After a brief hiatus from the news business (moving will do that to you) we are back with a doozy of a week in kids’ food news. Did you hear that L.A. schools have voted to eliminate flavored milk as of July 1? They are the biggest school district in the country to do so thus far. And that’s not all: LAUSD has plans in the works to phase out corn dogs and chicken nuggets and other breaded items. Maybe we’ve just been hearing about chocolate milk for too long, but this second part is what sounds most radical to us. What will kids eat? No, really, what will they eat?
At LAUSD, their future plans include sushi, spinach tortellini in butternut squash sauce, and other ethnic food items. By happy coincidence, this week is also the week that Let’s Move announced their Recipes for Healthy Kids school lunch winners. So coming to a school near you could be…Central Valley Harvest Bake, Porcupine Sliders (a turkey/rice/cranberry burger), or Tuscan Smoked Turkey and Bean Soup. The recipes sure sound good. Let’s hope a majority of kids agree.
Also in the news this week is the ongoing reaction to the new My Plate food recommendations from the USDA. (Quick refresher: This icon simplifies dietary recommendations and breaks new ground by calling for more than half of the “plate” to be filled with fruits and vegetables.) Here’s a frightening follow-up from Melanie Warner of Food Fight: Processed food manufacturers don’t find fruits and vegetables very easy to work with, but they could incorporate more fruits and vegetables into the food they produce by…powdering them. Yes, powdering them, through freeze drying and spray drying. So producers might get people (especially kids) to eat more fruits and veggies by using them in powdered form as fillers in everything from powdered beverages to chips. One of the manufacturer’s points we can all agree on, “[I]t’s better to have our powders with all of their nutrients in a packaged food than fillers or corn starch.” Oh, OK, if you put it that way…We’ll go eat a piece of fruit now.
In “Celebrity Corner” (hey, we’re in L.A., it’s a requirement), Jennifer Garner has teamed up with Frigidaire to promote its new Kids’ Cooking Academy Summer Session, which encourages parents and kids to cook and eat healthy with fresh-picked ingredients. If you check-in on the mobile app Gowalla while visiting your local farmers’ market, Frigidaire will contribute $1 to Save the Children.
Recipes! We’ll leave you with a treat – some of our favorite recipes we’ve stumbled across this week. From Rabbit Food Rocks we have a slam-dunk of a recipe in her Loaded Protein Baked Potato (it all ties in with a basketball theme from the NBA finals). Lemons and Anchovies gives us a recipe for Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi (and you know we have a soft spot for purple). Cooking on the Weekends serves up a really cool Vegetable Mint Stir Fry with Tofu “Noodles” (the noodles are made from thinly shaved tofu). And Earth Eats shows us how to make tacos with walnuts, tilapia, and even liver and onions. Whoa.
Oh – and don’t forget the special dad in your life this weekend. From Saveur magazine, here are 13 food-themed gifts for dads.
Happy Friday to all, especially the dads, who deserve a nice indulgent weekend in their honor.