This is your source for healthy food news and events in the Cedar Rapids area during the coming week.
Blue Zones Project update:
Blue Zones Cedar Rapids reports that Blue Day was a success. On Friday, January 20, people across the city dressed in blue to support Cedar Rapids’ application to become a Blue Zones Community. Despite snowy weather in the morning, a number of people joined Mayor Corbett at noon for a walk at Lindale Mall. On-line pledges of support have increased to 4.19% (up from 1.73% as of January 6) and Cedar Rapids has moved up seven places on the community support scorecard of all current contenders to become one of ten Iowa Blue Zones demonstration communities. Pledge your support today.
This week you can support Cedar Rapids’ continuing efforts to become a Blue Zones community by attending the Blue Zones Check-Up with the author of “The Blue Zones” himself, Dan Buettner, this Thursday. Community health leaders from St. Luke’s, Mercy, PCI and Linn County Public Health will discuss health issues facing the community at 7:00, followed by Buettner’s presentation at 8:00. Pat Baird, retired CEO of AEGON, will be the master of ceremonies. The first 100 people through the door will receive a free copy of “The Blue Zones.”
Blue Zones Check-Up
Thursday, February 2, 2012, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Kirkwood Conference Center, 7725 Kirkwood Boulevard SW, Cedar Rapids
In the news this week:
This past Wednesday, the USDA announced the first new guidelines for school lunches in 15 years. The new standards are intended to tackle the problems of childhood obesity and obesity-related illness by raising nutritional standards for school lunches. The new standards require increased offerings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, allow only no-fat or low-fat milk to be served, limit calories based on age to ensure proper portion size, and reduce allowed amounts of saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.
The reaction among parents and educators has been mixed. Some laud the efforts to increase nutritional standards in schools. Some are encouraged by the prospect that school food quality will improve from the highly processed foods that are currently offered. Many are concerned the new standards will result in more food waste because the students won’t eat the healthier options. Others are concerned about the increased costs to schools.
Jennifer Miller of Center Point says improvements are needed. Her daughter, a junior, will no longer eat the school’s lunches and has packed her own lunch every day this school year. “She was so tired of every lunch revolving around pizza or pizza-type food, like cheese bread sticks with sauce.” Miller, who has volunteered in the lunchroom at her children’s schools, says these starchy foods are required to please the masses. Like many, Miller is concerned with the amount of food waste but suggests a strategy for getting students to eat healthier food. “If you offer it to kids in a salad bar setting where they get to choose what they want, it will get eaten,” Miller observes. “But if you stick it on their tray it will get tossed more often than not.” Miller recognizes that parents ultimately are responsible for their children’s nutrition and for teaching them to eat healthy. “It isn’t the food at school that’s causing the problem,” Miller says. “It starts at home.”
In the week ahead, learn more about the new standards and get involved in the discussion about how to get kids to eat healthier.
Winter farmers’ markets this week:
Grant Wood Market Place
Saturday, Feb. 4, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Grant Wood Elementary School, 1930 Lakeside Drive, Iowa City
Springville Indoor Winter Farmers’ Market
Saturday, Feb. 4, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Community Center, 265 Broadway Street, Springville
What’s in season in Iowa now:
Look for these seasonal foods at the winter farmers’ markets or seek out local growers through Iowa Valley Food Cooperative: bunching greens, kohlrabi, lettuce mix, oriental greens, spinach.
Healthy eating tip of the week:
Eat a regular breakfast. Research has shown that eating breakfast each day promotes weight loss by boosting your metabolism. If you eat breakfast you burn more calories throughout the day and, if you skip it, you are more likely to overeat later in the day. So make sure to start out each day this week with a balanced breakfast.
Kara Behlke, Registered Dietitian at Marion Hy-Vee, offers these ideas:
- Make a healthy breakfast sandwich with a whole wheat English muffin, one slice of Canadian bacon, and an egg.
- Make a “breakfast pizza” by topping one-half of a whole grain bagel with low-fat cream cheese and fresh fruit.
- Have a “banana dog.” Spread a 6″ whole wheat tortilla with a tablespoon of peanut butter and sprinkle on some flax seed and cinnamon. Place a peeled banana in the center of the tortilla, top with a drizzle of honey, and roll up the tortilla to make a wrap.
Have a happy and healthy week ahead.