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Tag ‘ nutrition ’

The AT&T Pioneers Dish It Up: Feeding Families Healthy Food

In celebration of the AT&T Pioneers’ 100 years of service, volunteerism and philanthropy, Pioneers are joining together for one of the biggest volunteer efforts in history. Pioneers Dish It Up aims to feed one million people across the U.S. and Canada who face the daily challenge of “food insecurity”.

Between September 11th and 25th, the Pioneers will be addressing the issue of hunger by participating in the Pioneers Dish It Up project, which includes a healthy food drive, as well as other service projects aimed at feeding the hungry.

In partnership with Feeding America and its network of member food banks, a list of healthy food donations has been compiled to guide those who will be participating in the food drive. This project is just the latest effort by our local AT&T Pioneers of the George S. Ladd Council to support the Food Bank and our mission.

 

Health Conscious Volunteer Hopes to See People Eat Better

Guest post by Jenay Ross, USC journalism student: The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano County aims to conquer hunger in our area. While it is important to provide as much food as possible for the hungry, the Food Bank wants to make sure it’s at least nutritional and healthy. Volunteer Ellen Potthoff, a Naturopathic Doctor, has a passion for making sure people are eating the right things.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, she said, “Food and digestion is the core of that.” Thinking back to when she began volunteering with the Food Bank in 2001, she said, “I really had a strong feeling people need to know how to eat. So I was hoping to contribute to that.” Now she’s a Food Bank Ambassador, which is a volunteer who represents the Food Bank at different events and outreach activities by handing out information and  speaking publicly on their behalf.

Ellen worked for the Health Physicians Medical Group and is very knowledgeable about the human body. When Kaiser gave the Food Bank a grant for stress management for employees, she taught classes for them since she teaches these at Kaiser. Being a chiropractor as well, she also gave staff upper body massages.

“What people eat and their level of activity has everything to do with how healthy they are and it’s much easier to keep them healthy than it is treating them when they’re not healthy,” said Ellen. She believes medicines are great if a person needs them, but she rather have people maintain a healthy lifestyle without them, since medicine can have some serious side effects and problems.

Fitness expert and body builder Jack LaLanne and Alice Waters, a chef and author, have inspired her and her passion for food. Being at the Food Bank blends in well with her love for food and cooking. She volunteers every Wednesday for three hours and then another three hours on certain Fridays for the boxing project.

The Youth Homes Auxiliary Store is lucky enough to receive help from Ellen as well. The store supports foster kids who are no longer in the system. She also builds trails for Volunteers of California and ushers at the opera in the city.

She really enjoys volunteering for various organizations, especially the Food Bank. “I really like the idea that I’m helping to feed people. That’s important,” she said.

To learn more about the Food Bank Ambassador program, email pmcdowell@foodbankccs.org.

Health and Wellness at the Food Bank

If the key to successfully helping others is to take care of yourself then the Food Bank staff has a bit of work cut out for them.

When we are not busy making sure that the food we order from our distributors is low in sodium, fat and sugar, the Nutrition and Wellness committees have stepped up their efforts to make some positive health changes for the staff.

The first task at hand for the Nutrition committee was to improve the nutrition content of the snack items found in our vending machines. The goal of attaining a 50/50 mix of healthier snack options versus non healthy was an easy  task to accomplish with our current vending machine operator who was more than happy to supply us with an array of healthier alternatives that meet the Fit Pick criteria. Fit Pick™ nutritional criteria are based on the recommendations of the: American Heart Association, 2005 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Thanks to the nutrition committee, we now have super yummy snacks that are baked instead of fried, lower in sugar, fat and salt.

Fit Pick™ products are lower in fat and sugar with criteria for adults of 35-10-35 which means no more than:

35% of total calories from fat

10% of calories from saturated fat

35% of total product weight from sugar

Generally speaking, our health is a mirror of our daily habits and with that in mind the Wellness committee will encourage sedentary staff to move just a little bit more every day. Whether it’s standing up at their desks , taking  15 minute walks in the morning and afternoon,  taking the stairs faster or two at a time there is always something more that can be done to burn a few extra calories that don’t require a gym membership or special equipment.

