AUSTIN, Texas (August 1, 2007). Whole Foods Market®, the world's leading natural and organic foods supermarket, is sending students of all ages to the head of the class with a variety of tools to help stay on the nutritional track during the busy back-to-school season.

By going beyond the typical offerings that target the K-12 back-to-school set, Whole Foods Market is offering two handy brochures packed with coupons and information. While one brochure offers nutritional guidance to kids, tweens and teens, the other is specifically tailored to college students. The Company will also produce back-to-school themed podcasts and offer tasty recipes sure to help fortify brain power during the school year.

Here are some of the highlights of the back-to-school information featured in August and September at Whole Foods Market stores:

Beginning with Breakfast

Jump start a busy day of learning with a high fiber, low sugar meal that contains some protein. Studies have shown that children who regularly eat breakfast are more likely to meet their recommended dietary intake for vitamins and minerals.1 “Eating breakfast helps promote regular meal patterns and consistent energy intake, and that has a positive effect on academic performance,” said Jody Villecco, Whole Foods Market food and nutrition quality standards coordinator. “Substantial whole grain cereals such as oatmeal or muesli make great choices for breakfast since they provide a sustained release of energy until lunchtime. Also, look for cereals with added nuts or seeds to sneak in even more protein.”

To learn more about the importance of breakfast, including studies about better test scores for students who eat protein-based breakfasts plus more quick and easy meal suggestions that supply a strong start to the day, listen to a podcast with Jody available beginning August 6, at http://wholefoodsmarket.com/socialmedia/pressroomodcast/. In addition, check out Whole Foods Market's online breakfast planner to as an accompaniment www.wholefoodsmarket.com/backtoschool.

Easy Ways to Squeeze in the Good Stuff

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that nearly 22 million school days are lost annually due to the common cold alone.2 Since picky eaters, harried schedules, and food allergies are the reality of everyday life for most families, healthy preparation to help avoid getting sick is key to meeting the demands of the school year.

A balanced, healthy diet with a variety of whole foods can provide all the nutrients kids need. When that is a tough bill to fill every day and more “insurance” is in order, supplements might be a good idea. The American Medical Association recommends that everyone take a multivitamin daily.3 Read the labels when choosing multivitamins: each age group has special nutrient requirements plus some chewables can be loaded with sugar or artificial colors and flavors. At Whole Foods Market, we do the home work for you – our supplements as well as the food we sell must meet strict quality standards, and that includes no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives, or hydrogenated fats.

When thinking of your family's nutritional needs, consider also whether you are getting enough “good bacteria” or probiotics and essential fatty acids like omega-3s. “Probiotics, such as Acidophilus, are strains of good bacteria that help support healthy levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut and intestines,” said Dr. Holly Lucille, licensed naturopathic physician in California specializing in women's wellness and family medicine, “The intestine houses millions of friendly bacteria, which is very important for the immune system, since much of our immune system is housed in the intestines. Your immune system, good digestion and proper nutrient absorption depend on these friendly bacteria.” Beneficial bacteria can be found in yogurt, unpasteurized sauerkraut, kefir and other fermented foods as well as in supplement form.

Essential fatty acids (EFA), particularly omega-3s, are linked to many of the body's supportive functions for the development and health of the brain, heart, nervous system, tissues, skin and immune system. The omega-3 called DHA is especially important for school-age children. Often called “brain food,” EFAs can be found in oily fish like salmon and sardines, flax seeds, walnuts, and are available as supplements.

For more information, Whole Foods Market hosts back-to-school podcasts with experts on probiotics (with Dr. Lucille), EFAs, and nutrition.

Lunchbox Solutions

Growing bodies and brains need fiber, good quality protein and nutrients to stay healthy. A child's health can suffer from too few of these good things and too many sugary, highly processed foods. In fact, the USDA's “5 a Day” campaign for veggies and fruits was recently increased to NINE a day.4


1 S.G. Affenito, “Breakfast: A Missed Opportunity,” Journal of the American Dietetic Association (2007): 107: 565-9; T.A. Nicklas, et al, “Breakfast Consumption with and without Vitamin-mineral Supplement Use Favorably Impacts Daily Nutrient Intake of Ninth-grade Students,” Journal of Adolescent Health (2000): 27: 314-21; T.A. Nicklas, et al, “Breakfast Consumption Affects Adequacy of Total Daily Intake in Children,” Journal of the American Dietetic Association (1993): 93: 886-91.

 

2 Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1996 3 K. Fairfield and R. Fletcher, “Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults,” Journal of the American Medical Association, (2002): 287(23): 3116-3126. 4 USDA Food Guide Pyramid: http://www.mypyramid.gov