Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's for Lunch - Wed., 12/3

Sorry I'm late - I've been waiting to see this posted online:

Homemade Challah French
Toast w/Orange Rounds
Applegate Turkey Bacon
Cucumber Sticks
Petite Banana

I have some concerns about this one.  At Sea Cliff, the french toast last month was served with a large portion of syrup. Clearly, the school lunch program cannot afford really maple syrup and pretty much all artificial syrups are made with high fructose corn syrup - which we have talked about extensively here.  Our school has made great strides in getting HFCS out of a lot of foods but it is in this one.

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.)

Plus fresh fruits and a vegetable.

Help Pass the Child Nutriion Act

From the NY Coalition for Healthy School Food:

Dear School Food Advocates,

The chance to pass the Child Nutrition Reautorization (CNR) Act is truly in its last days before the session ends. It is on the schedule for tomorrow (Wednesday). We only have once chance every five years. We want it to pass.

While not perfect, it's better than anything we've ever had. It's already been extended a year. The Senate has already passed it, we must encourage the House to do the same. While we are disappointed with the funding - only a six cents increase per meal - this is the first time in 30 years that there has been funding above and beyond the inflation rates.

Almost half of the $4.5 billion in funding (for the next 10 years) comes from an offset from the SNAP (food stamps) program. We believe that all children deserve to eat healthy food at school and at home. So it is disturbing to us that the funding comes from SNAP, which will put children at home at a disadvantage while doing more for them at school.

However, if we don't pass the CNR now, our chances of getting a bill this strong will likely decrease dramatically with the new Congress. Please support the CNR reauthorization, and urge your Congressional Representative to find the funds to restore the funding to SNAP - the food stamp program.

Contact your Representative today, so we can have healthier schools tomorrow!

Best wishes,
Amie Hamlin
Executive Director

PS - we'll still have tons of work to do to work together with schools to implement the new changes - your support will help us do that and continue our other fantastic programs. Please consider a year end donation of at least $10, or a recurring monthly donation of $10. You can donate here. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What's for Lunch - Mon., 11/29

The menu lists lunch as:

White Meat Chicken Nuggets
BBQ Dipping Sauce
Sauteed Zucchini with Garlic
Orange Wedges

 I believe we should all support the school lunch program with our participation, but this lunch concerns me.

These are better chicken nuggets than last year -- but they are still fried, frozen Tyson "quality" chicken nuggets.  They are served with a fresh fruit and a fresh vegetables - huge improvements over last year (see all "additives" labels for more details) but this lunch still trains kids to think they should eat fast food, junk food and kids' meals instead of more nutritious whole foods.

Here are the ingredients for the chicken nuggets so you can decide for yourself:  Chicken, water, salt, and natural flavor. BREADED WITH: Wheat flour, water, wheat starch, white whole wheat flour, salt, yellow corn flour, corn starch, dried onion, dried garlic, dried yeast, brown sugar, extractives of paprika, and spices. Breading set in vegetable oil.

 The BBQ dipping sauce is organic. Zucchini and the orange are fresh.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Weekend Reading


New research shows being grateful actually makes you healthier. Read more at the WSJ.

Save the apples! This Slow Food USA report shows how apple varieties in the US are becoming extinct -- and how we can help save them. A little Johnny Appleseed action.

I liked this post on donating nutritious foods this holiday season from Nutrition for the Future.

I'd like to tax junk food. Here's another way to do it.

You know, things like Coke on which there is apparently a new book that is fairly disturbing.

Watching and Eating

Sunday, November 28th, 2pm  -- Lets Eat! Films on Food: Honey Bee Day
The unexplainable phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder has left landscapes of empty beehives all across America, threatening not only the beekeeping industry but our food supply. As scientists and beekeepers search for the cause, Colony captures the struggle within the beekeeping community to save the honeybee and themselves. Colony documents a time of unprecedented crisis in the world of the honeybee through the eyes of both veteran beekeeper, David Mendes, and Lance and Victor Seppi, two young broth- ers getting into beekeeping when most are getting out. As Mendes tries to save the nation’s collapsing hives, the Seppi’s try to keep their business alive amidst a collapsing economy.
- Q&A with Beekeeper Rich Blohm in theater
- Apitherapy talk with Frederique Keller in Sky Room
- Browse honey products for sale, honey, mead, and body products tasting in Sky Room
- Mead Tasting and Reception to follow
Cinema Arts Centre
423 Park Avenue
Huntington, NY 11743
$9 Cinema Members / $12 Public / includes reception


Saturday at 1pm, the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Sanctuary will have a program for kids on Native American tales describing how animals and people show their appreciation for nature.

Old Bethpage VIllage Restoration continues their 1860 Thanksgiving this weekend.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Fun Way to Help Pass the Child Nutrition Act

From the Center for Science in the Public Interest:

We would like a share fun way to support child nutrition over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Our partner, Community Food Security Coalition, is organizing a photo petition to generate support for the child nutrition bill, which is on the House calendar to be voted on next week

To participate:
1)    Make a sign urging Congress to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act / child nutrition bill (sample below).
2)    Take a photo with the sign (ask family and friends to do the same).
3)    Email your photo with your name and location (city, state) to by Monday, November 29th.

Thanks very much for your help.

