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Flu Fighters!

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.  

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Panel on School Food Challenges Us to Do More for Our Kids

Last week's Just Food Conference left us inspired, enlightened and empowered. With over 40 workshops on food policy, food access and sustainable agriculture, we felt truly honored to be featured among such influential leaders.

FROM LEFT: MODERATOR ANNA HAMMOND FROM THE SYLVIA CENTER, NANCY EASTON, CO-FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WELLNESS IN THE SCHOOLS, RED RABBIT FOUNDER RHYS POWELL, BELINDA DIGIAMBATTISTA, PRESIDENT & CEO OF BUTTER BEANS, BARBARA TURK, THE MAYOR'S DIRECTOR OF FOOD POLICY

Red Rabbit Founder Rhys Powell took part in a riveting panel on school food moderated by the Executive Director of The Sylvia Center, Anna Hammond. The panelists, all working within the school food space, discussed the challenges, successes and future goals of getting better food into our schools.

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The Best Midsummer Staple You Might Be Missing

Hi, everyone!

This week, the Red Rabbit Team wanted to feature the best midsummer staple you might be missing! Beautiful, decorative -- and most importantly, garlicky! -- these curly greens pack a lot of flavor into a pretty swirl.

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When It Comes to Summer Refreshments, Soda Falls Flat

Pop. Soda. Coke. Soda-pop. Whether from the Midwest, the Northeast, the South, or a combination, at some point or another our tastebuds have been taken by this sweet drink, particularly during these hot, humid summer months. Yet through the years, soda consumption has become a popular suspect in what is behind the increasing rates of obesity in adults and children alike.

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The Incredible Edible Egg Alternative

This harmless-looking little guy has worn many hats over the years. It started as humble staple of baking and hearty breakfasts for decades - until we hit the fat-free craze of the 80’s, when it was vilified by the fad diet of the day. It came back into favor recently as an efficient protein source rich in nutrients, and now that it is touted as a smart addition to a well-balanced diet, conscientious consumers across the country have brought it back into high demand.

Enter the 2014-15 Avian Flu outbreak. The largest one ever in the United States.

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Red Rabbit Spotlight: NYCCD!

This week the spotlight is on the New York Center for Child Development (NYCCD), one of Red Rabbit’s veg-tastic school partners!

NYCCD

During this spring semester, Red Rabbit and NYCCD joined forces to bring an extra dose of food and garden education to the school’s UPK classroom. Red Rabbit visited Ms. Lizzy’s and Ms. Patricia’s classroom each month to speak about certain foods featured that day on the Red Rabbit lunch menu.

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Beyond the Veggie Kebab: Grilling with Veggie Burgers

Cooking out on the grill is an American summer past time, and as we approach sunnier days and warmer temperatures, grilling becomes part of the diet. Part of the reason for its popularity is surely due to the large amounts of meat consumed! For those of us who are following a plant-based diet or are simply minimizing their intake of animal proteins, how can we feel included in the cooking out without feeling singled out by munching on veggie kebabs?

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Food Art with a Twist for Your Creative Kids

It’s one of the most challenging aspects of life that knows no social, ethnic or economic boundaries: getting kids to eat – oh, dare we say it – HEALTHY. Aside from the few food superheroes who try any food put in front of them, many kids  avoid anything and everything that looks green or orange, has leaves, or isn’t some dreamy concoction of cheesy pasta or finger foods. Faced with omnipresent fast food and junk food marketing, and the accessibility of processed food options, what are parents, caregivers and educators to do?

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Day in the Life of Red Rabbit: Meet Chef Marisa!

This week we are proud to feature our Red Rabbit family, our very own Chef Marisa Wiker! Chef Marisa is one of our many talented cooks here at Red Rabbit. We sat down with Chef Marisa to find out a little bit more about how she became a chef, what she loves to cook, and her mother’s rule of thumb at meal time.

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Why Gluten-Free?

Over the last several years, there has been an invasion in grocery store aisles across America. You may have heard it on the news, or read about it in your daily magazine or newspaper. You’ve probably noticed it on bookshelves, too, at your local bookstore: “gluten-free” is fast becoming as ubiquitous as the “fat-free” stamps of the 1990’s.

WHEAT IS A NO-NO FOR A GLUTEN-FREE DIET!

The rise in popularity of a gluten-free diet has millions of people across the country jumping for joy – and not because it is a weight-loss-miracle cure by any means.

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Pseudograins on the Brain

What is a pseudograin?

First, let’s identify what classifies a plant as a grain: a grain is a member of the grass family, which produces a dry, edible fruit, commonly called a kernel, grain or berry. Pseudograins, or pseudocereals, are non-grasses that are used in the same manner as grains. Amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat are all considered pseudo grains.

Whole grains are, arguably, the basis of a healthy diet. Both groups provide us with carbohydrates and can also serve as a source of vitamins and minerals! While pseudograins have been popping up in grocery stores all across the country these last few years, some of us still may not grasp the unique properties of each - so let’s take a look!

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Protein!

ALMONDS, EGGS AND LENTILS ARE ALL EXCELLENT SOURCES OF PROTEIN.

Off of the heels of popular diets such as Atkins, Paleo 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, protein’s enzymatic reaction allows for many essential chemical processes to occur, and protein antibodies, are one defense (usually), which keep us free from illness, among other things. 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?

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Good Gracious, it's Garlic!

My father used to tell me, “The world would not be able to eat without 4 vegetables; potatoes, tomatoes, onions and garlic!”  Garlic? Really?

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So Your Child Wants to be a Vegetarian!

What happens when  your  child  says, "I want  to  be  a  vegetarian!"?

INFOGRAPHIC: WALL STREET JOURNAL

First, don't worry!  Your child isn't alone.  Interest in vegetarianism, or in eating less meat in general, is on the rise in the US, fueled by positive health studies, animal rights, environmental concerns, and even popular culture.  However, your child may show interest in cutting out meat for less complicated reasons, with taste, texture or a love of animals as distinct possibilities.  Whatever the reason, you may have concerns that your child could miss out on vital nutrients by omitting meat from the menu.  The good news is that with some education and training, your child can easily meet or exceed recommended nutrient allowances.

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What's Cooking with Red Rabbit and Roads to Success!

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.

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Certified Naturally Grown: Clever Marketing or Legitimate Labeling?

PHOTO COURTESY OF H. LUTZ

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.

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Teaching Social "Totiquette"

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

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Cuckoo for Coconut Oil?

Burning Question:

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.

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Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Keeping Good Nutrition GOOD

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?

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