To help us with our healthy ambitions please keep us in mind if you know someone who would like to donate an unused or under-used Elliptical machine that Food Bank staff will use during breaks. Maybe it’s currently serving as a clothes rack instead of its intended purpose as exercise equipment.

So if anyone out there has or knows of someone who has an Elliptical that they would like to donate to the food bank staff to help encourage a healthier lifestyle or “Healthstyle” please feel free to contact Veronica Wimer at vwimer@foodbankccs.org or 925-677-7012.

Budget Cuts in Agriculture Appropriations Bill Unacceptable

I had the honor of listening in on a call this morning with Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) and George Miller (CA-7) and the press where they discussed the cuts included in the Agriculture and FDA Appropriations bill, which will be debated on the floor of the House of Representatives this week.

baby eatingThe Agriculture and FDA Appropriations bill has been slashed by 13.4%, or $2.6 billion below FY2011. Included are cuts to critical nutrition and anti-hunger programs, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which could be cut by more than $650 million, meaning that up to 350,000 women and children could go hungry and will not have access to the nutrition they need. The Commodity Supplement Food Program, which mainly assists low-income seniors, and the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which helps assist states with food banks, could also see their funding cut by up to 20%.

On the call Congressman Miller stated that: “Nutrition is essential to thrive and grow” and that “cuts to WIC will increase health costs.”

Congresswoman DeLauro pointed out that “WIC is not an admin expense. It is about nutrition education, breast feeding support, screening for harmful substance abuse and ensuring people are on a healthy lifestyle path that will only save money in the future.”

Call Today!
Call your representative by using a toll-free number, 877-698-8228 provided by Feeding America. After a brief message you’ll be asked to enter your zip code to connect directly to your House member’s office.  Once you are connected:
•    Tell them that you are a constituent and state the name of the town you are calling from.
•    Let them know you are calling about the FY2012 Agriculture Appropriations legislation
•    Deliver this message:
I am a supporter of my local food bank and I urge you to vote AGAINST the FY2012 Agriculture Appropriations legislation, which cuts funding for TEFAP commodities, CSFP, WIC and SNAP reserve funds. Cutting safety net programs is the wrong way to balance the budget.  Food banks across the country will not be able to meet the increased demand for food assistance if nutrition programs like TEFAP, CSFP, WIC and SNAP are cut.

For more information about how you can help take action against hunger, please contact Lisa Sherrill at (925) 676-7543 extension 206 or lsherrill@foodbankccs.org.

Coupon Time

Guest post by Charlene Burns, Senior Food Program Coordinator: At the Senior Food Program sites in Contra Costa and Solano counties there’s Pacific Standard Time, Pacific Daylight Saving Time and Coupon Time.

Coupon Time is that time of year, typically late Spring and Summer, when many Senior Food Program participants receive $20.00 worth of coupons (free to them) to be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at the Certified Farmers Markets located throughout both counties. People look forward to them and it fits right in with our efforts to encourage program participants to eat more fresh vegetables and fruits.

Farmer's Market

Commit to being healthy

Guest post by Patti Anderson, Pound For Pound Challenge Champion and Biggest Loser Season 9 Contestant: There are many things in our lives that we have little control over and being on a tight budget may be one.  Eating healthy and living a fit lifestyle is within our control and can be achieved on a limited budget.

Fitness is free!  It doesn’t cost anything to take a walk, ride your bike, take the stairs instead of the elevator or run and play in the park.  Anyone can get off of the couch, learn what’s healthy to eat and exercise every day!

Eating healthy choices can be done with planning and preparation.  Measuring and weighing foods for proper serving sizes will also make your food dollars go farther and help to slim or maintain your waistline.

For parents, please remember that a healthy lifestyle must be consistently maintained for life and is more easily maintained when established during childhood.

There is just about a week and one-half left to pledge but you can commit to being healthy after the Challenge is over.  Help the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano earn a bigger share of the $1 million dollars being offered by the Pound For Pouch Challenge at no cost to you!  For every pound pledged, 11 cents (enough to secure one pound of food) will be donated to our local food bank.

Make your commitment and pledge today!

Pizza for breakfast? Of course you can, if you healthify it!

Whether you have little time to spare (Pepperoni Pita Pizza) or have a few extra minutes to make the dough from scratch (Healthified Homemade Pizza) we’ve got two great pizza recipes for you to make at home.

