October is National Seafood Month! As a school foodservice provider, Flik Independent School Dining prioritizes responsible sourcing, as evident by our longstanding relationship with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.
What is the Seafood Watch Program?
The Seafood Watch program is committed to creating “science-based recommendations that help consumers, chefs and businesses choose seafood that is caught or farmed in ways that don’t harm the environment” and ultimately aims to ensure sustainability of our world’s oceans.
It identifies fish into three categories: “Best Choices,” “Good Alternatives” and “Avoid.” This enables consumers to make healthy choices at the supermarket or a restaurant and provides them with a voice.
Their regional pocket guides are updated seasonally as is their app.
Why Get Involved?
While the oceans are vast, resources are limited. According to the Seafood Watch Program, “the global...
As Earth Day approached this April (and as I tried to sort through all of the various promos and messaging), I began to reflect about environmental activism – on scales both large and small.
As someone who considers herself concerned with the environment generally, I continually strive to contribute to the betterment of our Earth – whether reducing waste, preserving resources, or involvement on more of a policy level. Also, as a nutritionist involved in food system work in different ways throughout my career and in school, I receive tons of emails and and literature about environmental issues and taking action in various ways.
Over time, it seems as though I’ve gone through phases with what I pursue and make an enduring habit. For example, while in school, I barely purchased bottled water. I refilled my large water bottle religiously, toting it with me wherever I went. As I now travel by plane more frequently (another environmental issue!?!), a large wat...
As the health of our children continues to be at the forefront of U.S. school foodservice policy, here’s what policymakers and school communities are thinking about, talking about and putting into action.
New Ways to Incorporate More Fruits and Vegetables: single-serve packages of sliced fresh fruits and vegetables for students on-the-go; allergy-free trail mix made with dried fruit; unsweetened apple and pear sauce; smoothies; fruit and veggie beverages, baked sweet potato “fries” and puffs; felafel and hummus.
Whole Grain Rich Foods – For Snacking Too!: whole grain pancakes and waffles, whole grain pretzels, crackers, majority of breads served are whole grain, in addition to whole grain salads and incorporating whole grains in soup.
Lower-Sodium Foods: reduced sodium sauces for stir fry dishes; reduced sodium salsa and pasta sauce; reduced sodium deli meats; fresh, whole foods prepared in house.
Kid Favorites Made Healthy: pizzas made with whole grain cru...
Nutrition and health professionals are always pushing for greater vegetable consumption. Eating a variety of vegetables is truly the basis for a healthy diet, as they are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals. In schools, we are always trying to encourage our students to try and taste new vegetables—and ultimately eat more of them!
There is no better time than summer to enjoy a bounty of fresh, seasonal vegetables. This summer, step out of the comfort zone of your seasonal favorites and try a couple of new veggies while they are at the peak of flavor, freshness and nutritional value! Some research has shown that consuming local vegetables in season (as opposed to when they are picked earlier to withstand transport) can be significant as far as maximizing nutritional benefits.
On a recent trip to visit a number of our independent schools in Louisville, KY, a couple of my colleagues and I stumbled upon the fantastic Hillbilly Tea.
It all began at our district meeting at The Green Building. On a tour of the LEED platinum certified facility, where we learned about interesting practices like utilizing used denim for insulation, we found the “Original Makers” guide to Louisville.
The guide is produced by the Original Makers Club, which is dedicated to bringing the public content that illustrates, documents and archives the culture of a chosen city and promotes the local makers movement. (As a resident New Yorker, I was particularly excited that an Original Makers Brooklyn now exists.) What better way to choose where to eat and become more familiar with the authentic local food culture than to refer to our Original Makers guide?
Enter the next morning and breakfast at Hillbilly Tea, an “Appalachian themed ‘Tea Café,...
There are a large number of concerns about genetically modified organisms and genetic engineering. Many feel that there has not been sufficient testing of the effects of this technology on both the environment and humans. Specific concerns about genetically modified organisms include:
Allergic reactions: One potential problem is that with known allergens; for example, inserting genes from nuts into other foods without the public’s awareness. There is also the fear that all of this playing around with genes could create new allergies.
Gene mutation: There are questions about the stability and integrity of organisms after forcing genes from one organism into another. Could this lead to abnormalities and further organism mutation? How would this affect human DNA?
Antibiotic resistance: Most GMO food contains antibiotic resistance “marker genes.” These help producers determine whether gene transfers have been successf...
GMO stands for genetically modified organism, which is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a living thing in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. The technology is often called “modern biotechnology” or “gene technology,” sometimes also “recombinant DNA technology” or “genetic engineering.”
This allows individual genes to be selected and transferred from one organism to another as well as between non-related species (for example, wheat and tomatoes). These methods are used to create genetically modified plants/crops.
Today, crops that are most subject to genetic engineering are corn, soy, cotton, canola and sugar beets. The original goal of this technology was to strengthen varieties of crops, (especially those commodity crops just mentioned) and improve yields, but has since its inception sparked much debate among scientists, farmers, corporat...
This is one of my favorite times of year because berries are in season! Blueberries in particular are a favorite of mine and a favorite of many. Tasty and versatile, blueberries are also a superfood that pack a nutritional punch. Blueberries are high in vitamin C, fiber, manganese and vitamin E. They also contain antioxidants known as flavonoids.
Flavonoids are actually plant pigments (colors) and are responsible for the rich hues of many fruits and vegetables. The roles they play in our bodies are complex, but researchers agree that they are highly beneficial to our cells, preventing all kinds of diseases, and generally promoting health.
In blueberries, flavonoids are concentrated in the skin; so the smaller the berry, the higher in these antioxidants.
Did you know that blueberries are one of the few foods native to North America? The phrase, “as American as apple pie” should actually be “as Ame...
In being tuned in to seasonality of food, I know Spring is here when Asparagus is back in the markets (at least here in New York!).
Because I feel strongly that local, seasonal produce is far better-tasting than produce grown far away that is not in season, I enthusiastically encourage folks to enjoy asparagus this season! I just made a nice batch the other night and it was so fresh and delicious.
A little background on this wonderful Spring vegetable: Asparagus is a relative of grass can can produce spears for up to 20 years! Asparagus is also extremely high in vitamin K, rich in beta-carotene, fiber, folate, vitamin C, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, copper and managanese.
The beauty of asparagus is that it can be quick and simple to prepare. I recommend the following recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman, popular food commentator and New York Times contributor.
Eating local beef is important for many of the same reasons that “eating local” in general is important. Food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious, it leaves a lighter environmental footprint due to decreased transit time and use of fuel, and promotes environmental/food system sustainability and biodiversity.
Eating local beef has significant impact. Industrialized livestock facilities have replaced most family farms over the past 30-40 years in this country and practices in those facilities leave much to be desired. The massive amount of waste from these facilities lead to air and water pollution; animals suffer and are pumped with antibiotics and artificial hormones; workers are mistreated; the surrounding communities fall apart.
Meanwhile, our health is compromised because this industrial beef leads to outbreaks of food-borne illness and contributes to antibiotic resistance (in addition to genera...