Tag ‘ Pound For Pound Challenge ’

Local Supporters Stepped Up to the Challenge!

As we work harder every day to assist individuals and families right here in Contra Costa and Solano counties during these tough economic times, we couldn’t do it alone. Hunger in our community is a daily challenge, and we are always looking for partners in our hunger relief efforts.

That’s why we were excited to participate in the Pound For Pound Challenge which brought together NBC’s “The Biggest Loser: Couples,” General Mills, Subway, and the Feeding America network of food banks. The Pound For Pound Challenge invited individuals to pledge their weight loss goals and or every pound pledged the Pound For Pound Challenge donated the monetary equivalent of a pound of groceries to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

The response we had from our community was inspiring! A grand total of 29,448 pounds were pledged which means our food bank will be receiving a donation of $3,239.28. On behalf of all of us at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano and the 132,000 people in Contra Costa and Solano counties who we serve each day, thank you for taking the Pound For Pound Challenge.

A special thanks to the local businesses and volunteers who stepped up to the challenge and helped us spread the word about this campaign so we could earn more funds and feed more individuals and families in need. These include:

Anderson Bros. Movers in Martinez                                                                            pound for pound challenge
Aspire Pilates in Concord
Bally Total Fitness in Pleasant Hill
Benicia Fitness
California Fitness in Martinez
California Health Club in Pleasant Hill
Cambiati Wellness Programs in Walnut Creek
Clayton Fitness Center
Clayton Mind and Body Connections
Clayton Snap Fitness Center
Curves in Martinez
Diablo Rock Gym in Concord
Dr. Lujan Chiropractic Office in Concord
Fitness 19 in San Ramon
Forma Gym in Walnut Creek
In-Shape Sport in Concord
Kelly Ann’s Day Spa in Pleasant Hill
Lafayette Health Club
Lynch Fitness in Walnut Creek
Millennium Sportsclub Vacaville
PATH Performance Training Center in Pleasant Hill
Play It Again Sports® in Pleasant Hill
Spark Fitness in Pleasant Hill
Sports Basement in Walnut Creek
Step It Up Studios in Pleasant Hill
The Big C Athletic Club in Concord
The Dailey Method® in Lafayette
The Living Lean Program in Orinda
The Yoga Company in San Ramon
24 Hour Fitness in Moraga
24 Hour Fitness in Walnut Creek
UFC Gym in Concord
Walnut Creek Sports & Fitness Club
Willow Pass Recreation Center in Concord
YMCA in Pleasant Hill
YogaWorks in Walnut Creek
And our very own Pound For Pound Challenge Champion and Biggest Loser Season 9 Contestant, Patti Anderson. We appreciate your amazing contributions and support Patti!

Last but not least, we thank John Young and Don Potter of 95.3 KUIC Hometown Morning Show and the following Food Bank Ambassadors for their outstanding job in helping us get so many supporters on board: Linda Barron, Barbara Beckert, Pat Ellison, Marcia Fortney, Susan Stillings, Linda Waxman, and Aaron Yuen.

To learn more about our ambassador program, email

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.”

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

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

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!

There is still time to take the Challenge!

Guest post by Challenge Champion Patti Anderson: The Pound For Pound Challenge is a partnership among The Biggest Loser, Feeding America, General Mills & Subway to help Feeding America secure millions of pounds of groceries on behalf of local food banks across the U.S.

The Biggest Loser motivates millions of viewers to lose weight and this made a great partner for The Pound For Pound Challenge, which seeks to inspire weight loss as well as provide hunger relief for America.

As a Season 9 contestant on The Biggest Loser, I am honored to be the Challenge Champion for the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano and our message has been heard by so many within our communities.  To date, our Food Bank is ranked number one in California with 960 team members who have pledged 26,727 pounds!

Although the Pound For Pound Challenge ends this year on May 31st, our journey to health & fitness continues as does the help needed at our Food Banks across the country to provide hunger-relief to low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive.

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.
•    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!

Weekly Challenge Recipes

Cookies for breakfast?  Of course! We promise not to tell your inner-child that it’s actually a nutritious way to jump-start your day.

Healthified Oatmeal Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies


86% less sat fat • 71% less sodium than the original recipe—see the comparison. Finally, give into your cravings and enjoy a peanut butter and oatmeal dessert for breakfast.
Prep Time:20 min
Start to Finish:50 min
Makes:12 Servings

Healthified Oatmeal Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies
Healthified Oatmeal Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies


Nonstick cooking spray
1/2    cup mashed banana (about 1 large)
1/2    cup chunky natural peanut butter (unsalted and unsweetened)
1/2    cup honey
1    teaspoon vanilla
1    cup rolled oats
1/2    cup Gold Medal® whole wheat flour
1/4    cup nonfat dry milk powder
2    teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4    teaspoon baking soda
1    cup dried cranberries or raisins


1.    Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat two cookie sheets with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together banana, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine oats, flour, milk powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir the oat mixture into the banana mixture until combined. Stir in dried cranberries.
2.    Using a ¼-cup measure, drop mounds of dough 3 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. With a thin metal or small plastic spatula dipped in water, flatten and spread each mound of dough to a 2¾-inch round, about ½ inch thick.
3.    Bake, one sheet at a time, for 14 to 16 minutes or until browned. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months; thaw before serving.
Nutritional Information
1 Serving: Calories 220 (Calories from Fat 60); Total Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 1g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 35mg; Total Carbohydrate 38g (Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars 22g); Protein 6g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 2%; Vitamin C 2%; Calcium 4%; Iron 8% Exchanges: 2 Starch; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 1 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 2 1/2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Rotini with Lentils

