Friday, May 8, 2015

How to do a cooking class for 160, 8-9 year olds and getting ready for Food Revolution Day 2015!


On May 15th, 2015, Food Revolution Day is set to embark on its 4th annual day of global recognition to encourage more nutrition education. This mission is not only about teaching the ABC's of nutrition but helping the children develop a love of cooking and a foundation for what good and real food is.
 
This year I embarked on a journey to teach 160 third graders how to assemble and prepare a "squash sandwich".
The cooking class will be led by Chef Jamie Oliver,  virtually presenting via the world wide web, a 40 minute demonstration. the mastermind behind  Food Revolution Day, Jamie Oliver has been advocating for Food education and this year he is pushing for a global impact to improve the future of our children, so please sign the petition, click here.

As a local ambassador for the Food Revolution Day cause I decided that this year I would participate by having all of the third graders at our local elementary participate in the class. Here is how I went about starting a cooking class for our local Elementary:
 
1. Last year I wanted to do the online cooking class with Jamie but did not allow enough time for planning so this year I started in February and approached my son's third grade teachers and started out on the journey of garnering donations, recruiting volunteers and planning out the event to the smallest details.
 
2. I emailed the team leader for third grade and told her about the event. She enthusiastically agreed to team up and make the event happen at the school. We then sought approval from the Principal and once that was done, I approached local vendors.
 
3. Some of the vendors that I reached out to included: Whole Foods Boca Raton, The Dairy Council, Pero Family Farms and Ernston Produce. The list of ingredients was pretty long including lot of vegetables and herbs. With the cost of produce, especially to feed 160 kids, it was a nail bitter as to if I would be able to accomplish this task at all. But my amazing vendors came through and enthusiastically agreed to donate for the cause. I had a last minute request for bread in which I approached our local PTA who stepped up and agreed to purchase the bread.

4. About 4 weeks before the event we were encouraged by Jamie Oliver to have the students grow some of the produce needed. We planted radishes, basil and dill and my son delivered them to the classrooms with a letter of how to take care of the plants.
 

5. In my non-realistic dream I envisioned all 160 of the children in aprons and chef hats. But obviously the financial impact of that was way out of my budget so I came up with a chef hat template, which you can download here. Chef hat template. The kids will have to staple or tape the hats together and will also be able to personalize them with colors and pictures. The chef hats will be more of an aesthetic idea, but in my vision they will all look super cute. I did purchase some inexpensive aprons for my sons class on Amazon and had 50 buttons made to pin to the aprons and give out to the teachers and volunteers.
      

6. I rounded up, with the help of our awesome volunteer coordinator Rosana, 9 volunteers to help the teachers during the class. Prior to the class I sent each volunteer the link to Jamie's video and an idea of how the lesson plan should go, in hopes that everything would run smoothly.

7. Since the herbs were an expensive part of the lesson, we also decided to grow watercress in the classrooms. I started the seeds at home and, according to the package the seeds would be ready to go in 5-7 days. If you are not familiar with watercress, as I was not, its a peppery herb that is added to sandwiches and easily grown.

8. Packets were made that included completion certificates, sandwich building activity, chef hat templates and copies of the lesson plans to be distributed the week of the event.

All of my plans are now in place. All that is left to do is pick up the produce, distribute it to the classrooms and cross my fingers that everything from technology to the children's behavior falls into place. I look forward to this event because it is my small part that may influence some of the children to think a little more about the foods they eat and acquire a love for cooking.

If you have any questions about the event or Food Revolution Day please email me at: Brandi@abcdeatright.com.

So go on, stir things up in your area and start a Food Revolution! xoxo Brandi





Monday, April 20, 2015

Nurturing your creativity, 5 snacks to take to the office and other work day tips

I work out of multiple locations some of which I have my own office and others I consider my car my office. Even though I move around a lot, I like to have plenty of snacks available to help me get through the day until dinner. A typical work day can be filled with stress, low serotonin levels and often low blood sugars if the right foods are not chosen.  I recommend eating a good protein filled breakfast, a light but fiber filled lunch, an afternoon snack (see below) and a well balanced dinner. The more regular you can be with steady meal times, the more consistent your blood sugars will be.

