Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's for Lunch - Fri., 10/1

The new October menu starts with:

Whole wheat grilled cheese sandwich
assorted raw veggie bar
cinnamon applesauce

The cheese is likely and American-cheddar mix and hte applesauce should be unsweetened.  No further details yet - we should be bale to get more information on the October menu soon.

Sara

What's for Lunch - Thurs., 9/30

Menu for today is:

All beef burger, cheeseburger or veggie burger
Sweet Potato Fries
Fresh Fruit in season

All beef, non-government, burger with a whole wheat bun (I have not seen the label but it is supposed to be HFCS-free). Baked, frozen sweet potatoes. These are USDA commodities but should just be plain sweet potatoes but we do not have the label. Fresh fruit is likely apples or ranges but we will start getting pears soon.

Sara

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Action Alert: Child Nutrition Act - Only Days Left!

For an update on the battle over the federal school unch legislation, read House Democrats battle White House over child nutrition on CNN's politics blog.

Then, read this action alert from the Healthy Schools Campaign and send a letter.

Dear HSC Friend:
This is a critical time for school food policy and resources. We need our leaders in the House of Representatives to pass their bill for reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act before the current act expires this Thursday, Sept. 30.
Please take a moment to send a letter urging your representative to recognize the urgency of the moment and take swift action to pass the reauthorization bill, The Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act.


While the current version of the bill does not include adequate funding to fundamentally transform school food, it does have the potential to bring significant benefits for children’s health for generations to come by putting health-promoting policies in place now. It includes many policies that address the dual challenges of obesity and hunger faced by far too many children across the U.S., and small increases in the reimbursements schools receive for the meals they provide.
This is not a perfect bill. It still leaves schools with very limited resources to provide school food, and we urge Congress to continue working to find funding for the bill without taking funding from food stamp benefits. However, the uncertain political climate, coupled with historic reliance on the school food program among children and families, compels us to call for action by the House before the election recess.
Please urge your representative to take action to address childhood hunger and obesity by passing the reauthorization bill before the current act expires this week. Thank you for being part of this effort.
Sincerely,
Rochelle Davis
Founding Executive Director
 Or, act through the Center for Science in the Public Interest:

A few groups are urging Congress to vote against the child nutrition bill when it comes up for a vote this week.  I find this astonishing, and hope you will work with us to ensure the bill passes.
The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act would get junk food and soda out of vending machines, improve the nutrition quality to school lunches, and expand access to school meals for low-income kids.
It will take just a minute to write to your U.S. Representative, which will help counter the misinformation buzz in Washington and improve the nutrition and health of millions of children.
Thank you!
Margo Wootan
Director, Nutrition Policy
Center for Science in the Public Interest

Sara

What's for Lunch - Wed., 9/29

On Wednesday, the menu says we'll be having:

Mini Boars Head Brand Turkey Hero with Fixin's
or
Salad Bar
Seasonal Fruit

The mini hero is on whole wheat bread from Modern Bakery - HFCS-free.

The salad bar is an exciting new addition we'll be enjoying once a week.  See a completion description in our Sept. 23rd post.

The fruit will be the best available as of tomorrow.

Sara

Monday, September 27, 2010

What's for Lunch - Tues., 9/28



And the menu says:

Oswald Family Vegetarian Chili!
Served with brown rice
Tortilla chips
Fresh Salsa
Seasonal Fruit

Above is a pictur efrom our Chili Cook off last year that produced our winning recipe. Here it is:

The Oswald Chili
3lbs ground turkey (Today's menu says vegetarian.....)
1 large onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 bell pepper (not green)
1 Diced Jalapeno pepper
1 small can paste
2 28oz puree tomato
1 28oz diced tomato
2 2lbs kidney beans
2 T cumin
2 T chili powder
Brown turkey and set aside
Saute onion and garlic and bell pepper until soft
Add Paste and cook for 5 min.
Add all canned tomato, Jalapeno pepper, spices and turkey
Cook together
Add beans cook till tender

As for the rest of the menu, the tortilla chips are Snyder's but I don't know which variety. The salsa is Green Mountain's organic salsa. I wish I could give you the ingredients.

For the fruit: The menu does not list what fruit will be served because at this time of year, we are letting the vendor bring us whatever is best in an effort to serve as much seasonal fresh fruit as possible. We will likely have apples and oranges.  We may have peaches.  We can look forward to pears in October.

Sara

Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization Down to the Wire

From Feeding America:


The fight for a strong child nutrition bill is going down to the wire. Leaders in the House of Representatives continue to work to improve the bill. Final decisions regarding Child Nutrition Reauthorization will happen this week, but you can still make an impact. 

