Tag Archives: childhood obesity

summer plans

30 Jan

IMG_0004Winter is still here, but summer is not that far away!

Come get a head start on your summer plans by visiting us this Saturday at PS 321’s Summer Camp Expo to learn more about our fun-filled food & garden summer camp!

Not only will our Co-Founder and Camp Director be there to answer all of your questions, we will also be sampling our homemade camp snacks like our famous granola bars and giving out some seed packets for garden inspiration.

Our summer camp is all about food! How to grow, harvest, cook, compost, where it comes from, who is behind the scenes, how much energy it takes to get to us, and why it’s good for us. All while having fun in the sun, and enjoying the summer-time to it’s fullest.

For those who sign up for camp at the PS 321 event, we’ll give you an additional $75.00 off, along with our 10% off promotion.

See you there!

from slurpees to protein packs

4 Jan

5999371394_7faa983107Good news is on the horizon for 7-Eleven shoppers.

Shifting some of their focus away from sugar loaded sodas and slurpees, 7-Eleven announced that by 2015 they aim to have “20 percent of sales come from fresh foods, up from about 10 percent currently.”

Why are fresh food choices popping up all of a sudden? Joseph M. DePinto, the chief executive of 7-Eleven says, “We’re aspiring to be more of a food and beverage company, and that aligns with what the consumer now wants, which is more tasty, healthy, fresh food choices.” Another reason why fresh foods are desirable to 7-Eleven is due to the drop in cigarettes sales. To make up for those losses they are hoping that fresh food options will help sustain their profits.

An example of a fresh food product they are rolling out is their “bistro snack protein pack”, similar to the ones you find at Starbucks that include “cheddar cheese cubes, grapes, celery, baby carrots and hummus.” A much better choice when compared to their slurpees, packed with high fructose corn syrup, natural flavors, sodium benzoate, and lots of artificial food dyes.

As the food movement continues to gain momentum, we as consumers should uphold our voices and beliefs. As we vote with our dollars and forks, we will undoubtedly continue to see change unfold before our very eyes.

Photo courtesy of time_anchor

future of food in 2050

5 Nov

Last week the nation celebrated Food Day, a movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food. The marquee for the event was a conference entitled Future of Food 2050.

Our advisor Dr. David Katz was a guest panelist at the event, speaking alongside Eric Meade, Vice President and Senior Futurist, Institute for Alternative Futures and Andrea Thomas, SVP for sustainability at Walmart.

We had the opportunity to connect with Dr. Katz prior to the event, asking him some of our questions regarding the future of food. Here are some highlights:

Butter Beans: What will the role of the lunch server be? Will there be an educational component to school cafeterias?

Dr. Katz: The only food options will be wholesome, mostly direct from nature, mostly plants. Education about food will be culture-wide, and by 2050 there won’t be much need for it in cafeterias anymore.

Butter Beans: Will nutrition education be incorporated into state and national education standards?

Dr. Katz: Yes. Food literacy will be as important and universal as any other kinds of literacy. There will be gaps, as there are with literacy, but not for want of embracing it as a priority.

Butter Beans: What will Myplate look like in 2050? What will the ratio of meat:vegetables be?

Dr. Katz: Meat will be optional/discretionary. MyPlate will no longer exist because the government will have acknowledged its conflicts of interest, and outsourced dietary guidelines to an independent organization such as IOM.

Butter Beans: How do you see the role of nutrition and food education evolving in schools and government policy?

Dr. Katz: The primary driver of dietary change will be culture change, and that in turn will change the food environment. Good choices will be easy choices, and often the only choices – reducing the burden on the educational system. But education about food choice, food important, food effects, food selection, and food preparation will be universal because these will be considered basic, modern survival skills.

Dr. Katz also noted that, “In the case of food, much depends on whether we make decisions while we still have options, or have decisions imposed on us because our options have run out. 2050 will look one way if we choose to update our culture, and quite another if we wait for demographic, economic, health and ecological calamities to make our choices for us.”

What will the state of our food system look like in 2050? Dr. Katz reflected that if our culture deemed that our health mattered as much as our wealth, you would see investments in our health increase.

