Monthly Archives: March 2020

Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Healthy

We will all remember the Spring of 2020 because of the stay at home restrictions put in place to help stop the spread of disease.   To make the most of the time, we offer you these tips to stay healthy while staying home.

Eat Well. Our bodies need the best fuel every day, and this is a great time to focus on healthy food choices.  Eating a balanced diet, which includes lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grains, can help keep you healthy. And, it’s easy! Use the USDA’s MyPlate app as your guide.  Think about food groups when planning meals and snacks.  Try for at least two food groups for a snack – fruit and cheese, for example – and at least three for a meal – whole grain pasta, tomato sauce with added vegetables, and lean ground beef.  Pour a glass of milk to round out the meal.

Drink plenty of fluids. Your body depends on fluids to survive, and most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. Water is recommended, but when you want something different, consider drinks that won’t add unnecessary sugars to your diet, like milk. Milk not only tastes great, it also is an affordable, excellent source of 9 essential nutrients. And, did you know that three of the nutrients – vitamin A, vitamin D, and protein – are essential for a healthy immune function?

Get fresh air. While doctors don’t typically prescribe sitting on your porch to cure an ailment, they do say that stepping outside can help to impact both our physical and mental health.  Open a window, take a walk, or sit on your porch. “Taking a short break outdoors can leave you feeling refreshed and more energized to get back to your daily tasks,” says Dr. Jimmy Johannes, a pulmonologist at Long Beach Medical in this article. Plus, it’s easy to keep a safe “social distance” outdoors!

Keep moving. Just because the gyms are closed doesn’t mean you should stop your exercise routine. Use this time as an opportunity to try something new. Many gyms are offering online classes, and many at home programs are offering free trials. Who knows? Maybe now is the time to start training for your next 5k or marathon. It starts with the resolve to keep moving. Need to get started? The Department of Health and Human Services offers physical activity guidelines and practical ways to be active on their website.

Get plenty of sleep. Getting a good night of sleep not only helps you feel and think better, it can also help you manage stress. Start with a healthy evening routine.  Turn off the screens, including your phone, an hour before bed and pick up a good book, meditate, write, play music or find another relaxing activity that will settle your brain.  Being “stuck” at home does mean you have an opportunity to binge-watch your favorite television show, just consider that getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep will help you stay healthy.

Do something good. Times are stressful. People are uncertain, confused and cooped up. A great way to help manage your own stress is to take time each day to do something for someone else. Check on a neighbor, share a roll of TP, call a parent or grandparent, sew some masks for healthcare workers, or donate funds to your local food bank. While you are at it, thank a farmer for continuing to produce food for your family. Even doing something small for someone else will boost your mood- and theirs too!

Help Spread the Word So Oregon Kids Don’t Go Hungry

Meal programs are getting nutritious food to children ages 1 to 18 in school districts statewide thanks to dedicated school nutrition professionals around the state with the support and partnership of Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs.

According to No Kid Hungry, one in six American children faces hunger and three out of four teachers report regularly seeing hungry kids in their classrooms. Oregon ranks especially high in food insecurity for youth. When school lets out unexpectedly for something like COVID-19, it poses potential problems for many students who depend on school meals.

That’s why many school districts are now providing drive up or walk up, “grab-and-go” meals at selected school sites for all youth from 1 to 18 years old at no cost, regardless of income. These meals meet strict regulations for nutrition and are provided at no charge, with no need to sign up or show identification. Some school districts are even delivering meals to children through their bus routes. This way of distributing meals has created a new set of logistical challenges in keeping food, especially milk and dairy products, fresh.

Seeing this immediate need, the ODNC Youth Wellness team quickly created a program on behalf of Oregon dairy producers and processors to provide portable coolers to support the new meal programs. 200 portable coolers were shipped across the state to help 32 school districts keep milk cold for grab and go meals as well as meals delivered on bus routes. “The coolers are helping us to serve safer meals to our kids by keeping the cold and warm things separate,” says Cheryl Davis, head cook for Spray School District.

Lunches available at a school in Hillsboro.

As closures were announced for the continuation of the school year, and unemployment numbers skyrocket, these grab-and-go programs continue to grow. Nutrition directors in Oregon and across the country anticipate the numbers will continue to rise as households are affected more long term and consume their existing and emergency food supplies.

Check out a meal site near you, and help spread the word on your social media accounts and in your community to help families with kids and teens ages 1 to 18.

Find a list compiled by Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon at this link, or call 211 for more information.

RELATED LINKS:

Oregon, Washington school districts offer meals to students amid coronavirus closures KATU, March 15