My advice is to skip the afternoon coffee and substitute it with refreshing water and a crunchy snack. Crunchy snacks works to stimulate the senses and get the body going again.When you think crunchy I want you to think past potato chips and look at these five healthy options: 

1.The Good Bean roasted chick pea snacks. My new favorite go-to snack that has protein, fiber and a ton of varieties to choose from. Whether you want something sweet and crunchy or salty and crunchy these beans are a great snack choice.

2. KIND bars are always found in my purse. They are easy to tote around, healthy and delicious. The newer KIND bars have added more of a savory line, which are really different and good but my all time favorite is the dark chocolate sea salt one! Although KIND bars have gotten a recent slap on the hand by FDA due to "healthy claims", as a Registered Dietitian I feel that these type snacks can still be a part of a well balanced diet. Everything in moderation is the key when seeking out a healthy meal plan.

3. Hummus and carrot sticks or whole grain crackers. Sabra has a great on the go pack but it can be just as easy to bring a tub of hummus and keep it at work for the week, refrigerated of course.

4. Apples and bananas with peanut or nut butter. Justin's has a great pouch that is a perfect portion size for the energy packed peanut butter. A sliced apple or banana is another delicious and fiber filled snack.

5. Peeled fruit snacks are one last quick grab snack that I recently purchased at Starbucks. These dried fruit balls were the perfect size and the perfect crunch. Low calorie and fiber filled were a delicious choice for a busy afternoon.

Taking a walk and skipping an afternoon caffeine buzz are other ways to stay healthy throughout the workday. Every day is a creative day waiting to be born so nourish that creativity with healthy and hydrating snacks. 

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Don't get fooled...It's really a healthy dip recipe and fun classroom prank!

The first day of April has been recognized as the notorious day for jokes and pranks. This year I decided to have a little fun with the kids and try a new dip for an after school snack. Some of the ideas I got I read in Family Fun Magazine then I added a little twist of my own.

For a fun classroom joke to play on Olivia's teacher we gave her a plate of Brown "E's" and the Greek letter Pi. Hee Hee.



Then for an after school snack I made them a dip that I modified a little bit to look like raw cookie dough. I never let them eat raw cookie dough so they knew something was up but the joke was on them because not only was the dip delicious it was packed full of fiber and protein. The mystery ingredient was a can of chickpeas!

Click here for the recipe for a delicious and healthy dip! 


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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Smoothies = 3 + 3...Top 3 ingredients to include and Top 3 reasons to drink them!

Smoothies have been the dietary rage for the past few years. People promote smoothies for all sorts of reasons and mainly for weight loss, meal replacement and even cleanses. But even before smoothies became a popular item they were a great way for people to pack in the nutrients. 

I have always liked smoothies for 3 reasons:

1. They are quick to make.You can make a smoothie in under 2 minutes if you are in a rush. 
2. They can cram in a bunch of nutrients and drink them down with ease. 
3. They are easy to make and even my 5 year old can make them.


When drinking smoothies you also want to be wary that it is still possible to over do it and take in way too many extra calories or fat, especially if you are purchasing smoothies from fast food restaurants. The best way to get the most out of a smoothie is to make it at home. Here are the 3 ingredients I recommend to always include in a smoothie:

1. A protein source : Skim milk, soy milk, low fat or no fat Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons nut butter, 1 tablespoon PB2 powder, whey or soy based protein powders (we have been using Biochem whey protein...just make sure to read the label to make sure you know what you are getting, especially if its for kids). A good average for protein would be to have 15-20 grams of protein per serving, and under 500 for calories. 

2. A fiber source: Bananas, frozen or room temperature, frozen blueberries, mangoes, cherries, strawberries or any other frozen or fresh fruit. If the fruit is frozen you don't have to add extra ice. 