Here's how you can help:
  1. Watch: Click play to watch this video and be reminded why a strong child nutrition bill is so important to hungry children.
  2. Share: Click share to send the video to friends, family, and coworkers through social media and help Child Nutrition Reauthorization go viral. We need to show Congress that America wants a strong child nutrition bill!
  3. Get Ready: We may need to call on you later this week for a final push when the time is right, so be ready!


http://www.hungeractioncenter.org/video.aspx

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What's for Lunch - Monday, 9/27

The menu says:

Pita Pizza w/ broccoli or plain
Make your own Caesar salad
Orange wedges

The pita pizza is made with  a HFCS-free, minimal ingredient pita from Kronos or Athena. The sauce is a Red Pack vitamin enhanced tomato sauce. The sodium at 140mg is much lower than we previously used.  Here are the ingredients: Tomato Concentrate (Water, Tomato Paste), Sugar, Soybean Oil, Potassium Chloride, Onion Powder, Salt, Citric Acid, Spice, Garlic Powder, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Black Pepper, Vitamin E (DL-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), Natural Flavor, Vitamin A (Retinol Palmitate)

The Caesar salad dressing is organic by Chelten. Here are the ingredients: filtered water, organic soybean oil, organic white vinegar, organic Parmesan cheese (pasteurized organic cow's milk, salt, cheese cultures, microbial enzymes, organic potato starch), pasteurized organic frozen whole egg yolks, salt, organic sugar, organic ground mustard seed, organic garlic powder organic onion powder, organic black pepper, xanthan gum.  (in 2 tbsp - 8 g fat, 160 mg sodium)

Plus, we get fresh orange slices.

Sara

Soapbox: Ingredient Transparency Ought to be the Law

Last year, our district took the enormous step of posting all ingredient and nutrition labels for all foods served to students on their website.

Blogs like Healthy Tara chronicled how hard - if not impossible - it is to find out what's in the food being served for school lunch. Journalist  Ed Bruske of Better DC School Food was banned from talking to his food service provider after he tried to get ingredient labels.  Meanwhile, blogs such as these praised our district for being particularly open about the food they served.

Currently, while our school lunch is no doubt vastly improved over last year, we do not have access to the ingredients. I hope - and believe - this situation will be remedied in October once more of the pieces of our new lunches are in place.

Dr. Susan of Two Angry Moms talked about the importance of ingredient transparency in her blog. The infamous "Mrs. Q" - the anonymous school lunch eating blogger of Fed Up With School Lunch fame - also makes her plea for revealing ingredients. Finally, finding out what was actually in our food was a huge factor in our district's decision to change our food for the better.  Before our work last year, no one really knew- not the kids, not the parents, not the people serving the food or the administration. But now we do.....or we did.

Food companies are required to provide ingredient lists and nutrition information on all their products and for good reason. You cannot make educated choices about what to eat without knowing what is in the food. Further, with allergies proliferating among school-aged children, many parents need to know what's in the food. Clearly we should know what are children are being fed.

Further, I think it should be the law.  Washington, DC passed important legislation this past year to improve their school food and it requires that schools post ingredients. Posting ingredients to the web is not expensive or particularly time-consuming (I scanned all the labels myself).

Our district should be a leader both in posting ingredients and making sure parents throughout our county have the same access we do.

Once parents really know what's in the commodity foods served to kids everywhere in this country, then things will begin to change.  No one wants their kids to eat salt-laden green beans boiled in a BPA lined can or frozen pizzas with 76 ingredients or chicken nuggets full of everything but chicken.

If you agree, join us!

Sara

Saturday, September 25, 2010

TEDxNextGenerationAsheville 2010 - Birke Baehr - "What's Wrong With Our ...

Weekend Reading

Reading

Don't miss this - our district has a new packet of information on its website highlight our new foods services programs and menus. Find out why we don't serve bagels for lunch anymore.

The FTC seems to be considering rules on marketing junk food to kids. Read all about it and sign a petition at Sustainable Food.

The NYT had an interesting piece about how doctors really aren't trained in nutrition despite its connection with the chronic diseases plaguing our country.

Very hard hitting commercial aimed at McDonalds has apparently been unleashed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Read about it and watch it here.

Watching

Huntington's Cinema Arts theater will be showing:

Whole Foods 30th Anniversary Celebration
-----------------------------
Sunday, September 26 at 1pm
INGREDIENTS
Speaker via Skype: Filmmaker ROBERT BATES

Details here.

Local Fun

The Glen Head Fire Station has an open house on Sunday for Fire Prevention Week - fire truck rides and more!

And for next week, check out Eat Drink Local Week here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Support Our School Lunch - A Vision for the Future

Why buy lunch at our school?

First, as chronicled here, our lunches are vastly improved over last year. We are serving a variety of nutritious choices every day featuring fresh fruits and vegetables and the notable absence of highly processed foods.

Second, as our lunch participation rates start to rise, our lunch will only get better. We have a lot of fixed costs and can serve a lot more lunches with many of the resources we have. There are things that we need, no doubt, but the more lunches we buy, the more money we'll have to put back into the food. By law, school lunch programs are self-supporting.

So, what will your participation get you? Here's the vision for the future from our food services consultant, Julia van Loon:

  • Meals cooked from scratch. Although we have already made a lot of progress in this area, Julia wants to take things much farther. Many of the "kitchens" in our district don't have the space or equipment to do everything from scratch.
  • A central commissary. With some work on the high school kitchen, we can prepare more foods there to be delivered to the rest of the district. Julia says that by making everything from scratch - entrees, sauces, dressing, etc., we will have control over the ingredients and thus the nutritive value of our meals.
  • Taste tests and samples to help kids try new foods.
  • More fresh, more local and more organic foods.
Go see the new menus on the district's website here and decide what's best for your child. I'll be adding more money to my kid's lunch account.

Sara

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Salad Bar Update

Coming Wednesday Sept. 29th -- salad bar!

We're very excited about the debut next week of the new salad bar. The district has purchased one seven-well salad bar for the elementary schools to share and next Wednesday is our first salad bar day.

I spoke with our food services consultant Julia van Loon who described what the kids can look forward to:

- red leaf and romaine lettuce - basically, kids don't like mesclun and iceberg doesn't have much by way of nutrition so she felt these were our best lettuce options.
- 4 or 5 vegetables such as broccoli, cucumbers, carrots, grape tomatoes and red onion
- a protein such as chic peas, black bean salad, hard boiled egg, Boars Head turkey cut into small pieces or tuna
- a choice of dressings
- croutons which Julia has stated will be "good ones" with minimal ingredients. The croutons meet the grain requirement of the lunch and increase participation. Her ultimate plan is to be able to make homemade croutons.

We can look forward to the salad bar once a week. The district has applied for salad bar grants in hopes of having it more often. Thank you North Shore!

Sara

What's for Lunch - Fri., 9/24

Friday's menu is:

Whole Wheat Grilled Cheese
Baby carrots w/ dip
Petite Banana

The grilled cheese is made with a combination of American and cheddar cheese (the cheddar is a USDA commodity). Julia indicated that over time as the children adjust to the new menu they will transition to cheddar-only sandwiches. The bread is whole wheat as noted. The brand is Nature's Own with no HFCS. We are trying to get the rest of the ingredients, but it appears to be a definite improvement over last year's bread.

The carrots are fresh and the dressing is an organic Ranch dressing made by Chelten. (Although not low fat like last year because it would raise the sodium levels.) Here are the ingredients for the dressing: filtered water, organic soybean oil, organic sour cream (cultured pasteurized organic cream), organic white vinegar, organic buttermilk powder (organic buttermilk, organic skim milk), organic sugar, pasteurized organic frozen whole egg yolks, salt, organic rice oligodextrin, organic ground mustard seed, organic lemon juice concentrate, organic onion powder, organic garlic powder, organic parsley, organic black pepper, xanthan gum.

And finally, fresh fruit - a banana.

Sara

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What's for Lunch - Thurs., 9/23

Here's the menu:

Turkey Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato on Whole Wheat Toast
Corn on the cob
Fresh Fruit

The turkey bacon is by Applegate. It is nitrate-free. Here are the ingredients: Turkey (Turkey Used Never Administered Antibiotics, Growth Promotants or Animal By-products), Water, Sea Salt, Maple Sugar, Celery Juice, Onion Powder, Spices, Lactic Acid Starter Culture (not From Milk.

The bread is whole wheat but we do not yet have the ingredients. The brand is Nature's Own and it does not contain high fructose corn syrup.

The corn is fresh! And there will be fresh fruit -- we confirmed that there will be apples and oranges in all schools.

Sara

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Action Alert: GMO Salmon & State Standards for Healthy School Lunches

Working Assets has a petition to the FDA to stop GMO salmon that you can sign here. You can read more about the issue here.

The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food is also trying to work at the state level to try to improve the nutritional value of the lunch served in school. You can help by calling Governor Paterson at 518-474-8390 to get this legislation moving.

Here are more details from their website:

New York Coalition for Healthy School Food has worked closely with the NYS Governor Paterson’s office to advance New York State legislation to improve all food in K-12 schools. Over the last several years legislation has been voted on but not passed, and all versions have contained significant compromises that benefit the food industry.

NYCHSF believes that the following are critical to the success of state legislation to improve school foods:We do this by:
  • Offer a whole foods plant-based (bean, lentil, tofu) entrĂ©e each day as a healthy option
  • Offer an enriched non-dairy milk option to any students who request it
  • Eliminate artificial ingredients from meals and all other foods offered in schools (artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners)
  • Eliminate all added transfats
  • Eliminate all deep or flash fried products
  • For grain products, offer only 100% whole grains
  • Reduce added oils and sugars.
  • Focus on whole plant-based foods including fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains
  • Offer nutrition education which is not influenced by the food industry and is science based
  • Restrict competitive foods to only fruits, vegetables, legumes, all natural trail mixes, and other health supporting items
  • Encourage farm to school programs with economic incentives
  • Provide reimbursements that provide enough funding so cafeterias are not dependent on a la carte sales

While schools currently do not receive nearly enough funding to provide meals that meet these requirements, we should strive to do what is best for children, and the recommendations above reflect current nutrition knowledge. We must make children’s health a priority. Since habits are developed early in life, and because schools are the place where children go to learn, it is imperative that schools set the best example and serve only health supporting foods.

There is currently no movement on NY State legislation to improve school food. We are working to get legislation reintroduced. Contact Governor Paterson's office to request legislation that addresses the above points.

Sara

Sept's Alternate entree - The Hummus Boat

I recently talked to our food services consultant, Julia van Loon about Sept's alternate entree:

The "Hummus Boat" is hummus (as you may have guessed) -- most likely the Tribal brand. Interestingly, in the future, Julia says we'll be able to make our own hummus which sounds terrific. It is served with three organic (can you believe it?) rice cakes, strips of red pepper and cucumber on a bed of lettuce with a side of grapes.

I would happily have this for lunch. By all reports, after getting used to the idea of a new entree and with the help of a few intrepid souls who tried it first, the hummus boat is gaining in popularity.

We also offer tuna and egg salad every day.

Sara

What's for Lunch - Wed., 9/22

Here's Wednesday's menu:

All beef burger, cheeseburger or veggie burger with Fixin's
Make your own Caesar salad
Fresh Peach
(Corn shucking canceled - see previous post)

This menu is pretty self-explanatory without a lot of ingredients to discuss. I confirmed with our consultant that these are 100% beef patties - not of the free government commodity variety. I also heard they were quite good. I will try to confirm whether the buns are whole wheat in the future.

Otherwise, we are looking at fresh vegetables and a fruit - and raw at that. Enjoy.

Sara

Get Lunch Reform Passed Now! Send a Quick Email Today

From Slow Food USA:

Right now, we have a unique opportunity to make sure America's school children get the food they deserve. The House is poised to pass the Child Nutrition Act, which would improve the quality of school lunches.

But there's a real risk they'll pass an underfunded version that takes money from food stamps. Can you send a quick message to your House Rep pushing them to fund and pass the better version of the Act?


Already, Slow Food supporters have done so much to get us to this point. Over 100,000 emails have been sent, countless phone calls to Congress made, and 20,000 of us gathered for an 'Eat-In' all over the country.

Now, with only days before the Act is due to expire, we need one last push to get this over the line.

House Reps have two versions of this Bill sitting on their desks - one of which (the version passed by the Senate) which takes money out of the food stamps program, and one which does not. Right now, each Rep is deciding which version to vote for.

A quick email from you, their constituent, could be the difference:

This campaign has shown us the power of our grassroots movement - everyday Americans from coast to coast, united by their concern for the health of our kids, and willing to take action on it. Let's make sure we don't falter at this last hurdle, and tell Congress: It's Time for Lunch.

Thanks for getting us this far,
Jerusha, for the Slow Food team

PS - Two versions of the Child Nutrition Act sit before The House at the moment, and they have only days to decide which one they'll pass. Click here to send a quick email to your Rep asking them to pass the version which doesn't take money from the food stamps program.


Sara

Monday, September 20, 2010

Corn Shucking Canceled

FYI - The Corn Shucking listed on the menu for Wed. has been canceled. We will still be serving corn though on Thursday. This was an exciting new addition to the menu, and I'm sure activities like this will make their appearance once all the kinks have been worked out of preparing and serving the new menu - a Herculean task in and of itself. The goal here was to have kids see where food comes from and be involved in its preparation as a way to learn about and participate in healthy eating. This would have been a lovely introduction to fresh corn after years of canned USDA commodity corn (with its added salt and sugar.) We're excited to see what they come up with next! The corn will be great regardless.

Sara

What's for Lunch - Tues., 9/21

Our menu for tomorrow is:

Oven-baked "fried" chicken
Cucumber sticks
Homemade Potato Wedges
Fresh Nectarine

The oven baked fried chicken is made here with a breading of corn meal, panko bread crumbs, flour, buttermilk and some salt and pepper. It is oven-baked and not fried - hence the quotation marks. (The new menus are a lot of work for the food services staff - thank you!)

The cucumber sticks are fairly self-explanatory.

The" homemade" potato wedges are government commodity potatoes. They arrive frozen and we do add some seasoning, I believe they are probably not what you would call homemade, though - hence my quotation marks. Still, perfectly respectable AND markedly better than last year's potatoes which came out of a can (yes, a can - they apparently can come that way.). That's almost never good.

Finally, a fresh nectarine which you don't want to miss. These are, by the way, sliced for the kids.

Sara

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What's for Lunch - Monday, 9/20

Here's our lunch menu for Monday:

French Bread Pizza with meatballs or vegetarian
Baby carrots with dressing
Cinnamon Applesauce

The pizzas are made in our kitchen from a whole grain mini club. The meatballs are 100% beef -- not, by the way from the government, in case you remember the slew of articles about meat for fast food restaurants having to meet stricter standards than for school lunches .The vegetarian version is cheese. I do not have the details on what is in the pizza sauce but we do know there is no HFCS.

The dressing for the carrots is by Chelten - an organic ranch dressing It is not low fat because of the sodium levels.

The cinnamon applesauce is made with unsweetened applesauce - a huge improvement over last year.