Rotini with Lentils
Rotini with Lentils


1/2 cup lentils,
1 1/2 teaspoons oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or a pinch dried
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 14-15oz can tomatoes, drained and chopped
4 cups (1/2 bunch) coarsely chopped dark green leafy vegetable like kale leaves, spinach or swiss chard
Salt & ground pepper to taste
8 oz whole-wheat rotini
1/4 cup grated cheese


1.    Place lentils in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water; bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2.    Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic and sauté until the vegetables are softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth, lentils, rosemary and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and dark green leafy vegetable, return to a simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and vegetable are tender, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.
3.    Meanwhile, cook rotini in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender,10 to 12 minutes. Drain and place in a large, shallow bowl. Add the lentil sauce and toss well. Taste and adjust seasonings and serve immediately with cheese.

Weekly Pound For Pound Challenge Recipes

After a short hiatus, we are back with your weekly Pound For Pound Challenge recipes. Try these yummy, healthy comfort foods and let us know what you think.

Toasted Barley with Mixed Vegetables

Healthified Tuscan White Bean Soup

Triple-Berry Granola Crisp

Words of healthy advice from our Challenge Champion Patti Anderson: Here are 4 things I try to remember so I can continue to succeed: 1) Eat breakfast; 2) Don’t drink calories; 3) Eat dinner 3 hours before bed; and 4) Get at least 8 hours sleep. In between breakfast and bed I make sure to move & sweat! Hope you have a plan and a great day!

To read more about the Challenge, visit the Pound For Pound section of our blog.

Pound for pound, we can fight hunger.

The local support we’re getting for the Pound For Pound Challenge is amazing!  We welcome and thank everyone who is helping our food bank earn a bigger share of the $1 million being offered by the Pound For Pound Challenge because this will allow us to feed more individuals and families in need.

pound for pound challengeWe at the Food Bank would like to thank the following community partners for getting the word out about the Pound For Pound Challenge: Anderson Bros. Movers in Martinez who have been promoting the challenge through local Chamber of Commerce associations, California Fitness in Martinez, Clayton Fitness Center, Clayton Mind and Body Connections, Clayton Snap Fitness Center, The Dailey Method® in Lafayette, Dr. Lujan Chiropractic Office in Concord, In-Shape Sport in Concord, Kelly Ann’s Day Spa in Pleasant Hill, PATH Performance Training Center in Pleasant Hill, Play It Again Sports® in Pleasant Hill, Spark Fitness in Pleasant Hill, Step It Up Studios in Pleasant Hill, The Big C Athletic Club in Concord, 24 Hour Fitness in Moraga, UFC Gym in Concord, Walnut Creek Sports & Fitness Club, and YMCA in Pleasant Hill.

For the third consecutive year, Feeding America and NBC’s The Biggest Loser have partnered with General Mills and Subway to encourage Americans to “Lose Nationally, Feed Locally”.

Take the challenge to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and you help both yourself and your community to be healthier. Pound For Pound Challenge will donate 11 cents for every pound pledged (up to a maximum donation of $1,040,000). You can pledge your goals at When you sign up, you can immediately join a team – and our team’s name is “Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano”. And, be sure to join our Pound For Pound Challenge – Contra Costa and Solano facebook group to learn more about the weekly “Walk to Give & Get Healthy” event we have created to help us reach our Challenge goals.

Weekly Recipes

Are you taking the Pound For Pound Challenge? Tell us about it in the comments below. Here are this week’s recipes to help you through the challenge (or just to try for fun).

Since mushrooms are in season I found this recipe.

Stir-Fried Broccoli and Mushrooms with Tofu

Then of course we can’t skip the dessert!

Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

We would also like to thank everyone who participated on Sunday at Heather Farms Park in our very first Pound For Pound walk. It was a perfect combination of warm sunshine and crisp cool air that made our hour together for the 3.8 mile walk fly by. For those who were unable to make it, we hope to see you next Sunday 3/6, more details to come, stay tuned. Don’t forget to wear YELLOW & BLUE (great job Mario and Patti!).

Patti, Carl, Emily, Mario, Jim, Leo, Savanna and Nicole (taking the picture)

Please email me at if you are interested in future walks.

Who knew that onions are so beneficial for your health!

Did you know that onions are a good source of fiber and vitamin C and might inhibit tumor growth? Or that onions may be useful for the prevention of cardiovascular disease as well as protecting against certain infections? Onion can also improve lung function, especially in asthmatics and the more pungent varieties appear to possess the greatest concentration of health-promoting phytochemicals.*

Try some recipes featuring the onion this week! Here are a couple of onion recipes to try:

Onion and Mushroom Quinoa

Caramelized Onion and Sweet Potato Skillet

Look at all these onions getting ready for distribution.

You can find more recipes and sign up for the Pound For Pound Challenge at What is your favorite recipe that includes onions?

*Information from and