Pepperoni Pita Pizza    

Recipe from The Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser Season 7’s Sione Fa says of this delicious mini-pizza, “We are a pizza family, and my kids can’t even tell the difference with this healthier version. The kids make their own pizzas. Not only do they love doing it, but my wife and I love it that we now eat healthy as a family and still enjoy our favorite foods.”

Recipe:
1/8 cup low-fat marinara or tomato-basil sauce
1 medium whole grain pita (about 5″ diameter)
1/8 cup shredded fat-free or low-fat mozzarella cheese (see note)
8 slices (1/2 ounce total) lean turkey pepperoni
Fresh basil

Spread the sauce on top of the pita. Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce. Distribute the pepperoni slices on top of the pizza. Bake in a toaster oven until the cheese has melted. Garnish with fresh basil. Note: Using low-fat mozzarella cheese will increase the calories to 200 and the grams of fat to 6.

Makes 1 (5¨) pizza
Per serving: 190 calories, 14 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates (1 g sugars), 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 20 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 650 mg sodium

Healthified Homemade Pizza   

Recipe from Eat Better America

Nutritional Information
1 slice: Calories 190 (Calories from Fat 70); Total Fat 8g (Saturated Fat 3g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 410mg; Total Carbohydrate 21g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 3g); Protein 10g % Daily Value Vitamin A 15%; Vitamin C 20%; Calcium 25%; Iron 10% Exchanges 1 1/2 Starch, 0 Other Carbohydrate, 1/2 Lean Meat, 0 Medium-Fat Meat, 1 Fat Carbohydrate Choices 1 1/2
Prep Time:15 min
Start to Finish:45 min
makes:8 servings

Crust
1 1/3 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fat-free (skim) milk
2 tablespoons olive oil

Topping
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese (6 oz)
1 can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen® organic diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup yellow or green bell pepper strips
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oven to 400°F. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk and oil until soft dough forms. (If dough is dry, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons additional milk.) On lightly floured surface, knead dough 10 times. Shape dough into ball. Cover with bowl; let stand 10 minutes.
2. Place dough on ungreased cookie sheet; flatten slightly. Roll out to 12-inch round. Bake 8 minutes.
3. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over crust; top with remaining topping ingredients. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is light golden brown and cheese begins to brown. Cut into wedges to serve.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): No change.

If you try these, or any of the challenge recipes, let us know!

Food Bank Participates in Nutrition Study

Guest post by Lindsay Johnson, Food Bank Program Director: The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is one of six California food banks currently working with researchers from UC Berkeley who are documenting current nutrition-related policies and practices in relation to the provision of foods to low income families through emergency food services. This research is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Healthy Eating Research, 2010-2011.

In recent years, it has become apparent that many families rely on emergency food services for more than a few days each month, and there is concern about the healthfulness of food provided through emergency food pantries in light of the obesity epidemic and concerns about diet-related chronic disease. The emergency food system has been based on the distribution of shelf stable, low/no cost food for years. This food is frequently highly processed and contains large amounts of salt and sugar.

There are 3 components to the study. All Feeding America food banks were invited to participate in a national online survey in March assessing current organizational policies regarding the nutritional quality of the food provided. Six food banks, including Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, will have their food inventory data analyzed for the period 2007-2010 to evaluate whether actual foods received and distributed have changed during this period. As part of this second component, the research team will conduct short interviews with the Executive Directors of the Food Banks and key staff members regarding the provision of healthy foods. The third component will include food pantry visits at the end of May to five emergency food pantries at each of the six food banks for a total of 30 pantry visits. At the pantry visits, the pantry director will be interviewed, and a survey team will conduct a short interviewer-administered questionnaire with 15 randomly selected clients regarding their food preferences and pantry experiences.

Participating in this survey will provide the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano with client and pantry feedback, as well as giving us the opportunity to see how we compare with our peers with regard to providing nutritious food. This study will help us assess how effective and extensive our increased distribution of produce has been throughout the communities we serve. Information provided will help us with future decisions regarding the improvement of nutrition provided by the emergency food system.

Weekly Challenge Recipe

Love chocolate chip cookies but tired of feeling guilty about eating them? Well here is a healthier guilt free option.

