Chef Lynda Rexroat, Executive Director of Cooking with Kids Foundation, has been working and teaching for over fourteen years to improve the health of children in the Tri-valley area through her hands on cooking classes. Her classes, presented in schools and afterschool programs, offer children, preschool through early teens, the opportunity to select prepare and enjoy healthful snacks and meals that are easy, satisfying and affordable.
Chef Lynda believes that parents need to be on the front line defending their children against the current epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes that threaten American children today. According to Chef Lynda, children “take” to cooking naturally and enthusiastically eat what they prepare. The pilot programs conducted by CWKF over the past two years show that parents shopping enjoy shopping with their children watching them prepared food under Chef Lynda’s direction.
When the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) released its newest standards for school lunches on February 1, 2012, the first change in fifteen years, both parents and children alternately cheered and groaned. It seems we win a few and we lose a few...
The changes are primarily practical implementations of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Simply stated:
· Kids will be offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week, (Remember when catsup was classed as a vegetable?)
· Portions of whole grain-rich foods will be increased substantially
· Only fat-free and low-fat milk varieties will be offered
· Proper portion sizes for the age of the child served will control or limit calories
· Focus is on reducing the amounts of saturated fats, trans fats and sodium.
Most parents are already making some of these changes at home with varying degrees of success. So this is good, right? I think we need to look a bit deeper. Pizza can still be on the menu once a week, classed as a vegetable. French fries will be found, also no more than once a week. Some critics say these two foods were included because of pressure from such foods producers as ConAgra, Schwans and other – large suppliers of school lunch programs.
First Lady Michelle Obama announced the new meal standards during a guest appearance at Parklawn elementary school in Alexandria, Virginia. The President and the First Lady have advocated strongly for passing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, and USDA is now in step with them to focus on the twin issues of childhood obesity and hunger. Or should I say both the President and first Lady and the USDA are finally approaching Chef Lynda in focusing on children’s health.
Lou Ann Berardi
The Directors of Cooking with Kids all contribute to our Blog and each comes with a different skill set and point of view. Here you can find information on nutrition, cooking technique, tips to get kids to eat healthy and much more.