Archive for healthy

Bistro Kids: Bringing healthy, local food to school lunches

Posted in Bistro Kids with tags , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2014 by bistrokids

An interview with Bistro Kids founder Kiersten Firquain


Bistro kidsWhen she saw the “convenient junk food” her son, Kiersten Firquain did more than start packing a bag for him. She launched a whole farm-to-school program called Bistro Kids to revamp how students eat, including menus that focus on fresh, local foods; visits from farmers; cooking lessons and school gardens. It serves 5,000 meals a day in Kansas City and St. Louis area schools and 6,000 snacks a day in YMCA after-school programs.

“I remember when the lunch ladies made everything from scratch, and my goal is to get that back,” she said in a recent interview with The Hartman Group.

She’s not alone. Choicelunch, Revolution Foods and a host of other programs are working to improve school lunches and, in the process, people’s health and lives.

They are working to undo the repercussions of a generation of children brought up during a revolution in food culture. Children today are raised both at home and in public schools to be mindful of the ingredients in foods, differences between food types (e.g., organic vs. conventional, fresh and local) and the benefits of diet and exercise.

Bistro Kids has been so successful that some children from the program, which started in 2006, have gone on to culinary school and come back to work as chefs for the program. In 2011, Bistro Kids was bought by Treat America, an acquisition that means additional resources and talent.


Boulder Valley looking to serve up high school lunches via food truck

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2014 by bistrokids

The Boulder Valley School District is poised to jump on the food truck trend, thanks to a $75,000 donation from Whole Foods.

The donation, which needs the approval of the school board at its meeting on Tuesday night, will pay for a pre-owned food truck that the district plans to rotate around its five large high schools — Boulder, Fairview, Monarch, Centaurus and Broomfield — potentially adding in smaller high schools as the schedule allows.

“It really fits in with our healthy eating program,” said Ann Cooper, Boulder Valley’s food services director. “Instead of leaving campus, (students) can come to the truck and get really great hamburgers or whatever it is we’re going to serve.

“I’m really, really excited about it. It showcases what we do and will promote the school lunch program to the community.”

The goal is to up the appeal of school lunches, boosting the district’s high school numbers. Now, less than 20 percent of the district’s high school students buy hot lunches at school.

“High school students are our biggest challenge,” Cooper said.

A few districts around the country have added food trucks of their own, while others are fighting to keep outside food trucks away from their schools.

In Colorado, the Jefferson County School District uses a food truck in its summer food program. But, so far, no other districts in the state appear to have tried a mobile lunch option during the school year, said Brehan Riley, nutrition program supervisor at the Colorado Department of Education.

“With the high schoolers especially, it’s a great idea,” Riley said. “Food trucks are very popular. It’s something different.”

The donation was a good fit for Whole Foods, a longtime partner in Boulder Valley’s efforts to make its school lunches healthier, said Ben Friedland, an executive marketing coordinator for the grocer.

“A food truck is going to help them continue to serve healthy lunches to kids throughout our community,” he said.

U.S. permanently relaxes rules aimed at healthier school meals

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2014 by bistrokids

Reuters) – U.S. regulators said on Thursday they were permanently relaxing school meal rules that were designed to combat childhood obesity by reining in calories and portion sizes but aroused complaints the policies caused students to go hungry.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture had initially loosened the rules in late 2012, suspending daily and weekly maximum amounts for grains and meat or meal alternatives. That allowed school districts to service larger portions without penalty.

“Earlier this school year, USDA made a commitment to school nutrition professionals that we would make the meat and grain flexibility permanent and provide needed stability for long-term planning. We have delivered on that promise,” Kevin Concannon, USDA undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, said in a statement.

Read more:

7 steps to more healthful kids’ meals

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , on July 11, 2013 by bistrokids

Demand for more healthful kids’ meals is increasing. More than ever, parents are becoming educated about nutrition and demonstrating increasing commitment to higher quality nutritious foods.

“Feeding kids healthfully is not taking anything away from them but instead giving them the building materials they need, through nutritious foods, to grow and learn and live a full life. Vitality should be the birthright of every child,” said Dr. David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University’s Prevention Research Center and an internationally recognized expert on nutrition and disease prevention and father of five.

Restaurants are rising to the challenge and creating healthier kids’ menu choices that are appealing to kids and their parents through the Kids LiveWell program. Since it launched in July 2011, the program has attracted more than 130 restaurant brands comprised of almost 40,000 locations coast to coast.

Kids LiveWell was developed by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) in collaboration with Healthy Dining’s team of registered dietitians. “Working with restaurants on the Kids LiveWell program is one of my favorite parts of my job,” said Ilana Shapiro, RD, a culinary dietitian at Healthy Dining. “I love to hear the excitement and dedication of participating restaurants. I sense that there is really a lot of momentum in the industry and that many chefs are working to increase the healthfulness of their kids’ menus.”


