CCF Newsletter - Spring 2010

Spotlight on…Devin Alexander

The New York Times best-selling author Devin Alexander is a veteran in the fight against obesity, and she’s winning the war with her unique approach to healthy cooking. Having maintained a 55-pound weight loss for more than 15 years, she lives and eats her message: You don’t have to deprive yourself to be fit and healthy.

Devin is the host of “Healthy Decadence with Devin Alexander” on Fit.Tv and the author of The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook (Rodale, 2009), The Most Decadent Diet Ever! (Broadway, 2008), The Biggest Loser Cookbook (Rodale, 2006) and Fast Food Fix (Rodale, 2006). Plus, she's written more than 200 food-related articles in Prevention, Women’s Health, Shape, Clean Eating, Men’s Fitness, Delicious Living, et al.

Devin has appeared frequently on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “The View,” “The Biggest Loser,” as well as on hundreds of major morning shows across the country. She is a spokeschef and consultant for numerous major U.S. food and health-related corporations, and she keynotes and lectures regularly.

Devin spent nine years as the owner and executive chef of Cafe Renee Catering in Los Angeles, which specialized in cooking lower-fat, high-flavor, scrumptious cuisine that tantalized even the pickiest of eaters. She’s catered more than 600 parties and events, including regular parties for Reba McEntire and The American Cancer Society’s Celebrity Casino Event. Plus, she acted as an assistant teacher at the Westlake Culinary Institute, where she worked alongside chefs including the late Julia Child, Paul Prudhomme, Graham Kerr, and Martin Yan.

Devin received her Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Smith College, followed by her Professional Chef Certification from the Westlake Culinary Institute. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and she recently initiated a partnership with Boys and Girls Club of America called “Kitchen Butterflies…Transforming Lives Through Cooking.”

Healthy Kids

by Nancy Berkoff, RD, Ed.D., CCE

More and more parents are asking for vegetarian and healthy foods for their children, in schools, child care centers and recreational programs. It’s often not feasible to prepare a variety of snacks, as preparation space is limited and time is short. The solution is to offer snacks that appeal to all kids.

Kids are kids, and they all enjoy crunchy, colorful, smooth and tasty snacks. Snacks need to be based on the other meals you serve, so that all the nutritional bases are covered. For example, if breakfast is oatmeal, raisins and bananas and lunch is hummus, pita and carrot and celery sticks, then the snack should have some vitamin C (which is lacking in this otherwise nutritious menu). Think about orange smiles (orange wedges) served with a strawberry dipping sauce (puree frozen, thawed strawberries with a bit of orange juice concentrate). Or cut up three different colors of bell peppers (loaded with C) and serve with bite-size shredded wheat or whole-grain crackers.

The more participation, the more kids will enjoy snack time. Let them build “pebbles on a log” by stuffing celery with peanut butter or soy cream cheese and sprinkling raisins, chopped dates or dried cranberries on top. Dipping is always fun. Dips can include peanut, soy or almond butter, soy cream cheese or sour cream, blended tofu (especially the flavored variety), mashed avocado and various flavors of hummus. Sweet dips can be made by pureeing bananas with fresh or frozen fruit, or by using soy yogurt or soy cream cheese. Good “dip sticks” can include cut up carrots, celery, peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers and pita wedges, bread sticks, pretzels, crackers and apple or pear sections.

If you’re looking for a hot snack, try macaroni tossed with tomato sauce (you can make it “creamy” by mixing in some silken tofu or soy sour cream), small pieces of baked white potato or sweet potato or small portions of veggie hot dogs or burgers on whole-wheat buns. If the kids are old enough, cook up some fresh or frozen corn on the cob for a quick snack.

Make up a “house blend” of crunchy snack by mixing several types of cold cereals (look for whole-grain, no-sugar varieties), pretzel pieces and smashed cookies with dried fruit. For a sweet snack, keep sorbet on hand. You can serve it in cones or topped with chopped fruit. Fruit salad, made with a combination of fresh, frozen and canned fruits, are fast to make, as are romaine or spinach salads topped with croutons.

