Looking back at the year in food, we feel more strongly than ever that we are part of a larger movement towards healthier eating. As this article from NPR points out, evidence of these trends can be seen in the biggest producers. Reacting to consumer demands, even McDonald’s has taken steps to use healthier, more sustainably produced ingredients. This shows that clearly we are part of a larger movement changing how everyone eats, not just those already shopping at Whole Foods.
We at Butter Beans are often told that we are just providing good food to a small niche. This article proves that change we are part of is now reaching all parts of the food system and our “niche” is only growing. Sales of foods marketed towards health and sustainability conscious consumers surged in 2015, indicating that a much larger trend is only beginning. As the health benefits of nutritious eating become more and more apparent (especially for young kids in schools), all kinds of consumers are acting to create a change.
If you believe in critical tipping points that propel major changes, this past year hinted that one such shift may lie near on the horizon. Often the best way to measure the success of a movement is to follow the actions of the largest and most influential actors in the industry. The fact that big, highly profit-driven companies such as Kraft are seeking to include more natural ingredients in their products makes us hopeful for the future. Healthy foods are no longer just for yoga-moms and crunchy-foodies; now all kinds of Americans are showing concern for the kinds of foods carried by even large chain supermarkets and fast-food joints. This is how a paradigm shift occurs. At Butter Beans, we see everyday how we can shape the next generation of healthy, food-educated consumers to demand that America becomes a nation that embraces nutritious food.
Kale chips take the spotlight for very good reasons, but if you think outside the box, swiss chard can make for a brilliant kale chip substitute!
A dark leafy green related to beets and spinach, swiss chard is packed with vitamin K helping our blood to clot, and phytonutrients (think of the colors of rainbow chard) keeping our bodies working well, and feeling vibrant.
When swiss chard leaves get roasted in the oven and become crispy, their flavor gets condensed into this savory yet sweet experience for your palate that’s quite the adventure.
It’s a must try, especially for kale chip fans – or anyone who wants to transform their swiss chard into something fantabulous!
Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 12 minutes
1 bunch of swiss chard, leaves removed from stems (save stems for sautéing, roasting, or adding to soup)
1-2 T olive oil
A pinch of sea salt
1. Prep: Preheat your oven to 400F. Rinse your chard, spin dry or towel dry (important step!). Place your swiss chard leaves on a baking tray. Add olive oil, massaging the chard well to make sure each leaf is oiled. Finish with a pinch of sea salt, mix again. Make sure to leave some space in between the leaves.
2. Roast: Place your sheet tray in the oven. Let the chard cook for 5 minutes, then mix. Cook for another 2-5 minutes (depending on the strength of your oven), until crispy and fragrant.
3. Eat: Make these when you aren’t too hungry, or else they will vanish in no-time!
Pump up your diet with some fun millet minerals like copper, manganese, phosphorous and magnesium, then add in all the late summer vegetables in your kitchen, and poof – a nutritious dinner or lunch in no time (tip: make the millet beforehand for an even faster meal)!
Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 27 minutes
Millet, 1/2 C
Water, 1.25 C
Sicilian pesto, 3-5 T
Cherry tomatoes, handful
Zucchini, 1 medium sized
Parmesan cheese, to taste
Olive oil, 1 T
Salt, to taste
1. Prep: Cook your millet (it only takes 20 minutes). Add millet to a pot, then add water. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. Once millet soaks up all of the water, turn off the heat and cover to steam. Chop zucchini, cut tomatoes in half.
2. Cook: Add olive oil to a pan, then add zucchini, sautéing until soft and caramelized, approximately 8-10 minutes.
3. Assemble: In a bowl, mix Sicilian pesto into the millet, add zucchini and tomatoes and mix well. Top with grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Try making cod with this Italian twist, and keep in mind this helpful information from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch when it comes to purchasing this tasty, flaky friend of the sea.
Prep time: 2 minutes Total time: 20 minutes
Cod filet, 5-7 oz
Potatoes, 3 large
Capers, 1 – 2 T
Olive Oil, 2 T for pan + 1 T for assembly
Salt + Pepper, to taste
Lemon, 1/2 medium
Cilantro, a few leaves
Optional: balsamic vinegar reduction
1. Prep: Rinse and cut potatoes into quarters. Rinse your cod under cold water.
2. Cook: Place potatoes into a steamer basket, cover and let steam for 15-20 minutes, or until tender. While the potatoes are steaming, cook the cod. Add olive oil to a pan over medium heat, then add the cod. Season with salt and pepper, let it cook on each side for 5-9 minutes, until flaky and cooked through out.
