August 2010 Archives

Norah O'Donnell and Husband Whip Up a Cookbook

Gracie Cavnar
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You will be able to meet Norah on November 10 at the Blue Plate Special Cafe Harvest Lunch.  More details.

Just in from a People magazine story, by Liza Hamm

With a professional chef at home in husband Geoff Tracy, it should come as no surprise that Norah O'Donnell is a bit of a foodie. The couple's culinary pursuits went into overdrive after welcoming their three children, however, and is now yielding fruit of its own in the form of Baby Love: Healthy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler.
Read the whole story here.

New Report Shows School District Wellness Policies Fail to Provide Strong Guidelines

Gracie Cavnar
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While policies have improved, many guidelines for competitive foods and beverages do not comply with federal mandate or national standards.
By: Chriqui JF, Schneider L, Chaloupka FJ, Gourdet C, Bruursema A, Ide K and Pugach O  for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Published: Aug 10, 2010

A new study from Bridging the Gap, a research program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), shows that school district wellness policies remain weak and often are not aligned with national recommendations for nutrition or physical activity. Guidelines for competitive foods and beverages--those offered outside of school meal programs--are especially lax and many do not comply with requirements of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004.

For the whole story click here.

Back to School Notes: All Decatur Schools Offer Healthier Food Options

Gracie Cavnar
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From a story posted on August 8, 2010 12:16 pm By Julie Shimada

As City Schools of Decatur students started another academic year this past week, the students at Renfroe and Decatur High were offered new cafeteria options thanks to the Decatur Farm to School program.

Farm to School Makes Its Mark

At Renfroe and Decatur High, in addition to the traditional cafeteria line, students can now choose foods from the "Fast 'n Fresh" section, which includes a salad bar, a sandwich station, and other fast and healthy items.

This line replaces the a la carte line at Decatur High - where nachos, fries and other less healthy items were previously sold.

Jennifer Weissman, of the Decatur Farm to School program told Decatur News Online, "Students and teachers are enjoying the new offerings. They like choosing their own salad and sandwich toppings, and we're thrilled to provide new healthy options at lunch time."

Recipe for Success Chefs to the Lunch Rescue

Chef Molly Graham
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Back to school means back to the drawing board for fresh lunch box ideas.
     To keep your kids from trading their PB&J for their lunch buddy's slice of pizza, creativity is a must!
      Feeling stumped?  The Recipe for Success Culinary Team has done the work for you by creating a week's worth of flavor-packed menus that are healthy, delicious and simple.

      Put those little hands to work and let your kids assist in the preparation of their own lunch.  They will be more likely to eat it.
Happy Cooking and Bon Appetit!

Monday: Baked Falafel Pita with Cucumber Yogurt & Veggie Dippers
by Chef Nicole Livezy
Download the recipes:
Baked Falafel Pita with Cucumber Yogurt Dip.pdf

Tuesday: Roasted Succotash with Greens
By Chef Ruth Gonzales Riojas
Download the recipe:
Roasted Succotash with Greens.pdf

Wednesday: Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups
By Chef Ronnie Alford
Download the recipe:
Chicken Salad & Lettuce cups.pdf

Thursday: Mini Garden Greens Frittatas
By the RFS Culinary Team
Download the recipe:
Mini Garden Frittatas.pdf
Friday: Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich and Strawberry Salad
Chef Molly Graham
Download the recipes:
Peanut Butter Bannana Sandwich.pdf

Any Day: Fruit & Yogurt Parfait
By Chef Ruth Gonzales Riojas
Download the recipe:
Fruit Salad.pdf

Tip from the RFS Team: Package lunches in an insulated box or bag with a re-useable ice pack.  Or make your own ice pack by including a smoothie or fruit juice frozen in a sealed container.  It will keep your other dishes cool and by lunch time it will be ready to drink.
Some of our favorite lunch boxes:
Go Green Lunchbox  Laptop Lunches  Re Use It  Lunch Sense  Planet Box  Lunch Bots  Kids Konserve
Do you have a tip for a healthy packed  lunch?  Please share it by submitting a comment!

Fixing a World That Fosters Fat

Gracie Cavnar
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From the New York Times article by Natasha Singer, published on August 21, 2010

WHY are Americans getting fatter and fatter? The simple explanation is that we eat too much junk food and spend too much time in front of screens -- be they television, phone or computer -- to burn off all those empty calories.

One handy prescription for healthier lives is behavior modification. If people only ate more fresh produce. (Thank you, Michael Pollan.) If only children exercised more. (Ditto, Michelle Obama.)

