Denmark’s fat tax

Posted by on Jan 29, 2012 in Food for thought, news and happenings, raising children | 0 comments

5982086509_01f963342fAs of October First, Denmark implemented a new tax on foods called the fat tax. Approved by 90% of Danish voters, the tax is about 2.3 percent extra on foods containing saturated fat. In the United States, that amounts to about an extra $1.32 per pound of food containing saturated fat. A hamburger, for example, might cost an extra 15 cents. While it doesn’t sound like much, some feel taxing unhealthy foods is a direct limitation of their first amendment rights.

While the U.S. government has played around with the idea of a “sugar tax,” or a “fat tax,” similar to Denmark’s, a bill has not yet been brought to voters. Denmark’s obesity rates are about a third of our own, about where our obesity rates were in 1990. Might this be helpful to our cause in the United States today? So far, resistance has been felt by food giants like Coke and McDonald’s fighting against the tax, likely in an effort to preserve their profits. Surprising to some, the bill received the most backlash from consumers themselves. “Get away from my French fries” said Glenn Beck regarding the bill.

Hypothetically, if the United States began to tax consumers an extra 2% on fast foods, over $2 billion dollars could be raised. This money could be invested in subsidizing local farmers instead of huge nameless companies, or even be put directly into the public school’s lunch budgets! In broader terms, the money could provide healthier options at lower costs. Ideally, we could also cut our medical bills as well. Americans spent over $444 billion in 2011, just treat heart disease and stroke, both directly linked to unhealthy food choices.

Would taxing unhealthy foods help? Not without advocating for healthier and cheaper food choices, as well.  Especially in our children’s schools!

Photo courtesy of Sean MacEntee

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Chili Saves Lives!

Posted by on Jan 25, 2012 in news and happenings, raising children, seasonal | 0 comments

3114442207_0fbbf251fbNo, really though.  HealthCorps is a remarkable organization that advocates for the health of future generations, especially through food.  They offer healthy food and eating curriculums in over fifty high schools across the country.  Similar to Butter Beans, Health Corps strives to change the way our children see food in creative and engaging ways.

A large part of HealthCorps mission is to keep their programs affordable for low-income communities through exciting fundraising events. This Friday, January 27th, is HealthCorps 2nd annual Chili-Off hosted at Berry Park, Brooklyn from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.  In order to compete, ten teams must have one “secret” ingredient picked out, and a interesting story behind their chili which they will tell to the audience and judges.  The entrance fee for the Chili-Off is $10, and includes beer along with a sample of each of the ten different chilis!  Tickets will be sold at the door of the event.  The money raised helps to support HealthCorps hard-working coordinators in each school they serve, who are full-time advocates for the healthy eating habits of the community.

Check out this video for footage from last year’s contest! We hope to see you there!

Photo courtesy of Stacey Spensley

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RHYME TIME – rhyming food that tastes real good – tomorrow on Sesame Street

Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 in families, news and happenings, raising children | 2 comments

SesamecastTry some…
Artichoke with your egg yolk!
Spread with your bread!
Chickpeas with your lemon squeeze!

The makers of What’s on your plate?, a documentary about kids and food politics featuring two NYC elementary school students on their journey to find out where the food comes from that they eat everyday, are debuting tomorrow morning on Sesame Street!

Tune in Wednesday, January 25th, at 7 am, when Idris Goodwin, from What’s On Your Plate? will be rhyming about healthy food. Also featured in the Rhyming Block Episode: Robin Williams, Samantha Bee as Mother Goose & Super Grover, Brought to you by: the letter “I” and the number “13.

Photo courtesy of

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CHANGING THE WAY WE EAT: Join our CEO at TEDx Manhattan this Saturday

Posted by on Jan 20, 2012 in Food for thought, news and happenings | 1 comment

2754886941-3This Saturday, January 21st, TED Manhattan will take over the Times Center for “Changing the Way We Eat.”

