Happy Mother’s Day from Butter Beans

Posted by on May 4, 2016 in families, raising children, wellness | 0 comments

15491269616_b7f0dec448_zHaving worked for Butter Beans for the past 6 years, I always had a passion for the betterment and wellbeing of children.

It wasn’t until 7 months ago, that my passion grew even stronger after having my first child.

This year I will be celebrating my inaugural Mother’s Day together with our Co-Founders, Belinda & Felicia along with all of the other moms on our team, and in our school communities.

Being a new mom, I feel grounded as I look into my son’s eyes, light when I see his smile, giddy when I hear his laugh, worried when I hear him cry, and calm when I rock him to sleep.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of being a mother, it’s one of the most unique, challenging, rewarding, mystifying and profound experiences.

To celebrate Mother’s Day let’s send love to our mother’s who have birthed us into this beautiful world. We have so much to thank them for!

For more inspiration, read the tale of how Butter Beans got started 8 years ago in the Edible Brooklyn article, “How 2 Brooklyn Moms Are Reinventing School Lunch”

This post was written by Flora McKay, Director of Community & Nutrition 

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this is school lunch?

Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in healthy food, lunch time, nutrition, raising children, school food | 0 comments

FullSizeRender (9)I am a Registered Dietitian with an MS in Nutrition.  Prior to joining Butter Beans I was employed by the public school system.  My job was to teach “Healthy Living” to after-school students grades K – 5.  

Initially I was impressed with the NYC school food program.  Whenever bread was served it was whole wheat.  Fresh fruit was always offered.  Milk was low-fat or skim.  Meals were served on biodegradable plates.  But as I looked closer I realized that although all the meals included a protein, starch and vegetable the choices were not always representative of these food groups.  There was a heavy focus on carbohydrates, i.e., potato or corn as vegetable often paired with an entree of pizza or a burger.  A typical example:  Cheeseburger deluxe or fish and cheese sandwich.  Deluxe toppings.  Sweet potato wedges (frozen).  Accompanied by milk (mandatory) and a fruit (fresh or frozen).  The lack of fiber, micronutrients and vitamins is obvious.  Some schools provide a salad bar.  The school where I was placed did not.  The food waste was off the hook.  

Then I met Butter Beans.  

FullSizeRender (10)On that exact same day the Butterbeans menu was BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches or herbed tofu (so delicious!), steamed kale, herbed roasted potatoes, and carrot ginger soup. All made from fresh ingredients.   

Plus the salad bar which is always available and includes at least two fresh fruits, a spread, a specialty salad, two crudités, two meats, cheeses, eggs, lettuce and greens, yogurt, granola, pickles or olives, sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches, and pita.  Milk is offered but the kids can choose.  

The immediate differences were obvious.  

Even if a child doesn’t want any of the hot food options s/he could still create a great lunch from salad bar alone.  Most make choices from both.  But equally important, in my opinion, is the minimization of food waste.  Kids are not forced to take a milk and a fruit.  They are offered the choice.  They are encouraged to “take a taste” of something they may not be sure about.  

How important is that?  

Studies have shown that even if kids are on a “food jag” or “picky eaters” that they will intuitively balance their nutritional needs over a week or so.  They just know what their body wants.  

Choices are key.  

Butter Beans offers choices to any child who may be hesitant to try a new or unfamiliar food.  We don’t require a child to take a food, instead we help them choose, educating them in the process.  

I am so proud to be a part of this food revolution!

This post was written by Tammy Chalala, Food Service Supervisor for Butter Beans

 

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summer camp early bird special!

Posted by on Mar 8, 2016 in cooking with kids, families, gardens, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, raising children, summer camp, sustainability | 0 comments

Early Bird Camp Special Ends Tuesday, March 15th

IMG_2363Sign up for our Food & Garden Summer Camp before the early bird flies away!

As spring approaches each year, our camp team becomes increasingly excited since after spring comes summer, and with summer comes the opportunity for us to play, dig, cook, explore and grow at Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp!

Technically, our camp is for children ages 5-11, but it’s impossible for our team to not have fun as they take our campers on amazing adventures through the food landscape of a city as densely diverse and exciting as NYC.

We love the laughter and joy that comes with handing a child his or her first worm and teaching them the important role worms play in creating the compost we’ll use in our garden. We also can’t resist the thoughtfully crafted dishes made by expert food artisans who are dedicated to making our city healthier and better by sourcing ingredients locally and sustainably. And how can we not mention the time spent foraging in the parks for wild edibles?11539620_919843904741212_3458107264933377832_n

This is what our camp is all about, and these are just a few of the experiences we begin to eagerly anticipate as winter turns to spring.

We work diligently throughout preceding months to curate a summer experience that keeps your child/ren thoroughly engaged!

And while our field trips and workshops are meant to be a ton of fun, they are also hugely educational! Our campers don’t realize how much they’re improving their math, science, communication, interpersonal and problem-solving skills, but their parents do!

