WBEZ | School food http://www.wbez.org/tags/school-food Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en CPS doesn’t know how much sugar is in kids’ meals http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-doesn%E2%80%99t-know-how-much-sugar-kids%E2%80%99-meals-110079 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/132244825_dbf0e21d9f_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>UPDATE TO UPDATE: May 2: Early Friday afternoon Aramark told WBEZ it had supplied CPS with the sugar data. Late Friday afternoon CPS sent it to WBEZ. An initial glance shows that a single CPS breakfast of French toast, syrup and orange juice can deliver 34.5 grams of sugar. &nbsp;This far exceeds the sugar limits set by the American Heart Association for grown women over an entire day. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>UPDATE: May 2: Tim O&#39;Brien of the Illinois Attorney General&#39;s office tells WBEZ that he is contacting Chicago Public Schools about the district&#39;s failure to complete our Freedom of Information Act request --particularly when it comes to revealing how much sugar is in CPS food. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>When it comes to pinpointing the source of our childhood obesity epidemic, factors like fat and calories are receding slowly into the background while sugar is emerging as a major factor.</p><p>In fact, the Harvard School of Public Health says that &ldquo;Rising consumption of sugary drinks has been a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Strange, then, that in the most recent revamp of school food rules, sugar was untouched and remains completely unregulated. Sugar (which often arrives in the form of corn syrup)&nbsp; is such a non-issue to school food authorities that Chicago Public Schools don&rsquo;t even bother to keep track of how much they put in CPS food--food fed to some of the most obese children in the nation.</p><p>Seven weeks ago WBEZ sent in a Freedom of Information Act asking CPS for its Top 5 entrees and their ingredients, as well as the district&rsquo;s 50 most served foods and their nutrients. When the FOIA was finally answered, many things, including sugar levels, were missing.</p><p>Today, seven weeks after filing the FOIA request, WBEZ learned that the district doesn&rsquo;t &ldquo;collect&rdquo; and subsequently doesn&rsquo;t know how much sugar it&rsquo;s serving up to Chicago children.</p><p>WBEZ has put in a request to CPS caterer Aramark for this information. Representatives at the Pennsylvania-based company say that CPS never asked them for the data and this is the first they&rsquo;d heard of it.</p><p>It&rsquo;s unknown how much sugar is in the CPS &ldquo;syrup pancake cup&rdquo; or strawberry pancakes or French toast sticks, but it is known that Danimals yogurt cups contain 13 grams of sugar per serving. That&rsquo;s more than half of what the American Heart Association recommends for a grown woman&rsquo;s daily diet.</p><p>We&rsquo;ll keep you updated on our quest for data on Chicago Public School food here.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Fmonicaeng&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNGoYzy7NkmnMSoIdG75anzNVCJ90A">@monicaeng</a> or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 16:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-doesn%E2%80%99t-know-how-much-sugar-kids%E2%80%99-meals-110079 Has a decade of school food reform resulted in healthier lunches? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/has-decade-school-food-reform-resulted-healthier-lunches-110018 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CPS spicy chicken patty (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>More than a decade ago, a few American reformers launched a major movement to improve the quality of school meals. In the ensuing years Congress has passed laws and schools have adopted their reforms. But what has really changed on the plate?</p><p>To get an idea we recently took a look at Chicago Public School menus and interviewed some of the leaders in school food reform.</p><p>This first look revealed that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cps.edu%2FAbout_CPS%2FDepartments%2FDocuments%2FElemBreakfast_English.pdf&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHF1wXNo9mZvL706VeQabtiZw-YIg">breakfast offerings in most CPS schools</a> last week featured strawberry flavored pancakes, French toast sticks and pancakes wrapped around a sausage on a stick. And for lunch? The district&rsquo;s top three entrees include processed chicken patties, processed chicken nuggets and processed chicken crumbles over nachos.&nbsp; Each of those chicken products alone contains dozens of ingredients.</p><p>After years of efforts by First Lady Michelle Obama and others to put real food on cafeteria tables, why are meals in one of the most obese districts in the nation still dominated by sugary and processed food?</p><p>&ldquo;The schools have really been hijacked by the companies who are benefitting when children are fed and digest the values of fast food,&rdquo; says Alice Waters, the mother of American cuisine and founder of the <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Fedibleschoolyard.org%2F&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHuO6fHFuSQZr5x9qwI9Ta0nqnfhA">Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkeley</a> where kids learn to grow and cook their food. &ldquo;They are headed out to be consumers and that&rsquo;s what we are doing in the schools and so it&rsquo;s not surprising to me.