When the COVID-19 pandemic caused drastic changes to everyday life, many organizations were faced with the imperative need to evolve. Though this has been an unprecedented time, the dedicated Events Committee of HealthStart Foundation has risen to the challenge.
The organization will be hosting the Cooking 4 Kids Virtual Gala on September 17th at 7 PM CST. The event will include a virtual happy hour, silent auction, and a virtual cooking demonstration led by award-winning Chef Bobo of the Calhoun School in New York City.
Katie Kahn, Events Committee Chair, believes that having a virtual gala creates unique opportunities for HealthStart. “It was a heavily weighted decision to have a virtual gala, but I knew it was not only the responsible decision, but one that gave us a unique opportunity to reach new individuals, companies, and other organizations outside of the Austin area. In hosting a virtual gala, non-Austinites can easily attend and support HealthStart’s critical work,” said Kahn.
HealthStart’s Events Committee has worked hard to make this a one of a kind event that is not to be missed. Throughout the planning process, they have been creative and enthusiastic problem solvers. “We have had to think differently about how to raise money and broaden our reach to continue to make a positive impact on the community during such a challenging time. Additionally, the events committee has really had to come together to reimagine what this year’s gala would look like. This is our first virtual event, so initially, we had to do quite a bit of research to figure out what our approach would be for HealthStart. I am so proud of everyone on the events committee because each person has worked really hard to make this year’s event a success.”
The efforts of the Events Committee have definitely paid off. They have worked hard connecting with businesses and friends to inform them about the importance of HealthStart’s mission and the exciting opportunities the virtual gala has to offer. HealthStart has received a generous and positive response from the community in Austin and around the country. The virtual nature of this event is creating a space to reach beyond the borders of Central Texas. “My hope is that attendees from far and wide fully understand the importance of HealthStart and consider how the foundation can benefit their own communities. I would love to gain new partnerships and re-energize our current supporters,” said Kahn.
This is truly an exciting and unique event. Many people, including Kahn, are looking forward to the event. “I am most excited about connecting everyone who has been so supportive of HealthStart at our virtual event. I am also very excited about watching our headliner, Chef Bobo Surles, in the kitchen! He has been at the forefront of healthy school lunch programs, so watching the expert will be a real treat for everyone who attends. I encourage everyone to visit www.bit.ly/C4KGala to learn more about HealthStart, donate to our cause, and register for our Cooking 4 Kids Virtual Gala.”
The holiday season has come and gone, so that means we’re all trying to get into a back to school routine. Whether your children are starting classes in-person or online, this change in routine really shakes things up. This often means longer days, more responsibilities, and having less time to rest, but a great way to set yourself up for success is by prioritizing sleep.
Sleep makes a huge impact on our health and well-being. During the day, our bodies work hard to make sure we have all the energy we necessary to do the things we need to do. And by the end of the day, our body craves a break. Good, quality sleep allows our body to rest and recover for the next day. Having a regular sleeping schedule can improve sleep quality and prepare us to tackle the day ahead.
What happens if I don’t get enough sleep?
Getting a full night of rest has many benefits for our minds and bodies, so when we don’t get enough sleep, especially quality sleep, it can harm our health.
How much sleep do I need every night?
One of the first steps to getting a good night's rest is to make sure we are sleeping enough. In general, toddlers need around 12-16 hours of sleep, children age three to six require 10-12 hours of sleep, pre-teens age seven to twelve need 10-11 hours, and teenagers and above need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep isn’t just about the hours slept. The quality of sleep can play a significant role in our ability to perform throughout the day.
What are the benefits of getting enough sleep?
There are many benefits to getting quality sleep each night.
How can I improve my sleep quality?
To enjoy the benefits of getting quality sleep, you might need to adjust your sleeping schedule. Make falling and staying asleep easier by following some of these tips.
What are your tips for a better night’s sleep? Let us know in the comments below!
Have you heard about HealthStart’s Cooking 4 Kids Virtual Gala? On September 17th at 7 pm (CST), award-winning Chef Bobo Surles will be headlining HealthStart’s event. Chef Bobo signed up to support HealthStart because he shares the organization’s mission.
