Something exciting happened a few weeks ago. The USDA came out with a new food guide called My Plate. It’s great because it gives a good idea of how your plate should be divided up by the different food groups. I like that it’s so much easier to teach! A plate really makes sense to people, and I think it’s a really great model for how we should eat – especially with half of our plate filled with fruits and veggies. You can learn more at the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.gov. It’s a fun website to poke around to learn about the different food groups and the nutrients they provide. There are also some resources for estimating how many calories a person needs and how many calories are in certain foods. So check it out and have fun!
Last week Solid Ground’s Apple Corps AmeriCorps team showcased its efforts to counter childhood obesity through nutrition and fitness education and activities.
The eight Apple Corps Members each discussed their work during their one-year term to provide school and community-based nutrition and fitness education and awareness.
Team Members are actively engaged in local neighborhoods hardest hit by the obesity epidemic. They teach in schools, create family community market nights, coordinate cooking classes, garden clubs and walking challenges, and use other tools and partnerships to effect change.
Team member Heidi Evans brought Cooking Matters classes to the public housing facilities she worked in on behalf of Solid Ground’s Partners in Caring program. As one class member wrote in her evaluation, the “classes increased my confidence that I can cook healthy meals.”
In addition to developing and providing programming, Apple Corps Members received training and support in how to manage their projects, many of which involved significant community partnerships, and applied an anti-racist analysis to their work.
“I tried to not privilege certain ways of speaking about nutrition,” Heidi said, “and to value what others bring and the important role of cultural food traditions.”
Apple Corps Members will wrap up their projects over the next month or so, with a new team forming at the end of the Summer! You can learn more about the Corps and donate to support it on the Apple Corps webpage.
Editor’s note: Cooking Matters will regularly bring the nutritional expertise of Solid Ground’s Cooking Matters program to our blog. We hope you enjoy their tips and recipes!
I hope everyone enjoyed the fantastic Northwest weekend! I took a few great walks, including a trip to the local farmers market. I’m really excited about the upcoming produce season!
One of the great benefits of the abundance of greens we have in the Northwest is that many of them are packed with calcium. Many folks are lactose intolerant, and even people who can safely consume dairy often wonder how in the world they are going to take in enough dairy products to get their calcium.
No fear, there are options! One option is to use dairy substitutes such as soy milk instead of cow milk, because calcium is added to the soy milk so that it has the same amount as regular milk. But there are plenty of other options for getting the calcium needed for building and maintaining bones. Many plant products are actually quite good sources as are some animal products (like canned salmon, yum!).
Here are some nondairy sources of calcium:
- Collard greens, 1 cup (357 mg)
- Spinach, 1 cup (291 mg)
- Soy beans, 1 cup (261 mg)
- Canned salmon with bones, 3 oz (181 mg)
- Calcium-set tofu, 3 oz (163 mg)
- Oranges, 1 cup (72 mg)
- Almonds, 1 oz (70 mg)
- Fortified cereals (varies)
You can find more information and other sources here:
Adults should get between 1,000-1,300 mg of calcium a day, based on their sex and age. It’s important to incorporate calcium-rich foods into your diet to maintain bone health. See below for a Cooking Matters Recipe that’s a good (nondairy) source of calcium!
Pasta with Lima Beans and Collard Greens
By Chef Carole Wagner Greenwood in Washington, DC
Serves 12, 1 cup per serving
1 – 13 oz package whole wheat pasta
1 – medium carrot
2 – cloves garlic
2 – medium onions
2 pounds (1 bunch) – collard greens
2 tablespoons – canola oil
½ cup – water
1 teaspoon – dried oregano
1 teaspoon – dried red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon – ground black pepper
3 – 15.5 oz cans lima beans
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
2. While pasta is cooking, peel, rinse and dice carrot and onions. Peel and mince garlic.
3. Rinse collard greens – more than once if necessary to remove all grit, remove tough stems and chop coarsely.
4. Heat canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat and sauté garlic, carrot, onion and greens until onions are soft.
5. Add water and spices, and cook until greens are tender.
6. Drain and rinse beans in colander. Add beans to the greens. If needed, add a little more water to make a sauce.
7. Toss greens and beans with cooked pasta and cook for 5 more minutes or until pasta is heated through.
Contains 150 mg Calcium per serving.
The Fremocentrist blog ran a nice column about our Operation Frontline program, which helps folks who are living on low incomes get cooking skills and nutritional education so they can feed their families in a healthier way. Check it out!