&rdquo;</p><p>Ann Cooper is a culinary school trained chef who was recruited by Waters to launch a fresh local meals program in the Berkeley schools 15 years ago. Today, Cooper has brought that mission to the Boulder Valley School District where she&rsquo;s working to transform the the entire meal program.&nbsp; But these kinds of programs are still few and far between.</p><p>&ldquo;Considering that the National School Lunch Program has been around for 65 years and a good half of those years it has been serving bad food I think, in the last 10 years, we&rsquo;ve made positive change in leaps and bounds,&rdquo; Cooper said. &ldquo;But it&rsquo;s in small pockets and almost ethereal when it comes to what&rsquo;s on children&rsquo;s plates. It&rsquo;s really good, but maybe not so much in a lot of places.&rdquo;</p><p>We should note that WBEZ invited representatives from Michelle Obama&rsquo;s office, Chicago Public Schools, including their caterer Aramark, and the United States Department of Agriculture, which oversees the lunch program, to speak for this story. They all either declined or did not respond.</p><p>According to both Waters and Cooper one big fundamental flaw in the system is that so many districts hire large for-profit companies to cater the meals. They say the program should be about maximizing quality rather than profits.</p><p>&ldquo;The school district is trying to pay the least amount of money possible because they have a tight budget,&rdquo; Cooper said. &ldquo;Then they hire an outside contractor who is trying to make the most money possible because that&rsquo;s their job as a multi-national corporation. So it&rsquo;s really at odds with teaching children about food and serving the best food. It&rsquo;s just a lose-lose situation for children.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>In 2010 Sarah Wu stepped into this lose-lose situation. She took the school food world by storm by simply buying daily lunch, photographing it and writing about it on her anonymous blog called &ldquo;<a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Ffedupwithlunch.com%2Fcategory%2Fmrs-q%2Fthe-book-about-me-2%2F&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNFRso58FxlMd-7f0wAQ7_D3mU4HtA">Fed Up With Lunch.</a>&rdquo; It gave many readers their first glimpse of what was really on the plate, and in 2011 it became a book by the same name.</p><p>It was then that Wu finally revealed herself as a Chicago area mom, CPS speech pathologist and, finally, an open lunch crusader.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I think that I came to the conclusion that it&rsquo;s such a thorny thing,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;There are a lot of people who have stakes in the business of school lunch and I really stepped into a hornets nest when I stepped into that. And I think I was a bit naive about how much it could really change.&rdquo;</p><p>These realizations and the arrival of a second child prompted Wu, last December, to drop out of the school food reform movement. At least for the time being.</p><p>But for those still in the fight, like Cooper, there are at least five major challenges that remain:</p><p>&ldquo;Food, finance, facilities, human resources and marketing,&rdquo; Cooper said. &ldquo;We need to be able to find [food] and make sure that it&rsquo;s good. The USDA foods have to be healthy.</p><p>The idea that we can have highly processed foods in schools has to change, but if we are going to change that we need to have kitchens and we need to be able to cook. If you are going to go from chicken nuggets to roast chicken you need ovens.&rdquo;</p><p>Cooper notes that the USDA recently pledged $11 million for school kitchen upgrades, but she believes you&rsquo;d need about a 100 times that much to do what&rsquo;s really necessary.</p><p>This lack of funding frustrates many food advocates who say that an investment up front can lay an early, healthy food foundation for the nation&rsquo;s most vulnerable children. They lament that in the last round of school lunch funding, Congress allocated just 6 cents more per meal to the program.<br /><br />Waters worries this will have disastrous effects on many levels.</p><p>&ldquo;There is hardly a country on this planet that doesn&rsquo;t think of food as something important and people are willing to pay for it,&rdquo; Waters says. &ldquo;But in this country we are unwilling to pay for it. But when you have cheap food somebody pays for it. We pay for it with our health, but we really pay for it in the destruction of our environment and the wages of the people who grow that food.