Chef Bobo and HealthStart believe that the best way to ensure adults eat well is to start forming good habits early in life. HealthStart knows that investing in early health education is crucial to building the foundation for a lifetime of wellness. One of the ways HealthStart addresses this is with our school nutrition initiative, What Are YOU Feeding?. This program uses a labeling system that helps kids learn which foods are good for the brain, bones, circulatory system, muscles, and digestive system, connecting what they eat at school to their health.
What Chef Bobo and HealthStart do is critical to the future of young children, especially now. It has never been more important for children to understand how their body works and how to keep it healthy. By learning the importance of good health at an early age and providing families with nutritious and affordable food options, we can help prevent illness and future preventable diseases.
When creating school lunches, Chef Bobo’s motto is “Nutrition, bold flavor, and keeping costs down.” Almost everything he makes for lunches is made from scratch. Despite this, Calhoun’s lunches cost about $3 per meal (this is around the average budget for many public schools), proving that we don’t have to spend large amounts of money to feed ourselves and our families healthy, tasty foods. With the lunch program, they hope to promote a healthier mindset about food and eating behaviors.
Who is Chef Bobo?
Robert Surles (aka Chef Bobo) graduated from the French Culinary Institute. He was hired by Calhoun School to change the way their students saw school lunches. Traditionally, school lunches are not known to be very healthy or delicious, but Chef Bobo helped change that.
Chef Bobo believes that learning how to eat is a life skill. With his help, Calhoun began the Eat Right Now Lunch Program, which provides students with healthier meals and promotes a well-balanced diet. Chef Bobo started by offering food that looked like the processed food students were accustomed to, but instead was made with all fresh ingredients.
“I feel that, automatically, if food is made fresh, from scratch, it’s already healthier and tastes a whole lot better than the processed food they were eating,” says Chef Bobo.
Calhoun’s Eat Right Now program has been a model for healthy school lunches. It brings awareness to the impact of school lunch on children and the lifelong habits they form. This program also extends past the kitchen and tries to help students understand how food relates to their physical and mental well-being and even their success in the classroom.
“When kids return to class after a nutritionally balanced lunch, they have “fuel in the tank” to learn. They tend to be more alert.” says Chef Bobo
When you register for HealthStart’s free virtual event, you can watch and follow along as Chef Bobo cooks up his world-famous and family-friendly Jambalaya!
Chef Bobo's Recipes
Chef Bobo is also the author of the Good Food Cookbook. His cookbook features over 140 healthy, kid-friendly recipes along with tips for healthy eating. All the book recipes are favorites in Calhoun’s lunch program and include a variety of foods and cultures.
The book also includes tips on how to involve the entire family. Bobo is a big believer that cooking can be fun and an excellent way for families to spend quality time together.
“Cooking is fun, creative, and somewhat physical. It requires math skills and strategy, along with planning. Parents need to invite the kids to help them. Give kids some responsibility, i.e., if you are scaling a recipe up or down, let the kids do the math. When the food is finished, let the kids prepare the final presentation. Show them the fun that can be had in the kitchen. Also, I think it’s important to take kids to the farmer’s markets to select foods to prepare.”
Here are a couple of his recipes that will be similar to the ones in his books. Both of these recipes are easy to pack for school lunch and kid-approved.
Not only are quesadilla fun to eat, but they are also quick and easy to make. This vegetable quesadilla gives us the taste of quesadilla that we love while also serving assorted vegetables with high amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Ingredients: 2 small zucchini (cubed), 1 red bell pepper (chopped), 1 medium carrot (grated), 8 (8 inch) corn or flour tortillas, 1 cup of shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese, 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Directions: Place zucchini, bell pepper, carrot, onion, and mushrooms in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water, and cover. Cook until tender but still firm, about 2 to 6 minutes. Place two tortillas, side by side, on the prepared baking sheet. On each tortilla layer, cheddar cheese, vegetables, then Monterey jack cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Top each with another tortilla. Place under the broiler and cook until lightly browned. Carefully turn tortillas and cook on the other side until lightly browned. Remove from the baking sheet and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Cut into quarters and serve. Serves 4 people
Hummus Pitas with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
Chef Bobo’s lunches are mostly made from scratch. Learn how to make your hummus with this Hummus pitas with cucumber yogurt sauce recipe.