Join us for summer 2016 and give your child/ren the opportunity to play, dig, cook, explore and grow at camp.
If you sign up before Tuesday, March 15th you’ll receive 10% off camp tuition! This discount can be combined with our sibling discount as well as returning camp discount! Depending on your situation, you could save up to 15% on camp tuition.

There’s no reason not to sign up now! Summer is coming and it’s sure to be an amazing one for all at Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp!

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Trending Towards Healthy – The Year in Food

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in families, fast food, featured articles, Food for thought, food politics, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, local food, news and happenings, nutrition, raising children, school food, sustainability | 0 comments

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.

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Employee Spotlight – Tania Lopez

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in cooking classes, cooking with kids, families, featured articles, Food for thought, food politics, giving, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, local food, news and happenings, nutrition, raising children, wellness | 0 comments


This week we highlight the incredible work of Tania Lopez, our school lunch supervisor at Nord Anglia International School. Outside of her work at Butter Beans, Tania founded an organization called Coqui the Chef which works to promote healthy eating in her home community of the South Bronx.

Check out this video, “Kids Cooking for a Brighter Future,” to catch a glimpse of Tania’s interactive and educational classes and hear her talk about why she finds this work so important in food deserts like the South Bronx.

In her series of fun, interactive, and informative cooking videos for children, Tania hopes to directly combat the current trends of childhood obesity. For Tania, this national epidemic can be felt strongest closest to home where a walk around any block will reveal a plethora of fast food joints, but very little in the way of fresh produce. Tania believes that this makes nutritional education all the more essential in these communities. Tania is using powerful community-based and culturally relevant education to build a healthier South Bronx from within, resisting the profit making forces of corporate fast food and the industrial global food system.

Tania says that working at Butter Beans has given her valuable perspective on how kids eat. While engaging at lunchtime with kids of different communities and backgrounds from her own, Tania has been able learn a lot learn how to best educate all kinds of children about healthy eating. For Tania, there is little more inspiring than seeing all sorts of communities come together over good food.

We’re so proud of Tania for taking the passion we all have for healthy eating education back to her own community. She is currently working hard to secure funding and hopes to expand her web episodes to a full television series. In this format, Tania hopes to reach a wider audience and connect communities across the city that also exist in food deserts.

Watch a trailer and full episode of her show below!

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What Being on the Inc 5000 List Means to Butter Beans

Posted by on Nov 19, 2015 in cooking with kids, families, featured articles, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, nutrition, raising children, school food, wellness | 0 comments

By Belinda DiGiambattista, Butter Beans co-founder and CEO

I’m often asked to describe my profession when meeting someone new. When I explain that I founded a company whose mission is to connect children and adults to the food they eat through providing healthy lunch programs and food education, the person to whom I am talking connects immediately with this and declares, “I wish you were in my child’s school and my office! All the parents where I live would love this.”

I feel honored every day to provide jobs in my community that aim to serve school children, teachers, and adults healthy meals. Everyone on our team takes their responsibility seriously knowing we provide fresh vegetables, fruits, proteins and grains that nourish the bodies and minds we feed.

This year, I am proud to share that Butter Beans has found a place on the Inc 5000 fastest growing companies in America, which is based on the past three years of company growth. This achievement comes to us a result of the collective efforts of our committed and passionate team members, as well as the schools and organizations that entrust our company with the care of their meal programs.

There are many reasInc5000galapicwitheditorons to celebrate this occasion, but perhaps the most important reason has to do with what the success of a wellness company like Butter Beans means for our society. Parents, students and workers are voting with their forks every day when they choose to eat a hot, wholesome meal made from scratch and comprised of mostly vegetables, healthy grains, and ABF, hormone-free proteins. They accompany this hot meal with salad, eggs, raw veggies, fruit, homemade granola, yogurt (with no sugar added), and bean spreads like hummus.

Felicia Desrosiers and I started Butter Beans in 2008, in large part to reverse the statistic reported by the Center for Disease Control that “The generation of Americans born in the year 2000 is the first in history to have a shorter life expectancy than its parents.” Improving our children’s eating habits over time by providing a healthy school lunch and experiential food education, moves our country one child closer to reversing this statistic every day.

Being an entrepreneur brings new challenges to bear every day. But with those challenges, come an equal number of reasons to take pride in this work. Seeing the number of jobs these 5,000 companies have created in the past three years acknowledges the payoff for all of the work we do day in and day out to keep our companies alive and thriving. The Inc 5000 companies created a combined one million+ jobs for the US economy over the past three years.

This blog post is dedicated to our employees for making Butter Beans possible and to our customers who trust us to serve their precious jewels every day or who visit our cafeteria at their place of work. Butter Beans will continue to strive for excellent service in all of our schools, while providing our employees with opportunities for growth in this important field of food and wellness. Here’s to the next three years!

 

 

 

 

 

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