Monday, April 4, 2011

Guest Blog Post from the Green Parents Network

Chicago's Green Metropolis Fair April 16!

Chicago's Green Metropolis Fair on Saturday, April 16, at the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox, Chicago is a fun, inspiring event for conscious and curious individuals and families to celebrate Earth Month and spring! Jointly presented by the Green Parents Network, an online community of 2300+ families, and Chicago's Mindful Metropolis Magazine, the Fair will be open from 10-4 with both indoor and outdoor activities rain or shine.

Do you want to learn new ways to achieve and maintain a more sustainable lifestyle? There is lots going on at the Fair, including:

- Presentations on gardening, composting, bee keeping, and urban farming;

- an outdoor barnyard experience with live animals;

- Delicious, organic, and locally sourced food and drink available for purchase;

- 100+ earth friendly vendors.

- Special showings of the "Dirt! The Movie" and "Vanishing of the Bees"

Admission is free - a donation of a non-perishable food item is requested for a local food bank. There will be $5 admission to see the movies.

Chicago's Green Metropolis Fair

Saturday, April 16 - 10AM-4PM

Irish American Heritage Center

4626 N. Knox, Chicago, 60630

Plenty of free parking around the Center - conveniently located off 90/94, CTA Blue Line, and multiple bus routes.

The Green Metropolis Fair welcomes the support and collaboration of The Organic School Project - and we applaud and thank OSP for the good work they do every day to make sure our children grow up healthier and happier! Come see them April 16 at the Fair!

Mary Beth Rebedeau

Green Parents Network - Where 2300+ families meet online! /

Follow Us On Twitter - @GreenParentsNet!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Making Changes to Stay on School Menus?

Courtesy of BNET

Because of the new USDA nutrition standards for school lunches, food companies such as Schwan, Tyson, and Simplot, (big names that produce pizza, chicken nuggets, and french fries for schools), are feeling the squeeze.

They needed to regroup and reformulate their offerings in order to meet guidelines and be able to stay on school lunch menus. Below are some changes:

Schwan’s new improved pizzas contain about 230 less mg of sodium, 8 less grams of fat, 100 less calories, and 51% more whole grain.

Tyson is adding whole grain to their breading and cutting sodium levels. They are also promoting chicken options that are not nugget-esque and also meet USDA guidelines like their dark meat strips with spicy orange sauce, which has 490 mg of sodium, 6 grams of fat, and about 220 calories per serving.

Simplot is having a little more trouble though. The USDA suggests kids should only consume one cup of starchy vegetables a week because on average, kids consume about two, mostly in the form of fries. They’re arguing that most fries served now are oven baked, and calorie count is around 80 to 100 per serving. The USDA is limiting how much of the starchy stuff can be offered for lunch.

The only drawback to less sodium, fat and calories is that there is a loophole-sugar. Though the other categories have been slashed, sugar levels go up a little bit.

OK, so the changes aren’t ground breaking, but they are changes. Looking at the bigger picture, less sodium, fat, and calories is still an improvement. But I still think kids are better off bringing their own lunches; that way, parents can have a say in what kids eat. Maybe if junior could pick carrots or grape tomatoes from the home garden themselves, they’ll be more prone to eagerly eating them when lunch time finally arrives.

Read the original article from bnet here.