2 cans of garbanzo beans, 4 tbsp olive oil, 4 tbsp. Tahini paste, 1 tbsp. Sesame oil, ½ tsp. Cumin, 2 cloves garlic(crushed), juice 2 lemons
Yogurt Sauce Ingredients:
½ cucumber diced, 1 cup of yogurt, ½ tsp. Salt, 2 plum tomatoes (cut into slices), 1 cup of thinly sliced romaine lettuce, 6 pocket whole wheat pitas
Directions: Mix all ingredients for the hummus in a food processor, process until smooth. If too thick, add some water until the hummus is the consistency of soft mashed potatoes.
Stir yogurt sauce ingredients together, set aside.
Heat pitas in a 350°F oven for a few minutes until warmed. Remove, cut in half, and fill with hummus, 2 tbsp of yogurt sauce, tomatoes, and romaine lettuce. Serve the remaining yogurt sauce on the side.
If you like the recipes you see, make sure to join us on September 17 at 7 pm CST to watch Chef Bobo work his magic in the kitchen!
Registration for this event is FREE, so make sure to register to access this exciting opportunity. Our goal is to raise $30,000 to get tablets and learning tools in the hands of 100 low-income families, so they can access the vital information needed to stay healthy and return to school safely. With your support, we can build a healthier future for our children. We hope to see you there!
There is not a single food or food group that will give us all the nutrition we need. Because our bodies have an extensive range of needs, it is essential to consume a large variety of foods.
Although there is no perfect food out there, there are “superfoods.” These foods are recognized as being nutrient-packed powerhouses and an excellent choice for improving and maintaining health. You can learn more about nutrients in our previous blog, “What Are Nutrients Anyway?”.
By incorporating more superfoods into our daily eating, we get more of the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants we need and all the amazing benefits that come with them.
Did you know avocado is a fruit? This fruit is well known for its high nutrient value and creamy texture. There are many reasons to incorporate more avocado into your meals.
Avocados’ rich creaminess makes them very versatile in the kitchen. You can even add avocado to desserts! You might be pleasantly surprised. Try this recipe: Avocado Chocolate Mousse.
Fish is packed with healthy fats, protein, vitamin B, and potassium.
Berries are a simple and delicious way to add lots of nutrients to our diets. Some berries to try are raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries.
Berries are very versatile. You can enjoy berries in your breakfast, desserts, salads, and smoothies, just to name a few possibilities. Berries can also be bought fresh or frozen and enjoyed all year long. Try adding berries on top of a Watermelon Pizza! Watch the Snack Science video to learn how to make it.
Another superfood that pairs great with berries is yogurt.
Double-check your labels when buying yogurt because many flavored yogurts contain high amounts of added sugar. Instead, look for just fruit or choose plain yogurt. You can always add your own fruits or a little honey to add some sweetness. Yogurt is also great in savory dishes! Try this Spinach Yogurt Dip.
Although they generally go by different names, you have probably had some of these vegetables before. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, and more.
An easy, kid friendly-way to eat these vegetables is by adding them to smoothies. Adding kale in a smoothie adds more vitamins and minerals without sacrificing the taste.
Legumes are fantastic for a quick and affordable meal with a range of health benefits! Some common legumes are beans, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, and lentils.
Beans typically come dried, canned, or frozen, and can easily be added to many of the dishes we already eat. Try this recipe for Chickpea/Spinach Salad with Cilantro Dressing.
Oats are one of the healthiest grains out there. They are beneficial due to their high levels of fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
Oats are most commonly eaten for breakfast as oatmeal, but they can be found in granola bars, cereals, and many other baked goods. Adding berries and nut butter to our oatmeal can be an excellent way to add even more vitamins and antioxidants
Each of these foods is high in micronutrients and macronutrients that have benefits for our health. By eating a varied diet, we can keep our bodies healthy and happy. To see more recipes using these superfoods and more, make sure to check out our Snack Science Video Series. Comment below to let us know how you’re incorporating superfoods into your meals!