Boston fast casual determined to keep ‘farm-to-table’ food while franchising

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2013 by bistrokids

Can a fast casual concept based on locally sourced meat and produce find the economies of scale necessary to franchise?

The owners of b.good, a Boston-based better burger company are betting it can.

And with the opening of a new store in Shrewsbury, Mass., childhood buddies Anthony Ackil and Jon Olinto have set sail on a plan to add 35 locations over the next five years. Click here to see a sideshow of photos of the concept.

Alarmed by what they saw people putting into their mouths, Ackil and Olinto set out nine years ago to create a fast casual concept that would turn a profit while not serving nutritionally spotty food.

They expressed their values in their company name — b.good — and today their nine Boston-area stores have carved out a niche by serving natural beef, locally grown vegetables and seasonal items such as ice cream made with locally sourced blueberries.

They don’t quite ascribe to the “farm-to-table” description, Ackil said; they prefer the term “real food.” But they are more than happy to talk to customers about the farms that produced the actual food they eat — it’s part of their business plan. Their restaurants feature wallboards showing the specific farmers who’ve raised the beef and grown the produce served at each location


KC Food Circle’s 15th Annual Eat Local (& Organic!) Expos

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2013 by bistrokids

Mark your calendar!

The Kansas City Food Circle is celebrating the 15th year for our Eat Local (and Organic!)

Expos, which kick off the local growing and farmers market season each spring.

Visitors can buy local, organic produce; free-range meat, eggs and dairy; and vegetable

seedlings for home gardening. The Expos are also a great place to learn more about and sign

up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), where you can buy your food directly from



Saturday, March 30 at the Shawnee Civic Center in Shawnee, KS from 9-2


13817 Johnson Drive

Shawnee, KS 66216




Saturday April 6 at the MCC Penn Valley Gymnasium from 9:30-2:30



3201 SW Trafficway

Kansas City, MO 64111

(between SW Trafficway and Broadway)


The Expos also offer opportunities to learn more about local, organic, and free-range food by

providing unique, free workshops each year. This year’s workshops will start with “Real Food

Your Kids Will Love” from 10:00 to 11:00, presented by Beth Bader, local author of The

Cleaner Plate Club. Beth will be giving tips on eating seasonally and locally, especially for

families with a busy schedule. The next workshop will be “Small Scale Aquaponics” from

11:30 to 12:30. Led by Maurice Person of Urban Harvest KC, this workshop will teach

attendees how to start a home aquaponics system and will cover indoor composting with red

wigglers, de-chlorinating and conserving water.


We will be handing out free copies of the 2013 KC Food Circle Directory of

Producers, which provides detailed information on KCFC member farmers and area organic

farmers markets. Expo attendees may also join the KC Food Circle and receive a 2013 Eat

Local (& Organic!) Dining Card which provides a one-time 10% discount on 14 area

restaurants that source their food locally, organically, and free-range.


This will be the KC Food Circle’s 15th annual expo, a tradition that has grown significantly

since it began in 1999 as part of a food system conference co-sponsored with the Sierra Club.

There were only 10 farmers at the first exhibition, but 250 people (as well as 100 conference

registrants) came for the chance to meet the farmers. The Expos continued to grow attracting

more and more Kansas Citians as the organic food movement gained popularity. In 2004, the

KCFC began holding two events at two different locations in the metro area. Overall

attendance continues to rise, averaging about 2,000 visitors in recent years.


The Smokin’ Fresh Streetside BBQ food truck will be serving some

delicious organic BBQ in the parking lots of both events, and Conveniently Natural will be handing out

samples inside at Penn Valley. Both are featured restaurants on the KCFC Eat Local (&

Organic!) Dining Card.


Current sponsors of this year’s Expo are Slow Food Kansas City, Sierra Club Missouri, Sierra

Club Kansas, KKFI, and Fresh Connect. Services were provided by Precision Printing and Cannon Social

Media Solutions.


The KC Food Circle is a nonprofit organization connecting local eaters and local, organic, and

free range growers for over 20 years.

Contact: Emily Akins, KCFC cocoordinator, 8162254624,
Click on these links for printable pdf Expo flyers.  Please feel free to share far and wide, and please help us spread the word by putting them up wherever you happen be around town!
See you at the Expos!

Rules call for swing to healthier snacks in schools

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2013 by bistrokids

(Reuters) – Snacks sold in U.S. schools would need to be lower in fat, salt and sugar and include more nutritious items like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, under standards proposed on Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The proposal, more than a year overdue, also calls for a limit of 200 calories on items sold during the school day at vending machines or other venues outside the school lunch line.

The proposed rules are the second step in a larger effort to improve the foods U.S. students have access to during the school day under a 2010 child nutrition law. One-third of U.S. children and teenagers are overweight or obese.

The proposed rules would cover some 50 million children attending more than 100,000 schools that are part of the school lunch program. Many U.S. children eat more than half of their calories at school.