Red Rabbit is back in our international kitchen, cooking up an eclectic mix of culinary delights! This winter, a group of Red Rabbit chefs-in-training is learning all about the diverse foods found around the world -- and right in their own backyards in New York City, a hub of global cuisines! This semester, the Red Rabbit cooking program with Roads to Success at PS 333 is highlighting cultures that are important parts of our lives, as well as the lives of our neighbors, friends and classmates.Read More
When the Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFA) was signed in 2010, it had the best of intentions. It called for drastic reductions in sodium, stricter definitions of what constitutes a vegetable and what doesn’t, placed limits on the amount of meat that could be served each week, and increased the number of required whole grains. All were soundly based in the latest nutrition science. However, in the five years since, so many adjustments have been made to those guidelines that much of what HHFA set out to accomplish has been overturned by special interests groups, from the Potato Lobby to pizza makers successfully getting pizzas and french fries deemed a vegetable.
What foods come to mind when we think of sugars? Bananas, mangos, dates, grapes, carrots and sweet potatoes? OR doughnuts, cookies, cakes, pastries and sugar-sweetened beverages? For those who are a little more up-to-speed, what about breakfast cereal, instant oats, fruit drinks or ketchup? Yes, ketchup!Read More
Good news for home cooks! It's entirely possible to feed a family of four a nutritious and delicious meal for under $25 without sacrificing ingredients or time. You'll need basics like olive oil, dried herbs and flour to keep costs down, so factor in a little more if its been a while since you've restocked that pantry. By following a few simple tips and using our suggested recipes as a baseline, you are well on your way to becoming a talented home chef without breaking the bank.Read More
Finding a way to blaze our own trail by creating a sustainable business has long been a part of the quintessential American success story. For generations, the agriculture business has been a major factor in the success of many American families. While our country took a turn to the industrial for the past several decades, there has been an upswing in the establishment of smaller, family-run farms that eschew what has become the conventional, pesticide-laden industrial way.
Even though these small farmers are devoting their land to producing what are, by definition, organic crops, they are not able to use the “organic” label. To be able to market their crops as organic, they must embark on what can be a lengthy, expensive certification process through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.Read More
Here at Red Rabbit, we love to try new flavors and cuisines. Dishes like Sancocho (South American chicken and root vegetable soup), Potage aux primeurs (French spring vegetable soup), and Dolmades (Greek rice wrapped in a grape leaf) get our mouths salivating and our brain wheels spinning with recipe ideas. How can we create these international dishes in our Red Rabbit kitchen for all of our students to try, and how can we experiment at home with our family and friends?Read More
This Saturday will mark the day that Americans (on average) have purchased 58 million pounds of chocolate this week. Why? Well, in case all of the wintry weather has snowed in our memories - it’s Valentine’s Day!
While chocolate is a decadent sweet consumed by billions of people around the world year-round, and on this day in particular, it’s not something Red Rabbit recommends as much as we would, say, broccoli. Or kale. Or fill-in-your-favorite-green-vegetable!
Chocolate has a fascinating history outside of the amount consumed on Valentine’s day every year. It is thought to have first been cultivated by the Olmec civilization, predating even the Mayans, who are traditionally thought to have been the original cultivators and purveyors of the cacao bean. This little bean was once used as currency, and is the essential ingredient to making what we know as chocolate.Read More
With our second snowstorm of the season upon us, rain boots, slippery sidewalks, wool layers and constant hat hair have become part of our daily routine. This time of the year, hibernating indoors with our Netflix queue and a warm cup of tea constitutes the majority of our social lives - which is just fine with us!
For us healthy meal enthusiasts, the best part of staying in is cooking at home and experimenting with local foods. While we often crave hearty cold weather stews and chili, we try to mix up our diets by incorporating nutrient rich winter vegetables to keep us energized and healthy during flu and cold season.Read More
We can all agree that saying “please” and “thank you” are basic manners that we teach to our children. In NYC, we live and share our space with over 8 million individuals, expanding our notion of social etiquette into public spaces.
Simple gestures such as walking down the street without taking up the entire sidewalk, using an “asking” voice instead of a demanding voice, and - lest we forget! - restaurant manners, are all ways to practice good social graces without overextending our busy selves! Creating positive behavior, by setting positive examples and clear expectations, acknowledges that our children are humans, too. This ultimately encourages children to be more confident and accepting of others.Read More
Once upon a time, buying an apple was easy. It didn’t require much thought beyond, “I’m hungry. I’d like to buy an apple. Here’s one! It looks good – no bumps or mushy brown spots.” Money was exchanged for the sweet, crunchy, nutritious prize, and we went about our day with full, grateful tummies.
Yet, thanks to generations of pesticides, bioengineering and synthetics, a food transaction today comes with significantly more food for thought, and carries with it the possibility for considerably more confusion as to what is “conventional” and what is “organic.”Read More
Some of our most popular blogs have focused on interpreting the myriad of different labels we find on our food products.
From the nutrition information on the back to the flashy marketing on the front, understanding what is fact from what is simply advertising can make for an overwhelming shopping experience for the average consumer:Read More
In case you haven’t noticed - winter is here!
