Thursday, October 1, 2015

Celebrate National Farm to School Month

October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections happening all over the country between children and local food! Throughout October, follow the National Farm to School Network on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to see how communities are celebrating; include the hashtags #farmtoschool and #F2SMonth in your social media messages; and, visit farmtoschool.org to read great stories about farm to school’s impacts and successes. New to farm to school? Register to attend the Farm to School 101 webinar on Tuesday, October 13 from 12-12:30pm CT for a look at how the movement is working to connect millions of kids to healthy, local food. Whether you are a food service professional, farmer, teacher or food-loving family, there are plenty of ways to celebrate National Farm to School Month! Visit farmtoschool.org to learn more.

Friday, March 27, 2015

NHPS proves the point; school meal regs work!

The school meal regulations ARE achievable as shown by New Haven Public Schools and the Rudd Center.

Healthy Kids First is the tag line for NHPS and it is as accurate as can be. New Haven pulled out the stops for New Haven Public School students and it shows!

Over the course of two school years, spring of 2012 to spring of 2014the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at UCONN and the Yale University School of Public Health tracked students at 12 New Haven middle schools to see if plate waste of fruits, vegetables and milk had increased. What you will see in the study, plate waste didn't increase but consumption of fruit, vegetables and milk did increase!

Granted, NHPS, was well ahead of the curve. In 2008 anticipating the federal standards would be tightened up grains were replaced with whole grains, and smart menu changes were in the works. Vegetables were blended into marinara sauce, mac and cheese incorporated vegetable purees to not only bump up the nutritional content but to start developing palates. The pizza went to a whole grain crust with a label with less ingredients. Slowly over the course of a few years the menus were completely revamped and the acceptability factor was acheived.  Salad bars were added to all schools thanks to partnerships with United Fresh Produce Association, the Whole Kids Foundation, the Chef Ann Foundation and Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools. Chefs Move to Schools was added to the schools in the fall of 2010 and school gardens were now part of the design for all new schools. Teaching and showing students where their food comes from is the step in the right direction. Students who worked in the school gardens became excited about eating vegetables, so much so, that when beets and red onions were removed from salad bars the students protested the decision and the salad bars offerrings were revised to be what vegetables the students wanted, thus increasing acceptability and consumption.

Kudos to the team at New Haven Public Schools for making the right changes at the right time for the wellbeing of the students.

This study shows that children will eat great food in school.

The link to the article referencing the study is here:  http://www.nhregister.com//opinion/20150325/forum-healthful-school-meals-are-working.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Shaving O' the Beard for the kids!

I decided this fall to grow my beard just to shave it off March 21st to raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. Perhaps I do look like a leprechaun, let's hope the Luck O' the Irish helps me make a difference!



Did you know that kids' cancers are different from adult cancers? It's true. And childhood cancer research is extremely underfunded. So they decided to do something about it by raising money for cures. Now they need your help!

Will you make a donation? Every dollar makes a difference for the thousands of infants, children, teens, and young adults fighting childhood cancers.

I'm doing this as a tribute to all kids, young and old that I know who have beat cancer and in memory of some really good friends whom cancer took their life.

Two friends from high school lost their battle, this, in part, is for them.

Please donate here: https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/757051/2015

Dangling the Carrot; Not the Candy Bar

Yesterday I had the honor and privilege to meet with Debra Eschmeyer, the Executive Director of First Lady Michele Obama's Let's Move Campaign in the East Wing of the White House. We met in the same room that FLOTUS has strategy, think tank style meetings and we talked about efforts to continue to feed kids great food. Today I saw a posting on Facebook that,was 180 degrees opposite of that discussion. The posting was of an 8 year old at an indoor soccer arena chowing down a entire roll of starburst, at 8 o'clock in the morning  and it got me thinking.

It's so crazy that the "food" they sell at children sports venues is all crappy junk food. The facilities are designed to "build" athletes and yet they sell candy & soda to fuel up kids with sugar.

As a society we need to teach kids how to build a healthy body and this is a step in the wrong direction.

#SchoolFood has changed for the better and families are eating healthier; farmers markets and health food stores are flourishing but for whatever reason society thinks its ok to fuel kids up with sugar, sugar, sugar all the time. Every holiday now has candy associated with it, kids sports banquets end with a trophy and a bag of candy, little league baseball concessions sell crap, indoor kids soccer sells junk food, school fundraising sells junk food.

We are in the middle of a obesity epidemic in this country, yet it never ends.

Now is the time to change the paradigm and move to a healthier generation, think outside the box and take a stand for what is right for our kids.

We can become a healthier society but it all starts by dangling the carrot and NOT the candy bar!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hooray Puree reinvents a classic, kid friendly recipe

Here is a fun recipe utilizing Hooray Puree. I first created this recipe in my early days of working in school nutrition. Peeling the squash and sweet potatoes, steaming, mashing, then pureeing them was a laborious process...until I discovered Hooray Puree. Now the recipe prep time has decreased 75% and my kids still LOVE this recipe.

Have fun making this at home with your children!

SQUAPPLE CRISP

1 cups Hooray Puree Butternut squash
3 cups Hooray Puree Sweet Potato
1 pound (about 3)  apples, peeled and sliced

4 Tbs. butter
1/2 cup REAL Maple Syrup
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup cornflakes, crushed
Add squash and sweet potatoes to a mixing bowl. Add 1 Tbs. butter, 1/4 cup  Maple Syrup and spices to the squash & sweet potatoes. Melt remaining butter, mix with cornflakes and remaining syrup. Layer squash and apples in baking pan, top with cornflake mixture. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. 

Serve as a side dish to accompany dinner or add a scoop of ice cream for a delicious dessert!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Maple Sugaring/Chef Demo at IAR Middle School in Farmington



Today I had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to work with the staff and students at IAR Middle School in Farmington CT. 


I cooked Whole Grain Pancakes for the students and served them with Maple Syrup made by the students from Sugar Maples tapped at their school! 


Chartwells Resident Dietitian for Farmington Public Schools Aliza Stern RD spoke about Whole Grains.
 

 














Maple Sugar Farmer Kay Carroll from Brookside Farm II in Litchfield spoke to the students about the Maple Syrup production process and explain and tasted the four different grades of Maple Syrup  with the students.



For more information about Connecticut Maple Syrup visit CT Maple Syrup Producers website: http://www.ctmaple.org 

For GREAT Maple Recipes, including two of my own please pick up a copy of 
The Maple Cookbook – Connecticut Style http://www.ctmaple.org/cookbook.html 

All pictures are original except the top photo which was borrowed from the CT Maple Syrup Producers website