Author Archive

Changing Eating Habits

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:

Courtesy of the USDA

October 28, 2010 at 8:42 pm Leave a comment

Volunteer spotlight: Amanda Kischuk

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.

October 11, 2010 at 8:31 pm Leave a comment

Volunteer Event at Yates Cider Mill

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 and Ina ready to square off

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
4-6 Eggs
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.

Third Coast Toast!


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.

Gingered Apple Breakfast Bulgar!

Thanks to everyone who came out for the volunteer event! Hopefully we’ll see you at the next event!

October 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm Leave a comment

The Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act of 2010

My name is James Hartrick and this is my first blog post for the OFL Detroit Blog. I am a new Americorps member and you can read more about me here:

I was reading the news the other day and happened upon an article in the CNN blog titled, “Better childhood nutrition needed, retired military officials say.” The statement and subsequent article was focusing on the upcoming U.S. House of Representatives vote on The Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act of 2010. The act would:

  • Improve access to school meal programs
  • Improve access to out of school meal programs
  • Help schools and child care improve the quality of meals
  • Encourage public/partnerships in communities
  • Improve food safety requirements for school meals programs
  • Streamline program administration and support program integrity

Military leaders feel that the act is necessary to decrease childhood obesity which would increase the number of young adults who are qualified for national service.

The article also briefly mentions the creation of the National School Lunch program in 1945. Similar to The Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act of 2010, the program was designed to combat hunger and bolster national security by allowing more children to eventually qualify for national service. National security has played a large role throughout American history in the nutrition information published by the USDA. One of the publications was NFC-4, the National Wartime Nutrition Guide (1943). The USDA’s first publication was Food For Young Children which was authored by Caroline Hunt in 1916. The USDA is gearing up to release a revision to their Guidelines for Americans by the end of this year. Keep your eyes peeled!

Courtesy of USDA
Courtesy of USDA

Dorothy wrote an article about The Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act of 2010 back in July. Remember, the legislation expires September 30! If you care about how well our kids eat in school contact your representative today!

September 24, 2010 at 7:24 pm Leave a comment

Volunteer spotlight: Ina Cheatem

This month we’re featuring one of our most hardworking volunteers, Ina Cheatem, who has her own healthy cooking and personal chef business. Since joining OFL, she has done an Eating Right (with 20 people!) and is signed up to do another Eating Right later this month. She took some time out from her busy schedule to answer a few questions from us. Also check out Ina’s healthy dessert recipe for bread pudding below.

Q. Where do you live?
A. I live in Novi, MI

Q. I know you’re originally from Germany. When did you arrive in the U.S.? What brought you here?
A. I moved to the US almost 11 years ago. I met my American husband while he was stationed in Germany with the US Army at that time.

Q. What is your culinary background?
A. I have been passionate about cooking healthy food for more than 15 years. I always enjoyed delighting other people with healthy food creations and my strong urge to feed others ultimately led me to open my own personal chef company. During high school and college in Bielefeld, Germany, I was first exposed to the culinary industry while working for multiple restaurants and hotels in various positions, including a position with a local catering leader that provided culinary services for small (5000 people) events.

Q. I just saw on Facebook that your business is 1 year old. Can you talk about the ups and downs of launching your own healthy cooking and personal chef business? Why did you decide to launch this specific type of business?
A. I decided to open my own business last year, because I was unhappy with my “real” job and decided it was finally time to pursue my real passion – healthy cooking! People have always told me to make a business out of my love for cooking, and I did! Initially, things moved ahead very slowly, partially, because of the bad economy. However, this gave me the time I needed to set everything up properly (website, marketing materials, menus, agreements, etc) and slowly transition into my new venture, while still having the security of the regular job. It was a huge learning experience for me and mostly lots of fun, and maybe, sometimes, a little frustrating 🙂 The best advise I can give to anyone that wants to turn their dream into reality is this: Follow your bliss and you will be surprised how many doors will open for you! Just be patient!