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More handouts from our Nutrition Speaker - Staying Strong through the Winter Season

If you missed last week's speaker, here the next installment of our handouts:

Staying Strong through the winter season

When looking to foods to stay healthy through a season, a good place to start is at your local farmer’s market. Foods that have thrived despite cold winds and rain help to strengthen your body to handle these same elements. As germs spread easily through our respiratory and digestive systems, keeping these systems clear should be a priority in warding off sickness, and in helping it pass quickly if it hits.
Temperature is also important. It is cold outside, and your organs like to be warm to work efficiently. Warm up with cooked food and warming spices, leave the ice cream for another time.

Winter season super foods:

Apples and pears – strengthening for both the lungs and large intestine, they are wonderfully warming when cooked.

Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, bok choy) – strengthening to the immune system. Bake them, steam them, sauté them, put them into  soup!

Garlic – a natural antibiotic, add to sautés, to beans, and dips.

Ginger ‐ a great antiseptic, good for nausea and for clearing mucus in the lungs. Slice thin and boil to make tea or chop it fine and add with garlic to a veggie sauté. If you don’t want to eat or drink it, put your head over a boiling pot of ginger with a towel over your head and inhale the vapor.

Honey – helps to gather up mucus to get rid of inside the body. It is an effective antibacterial treatment for cuts and burns and does wonders for chapped lips and skin.

Mushrooms – boost immune function and are great cooked up with garlic and greens.

Peppermint – a wonderful digestive aide. Serve as tea with a spoonful of honey after meals.

Onion – great antioxidant and antiviral, they have a warming effect on the body as well.

Whole grains – especially brown rice is great at scrubbing the intestinal walls and besides being full of vitamins and minerals, is great at keeping elimination regular.

What to keep on hand in your medicine pantry:
- Probiotics to maintain healthy intestinal flora and fauna (especially if you take antibiotics).
- Vitamin D is important for a strong immune system (as well as for strong bones!) Foods that contain vitamin D include salmon, egg yolks, beef, cheese, and fortified sources such as milk, yogurt, and cereals.
- Essential fatty acids (omega 3’s and 6’s) offer important anti‐inflammatory support and are essential for proper nerve function. Try flax oil or an EFA blend. Cod liver oil has preformed important fats like DHA. Try Nordic Naturals or Garden of Life chewables for children with fruity flavors.
-Garlic mullein drops for your ears ‐ great for warding off infection.

A few cold season home remedies:-
Red onion cough syrup – Slice a red onion thinly. Drizzle with honey or with sugar and leave on a plate in the refrigerator overnight. The syrup that collects on the plate is great for coughs!
-Lung tonic: ginger lemon and honey tea ‐ Take an inch of ginger root, slice it thinly and add to a pot full of water. Bring to a boil and continue to let boil for 5‐10 minutes. Serve in a mug with a tablespoon of honey and the juice of ½ lemon. You can re‐boil the ginger slices for 2‐3 more batches.
-Garlic is a natural antibiotic – in its raw state. Chop finely and put on a spoonful of honey on an empty stomach. Chew well, chase with water, tea and breakfast.

Read more at:

What our school lunch looks like now

I had the pleasure of trying November's alternate entree - the bean burrito. I really enjoyed it. The burrito has black beans (Pride of New York - nothing added), brown rice and Monterey Jack cheese. The corn is canned but without added sugar or salt. The salsa is organic by Green Mountain. The water was extra -- and basically I lucked out and went on practice feast day so I got some apple crisp.  So - if your kids don't want the main entree one day, show them the bean burrito and maybe they'll try it.  Since it has to be made and warmed up, it's not normally sitting out on the line like some of the other alternates.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's for Lunch - Wed., 11/24

And the menu says:

Pita Pizza - with meatballs or plain
Carrot crunchers
Orange wedges

The pita pizza is made with  a HFCS-free, minimal ingredient pita from Kronos or Athena. It is not whole grain until they can find one that is tasty. 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 cheese is a USDA commodity part skim mozzarella.  Ingredients are cultured pasteurized milk, salt, enzymes. The sodium is 240mg/oz - I think we use 2 ounces.  Meatballs are 100% ground chuck.

Accompanied by a fresh fruit and vegetable.


More Handouts from our Speaker on Nutrition - Great Grains - Pt 2

If you missed Wed. night's speaker, here the next installment of our handouts:

The things you can do with one pot of rice! (or other favorite grain) Sunday through Tuesday night

Sunday dinner:
Brown rice, served with meat or fish and steamed veggies.
(½ cup dry rice makes 1 cup cooked rice. Allot 1 cup of cooked rice per person per recipe to see what you eat. If you’ve got too much, invite a friend for some rice pudding at the end of the week!)
*Put adzuki beans to soak (2 cups dry beans makes approximately 6 cups of cooked beans and will serve 6-8 people. You can freeze cooked beans if you end up with too many.)

Monday breakfast:
Rice porridge
(*Put beans to cook)

Monday dinner:
Beans and rice (mix cooked rice with cooked beans) served with roasted squash and sautéed greens.

Tuesday breakfast:
Egg scramble with rice, spinach + mushrooms (wrap this in a tortilla for a breakfast burrito)

Tuesday dinner:
Veggie rice stir-fry with leftover beans, chopped meat, tofu or tempeh
Rice salad
Dessert: rice pudding!