Sara

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Weekend Reading

Reading

Planning to do some grocery shopping this weekend? A new study suggests you might want to leave the kids at home next time you go grocery shopping -- you're more likely to buy healthy foods.

This is too much. Apparently the corn lobby is upset that high fructose corn syrup has such a bad reputation (for reasons we've discussed here before.) So, they are petitioning the FDA to change the name to "corn sugar" hoping you'll be none the wiser. Grist also ran a post about the issue.

Great post at Better DC School Food on sugar, calories and the re-authorization of the child nutrition act.

Some new research demonstrates that nationally the school lunch program is contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic -- but that participating in the national school breakfast program can have the opposite effect. I'm thrilled our new lunch menus get us out of the business of highly processed USDA commodity school lunch foods. I'm also hoping we'll have a breakfast program one day.

You might want to catch up on the reporting at La Vida Locavore on how we're going to be eating giant genetically engineered salmon soon. Or, you just might find it way too creepy. Or, you might want to read their take on the Box Tops program. (Although I should point out that Box Tops do not appear exclusively on items like fruit roll ups.)

Ran across a new cooking magazine for kids on Mark Bittman's blog called ChopChop which might interest you guys - it's nonprofit and the sponsors are not giant food companies.

Local Fun

Do not worry! If you missed the storming of the castle last weekend, you can still catch the Medieval Festival at the Sands Point Preserve this weekend. Whew.

Sara

Friday, September 17, 2010

More Improvements to Our Lunch Menu

I recently spoke with our food services consultant about some of the overall changes our lunch menus are undergoing. Here are some of the highlights:

  • High fructose corn syrup is being eliminated from our schools. We have found new pizza sauces, ketchup, salsas, etc. and replaced canned fruits with fresh. Apparently, it has been difficult to find tomato sauce for pasta without HFCS (the USDA commodity version does have it.) so their plan is to make large batches from scratch with, yes, actual tomatoes and freeze it. See this list if you are interested in all the foods we previously served with HFCS.
  • Which brings us to our next improvement -- cooking from scratch. We have already eliminated all processed foods that simply went from a truck to the freezer to an oven to the kids' plates, and we will be making more foods from scratch as the new menus are fully implemented. Getting rid of processed foods also means getting rid of MSG in addition to other additives and preservatives.
  • Lunch will have much lower sodium levels. Last year, our lunches averaged 1197mg of sodium - way too much for young children in one meal. Our goal this year is 660mg and the elimination of highly processed and many canned vegetables has put us well on our way.
  • The only added sugars will be in foods that require them like baked goods sold a la carte. Getting rid of canned fruit is extremely helpful but many processed entrees also contained forms of sugar. See the old list here.
  • Organic milk will be available for purchase a la carte.
I think these are changes we can all feel good about. Please go over the lunch menus with your child and support our school by participating in the lunch program. Our increasing participation rates mean we will be able to continue improving the program and help our children learn how to make healthy food choices for life.

Sara

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Action Alert: Call Pete King and Fix School Lunch Now!

From the Center for Science in the Public Interest:

There are only 7 legislative days remaining before the school lunch and other child nutrition programs expire on September 30. Congress must act swiftly to pass a child nutrition bill and get it to the President’s desk in time.

The Senate passed their bill in early August and now, it is the House of Representative’s turn. Kids need Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the House to make swift passage of a child nutrition bill a top priority.

Please ask your U.S. Representative to make renewal of the child nutrition programs a priority. The health of our children depends on it.

Thank you for your help!

Sincerely,
Margo Wootan
Director, Nutrition Policy
Center for Science in the Public Interest

Congressman Peter King can be reached at 202-225-7896.

If you prefer, you can send a letter through the Healthy Schools Campaign:

Dear HSC Friend:

This is a critical time for school food policy and resources. Congress has returned from recess and now has until September 30 to act before the current Child Nutrition Act expires. The Senate has passed their version of the bill. Now, we need our elected leaders in the House of Representatives to pass their version of the Child Nutrition Act -- and fund the bill without taking money from food stamps.

Please take a moment to send a letter urging a timely reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.

While the current House and Senate versions of the bill do not include adequate funding to fundamentally transform school food, they do include many health-promoting policy provisions and small increases in the reimbursements schools receive for the meals they provide.

In a world where cash-strapped schools are already losing money on their meal programs and growing numbers of families rely on school food, it is important that Congress reauthorize the bill so that schools can receive increased meal reimbursements. A delayed reauthorization would put health-promoting policy provisions such as farm-to-school programs, limits on junk food in schools, and streamlined administration of the program at risk.

Please urge your representative to help bring this bill to the floor for a vote. Click here to send a letter.

Thank you for being part of this important effort.

Sincerely,
Rochelle Davis
Founding Executive Director

Sara

Canned Peaches - Banned!

More news from our food services consultant, Julia van Loon:

Last year, our kids regularly ate the following USDA commodity foods which the government thoughtfully (?) donates to schools:

Green beans - canned with 380 mg of sodium. Although previously described as 'steamed' when in fact they had been boiled in the can by the manufacturer and then heated in a steamer at our school. Keep in mind that cans like these are often lined in BPA which has been banned in Canada as toxic.