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Lack of money is a common complaint for school food caterers. They say that, when all is said and done, they&#39;re left with only about $1 to spend on food per meal. Many cite that as the main reason they turn to processed patties and nuggets. But Paul Boundas, whose <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-03-17/news/ct-met-healthy-school-lunch-man-20110317_1_school-kitchen-meals-national-school-lunch-program">Country House catering serves lunch to thousands of Chicago Catholic </a>school students each day (even in majority low income schools), says a caterer can actually save on food costs by cooking whole foods from scratch each day. Boundas adds, however, that the caterer must be ready to invest in local jobs and a skilled work force rather than processed foods.&nbsp;</p><p>One last obstacle for change is the fact that districts lose federal money when kids don&rsquo;t take the meals. This presents a strong financial incentive to keep the nuggets and shun fresh food experimentation. For this reason, Cooper says it&rsquo;s essential to make healthy delicious, and then educate the kids about why they should eat them.<br /><br />&ldquo;In Boulder right now we are doing 200 to 300 events a year,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;We go into the cafeteria and work with the kids. We do Rainbow Days, we do tastings, we do chef demos, we do Iron Chef competitions. We work with kids on a daily basis to try new things. And that&rsquo;s how we&rsquo;re going to make the change. We&rsquo;re not just going to give them high fat, high sugar, high salt unhealthy food because that&rsquo;s what they think they want. Because that would not be an educational situation.&rdquo;<br /><br />But the question remains: If Chicago Public Schools ditched their processed food for something healthier, would they meet weeping and wailing, or would the children get on board?</p><p>There&rsquo;s only way way to find out.</p><p><em>(Full disclosure: One of Monica Eng&rsquo;s nine siblings works for a food company subcontracted by CPS to cater pre-prepared meals to many CPS schools without full kitchens.)</em></p><p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-0f241261-60a9-d4d2-9ee7-48352a3b634d">Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</span><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> @monicaeng</a> or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/has-decade-school-food-reform-resulted-healthier-lunches-110018 CPS reveals that the only ingredients in its chicken nuggets are...chicken nuggets! http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/cps-reveals-only-ingredients-its-chicken-nuggets-arechicken-nuggets-109963 <p><p>April 11, 2014 UPDATE: CPS finally produces the ingredient lists for the Top 5 entrees. Each chicken product contains dozens of ingredients.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>April 10, 2014, UPDATE: Thursday WBEZ heard from Illinois&#39; Assistant Attorney General for Public Access Tim O&#39;Brien. He&#39;s been assigned to review the legality of CPS&#39;s response to WBEZ&#39;s Freedom of Information Act request for school food data. &nbsp;</p><p>Wednesday WBEZ was contacted by a company that creates online<a href="http://spps.nutrislice.com/menu/battle-creek-environmental-elementary/lunch/"> school menus for the St Paul </a>school district. In these schools, parents and reporters don&#39;t need to file FOIA&#39;s to find out what&#39;s in the food, nor do they need to enlist the help of the Attorney General&#39;s office. They simply put their cursor on the item and the ingredients and nutritional information emerge in a pop-up window.&nbsp;</p><p>April 8, 2014, UPDATE: Last week, a Chicago Public Schools spokesman told WBEZ that the district simply didn&#39;t &quot;know the ingredients&quot; of the processed chicken products that it serves Chicago children. Yesterday, that same spokesman still would not share the information, saying that the district is &quot;still in the process of completing this request.&quot; &nbsp;Today Aramark headquarters says that it gave the information to CPS &quot;last week&quot; but it could not share the ingredient information with WBEZ because &quot;the District would need to release it to the media, not us.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>---------------</p><p>Almost all the meals served in the Chicago Public Schools are paid for with your tax dollars. But if you want to know what&rsquo;s actually in those meals, good luck.</p><p>Early last month WBEZ filed a Freedom of Information Act request for data on what CPS students were eating. On Tuesday, WBEZ finally received an answer, if you can call it that.</p><p>What follows is the district&rsquo;s verbatim response to our FOIA&nbsp; request for the &ldquo;ingredient lists for the top five entrees in the CPS food service program.&quot;&nbsp;</p><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td nowrap="nowrap" style="width:207px;height:20px;"><p align="center"><strong>Entrée Item</strong></p></td><td nowrap="nowrap" style="width:368px;height:20px;"><p align="center"><strong>Ingredient List</strong></p></td></tr><tr><td nowrap="nowrap" style="width:207px;height:20px;"><p>Chicken Patty Sandwich</p></td><td nowrap="nowrap" style="width:368px;height:20px;"><p>Chicken Patty, Bun</p></td></tr><tr><td nowrap="nowrap" style="width:207px;height:20px;"><p>Chicken &amp; Bean Nachos</p></td><td nowrap="nowrap" style="width:368px;height:20px;"><p>Chicken Crumbles, Tortilla Chips, Cheese Sauce, Beans</p></td></tr><tr><td nowrap="nowrap" style="width:207px;height:20px;"><p>Chicken Nuggets</p></td><td nowrap="nowrap" style="width:368px;height:20px;"><p>Chicken Nuggets</p></td></tr><tr><td nowrap="nowrap" style="width:207px;height:20px;"><p>Cheeseburger</p></td><td nowrap="nowrap" style="width:368px;height:20px;"><p>Bun, Beef Patty, American Cheese</p></td></tr><tr><td nowrap="nowrap" style="width:207px;height:20px;"><p>Penne with Marinara Meat Sauce</p></td><td nowrap="nowrap" style="width:368px;height:20px;"><p>Penne, Marinara, Beef Crumbles</p></td></tr></tbody></table><p>Yes, you read it correctly: The complete ingredient list for CPS chicken nuggets is two words: &ldquo;chicken nuggets.