for support in the trials that inevitably come our way. It is a network of friends closer than I have ever seen or experienced anywhere else in life.


In 2015, Luke volunteering and posing for a photo with Ty, a Heart Institute patient at Children’s

After being in this position for several years, I became aware of the opportunity to volunteer at Children’s Hospital itself, more specifically volunteering within the Child Life Department. After applying and accepting a position, I was given the opportunity to work with children who were hospitalized and try to brighten their day through play, whether that be by painting, playing video games, or any other variety of activities. I began in “Austin’s Playroom” on the weekends, during which I would interact with children from all units in the hospital. However, I quickly found myself drawn and devoted to the cardiac units, where I now spend my time split between the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) and 7A – the area for more stable cardiac patients.

What I really enjoy about my volunteering at the hospital is building a relationship with patients and the family of the patient over the course of several weeks (or in some cases months to years). To see a patient supported by a ventricular assist device wait for a heart transplant for months, finally receive a heart, and later transition out of the hospital, or to follow a patient from the CICU to the day of discharge is absolutely priceless. Being able to watch a patient smile while being confined to a hospital bed and infused with countless IVs is something that will keep me coming back as long as I live in Pittsburgh.

combined photo(1)

Top: Luke and Dr. Peter Wearden, surgical director, Pediatric Heart and Lung Transplantation, in 2007 following Luke’s surgery Bottom: Luke with Dr. Wearden presenting his cardiac bioengineering research at the American Society for Artificial Internal Organ research conference

But to bring this full circle, I return to those who make the hospital “tick.” Whether it be a chief of surgery, a housekeeper, a cook, an engineer, or a member of Child Life, every individual I have come into contact with at the hospital works and acts in a manner that makes one believe they are living their true life’s purpose. Through their lives I have been inspired and taught what living a compassionate life means firsthand. Without them, I would have no story to share with you.

If you are a former (or current) patient of Children’s Hospital, parent of a patient, or have in any way been affected by their life-saving work, I urge you to find some small way to give back regardless of what form that may take. While we’ve all been given gifts we could never hope to repay, I know we can achieve more than we think with our collective sustained efforts.

In closing, I would just like to take a moment to thank those individuals from Children’s who have touched my life in a special way – Dr. Donald Fischer, Dr. Bradley Keller, Dr. Linda Russo, Dr. Victor Morell, Dr. Peter Wearden, Dr. Jacqueline Kreutzer, Dr. Yoshida Masahiro, Dr. Vivek Allada, Beth Moneck, and Matt Brooks. It’s your inspiration that gets me up in the morning to get back at biochemistry and the MCAT.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy & Healthy Eating: Here Come the Fabulous Foods of Summer

By: Ann Condon-Meyers, RD, LDN, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

ann condon meyersAfter the winter we just endured here in the tristate area, who isn’t celebrating the fact that summer is almost here?!  I’m thinking about frozen desserts, watermelon, and grilled everything. Summer provides a perfect opportunity to enjoy food favorites and make new summer memories. It’s a great time to enjoy the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables from our local farms, farmer’s markets, and grocery stores. In my mind, summer may be the best season to introduce our children to the wonderful rainbow of healthy foods.

Let’s start with beverages. As the temperature rises, so does our thirst, providing an opportunity to try some new hydration ideas. First, let’s dispel the myth that our children need sports drinks. Even on the hottest days of temperatures in the upper 80s, it is rare that a child needs a sports drink for rehydration. Water remains the best beverage to quench thirst and replace fluids lost in sweat. It is only in extreme conditions that children and teens need rehydration with water, sodium, and potassium. Think about serving sports drinks during football and band practices under the full sun with a temperature above 80 degrees or when the humidity is high. That is, when your kids are really sweating a lot!

Not sure how much your child is sweating? Here is a “body function lesson” that your child may not know regarding urine. If your urine is straw colored or darker (and not pale yellow), it’s time to rehydrate. It is reassuring to know that kids, given free access to water, will not dehydrate themselves. Check with your children’s coaches and camp counselors to make sure that everyone is allowed to get water at any time during a game or event held outside.

An alternative to sugared sports beverages is … milk! That’s right – cow’s milk has been proven in studies to be as effective as a sports drink for rehydrating athletes. Other milk beverages such as soy or rice milk can hydrate but don’t have as much sodium or potassium in them as cow’s milk. Are your kids begging to add flavor to their milk? Fruit can be the answer in the form of a fruit smoothie – milk, ice, and fruits in a blender can make a refreshing drink and will rehydrate well since a fruit smoothie will have ample (and naturally occurring) sodium and potassium in it.

Infusion waters are another good way to offer water to your kids and expose them to some healthy fruits at the same time. Fresh fruits with strong flavors work best such as pineapples, berries, mangos, oranges or lemons and limes, papaya, coconut, and kiwi. Put at least 1 cup of the cut-up fruit in the bottom of a 2-quart pitcher and add cold water. Store in the fridge overnight and you will wake up to delicious fruit-flavored water.