Mixed fruit - canned with added corn syrup AND sugar. These and the other canned fruits were decribed as "chilled" -- because they needed to be refrigerated after the can was opened.

Pears - canned with (my favorite) high fructose corn syrup.

Peaches - canned with corn syrup and sugar.

This year? Gone. Eliminated. And, in fact, the leftovers have been donated. A big thank you to North Shore Schools, Dr. Melnick, Ms. Buatsi, Ms. van Loon and the entire food services staff.

We are however still using USDA commodity corn which has apparently been improved over the previous iteration which included both added salt and sugar. Nonetheless, 40% of the corn in the US is genetically-modified.

More terrific news to come....

Enjoy the fresh fruit,
Sara

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Action Alert - Food Safety

From the Environmental Working Group:

We expect the food we eat to be safe, but events like the recent recall of more than half a billion eggs show us our system is failing us. The United States Senate is expected to take action as early as this week on critical federal food safety legislation, the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510). We urge you to support this bill.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) plans to offer an amendment to the food safety bill that would ban the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from sippy cups, baby bottles, baby food and infant formula containers. We need to protect our kids from BPA. Over 200 studies have linked BPA to health effects such as reproductive disorders, prostate and breast cancer, birth defects, low sperm count, early puberty and effects on brain development and behavior.

To make sure that both this vital amendment and underlying legislation have strong support, we need you to contact your Senators today and urge them to support both the new food safety bill and Senator Feinstein's BPA amendment.

Click here today to email your Senators.

BPA leaches from containers like sippy cups, baby bottles, baby food and infant formula canisters into the food and drink inside where it is then ingested by babies and children. The CDC found BPA in 93 percent of all Americans. Just last year EWG research revealed BPA in umbilical cord blood of newborns, which demonstrates that babies are exposed to this toxic chemical before they are born.

While the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act will address many of the enormous problems with our food safety system, we also need to act now to protect children from BPA. Senator Feinstein's amendment banning the potentially harmful chemical BPA from children's food and drink containers is an essential amendment to this bill. Please urge your Senators today to support the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and Senator Feinstein's BPA amendment.

Click here today to tell your Senators to support both these vital food safety measures.

Thank you for taking the time to stand up to protect children from BPA and for safer food.

Together, our voices are stronger.

Sincerely,

Ken Cook
President, EWG Action Fund

Slow Food USA also has a food safety petition and a new video on the massive egg recall.

Sara

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Menu Changes! And more details on our new lunch

Hi, everyone - I just spoke with Julia van Loon who is a consultant to the district and is designing our new menus. Due to some issues with acquiring the chicken needed for Wednesday's lunch, they are making the following changes for the rest of the week in Sea Cliff:

Wednesday:
Mac n Cheese
Sauteed fresh zucchini sticks
NYS fresh melon

The mac n cheese will be made with Barilla Plus pasta and Vermont Cheddar from Boarshead.

I believe these are the ingredients on the pasta: Semolina, Grain and Legume Flour, Blend (Lentils, Chickpeas, Egg Whites, Spelt, Barley, Flaxseed, Oat Fiber, Oats), Durum Flour, Niacin, Iron (Ferrous Sulfate), Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid.

Thursday: (No Change)
Whole Wheat Grilled Cheese
Baby Carrots with dressing
Watermelon

The grilled cheese is made with a combination of American and cheddar cheese (the cheddar is a USDA commodity). Julia indicated that over time as the children adjust to the new menu they will transition to cheddar-only sandwiches. The dressing is an organic Ranch dressing made by Chelten. (Although not low fat like last year because it would raise the sodium levels.)


Friday:
Applegate hot dogs
Shoe string french "fries"
fruit

The "fries" are baked all natural potatoes by McCain. The hot dogs were an emergency substitution that they hope to phase out in the future. They are natural beef hot dogs without nitrates. The ingredients are: beef, water, sea salt. Contains less than 2% of the following: celery juice, sodium lactate (from beets), lactic acid starter culture (not from milk) onion powder, spices, garlic powder, paprika.

More information soon!

Sara

Soapbox: Should Our School Have a Robust Food Policy?


This is a picture from one of the picnics our school held at the end of last year. At Sea Cliff, we don't have a robust policy regarding food in the classroom, food as a reward or guidelines for snacks. We do have culmination parties at 9am with cookies, cupcakes, candy and juice. We do have kids who only have candy to eat at snack time. Regardless of one's position on any of these issues, we should have a discussion about food and school and now is the time.

Yesterday, our kids had their first taste of the revised and much more nutritious lunch menus and healthier a la carte snacks will be unveiled today. I think the new lunch says a lot about what kids ought to be eating, and we should look to be consistent throughout the school. There are schools which provide fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks, for example.

Federal law requires districts to have "Wellness Policies" and you can read ours here. It's not a very strong statement. Cold Spring Harbor has a much more robust policy which you can read here. Or, read the model policy created by the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity.

