Did you know that May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month? The goal of this month-long initiative is to encourage people to be fit and embrace a healthy lifestyle in the workplace. Here at Red Rabbit, we believe that the earlier healthy habits are formed, the better; however, it is never too late to start working toward a healthier you!
Nearly 25% of our time during any given week is spent at work, and for some of us it is even more. Our daily routines are repetitive; we might skip breakfast, and then sit at our desk for several hours before picking up something fast and unhealthy for lunch and returning to our chairs for the rest of the afternoon. All of this—combined with a few trips to the vending machine down the hall—contributes to a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle.
In honor of Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, and in hopes of creating lifelong healthy behaviors, here are some tips on how to incorporate healthier habits in and out of the workplace:
Last week we told gave you the recipe for Zucchini Bread. So – now that you know how great it tastes, below are some health facts you may not have known about this yummy vege.
Zucchini is packed with some of the key nutrients and minerals our bodies need to stay healthy:
Next time you are out doing your grocery shopping, pick one out to try—and reap the benefits!
To ensure everyone in your household is receiving the freshest selection of produce this winter and the right balance of nutrients chose to shop in-season. Just because it’s cold outside doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of delicious fruits and vegetables still available. With advances in farming, new methods are used to extend the growing and storing season of some of our favorite cold weather crops. Keeping your kitchen stocked with fresh produce encourages the family to reach for a piece of fruit or some veggies next time they’re hungry. Remember step one in encouraging your family to act more fruits and vegetables is to get them on the plate!
Earlier in the season we gave you some of our top winter produce picks… and now we've got more! Selecting in-season produce is a great way to provide your family with the best of what’s around! Check out some more of our favorites…
Just because it’s cold outside, doesn't mean we can no longer enjoy fresh in-season fruits and vegetables. Contrary to popular belief, we can continue to eat locally throughout the winter months. In addition to typical storage vegetables such as potatoes, farms now use new methods to extend the growing season of some of our favorite cold weather crops. It’s important to try and buy produce that is local and in-season, whether at the grocery store or your local farmer’s market.
Whether child or adult...we all like to enjoy something sweet! That doesn't mean it has to be full of added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.
Despite what some commercial diet plans say, or what we have been led to believe—not all carbohydrates are "bad". Just like not all calories are created equally, carbohydrates aren’t either. They provide energy for activity and aid in the functioning of our muscles and internal organs, so we cannot live without them.
Perhaps you have heard about the Wellness in the Schools [WITS] Program offered in many public schools. For several years, WITS - a non-profit organization - has been offering a program that has been bringing professional chefs into schools to teach kids and the DOE’s (Department of Education) school cooks how to prepare healthy meals. Last year they also provided lunch in thirty public schools.
Without warning, the NYC Department of Education suddenly announced a little over a week ago that it would cancel the WITS healthy school lunch program. They claimed that its meals may violate new federal guidelines – without providing any evidence that this in fact is the case. Then, due to public outcry, reversed their decision just a few days later.
I often wonder about this: if fad diets really worked, would this country still have the obesity issues it currently has? Think it is time to take a harder look.
How Much Does a Pound of Fat Weigh?
Let’s begin by examining the caloric content of a pound of fat—it’s 3,500 calories. It’s not just the number that matters but also what those calories contain and the benefits your body can derive from eating that food item. Is a 350 calorie “protein bar” equivalent to a grilled chicken salad with vegetables and balsamic vinaigrette with the same number of calories? Not even close. One is manufactured in a factory with unhealthy sweeteners, binding agents and processed grains which add unnecessary fats and sugars. The other could be hormone and antibiotic free chicken with organic greens and tomatoes and cucumbers with olive oil and vinegar—loaded with lean protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fat. (in moderation, olive oil has been shown to be a contributor to lowering cholesterol).
On Friday, June 15, Red Rabbit had the pleasure of having students from New Height’s Academy Charter School cooking in our kitchen. Ms. Rosen’s 5th grade English class were amazing chefs, creating an Italian feast to enjoy with their classmates, teachers and Red Rabbit’s education team. After a tour of the kitchen and an overview of what we would be cooking for the day, the team of young chefs got to work making a summer vegetable pizza with a sweet spring salad and orange mint iced tea. Everything was created from scratch, as is the Red Rabbit way. Students not only made and kneaded whole-wheat pizza dough, they also made fresh tomato sauce and homemade iced tea by steeping mint leaves. They had a great time, even if a few were covered in flour!
The lab had already begun before the students even entered Red Rabbit’s office
doors,since I had sent Ms. Rosen an excerpt from one of my favorite books, Michael Pollan’sThe Omnivore’s Dilemma, Young Readers Edition. I followed this assigned reading with a few questions relating to the slow food movement, the culture of food and the joy of cooking. This was a great way for the students to connect food with their health, culture and world.
Red Rabbit’s office has been buzzing with discussion over HBO’s most recent documentary concerning America’s obesity epidemic, The Weight of the Nation. This four part documentary series, in association with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) & the National Institutes of Health (NIH), provides devastating personal stories, alarming health statistics and a look at the overall health of our country. Here is just an overview of Part One of this outstanding series, which focuses on consequences of the obesity epidemic.
Last week, we began telling you about celebrity chef, Mario Batali’s “Food Stamp Challenge” initiative. For one week, the acclaimed chef challenged Americans (and his own family) to “walk in someone else’s shoes” by eating only what they would be able to buy with food stamps. Batali, the star of ABC’s “The Chew,” partnered with the New York City Food Bank to raise awareness about potential cuts to the food stamp program, which helps feed millions of Americans. The food stamp guidelines amount to $31 per person, per week, or $1.48 per meal! Instead of filling up on fresh, organic vegetables, he’s been feeding his family more beans and starches like egg and bean tacos and lentils and rice.
What this initiative brings home to us is the need for families of all income levels to educate themselves on wellness and nutrition—as well as eating and cooking options—especially at a lower income level. Mario Batali may be giving up his $4 lattes from a specialty coffee house, but most families struggle with larger and more fundamental issues, like what to make for dinner that will be healthy, and not break the bank.