At the FAND symposium

Barton SeaverThis week I am in Fort Lauderdale attending the annual Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics symposium. Opening night keynote speaker was Chef Barton Seaver. Maybe you have seen his book “For Cod and  Country? His background is culinary with a special interest in seafood and the oceans. His mission is to help consumers eat healthier while eating in a sustainable manner. Currently, he is an explorer for National Geographic and he is also involved with the Harvard School of Public Health.

In his mind, the most successful environmental campaign to hit an urban area has been recycling. I know that you have seen the logo: Recycle Reduce Re-Use). But it is not sustainable because we haven’t reduced the number of plastic bottles, etc, that we produce each year.

Managing the fishing industry in a sustainable manner is also challenging. Because 95% of the fish that we eat comes from only 10 species, and 65% comes from only 3, we have created an economy that is wasteful: 90% of what is caught never feeds anyone, and is released back into the ocean dead or dying. Day after day. Without so much as a chance for the oceans to restore and refresh.

His solution? Eating what the ocean provides (catch of the day); eating smaller portions to reduce overfishing a species; eat farm-raised as often as possible; shift your preferences down the food chain; eat diversely. His recommendation? “When you set your table, be mindful of the impact your food choices make on your body, the community and the environment”.

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More from Adam

Bus brings Federal Way students free meals, learning this summer

A girl enjoys lunch at Parkway Apartments in Federal Way recently as part of Federal Way Public Schools’ summer meal program, which offers children up to 18 years old free lunch and learning this summer. - Alisa Gramann, Mirror intern

A girl enjoys lunch at Parkway Apartments in Federal Way recently as part of Federal Way Public Schools’ summer meal program, which offers children up to 18 years old free lunch and learning this summer.

— image credit: Alisa Gramann, Mirror intern

The chatter of children fills the air as they play soccer, basketball and play other activities at Parkway Apartments in Federal Way.

FRED, a forest green bus with a rainforest frog painted on it, parks within the fenced-in basketball court and opens its doors to serve breakfast and fun, with a side of learning as part of Federal Way Public Schools’ summer meal program. “Fun. Read. Eat. Dream.” is painted on the side in white.

In its second year of service, FRED is one of three district-owned buses that go to apartment complexes in the area to serve breakfast, lunch and/or a snack. The buses are equipped with computers, books, board games and puzzles for kids to play with after they eat — or after they eat a few bites. The bus provides food for children up to 18 years old.

On one side of the bus’s interior, a handful of Chromebook laptops are connected to the Internet, giving kids access to the websites they play on at school, said Matias Garcia, an AmeriCorps volunteer.

On the other side of the bus, a handful of laptops provide custom activities, specifically targeting K-5 children and the Common Core Standards they should be learning, Garcia said. These laptops also track data on what programs kids like to use most, he said.

Patricia Mayo said her children often get distracted from their food by all the toys. But all the toys offer learning opportunities to help the children avoid a summer lapse in learning. And her kids enjoy it, waiting eagerly each day for the bus to arrive, Mayo said.

Other children enjoy it too. When Fred pulls into the parking lot, kids shout, “The frog arrived! The frog arrived! Let’s go!”

The only complaint parents have is regarding state laws that prohibit people from taking food home, something the district has to abide by to ensure continued funding, said Adam Pazder, chef manager for the district.

Mandates state that the food must go to the children, Pazder said, which is why it must be eaten on-site.

The program serves two ounces of whole grains, two ounces of proteins, one cup of fruits and/or vegetables and one serving of dairy, Pazder said. Among the three buses, about 550 meals are served daily, he said.

Kids have to take the whole meal, but anything they don’t want can be put on a sharing table for others to eat, he said.

The challenge is finding nutritional foods the kids will eat, he said. The school district has more than 130 languages and cultures represented, he said.

“It’s hard to find those universal flavors,” Pazder said.

Kids are more likely to eat the foods they are familiar with, so the bus offers a two-week rotating menu, Pazder said. This offers familiar foods to kids, but also introduces them to new foods.

Throughout the district, 59 percent of school children are on free and reduced lunches, Pazder said.

“Many of our kids receive breakfast, lunch and a snack everyday [at school],” he said.