The details: 10 a.m. to 5:15 pm at the Times Center, 242 W. 41st. St. (between Seventh and Eighth aves.); 212-556-4300

The thoughtful, inspiring and educational talks from people of various expertise and viewpoints in every field imaginable, has made TED a household word, provoking conversations that matter across the country and globe. TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission “ideas worth spreading.” The TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.

Tomorrow, “Changing the way we eat,” will feature speakers from the world of food, politics and science. Butter Beans is committed to doing our part in revolutionizing school food and connecting this generation of youth to their food systems with a vision of just food policy in our future. If you are able to, come join our CEO and Co-Founder Belinda DiGiambattista who will be in attendance tomorrow at the Times Center.

The day’s line-up:

10:30am Session 1- Issues
TED Video
Dr. David Wallinga, Antibiotic Resistance
Wenonah Hauter, Food/Farming Consolidation in Poultry Industry
Dr. Robert S. Lawrence, Health/Meat Reduction/Consumption
Patty Cantrell, New Roads to Markets
Urvashi Rangan, Labeling and the Controversy Around it


1:20pm Session 2- Impact
TED video
Fred Kirschenmann, Soil
Michelle Hughes, GrowNYC – Immigrant Farming
Mitchell Davis, How Taste Affects Food Behavior
Wayne Pacelle, Impact of Factory Farming
Howard Hinterthuer, Veteran’s Food Production Project
Stephen Ritz, Edible Food Walls and How They’re Changing Students’ Lives.

3:15pm-3:45pm Break

3:45pm-5:35pm Session 3- Innovation
TED Video
Cara Rosaen, Online System for Restaurant Goers to Find Out Where Their Food Came From
Marianne Cufone, Recirculating Farms, What They Are and How They’re Helping People
Stefani Bardin video
Kerry McLean, Green Cart Program in NYC
Paul Lightfoot, Commercial Hydroponics on Top of Stores
Frieda Lim video
Kavita Shukla, Organic Paper That Keeps Produce Fresh
Gary Oppenheimer, Food Pantries and Food Distribution

For those of you unable to attend, the talks will be webcast online and at viewing parties through the city (click here for live webcast and viewing party information).

For more info, visit:

Photo courtesy of

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super soup snack

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in families, raising children, Recipes, seasonal, summer camp | 1 comment

007Parents know that having something quick and healthy on hand to offer as an after school or after play snack is not always an easy task.   The usual “go-to” fare is not always the healthiest or most satisfying.  It is easier than you think, and especially wonderful in the midst of winter to have a comfy, nourishing homemade pot of soup on hand to prevent a “snack emergency”.   Here is an incredibly easy and quick butternut squash soup that Sue, a Butter Beans mom recently came up with.  She has included a few shortcuts that she discovered along the way.

Sue’s Super Seasonal Squash Soup Snack


  • One package peeled and cubed butternut squash (got this at Trader Joes – love, love, love TJs for recipe “cheating”)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 carton organic chicken stock (or veggie if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons curry (alternatively you could use cinnamon and nutmeg or whatever spices you love with squash!) Please note: I didn’t measure- since this was a “try it and see what happens” kind of recipe I just improvised.
  • 1 small pinch of cayenne (if you like spice at home!- this is totally optional)
  • 1 generous splash organic whole milk (or cream)


  1. Melt butter in large pot.   Add onion and sauté until translucent.
  2. Add peeled cubed squash and then cover with broth until all squash is covered.
  3. Bring to a boil, sprinkle your spices in, lower heat and simmer.
  4. Simmer until all squash is fork tender (about 35-40 minutes).  When squash is done add your milk.

Now, here’s another short cut: Instead of transferring soup to a blender,which is the usual way, use an immersion blender! You can simply put it in the pot, turn it on high, mix everything around and voila! Soup!  A blender works just fine too, it’s just one more step to transfer the soup to the blender, then back to the pot (be careful not to overfill the blender and splash hot soup!).  But – I cannot recommend a hand held immersion blender highly enough – it will change your life.

Now when your kids come in chilled you can satisfy them with a warm, healthy bowl of quick, delicious soup for snack.

What are your favorite winter snacks?

Photo courtesy of peas in a blog

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