We could be fans of cold temperatures, or prefer the heat of summer - but this frigid season is fully underway whether we prefer it or not! While it has its share of unique and fun, calorie-burning activities (sledding, skiing, snowboarding; and, in the case of New Yorkers, simply traversing the sidewalks after a snowstorm), winter also tends to come accompanied by a familiar foe: influenza, or, the flu.
Where does coconut oil fit in the big Fat Revolution?
Ayurvedic medicine scripts, penned thousands of years ago, have described the health benefits of coconut oil. The coconut tree is commonly referred to as coconut palm tree by Filipinos, and is predominantly cultivated in India, the Philippines, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian regions. Its large plant – based fat content made it an excellent energy source for use in folk medicine leading to the popular name ‘tree of life.' Coconut oil is one component of this multipurpose crop that seems to have captured some attention lately.Read More
Celebrations abound across the globe during the holidays, and with them a smorgasbord of food. New Year’s is no different. Folks all across the globe enjoy ringing in the New Year with foods that carry not only symbolic value for those who partake, but can possess great nutritional value as well!
Here in the United States, one of the most popular New Years Day dishes contains an abundance of protein, grains, greens and vegetables! You might have heard of it: “Hoppin’ Johns!”Read More
The #ThanksMichelleObama hashtag made famous by schoolchildren all over social media may have been heavier on the sarcasm than the sincerity, but many of us at Red Rabbit have been in support of the higher nutritional standards for school food, and our meals have managed to stay tasty even while adhering to the higher standards - so it IS possible!
With 23% of New York City children from food-insecure households depending upon school lunches to provide them with at least one nutritious meal each day, the need for strong food standards is less politics, and more dietetics. Why, then, do our food assistance programs continue to find themselves held hostage throughout the legislative process? Shouldn’t the health of our children and the strength of our families be more important than partisan squabbles across the aisles of Congress? What is in store for school food and Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) in 2015?Read More
The holiday season is a flurry of activity, celebration and family fun. This is the perfect time of year to gather with our loved ones, enjoy delicious meals and reflect on the year gone by. It is easy to become stressed during the holidays, but never fear! There are lots of creative ways to keep your family active and engaged during the winter and enjoy the holiday season!Read More
Off of the heels of popular diets such as Atkins and South Beach, Americans are as enamored with the little groups of nitrogen containing building blocks as they have ever been. And why not? Protein is used for creation and structure of every cell in our bodies and its enzymatic reaction allows for many essential chemical processes to occur. Protein antibodies are also one defense that keeps us free from illness. Even the word itself derives from the Greek word protos, meaning first, or of primary importance. In a recent International Food Information Council (IFIC) survey, 48% of respondents stated that they are currently trying to eat more protein. Reasons given vary from perceived increased satiety to beliefs that it will aid in weight loss.
There is no doubt that eating enough protein is paramount to good health. But what is enough protein? What do you hear people saying about protein? With so many voices chiming in on the great protein debate, let’s take a closer look at some myths and misconceptions!Read More
We all have days when we just don’t have the energy (or the time) to prepare a homemade meal for the family. Luckily, navigating takeout food options doesn't mean we have to sacrifice either our taste buds or our health. There are plenty of healthy and satisfying options from our favorite to-go spots. As a general rule, it’s best to stay away from deep fried, sauce-heavy foods from any cuisine. Sticking to vegetables, brown rice, plant-based proteins like beans and edamame, and broth-based soups ensures a healthy treat for the whole family. Remember: portion sizes tend to be large when ordering out, so share one entree between two people, or save half for lunch! Below, we've outlined some of our favorite healthy takeout options by cuisine.Read More
This month, we are featuring a very special, versatile food: chia seeds!
While Red Rabbit is still the same nut-and-seed-free facility we have always been (so we won't be featuring this on our menu), we can't help but spread the news about this wonderful little food that you can enjoy in your own homes.
Native to Mexico and Guatemala, chia is an edible seed from a flowering plant in the mint family. It was used as a staple crop for Aztec and Mayan cultures, believed by some to be as heavily cultivated as maize (corn)! Today, chia is grown throughout southern Mexico and Central America, and has become increasingly popular in the health food industry in North America.Read More
One of my favorite things to do as a little girl was going out to lunch with my dad and three sisters every Saturday. Because we were a large family operating on a country lawyer’s budget (Mom was our “domestic engineer”), the restaurant was usually not a fancy one (there weren’t - aren’t - any Zagat-rated places in my small Illinois hometown). In fact, most of the time our destination was McDonald’s.
Fast forward 20-something years: rates of obesity have skyrocketed, unemployment has risen and thus the ability for many folks to feed home-made meals to their families has been hampered by wages not keeping up with inflation. This has led to a growing dependence upon fast-food restaurants to feed families on shoestring budgets, and while they are able to meet that consumer need, the highly processed, high-sodium and high-sugar-laden meals have long been suspected of exacerbating the increased rates of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes not just in adults, but in our children.Read More