This past week, students attending our Nutrition Connect program were asked, “What prevents you from eating a healthy diet?” The general trend was that “time restraints” got in their way of making smart food decisions. I can definitely relate. In fact, before the presentation that night, time was lagging, and that’s when I managed to shovel down… let’s just say way too much food… without even realizing it. And to make matters worse, it wasn’t the healthy stuff (loaded with stars, that is) I quickly packed away either. Instead, it was the fast and convenient foods (with absolutely no stars) that left me feeling sluggish and quite disappointed in myself. Here I was about to give a presentation on healthy eating, and yet I too had fallen into the “time restraint” trap.
It has started. The cascade of one-day holidays that each seem to take a full week to celebrate and then linger for months. This was clear when my son was yelling the other day that he must have another piece of candy because, “It is Halloween!!!!” The only problem was that it was October 24. Operation “Hide Candy” has begun.
Winter squash are excellent vegan sources of omega-3 fatty acids and other important nutrients, such as beta carotene. Pumpkin, butternut, acorn, hubbard…they’ll all bring a healthful dose of sweetness to your table this fall. Use these recipes to help you put these flexible vegetables to work on your table.
On a day when people like you and I, despite our better judgment, purposefully cart our children around collecting junk food, here’s a fun way to keep the spirit of healthy living alive tonight. When my children came home and saw these just casually hanging out on the kitchen counter, they were more than a little disturbed…and my kids are not easily impressed by anything I do. But with a few pieces of fruit and about 15 minutes with a paring knife, you’ll have a fun item to share for your Halloween celebration.
Have you been wondering how, for as long as you can remember, pepperoni pizza and French fries fit into the meal pattern for lunch at school? How is it possible that foods high in fat, sodium and calories are able to make the grade as nutritious lunch choices for students? All that is about to change. As part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed new nutrition standards for school meal programs. Many of us in the nutrition community are very excited about the new set of standards since they propose to add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free and low-fat milk to school meals while reducing the levels of sodium and saturated fat in those meals. These same nutrients are found in the Guiding Stars system used to rate the nutritional value of foods.
Fall is here in New England. For a sports fan, a chef and a father (stepfather and grandfather), it’s the best time of the year. We’re still picking tomatoes, broccoli, onions, brussels sprouts, chile peppers and more from the greenhouse, and we’ve begun pruning, planting spring bulbs and introducing some new perennials to the family. We’ve also decided on an addition to the deck for container gardening and are already plotting out square footage for next year’s gardens. But… fall is for New England sports. We don’t talk about the Red Sox anymore in our house this year, but the Patriots are up and running. Sunday afternoon, are you ready for some… Labne?..some Souvlaki,? How about some Otsu?
The long standing tradition on Halloween is for children to roam the neighborhood dressed up in spooky garb asking neighbors for treats, namely candy. If a treat was not forthcoming, then the children could play a “trick” on that neighbor. With all we know about the negative impact on our health from too much sugar consumption, especially for children, who is really getting tricked in this situation?
I was on a college campus this past week, specifically in a college dining hall, watching and taking photos with my Blackberry of an exciting Guiding Stars Healthy Chef face off. It has been just a few years since I pushed my tray through the food line to see what kind of grey meat was being served or how much green had already drained out of the “green” vegetable that sat in the steaming tray for too many hours. I was curious to see up close and personal how today’s college kids were being treated at feeding time.