Written by Role Mommy wing mom, Danielle Feigenbaum
Last week the School Nutrition Association held their Annual National Conference in Boston, MA. I was lucky enough to attend the conference where I met so many amazing people and learned a ton about providing schools with healthy food. Who knew how much actually goes into getting healthier foods into our kid's schools AND trying to figure out how to educate them to eat it! So many kids across the country are not exposed to different fruits and vegetables at home. It's great to have healthy food in the schools, but we also don't want to waste it - we want the kids to eat and enjoy it!
The huge exhibit hall had hundreds of companies that are working on lowering the sugar and sodium amounts in their products as well as meeting new government standards for whole grains. In the upcoming 2014-2015 school year all grains served for breakfast and lunch should be whole grain-rich (at least 50%). Some of the pizza companies are working on making their crusts with more whole grain, but keeping the look of white flour so kids will eat it. There were also companies who are creating ways to get younger kids to try new foods and learn about staying healthy. They have fun stickers you can receive that say "I tried it!" when they try something new (what kid doesn't love stickers?) And this fun plate that shows all the different food groups you should be eating at each meal.
I had the pleasure of being escorted around the exhibit floor with two amazing District Supervisors of School Nutrition. First, Debbi Beauvais from Rochester NY. I had no idea how much actually goes into planning the food and the payment schools received for each kid. There are many challenges when you live in an urban area, unfortunately it is very expensive to get lots of fruits, veggies and non prepackaged food. On the other side was Director Doug Davis from Burlington, VT who participates in a Farm 2 School initiative to bring local produce to the cafeterias. I love the idea of kids being involved in knowing where the food they eat comes from. If we can get the kids outside planting and visiting farms, maybe they will be more likely to try new and healthy foods. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and The Burlington School Food Project serves free breakfast to all students. Debbi and Doug both had a ton of knowledge regarding school nutrition and as a parent of two picky elementary school children, they really opened my eyes to what is going on in our school. I was very inspired to get more involved and I think parents everywhere should know exactly what is going on with their school's breakfast, lunch and snack.
The SNA and USDA want to create a healthier next generation. Kids spend so many hours in school and need to be better educated about why eating healthy is so important. Thanks to updated standards kids are now eating 10% more veggies and 23% more fruit at lunch. But this is only the start, we need to help schools get the proper equipment and funding to make healthier foods as well as the education component.
The School Nutrition Association launched Tray Talk as a way to provide parents with information about healthy school meals and offer tips on how to get involved in school nutrition programs. Join the conversation at Facebook.com/TrayTalk
For more great information please visit: www.schoolnutrition.org
Healthy dips are always in style and in season. Hummus is a crowd pleaser so always a good idea for the kids after school, camp and/or for a party. No need to buy it when it is so inexpensive and simple to make. Enjoy!
1 cup chick peas
6 TBS olive oil (more if necessary)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 TBS tahini (can get at most supermarkets, Whole Foods)
1-2 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS water (more if necessary)
optional: a little cayenne pepper or 1/2 a roasted pepper or 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes)
Puree all ingredients in a food processor. Add more water or olive oil if too thick and adjust spices. Enjoy!
For more great recipes visit takebackthekitchen.com
If you're in the market for a light brunch, lunch or dinner item that will both impress and take very little time and effort, you have come to the right place. Oh, and did I mention it is exceptionally delicious? Enjoy!
Parmesan and Leek Tart with Whole Wheat Crust:
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 TBS sugar
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup organic vegetable shortening
1/2 tsp salt
Pulse all crust ingredients together in a food processor until crumbly. Press into a pie dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Make filling while you wait. Remove from oven and set aside.
1 1/2 cups of leeks finely chopped and sauteed in 1 TBS butter (this is the amount, roughly, from one big leek, whites and some of the green )
3 beaten eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream (or another cup of whole milk)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Whisk all the above filling ingredients and pour into the prepared crust. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 35-40 minutes or until knife comes out clean in the center.
For more great recipes check out takebackthekitchen.com
Are you looking for a VERY large salad for your upcoming BBQ that will be healthy, delicious and won't have you break the bank? Try this simple and tropical chick pea salad and you'll never have to be be that person who brings macaroni salad again.
Chick Pea Salad with Mango:
1 HUGE can of chick peas-6 cups
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 scallions, chopped
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/2 mango, chopped
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tsp smoked paprika
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, stir to combine and chill.
Serves a crowd!
For more great recipes please visit, takebackthekitchen.com
By Role Mommy contributor, Kristin Torgen Flannery
Rolemommy sat down with some of the key players of Earth to Echo to find out some of the secrets of the set. We sat down with Dave Green (Director), Andrew Panay (Producer/Co-Story Writer), and Henry Gayden (Screenwriter and Co-Story Writer) to discuss a return to the movies we watched as children, newer shooting styles and a great young cast.
The cast was made up of some newer actors (Brian "Astro" Bradley, Teo Halm, Reese Hartwig and Ella Whalestedt) and they were really adorable and had such good chemistry. So, how was the casting process?
Andrew Panay explained that the casting process was tough and the turn around was even harder "We weren't panicked at all. We're like, "We're shooting in five days and have no cast." I remember we were looking for authenticity. We also believe that we casted these kids because they felt real. You know, the whole point of the movie is to speak to the next generation of kids, right, and for parents like you guys and for our age, to hearken back to some of the movies (E.T. and Goonies) that we used to see when we were growing up kind of thing."
Dave Green took us through the process "When we got them all together in the room for the first time, I just told each of them--'cause there's a lot of pressure when you're auditioning, and there's a camera and there's strangers and it's just a little weird. So, when I first got the group of the four of them, I said, "You've each been chosen because you're all awesome, and you're all very special and you're all wildly talented. And I want you all to feel super comfortable on the set and you should have the freedom to just tell me, I'm the storyteller and I'm not telling the story that way."
The film is shot in such a way that you believe the kids in the movie are filming themselves but when we asked where the camera was, we were impressed to find out it was the same type of camera used to shoot big budget movie.
Dave Green revealed "It was a big camera. It's a Red camera. It's what they shoot all the 3D movies on. So, it was actually an old person behind the camera for the whole time. There is no difference. It's all manipulation. Except the first scene with Tuck where he's doing the confessional at home, and then the scene Munch [Reese Hartwig] is in the truck. Those are both on the iPhone.
When we sat in the theater with our children watching Earth to Echo, we couldn't help but think back to the first time we sat in the theater as a child ourselves as E.T. played on the big screen. That is exactly what the Earth To Echo team was hoping for.
Andrew Panay elaborated "I wouldn't call this movie a kids' movie. I think it's unfair. I think the movie's a family movie, and I think every family has moments where the door gets shut and your daughter or son is crying, and that's just the bottom line. I mean, if that's not going on in your family, I want to live with you, you know?
Everybody has experienced the pain of when a childhood friend moves away and it's heartbreaking. We were wondering when they wrote the original screenplay, did they decide that they still would move apart?
Andrew Panay concluded "Is like, you know, we say that--when we mean not be superheroes, we mean, like, flying in the air, but as far as human superheroes, emotional superheroes, a hundred percent. That's what the movie is about. The movie's about it does take superhuman strength to say goodbye or overcome, like, a night like that or know that, if you're small, you can overcome something so big."
Earth to Echo is in theaters beginning July 2nd and it is a movie you don't want to miss.
Visit all the Earth to Echo websites - #EarthtoEcho
Visit the Official Website
'Like' Earth to Echo on Facebook
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