Breakfast rice porridge:
Put cooked rice in a pot, and cover with water. Add a couple cinnamon sticks, and your favorite warming spices (cardamom, cloves, garam masala), add dried fruit (cherries, raisins, cranberries, gogi berries), add nuts and sesame seeds, and a drop of vanilla extract if you like. Let cook as long as you can, 7-15 minutes on medium or low heat (you do not want the heat too high, or your rice will get dry). When you are ready to eat, add maple syrup, and your favorite milk (cow’s milk, rice, soy, almond, hazelnut, oat) and enjoy!

Egg scramble with rice: (serves 2)
4 eggs
1/3 cup cooked rice
¾ cup chopped greens (spinach, collards, kale, etc.)
salt and pepper to taste
Chop greens into thin strips. Put olive oil or butter in a hot sauté pan (medium high heat), add chopped veggies, stir-fry for one minute. Scramble the eggs and the rice in a separate bowl, and then add to the greens in the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot!

Veggie fried rice: (serves 4)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch scallions, roughly chopped
1 cup leftover beans (or 1 15oz. can), diced meat or tofu or tempeh
1 cup chopped kale (without the stems)
½ - 1 cup chopped mushrooms (plus any leftover vegetables you have on hand)
4 cups cold cooked brown rice
4 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ teaspoon cumin powder
¼ teaspoon mustard seed powder
Put cumin and mustard with olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chopped mushrooms, then the chopped kale. Add the rice and the beans or meat or tofu or tempeh. When well mixed and
aromatic, add the tamari soy sauce. Add the chopped scallions last and enjoy!

Rice Salad:
Cooked brown rice
a few sprigs of parsley, chopped
a carrot, grated
a black radish (any kind will do), chopped into small cubes
Green leaf lettuce (or other), chopped into thin strips
a handful of raisins
Toasted sesame seeds
2 parts olive oil
1 part lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients in a bowl. Top with dressing. Enjoy!

Rice pudding: (serves 4)
2 cups leftover brown rice
1 cup milk (cow’s milk, rice, soy, almond, hazelnut, oat)
½ cup raisins
2 tablespoons maple syrup or sweetener
1 tablespoon vanilla flavoring
2 tablespoons toasted and chopped
pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon tahini
Combine all ingredients and heat on the stove for 5-7 minutes, or bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What's for Lunch - Tues., 11/23

The kids will get to try something new:

Oven-baked "Fried" Chicken
Cucumber Sticks
Garlic Potato Wedges
Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie

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 don't require further description.  There's not question that the number of ingredients is way down this year over least - a terrific improvement.

The  potato wedges are government commodity potatoes (a cost savings - the staff has been trying to use our free commodity foods very carefully to avoid most processed products). They arrive frozen. They are completely plain potatoes that are only baked with our seasonings.  I actually tried them last month and they were very good.

The smoothie (new! exciting!)  will be made with either plain yogurt to which we add  honey or vanilla yogurt (no honey) if we can't get plain plus 1% milk and frozen strawberries.  Who doesn't like smoothies?


More Handouts from our Speaker on Nutrition - Great Grains - Pt 1

If you missed Wed. night's speaker, here the next installment of our handouts:

The magic of whole grains:  Brown rice, red and black rice, wild rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, corn, wheat berries, rye berries, barley.. These small seeds offer us lasting energy (being complex carbohydrates that breaks down slowly in our body), tons of vitamins (especially vitamin B’s
that are so important for brain function and hormonal balance), fiber and water that help regulate our bowels, a sweetness that satisfies a sweet tooth, and a grounded energy that helps keep our mind focused. They are easy to cook and are extremely versatile. If you’ve got a pot of grain, it is easy to whip a meal together in no time!

Grain  -- How much water for 1 cup grain -- How much time  -- Something great

*Amaranth  -- 3 cups -- 20-25 minutes. Rich in iron, fiber and lots of calcium.

Barley -- 4 cups -- 30-40 minutes. One of the oldest grains. This is great for soups. High in trace minerals manganese and selenium – great anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

*Buckwheat (known as kasha when roasted) -- 2- 2 ½ cups. Add buckwheat to boiling water, not to cold water or the grain will turn to mush. A hearty cold weather fruit seed (related to rhubarb and sorrel), there is no wheat in buckwheat. This is a non-glutinous grain. Very high in magnesium, this is a great food for your heart + circulatory system.

*Corn -- For a natural diuretic, boil corn on the cob with the silks. When cooked, drink the water. 20-25 minutes. High in vitamins A and beta-carotene. It is best eaten soon after harvest as the sugars
turn to starch immediately after harvest.

*Millet -- 2 cups -- 25-30 minutes. Looks like couscous, has a nutty/buttery flavor. This is a very alkalizing grain.

Oats (steel cut) -- 4 cups -- 30-40 minutes Rolled oats have been steamed, cooked and flaked. They absorb liquid easily and cook in 10 minutes. (1 cup rolled oats: 2cups water). Oats help maintain optimal cholesterol levels – great for your heart!

*Quinoa -- 2 cups -- 15-20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly in cold water before cooking. A super food from the Andes. The only grain the world health organization considers a complete protein. Opens into spirals that are great in soup, or as a pilaf.

*Rice (brown, red, black, etc.) -- 2-2 ½ cups -- 35-40 minutes Brown rice is neutral and versatile. It’s especially great for regulating the bowels, clearing the large intestines. Red varieties are nuttier, black are succulent.

