Archive for October, 2010
There has been a lot of talk recently about how to change the unhealthy eating habits and food choices that many Americans make. First Lady Michelle Obama is challenging schools around the United States to adopt new standards for the quality of food served, participation in meal programs, physical activity and nutrition education. Another popular news story is New York’s move to ban soda and sugary drinks from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Federal food stamp program.
Proponents of the soda ban often claim that the existing SNAP ban on alcohol and tobacco could naturally extend to a ban on harmful foods as well, such as soda and sugary drinks. However, unlike soda and sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco are already heavily taxed and vendors need specific licenses to distribute them. Proponents also stress that soda hurts not only the drinker with negative long-term health effects, but the tax payer with more tax dollars going towards public health insurance costs.
Although SNAP benefits are currently largely unrestricted, The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits are restricted heavily. A brochure with of the allowed foods for WIC can be found here. It is important to point out that there are a few differences in the two programs. The federal government markets WIC benefits as a diet supplement while SNAP benefits are allotted to provide for individual’s entire diets. Also, SNAP is an entitlement program while WIC is funded through a Federal grant program. However, it is interesting that one Federal food assistance program restricts choices heavily while one hardly restricts choice at all.
Many people fear that banning soda and other sugary drinks as SNAP eligible foods is an unsuccessful tactic in promoting healthy eating habits. For example, families that receive SNAP benefits often do not worry about purchasing nutritious groceries, but about stretching their food dollars to get as many calories as possible. Also, soda is typically a cheap alternative to other, healthier beverages (besides water). Banning certain, unhealthy foods under SNAP benefits may confuse recipients and the recipients may not even have access to “approved” healthy foods. Luckily, alternatives to an outright ban do exist. Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program is a good example of a different approach to getting Americans to make healthier food choices. Education programs like Cooking MattersTM help change purchasing and eating habits too.
The New York Times Opinion section had a really amazing article in it last week. The article talked about redesigning the lunch line so that children naturally made healthier lunch choices. The article is interactive and users can view all of the changes by hovering the mouse over orange spots in the diagram. Check it out here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/10/21/opinion/20101021_Oplunch.html
This month, we’re featuring Amanda Kischuk, who did an Eating Right class for us in the summer and is signed up for her second class at Redford Interfaith food pantry. She recently received her dietitian tech certification and is currently pursuing a dietetics internship while working full time, and of course volunteering for us! She took some time off from her busy schedule to answer a few questions.
OFL Detroit: Where do you live?
Amanda: Allen Park
OFL: Where did you go to school? What is your degree in?
Amanda: I graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science, Major in Dietetics.
OFL: Why did you go into dietetics and nutrition?
Amanda: I decided to major in Dietetics because it is a field that gives you the opportunity to truly help people. I wanted a job that I felt good going to every day, not one that is just about the paycheck. I have been fortunate enough to be raised with a healthy lifestyle and I want to share my knowledge and passion for nutrition with as many people as I can.
OFL: Where do you work now?
Amanda: A health and wellness company called Summit Health.
OFL: How did you hear about OFL?
Amanda: I discovered OFL while I was searching for nutritionist jobs. I’m so glad that I did! (So are we!)
OFL: What do you like best about volunteering for OFL?
Amanda: My favorite thing about volunteering with OFL is answering the questions the participants have about eating right. There is no better feeling than seeing the light bulb turn on above their head when I explain something to them. I think the most important thing people take from the nutrition part of the class is learning to read and understand a nutrition facts label.
OFL: What do you do in your spare time?
Amanda: I look for jobs and opportunities to get my feet wet in the nutrition world! I also love running, playing tennis, and anything else that keeps me active and outdoors.
OFL: Do you like to cook at home?
Amanda: Yes. I love having the Eating Right book at home as a matter of fact. The recipes are easy enough for me and very affordable!
OFL: Can you give us a nutrition tip or share a healthy recipe with us?
Amanda: I can give you a lot of nutrition tips, but I’ll keep it short. When planning meals make fruits and veggies the focus of the meal and throw in lean protein, whole grain carbs, and healthy fats for extra nutrition. Everything in moderation, of course.
This past Saturday we had an awesome volunteer event at Yates Cider Mill in Rochester, MI. Although the weather wasn’t the greatest, it was still a lot of fun! Two of our volunteer chefs, Ina Cheatem and Barb Hughes, participated in an Iron Chef competition that incorporated apples from the cider mill.
Barb made a dish called Third Coast Toast.
1 Whole Wheat or Multigrain Baguette, sliced in about 20 slices, a little bigger than 1/4 inch
1 1/2 – 2 cups Skim Milk
2-3 Apples, pared and peeled and cut into 8-12 wedges
2 Deli Ham slices cut into 2″ squares
3/4 cup Shredded Mild Pinconning Cheese (can use Mild Cheddar, Edam, Colby or Gouda)
1 TBS Butter
1 TBS Vegetable Oil
Cinnamon Cider Syrup:
1 cup Apple Cider
2 TBS White Sugar
2 TBS Honey
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1. Combine syrup ingredients and set to simmer until reduced by 1/2 or coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
2. Stir eggs into 1 1/2 cups of milk and stir vigorously with a fork. Add bread slices, about 4 at a time. Turn so both sides are covered. Let sit while you prepare apples.
3. Heat pan and add butter and vegetable oil o medium heat. When butter is bubbly add apple wedges to brown slightly and turn and brown other side. Remove to plate.
4. Now add bread slices to medium hot pan. Brown about 3-4 minutes per side. (While the first batch is browning, add the other bread slices to egg mixture to soak). Now do another batch of bread until there all cooked.
5. Turn heat to low.
6. Put bread back in pan an top with a square of Ham, 1 or 2 apple wedges and 1 tsp of grated cheese. Cover with lid for about 30 seconds so the cheese melts.
7. Put on a plate and drizzle with Cinnamon Cider Syrup.
Ina’s made a Gingered Apple Breakfast Bulgar.
Makes 1 serving
1/3 cup Bulgar
1/3 cup Apple Cider + 2 TBS Water
½ Apple, Peeled, Seeded, and Shredded or Finely Diced
1 TBS Golden Raisins
½ tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Lemon Zest (organic if possible)
1 TBS Honey
Shredded Fresh Ginger
Chopped Almonds (optional)
1. Bring cider/water to a boil.
2. Add Bulgar and boil on high for 10-20 seconds. Cover saucepan with lid and take off heat. Let sit, covered, for 20 minutes.
3. In the meantime, combine shredded apple with cinnamon, lemon zest, ginger, and raisins. Mix with Bulgar.
4. Serve warm, with a drizzle off honey and chopped almonds, if desired.
Thanks to everyone who came out for the volunteer event! Hopefully we’ll see you at the next event!