Food

Top Chef’s Carla Hall Supports a Healthier Next Generation. See How! (video)

Story Provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture 

Baked Parmesan fish, butternut squash with black beans, honey lemon chicken… No, these aren’t items on a high-end restaurant menu.  They’re delicious dishes being offered in America’s school lunchrooms!

FILE - This June 10, 2013 photo shows, any-way-you-want-it sushi in Concord, N.H. Today’s lunch “systems” are dominated by bento-style gear, which originated in Japan and involve multiple compartments and containers to hold a variety of foods. And that makes sense for modern kids, who are as likely to be toting sushi and DIY taco kits as they are the classic PB&J. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead, File)

FILE – This June 10, 2013 photo shows, any-way-you-want-it sushi in Concord, N.H. Today’s lunch “systems” are dominated by bento-style gear, which originated in Japan and involve multiple compartments and containers to hold a variety of foods. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead, File)

This National School Lunch Week, we’re celebrating school meal programs around the country and renewed efforts to provide nutritious and appetizing meals featuring more fruits and vegetables and whole grains with less calories, sodium, and trans fats.  As a result of school nutrition professionals’ hard work, our kids’ meals are healthier than ever before.  And USDA research confirms that children who participate in the National School Lunch Program are more likely to consume fruits, vegetables, milk, and other important components of a healthy diet than their peers.

To emphasize the importance of healthy habits and curb the trend of childhood obesity, children need exposure to nutritious food outside of school as well.  But it can be hard to find time to cook healthy meals from scratch, especially if you’re on a budget.  For parents of school aged children – or anyone looking for some ways to improve their diet –What’s Cooking? USDA’s Mixing Bowl can help.  There are hundreds of recipes searchable by type – appetizer, snack, lunch, etc. – or by goal – to eat more veggies, get more calcium, or go lean with protein.

The video provides step-by-step instructions on how to make one of these healthy, affordable dishes: a stuffed bell pepper presented by Chef Carla Hall, former Top Chef contestant and host of ABC’s The Chew!

– See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2015/10/14/top-chefs-carla-hall-supports-a-healthier-next-generation-see-how/#sthash.3wejVccU.dpuf

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