3. Assemble: Add steamed potatoes into the fish pan. Mash fish and potatoes together well, adding in the capers, lemon and olive oil. Season to taste. With two large spoons (or your hands), create a ball shaped form, and place the mash on your plate. Top with cilantro leaves, and place a few drops of balsamic reduction to dip your mash into.
Which is why we had to share this fun recipe with you, since it makes for a delicious lunch, or even breakfast for dinner.
Think of it as an avocado egg sandwich without the bread.
Plus the extra protein and nutrients from the quinoa will leave you feeling satisfied and ready to tackle all that is ahead of you.
Enjoy this quirky take on breakfast!
Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 22 minutes
1/2 C quinoa
1.5 C water
4 eggs, hardboiled
1/2 large avocado – 1 medium/small avocado
1 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Arugula, kale, spinach, optional but delish!
1. Prep: Cook quinoa, adding a touch of salt (bring water to a boil, then down to a simmer, cook for 20 minutes, then cover). Hard boil your eggs for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your eggs, peel once cooled. Cut avocado.
2. Assemble: In a large bowl add quinoa, peeled hardboiled eggs, avocado, olive oil, salt, pepper, any other additions and mix well. Plate and serve!
In our culture, portion sizes have long been a fuzzy subject that have increased in size over the last 20 years, whereas in other countries, portion sizes are more modest, and ingrained in their culture.
Take France for example, where they have the “French Paradox” of eating rich foods while maintaining a healthy body weight. Not only do they eat smaller portions, but they eat high quality foods, and take the time to enjoy them.
However, studies have shown that in recent years the French are eating at a much quicker pace, fast food sales are booming, and as of 2011 the adult obesity rate in France was at “nearly 14 percent.” According to Dr. Jean Marc Catheline, an obesity specialist, this trend is occurring in part due to “urbanization, immigration and globalization.”
It’s all about perception as Professor Paul Rozin alludes to in his research, “many studies have shown that, if food is moderately palatable, people tend to consume what is put in front of them and generally consume more when offered more food.”
As the Chinese proverb says, “the more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor.”
Which is why we are reintroducing healthy portion sizes in our cafeterias.
We have trained our food service staff on what constitutes proper portion sizes, and have instituted portion scoops for our hot main entrees.
We are also sitting down with our students at lunch to discuss the importance of being aware of portion sizes throughout their day.
We have posted this hand guide to portion control in our cafeterias to give students a practical way of measuring their food intake, along with MyPlate to get our students thinking about creating balanced plates.
We do hope that our efforts will help shift the portion size paradigm in our country, student by student.
It’s fun to get out of your comfort zone and try something new!
Instead of rice, why not grab your quinoa and use it as the base for your stir fry, and add in some vegetables you wouldn’t normally mix together?
Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: ~30-35 minutes
1 C quinoa
2 C water
2 T sesame oil
2 T tamari
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
4 kale stalks, leaves ripped into small pieces
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 large egg
handful of fresh/frozen peas
1. Cook: Add quinoa to a pot with water. Bring to a boil, then to a simmer for ~15-20 minutes. Turn heat off, cover and let sit.
2. Prep: Cut carrots, ginger, and rip kale. Take out a deep pan, wooden spoon and other ingredients.
3. Cook: Over medium-high heat add sesame oil to your pan, then add in your carrots. Turn down to medium, cover and let cook for ~5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in your ginger, then a dash of water, then your kale. Cover and let cook for ~5 minutes. Add in tamari, and your cooked quinoa, stir well. Turn the heat up a bit, and move all items to the side. Add in a bit more sesame oil, then drop in your egg and let it fry. Mix the egg into your mixture, then add in your peas. Stir until your peas are bright green.
4. Plate: Plate your quinoa stir fry, and garnish with sesame seeds, and dash of tamari if needed. Relish in the joys of getting out of your comfort zone!
Handful of red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces
1 leek, cut in half moons
2 T olive oil
2 C water (or stock)
kosher salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1. Prep: Rinse potatoes and leek. Cut potatoes, remove the top (where it starts to diverge), and the bottom root of the leek, cut down the middle, then into half moons. Take out your pan, wooden spoon, food processor, or immersion blender.
2. Cook: Add olive oil to a deep pan, over medium-low heat cook the leeks with a dash of salt, and cover for 8-10 minutes, until soft. Add in water, cover and bring to a simmer. Add in potatoes, cover and simmer for ~10-20 minutes, or until soft.
3. Blend: In your food processor, puree 1/2 of the soup mixture. Place soup mixture in a big bowl, then mix in the other 1/2 of the soup from your pan. Mix well, then serve. Season with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.