April showers bring May flowers...and May flowers bring Pilgrims! Actually, when it comes to food celebrations and health observances, May brings a wide variety of flavors, textures and food group foods!
Be sure to visit the Family Meal Planning page for more information, tips and resources.
May Family Meal Recipes
Orange Polentina with Mini Fritattas and Mango and Melon Salad with Strawberry Sauce; plus Ham and Cheese Omelet Roll, Artichoke Nibbles,
Homemade Yogurt and Homemade Granola.
Chicken-Fried Steak + Gravy with Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash and Super Orange Smoothies; plus Grilled Eye Round Steaks with Wasabi Yogurt Cream, Calypso Beef Burgers,
Teriyaki Beef Steak Soup and Corn Con Carne.
Skillet Tuna Noodle Casserole with Balsamic Vinegar Tomatoes and Warm Fruit Compote Over Vanilla Frozen Yogurt; plus Gingery Salmon with Cucumber and Radish Salad, Endive and Mushroom Soup, Chocorazz Smoothies and Cream of Broccoli Soup.
Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes with Spicy Corn Salad with Chiles and Cilantro and Strawberry Licuados; plus Huevos Rancheros, Asparagus With Cheese, Honey BBQ Meatloaf and Strawberry Blue Cheese Salad.
Tuscan Tomato Turkey Burgers with Balsamic Yogurt Grilled Vegetables and Banana Pudding Pops; plus Chicken with Avocado and Oranges, Three Cheese Black Bean Chili with Cheddar Crust, Mediterranean Pasta Salad with California Ricotta and Feta and Carrot Salad.
In honor of Earth Day on April 22, many people start looking for ways to “go green” and become more sustainable. To shrink your carbon footprint and care for the environment, your first step should be to reduce food waste.
According to USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist, nearly half (30-40%) of our food supply goes to waste. “Not Really Expired," a short film by The Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) highlights how arbitrary laws around “sell-by” dates contribute to our food waste problem at the retail level. As a Dairy Council of CA dietitian and mom, I feel sad that this amount of nutritious food is wasted when so many children go hungry in this country every day.
Hopefully now, with education efforts like Not Really Expired, more consumers know that most food, including milk, is safe well after the sell-by date. Understanding these dates and learning how to properly store or refrigerate perishable foods like milk and cheese are simple strategies to reduce food waste at home that may even save you money.
One caution: don't fall into the trap of eating food that you are not hungry for just to prevent food waste. If you can't eat food before it goes bad, compost it rather than adding it to the landfill or overeating.
What are your favorite ways to reduce food waste? Share your tips in the comments.
Maureen Bligh, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
No fooling, April is chock-a-block full with great opportunities to plan healthy family meals around health observances and food celebrations. Kick off the month with a carbohydrate- conscious balanced meal in honor of World Health Day's mission to "Beat Diabetes." Then celebrate the stinking rose, since April is National Garlic Month (too bad April isn't also Dental Health Month...don't forget to brush!) Dig into strategies to reduce food waste while celebrating Earth Day on April 22. Finally, wind down April with family meals that celebrate Every Kid Healthy Week around the dinner table to augment celebrations at school.
April Family Meal Recipes
Spinach Pie with Fresh Vegetable Salad and Blueberry Blackberry Gratin; plus Baked Halibut Italian Style, Chicken with Yogurt-Cilantro Sauce, Brown Rice with Broccoli and Berry Pancakes.
Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp and Vegetables with Garlic Roasted Bell Peppers and Baked Custard; plus Broiled Eggplant with Garlic Sauce, Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic, Garlic Cheese Grits and
Creamy Crookneck Squash with Arugula Wraps with Chicken-Pasta Salad with Blueberries and Green Tea Smoothie; plus Fiesta Turkey Soup, Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt Waffles, Fresh Tomato Soup Au Gratin and Garden Potato Salad.
Inside Out Lasagna with Tangy Jalapeno Chicken and Strawberries and Cream; plus Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip, Mini Maui Pizza Pies, Refrigerator Oatmeal and Warm Chocolate Pudding.
Eating together as a family is one of the most effective ways to improve the health of children and adults. Since March is National Nutrition Month®, it's a perfect time to start enjoying family meals or renew your family's commitment to eating together. And remember, family meals aren't limited to dinner. Breakfast might be a better option for your family to Savor the Flavor of Eating Right. Additionally, March includes National Agriculture Day and the first day of spring, so we've added a local and seasonal flare to several meal plans. Be sure to visit our Family Meal Planning page for more information, tips and resources.
March Family Meal Recipes
Whole Wheat Flatbread with Apples and Gorgonzola with Bean Salad and Cucumber and Tomato Tangy Yogurt Salad; plus Scallops with Citrus and Quinoa, Bella Pasta Salad, Creamy Couscous Florentine and Spicy Lamb Chops with Tropical Salsa.
