Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Supporting the Food Revolution

There was a short period of time in the not so distant past I did a stint as a Food Program Coordinator for a non-profit halfway house/group home organization.  During this time I made an amazing discovery.  There are A LOT of young adults that don't know their way around a kitchen.

While I was in this position, I made it my goal to create menus that taught residents how to make meals that were delicious, economical, and not from a box.  So often, the feedback I would receive would be, "Why can't we have chicken nuggets?" or "Can we have frozen pizza?" or "These meals take too long to make."  The saddest part of this is that most of these comments were made by the life skills coordinators that staffed these homes.  The same people that were being paid to teach the residents how to live on their own.

While many of these meals were far from scratch, they were also not pre-prepared, straight from the box garbage.  They were teaching residents how to incorporate proteins, vegetables, and healthy carbs to make a meal.

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As a parent, I am concerned about what my children consume.  In our home, we try to avoid highly processed, nutrient deficient foods.  In addition to trying to cook mostly from scratch, I encourage my children to work in the kitchen by my side.  Just the other day, my 9 year-old, made homemade brownies from scratch.  That's right!  She melted the baking chocolate and butter, measured the brown sugar, salt, flour, and vanilla, and added the eggs.  By herself.  They were DELICIOUS!

It concerns me the amount of processed foods being used in our schools today.  I'm not saavy enough to find the statistics showing just how prevalent it is.  I just know what I see on the lunch menu that comes home each month.

I have eaten lunch at school with my kids.  They have the option to decline their fruit and vegetable.  If they choose the "cold lunch" option, they don't even get a real PB&J, the school provides Smuckers Uncrustables!  I'm not entirely sure how that is economical, not to mention the extra waste created by these individually wrapped sandwiches.  I just know that the food my kids eat at school is an over processed smorgasboard.

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Have you been over to Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution site?  If you haven't, you should!  This stuff is real!  If you haven't yet, sign the petition!  If you're a parent, get on board!  Make your voice heard!  Stand up for what your kids are being served in school.  Get your family involved in the kitchen.  Stop spending your money on the Hamburger Helper and other premade meals in the store and start visiting sites like allrecipes.com, recipesfromscratch.com, and right off the Jamie Oliver site. I know it can sometimes be difficult.  And you don't have to go 100% old school to make a difference.  Just give it a shot and get cooking!!!


7 comments:

Daffy said...

I like to think I've always been cognizant as an adult of the food I put in my mouth; probably a little more so since I deal with being diabetic. However, since having my own child I am WAY more plugged in to what I put on the table for each meal. It really is an important component to a healthy life. The difference good food choices make in the overall quality of life is amazing. We VERY rarely eat fast food and incorporate much more fruit and veggies into each meal. I feel and look better than I ever have and hope I am passing the desire to eat well onto my child.

Erin said...

You are spot-on! What a fabulous post. I wish more people would watch the show and make changes. I am not perfect, but I do the best I can. We have lots of fruits and veggies and I am shopping the perimeter of the store, away from boxed stuff....

Wym said...

I worked in public schools for 7 years before coming home to raise the kids. I was appaled by the opprotunities in Colorado schools. The "healthiest state was the first to bring in junk food sponsors. I was at the High School and the kids hat Dominos Pizza daily and the school lunch was boxed-frozen goo.
If my kids ever attend public school, they will not have the option to eat at school. They will have prepared lunch from home. my hope is that they will want to choose that anyway!Paying $2 for garbage is still garbage in my eyes. Not a deal. Thanks for posting this!

adrienzgirl said...

You know that I LOVE THIS! I was so excited while watching Jaime's Food Revolution that he inspired Kooper to never eat processed chicken nugget crap ever again!

I try to cook at home as much as possible. From scratch so that I know what is in the food we are eating. To be honest, people don't realize how inexpensive it is to make your own spaghetti sauce. To make a fresh version of a hamburger helper type dinner. In the long run? It's cheaper to eat better! AND HEALTHIER TO BOOT!

The Blue Zoo said...

Great post K!!

The school that my kids go to have the WORST lunches ever. Its ALL from a box. There is no choice at all. And I mean the whole lunch comes in a box, and inside the box are smaller boxes. Its all processed crap that they just heat up. And its nasty.

So we make cold lunches.

Tracie said...

At my kids' schools they have a slushie machine in the lunchroom every day. And they sell cookies and chips in addition to the regular meal. The kids are allowed to buy as many of them as they want. These are elementary school aged kids. It really bleeps me off!

PS Jamie's show was filmed in my area. No surprise there.

JennyMac said...

Love the post (and need to watch that show.) School lunches have been in the news often due to the mysterious contents of the "meat". I read a news article that showed how many big food processing meat plants BLEACH the meat to kill the endless bacteria and contaminants the animals are loaded with. SICKENING.

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