We interrupt the Camino Posts to bring you this important message:
Did you know that September is Food Literacy Month? Well it is!
Food literacy is defined as “the understanding of how our food choices impact our health, the environment, and our community.”
Unfortunately, too many people have been food illiterate for far too long and the consequences are devastating. It negatively impacts all of those areas but worse yet, our poor habits have affected our nation’s children. We have created an environment and an attitude where our food choices have literally been toxic and we’ve cut any form of exercise nearly out of the picture altogether.
Childhood obesity is a leading public health concern. Across America, more than 23 million children and ages 2 to 19 are considered to be obese or overweight.1 In California alone, 38% of children are obese! 2
Children who are obese in their preschool years are more likely to be obese into adulthood. They are more likely to have risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. They’re also at a greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and a host of social and psychological problems such as bullying and poor self-esteem.
With the rising cost of health care, to which obesity and obesity-related conditions are costing billions of dollars each year to the strain on available and accessible health services already, this epidemic has reached crisis levels and is in desperate need of eradication.
However, this crisis won’t be solved with promises of personal responsibility or by the food industry putting people before profits. It will take government, public and private partnerships to educate, mandate and essentially work to change the attitudes of how we consume. Not only how, but what, too.
Their mission statement is
‘To inspire change today for a healthy, sustainable tomorrow through enduring community food education.’
Through food literacy education they teach children about healthy eating habits and encourage them to change their attitudes towards fruits and vegetables. Reaching children early and instilling good eating habits and healthy living standards is key to abolishing obesity once and for all.
They have developed a curriculum called Your Sandwich can Save the World! that reaches children through local nonprofits and schools.
They test kids on their food knowledge and then work with them to modify their attitudes and behavior with informative lessons, fun activities, and by actual tastings of various fruits and vegetables. Each child is also taught how to make healthy sandwiches using locally sourced, whole grain bread and healthy fillings. The results of their pilot program have been astounding! See for yourself here.
Even though they are in California, we could learn a few things here in NY from them. Check out their toolkit of ideas for the month. It’s a great place to start.
So to honor Amber’s hard work and dedication to the California Food Literacy Center and in celebration of Food Literacy Awareness Month, I am making my own version of a healthy sandwich that uses leftover chicken in a way that stretches a family’s food budget even a bit further.
When I make a roast chicken, there are usually some pieces left over. After everyone has eaten chicken for a day or two it’s time to transform it into something else. I grew up believing that you never throw food away- there were starving children somewhere who would love the peas that I refused to eat. I have carried that mantra well into adulthood and now, nothing goes to “waste” if it doesn’t have to. So the leftover chicken this week became a healthier version of a Waldorf Chicken Salad on a whole grain roll.
- 2 cups Cooked Chicken (diced into small cubes)
- ½ cup Red seedless grapes (halved)
- ¼ cup Walnuts (chopped)
- 1 stalk Celery (diced)
- ½ cup Non-fat Greek yogurt
- ½ cup Non-fat mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- 1 handful Spinach lettuce leaves (or other lettuce)
- 2 Large Whole Grain Rolls (I like whole wheat Portuguese Rolls)
- ½ head Green Cabbage (shredded (small head))
- ½ head Purple Cabbage (shredded (small head))
- 2 Carrots (peeled and shredded)
- 1 cup Non-fat mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons Vinegar (I prefer red wine, but white is fine to use as well)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Salt & pepper (To taste)
- In a large bowl, combine the chicken with the celery, walnuts, yogurt, mayonnaise and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the two rolls into four pieces. Add the chicken salad and a few spinach leaves. Plate each half of sandwich. Serve with a side of fresh cole slaw.
- To make the coleslaw: Combine the cabbages, carrots, vinegar, mayonnaise, sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the refrigerator for a half hour or more so the flavors meld and the cabbage softens.
This sandwich was created to help the nonprofit California Food Literacy Center celebrate Food Literacy Month. The ingredients are good for you, good for the planet. www.californiafoodliteracy.org
Please take the time to watch this video, learn more about the program and donate. All of the money raised will help educate kids about where their food comes from and how to make healthy food choices.
Sources: (Because I am geeky like that.)