Monday, September 28, 2015

Do you want more #RealSchoolFood in your lunchroom?

Join the Chef Ann Foundation, Jamie Oliver and myself to demand school food change for our country. 

Here's why I am a part of this national food fight:
The Problem
  • For the first time in TWO generations, our American children will have shorter life expectancies than their parents. 
  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. 
  • One in THREE of our nation’s children are overweight or obese and according to USDA, only 2% of children in the U.S. eat enough fruits and vegetables (I bet my kids miss the mark some days!)
  • Nearly a third of our children are on track to contract Type II diabetes. 
  • The fast food industry is allowed to make matters worse by spending more than $5 million every day marketing unhealthy foods to children. 
  • Nearly all (98%) of food advertisements viewed by children are for processed products that are high in fat, sugar or sodium (and they taste great!).
The Solution

When more than 30 million children eat school lunch every day and 13 million children eat school breakfast, healthy school food becomes a crucial part of the solution. For many low-income students school breakfast and lunch is their only access to good nutrition. 

Be inspired by the scratch cooked, kid tested recipes that the Chef Ann Foundation is creating for USA school kitchens and food service providers:

Unfortunately, my District 76 Diamond Lake school district does not have on-site cooking kitchens (just re-heating and assembling by our amazing lunch staff). Last year, our school food provider, Preferred Meals, partnered with our Wellness Committee to provide more real food offerings (fresh fruit, salad bar and less fake food ingredients), labeled added sugar content and increased food transparency to parents. By providing every child with access to healthy, clean, delicious real food every day, schools and food providers can positively impact our children's health - regardless of kitchen space!

It's not about perfection.

Well-nourished students have more energy, are able to focus for longer periods of time, and are better able to learn than those who are slowed down by empty calories and sugar crashes. I know this only too well as pitching out the fake food and cooking more from scratch for my family table shifted Abbie's life, our entire family's life forever
I realize it is unrealistic for every school and meal provider to offer 100% from scratch offerings, and I applaud the efforts that are being made by school districts and food providers to provide cleaner food options for our kids. Reducing pre-packaged sugar laden foods, offering more (off-site) scratch cooked food and increasing school food education are the most impactful ways for schools to begin improving our children’s nutrition, eating habits and educational experience.
The Goal
I used to think that our food education and school lunch challenges were too BIG to solve. The goal of the #realschoolfood campaign is to raise public awareness around the need for scratch cooking in schools and the work that the Chef Ann Foundation is doing to provide operational and recipe support to schools transitioning to a scratch-cook model.

By advocating for #realschoolfood, we are saying:
1.     The food we serve our children at school should be real, fresh, and scratch-cooked. It’s time to move away from highly processed, heat and serve food (especially if your school has an on-site cooking facility!).
2.     School food that is both healthy and delicious is a real thing. The Chef Ann Foundation has the photos to prove it, and the kid-tested recipes and resources to make it a reality in schools across the country.

And they aren't the only ones providing help and resources to American schools and teachers...

Be inspired by the Chicago Pilot Light Chefs Reset the Table event in Chicago! They are re-imagining Chicago Public School (CPS) school food in a BIG way with the USDA and Aramark Foods! Core Curriculum aligned food education materials are available in English and Spanish for teachers all across AMERICA => Join them and download the lesson and classroom materials for FREE HERE.
Use the hashtag and spread awareness via social media to inspire fellow parents, teachers and school administrators to start a conversation about the importance of #REALSCHOOLFOOD.

To the Mullies we go...

Our 1st D76 School Wellness meeting is tomorrow, September 30th! Please feel free to reach out to me as I will share your voice at our meeting: Why do YOU believe in #RealSchoolFood?

**D76 parents: Click here or here to sign up and receive ingredient product specifications for your child's school lunch. I'm thrilled to announce full food transparency is up and running! Regardless of whether your children eat school food, I encourage everyone to sign up, as we are telling Preferred Meals that WE care about the quality of their ingredients. I believe if they continue to improve + increase the amount of real food offerings, more parents like ME & YOU will sign up for school lunch which is a WIN for everyone!! Moreover, contact our school board members today and urge them to strongly consider resource allocation for on-site, full service kitchens in our district facilities plan. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Goldilock's Plate | Happy Labor Day Loves

I made this for myself when I wanted nothing else than potato chips last weekend for breakfast. I challenged myself to make something crazy good from scratch that would help me forget and I began pulling organic vege goodness out of my fridge...

Color me happy, I forgot about those darn chips and created a dish worthy of breakfast, lunch or dinner.

It filled me up juuuuuuuust right. And so I named her:

Goldilock's Plate

1 golden beet spiralized (find some spiralizer gadgets here. I have the Benriner and GEFU)
3 rainbow chard leaves torn (ribs diced)
1 red onion diced
8 oz shiitake mushrooms diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 avocado sliced
2 eggs (All Ways Healthy has farm fresh local Amish ones AND they passed the water test!)
2 T chopped fresh cilantro 
Ghee (or crazy good butter)
Salt & pepper

Sauté a soffritto of diced chard rib, onion, mushroom, garlic, sea salt, pepper in a little ghee on med/low heat for 25 minutes until soft and fragrant. Arrange ripped chard leaves (bite size) on a plate and spoon the soffritto over top. In the same pan, add a little more ghee and cook two eggs (I like mine a little runny). Layer the eggs on top of the soffritto and arrange the sliced avocado, spiralized beets and chopped cilantro on top. Season to taste! Next time I'm going to add a little sriracha!


I'm having lots of fun in the garden + kitchen with our tomatoes lately;) I'm also missing my friend Terri so much. She just translated this lovely post from her home@home blog for me on Facebook and I have to say I'm tearing up a bit...

Find Terri's Dutch home@home blog post here (my browser translates it for me!).
Find her translated Facebook post here.
The delicious recipes we cooked together are included, enjoy!!

I'll be soaking up the last dog days of Summer this weekend and I want to wish your table full of good food, family and friends. Mine will be busting at the seams I hope:)

Happy Labor Day USA!!