Unfortunately, behavior changes won't work on their own without seismic societal shifts, health experts say, because eating too much and exercising too little are merely symptoms of a much larger malady. The real problem is a landscape littered with inexpensive fast-food meals; saturation advertising for fatty, sugary products; inner cities that lack supermarkets; and unhealthy, high-stress workplaces. In other words:
it's the environment, stupid.

Read the entire article here.

Obesity is Considered a National Security Threat

Gracie Cavnar
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and certainly a threat to our defense budget.

According to a recent released report, the military annually discharges more than 1,200 first-time enlistees before their contracts expire because of weight problems, which imposes a staggering $60 million price tag for the military to recruit and train replacements.

"[Obesity] is a critical long-term challenge, for not only the military, but for the nation," said Dr. Curtis Gilroy, director of accession policy in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. "We're talking about national health here, which is a significant issue for this country."

Julie's Health Club: Top 10 children's health concerns

Gracie Cavnar
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Top 10 children's health concerns Share | Drugs? Sexting? Baby Einstein videos?

Adults see obesity as the top health threat to children in their communities--but not necessarily their own kids--and many believe the problem is getting worse, according to a new poll. For the third year in a row, childhood obesity topped the list with nearly 40 percent of the 2,064 adults surveyed ranking it as a "big problem." Drug abuse (30 percent) and smoking and tobacco use (29 percent) rounded out the top three.

When broken down by race, black adults rated smoking as the top health threat to children, followed by teen pregnancy and obesity. Hispanic adults cited drug abuse; obesity was No. 2.

"At the national level, obesity as a problem is on par with youth smoking; both have rates similar to non-marijuana illicit drug use among teens," said pediatrician Matthew Davis, director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

Read the full story here,

Recipe for Success One of Three Non-Profits Named as Finalists for $100,000 Grant

Gracie Cavnar
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Three Houston Nonprofits Named as Finalists for $100,000 Grant "Humana Communities Benefit - Houston" winner will receive grant for local program HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, health-benefits company Humana (NYSE: HUM) announced the three finalists for its 2010 $100,000 Humana Communities Benefit - Houston charitable grant. "Humana is committed to helping charitable organizations better serve the greater Houston community" The program gives 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations the opportunity to receive a one-time infusion of $100,000 to create new programs or enhance ongoing activities focused on improving health experiences or building healthy communities for Houstonians. The three finalist organizations are Elves & More, HOPE Clinic, and Recipe for Success Foundation. "Humana is committed to helping charitable organizations better serve the greater Houston community," said Pattie Dale Tye, president of Humana's commercial operations in Houston. "Much like previous winners who helped improve the lives of teens without permanent homes, brought nutritious food to those who can't afford it, and helped law officers protect and locate missing children, the recipient of this year's (sixth annual) Humana Communities Benefit - Houston award is sure to make a positive, lasting impact on our community."

Read Humana's Press Release here.

Produce by 'Prescription' Seeks to Address Childhood Obesity -

Gracie Cavnar
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Eat an Apple (Doctor's Orders)  By NATASHA SINGER

The farm stand is becoming the new apothecary, dispensing apples -- not to mention artichokes, asparagus and arugula -- to fill a novel kind of prescription.

Doctors at three health centers in Massachusetts have begun advising patients to eat "prescription produce" from local farmers' markets, in an effort to fight obesity in children of low-income families. Now they will give coupons amounting to $1 a day for each member of a patient's family to promote healthy meals.

"A lot of these kids have a very limited range of fruits and vegetables that are acceptable and familiar to them. Potentially, they will try more," said Dr. Suki Tepperberg, a family physician at Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester, one of the program sites. "The goal is to get them to increase their consumption of fruit and vegetables by one serving a day."

Read full story.

An Obesity Update from the Center for Disease Control

Gracie Cavnar
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The take away from the CDC briefing, as far as NEXT STEPS.  Notice in bold--to increase fruit and vegetable intake-- is precisely the focus of RFS.

In 2008 dollars, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion. That translates into medical costs for people who are obese that were $1,429 higher per person each year compared to normal-weight individuals. Six things can reduce or prevent obesity. The first is increasing physical activity. The second key initiative would be to increase the uptake and continuation of breast feeding, which is healthier both for the infant and the mother. The third is to increase fruit and vegetable intake. The fourth is to reduce screen time, TV time. The fifth is to reduce high-calorie food intake, and in particular, to reduce intake of sugary drinks, making healthier options, such as water.

Read or listen to the entire briefing: