Sunday, July 28, 2013

Smart Snacks in School > It's about time! #GardenCuizine @USDANutrition @letsmove @kidseatright #smartsnacks

The National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program: Nutrition Standards for all foods sold in school as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has introduced an amendment for Smart Snacks in Schools. What took so long? As they say, "Better late than never." The new ruling doesn't officially begin until next year.  

ATTENTION ADULTS: this is a healthful guide for you too! Start following Smart Snacks suggestions now for more whole grains, more fruits and veggies, and lower sodium and low fat. Remember, as parents, you are role models for your children. Healthful eating begins at home. Here are some highlights of the Smart Snacks ruling: 

  • Must be a grain product that contains 50 percent or more whole grains by weight or have as the first ingredient a whole grain; or
  • Have as the first ingredient one of the non-grain major food groups: fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein foods (meat, beans, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, etc.); or
  • Be a combination food that contains ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable; or
  • For the period through June 30, 2016, contain 10 percent of the Daily Value (%DV) of a nutrient of public health concern based on the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans (i.e., calcium, potassium, vitamin D or dietary fiber). 
Overall, foods supplied to schools (referred to as competitive foods) must contain no more than 10 percent of total calories from saturated fat per item as packaged or served. Exemptions to the saturated fat standard are granted for reduced fat cheese and part skim mozzarella cheese, nuts, seeds, nut or seed butters, and products consisting of only dried fruit with nuts and/or seeds with no added nutritive sweeteners or fat. Competitive foods must have zero grams of Trans fat per item as packaged or served. 

Competitive snack foods and beverages must meet the nutrition standards specified in an interim final rule that begins July 1, 2014. There will be a special exemption to the standards allowed for foods and beverages that do not meet competitive food standards for snacks sold for the purpose of conducting an infrequent school sponsored fundraiser, which sounds reasonable.

Sodium content in snacks will be limited to 230mg per item as packaged or served. And, then on July 1, 2016, the sodium standard will drop lower to 200mg per item as packaged or served. Entrée items must have no more than 480mg of sodium per item as packaged or served.

Eating more whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and leaner proteins makes sense for a healthy heart, body and lifestyle. And, most of all, encouraging healthier food options will help combat child hunger and obesity to improve the health and nutrition of our nation's children.
Related Links
A Healthier Generation through Smart Snacks in Schools

Q & A amended School Nutrition Standards 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Today in Our Garden * hummingbirds * nectar plants * heirloom tomatoes * flowers * herbs #GardenCuizine

Today In Our Garden
South Jersey

USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b) 
July 27, 2013
This year our gardens are lush and green thanks to the most rain I can ever remember during the summer here in Jersey. The recent break in the heat wave has been wonderful too. Lots of wildlife activity today with birds and small animals seeking shelter, water and food.
It was hard not to notice the many ruby-throated hummingbirds that were zipping around our yard and gardens today - visiting salvias and other blooms rich in nectar. Besides all the blooms, our freshly filled hummingbird feeders were like a hummingbird magnet. I was able to photograph the silhouette of a hummer on a tree branch later in the day that you can see in the above photo collage. Our vegetable garden is bordered with tall, red cannas and chia salvia that invite the speedy little birds to circle the garden every day.

Harry dug up a batch of potatoes the other day as you know from my Potatoes Anna blog post. The Italian basil that was started from seed is about ready to harvest too. So is our blooming oregano. Bronze fennel is also blooming; I plan to let that go and harvest the seeds later. Our vine ripening, organic, tomatoes include Pruden's purple, Goldman's Italian American and French heirloom, Juane Flamme - shown below. 
Hope you're enjoying a summer full of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers from your garden and/or local farmers' markets. 
Related Links
Hummingbird Pollinators Dave's Garden article by Diana Wind
Find a Farmers' Market 
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Freshly dug potatoes today! Making our version of Potatoes Anna

Harry dug up King Harry potatoes today! Time for organic potatoes Pommes Anna with dinner tonight, which are easy to make in a cast iron skillet. Our version does not use a lot of saturated fat like the classic French version and tastes just as delicious. 

Use a mandolin to slice the potatoes thin. Spray the skillet and each layer with oil (non-stick spray). Arrange the potatoes in a circular design in layers. We like to add just enough sliced onion for one layer in between the sliced potato layers. Season with salt, fresh ground black pepper and dried thyme in between layers. Top with a dollop of butter, a generous sprinkle of paprika and a pinch of garlic powder.  Heat the bottom of the pan until you smell the aroma of the potatoes cooking and they get crispy on the bottom; finish cooking in the oven until the potatoes are tender. Invert onto a plate before cutting and serving.

Enjoy a portion no larger than a quarter of your plate along with a lean protein and a generous portion (half a plate) of non-starchy vegetables.
Photo and blog post Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.