Pretty soon, you’ll find you won’t be thinking about “veggie” snacks at all! If a parent has requested a “healthy” party for a child’s birthday or special event, don’t envision a group of listless kids picking aimlessly at dry popcorn and brown apple slices. Veggie children’s parties are easy to do. Bring on the crispy, crunchy finger foods and the cool desserts. Depending on the setting, you may be able to get children involved with the preparation, from mixing dips to filling snack bags to creating desserts.

One particularly popular preschool treat was the creation of a “beagle pear.” On a bed of shredded lettuce, invert a pear half; use prune or plum halves for ears, raisins for eyes and a grape for the nose. We couldn’t decide if the kids had more fun making them or eating them.

A favorite dessert is a dessert “club.” You’ll need cookies, such as graham crackers, with a flat surface, softened sherbet and peanut butter that has been combined with granola (the stickier, the better). Assemble the club by placing the first cookie on a dessert plate, top with sherbet, add a layer of peanut butter, and put on a second layer of sherbet and top with a second cookie. These can be made ahead of time and frozen (be sure to wrap them, as they will absorb freezer flavors). Kids can help assemble these (and they’ll have fun doing it!).


Menu Ideas for Teenagers

Teenagers may still have the same tastes as younger children, may have moved to more adult selections or may be on a weird planet all their own. We won’t even attempt to solve adolescent angst, but we can give some ideas.

The All-American Fifties Theme

Snacks: pretzels, potato and veggie chips (buy them or slice potatoes and carrots thinly, bake off in the oven; use seasonings, such as chili or onion powder, if you think your troops will like them), fresh veggie sticks (carrots, celery, zucchini, jicama, cherry tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers) and dips, popcorn

Beverages: low-calorie root beer floats (use vanilla or chocolate soy or rice ice cream), fruit punch (color it weird colors, such as blue or purple), assorted sparkling waters, lemonade

Entrées: veggie pizza (pile on the tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, onions), veggie burgers and veggie dogs (remember the condiments: include relish, catsup, veggie mayo, onions, etc.), foot-long (or longer) subs with a base of substitute meats and vegan cheese and heaped with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and green peppers, shredded lettuce and carrots and onions

Sides: baked french-fries, tossed salad, cole slaw, macaroni salad

Dessert: frozen soy/ rice ice cream or sorbet sundaes (have chopped fruit, nuts and vegan whipped topping available), watermelon wedges

Mama mia, ‘atta’ gooda party food

Snacks: pizza-flavored veggie chips, assorted olives, pickles, mini-bagel or muffin pizzas

Beverages: assorted sparkling waters, lemonade, sparkling apple or grape juice

Entrées: veggie lasagna, rotini with marinara sauce, assorted ravioli Sides: garlic breadsticks, tossed salad

Dessert: Neapolitan soy or rice ice cream (vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream combo) with chocolate sauce and chopped pistachios, melon balls

Make mine spicy!

Snacks: tortillas and veggie chips with salsa and guacamole

Beverages: iced fruit drinks, horchatas (rice and fruit drinks which can be made by combining rice milk, raspberry or strawberry syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon), virgin margaritas (fruit slushes with margarita mix, hold the tequila)

Entrées: veggie tacos and/or burritos with black bean and red chili sauce, four-bean chili (include chopped onions, chopped chilies, chopped bell peppers, chopped fresh cilantro and shredded vegan soy cheese on the side)

Sides: steamed and Spanish rice, mini corn cobs (cut corn cobs into 3 inch lengths or purchase, frozen, already cut) dusted with chili powder and garlic, steamed tortillas, green salad (to cool off some of the heat)

Desserts: fruit smoothies, fresh berries, peanut butter cookies

Join Us at the ACF Regional Conferences

Nutrition Seminars

Be sure to join us for the Nutrition seminars at the ACF Regional Confences presented in partnership with the Chef & Child Foundation. Details on the seminars will be on the Web site as they become available.

