It was earlier this spring when I realized that eating all the vegetables that my extended family and I enjoy (or needs to be exposed to) was getting far more expensive than I was accustomed to. Terrible winter weather in Florida and Mexico and outrageous transportation costs from the west coast were all supporting an increase in cost. I found myself doing what I implore others not to do: complaining! What would I tell someone that was griping about produce prices like I was? The answer was obvious. Do something about it.
A couple of weeks ago I got to be a lunch lady, which was something I never imagined would happen but always secretly hoped would. I got to do it for a day, but real lunch ladies and gentlemen do it day in and day out. Honestly, I canʼt imagine how thankless that job is, especially in a high school where the majority of their customers are angst-ridden teenagers. Teenagers stuck within the four walls of high school. On a sunny day in June weʼre serving hungry, stuck, angst-ridden teenagers.
Recently I was invited to present to the parents and administrators of two local NY school districts. I genuinely enjoy the opportunity to speak to parents and caregivers about their child’s nutrition. As a sidebar, to be able to speak directly with a group like this is unique, noteworthy and a clear illustration of a […]
Want to get better food into schools across America? We do! Guiding Stars recently responded to world renowned Chef Jamie Oliver‘s call to speak to the USDA and raised our voices in support of new nutrition standards for school breakfast and lunch. We encourage you to speak up as well at Jamie’s Petition Site.
So here you are more than halfway through the school year and let’s face it: you’re in a rut. You’re sick of packing those stinking school lunches and snacks and your kids are probably thinking you’re the most consistently unimaginative being on Earth. You’re struggling to get the right fruits and veggies into them and they’re coming back with a lunch box full of flaccid, slimy, and uneaten stuff. Of course, a fruit is usually thrown in whole or cut up because you’re trying; but, you’re busy, the morning routine is worsening the situation, and that whole thing about packing lunches and snacks the night before is, well, a nice idea and all…
Guiding Stars, knowing the importance of getting kids to eat more nutritiously, has implemented its nutrition navigation program in two high school cafeterias in Maine.
A high school setting can be an especially challenging environment to change what is offered in the cafeteria. Many schools earn “spending” money from the sale of competitive foods such as pizza, fried chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, desserts, ice cream and sugar-sweetened beverages. Not familiar with the term “competitive foods”? Many aren’t, but they are foods and beverages that do not have to meet the nutrition standards set by USDA for school meals but are sold alongside those meals. Typically, competitive foods are higher in fats, salt and added sugar and provide fewer nutrients that promote health such as fiber, whole grains and vitamins and minerals.
It is back to school time for just about everyone now, which also has me thinking about all my first days of school and how we ate in school. I was a public school kid. Some kids had bag lunches they brought from home but most kids were ‘hot lunch kids’ and we ate what the school made us for lunch each day.
Some days were obviously better than others. I think in just about every school’s pizza day was the favorite. Much of the food was lacking taste and some was even unidentifiable (like a block of ‘cheese’ that we cleverly found could also be used as a pencil eraser – more functional than tasty).
Here is a list of some old cafeteria staples that with a little grown up TLC can be updated to fit back into your grown up diet and provide lots of nourishment and maybe some fond memories…
It’s no secret that I have hesitated to let my two children “help” me in the kitchen. It has always seemed like more trouble than it’s worth, with poorly measured ingredients, big spills, and squabbles about who gets to do what.
Today, however, something magical happened: I changed my mind. I realized that in order to survive this long summer at home with my four-year old and six-year old, I’m going to have to give them jobs beyond setting the table and feeding the dog. And, who knows? They just might be ready to handle it.
This afternoon, after having her hose off our very sandy beach shoes, I let my six-year old help put away the groceries. Grace did this very well, and she felt proud. Buoyed by a surge of self-confidence, she then decided to fix herself a snack.
First, she put yogurt in a carefully chosen bowl (she spilled some, but cleaned it up without any prompting), and spooned some granola over the top.
Then, she asked me…