Q. When you have spare time, what do you like to do in terms of hobbies?
A. I love to read and spend time with my kids. Also, I love to workout daily: boxing, running, weight training, yoga, cardio, rock climbing….anything that challenges my body!

Q. What drew you to OFL and why did you want to volunteer?
A. As a strong advocate for healthy eating and good nutrition, I want to make a difference in my community by helping people eat and live better. My own experience with food insecurity and poverty is another reason why I am volunteering my time with OFL. It makes me happy to brighten someone’s day with cooking, even if it is just for the 2 hours a week that I am with them.

Q. You have completed an Eating Right with us. How did you like the experience? What did you like best about it?
A. Loved the experience! My class was great! Close to 20 fun people. I enjoyed sharing some of my knowledge with the group and truly loved spending every minute with them.

Q. You went with seven other OFL Detroit chefs to Washington, D.C. for Chefs Move To Schools launch event in June. Can you share a little bit with us about how that day went, what you learned and your impressions of hundreds of chefs coming together for this cause?
A. Wow, yes! That event was something else. Being part of such an important movement (ending childhood obesity) was a very powerful experience! In particular also because it was at the White House with the First Lady in attendance! The day was great. We attended a breakfast symposium in the morning before heading to the White House at noon. Before listening to Michelle Obama’s speech, we had the pleasure of meeting some really inspiring chefs that have already made some HUGE advances in improving the school lunch system in their communities. Other interesting visitors and guest speakers included: The White House Assistant Chef, The Secretary of Education, celebrity chefs from the Food Network, and more.

Q. Can you tell us a little about your Chefs Move to Schools progress? What school are you working with? What stage are you at?
A. Since my trip to DC, I have adopted the Novi Public School District. I am meeting with their Food Director this Friday (9/10) to discuss details of my involvement. Very excited to get started! First activities will probably focus on educational activities on the elementary school level, such as: food tastings, food demos, etc…we will take it from there.

Here is a budget-friendly healthy dessert recipe from Ina.

Harvest Bread Pudding
By Ina Cheatem
Serves 8-10

1 1/2 cups skim, soy, or almond milk
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
4 egg whites
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
12 slices high-fiber or whole wheat bread, in 1/2 inch cubes
2/3 cup raisins
1 large apple, seeded, peeled, and shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Spray a 9X12 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
3. Combine all ingredients, except bread and raisins. Mix well.
4. Add bread and raisins and let stand for 5 min. so bread can soak in the wet mixture.
5. Spoon mix into baking dish and bake for 30-40 min. or until nicely browned.
6. Let sit for 10-15 min. before serving.
7. Enjoy 🙂

September 13, 2010 at 12:39 pm 1 comment

Welcome to new AmeriCorps member James Hartrick

James started his AmeriCorps service Sept. 1.

Last week our new AmeriCorps member, James Hartrick, arrived and we’re happy to have him on board. That means he’ll be busy doing all of my work! Just kidding, James.

James lives in Royal Oak, where he was born and raised. He received a B.S. in Environmental Science while concentrating in Urban Planning. While at the University of Michigan he was a member of Amnesty International, Human Rights through Education, The Detroit Partnership, The Men’s Glee Club, and the Semester in Detroit Planning Team. With interests in food security and education plus a minor in peace and social justice, it’s no surprise he was drawn to Operation Frontline and AmeriCorps.

During his year of service he is eager to help us grow our program, saying he wants to be a part of that growth. Among the many responsibilities James will handle this year include coordinating classes, managing our inventory and creating videos.

Post-AmeriCorps he is interested in going back to school and pursuing either public policy, urban planning or law.

He is a soccer player and an avid music fan. His favorite genres of music are new wave, funk & soul, and hip hop, and his favorite band is Talking Heads. He enjoys the outdoors and loves living
Michigan due to the state’s abundance of fresh water, especially in the Great Lakes.

Welcome James!