There are other flavors for fruit infusion waters as well for the discerning palate. TryMomDau_salad_148389481 using herbs such as rosemary sprigs or mint leaves. They provide a more subtle flavor but look so beautiful! Having a party or picnic?  Cut pineapple and orange slices in 1/2inch-thick wheels. Fill a glass container with ice 1/3 full and put the “wheels” flat up around the side of the glass.  Add more ice and do it again until the entire container is lined with the fruit.  Pour in water over the ice to completely fill up the container. This “pineapple – orange wheel” drink looks festive and makes the fruit easy for kids to eat once the water is all gone. Infusion waters last about two days before they get a little strong, but keeping them in the fridge helps with this.

Looking for some new snacks this summer? Start with a trip to your grocery store or farmer’s market and have your children pick out a new fruit or vegetable. Next, find a recipe that uses that “new” fruit or vegetable and make a snack or meal item out of it. Or, if your child is old enough, let him or her search for a new recipe on the Internet or check out a kid-friendly recipe book from your local library. Of course, if you have a budding chef in the family, maybe he or she would like to make up a new recipe. Cooking is a great way to practice reading and math skills in a fun way.

One of the best ways to foster a love of new foods is to allow your kids to have a choice of new and familiar foods. For example, have a pasta bar for dinner:

Grill or roast a variety of veggies with a drizzle of olive oil and salt. Vegetables such as zucchini, yellow squash, Brussels sprouts, and beets work well on the grill or roasted in the oven. Cut the cooked vegetables into bite size pieces and put in separate bowls. Prepare whole wheat pasta such as penne, angel hair, or potato gnocchi and present along with the veggie “toppings” and shredded mozzarella cheese or grated parmesan. Grilled chicken strips or shrimp as lean protein choices work well too. Other delicious ingredients include chopped basil leaves, tomato chunks, or pine nuts.

Allow your children to make their own “rainbow recipe” at the pasta bar. Resist the temptation to sing the praises of any one food – no pressure when offering healthy vegetables since they are all good choices! Instead, giving your child a plate or bowl to fill up at the pasta bar, you can make zucchini boats: cut zucchini length wise, hollow out, bake or grill al dente along with the other vegetables.

This idea of a “serve yourself” bar works well with lots of entrees such as tacos, roll-up wraps, salads and fruit plates. Giving your children a choice at meal times will help them feel in control of their food choices, respect their palates, and steer them toward healthy choices.

Remember too, that kids like moist foods that are easy to chew. After all, their jaws are not as strong as the jaw of an adult. Long, tedious, chewing sessions take the flavor and fun out of many foods for kids. Giving dip options with drier foods such as meats or raw vegetables may entice your kids to try a new food. Besides Ranch dressing or ketchup, try making a lemon or lime melted butter dip. Melt ½ stick of butter and add the juice of one half lemon or lime. How about peanut butter sauce? My kids love this with meats such as pork tenderloin or chicken breast.

Mix ¼ cup peanut butter (melt in microwave or on stove) with ¼ cup soy or canola oil and 1 – 2 T of soy sauce with a splash of hot sauce. Or allow your child to make his or her own ketchup or Ranch dressing.

Looking for a nutrition project that doesn’t require cooking? Have your child tell you about the “My Plate Model.”  If he or she hasn’t been exposed to this concept yet, you can get the information on the website The healthy plate model has replaced the food guide pyramid. MyPlate is a great way for kids to understand why a slice of pizza or a burger and fries is not, by itself, a healthy meal.

Challenge your kids to plan snacks that are half fruits and/or vegetables and half protein and grains. Some examples of this would be fruit tacos with shredded cheese sprinkled on top, of pita bread stuffed with peanut butter and lots of apple slices or Naan bread with hummus and a pile of roasted red peppers on top.

Some families have even started using divided plates to help remind everyone that half of their plate should be fruit and vegetables. For more information about the divided plate, check out the website If you are looking to buy these plates, shop around on the Internet. These plates cost anywhere from $8 to $26. Or make your own plates with a kit – there are websites that allow you to make a drawing.  You send the drawing to the company and they will adhere the design onto a melamine plate and mail back to you for $11.99 per plate.

Your challenge to meet the MyPlate model will be to adapt your cooking as well. Serve more fruits and vegetables and fewer protein foods and starches. Try adapting your recipes to include more vegetables. Most recipes can be adapted by doubling the amount of veggies while cutting the starch or protein in half. Pasta served with lots of vegetables such as peas or broccoli, meatloaf with extra diced celery, onions and carrots, macaroni and cheese with chopped tomatoes and peppers stirred in, casseroles with mixed vegetables added — these versions will please everyone and meet the MyPlate guidelines easily.

Once summer comes to an end, you and your children will have made some new food favorites along with healthy nutrition habits that will stay with you through the seasons.  For now however, let’s get ready to enjoy the fabulous foods of summer!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment