Edgy Mama: Food Revolution

I have a huge celebrity crush on chef Jamie Oliver. He’s a Dad who cooks like a madman and he’s started a “food revolution” to help combat the U.S. obesity epidemic. Even though Oliver is British — he loves America. What’s not to crush on?

He’s the guy who launched the campaign against added sugar in milk last spring, which has gotten lots of attention. Those of us parents who’ve been thinking, “Yeah, it’s chocolate milk, but it gets protein and vitamins into my kid,” have recognized our fallacious ways, thanks to Oliver.

According to Oliver (or at least according to his Food Revolution website): “Chocolate milk has the same amount of sugar as a soft drink and just one additional soft drink per day increases a child’s obesity risk by 60 percent and is a major contributor to Type 2 diabetes. Plain white milk doesn’t have any added sugar.”

I could’ve figured that out myself by reading the sugar gram count on the box, but clearly, neither I nor millions of other educated parents figured it out. Or if we did, we denied it. But Jaime has opened our eyes to the sugary truth. No more chocolate or strawberry-flavored milk for my kids. Unless it’s for dessert.

Partially because Oliver’s so adorable — and because of that accent of his — his food revolution seems to be taking off, especially with the mommy crowd. In other words, I’m not the only middle-aged parent with a crush on the guy.

To learn more, you can check out his website at www.jamiesfoodrevolution.com. There’s also a Food Revolution Community Facebook page, and a @foodrevteam on Twitter. Tweets are about Food Rev parties, which are virtual meal planning parties where participants swap healthy recipes and family food tips. While I’d prefer a face-to-face party with adult beverages, I definitely need to amp up the healthy in my kitchen.

So I figure we can have our own #avl (that’s an Asheville Twitter hash tag) Food Rev party. Here are some of my kind of healthy kid food tips. I’m sure my readers have even better ones — if so, talk to me in the comments section at mountainx.com. And support Oliver. Because, well, review paragraph one if you need a reason.

Here’s some kid-friendly stuff I sometimes make (minimal cooking involved) to share with y’all:

Shake-it-up salad for take-to-school lunch. Put some torn up spinach leaves and some sliced disks of carrots into a plastic container (plus any other raw veggies your kid will tolerate). Tell child it’s a shake-it-up salad, and that she must shake it before consuming. Make sure top is on tightly so child doesn’t fling carrot disks at her teacher during the agitation stage of making her salad.

Cookie cutter sandwiches. Make sandwiches. Use cookie cutters to cut them into fun shapes (non-complex ones work best, such as hearts and stars. Sandwiches shaped like Santa Claus or a triceratops? Not so much, especially if there’s peanut butter involved). Give sandwich scraps to dog or eat them yourself. Ta-dah!

Stick-it-to-your-food. Buy Popsicle sticks. Let kids skewer edibles with them. Apples, hot dogs (organic ones), and even broiled chicken all taste better on a stick. I have no clue why this is so, but ask any 7-year-old and they’ll tell you it’s true.

Smoothie on a stick. Again with the Popsicle sticks. Make smoothies with lots of good fruit and some protein powder. Get one of those Popsicle forms — freeze and stick the smoothies. Yum.

Perhaps Oliver needs me on his Food Revolution team, no? Help me out here. Let me know what you’re doing in WNC to revolutionize how our kids eat.


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3 thoughts on “Edgy Mama: Food Revolution

  1. susandevitt

    Hi Anne-
    I always enjoy your column, thanks for writing it!
    Full disclosure here: we are a small food company in Asheville.

    Tom, my husband, and I are GalloLea Organics, we make a Pizza Kit at at BRFV Kitchen, and I have to tell you we have many loyal pizza makers that love having the option of a healthy, organic, slow food (but quick and convenient) for them and/or their kids.

    We spend a lot of time talking to people about making a healthy pizza, and parents love it: the kids have fun doing it, are more likely to eat the good add-ons, and I can’t tell you how many people tell us ‘Friday night is pizza night’ so it’s part of a good family tradition. We’ve done the Chef to School program where we got to go into a classroom and talk about REAL food, and that it ALL comes from the farm, including pizza.

    Last year we sent Michelle Obama 4 Pizza Kits. When I say WE, I really mean Tom, because I told him he was crazy, she’d never even see it. But he was pretty sure that she would make the pizzas with the girls. In the end, we got a letter back (surprise!) 9 months later. But someone did read the note Tom included about our concern for childhood obesity and made relevant comments on it.

    So, I do want to say that I, we, appreciate any and all spotlights that are directed at educating people about food. As it really does start with the kids, it’s an immense challenge, because they learn bad habits at home and really just everywhere around them. I could go on and on about the Food Revolution, and we’re not even revolutionaries: I have ice cream in my freezer!

    I have to say that Tom and I are really proud of our business, we get lots of ‘thank you’ emails and phone calls from people, sometimes that’s the only energy that keeps us going the rest of that day! Our tag line is: good food, happy people. And we mean it.

    A special thanks for your article this week, I feel like we’re in good company!
    Susan and Tom Gallo

  2. Kenny Armstrong

    Not that pasta is particularly bad for you, but replacing regular noodles with spaghetti squash is a great way to make a veggie the main course. Just cut the fruit in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, lay each half on a rimmed baking sheet atop some olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. When you’re ready to eat, scrape away the flesh from the insides with a fork and serve with your favorite tomato sauce.

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