Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program

Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 in agriculture, families, Food & Farm program, gardens, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, local food, news and happenings, nutrition, raising children, seasonal, sustainability, wellness | 0 comments

10435790_748823861843218_5593928974486830278_nA new approach to healthy weight loss has become very hot. One could even argue, downright “trendsetting.”

Prescribing fruits and vegetables has become a surprising new perspective on the traditional approach to medicine—pills. With the obesity epidemic on the rise, it is inevitable that now is the time for new solutions. 

An innovative non-profit organization called Wholesome Wave has created the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, or for short, FVRx.

Rather than leaning on western medicine and supplements to combat weight issues, doctors now urge patients to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables—as prescribed. The program is currently underway at two New York Public hospitals—Harlem Hospital in Manhattan and Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx. Through a two year 500,000 grant from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, the hospitals were able to test the program on 550 children and their families. Later expanding to the Elmhurst hospital in Queens and Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, which offered the program to 650 more qualified participants.

The FVRx program includes Nutrition Education, healthy recipes, and something called ‘Health Bucks’. Participants who qualify for the program get tokens. New York and Boston residents get Health Bucks instead, similar to Food Stamps, but are only redeemable for produce at local farmer’s markets. 

Results have proven the program to be effective. After four months 40% of participating children lowered their B.M.I’s (fat composition in their body) and 90% of families had shopped at farmers markets weekly, or several times a month. 

6A 10-year-old girl, Alaijah who was significantly overweight lost 5 pounds in the first year of the program and 8 more pounds the second year just by snacking on fruits and vegetables. Her mother comments, “now Alaijah carries fruits or cut-up vegetables to school. She likes raw carrots, celery and broccoli.” 

This success story is not a stand-alone. Further results show that 97% of children and 96% of their families now ate more fruits and vegetables after being part of the FVRx.

This program touches on two very important factors: food availability and food sustainability. Not only does it provide fresh produce to poor areas—known as food deserts—but it also supports farmers and locally grown foods. The increase in purchases at farmer’s markets has resulted in a 37% increase in the average income for farmers. This has helped to increase their farmland in production and to invest more in farm operations.

Most importantly, implementing FVRx has provided an opportunity for children to interact with the farmers and ask questions, learning about how things are grown and what is in season. 

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happy new year rainbow kimchi

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in after school, cooking with kids, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, nutrition, Recipes, seasonal, wellness | 0 comments

23219340_22f1ba951d_zAfter all of the rich foods we might have enjoyed over the holiday season, a refreshing rainbow kimchi recipe sounds like the perfect way to start off the New Year fresh, and feeling good.

Our lucky cooking class chefs got to make this recipe at the start of their winter session. Not only did they learn that fermented foods are packed with probiotics that benefit our digestion and gut health, but they also learned that colorful foods contain various vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to flourish.

Isn’t it fun to eat like the rainbow? Enjoying colorful foods sets the stage for good health, along with the added benefit of feast for your eyes!

Let’s dive into a healthy and happy new year!

Rainbow Kimchi

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes 

Makes 2-4 16oz jam jars worth

Ingredients: 

  • 1 small red cabbage
  • ¼ salt
  • 1 C cold water
  • 2 t apple cider or white vinegar
  • 1 T fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 green onion
  • 2 carrots (1 orange, 1 yellow)
  • 1 small head purple cauliflower
  • 1 red beet

Directions: 

1. Prep cabbage: Slice red cabbage into 2 inch strips. Place in a bowl. Add salt and massage to soften. Add water in small increments, massage, then set aside.

2. Prep other veggies: Chop green onion, cauliflower, garlic, ginger into small pieces. Grate carrots and beet, or slice them finely. Place in a bowl. Add vinegar to the veggie mix, and toss well.

3. Drain: Using a colander, drain the cabbage brine, and rinse the cabbage. Add cabbage to the veggie bowl, and mix well.

4. Jar: Place kimchi into a jam jar, seal your jar tightly. Eat within a week, and enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Craig Nagy

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