The Most Important Meal of the Day

We all hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but do you know why??  There are many.  Studies have shown that children who regularly eat breakfast compared to those who rarely eat breakfast:  

  • behave better
  • have increased school attendance
  • learn better
  • actively participate in class more often
  • have increased attentiveness
  • achieve higher test scores

Make every effort to give your child breakfast.  Think of it as you would your car.  You cannot go anywhere without gas.  Food is fuel for your body.  Breakfast is the nutritional boost we all need to be prepared for our day and for our kids to be ready to learn.  Breakfast doesn’t have to be fancy, or take long to prepare.  Try to include a variety of foods:  a grain (bread & cereal), protein (eggs, meats, nuts) fruit or vegetable, and a dairy product.  It could be traditional eggs, toast and milk or pancake, banana and milk.  It can be not so traditional breakfast burrito and a glass of juice or fruit and cream cheese sandwich on whole wheat with a glass of milk.  Whatever you decide, remember to fuel your body everyday starting with breakfast.

Simple Breakfast Wrap:  Cinnamon Apple Wrap (serves 4)

  • 4 fajita sized tortillas
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • sprinkle of cinnamon sugar
  • 1 Tbl. margarine

Heat tortillas on skillet.  Spread margarine lightly.  Spoon 1/8 cup applesauce and add a few slices of apples.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar and roll up.  Serve with a glass of milk.  Healthy Eating,   Priscilla Paras-Huerta – Nutritionist

Stuffed Pumpkin

Here is a great recipe from our Nutritionist Priscilla:
I tried this past week… Served with some ice cream, of course! YUM YUM!
This Harvest Season, I would like to share a recipe for pumpkins. They are not just for pies!

Stuffed Pumpkin


One 9-inch round pumpkin
2 cup chopped Granny Smith apples
1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Cut the top off the pumpkin and save. Scoop out the seeds and pumpkin flesh, leaving a ¼-inch thick shell.

3. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Fill the pumpkin and place on baking sheet. Bake uncovered 45 minutes. Place top back on pumpkin and cook another 30 minutes, until bubbling. Allow to cool 15 minutes and serve.

This can be served warm (I prefer to add a small scoop vanilla ice cream) or cold.
I have also tried this with smaller pumpkins to make individual desserts.

Our Nutritionist

Welcome new and returning families,

My name is Priscilla Paras-Huerta and I am the school’s nutrition board member. This is my 4th year here at MNS, my son Alonzo graduated in 2009 and my daughter Annalyn will be in Brigidan’s class this year. I chose MNS because I worked co-op for my sister when her kids were in preschool and I love the closeness and family like cooperation seen here. I feel very confident that my children are well cared for and their academics are nurtured. I am a certified Dietary Technician and currently hold a Food Safety certificate. I previously worked in hospitals managing the kitchen. My responsibility here includes writing the menus, ensuring families are fulfilling their snack obligations, food activities in the classrooms, and an occasional blog and recipe in the monthly newsletters. Feel free to come to me if you have any nutrition questions or need help in deciding what healthy snacks you will bring in for the children to enjoy. I look forward to another great year here working hand in hand with all of you.

Priscilla Paras- Huerta

Snacks and Stove

Good News, Our stove has been delivered!
Although the stove has been delivered it will not be able to be hooked up until the gas line for the water heater is fixed because the line that goes to/from the water heater goes through the wall to the stove. UNTIL the water heater is corrected we will not have the stove working.
A reminder for the next few weeks Please note that if you are planning on menu items, bringing in snack etc. we need to have non-stove cooked items. Thanks

Study: A Link Between Pesticides on Berries and ADHD

From Time Magazine ( and The Independent (

A new study in the journal Pediatrics associates exposure to pesticides with cases of ADHD . ADHD rates of diagnosis have risen 3% a year between 1997 and 2006. Increasingly, research suggests that chemical influences, perhaps in combination with other environmental factors — like video games, hyperkinetically edited TV shows and flashing images in educational DVDs aimed at infants — may be contributing to the increase in attention problems.

Researchers at the University of Montreal and Harvard University examined the potential relationship between ADHD and exposure to certain toxic pesticides called organophosphates which are commonly used in North America on non-organic strawberries, blueberries and celery. Children are most likely to ingest the chemicals through their diet — by eating fruits and vegetables that have been sprayed while growing

The team analyzed the levels of pesticide residue in the urine of more than 1,100 children ages 8 to 15 and found that those with the highest levels of dialkyl phosphates, which are the breakdown products of organophosphate pesticides, had the highest incidence of ADHD.

“I was quite surprised to see an effect at lower levels of exposure,” says Bouchard, who used data on ADHD from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a long-term study of health parameters of a representative sample of U.S. citizens.

Bouchard’s analysis is the first to home in on organophosphate pesticides as a potential contributor to ADHD in young children. Organophosphates are known to cause damage to the nerve connections in the brain — that’s how they kill agricultural pests, after all. The chemical works by disrupting a specific neurotransmitter, acetylcholinesterase, a defect that has been implicated in children diagnosed with ADHD. In animal models, exposure to the pesticides has resulted in hyperactivity and cognitive deficits as well.

“I am very confident in the correlation in this study, because we controlled for quite a few things that we thought could play a role,” says Bouchard. “Adjusting for those things did not change the results very much. Which indicates that there is very little potential for confounding in this association between pesticides and ADHD.”

The study also raises the possibility of setting a national threshold for safe levels of exposure; the study authors note that according to the U.S. Pesticide Residue Program report, organophosphates were detected in 28% of frozen blueberries and in 19% of celery samples tested for pesticides. It is not clear whether those levels pose a threat to cognitive function in children, but the current study’s findings suggest it may be wise to figure that out.

In the meantime, Bouchard suggests that concerned parents try to avoid using bug sprays in the home and to feed their children organically grown fruits and vegetables, if possible. While pesticide-free fruits and greens may be more costly, Bouchard says they may be worth the price in terms of future health. While one article suggested that, parents should be careful to scrub all produce to reduce residue when using non-organics, another one pointed out that washing the fruit does nothing to get rid of the pesticides as they penetrate the skin and reside in the part of the fruit that we eat.

The sad news is that neurologist have known that pesticides are harmful to cognitive function for a long time. They have seen children exposed to pesticides on farms suffer cognitively as a result of organophosphate exposure and have warned against having young children close to fields during fumigation.

What they did not know is that even very small levels of exposure are harmful. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limits how much residual pesticide can be left on food but this allowed amount, as it turns out, is harmful. In a way this is very similar to the lead story. The EPA set limits on the lead exposure that was considered ‘safe’ and but the allowed exposure level can actually cause cognitive problems and ADHD.

Pet products can also contain toxic pesticides so avoid pet shampoo, flea collars and other flea medicines with organophosphates and avoid using toxic pesticides in the home and garden.

The study was published online in the Journal Pediatrics on May 17 2010.

I found a guide of which other fruits and vegetables are high in pesticide residue at Foodnews, which is part of the Environmental Work Group.