One of the best ways to stay cool during the summer is by enjoying a cold and hydrating snack. What we eat directly impacts our health and ability to keep fresh in the heat. In our most recent blog, we provided tips to beat the heat. One of the ways we mention was by staying hydrated and enjoying cooling meals. Eating healthy and hydrating food during warm weather, when the body loses water and vital electrolytes through sweating, can help keep hydration levels up and provide essential nutrients. Here are some of our favorite nutritious recipes that are great for the summer months.
A fan favorite summertime treat is none other than the watermelon! Not only is watermelon tasty and filling. It is also 94% water and is excellent for preventing overheating. Due to its high water content, they can help us stay hydrated, which is essential if you plan on spending time outdoors.
Our Watermelon Pizza is a fun and refreshing take on the fruit. To make it use a sharp knife, cut off a slice of watermelon right down the middle, about 2-3 inches thick. Use a spatula to spread an even layer of yogurt around the watermelon, leaving a bit of empty space. Layer your fresh fruit on top as you please.
You can add as few or as many toppings as you like. We like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or cherries. If you use strawberries, cut them in half before adding to your "pizza." We recommend drizzling honey on it if you want a little extra sweetness. Pro tip: Using locally produced honey may help people with seasonal allergies.
Watch this HealthStart Snack Science video to make watermelon pizza with HealthStart Sharon!
Find the full recipe here.
Hummus is high in fiber that promotes digestive health and feeds your good gut bacteria. It is also a good source of plant-based protein so it will keep us feeling satisfied for longer, so we can focus on the day ahead. Carrots, cucumbers, and peppers are all full of vitamins and water.
Make your hummus cups by placing a few tablespoons of hummus at the bottom of a small container, then stand raw veggie sticks, like carrots, cucumbers, and peppers, in the hummus. Find the full recipe here.
Nothing says summer like a popsicle on a sunny day. These breakfast popsicles will satisfy any sweet tooth, and they are also nutritious. This treat is made with Greek yogurt, which has more protein and a thicker, creamier, and tangier flavor than regular yogurt. It also contains beneficial nutrients such as protein, calcium, potassium, and vitamin D.
Here's how you can make your own breakfast popsicles: first slice strawberries, blueberries, and kiwis into small pieces. Mix the cut fruit with yogurt. Pour the yogurt and fruit mixture into cups and pop them into the freezer. Don't forget to place a popsicle stick in the popsicle mixture before placing it in the freezer if you prefer eating the treat on a stick like a traditional popsicle. Once it's frozen, you can remove it from the cup and enjoy.
These popsicles aren't limited to the fruits we recommend. Each cup can be personalized with your own favorite fruit. Try mixing in granola for an added crunch.
Find the full recipe here.
Spinach Fruit Salad
Frozen desserts aren't the only snacks that can keep us cool during the summer heat. Vegetables also have high water content making salads a great source of water during the warmer months.
Leafy vegetables, like spinach, contain lots of water to help us stay hydrated, they also have properties that help boost our immune system. In fact, spinach is 91% water. It can help strengthen our bones, which is especially important for growing bodies, and it is rich in Vitamin K, which helps stabilize calcium in bones.
In a bowl, add fresh spinach, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple or peaches, walnuts, and red onions and toss it all together. In a small jar, stir together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to create the salad dressing. Gently mix the salad ingredients and the dressing, and then it's ready to enjoy. For exact measurement check out the full recipe.
Pumpkin Ice Cream
Ice cream tastes great when it's hot outside. Most at-home recipes for ice cream include some kind of dairy ingredient. Did you know you can make healthy and delicious ice cream without dairy by using frozen bananas? This banana-pumpkin recipe is perfect for those who want a frozen treat but can't have dairy. The pumpkin is also terrific for you because it is one of the best-known sources of beta carotene. Food with high amounts of beta carotene may help us by offering protection against asthma and heart disease.
