Our society is obsessed with the flavor of an orange, ribbed, and often homely looking squash. And thanks in large part to a certain spiced latte, pumpkin flavoring has been used in everything from M&M’s to chili and hummus.
A flavor that’s become so ubiquitous can be downright annoying, but it’s not the pumpkins’ fault. The fact is, the ugly squash is a bona fide super food, high in fiber, potassium, and vitamins C and E. The pumpkin is also full of carotenoid, an antioxidant shown to reduce the risk of cancer. So, when done right, a pumpkin treat can be a relatively healthy diet extravagance.
We’ve compiled some delectable recipes by five celebrity chefs to give you a little pumpkin-spiration. When you decide to whip up a pumpkin dessert, remember that pumpkin pie filling and pumpkin filling are two totally different things. And you must never discard the seeds within, as they are full of healthy fats, zinc, fiber, iron, and manganese and make a pretty killer snack on their own.
Martha Stewart, the unofficial queen of Halloween craftiness, came up with this super easy recipe. You need less butter and brown sugar than you might think, plus honey, and pumpkin seeds. This recipe has all the decadence and crunch of old school peanut brittle, but the pumpkin seeds give it a nice seasonal, healthy kick. (more…)
The wheels of school lunch reform are finally starting to turn, even if pizza is still considered a vegetable.
The days of fuzzy chicken nuggets, grey burgers, and gelatinous square pizza are fading away. President Obama signed the Child Nutrition Bill three years ago, which gave the USDA authority to set nutritional standards for all foods regularly sold in schools during the school day, including vending machines, the “a la carte” lunch lines, and school stores.
Congress passed the $4 billion bill, but regular citizens are responsible for getting their attention. Although schools have started serving more nutritious foods—breads and crusts with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, salads—the war is still on. The USDA had a PR nightmare in 2012 with “pink slime”—a meat byproduct made of random cow parts and ammonia—yet schools in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota continue to serve the stuff.
On a global scale, school lunch reform has been a common theme. In England, flamboyant chef, Jamie Oliver, took up the cause, and in the U.S., blogger Sarah Wu (aka Mrs. Q), First Lady Michelle Obama, and Chef Ann Cooper have carried the torch. All of their efforts worked to ensure that the future leaders of the world wouldn’t be fed the cheapest, most processed, and least nutritious junk imaginable.
Dietitian Allison J. Stowell and chef Erin Dow offered a webinar to those who were interested in Guiding Stars changing school lunches. Allison and Erin noted the rising obesity rates among children and how a change is needed as soon as possible. The issue at hand is childhood obesity and how changing school lunches can help lower obesity. The webinar basically described steps that Allison and Erin took to change a school district’s meal plan. The team offered advise to those who would like to implement healthy meals at schools in their home towns.
Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 will take effect July 2012. Congress passed the act to help children grow into healthy adults. Guiding Star wants to educate children, parents, staff, and administrators about the importance of healthy eating, and they want people from the community to gather credible research about children eating healthy at schools and summarize it to the school board or community members. With that support and information, they can get everyone on board for the cause. The next step is to find a chef who is willing to work with the school and help create healthy recipes for the kids. Finally, schools need to enlist the help of staff and teachers to encourage and educate kids on the importance of eating healthy. (more…)
Jamie Olivermay not be a fitness guru, but he has revolutionized the food and health industry. Born May 27, 1975 in Clavering, Essex, England, Jamie had a normal childhood until the age of 8 when he started working at his parents’ pub The Cricketers in Calvering. He would help around the kitchen and run errands for his parents. Jamie was around the kitchen so much that he found a passion for food. He completed training at Westminster Catering College at 16 years old and then France was calling Jaime’s name. He spent some time there working for a variety of restaurants. Upon his return to London he worked at Neal Street and then at the infamous River Cafe for three-and-a-half years with Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers. This is where his passion for Italian food was ignited.
His formal career started in 1997 after being featured in a documentary about the River Cafe. Jamie was offered his own show; thus The Naked Chef was born. Jamie kept himself busy with his projects, but gave back to the community. In 2001, he opened “Jamie’s Kitchen,” a training restaurant for English citizens who weren’t in school or employed. His open heart and love for cooking benefited people in need. The next project to catch Jamie’s attention was the poor state of school lunches in United Kingdom schools. In 2004, Jamie launched a national campaign called “Feed Me Better,” then went into schools and educated kids on the importance of eating healthy. “Feed Me Better” shed light on the obesity problem eradicating the UK. (more…)
The idea is simple: Put away the fake ingredients and pre-made mixes and sauces and cook with real food for better health.
This idea is being brought to American dinner tables and school cafeterias by one seriously-determined British chef – Jamie Oliver. Oliver has started a movement both stateside and in Britain called the Food Revolution, which aims to get back to real, quality food, and move away from the high-fat, sugar-laden processed foods most Americans are eating today.
For a better sense of how Oliver views healthy eating, here is his food philosophy as stated on his website. (more…)