September 8, 2010 at 7:13 pm 1 comment

Recipes: Low-fat guacamole and other Mexican-inspired treats

Last week I graduated a group of fine ladies over at Hannan House. For graduation day I prefer to do a potluck: after all, celebrations call for food, right? At least that’s what I think.

We had a fabulous spread, from delicious salads to spaghetti with whole wheat pasta to an apple crisp.

Volunteer RD Cathy Neal brought a black bean and corn salsa, for which I immediately asked for the recipe. Cathy not only gave me that recipe but several others. She said they incorporate Michigan ingredients — always a plus in my book — plus they are low in fat. These recipes were developed when she was working with a group of women in Mexicantown for a healthy Cinco de Mayo feast.


1 bunch fresh asparagus
¼ tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. canned green chilies, drained and chopped
1 tbsp. finely chopped onion
½ medium tomato, chopped
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. white pepper

Cook asparagus. Drain well, pat dry with paper towels and place in blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients. Blend or process until smooth. Stir before serving.

(This recipe contains NO FAT or CHOLESTEROL and is a significant source of Folic Acid – a necessary vitamin to ensure healthy babies.)

2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tsp. finely chopped yellow onions
2 tsp. minced jalapeno chiles (seeds and membranes removed)
salt to taste
2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
2 tbsp. finely chopped plum tomatoes (cored and seeded)
2 tsp. lime juice

Mash together cilantro and onion in bowl. Add the avocados and gently mash with a fork until chunky smooth. Fold chilies into mixture and stir in the tomato and lime juice. Serve with chips.
(This recipe has 18.5 grams of fat.)

1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup canned corn, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped
½ medium red bell pepper, chopped
½ medium red onion chopped
½ cup chopped tomatoes
¼ cup chopped cilantro
4 green onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients in bowl and chill.

1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
1 pound ground turkey
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 (6 inch) corn tortillas
8 oz. shredded cheese
8 tbsp. sour cream
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies, drained
½ avocado, diced
1 tbsp. sliced ripe olives

Heat the refried beans in a small pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brown the turkey in a frying pan, drain and add the taco seasoning (following package directions). Warm the tortillas in a small frying pan, place on a cookie sheet and spread with a layer of beans, then turkey then cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, cut into wedges and top with the sour cream, chilies, green onions, avocados, tomatoes and ripe olives.

(Normally this recipe has 48 grams of fat and 772 calories, but by using fat free refried beans, fat free sour cream, turkey instead of ground beef and fat free cheese, you can reduce the amount of fat and calories significantly and still have an acceptable product.)

August 24, 2010 at 2:40 pm Leave a comment

Volunteer perspective: 'I too have been inspired'

My name is Kelly Lashbrook and I am a new volunteer recruit for OFL. I came to know of the organization through MSU Extension, another service organization. I was looking for a possible new career path and have always had an interest in nutrition, which became more center stage when my son was born. I blindly called up the organization in Detroit wanting to ask career questions and I got to speak with Sarah Stephison. We had a great conversation; she was so inspiring and I could tell she loved what she did and believed in it. She explained the nutrition classes: How there was the partnership between the Chef and Nutrition instructor; how they targeted low-income families and how they got to eat and go home with groceries to make the food for their families. I couldn’t believe how much sense that made.

Sarah said they were always looking for volunteers so I went to volunteer training and was so impressed. It was such a positive group — all loving food, fun, and healthy eating and all wanting to help make a difference. I started training with Rachelle Bonelli as a volunteer coordinator for a couple classes in my area.

It has been a wonderful summer of classes. Watching participants get excited to tell us what they cooked from last week’s classes. Telling us who in their lives ate the recipes and liked them or how they would adapt the recipes to match their own tastes. Watching participants eat a food they have never ever tried or heard of is very rewarding. I feel very lucky to be a part of this organization and surrounded by such positive hardworking people all striving to get the participants to make positive changes.

I too have been inspired. I wanted to help women and children learn to make healthier choices for their families and OFL definitely has allowed me to accomplish that goal and more. I am lucky that they believed in me and I definitely believe in this organization. Glad to help whenever and however I can.