Asking a family to add that to a summer budget for one or more children is tough, which is why Fred and its fellow buses target complexes where many of the children on the free and reduced meal program live, Pazder said.

“We’re trying to be very targeted with the children we’re helping.”

Many schools in the district also participate in the summer meal program, offering breakfast, lunch or a snack to students who come by, as well as learning activities, said Debra Stenberg, communications director for the school district.

This year, district gym teachers have also gotten involved in the program, visiting Fred sites and engaging kids in physical activities after they eat, Pazder said.

District employees handle the food and school security does site visits. AmeriCorps members also give their time to the program.

The district accepts donations of books, games and other learning activities in good condition, Stenberg said.

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Not that I am Gloating…..

dr-oz-600I don’t think that Dr. Oz had a good time during his visit to D.C. last week. You have probably heard by now about his testimony before the subcommittee on health fraud. The Federal Trade Commission has been cracking down on dieting products with misleading, unsubstantiated and fraudulent claims in their advertising. Finally!!! And some of these products are actually dangerous.

Dr. Mehmet Oz
Olivier Douliery/AbacaUSA/Startraksphoto

I actually cringe when my clients start off our appointment with “did you see the Dr. Oz show yesterday?” My colleagues everywhere are upset about the things that he says. His program and his name provide a level of visibility that is unsurpassed. And for him to discuss the so-called benefits of a pill-potion-powder as if it actually works, lends an air of absolute credibility. “As seen on Dr. Oz” is a marketing dream that guarantees a product will fly off the shelf. Talk about a halo effect!

Dieting scams are big business and consumers spend millions of dollars each year looking for a quick fix to their weight problems. The Federal Trade commission is responsible for  policing advertisements (print, radio, tv, online) and the Food and Drug Administration is responsible for  claims made on packaging. In Florida we have a consumer protection law that gives weight loss clients recourse should they be harmed physically or financially by a weight loss counselor.

While Dr. Oz has a team of researchers that put the show together for him, ultimately he has to approve the topics. I get that a show has to get good ratings to stay on the air and sensationalism is a strategy to high Nielson numbers. The weekend articles in regional newspapers are great advice. As a thoracic surgeon he is not a stupid man, and he owes more to his viewers that keep him on the air day-to-day.

I just wonder what took so long.

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Summer Squash: Stuff It, Bake It, Grill It

When it comes to summer squash, such as zucchini, patty pans and yellow crooknecks, summer_squashyou’ve got options. You can stuff it, bake it, steam it or grill it. The many creative ways you can cook this vegetable make it a fun one to prepare with kids. It also has health benefits. Summer squash is low in calories (20 calories in ½ cup) and a good source of vitamin C (½ cup provides 15 percent of the daily recommended amount). It’s also a source of vitamin A, dietary fiber and potassium.

Since different varieties of squash are similar in texture, they can be swapped out for one another in recipes. Here are a few ideas about how to incorporate summer squash into your menu:

  • Grate it and bake with it. Summer squash can be used in pancakes, muffins, breads and cakes.
  • Stuff it. Summer squash can be stuffed with meat or used as a boat for any baked side dish.
  • Grill it. Cut into length-wise strips and place directly on the grill or cook smaller pieces in tin foil.

When selecting summer squash, keep in mind that young, smaller squash tend to have more flavor. Summer squash can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

For more tips on adding more vegetables to your diet, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist in your area.

Nadine is a Kids Eat right volunteer.

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In search of the perfect weight loss plan

thCAVS1Z9TAs I have mentioned in earlier posts, a lot of reading material comes across my desk. At times it is difficult to keep up with, but this week a particular article caught my eye. A group of researchers at the University of Liverpool Department of Psychological Sciences found that by adding prunes (yes, prunes) to a weight control regimen resulted in significant weight loss and waist circumference from the baseline measurements. And not why you might think!

Despite their image problem and association with digestive tract health, it appears that the fiber found in prunes contributes to a sense of fullness while creating beneficial changes in appetite. In this study, increasing satiety effects were reported beginning at 8 weeks. And with a daily dose of 10-12 prunes, the prunes were well tolerated without any adverse gastrointestinal effects.

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