To the person suggesting the postal service remove the word rain from their creed, they might as well just get a new...

Retiring Child Nutrition Director deserves our thanks


Kathy Kolasa


Kathy Kolasa

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A big shout-out and thank you to Leann Seelman who is retiring from the position of Child Nutrition Director at Pitt County Schools. We will miss her caring commitment to the students, teachers, staff and families. When Seelman arrived eight years ago, Pitt County Schools had a statewide reputation for having an innovative and fiscally sound Child Nutrition Program. She not only maintained but enhanced that tradition.

Her list of accomplishments is too long for this space, but I must recognize that Seelman led child nutrition through the implementation of the “No Hungry Kids Act,” making huge improvements to the meal programs and improving the health of our kids. I admire anyone who can feed up to 24,000 children a day who pay no more than $1 for breakfast and $2.25 for lunch.

Valerie Lindsay, longtime child nutrition supervisor, described Seelman as creative, energetic and dedicated and said she is accepting of change, employs responsible fiscal management and sets high expectations of her staff. 

Seelman isn’t the only person who’s retiring this week after from a career that has contributed to the wellness of our community. Scottie Gaskins, my friend and wellness colleague at Vidant Health, shared these thoughts about an influential leader, Roger Robertson, who championed many wellness efforts that I also have played a small part in. “He has been an advocate for wellness, which led to many advances in wellness centers, outpatient nutrition services, healthy food policy and employee health programs. He led with a caring heart, exceptional ability to empower and mentor others, and by example through his own practice of health.”

Q: At a recent family reunion, my siblings and I were being nostalgic about the family meals we had growing up. We each had a job to do — setting the table, helping mom with preparation, doing the dishes (no automatic dishwasher in our home). At best, most of us now eat as a family only one or two days a week. Do you know if it’s worth trying to overcome all the modern obstacles to eating together more often? — K.G., Winterville

A: I share some of your memories, and yes, there are benefits for families eating together. One message that all my registered dietitian colleagues at ECU and at Vidant Health give to adults and children trying to manage their weight is “eat at home most of the time.”

There have been several studies that document if you eat more than seven meals a week out (and that includes eating at the cafeteria at work) you are more likely to struggle to maintain a healthy weight. The Harris Poll organization recently reported that family meals (let alone eating at home) weren’t very common today.

I wondered if there were studies that identified the benefits of family meals, and indeed I found the list included: better eating habits, healthier body weight, greater academic performance, less disordered eating and decreased substance abuse. Fortunately, it’s fewer than 5 percent of families that report never eating together. But only one in three families eats together four to six times a week.

There is no magic number, of course, but researchers have found that the most benefits occur if a family eats at least five meals together a week — and that means without the TV or other electronic distractions. The time it takes to prepare, eat and clean up is often cited as a big barrier. Just think about how much time you spend in the drive-through line or waiting to be served at a restaurant.

If you need suggestions on how to make family meal times work, check out the website from Harvard Medical School clinical psychologist Anne K. Fishel. She is co-founder of The Family Dinner Project (https://thefamilydinnerproject.org). Then as a family make a S.M.A.R.T. goal — one that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.

Why not try to increase the number of meals during the summer, giving you time to establish a new habit before school starts again in the fall? If your meals don’t have fruits and/or vegetables in them, include that in your goal. 

If your family is only eating four meals a week together, you might set a goal to eat one more meal together a week. Be realistic in deciding when it’s most likely you can make it happen.

Say a family has agreed to eat Saturday breakfast together at 7:30 a.m. (before the activities of the day start), every Saturday for the next month. The breakfast will include at least a serving of milk, fruit and a whole-grain product.

If that works, then the family can make a new goal. If they find this doesn’t work,family members can think through how to overcome the barriers or select a different day and meal. Then watch the benefits roll in.

Professor emeritus Kathy Kolasa, a registered dietitian nutritionist and Ph.D., is an Affiliate Professor in the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. Contact her at kolasaka@ecu.edu.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


September 16, 2018

It should come as no surprise that Pitt Community College found its new president, Lawrence Rouse, just 63 miles down the road in Kenansville.

Rouse is a native of Sumpter, South Carolina, but he spent 13 years in Duplin County as president and CEO of James Sprunt Community College.


Bob Garner

September 16, 2018

How did Carrboro writer and teacher Georgann Eubanks become the leader of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association?

In a word, she earned a top role in our state’s cultural community by her diligent and unselfish community service that has made things better for all of us. For…


September 16, 2018

Q I am reading your book “The Well-Behaved Child” and have a question that it doesn’t address. I am a single mom with children from two different fathers. One of my ex-husbands (my son’s father) and I have arranged to do regular “child-exchanges.” One weekend,…


September 16, 2018

Q I have been married to my second husband for 24 years. We have a 16-year-old and I have two adult children.

I have moved seven times in 17 years for his job. He didn’t have to quit and take another job, but they were opportunities for him to climb the ladder in his career. I have had to…

Carolyn Hax

September 16, 2018


Dear Short Answers:

I have a wonderful family with three kids, five grandkids and a terrific husband. I’m not sorry about any of the decisions that I made, but I am feeling more and more like I didn’t fully explore the alternatives that seem to be available to…

Short Answers

September 14, 2018

The 99th annual Pitt County American Legion Agricultural Fair is scheduled to be open Tuesday through Sept. 23 at the county fairgrounds, 3910 Martin Luther King Jr. Highway.

The event will feature a children’s barnyard, free shows and exhibits and nearly three dozen carnival rides from…

September 14, 2018

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, especially during hurricane season.

Weather permitting, the Pitt County American Legion Agricultural Fair will open Tuesday. Canceled following Hurricane Floyd in 1999, the fair has managed to go on almost every year for nearly a century.



September 14, 2018

Editor’s note: The aftermath of Hurricane Florence could cause events to be canceled or postponed. Call for more information.


Pitt County Fair

The 99th annual Pitt County Fair will be held Tuesday-Sept. 23 at the Pitt County Fairgrounds, 3910 MLK Jr. Highway. The opening ceremony will…

September 14, 2018

Q During extended family get-togethers with my side of the family, there is one person who does 95 percent of the talking. When I ask someone else in the room a question about their lives, this person always jumps in and takes over the conversation again. This talker also never inquires about what…

Carolyn Hax

September 14, 2018


Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge will exhibit “The Black Light Project” and “Black Peace” through Sept. 28 in the Don Edwards and Harvey Wooten galleries. “The Black Light Project” is photographic documentary designed to highlight positive images of…

263 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 27
        Next Page»   Last Page»