Dr. Katz believes that we have to find ways to get our culture to think of health as a form of wealth, and not address health issues after they have manifested themselves, rather address them beforehand. He promotes prevention as a solution to health problems down the road, and in his vision of 2050 we are all much better off than we are now, as long as our culture collectively decides, and acts on creating a better food future for all.

Photo courtesy of trendhunter.com and usda.gov

Let’s Move! Brooklyn

22 Oct

This past July, Catalyst Cares, a charitable organization promoting social mobility in communities throughout NYC that are prone to obesity, launched its second health and wellness campaign called Let’s Move! Brooklyn.

The main goal of Let’s Move! Brooklyn is to try and stamp out the food desert status and lower the obesity rate in Central Brooklyn by three percentage points in three years.

Let’s Move! Brooklyn is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. Both campaigns aim to educate children and their parents about nutrition and how to lead active and healthy lifestyles.

Lockie Andrews, the founder of Let’s Move! Brooklyn says, “Our mission is to educate and inspire children and their parents to make healthier dietary, fitness and lifestyle choices through a series of age-appropriate programs, town hall meetings, and advocacy initiatives.” Andrews launched Let’s Move! Brooklyn to help encourage an understanding about eating and living healthier lives through the cooperation of “health and wellness organizations with deep roots in Brooklyn.”

NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn was a featured guest at the launch event, declaring, “This organization’s mission speaks directly to our city’s obesity epidemic and together we will all fight to find solutions that will improve the health and wellness of all New Yorkers, especially for our residents in low income communities.” Speaker Quinn is an advocate of making fresh produce affordable and convenient for all NYC residents. Recently, she worked with Mayor Michael Bloomberg to implement lower prices at all the city’s farmers markets, offering greater access to nutritious whole foods for low-income New Yorkers.

We think that this is a great start to teach our city’s kids how to better take care of themselves and learn positive habits. With one in three of the country’s adolescents being overweight or obese, this is a dilemma that needs to be addressed now, and other organizations like Wellness in the Schools, City Harvest, Just Food, Edible Schoolyard NYC, and Veggiecation are helping to lead us on the path to correcting this ever-expanding issue.

At Butter Beans, one of our main goals is to get kids thinking about how their food choices affect their lives in the present, but also in the future. We provide them with the tools to create a balanced and delicious meal, made with whole foods, from scratch. Our food education programs illustrate to them how healthy eating is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

For more information, check out this report of the obesity rates in the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick neighborhoods of Brooklyn and read the Lets Move! Brooklyn press release.

For those who do not live in the Brooklyn area but want to get involved with the Let’s Move! campaign, visit this website dedicated to creating meet-ups across the country. The flexibility that Let’s Move! Meetup offers is deeply encouraging, helping foster the growth of community-based programs that aim to teach residents how to lead healthier lifestyles.

Photos courtesy of kcentv.com and Let’s Move!

Children and fast food marketing

9 Oct

6319155216_0463fda84aA recent study from the researchers at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Kansas Medical Center suggests that children’s brains may be imprinted with the logos of popular fast food brands.

Using MRI technology, they monitored the brain activity of kids aged 10-14 as images of recognizable logos (some food-related, some not) appeared before them. The study found that the reward processing area and the appetite control area of the brain lit up only when the kids saw fast food logos.

Yet this reaction may not seem all that alarming. After all, whenever food is mentioned, our body’s natural response is to feel hungry. But these researchers found that children were likely to choose foods branded with a well-known logo. They were even asked to taste a hamburger from a label-less box compared to a hamburger with a box labeled from McDonald’s, and overwhelmingly, they favored the recognized McDonald’s labeled burger.

Dr. Amanda Bruce, the study leader, explained, “Research has shown children are more likely to choose those foods with familiar logos. That is concerning because the majority of foods marketed to children are unhealthy, calorifically-dense foods high in sugars, fat, and sodium.” Dr. Bruce and her associates believe that these companies are exploiting this knowledge to trigger the reward portions of children’s brains way before they have even developed self-control.

Click here to learn more about the study. Visit the Fast Food F.A.C.T.S website to get a better understanding of how marketing can affect children and check out this short news video about the report.

And if you’re hankering for a burger or some french fries, here are some recipes to kick that craving in a healthier way.

Photo courtesy of stefou!