3. Flax seed or a super green. I like flax seeds for their omega-3 fatty acids (good fats) and super greens like kale or spinach or even collards or beet greens for their phytochemicals. 

Whatever you add to your smoothie know that you will be making a healthy addition to your daily intake and getting closer to your recommended 5-9 servings of fruits or vegetables, 25 grams of fiber and, protein needs for the day! 

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Lucky for me these greens are good for me! And....magically delicious!


St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner. Although traditionally a day set aside for adult indulgence in green colored beer, children have been swept into the "making everything green" day. For children the fun starts with lots of artificially colored green foods such as Jell-O, cakes, cookies, ice cream and cereals. Recently I saw a Pinterest post that had a box of Lucky Charm cereal with a tag wrapped around it that said "Lucky to have you! Love Mom".
Who doesn't remember the happy little Leprechaun  jumping over the rainbow touting about his Lucky Charms Cereal being "Magically delicious". I am pretty sure that the cereal company did not really add any magic into their boxes of sugar, chemical and artificially colored cereals, just a whole lot of junk. Do you know what the ingredients are in Lucky Charms Cereal? Here is a list of the ingredients found in Lucky Charms Cereal.

Whole Grain Oats, Marshmallows (Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Gelatin, Calcium Carbonate, Yellows 5&6, Blue 1, Red 40, Artificial Flavor), Sugar, Oat Flour, Corn Syrup, Corn Starch, Salt, Trisodium Phosphate, Color Added, Natural and Artificial Flavor. Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Zinc and Iron (Mineral Nutrients), Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate), a B Vitamin (Niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Mononitrate), Vitamin A (Palmitate), a B Vitamin (Folic Acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3

Needless to say, I got a little upset with the idea of giving out the cereal as part of the festivities.
Why does food always have to be colored, flavored, sugar laden and just flat junk, to make a party fun? Why can't we serve green vegetables and fruits and have just as much fun? Here is a list of snack ideas I came up with and/or found on Pinterest that do reflect a healthier side of St. Patrick's day.


1.Guacamole with green chips, broccoli, celery or sugar snap peas for dipping
2. Green smoothie (combine apple juice, milk, berries, 1 teaspoon honey and an avocado or spinach leaves)
3. Grapes and green apple slices kabobs (vanilla yogurt for dipping)
4. Kale chips (roast kale tossed in olive oil and sea salt until crispy)
5. Veggie Pirate Booty chips
6. Cucumber shaped shamrocks dipped in low-fat ranch
7. Mini-sandwiches cut with clover molds
8. Healthy, low fat potato salad 
9. Ants on a log (celery with nut butter or hummus sprinkled with raisins)
10. Pistachio low fat pudding topped with shelled pistachios.
11. Baggie filled with green grapes with the tag: "Lucky this green stuff is good for me!" To print out the tag click here.



May the luck of the Irish be with you, and not all the junk!


Happy National Nutrition Month!
Follow me on Facebook: ABCD Eat Right
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Lucky for me these greens are good for me....and Magically Delicious!


St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner. Although traditionally a day set aside for adult indulgence in green colored beer, children have been swept into the "making everything green" day. For children the fun starts with lots of artificially colored green foods such as Jell-O, cakes, cookies, ice cream and cereals. Recently I saw a Pinterest post that had a box of Lucky Charm cereal with a tag wrapped around it that said "Lucky to have you! Love Mom".
Who doesn't remember the happy little Leprechaun  jumping over the rainbow touting about his Lucky Charms Cereal being "Magically delicious". I am pretty sure that the cereal company did not really add any magic into their boxes of sugar, chemical and artificially colored cereals, just a whole lot of junk. Do you know what the ingredients are in Lucky Charms Cereal? Here is a list of the ingredients found in Lucky Charms Cereal.