&rdquo; And it took more than a month for CPS Nutrition Support Services to figure this out.</p><p>When I last did a story on popular CPS lunch items for the <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Farticles.chicagotribune.com%2F2011-02-20%2Fhealth%2Fct-met-new-school-lunches-20110220_1_cps-students-chartwells-thompson-healthy-food&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNG2I3jbVb45SdZO7ve-7pVkO5ePRg">Chicago Tribune in 2011</a>, the district&rsquo;s spicy chicken patty contained dozens of ingredients, many too hard to pronounce. But, miraculously, CPS and its new caterer Aramark have pared the district&rsquo;s number one food item down to just two ingredients: a chicken patty and a bun, according to the district&rsquo;s response.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CPS%20spicy%20chicken%20patty.jpg" style="margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; height: 210px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="A chicken patty sandwich is the most eaten entree in Chicago Public Schools. But what’s in it? After a month, CPS will only disclose that it contains a chicken patty and a bun. Thanks CPS. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" />A few years ago, the advocacy group Real Food For Kids criticized the <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.npr.org%2Fblogs%2Fthesalt%2F2012%2F04%2F02%2F149717358%2Fwhats-inside-the-26-ingredient-school-lunch-burger&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNGprtGWU49odQw1FT4Nn-B2pMTMsw">26-ingredient burger</a> served in American schools and called on districts to phase out such heavily processed foods in lunch programs. According to the ingredient lists WBEZ received from the district, CPS has bested the 26-ingredient burger by 23 ingredients, by listing only three in its burger: a bun, a patty and (if it&rsquo;s a cheeseburger) American cheese.</p><p>Is this an accurate picture of CPS entree ingredients? We can&rsquo;t tell. Because, although WBEZ responded almost immediately with emails and phone calls seeking an explanation for these limited ingredient lists, the district has, as of yet, offered none. Yesterday, one district representative said he would try to contact the head of school food, Leslie Fowler, to determine what happened. But we&rsquo;ve heard nothing back since then.</p><p>I have covered CPS food for at least five years now, and have met with my share of district resistance to sharing information. But this latest development shocked even me.</p><p>At least previous administrations were willing to share details on what our tax dollars were buying for school lunch. This one, however, seems bent on keeping the public in the dark. But why?</p><p>It should be noted that CPS&rsquo;s response arrived on April 1st. One can only hope this mockery of the Freedom of Information Act was all just some kind of joke.</p><p>We will keep you updated on CPS&rsquo;s response here.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>UPDATE: A CPS representative said Friday he would try to obtain the missing information, but would not say when. On Monday the district had still not produced the missing data, and WBEZ filed a request with the Illinois Attorney General&#39;s office to review the situation and assist in releasing the ingredient information.&nbsp;</p><p>Here are the complete ingredient lists that CPS finally turned over after state law enforcement got involved in the case.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Chicken Patty Sandwich</em></p><p><strong>Chicken Patty</strong>:</p><p>Chicken, water, textured soy protein concentrate, isolated soy protein, seasoning [brown sugar, salt, onion powder, chicken stock, canola oil, yeast extract, carrot powder, vegetable stock (carrot, onion, celery), garlic powder, maltodextrin, flavors, silicon dioxide, citric acid and spice], seasoning (potassium chloride, rice flour), sodium phosphates. BREADED WITH: Whole wheat flour, water, enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), salt, wheat gluten, sugar, dried onion, dried garlic, torula yeast, spice, dextrose, dried yeast, turmeric extract (color), paprika extract (color). Breading set in vegetable oil</p><p><strong>Chicken Patty Bun</strong>:</p><p>Water, Whole Wheat Flour, Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sugar, Wheat Gluten, Yeast, Soybean Oil, Contains 2% or less of the following: Salt, Dough Conditioners (Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Monoglycerides, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Peroxide, Azodicarbonamide), Potassium Sorbate and Calcium Propionate (Preservatives), Yeast Nutrients (Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Sulfate, Ammonium Sulfate)</p><p><em>Chicken and Bean Nachos</em></p><p><strong>Chicken Taco Meat</strong>:</p><p>Dark chicken meat, seasoning (wheat flour, maltodextrin, salt, dried garlic, chili pepper, spice, paprika, dried onion, sugar, natural flavor, modified corn starch, soybean oil, malic acid, and less than 2% silicon dioxide), water, vegetable protein product (isolated soy protein, magnesium oxide, zinc oxide, niacinamide, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin B12, copper gluconate, Vitamin A Palmitate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin), sodium phosphate, salt, flavor (caramelized sugar and maltodextrin)</p><p><strong>Pinto Beans</strong>:</p><p>Prepared pinto beans, water, salt, calcium chloride, and calcium disodium EDTA</p><p><strong>Cheese Sauce:</strong></p><p>Water, cultured pasteurized milk and skim milk, food starch-modified, contains less than 2% of potassium phosphate, sodium phosphate, salt, sodium citrate, pasteurized cream, tricalcium phosphate, whey, buttermilk, maltodextrin, annatto and oleoresin paprika (color), natural flavors, autolyzed yeast extract, lactic acid, vegetable mono and diglycerides, spice, enzymes</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Tortilla Chips</strong>:</p><p>Whole White Corn, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Soybean, Canola, and/or Sunflower Oil), and Salt</p><p><em>Chicken Nuggets</em></p><p>Chicken, water, vegetable protein product (isolated soy protein, magnesium oxide, zinc oxide, niacinamide, ferrous sulfate, vitamin B12, copper gluconate, vitamin A palmitate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, and riboflavin), seasoning (salt, onion powder, modified corn starch, and natural flavor), sodium phosphates. BREADED WITH: Whole wheat flour, water, enriched wheat flour (enriched with niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), salt, contains 2% or less of the following: modified corn starch, spices, dextrose, garlic powder, extractives of paprika and annatto, spice extractives. Breading set in vegetable oil</p><p><em>Cheeseburger</em></p><p><strong>Burger patty</strong>:</p><p>Ground Beef (Not More Than 30% Fat), Water, Textured Vegetable Protein Product [Soy Protein Concentrate, Caramel Color, Zinc Oxide, Niacinamide, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Gluconate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate (B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (B6), Riboflavin (B2), Cyanocobalamin (B12)], Salt, Sodium Phosphates, Caramel Color</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>American cheese</strong>:</p><p>Cultured pasteurized milk and skim milk, cream, sodium citrate, salt, contains less than 2% of milkfat, sorbic acid (preservative), lactic acid, beta-carotene and apo-carotenal (color), enzymes, soy lecithin and soybean oil blend</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Cheeseburger bun:</strong></p><p>Water, Whole Wheat Flour, Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sugar, Wheat Gluten, Yeast, Soybean Oil, Contains 2% or less of the following: Salt, Dough Conditioners (Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Monoglycerides, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Peroxide, Azodicarbonamide), Potassium Sorbate and Calcium Propionate (Preservatives), Yeast Nutrients (Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Sulfate, Ammonium Sulfate)</p><p><em>Penne with Marinara Meat Sauce</em></p><p><strong>Penne</strong>:</p><p>Whole grain durum wheat flour, semolina (wheat), durum wheat flour, oat fiber, niacin, iron (ferrous sulfate), thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Ground beef crumbles</strong>:</p><p>Beef, Water, Textured Vegetable Protein [Soy Protein Concentrate, Caramel Color], Textured Vegetable Protein [Soy Flour, Caramel Color], Soy Protein Concentrate, Salt, Pepper, Sodium Phosphates</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Marinara sauce</strong>:</p><p>Tomato puree (water, tomato paste), diced tomatoes, fresh onions, less than 2% of: olive oil, salt, brown sugar, potassium chloride, citric acid, natural flavor, calcium chloride, garlic powder, spices, oregano</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>(Full disclosure: One of Monica Eng&rsquo;s eight siblings works for a food company subcontracted by CPS to cater pre-prepared meals to many CPS schools without full kitchens.)</em></p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Fmonicaeng&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNGoYzy7NkmnMSoIdG75anzNVCJ90A">@monicaeng or</a> write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 13:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/cps-reveals-only-ingredients-its-chicken-nuggets-arechicken-nuggets-109963 Political turmoil in Italy and fresh cafeteria food http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-10-01/political-turmoil-italy-and-fresh-cafeteria-food-108813 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/US embassy tehran fixed.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102); font-family: 'Museo Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 24px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">The U.S. government has shutdown but Italy might also be on the verge of collapse. Iranian American Ahmad Sadri joins us to discuss where U.S.