Tuna and Walnut Pasta Salad with Artichokes Parmesan and Kiwi Lime Frozen Yogurt; plus Fig Pizza, Sweet and Tangy Yam and California Raisin Salad, Grilled Salmon with Onion and California Dried Plum Compote and Choco-Nana Milk Mixer.
Grilled Lamb and Asparagus Pitas with Jicama Salad with Lime Juice and Mint and Strawberry Orange Cups; plus Indian Tea, Spring Greens Chicken Salad, Double Orange Scones with Orange Butter and Chicken Pasta Primavera.
Blueberry Cobbler Breakfast Bars with Baked Apple Burnette and Vegetable Medley Drink; plus Arugula + Chicken Sausage Bread Pudding, Huevos Rancheros, Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes and Onion-Pepper Mushroom Frittata.
Promoting health and nutrition doesn't occur in a vacuum. Dairy Council of California professionals work with a host of partners across the state and the country to develop and support programs and initiatives that will help elevate the health of children and parents through the pursuit of healthy eating patterns. Much of this work goes on behind the scenes, but at recent town hall rallies in northern and southern California, Dairy Council of CA spotlighted five very deserving individuals with a newly-minted Community Health Collaborator award. This recognition acknowledges their contributions to community health in general and to Dairy Council of CA in particular.
Heather Reed (pictured at right with Tammy Anderson-Wise and Shannan Young), MA, RD, Nutrition Education Consultant for State of California, Department of Education , is responsible for providing school districts with guidance on local school wellness policies. As many Dairy Council of CA Community Nutrition Advisers serve on local school wellness policy committees, her knowledge and expertise have been invaluable to our staff and these schools. Additionally, as Reed leads the department’s Team Nutrition Smarter Lunchrooms Movement grant to provide funding for school districts, she works closely with the Dairy Council of CA and other partners on the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of California team to implement the principles and practices while connecting cafeteria to the classroom through nutrition education.
Dr. Robert Lewis (pictured at left with colleague Lorena Quezada, Suzy Sayers and Candice Sainz), Director of Nutrition Services to El Monte City School District has lead his district on a health and wellness transformation that started with the Local School Wellness Policies and has expanded to encompass nearly every aspect of the school environment. Lewis' commitment to community health and wellness is evident in his district's adoption of classroom nutrition education, an overhaul of the school cafeteria menus, murals on the walls at schools across the district and an effort to bring Mobile Dairy Classroom to at least one school site each year. Learn more about El Monte's transformative story in Schools Are the Nexus for Community Health.
Suzy Sayers (pictured above with Dr. Lewis, Lorena Quezada and Candice Sainz), Director of Food Services for the El Monte Union High School District has embraced the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement concepts to revamp the cafeterias and menus for her district schools to entice teens to eat healthy. From menu changes to themed lunch room renovations, Sayers has achieved a 49% increase in nutrient-rich lunches served throughout the district. That means an additional 74,000 meals are fueling students each year. Sayers works closely with partners like Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention to promote fruits and vegetables and Dairy Council of CA to implement strategies which are today known as the tenets of the Smarter Lunchroom Movement. She and her staff are dedicated to these new programs because promoting nutrition and educating students about the benefits of eating healthy is just as important as the aesthetic changes. Read more about Sayers and her efforts in this Smarter Lunchrooms Movement feature.
Silvia K. Bishop (pictured at right with Efrain Valenzuela and Tammy Anderson-Wise) is Chief Executive Officer 48th District Agricultural Association Schools' Agriculture and Nutrition Program/Fair. Since 1998, Bishop has been an intrinsic partner for Dairy Council of CA's Mobile Dairy Classroom Assembly Program, ensuring the Classroom is scheduled to represent the dairy industry as part of the 48th District Fair, which incorporates one day of Ag Day LA. Additionally, the 48th District's Schools program serves as a year-round resource center for teachers from the greater Los Angeles and surrounding school districts. The Schools’ Agriculture and Nutrition Program provides free materials to assist teachers in instructing students about where food and fiber comes from, the benefits of healthy eating habits and how important agriculture is to the economy of California.
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Healthyeating.org is brought to you by Dairy Council of California. The mission of this website is to educate on issues of nutrition and healthy eating. For instance, our calcium calculator helps people decide how much of the recommended daily allowance of calcium they need (and are getting); our 'healthy eating quiz’ is a nutrition test and assessment tool or online nutrition app useful for parents and teachers interested in nutrition and health. Our free nutrition lesson plans help teachers from kindergarten to high school teach nutrition and healthy eating. And, of course, our milk nutrition and dairy nutrition facts offer information on topics such as milk and bone health and the health benefits of probiotics. While you're here, enjoy tips, online games, and quizzes to help get kids to eat healthy including kid-friendly recipes!