Archive for the ‘Childhood Obesity’ Category

The Blend Was a Hit at the School Nutrition Annual Conference

Over the past year the mushroom industry, food service directors and meat processors have been hard at work hoping to bring The Blend to the forefront. The outcome of these efforts were obvious at this year’s School Nutrition Conference, and Council Representative Kathleen Pries, was there to share all the benefits of blending with knowledge seeking directors.

The energy, excitement and enthusiasm at the SNA ANC in Boston, Massachusetts last week was palpable. School food service directors from across the nation were eager to visit the Mushroom Council booth to learn about fresh mushrooms and blending.

Located in the United Fresh Pavilion, the Mushroom Council had the opportunity to work with other likeminded exhibitors to bring school foodservice directors real solutions to increase fresh produce consumption in schools. The Fresh Produce Pavilion showcased a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available to schools, as well as highlighted the produce industry’s commitment to helping schools meet the new fruit and vegetable requirements for school lunch/breakfast.  With the new “Smart Snacks in Schools” requirements going into effect, and continuing media attention on healthier school meals, it is more important than ever that the fresh produce industry be fully engaged with schools.

To demonstrate how meatless options can be just as tasty, and how The Blend can enhance school meals, we sampled Spicy Mushroom Meatballs, Mushroom Blended Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties, and Meatless Portabella Cheesesteaks. Attendees were thrilled to hear student’s favorite meals can be made healthier without losing taste, volume or texture. But we weren’t the only ones showing off blending, three additional companies showed mushroom blended products totaling 11 products on the show floor for school foodservice directors to sample and add to their menu.

The presence of mushroom blending at this year’s School Nutrition Association Conference was especially important given the current debate on regulating nutrition requirements in the school lunch program.  Concepts like The Blend demonstrate that districts can serve healthier versions of foods kids love without sacrificing taste or acceptance.  The acceptance with districts, processors and industry influencers of mushroom blending is a huge opportunity to continue to improve student lunches.

We at the Mushroom Council are tremendously lucky to be included in the groundbreaking group of individuals and organizations that form the School Nutrition Association. We would like to thank everyone at the conference for a truly memorable week!

Simple Solution. Extraordinary Possibilities.

PHA Summit, Mushroom Council

Mushroom Council Chair, Fletcher Street, stands alongside Lawrence A. Soler, CEO of Partnership for a Healthier America, during PHA Summit on Friday, March 8th. 

Every day, multiple times a day, families across the country are pulling out bowls and plates, forks and knives as part of an iconic routine: mealtime. Lately, the ultimate challenge is defining a place for the flavors we love with the nutrients we need. At the Mushroom Council, we say the phrase, “The trend is to blend” to recognize how mushrooms marry delicious and nutritious food.

This is why the Mushroom Council is bringing more vegetables to the plates of American families through a formal multi-year commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA).

Veggies often fall victim to the myth that if something is good for you, it must not taste good. But mushrooms can help you create better-for-you meals that your family will love. Challenge common notions with these three quick and easy creative solutions.

1) Challenge: My kids refuse to eat anything with veggies.

Solution: Getting kids to eat vegetables can be a lofty endeavor. The best way to help them adapt something new is by serving it in a familiar way. Blending mushrooms with meat is a simple and easy way to introduce the entire family to mushrooms, in dishes they already love and eat. From family meals to school lunches and restaurant entrees, the Council is working to bring this mushroom and meat blend to plates across the nation.

2) Challenge: I don’t have time for meal prep.

Solution: The beauty of working with mushrooms is that they can easily added to the meals you’re already making. Love omelets? Start tossing in mushrooms. Craving a burger? Try mixing mushrooms into the patty or swap it for a meaty portabella. Mushrooms’ versatility and rich umami flavor make them a perfect and simple addition to family favorites. Just add nutrient-rich mushrooms to the meals you’re already making and get extra vegetables for fewer calories in the process. Bonus Tip: Sautéed mushrooms can last for a month in the freezer – ready to be tossed into any meal.

3) Challenge: I’m tired of the same flavors and recipes.

Solution: Check out how the Partnership for a Healthier America, Let’s Move!, USDA’s MyPlate and the nation’s top recipe creators have come together on Pinterest to offer hundreds of tasty recipes to anyone looking for healthier meals. Also, find recipes on Mushroom Channel Pinterest account for breakfast, dinner, appetizers and everything in between, with new flavor opportunities in every pin.