August 11, 2010 at 1:14 am 1 comment

Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act: Talk to your legislators now!

We received a letter from our national director at Operation Frontline. She writes:
As you know, we are running out of time to reauthorize child nutrition programs before they expire on Sept 30th. Members on the Hill are saying that they are not hearing from their constituents that this is important. So, the anti-hunger and nutrition community is doing a huge push to reach out to representatives and urge them to pass CNR this year.

This week, Share Our Strength joined 127 other national organizations urging Congress to pass a strong child nutrition bill. This legislation would strengthen programs like school meals, WIC, and summer and afterschool feeding programs. With 1 in 4 children struggling with hunger and 1 in 3 obese or overweight, the Child Nutrition Reauthorization could not come at a more critical time.

Congress is poised to make significant progress against child hunger and childhood obesity by increasing children’s access to these important programs and the nutrition they provide. But Congress is running out of legislative calendar days to bring the Child Nutrition Bill to the floor and complete the reauthorization before it expires September 30.

If a Child Nutrition Bill is not passed this summer, millions of children will miss out on improved access to the nutritious food they need to learn and grow. Your voice is needed to demonstrate national support for completing a strong Child Nutrition Bill this year. Please call or email your members of Congress today!

* Call your Representative with a simple message: America’s children can’t wait. Pass Child Nutrition Reauthorization now. Call 1-866-277-7617 and ask to be connected to your Representative’s office. Don’t know who your Representative is? Look it up online:

* Email your Senators and Representative in support of Child Nutrition Reauthorization.

July 22, 2010 at 10:04 pm 1 comment

Volunteer spotlight: Tricia Bischoff

Kids Up Front participant Kijuan really enjoyed learning about nutrition that he made this adorable picture for Trish!


At the Urban Farming Summit, I (Dorothy) met the lovely Trish, whom I immediately recruited as a volunteer for OFL. With her passion for health, nutrition and food sustainability she was a perfect fit for the program. She’s already done a Kids Up Front class this spring.

The mother of two took some time to answer some questions. Here’s what she shared with us.

Q. You are currently a dietetics student at Madonna. What led you to decide to pursue this route?

A. After the birth of my first son, and being inundated with baby talk and all the other baby stuff, I wanted to have some adult conversation and stimulate my brain beyond “Mommy Brain” so I decided to take a course at community college.  Nutrition had always been an area of interest for me so it was a logical choice that basic nutrition was the course I chose.  The science behind food and its interaction within the body was (and continues to be) fascinating.  I was hooked!  Since that first class in 2006, I’ve continued my nutrition education and have moved from community college to Madonna University pursuant of a dietetics career.

Q. Why did you volunteer for OFL?

A. Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan is an affiliate food bank of OFL.  I’ve volunteered for the Pontiac Gleaners in their food distribution operation for the past eight months and was notified of OFL nutrition education courses while sorting food earlier this year.  The educational component of Gleaners through OFL instantly piqued my interest.  Having a philanthropic belief system, I wanted to do my part in nutrition education as well as hunger relief.  I loved how OFL focused on realistic nutrition within the budget of those that it serves.  Working with a chef to facilitate learning of nutrition via hands-on meal preparation encompassed another love of mine—cooking.  After attending an orientation and gaining more insight of the OFL programs and curriculum, the decision to sign-on with OFL was easy.

Q. Your first class for us was Kids Up Front with Peaches and Greens. What did you like best about teaching that class? And, what do you like best about OFL?

A. Working with Kate and the kids from Peaches and Greens was great.  The kids even after a long day of school were eager to learn.  Of course, cooking and eating food added to their enthusiasm.  Activities that incorporated nutrition education and physical fitness were instrumental in applying the nutrition knowledge they were gaining.  It was always amazing to me to hear their recall of the previous lesson and how their food choices were impacted by the lessons.  We were making a difference and it was evident in the stories the kids shared.  The well-developed curriculum and well-trained OFL staff provided for a very positive learning environment for the children and teaching environment for the chef and nutrition educator.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your background (i.e. education, family, where you’re from)?