Rye berries -- 2 ½ cups. Soak overnight, then cook for 1 hour A hearty grain, great in stews. Like other grains, rye is high in fiber, and helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Wheat berries -- 3 cup.s Soak overnight, then cook for 2 hours. Are delicious. Very rich in flavor, a
wonderful building food.

*Gluten free.  Gluten is a hot word these days. Gluten sensitivities can cause bloatedness, constipation or diarrhea, a stuffy or a runny nose, fuzzy thinking, headaches, skin trouble, and even joint pain. If you suspect you may be sensitive, the best way to find out is to eliminate the food in question for a week, then eat it first thing in the morning, and see how you feel.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What's for Lunch - Mon., 11/22

The kids will be having:

All Beef Burger, Cheeseburger or Veggie Burger
Sweet Potato "fries"
Fresh Apple

The burgers are made from 100% ground chuck - except the veggie burger which is Dr. Praeger's.   The are served on whole wheat HFCS-free buns.

The sweet potato fries are raw, frozen, julienned sweet potatoes that we bake.

And the fresh apple is exactly that.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Weekend Reading and Fun


 We've covered vegetarian and gluten-free Thanksgivings - but I've got one more for you: Mark Bittman's sustainable Thanksgiving.

The Environmental Working Group (home of the Dirty Dozen list) has a piece on having a safer, greener Thanksgiving.

Great post on Nutrition for the Future on raising veggie-loving kids - something we could apparently all use help on given Wed. night's discussion.

Then, travel over to the Spoonfed blog which has a half dozen recent  posts on the insanity that is McDonalds' nutrition education.

Hey - more evidence that GE salmon might be bad for you and the FDA doesn't care.


The Garvies Point Museum in Glen Cove will host their annual Native American Thanksgiving Feast this weekend.  Try at least three kinds of popcorn, acorn squash roasted in an open fire, grind your own corn and find out what soup tastes like without any salt.  More details at the museum's website.

Old Westbury Gardens has a program for kids Saturday at noon on the sweet potato and its importance to Native Americans. Plus, there's a craft.

Old Bethpage Village Restoration will celebrate an 1863 Thanksgiving this weekend and next.

On Sunday at 2pm, kids can learn how to play Native American games at the Bailey Arboretum.

So, that should be more fun than anyone can really handle.


What our lunch looks like these days

This is a picture of Wed's lunch - the "practice feast". By all reports is was quite good. The beans were bright green and crisp. The baked potato was actually that. There was turkey and gravy and a really tasty apple crisp. I think it's a great picture of what school lunch should look like.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

What's for Lunch - Fri., 11/18

Friday brings a new popular favorite:

Whole Wheat Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Carrot Crunchers
Fresh Fruit in Season


Fresh, raw carrots and the best seasonal fruit available this week.

Please talk to your kids about taking the carrots and the fruit!  Whole fruit is better than juice - more fiber and less concentrated sugar.


Handouts from our Nutrition Speaker - Lunch Box Basics

We had a great speaker last night at the PCA meeting on making healthy meals and snacks for your kids. If you couldn't make it, we'll be posting the handouts here. Here's the first of four:

Lunch Box Basics

The ingredients:
• Vegetables easily chopped and eaten raw or lightly steamed: cucumbers, celery, carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, garden sprouts and broccoli.
• Good sources of fats: olives, toasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, cheese cubes and nuts (unless your school is a nut-free zone due to allergies).
• Sweet foods: grape or cherry tomatoes, fresh fruit, raisins and dried cranberries or apricots (no sugar added), yogurt - plain and sweetened by you at home with a little honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, chopped dates, berries, or applesauce (no sugar added).
• For protein and whole grains, kids love eating edamame from the hull or eating garbanzo beans with a little salt. For meat protein, all natural chicken and hot dogs are easy to pull together. Include whole grains like brown, barley, millet, quinoa, etc. and whole grain breads, crackers, and pretzels but be aware if the ingredient list has more than 5 ingredients you cannot pronounce.

Here are a few ideas for main meals:
1. Sandwiches: It is my experience that many young children do not readily eat sandwiches. That said,
flattening the bread and cutting them into small squares or triangles, helps. Try ham + cheese or
turkey + cheese with all natural meats. Hummus with sliced olives and cucumbers for the Mediterranean palate is great. A favorite is grilled cheese – make yours a healthier by adding pureed
carrot or butternut squash spread on whole grain bread. An alternative to PB&J for nut free schools is sunflower butter and jelly – check out Trader Joe’s sun butter!
2. Make a meal from last night’s dinner. Pasta, rice dishes, vegetable stir-fry’s, etc. You can heat it up from the fridge to freshen it up and put it in a thermos to keep warm until lunch.
3. Brown rice with a side of pesto for dipping raw veggie sticks or to mix with the rice if your child loves pesto. For a quick and delicious nut-free + dairy-free version: blend 1 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds with 2 bunches of basil and ½ cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste.
4. When the cold months arrive, serve soup in a thermos – there are lots of choices from vegetable
purees to beans and broth base soups, like chicken noodle. Again, think of last night’s dinner.
By picking items from these lists, you will not only save time, but you will cover the nutrition lunch basics including protein, whole grains, vegetables, good fat, something sweet and something raw. You may not get all of these every day, but finding a balance over the course of the week is a good goal.

What to drink:
While every child loves juice boxes (our children are no exception), they contain concentrated sugar that can deteriorate their concentration for school activities after lunch. Water is the best choice with lunch. If your child must have juice some of the time, find a brand that includes water, such as First Juice or Honest Kids.

Cucumber dill yogurt dip for raw veggies:
1 (8-ounce) containers plain yogurt, drained in a fine sieve set over a bowl, covered and chilled, for 6 hours (to avoid having excess water in the dip)
1 medium to large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped fine (squeezed dry between paper towels)
1 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill plus dill sprigs for garnish
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
In a bowl stir together plain yogurt and cucumbers, 1-2 teaspoons chopped dill, 1-2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and salt to taste. Let the dip stand, covered and chilled, for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Quesadilla –
Start with 1 or 2 – 8 inch whole wheat tortillas depending on many quesadillas you want to make. Place 1 or half of one on a baking sheet. Add cheese and your child’s favorite toppings (such as diced chicken, olives, or tomatoes) and put the other one (or half) on top. Bake at 400 for 7 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and heated through. Let stand two minutes and cut into triangles. Layer in lunch box with parchment paper to avoid the pieces sticking together. Serve with the cucumber dip above or sour cream.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What's for Lunch - Thurs., 11/18

We're having:

Beef Tacos
Taco Bar Fixin's

Salad Bar
Raisin Box

The tacos are a new and improved with 100% ground chuck.  I will update in the comments when I get the ingredients for the shell.  The salsa is Green Mountain organic salsa and the ingredients are: tomatoes, fire-roasted chiles, onions, tomatillos, jalapeno peppers, pasilla peppers, apple cider vinegar, cilantro, parsley, garlic, sea salt, spices.  The previous iteration of twin tacos used turkey - kind of - turkey plus a lot of other fillers. Tacos shells are hard, yellow corn shells but I have not gotten the ingredients yet.

We also get a salad bar today.  The bar will have two kinds of cheese, chic peas, romaine lettuce, and raw vegetables among other things - including croutons. At Sea Cliff at least, the salad is put together by the cafeteria workers to order for the kids.  The dressings are Balsamic Vinegar, Ranch and Caesar. Click each one to be linked back to ingredient lists. Read about Balsamic Vinegar here: filtered water, organic soybean oil, organic balsamic vinegar, organic sugar, salt, organic white vinegar, organic minced garlic, organic garlic powder, organic onion powder, organic black pepper, organic red bell pepper granules, xantham gum.

Raisins are Sunmaid.


Calling All Nassau Co. School Food Reformers!

Do You Live in Nassau County, NY?
Are you or others at your school working to improve the quality of your school's lunch?
We'd love to meet you!
We are the Sea Cliff Elementary's nutrition committee - a part of our PCA (our name for PTA). We have been working for over a year now to improve the food in our school district and we've made some significant improvements but we want to do more.  We'd like to meet with other nutrition committees or like-minded people.
Our goals for such a group include:
- improving the quality of our school's food, our cafeteria and nutrition education through networking and creating new ideas with similar groups
- creating a food purchasing co-op for schools here that is invested in healthier alternatives - our improving the existing co-op.
- passing legislation in our county to help improve school lunches including a requirement that all schools post the ingredients in their lunch to their website
If you are interested in forming a Nassau County School Food Reform Coalition, please email us or leave a comment below.
If you'd like to read more about our work, please visit our blog at or the nutrition page at our PCA's website -

Angry Mom on the Radio Today

Hi, everyone - this is from Bhavani Jaroff who did our healthy cooking demonstration last year. She has a weekly radio show and this afternoon will be interviewing Dr. Susan Rubin of Two Angry Moms fame.

I'd like to invite you to listen to my radio show tomorrow at 5pm! This week, I will be interviewing Dr. Susan Rubin, holistic nutritionist, founder of Better School Food, a coalition of health professionals, educators, and concerned parents, whose mission is to raise awareness about the connection between better food and better health, and one of the two "Angry Moms" featured in the documentary Two Angry Moms.

Every week, I talk about food; preparing it, cooking it, growing it and of course I have some great recipes to share with you. 
So please, listen in!  Log onto, .
 Remember, it is every Wednesday from 5-6 pm EST.
If you miss the show, you can always listen in at a later date by going into the archives. It usually takes 24 hours for the current show to be put on line, but all the past shows (along with recipes) can be gotten off of the website.

Just go to the PRN website, , click on archives, scroll down to iEat Green with Bhavani, and choose which show you want to listen to. Then press “download”. The show will come on, or you can download it to your iPod and listen in the car or whenever!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What's for Lunch - Wed., 11/17

Wednesday is being billed as our "Practice Feast":

Oven Roasted Turkey Breast w/ pan gravy
Baked Potato
Fresh String Beans
Apple Crisp

Sounds tasty - but I have no details.   This week's questions remain unanswered . . .so I do not know the source of the turkey or gravy. The vegetables sound fresh. The apple crisp sounds like a treat.


Mural for Sea Cliff Elementary Cafeteria - Call for Submissions

Mural for Sea Cliff Elementary Cafeteria Call for Submissions

Objective- To beautify the cafeteria with love from the students and parents. This is a join project of the Sea Cliff School Nutrition Committee, Red Bow Studio and the Sea Cliff School Art Department.

Proposed Idea/Theme: The Sea Cliff Children’s Garden…Grow What You Love

The theme of the mural will be a garden. To create this mural, we will have a background designed by artist Patricia Kaegi Weiss and decorated with artwork by Sea Cliff Students.  The background will be a garden with trees and bees and other oddities, but will be inhabited by the creations of the Sea Cliff students. All students are welcomed to contribute ! Draw or paint something that you would like to grow in or live in your “garden”. It could be climbing vines of sweet peas or a wren or bunnies, there are no rules other than we need to be able to replicate the artwork on a wall.  We will try to include all artwork, but paintings that are difficult to recreate or do not work with the “theme” will not be used.  This will be at the discretion of the supervisors of the project.
The goal is to make this a creation with as much community participation as possible.  We want the students to be inspired every day they attend school and eat in the cafeteria.

Please Leave contributions in the art room with Ms.Giurlanda, in the front office or at Red Bow Studio by December 1 !

Email- with questions or to volunteer with this exciting project.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Child Nutrition Act - Call Now - Last Chance!

From the NY Coalition for Healthy School Food:

Child Nutrition Act - Call Now - Last Chance
Dear School Food Advocates,

Congress is reconvening today for the "Lame duck" session. We've heard from DC that the House may not return for the last week of legislative session after Thanksgiving, and so they will likely vote on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (the Child Nutrition Bill) as part of an omnibus bill during the first days of this week. In light of this, it is important to contact your Congressional Representative right away.

We recommend that you ask your Representative to "Please pass the child nutrition bill along with a restoration to the SNAP (food stamps) cut." The SNAP cut is part of how Congress plans to pay for the Child Nutrition Act. We don't want to diminish children's ability to access good food at school or at home. You can find your Representative's contact information here.

While we are very disappointed at the low amount of funding for this bill (it adds only six cents more per meal, when First Lady Michelle Obama requested 18.5 cents and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand requested 70 cents), it will still make many positive changes to the school food environment, and thus we do want to see it pass. Will chicken nuggets be banned? The answer is no, so even after the bill passes, we still have a lot of work to do. Ultimately, it will take each of you at your district level to create the change we want to see.

We will keep you informed of any relevant news from DC through the week... and look forward to celebrating a hopefully positive outcome for students at school and at home!

Best wishes,
Amie Hamlin

What's for Lunch - Tues., 11/16

I don't have a lot of details except:

Chicken and fresh vegetable
Stir Fry with brown rice
Orange rounds

I believe this is a gluten-free meal. They plan to use tamari instead of soy sauce for the stir fry.

I emailed the food services dept last week to ask for the source of the chicken and details on the stir fry including what vegetable(s) would be served. I don't have any answers for you.  Ideally, like Washington, DC, we could get a law passed requiring schools to post the ingredients for lunch on their website.  You can't sell it in a supermarker without the ingredients so why we can serve 30 million school children a day in this country with discloing what's in the food is beyond me.

Email us or leave a comment if you want to help us work on the ingredient transparency law.


Don't Miss "Making Healthy Snacks for Your Kids" this Wednesday!

You do not want to miss the next PCA meeting - this Wednesday, 7pm, Sea Cliff School Cafeteria.

Our speaker will be Felicia Desrosiers founder of Butter Beans which provides fresh, nutritious lunches to independent schools.  She will be talking about preparing healthy snacks and meals for your family - and how to shop so that you'll have what you need on hand, making healthy snacks all the easier.

For some great resources on nutrition, cooking and eating, check out her websites:

Felicia's Bio:
Felicia has been an avid student of nutrition and health earning degrees and certifications from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She also holds a BA in Education from The New School. In addition to founding Butter Beans, Felicia manages a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counseling practice that she started over 6 years ago.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What's for Lunch - Mon., 11/13

A new item!

Chicken Parmigiana
Whole Wheat Rotini Marinara
Fresh Veggie Bar
Pineapple chunks

I emailed the food services dept last week for more details on the menu but they are apparently very busy.  So, there's some chicken. There is no doubt red sauce which pretty reliable seems to be 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 cheese is probably the USDA commodity part skim mozzarella.  Ingredients are cultured pasteurized milk, salt, enzymes. The sodium is 240mg/oz - I think we use 2 ounces. The noodles are whole wheat.

I don't have any details on what fresh vegetables will be available. I believe the pineapple is canned but I do not know if it has any additives. I know the food services dept. tries to avoid them but if they are a commodity you might get them anyway


Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekend Reading


La Vida Locavore has an an interesting post about the USDA, its love affair with cheese, and nutrition education for kids. These folks also have a very interesting piece about how the soda lobby defeated Washington's soda tax.

The NYT ran this look at the school lunch program this past week.  Innteretingly, it was the Patient Money column - and discussing what would make lunch money money well-spent. Then, join the conversation about it here.

Mark Bittman asks Can Walmart be Local and Sustainable?

If you are planning for Thanksgiving already, the NYT has a bunch of stuff for you. Go seasonal with fall vegetable recipes. Go sustainable with meatless recipes.  And make ure you have something for everyone with these gluten-free recipes.

There is an entire blog on wasted food. Maybe more than one.  Our school lunch program needs to address this.


WNYC's Brian Lehrer interviewed Jonathan Bloom author of the above mentioned wasted food blog and a new book. Listen here.


Old Westbury Gardens has a children's program at noon on Saturday where kids can help put the gardens to bed for the winter. Help plant bulbs at the gardens and bring one home for planting, too.