I believe Glenwood Landing in our district has their own building food policy. Our student handbook posted online addresses snacks but I feel the policy is largely overlooked and doesn't cover anything beyond snacks.

What our kids eat affects how they perform in school. What they experience and what they are taught about nutrition as young children has a lifelong impact, so let's just start talking about what that should look like.

Sara

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sept 14 is Call Your Member of Congress Day

We are running out of time to get the Child Nutrition Act governing the school lunch program passed before it expires and with it hopes for additional money to fund nutritious school lunches.

From Feeding America:

When Congress returns from recess next week, they will have less than three weeks to complete the reauthorization of child nutrition programs before those programs expire on September 30.

We're not going to let Congress waste any time--September 14 is "Call Your Member of Congress Day."

On September 14,
advocates nationwide will call their Members of Congress, urging them to pass a strong child nutrition bill. We'll send an action alert that morning with talking points to help you make the case for stronger child nutrition programs. Mark your calendar and keep an eye out for our action alert.

Want to make sure you get through to your member of Congress? Sign up for our "patch through" service. We'll call you on September 14 and connect you directly to your Representative's office. Simply click here to provide your name and phone number. Then expect our call on September 14 and be ready to share your concerns about Child Nutrition Reauthorization.

Please sign up today to make sure you don't miss this critical opportunity to address child hunger!

Where does CNR stand in the House and the Senate?

Child nutrition programs offer the healthiest and most nourishing meals that many children receive each day, but far too many vulnerable children are not being served because programs are not accessible in their community. For these children, access to nutritious food ends with the school day, leaving them without enough to eat at breakfast, afterschool, on weekends, and during the summer.

The bill passed by the Senate (S. 3307) in August makes significant improvements in nutritional quality, but it does not make all the improvements needed to ensure that children are connected to the programs. Despite improvements to nutritional quality, child nutrition programs cannot make real progress against child hunger or childhood obesity if children do not have access to these programs.

The House bill (H.R. 5504) would do far more to connect low-income children with these important programs and the nutrition they provide. The House is expected to consider the child nutrition bill this month. It is critical that your Representative hears from you on September 14 to make sure our most vulnerable children have access to the nutritious food they need.


If you'd like more background on why this legislation is so crucial right now, read Jose Andres' piece in The Atlantic.

Sara

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Shop at Whole Foods Thursday and Help School Lunch!

The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food is raising money to promote nutritious school lunches next Thursday:

Shop at Whole Foods Market in Jericho or Manhasset Whole Foods Market stores on Long Island on Thursday September 16. 5% of all purchases will go to benefit our work. So save up for a big shopping spree, and please, come by and see us at our tables from 11am - 2 pm and 4 pm - 7 pm. Please share this information with your friends, family, and co-workers and encourage them to come out and support our efforts!
You can find more information about this group at their website.

Sara

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekend Reading

Reading

If the egg recall kind of freaked you out, you may want to read this post from the Times on food safety in your kitchen.

I have been reading EVERYWHERE about this new marketing campaign for "baby" carrots - the name is a campaign in and of itself. I'm kinda interested to see if labeling them as junk food will make them roll off the shelves. Not kidding - read more here.

The Vegan Cupcakes won (as in best tasting) on a recent episode of the Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. Read more here.

Local Fun

It's a big weekend --

Sea Cliff's Good of the Village Association is hosting an Antiques Fair this Sunday on the blacktop at Sea Cliff School. Admission is $5.

Sunday afternoon is the North Hempstead Beach Park FamilyFest. More details here.

The Grande Festa Italiana is this weekend across the harbor. Details here. You can walk between here and the FamilyFest on Sunday.

The Medieval Festival is at the Sands Point Preserve this weekend and next. 11am - 5pm Saturday and Sunday. Featuring an actual storming of the castle where the queen will no doubt be rescued!

Next Week:

Huntington Cinema Arts theater presents -

Green Drinks Long Island - Huntington, Whole Foods Market, & CAC present
LATE SUMMER IN THE GARDEN
Tuesday, September 14, 5pm - 9pm

a kind of green networking event and cocktail party - I think. Read the details here. Benefits the theater.

Sara

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Action Alert - Child Nutrition Act

The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food is asking us to call Congress today to get the legislation governing the school lunch program passed. The Child Nutrition Act authorizes the school lunch program and expires at the end of Sept. Thanks to hard by groups like these, there is more money for school meals and better nutritional standards in the new legislation -- but the House needs to vote on their version of the bill.

Here are more details from their website:
The Senate passed their Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) bill August 5th by unanimous consent. The bill contains $4.5 billion for child nutrition over the next 10 years (this is just 6 cents per meal extra per day, and that is not enough!) Now we need to build momentum for the House to pass their version upon return in September, which will be just two weeks before the bill is set to expire.Unexpectedly, the Senate cut $2.2 billion from SNAP (Food Stamps) in order to pay for the child nutrition bill. We oppose funding cuts from SNAP to pay for the CNR.

SNAP, although not a school or child care based program, is important to achieving the goals for all children to have easy access to healthy food. We are disappointed to see this shift of resources from one vital nutrition program to another, and we have registered that disappointment with our Senators.