Using a blender or food processor, blend the bananas, pumpkin, maple syrup, and pumpkin spice thoroughly. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for 24 hours. Let it rest on the counter for a while before eating to let it thaw so it will be easier to scoop
If you don't like pumpkin, you can substitute it with a cup of frozen berries to make a healthy berry ice cream. Find the full recipe here.
We hope these recipes keep you cool and comfortable. If you recreate any of the recipes, let us know by tagging us on any of our social media pages.
For more delicious recipes and tips for maintaining happy and healthy bodies, check out our Snack Science Video Series.
Summer is here in full force. July and August are usually the hottest months of the year. During the summer, we would normally be heading to movie theaters, hopping into pools, and dining in restaurants to escape the heat. With the closures of some indoor locations and social distancing concerns, many families have taken recreational activities outdoors.
Taking time to go outside and get vitamin D is proven beneficial for our mental health and immune system. However, extended time out in the heat can lead to some unintended issues.
What are some problems that severe heat might cause? Being outside and active in the heat can cause dehydration and increase our body’s internal temperature, leading to heat rash, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke. Thankfully there are some ways to stay cool this summer and beat this heat.
The past few months have had a huge impact on many of the families in our community. Due to COVID-19, many people have not been able to work because of recent closures and health concerns. Job loss has left some families struggling to make healthy and nutritious meals while sticking to their budgets.
Although it might seem impossible right now, it is incredibly important to look after our health. Maintaining a healthy diet is especially important because it keeps our immune system ready to fight infections and viruses. In the Health Education for Youngsters! Curriculum, we learn that for our bodies to stay healthy and strong, we need to eat whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Whole foods give us nutrients like antioxidants and Vitamin C, which are essential to boost your immune system. Because our bodies require a healthy balance of real food, ensuring we have all the nutrients we need is a top priority.
Making nutritious meals and prioritizing our health doesn’t have to be more expensive. To make eating healthy on a budget a little easier, we have made a 3 step guide with tips on what to do before, during, and after a trip to the grocery store. Let’s begin with some steps you can follow before going to the grocery store.
Many of us are experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety during this time. Our kids may feel stressed too. For many of us, when COVID-19 forced schools to move classes online, businesses to close down, and families and friends to “social distance,” the virus upended our lives.
Around this time of year, many kids would be attending summer camps, going on vacation, and visiting friends, but social distancing and closures of parks and recreational sites may make those things unavailable. Moreover, kids have seen and heard scary things about the virus.
All these changes may lead to an increase in stress levels in children. According to a Gallup Poll, nearly 3 in 10 (29%) parents say their child is “already experiencing harm” to their emotional or mental health because of social distancing and closures.
Things are not likely to return to normal anytime soon. Many schools are still trying to figure out what classes will look like in the fall. As schools prepare to resume, they want to support children’s social and emotional needs as they get used to a new normal.
Have you turned on the news to see protesters on your community streets? If so, your kids may questions. Young kids especially may have asked why people were holding signs or why they seemed angry or upset. The news reports on the protests demanding change have started to grab the attention of many people. If you haven't had a chance to talk with your kids so they can make sense of the current events, we offer some tips below for answering their questions and resources parents can use to start a conversation.
Guest Post by Jessica Lawernce
As I hear stories of districts’ dire need to balance a budget that is hurting and has been hurting for years and years, I hear that some might cut the one content area that not only could have prevented the widespread infection rates of COVID-19, but could have helped so many young people and adults cope, advocate, & access to keep themselves and loved ones safe… health education.
Many adults outside the education field still remember their health education experience as memorizing the bones of the body, or learning about the birds & the bees in binary male/female groupings. School administrators still stereotype health education as a thorn in their side with controversial topics such as addiction, suicide and sex education. This is not what current, quality health education is about anymore. In fact, if you haven’t viewed Andy Milne’s TEDx, This is Not Your Parent’s Health Class, watch it now! His message is delivered in three parts – an apology for many of the bad practices from health class, a message of hope from the direction in which todays health class is focused, and a plea for community members to embrace our students for their passion, vision and drive so that together we can improve the health of our community.