On Sunday, Bailey Arboretum will be teaching kids how animals survive the winter and help them make a treat to feed to their birds at home.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's for Lunch - Fri., 11/12

The menu says:

All Beef Burger, Cheeseburger or Veggie Burger
Cucumber & Carrot Sticks
Petite Banana

As we've discussed, the burger is all beef and the buns are whole wheat and HFCS-free.

Here are the ingredients on the veggie burger (Dr. Praeger's): carrots, onions, string beans, zucchini, oat bran, peas, spinach, expeller pressed canola oil, broccoli, textured soy flour, corn, oat fiber, red pepper, arrowroot corn meal, corn starch, garlic, salt, black pepper, all natural vegetable gum.

The meal is rounded out with fresh vegetables and a fruit.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What's for Lunch - Wed., 11/10

Wednesday's lunch line will showcase:

French Bread Pizza
Sides from the Salad Bar
Fresh Apple

I don't have the bread ingredients. It's not whole wheat and probably does not have HFCS. The sauce is 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 cheese is a USDA commodity part skim mozzarella.  Ingredients are cultured pasteurized milk, salt, enzymes. The sodium is 240mg/oz - I think we use 2 ounces.

The salad bar options will include 5-6 fresh vegetables, romaine lettuce, croutons, chick peas, cheeses and either turkey or tuna as a protein. Kids can get sides for their pizza or have the salad bar as their entree.

And, an apple.


Action Alert

From the Center for Science in the Public Interest:

A critical vote on landmark food-safety legislation is coming up when senators return to Washington later this month.  We shared in our last communication that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed a cloture motion on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which is a procedural way to end the delay tactics and allow a bill to move forward for a final vote.  Now, we need your help to make sure your senators vote “Yes!” on this important public health measure.
CALL 1-(877) 481-9966 and tell your senators:
1. Your name and where you live
2. You VOTE and food safety is important to you and
3. Please Vote “YES” for cloture to move S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act forward and “YES” for its final passage.

Four people in Texas have recently paid the ultimate price for a meal – with their lives.  An outbreak of illness caused by Listeria in bagged celery reportedly killed them and sickened at least ten people in recent months.  It is shameful that the government isn’t protecting our citizens from preventable sickness and death.
The coming weeks presents the final opportunity to pass strong food-safety reform legislation in this Congress.  Your senators are home right now and we’re asking you to make a toll-free call to their district office. Deliver a simple message to support the cloture motion to end delays and debate, and vote to give the bill final passage.
CALL 1-(877) 481-9966 NOW!
Have you been keeping track of all the food recalls and outbreaks this year?  We have – and it’s not pretty.  The evidence keeps piling up that something has to be done to fix our broken food-safety system.  Let’s start now.
Deliver your message TODAY! Thank you for standing up for safe food.
David W. Plunkett
Senior Staff Attorney, Food Safety

Center for Science in the Public Interest
P.S.  TIMESAVER TIP:  When you call the hotline, you can bypass the message at any point by pressing “1” to be connected directly to your senator’s office.  Our line can only connect to one office per call. To speak to your other senator, please hang up and call right back and you will be patched through to that office.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Action Alert: Child Nutrition Act

From Feeding America:
With just two legislative weeks left this year, we need to make sure Congress puts passing the Child Nutrition bill at the top of their priority list when they return on November 15.

We're rallying advocates across America to help us tell Congress, Pass the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (S.3307) and restore the SNAP program!

Join our social media campaign and help us spread our message nationwide!

Share our new video with your friends!
Sign our Twitter petition!
Spread the Word Raise Awareness
It's time for Congress to get behind a strong Child Nutrition bill. Your voice can make a difference!

Thank you
For more background, see our Sept 28th post or posts tagged with Child Nutrition Act.

Check out this great blog

I am really impressed with this blog by ButterBeans Kitchen. The debate about Happy Meals in the voluminous comment section of the November 4th post is particularly interesting. The blog has a lot of useful information about cooking and childhood nutrition.

Felicia Desrosiers, co-founder of ButterBeans Kitchen and holistic health counselor, will be presenting at the next PCA meeting -- mark your calendars.

Check it out if you get a moment:

What's for Lunch - Tues., 11/9

On Tuesday, we'll be having:

Turkey Tacos
Taco Bar Fixin's - Lettuce, Cheese and Salsa
Sweet Corn

The tacos are made from ground turkey, and the shells are hard, yellow corn shells but I have not gotten the ingredients yet. The salsa is Green Mountain organic salsa and the ingredients are: tomatoes, fire-roasted chiles, onions, tomatillos, jalapeno peppers, pasilla peppers, apple cider vinegar, cilantro, parsley, garlic, sea salt, spices. Lettuce and cheese are pretty clear.

The corn is canned USDA commodity corn. It is supposed to be without added salt or sugar (remember last year?) but we have not seen the label.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Whar's for Lunch - Mon., 11/8

Monday presents:

Whole Wheat Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Celery & Sweet Pepper Strips
Cinnamon Applesauce

The sandwich is made from Cabot's  lowfat cheddar cheese.. As an illustration of the thought that goes into our lunch program, we started out the year using a mix of American and cheddar cheese but are now transitioning the students' taste buds to 100% cheddar sandwiches.


I'm excited about the celery and pepper strips. The color of the fresh peppers always looks inviting - and please talk to your kids about sides they might like. And we don't mean ketchup.

The cinnamon applesauce is made from USDA commodity unsweetened applesauce.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekend Reading


Short, interesting piece on The American Prospect blog about what our school lunch says about us - and why it doesn't have to be the way it is.