I urge you to share your opinion today, with Senator Gillibrand (202) 224-4451 and Senator Schumer 202-224-6542 (if you are from New York State). You can thank them for moving this bill, voice concerns about the funding level and source of the funding (the SNAP/Food Stamps), and share any perspective you have. This is really the last opportunity you will have to have your Senators attention on this bill now that it's passed in the Senate. I urge you to take this opportunity to weigh in about their decisions. For more information you can read Senator Gillibrand's press release.

There is still time to influence House action on CNR and impact the funding and content of the bill. The House version of CNR invests $8 billion in child nutrition programs (instead of $4.5 billion) and has not targeted other nutrition programs to pay for it. PLEASE TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY to contact your Representative and ask that they fully fund and pass HR 5504, the Improving Nutrition For America's Children Act, when they return from recess in September, and that they do so without cutting funds from other nutrition programs. Please call your Representative today and ask them to pass the House version with AT LEAST $8 billion in funding, without taking money from SNAP (Food Stamps). Click here for phone numbers. (Note that once you enter your zip code and address, you will be provided with a link to your Senators' and Representative’s contact information.) Please also ask that they include the provisions of H.R. 4870 in the bill, to pilot plant-based commodity foods.

This message to the House is truly important. Again, the Senate bill makes only half the investment in child nutrition and cuts SNAP (Food Stamps) to do so. We want the stronger House bill to move forward.

Thank you again for your support for child nutrition. Let's hope we start the new year with at least an $8 billion bill and other vital nutrition programs intact!

New York Residents*, call:

Senator Kirstin Gillibrand: 202-224-4451 (Washington, DC) and 212-688-6262 (NY) - to thank and express concerns
Senator Charles Schumer: 202-224-6542 (Washington, DC) and 212-486-4430 (NY) - to thank and express concerns
Your Congress Person: (for NYS or other states) : Click for phone number and to email - to urge to pass at least $8 billion in funding, without taking money from other important food programs, and include provisions of H.R. 4870 in the bill.

After you call, please follow up with an email letter to your Senators and Congressperson. We want to flood their telephone lines and email boxes!
You can see a sample letter here. You can get the email address or contact forms for your Senators or Congress Person by clicking on the links above.

When you are done doing this be sure to share this link with all of your friends, relatives, and colleagues who care about this issue. Please also email us by clicking here to let us know you called.

We are part of a strong coalition called the NYC Alliance for Child Nutrition Authorization. Check out their website for a much more thorough review of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act.


So that you don't need to look it up - our representative is Congressman Peter King at 202-225-7896

Sara

Friday, September 3, 2010

Weekend Reading - and Fun

Reading

A study by researchers at New Mexico State University discovered another healthy nudge when they tested dividing shopping carts in two and telling customers one half was for fruits and vegetables. I'm tempted to do this with school lunch trays.....

The chocolate milk in schools debate rages on as the dairy industry unleashes their advertising dollars. This piece in the New York Times covers all the bases.

The Times also had this piece on childhood headaches which discusses some of the causes including skipping breakfast (I think our school should offer it!) and not drinking enough water (which should be available in our cafeteria for free.)

And one more piece from the Times (sorry if y'all already read the Times cover to cover this week). Our school collects body-mass index figures along with the physical exam form your pediatrician fills out. In this piece, Jane Brody discusses the short falls of BMI in measuring the health of individuals versus larger populations overall. Nonetheless, I'd like to know what the overall figures are for our school.

Besides the Times, I also like Jill Richardson's reporting at La Vida Locavore - here, she lays out the dirt behind the big egg recall over salmonella.

Looks like Canada is going to ban BPA as toxic. This chemical is used to harden plastic and is found in tin can liners, water bottles and plastic food containers. It is of course legal here.

Fun

The New York Botanical Garden continues its Edible Garden series over the Labor Day weekend with a special event - the Family Garden's Global Gardens celebrating the summer harvest around the world. These hands-on events are terrific for kids. More information at www.NYBG.org.

Sara

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Menu Preview - 1st Week of Lunch

School starts Sept 7th with half days so school lunch doesn't start until Sept 13 for our school. Here's what the first week of menus looks like:

Monday
All Beef Burger, Cheeseburger or Veggie Burger with Fixin's
Make Your Own Caesar Salad
Fresh Peach

Tuesday
Fresh Pita Pizza
Celery and Carrot Sticks with Dip
Fresh Nectarine

Wednesday
Roasted Chicken with Brown Rice and Black Beans
Sauteed Broccoli with Garlic
Orange Wedges

Thursday
Whole Wheat Grilled Cheese
Baby Carrots with Dressing
Watermelon

Friday
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese - Vermont Cheddar Sauce
Sauteed Fresh Zucchini Sticks
New York State Melon

We have requested the recipes and ingredients for these items and should be able to give you more detail soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the use of the word "fresh" throughout this list.

Any thoughts? Share them - click "comments" below and tell us how you really feel.

Sara