Whole Grain Oats, Marshmallows (Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Gelatin, Calcium Carbonate, Yellows 5&6, Blue 1, Red 40, Artificial Flavor), Sugar, Oat Flour, Corn Syrup, Corn Starch, Salt, Trisodium Phosphate, Color Added, Natural and Artificial Flavor. Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Zinc and Iron (Mineral Nutrients), Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate), a B Vitamin (Niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Mononitrate), Vitamin A (Palmitate), a B Vitamin (Folic Acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3

Needless to say, I got a little upset with the idea of giving out the cereal as part of the festivities.
Why does food always have to be colored, flavored, sugar laden and just flat junk, to make a party fun? Why can't we serve green vegetables and fruits and have just as much fun? Here is a list of snack ideas I came up with and/or found on Pinterest that do reflect a healthier side of St. Patrick's day.


1.Guacamole with green chips, broccoli, celery or sugar snap peas for dipping
2. Green smoothie (combine apple juice, milk, berries, 1 teaspoon honey and an avocado or spinach leaves)
3. Grapes and green apple slices kabobs (vanilla yogurt for dipping)
4. Kale chips (roast kale tossed in olive oil and sea salt until crispy)
5. Veggie Pirate Booty chips
6. Cucumber shaped shamrocks dipped in low-fat ranch
7. Mini-sandwiches cut with clover molds
8. Healthy, low fat potato salad 
9. Ants on a log (celery with nut butter or hummus sprinkled with raisins)
10. Pistachio low fat pudding topped with shelled pistachios.
11. Baggie filled with green grapes with the tag: "Lucky this green stuff is good for me!" To print out the tag click here.



May the luck of the Irish be with you, and not all the junk!



Happy National Nutrition Month!
Follow me on Facebook: ABCD Eat Right
Twitter: ABCDEatRight1

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Get moving during #Nationalnutritionmonth. Run Club Anyone?


Along with eating healthy and finding that inner motivation, incorporating physical activity into your daily routine is one way you can take a bite out of a healthy lifestyle. Finding a community outlet is a great way to introduce physical activity to the entire family. Joining team sports and utilizing public parks is a great way to get moving, but sometimes team sports can be costly and not all parks are equipped with the right resources. One way that I was able to increase my families physical activity was to go through my children's school. 
I enjoy running and wanted to instill that into our kids. Its an easy, low expense way to release energy and feel good about your accomplishments. Last year a friend of mine told me about how her Elementary school had started a running club. I was so excited and teamed up with a few moms at our Elementary and got a club going which we call "Hawks on the Move". We didn't want to exclude teachers or students from joining if they did not want to run and therefore encouraged both running and walking.  

After jumping through all of the bureaucratic hoops we got the run club approved and started the club in January 2014. We started off with a sample letter and waiver to send home to the parents. The cost was $10 to join the club and included a t-shirt and helped to offset the cost of the beads and water. We recruited awesome teachers and moms that were not only avid runners but saw the benefits of more physical activity for the children. We received an overwhelming response with 100+ children signing up to meet one day after school each week through April. We measured out a track in our large open field and each lap was roughly 1/4 mile. The children receive beads for each mile ( 4 laps) that they ran. We bring water and music and let the kids get their energy out on Friday afternoons. 

This year we started the club earlier in October and will again end it in April with a Turtle Trot supporting our local turtle rehab and education center Gumbo Limbo. 

We have had sponsors which have included the YMCA, Sports Authority and KIND snack bars and local physical trainers who helped us with warm ups. The YMCA donated a team of trainers which put together a fun warm up, Sports Authority donated water bottles, coupons, pencils and lanyards, KIND snacks donated snack bars. 
As a Registered Dietitian I also wanted to make the club about instilling healthy habits and came up with a weekly handout that touches on a brief nutrition topic. If you are interested you can download the 10 week handouts here.  If you want more information on how to start a run club ( or at least how we did it), click here to download the start up handouts. 
Get moving and good luck with your clubs! 

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