A. Michigan has always been my home from attending public schools in Sterling Heights in the 1970s and 80s to obtaining my BS in 1992 from Western Michigan University in Secondary Education and currently at Madonna University in Livonia.  It is now where I choose to raise my children, Josh (5) and Joe (2) with my husband Scott.

Q. What are some of your interests?

A. I enjoy organic gardening and have dedicated much of our backyard this year to preparing a garden.  The kids have been instrumental in maintaining regular watering not to mention the soaks they have given me.  Family time is the most special to me.  I work hard at my studies.  I’m deeply involved in Native American ceremonies which help to provide balance in a chaotic life.  Sundays my family attends a lovely Methodist church.  When I have time for myself, I like to read nutrition literature, paint and sew.  And, I’m a fan of Biggest Loser.

Q. After you get your degree from Madonna, what would be your dream job?

A. I’m very interested in food sustainability and the impacts of food choices on our environment.  I’d love to incorporate my education background with nutrition in the efforts of increasing awareness of each.  Possibly this will be an inclusion of sustainable agriculture with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move and the further enhancement of Chefs Move to Schools with school gardens and hoop houses as supplements to reading, writing, and arithmetic curriculums.

Q. As a mother, what are some tips in getting kids to eat their veggies?

A. Kids need to be involved in making choices and preparing meals.  Choices should be healthy ones, such as which vegetable do you want for dinner green beans or broccoli? I personally feel when choices are allowed and children are actively involved in preparation they are more apt to eat the foods provided.  Remember that kids require multiple exposures to foods before trying them.  Their tactile sense is greater and texture is often more the issue for little ones than with adults or older children.  Don’t give up.  Those little guys and gals may surprise you one day by asking for salad on their plate.  Planting a vegetable garden allows children the chance to see how vegetables develop and if they are involved in planting, growing and harvesting more than likely they will be involved with eating.  For those kids who just won’t budge, sneak vegetables into the foods they like especially those that have a creamy consistency like mashed parsnip and potato.

Q. Finally, can you share with us one of your favorite recipes that you like to prepare for your family?

A. I like to sneak healthy stuff in when I can.  Here is a great recipe that sneaks in avocado, applesauce, flax and a nice supply of omega-3 fatty acids.

Banana Walnut Muffin

1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour (can use gluten free flour pancake mix)

3 Tbsp. ground flax

½ cup oatmeal

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

3 med. mashed bananas

1 tsp. vinegar (add this to the milk)

1 ½ tsp. vanilla

¼ cup butter or margarine

½ avocado (creamed—no lumps)

½ cup applesauce

½ cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

½ cup milk (soymilk works too!)

¾ cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream avocado and butter with sugar.  Add one egg at a time and mix until fluffy. Fold in applesauce.  Alternative between dry and liquid mixture additions.  Add mashed bananas and mix well.  Fold in walnuts.  Bake in greased muffin pan for 22-27 minutes. Makes 12 large muffins.  Enjoy!!

July 7, 2010 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 71 other followers

Cooking Matters Twitter Feed

USDA Statement

This material was partially funded by the State of Michigan with federal funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by way of the Michigan Nutrition Network at the Michigan Fitness Foundation. This work is supported in part by the Michigan Department of Human Services, under contract number ADMIN-10-99011. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Michigan Fitness Foundation or the Michigan Department of Human Services. In accordance with Federal law and USDA policy, these institutions are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720- 6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more contact the toll free Michigan Food Assistance Program Hotline at (855) ASK-MICH. Space-Limited USDA/DHS/MNN Credit Statement This material was partially funded by the State of Michigan with federal funds from the United States Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by way of the Michigan Nutrition Network at the Michigan Fitness Foundation. These institutions are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs or disability. People who need help buying nutritious food for a better diet call the toll free Michigan Food Assistance Program Hotline: (855) ASK-MICH.