Taste Success: 2010 ACF Events Series Northeast Regional Conference - Monday, March 15
Central Regional Conference - Sunday, March 28
Southeast Regional Conference - Monday, April 26

Here’s a taste of the seminars at the Northeast Regional Conference, Monday, March 15:

The Ideal Plate: Confused about what to eat or how to put together simple, balanced meals? Learn how to create the healthiest plate possible. Discover ways to create a plate that dazzles your palate while simultaneously creating blood sugar stability, hormonal balance, and a healthy mind, body and spirit. Learn how food that’s loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can soothe the senses and taste great. Presented by: Deborah Coulston, M.A., M.A.T.S., L.M.F.T, Counseling & Psychological Services, The Family Wellness Center at Briarsdale

Look At Your Recipes Through Different Eyes: In this presentation, ingredient substitutions and healthful cooking techniques will be reviewed. What defines a healthy meal will be discussed along with alternative menu suggestions for fat, sugar, sodium and other items. Participate in recipe modifications and show your knowledge with a recipe substitutions quiz. Presented by: Lynn Pike, CEC, CCE, and John A. Kapusta, Jr., CEC, CCE, Chef Instructors, IUP Academy of Culinary Arts

Balancing the Plate: When Less Is More: This seminar will examine portion distortion and the increases of portion size over the years. We will explore calories per bite versus portion reduction, energy density (volumetrics) and identify aspects of the New American Plate. In addition, the seminar will feature concepts for developing vegetarian dishes that downsize the animal food content and upsize the plant food content. Presented by: Dr. Margaret D. Condrasky, Ed.D., RD, CCE, Associate Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Clemson University

Superfoods: Myths and Realities: Judith L. Dodd MS, RD, LDN, Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition. The description will be listed on the Web site soon.

Clemson University Partnership

CU Chefs The ACF Chef & Child Foundation and Clemson University partnership has been renewed for an additional year. We will continue to offer a series of monthly culinary nutrition-focused articles to bridge the nutrition gap for chefs by providing up-to-date research and nutrition-related information.

In addition, Clemson University will conduct research and reviews for new item ingredients articles, as well as provide input for the Nutrition Refresher guides. It will continue to conduct focus groups and online surveys to further expand our knowledge regarding chefs’ knowledge and topics of interest.

Culinary Nutrition News

ACF Chef & Child Foundation and Clemson University aim to combat the rise in rates of obesity and chronic diseases associated with poor diet behavior. Culinary nutrition is the integration of culinary skills and nutrition knowledge to create an innovative outlook on food prepared with culinary confidence and nutrition alertness. These monthly articles will better serve and equip chefs nationwide with the needed knowledge and resources so they can promote culinary nutrition awareness in the United States.

Culinary Nutrition News articles are free and available for download the first Monday of each month. Read the February article, Balancing the Plate from the Less-is-More Perspective," now.

Local Chapter Corner

Please e-mail us to let us know what type of awareness you generated in your community. Please include any details or photos that we can feature on the Web site to show the impact of the activities. Find out what local chapters are doing in their communities. More.

Programs and Tools

That's Fresh - Kids 
Cooking Teams [PDF]

Need an idea for an awareness activity to implement in your community? The That’s Fresh Kids Cooking program has recently been rewritten and is now available for download. Hit a Homerun for Nutrition is also available as an easy nutritional project that kids really enjoy.

Check out the Programs section on our Web site for more information.

Support Our Mission

Chef & Child Foundation relies on the support of generous sponsors and donors to continue to fulfill its mission “to educate children and families in understanding proper nutrition through community-based initiatives led by American Culinary Federation chef members and to be the voice of the culinary industry in its fight against childhood hunger, malnutrition and obesity.”

Donate online, by calling (800) 624-9458, ext. 102, or by mailing a check to Chef & Child Foundation, 180 Center Place Way, St. Augustine, FL 32095.

Chef & Child Foundation Logo Meet the Chef & Child Foundation Board

  • Elizabeth Mikesell, CEC, AAC, Chairwoman
  • Phil Cragg, CEC, CCE, AAC, Communication
  • Brad Everett, Education
  • Ira Fingerman, Fundraising
  • Jean Hull, CCE, AAC, Liaison
  • Lynn Krause, CEPC, AAC, Central Region Chair
  • D’Aun Carrell, Central Region Co-Chair
  • Phil Cragg, CEC, CCE, AAC, Northeast Region Chair
  • Kyle Shadix, CCC, MS, RD, Northeast Region Co-Chair
  • John Maxwell, CCE, CEC, AAC, Southeast Region Chair
  • Malika Robins, CEC, FMP, Southeast Region Co-Chair
  • Patti Curfman, CEC, CEPC, AAC, Western Region Chair
  • Joe Eidem, CEC, AAC, Western Region Co-Chair