Every two years, the California Farm to School and Garden Conference, California Farm to School Network and California Alliance With Family Farmers, connects food service directors, advocates and garden coordinators with resources for accessing locally grown foods and food literacy. The most recent conference was held this past March in Modesto, part of the the Central Valley where half of the fruits and vegetables in the United States are grown.
This year, Dairy Council of California kicked off the conference by sponsoring a "Center of the Plate" Meat and Dairy tour for 20 participants. This tour was designed to highlight how protein and dairy foods are produced and can be locally sourced by California schools. Participants experienced "behind the scenes" tours of a Foster Farms chicken production facility, Hilmar Cheese Company and Clauss Dairy Farm with lunch on Turlock Unified School District’s 10 acre school farm.
Turlock Unified School District excels in putting #CAonyMyPlate, with 90-95 percent of the protein, fruits, vegetables and dairy in the school meal program sourced locally in California. Fun ag facts learned along the way include Foster Farms' processing capacity of 11 million pounds of chicken per week; Hilmar Cheese Company's extensive water recycling program and the 340 cows per hour capacity of Clauss Dairy Farm's rotary milker.
All those who attended the Center of the Plate Meat and Dairy Tour left with a greater appreciation of the work needed to bring California dairy products and proteins from the farm to the plate, giving #CAonMyPlate a whole new meaning. Dairy Council of California is proud to support the Farm to School Movement to help connect the California food system with schools and school cafeterias.
Spring has sprung! April is a fantastic time to enjoy seasonal produce and a variety of food holidays. Kick the month off right by celebrating National Public Health Week and World Health day, then find healthy ways to use up Easter feast leftovers. Boost your immune system by celebrating the antioxidant properties of garlic and opt for the comfort of grilled cheese and tomato soup when April showers keep you indoors.
Enjoy nutritious family meals with foods from all five food groups with more recipes on HealthyEating.org.
April Family Meal Recipes
Carrot Salad With California Dried Plum with Lamb Cooked in Milk with Rice and Tabbouleh Salad; plus Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, Fava Bean Cake With Diced Red Peppers and Yogurt, Tandoori Chicken and Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Ouzo Poached Figs.
Red, White and Green Grilled Cheese, Fresh Tomato Soup Au Gratin and Honey Baked Bananas; plus Southwestern Cheese Panini, Grilled Pesto Sandwiches, Colorful Green Salad and Dessert Waldorf Salad with Roquefort.
Each Dairy Council of California classroom nutrition education offering is designed to be a self-contained direct nutrition education experience that contributes to positive behavior change.
Many creative teachers extend the learning to keep children engaged and motivated about nutrition. The new online high school offering, Eat Move Win is no exception.
Trina Robertson, M.S., R.D.N. recently attended an Eat Move Win inspired National Nutrition Month® health fair at an Orange County high school and observed five fantastic ways teachers and students are staying engaged after completing Eat Move Win.
Proving that moms love nutritious food and photobooths too, Trina Robertson (second from right) posed with other National Nutrition Month® health fair volunteers including Si Herbers, (pictured with camera) who documented this fun event. Watermarked photos courtesy of Photography by Si Herbers @ PhotoSi Photography.
Do you extend the learning from nutrition education lessons with engaging activities that elevate the health of your school environment? Tell us your stories! Email [email protected] or share your stories on our Facebook page, Facebook.com/DairyCouncilofCA
According to Druckerman, the Parisian parenting style produces children who are gourmet eaters and are good sleepers. Most infants sleep through the night by four months of age and children as young as 3 years can eat a four course gourmet-style meal.
Parents, before you begin to feel bad about how well your kids eat and sleep, let me point out some important differences in the French social services. Parents don't have to pay for preschool and have a national day care system that is run by highly-trained, career professionals in which four-course meals are served to all children.
Here is a sample public day care meal:
Hey, if my kids attended Parisian day care, they would likely have bypassed the picky eater phase!
French culture values eating regular, delicious, "sit down" meals. Paris is known for its gourmet food and eating delicious meals is a core part of French culture. Parents and children eat the same food, there's no such thing as a kid’s menu in Paris restaurants.
Parents think it is part of a child’s education to learn to eat a wide variety of foods. They consider it normal to challenge each child to eat new foods on a regular basis. They believe their children can eat almost everything and they do.
French families eat three meals and one afternoon snack. That’s it. No additional snacking between meals. Americans are prolific snackers and value foods that are healthy and convenient.
While most of us do not have access to day care serving amazing gourmet food, there are a few Parisian parenting tips that American parents can consider.
As dietitians, we would have preferred to see more descriptive menus included in the book to have a better idea of what typical family meals look like. We’re not qualified to confirm or deny that parenting strategies shared in the book are accurate or typical in France (especially outside the city of Paris – the author qualifies her observations are limited to Paris).
We do know from our academic background and experience that the overall patterns for feeding children described in the book are scientifically-based and sound with the exception that French women do not commonly breastfeed their infants (breast feeding infants is highly recommended).
We realize that many ideas in the book are not transferable within the constructs of American culture. And we suggest you don’t get hung up on deciding if French culture is better or worse than ours. We do feel there are some good ideas here to add to your parenting bag of tricks.
Overall, our group recommends the book and suggests pregnant women and mothers of young children put the book on their reading list.
Maureen Bligh, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
March is National Nutrition Month®, time to put yout best fork forward, and spoon, glass and plate for that matter, for healthier eating habits. This month's recipes will help families eat closer to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans while having fun too. March is also time to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day, so corned beef is of course on the menu. March also marks an important day for diabetes awareness, so we've put together some low- carbohydrate, high-nutrient recipes your family will enjoy. Finally, wrap up the month with healthy breakfast ideas that will put some pep into your step this spring.
March Family Meal Recipes
Lean Curry Chicken with Orange-Scented Rice with Hot and Sour Soup and Caramelized Spiced Pears; plus Rigatoni, Grilled Vegetable and Chicken Salad, Slow Cooker Oatmeal, Creamy Couscous Florentine and Crunchy Baked Tilapia with Mango Salsa.
Heat + Eat Power Breakfast Pocket, Berry Perfect Parfaits and Good News Breakfast Smoothie; plus Mini Fritattas, Italian Tomato Eggs, Apple Raisin French Toast Casserole and Huevos Rancheros.
This program, brought to you by Dairy Council of California, aligns with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
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