-Iranian relations are headed.</span></p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-political-turmoil-in-italy-and-making-ca/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-political-turmoil-in-italy-and-making-ca.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-political-turmoil-in-italy-and-making-ca" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Political turmoil in Italy and fresh cafeteria food" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 01 Oct 2013 13:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-10-01/political-turmoil-italy-and-fresh-cafeteria-food-108813 EcoMyths: Is fresh cafeteria food an oxymoron? http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths/ecomyths-fresh-cafeteria-food-oxymoron-108814 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/EcoMyths-School Lunch.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong><u>3 Reasons of Hope for Healthy School Lunches</u></strong></p><p>Reheated frozen chicken nuggets, mushy green beans, and jello have long been staples in many school cafeterias. But the times they are a changin&rsquo;. Efforts are being made across the United States to bring fresh, local foods to kids at school. Today, on <em>Worldview&rsquo;s </em>monthly <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths"><em>EcoMyths</em></a> segment, Jerome McDonnell and I talked with Liz Soper of <a href="https://www.nwf.org/Eco-Schools-USA.aspx">Eco-Schools USA</a> to get the fresh facts.</p><p>Many factors have come together to create this new trend toward providing fresh foods to schools. According to Liz Soper, these include Michelle Obama&rsquo;s campaign to get kids moving and eat healthy. In addition, the growing awareness of large food deserts in many urban areas has increased the need for schools to provide the best possible nutrition for children during the school day. In food deserts, their parents may not have access to buy fresh food in their neighborhoods, so school may be where kids get their healthiest meal of the day.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F113395618" width="100%"></iframe><strong><u>3 Reasons School Lunch is Going Healthy:</u></strong></p><p>1) Local, organic, fresh food is becoming a national priority.</p><p>2) School districts around the country are growing fresh foods to provide to their school cafeterias.</p><p>3) Kids perform better in school when they eat fresh food.</p><p>Liz reminded us that local, fresh food is coming to the forefront not just in schools, but in restaurants, communities, and in the culture in general. Community gardens are popping up all over the country. In addition, people are buying memberships in CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), which are local farms that deliver weekly crates of fresh, locally farmed produce to their members. This is happening due to increased interest in providing healthy foods for our families and ourselves. Plus, people prefer the taste of freshly-picked produce vs. that which was picked before it was ripe and shipped across the country.</p><p>This exciting development in schools can be seen in many of the largest public school districts across the country. Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, and Burlington (Vermont) all have implemented programs in which the school district grows produce and delivers it to its own cafeterias. Some of these school gardens are right on school grounds, so the students have an opportunity to plant, nurture, and harvest produce themselves. Liz told us that kids are much more likely to eat a fresh cucumber or bean if they have grown it themselves &ndash; and they like it! As she says, most kids are used to eating beans out of a can, so there is a transition period as their taste buds move towards preferring fresh and natural.</p><p>Eco-Schools USA, Liz explains, works with schools to develop green teams that do a food assessment and create a plan of action they can implement. They encourage schools to take small steps and help gradually kids transform the way they eat. The Eco-Schools programs help the kids make the direct connections between fresh foods and their communities.</p><p>Liz also suggests that school performance is enhanced when kids eat healthy too. Studies show children have more energy and are more alert when they eat fresh, whole foods rather than sugary or processed foods. Not only does eating fresh foods help fight obesity, but studies show that a healthy diet may improve students&rsquo; math scores.</p><p>Overall, it seems movement towards healthy food in schools is good for communities, great for kids&rsquo; health and energy levels, as well as helping school performance. That seems like a recipe worth following!</p><p>To learn more about this myth, listen to the podcast of today&rsquo;s show or go to EcoMyths Alliance website to <a href="http://www.ecomythsalliance.org/2013/09/fresh-school-lunch-is-an-oxymoron/.">read further about why there is hope for healthy school lunches</a>.</p></p> Tue, 01 Oct 2013 09:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths/ecomyths-fresh-cafeteria-food-oxymoron-108814