Students in New York are learning about food systems and all the effort that goes into getting food items from the farm to their plates. They are also discovering the impacts of food waste, fast food, advertising, and other topics. You can learn more, too: Eating as Part of the Natural World.
Just One Thing: Think about how your food is connected to the environment, culture, farmers, ranchers, and other producers.
This Friday is National Cocoa Day! The main ingredient of chocolate, cocoa contains compounds called flavanols, which have many health benefits - including protecting the heart, lowering blood pressure, preventing blood clots, and reducing inflammation throughout the body. They also have been shown to improve thinking skills by helping brain cell connections, as discussed here: Cocoa: a sweet treat for the brain?
The benefits of cocoa extend to its food products, including cocoa powder and dark chocolate. Too much butter fat and sugar found in café hot chocolate drinks will outweigh the benefits, so try making your own hot chocolate with dark cocoa powder, skim milk and enough sugar to sweeten but not overwhelm.
Just One Thing to do: Enjoy a cup of flavanol-full hot cocoa.
Many clients have told me over the years that they start unhealthy eating habits around Halloween and continue right through December 31. But a new month is always a good opportunity for a fresh start. Use the next few weeks to give your body the food it deserves!
First, clean out the refrigerator. Toss your Thanksgiving leftovers – the mashed potatoes and gravy are past their expiration dates, anyway, and any pie or whipped topping lurking in the freezer are better off in the trash.
Second, review the food groups. Your body is probably craving vegetables, even if the weather is cold. Use a slow cooker to prepare a chili, stew or soup that is rich in vegetables and beans; these will fill you up, provide hydration and fiber, and satisfy you in a comforting way that cold chips and cookies cannot.
Lastly, have fruit visible and easily accessible. Apples and oranges are in season, and frozen fruit that is gently heated makes a great topping for yogurt and oatmeal.
Just One Thing to do: Start each meal with a vegetable or make vegetables the focus of your meal with homemade chili, stew or soup.