This troubling but not so surprising piece on the NYT site talks about how nearly half of the food this country produces is wasted and what to do about it. And here's one more idea: composting - at home and at our school.  Ties in nicely with that talk earlier in the week about small fruit.

Great piece on enjoying vegetables here - which in part makes the point that we shouldn't call them "sides" - so, sorry about that post.

Some big corporations are starting to announce plans to phase out the use of BPA. Read more. One more reason the school lunch program is switching to more fresh and fewer canned foods. Well, except the corn.


Did you skip that piece on wasted food in the reading section. You can listen to a podcast here with even more details..


WNYC's Greene Space has a live webcast Sunday as part of the Lopate and Locavores series. Click here for details on "Eat Your Greens."


Do you really need more fun? Aren't you still recovering from Halloween? Well, we do have the Progressive Dinner this weekend.I'll have more fun for you next week.  Feel free to chime in with some fun in the comments.



I was at CVS yesterday. Like most days.  This is a great idea. We should tell kids that Superman eats Twinkies.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

What's for Lunch - Fri., 11/5

The kids will be enjoying:

Whole Wheat Spaghetti Bolognese (w/ meat) or Marinara (meatless)
Sauteed Broccoli
Fresh Garlic Bread
Raisin Box

The spaghetti is made from a money-saving USDA commodity pasta described as "whole wheat, dry and cooked, no salt added" -- good news! 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).

I have confirmed that the broccoli is fresh! Remember last year - broccoli was a rare event and when served was a frozen variety from China.

I do not have the ingredients for the bread. 

Speaking of which - the raisins are Sun-Maid and domestic for those of you concerned about pesticides.


Monitoring What Your Child Buys for Lunch

If you have not yet used our online Mealpay Plus system, it's an easy way to add money to your children's lunch account (although there is a processing fee) AND to see what your kids are eating.  Thus far, I can see that my child has purchased an "entree" or twice the "salad bar".

The website can be found here and the link is also on the district's website under the lunch program link. To register for the first time, you need to call the food service office and get a student ID#. They can be reached at 277-7090.  The site will also let you set up automatic payments and control how and when you are notified of low balances.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What's for Lunch - Thurs., 11/4

Our lovely lunch will be comprised of:

Freshly-Breaded, Baked Chicken Breast
Zucchini Sticks with Dipping sauce
Fresh Pear

I believe the breading for the chicken is a mixture of corn meal, panko bread crumbs, flour, buttermilk and some salt and pepper.

The dipping sauce is our Chelten Organic Ranch. (Although not low fat like last year because it would raise the sodium levels.) Here are the ingredientsg: 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.  A little variety in the dip would be nice also - maybe a yogurt dip?

Fresh vegetable and fruit - delightful. 


November's Alternate Entree

In the interest of getting kids to both try and eat a wide variety of foods, November brings us a new alternate entree:

The Brown Rice, Zesty Black Bean and Cheese Burrito!
served with: corn, zucchini sticks, and salsa

I think the brown rice part is pretty clear. The beans are by Pride of New York and are all natural with nothing added. The cheese is Monterey Jack and I am checking on the tortilla.

For the sides, the zucchini is fresh but the corn is canned.  I do not have the label.  The salsa is Green Mountain and mild, Here are the ingredients: Tomatoes, fire-roasted chiles, onions, tomatillos, jalapeno peppers, pasilla peppers, apple cider vinegar, cilantro, parsley, garlic, sea salt, spices.

And now for a history/nutrition lesson: Corn, beans and squash together are known as the "three sisters" are were grown together by Native Americans for hundreds of years. Combined, they form a complete (and vegetarian) protein. Plus the beans could grow up the corn stalks.

I would happily try this one.  Probably instead of brunch.

Students can also request the hummus plate or the egg salad plate both with and without gluten (i.e. with pita bread or with rice cakes.) We also have tuna in a pita and a whole grain peanut butter and jelly sandwich.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What's for Lunch - Wed., 11/3

It's the notorious return of Brunch for Lunch:

Homemade Challah French Toast
Orange Rounds
Applegate Turkey Bacon
Petite Banana

At the end of last year, the district nutrition committee retired brunch for lunch but we have a new regime and it seems to be back.  I've asked for some details on the challah french toast and will get back to you hopefully. (Edit: We don't have the bread ingredients yet but the french toast is made with eggs, cinnamon, vanilla (in the future), milk and a small amount of salt and sugar.)

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.)

Small fruit has become all the rage in school lunch programs. Sourcing kid-sized apples and bananas cuts down on food waste and is more inviting to the students.


The "Sides" Solution

 For discussion:

If you're home with your kids today, please take five minutes to talk about the following with them:


The picture above is an actual child's lunch from last Wednesday. This student opted not to take any of the sides offered which happened to be listed as make your own Caesar salad and cinnamon applesauce. This kid was probably hungry later on, missed out on teh vitamins and fiber in the sides AND cost our lunch program $0.25.

Strange but true.  The federal government gives our school $0.25 for each lunch we provide that meets their requirements for protein, grains, fruit or vegetable and calories.  This money means higher quality food for our school's lunches. Every quarter counts.

So please talk to your kids about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables. go over the menu with them ahead of time and point out the foods you think they would enjoy and talk about why they're important to their health.

Now, go vote and enjoy the benefits of democracy.