Stay tuned to The Mushroom Channel in 2013 and join us as we continue to seek new ways to get mushrooms on plates across the country.

Being a Role Model for Good Health

As a parent, you want to instill healthy lifestyle habits in your children early on. Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D. suggests some great tips for helping yourself and your children to good health.

Moms encourage their children to finish their milk, eat their veggies, and stay away from too many cookies and chips.

If you’re a mother, it may seem like your admonitions to eat better fall on deaf ears, but research and personal experience say otherwise. As it turns out, mothers possess the power of persuasion in more ways than one, especially when it comes to influencing what their daughters eat.

My mother often jokes that my grandmother, who arrived in the U.S. from Italy at the age of 17, was the original dietitian in the family. “Nana” didn’t have all the scientific facts and figures about food that I often spout to my children, but she did have the right idea about preparing balanced meals. She passed that knowledge on to her daughter.

My mother worked full-time outside of the home, yet resisted the temptation to serve us processed foods for meals and snacks. She was raised on the idea that a balance of colors on the plate made for a healthier meal. In a way, she was right: brightly colored vegetables, such as carrots, contain different beneficial compounds than paler produce, such as mushrooms, yet both vegetables are equally good for you.

Don’t get me wrong: We didn’t eat perfectly. My family’s love of bread and desserts (my brothers, parents, and I often overate), created weight control challenges for all of us.

While my mother struggled with her weight, she never strayed from serving healthy, balanced meals. That’s noteworthy, since moms who constantly diet influence their daughters to think about dieting, possibly leading to disordered eating.

As the mother of three girls, I can see how strongly daughters identify with their moms, and how actions speak louder than words. I’m like my mother in that I am nearly militant about family meals. We eat together as often as possible.



The meal may be as simple as take-out pizza, salad, and fruit. That’s okay, because family meals need not be elaborate to be effective: Studies show that the more often you eat together, the greater the chance of consuming fruits and vegetables, whole grains, calcium-rich foods, such as milk, and fewer soft drinks.

Being a mom is no small feat. You serve as a role model for healthy eating and an active, healthy lifestyle, and you support your child in doing the same. Mothering can be exhausting, but it’s important to remember you don’t need to feed your family perfectly every day. Do the best you can and you’ll be paying it forward by passing on the healthiest lifestyle possible to your children, and beyond.

Here are tips for helping yourself and your child to good health:

  • Eat the healthy foods and drink the beverages (water, low-fat milk, and 100% juices) that you want your children to consume. For example, research shows a mom’s own milk drinking habit is linked to more milk and fewer sugary drinks in her child’s diet.
  • Make every effort to have family meals at home and serve as a healthy role model. Keep those meals full of enjoyment and free of criticism.
  • Exercise together (take a walk, bike ride or do yard work) and exercise independently to serve as active role models.
  • Avoid pressure or restrictive feeding practices at mealtime. Pressuring, cajoling, and threatening will not get kids to favor healthier foods in the long run, and the opposite may occur.
  • Engage in healthy lifestyle changes to address a healthy weight, rather than restrictive, unhealthy diets.


How do you encourage your children to lead a healthy lifestyle?


The Mushroom Council and Partnership for a Healthier America

When we think about kids, food and nutrition, one topic comes to mind lately: childhood obesity. According to the CDC, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled over the past three decades, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. It’s a serious problem that calls for serious efforts from our government, food companies, corporations and ourselves to solve.

Today the Mushroom Council is proud to announce that we’ve joined with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) as a key sponsor of the inaugural “Building a Healthier Future” Summit and true partner in PHA’s mission to end childhood obesity.

We are involved for one simple reason – we believe mushrooms can be part of the solution to improve the health of children and families across the country. Our mushroom growers are proud to help families put healthy foods on their tables, offering low-calorie, nutrient-rich produce that can easily be added to their favorite meals. One easy example: replace some of the higher-calorie items in a recipe with finely diced mushrooms to help cut calories in dishes like burgers, tacos, spaghetti or sloppy Joes.

Highlighting all of the reasons and ways our loyal fans have come to love mushrooms, we’re bringing mushrooms’ outstanding nutritional benefits and meaty, satisfying texture straight to Washington for the inaugural summit, November 29-30. We’ll be dishing up some of our favorite mushroom recipes for more than 600 like-minded attendees. Guests of the event represent foundations, advocacy groups and businesses committed to finding solutions to childhood obesity from every angle, as part of the larger hope to end this crisis within a generation. Stay tuned to the Channel for more updates from the event!