“Healthified” Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Eat Better America

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1  Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat sugars, butter, oil, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on low speed until blended. Beat in flour, baking soda and salt until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
2  On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.
3  Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until very light golden brown (centers will be soft). Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.
Substitutions:
•    If you are gluten sensitive try quinoa flour instead of whole wheat.
•    Increase fiber and decrease fat by substituting ¼ C canola oil and 4 TBS ground Flaxseed for the  ½ C oil.
•    Healthify this recipe even further by using dark chocolate chips or carob chips instead of the semisweet. If you use carob chips you can cut back on one of the sugars by ¼ C.
Nutritional Information
1 Serving: Calories 110 (Calories from Fat 50); Total Fat 6g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 65mg; Total Carbohydrate 13g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 9g); Protein 1g % Daily Value Vitamin A 0%; Vitamin C 0%; Calcium 0%; Iron 2% Exchanges 1/2 Starch, 1/2 Other Carbohydrate, 1 Fat.Carbohydrate Choices 1

Looking to reduce your carb intake? Try this new spin on spaghetti and meatballs.

Healthified Italian Bulgur Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

From Eat Better America

73% less sat fat • 36% less cholesterol than the original recipe—see the comparison. After cooking the squash, use a fork to gently rake the stringy pulp from the shell, separating it into strands that resemble spaghetti.

Prep Time:15 min
Start to Finish:25 min
makes:4 servings
1    medium spaghetti squash (2 1/4 pounds)
2/3    cup water
1/4    cup bulgur
1/4    cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed
1    teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1/4    teaspoon salt
1/8    teaspoon black pepper
1    pound ground turkey breast or extra-lean ground beef (93% lean or higher)
1    can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen® diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
2    tablespoons small fresh basil or cilantro leaves or thinly sliced green onion
1.    Halve squash crosswise; remove seeds. Place squash, cut sides down, in a microwave-safe 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Add 1/3 cup of the water. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 13 to 15 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with a fork. (If your microwave does not have a turntable, turn squash once for even cooking.) Drain squash. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
2.    Meanwhile, in a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the remaining 1/3 cup water and the bulgur. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 1 minute; do not drain. Cool slightly.
3.    Stir egg product, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper into bulgur mixture. Add ground turkey or beef; mix well. Shape mixture into 24 meatballs. Place in a microwave-safe 2-quart square baking dish. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 4 minutes, rearranging once; drain off liquid.
4.    Pour tomatoes over meatballs. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 1 to 3 minutes more or until meatballs are no longer pink in centers (165°F).*
5.    Rake the squash pulp out of the shell and separate the squash pulp into strands. Serve meatballs over spaghetti squash. Sprinkle with basil, cilantro, or green onion.
*Low-wattage microwave ovens may require more cooking time, while high-wattage microwave ovens may require less time.

If you try these, or any of the challenge recipes, let us know!

CA Egg Farmers Donate 25,290 Eggs to Food Bank

Northern California’s own NuCal Foods donated more than 25,000 eggs to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano last week to help families in need – just in time for the Easter holiday.

Larry Sly our Executive Director says: “We are trying our best to give the people we serve the best nutrition possible. Because of the generosity of the egg farmers we can provide high protein food to the people in our community who need help.”

United Egg Producers and Feeding America food banks (like ours) are teaming up in the fight against hunger for the fourth year in a row. Egg farmers nationwide donated nearly 12 million eggs. NuCal Foods — an agricultural cooperative of multi-generation family-owned farms — has donated more than 1.3 million eggs to help feed people in California in the last four years. That’s a lot of eggs!

eggs

According to the USDA eggs have much less cholesterol than previously thought and have more vitamin D.  Fun egg fact: every egg has 13 essential nutrients including the highest quality protein – choline, folate, iron and zinc – with only 75 calories.

Every type of agency from soup kitchens to shelters and pantries to day cares look forward to getting eggs from the Food Bank. This donation will mean our Food Purchaser, Veronica Wimer, will not have to buy eggs for our member agencies for a month or two! Did you even know the Food Bank distributed eggs? Isn’t that egg-citing! (Sorry but I had to.) What is your favorite egg recipe? Post below or to our facebook page.