Students’ Culinary Outlook Blossoms at Botanical Garden

by NEISD Media Team
February 28, 2018

North East ISD’s health and wellness student leaders jumped on a bus and headed to San Antonio’s own Botanical Garden on Feb. 28. The student team is part of K-SHAC or the Kids School Health Advisory Committee, led by Rachel Naylor, director of physical education and health at NEISD. The visit served as a great opportunity for the students to learn about gardening and horticulture, and the importance of incorporating that knowledge in the kitchen.

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Go Further With Food

By: Tori Parsons, Dietetic Intern, Texas A&M University
Reviewed by: Katy Bowen, MS, RDN, LD, Director of Community Outreach, CHEF

March is National Nutrition Month! Every year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses on a central message that encourages everyone to make positive changes toward a healthy lifestyle. The theme for 2018 is Go Further with Food. It reminds us that the food we choose is not only an opportunity to benefit our health, but also to save money and reduce our food waste.

Here are some key tips to Go Further with Food:

  • Eat a variety. Include sources from all food groups regularly throughout the week to be sure you are eating all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.
  • Be mindful. Eat and drink the right portion sizes for your body. This will not only help you maintain a healthy weight, but will also help you stretch your dollar and save money!
  • Plan ahead. Before grocery shopping, check your refrigerator for food you already have on hand. Buy only enough that you plan to eat or freeze within the next few days to prevent spoilage and reduce food waste.
  • Stay active. Food fuels our bodies with the energy we need to live a fit, active lifestyle. Find physical activity you enjoy to move your body each day!

What can you do to “Go Further with Food”? What healthy change can you make today to benefit your health, wallet, or reduce food waste?

Does Eating Seasonally Matter?

By: Kristen Keith, Dietetic Intern at the University of Texas at San Antonio
Reviewed by: Celina Paras, MSc, RDN, LD

What does in-season mean? The seasons (think fall, winter, spring, and summer) essentially determine when a plant can grow its best. Have you ever wondered why you don’t see very many watermelons during the winter months, but they seem to be everywhere during the summer? In Texas, watermelons grow their best between May and early winter; making them highly available during these months1.

Benefits of eating in-season produce:

  • Eating certain foods during “their season” can ensure you get the maximum amount of flavor from your food.
  • Fruits and vegetables that are currently in-season are usually cheaper during those times of the year. Although we can import peaches into Texas when they aren’t in-season locally, they are usually higher in price. Contrastingly, when Texas is producing peaches (think the summer months into September), they can be found at significantly reduced prices in your grocery store. Buying in-season produce will ensure that your grocery bill stays low.
  • You can even impact your environment by choosing local, in-season foods. Because we don’t have to transport, refrigerate, freeze, or package them as extensively, we save on energy and fuel (both impact our planet!).
  • Variety is another reason eating in-season produce is beneficial. Because we are aware of what is available, we might be tempted to try something new. Every fresh produce item offers its own unique set of nutritional benefits. We can often find ourselves in a rut; only eating certain foods and certain combinations. By exposing ourselves to the local farmers markets, we can increase the nutritional and taste value of our meals through variety.

How can we stay up-to-date on the locally available produce?

  • Your local grocery store: ask an employee what their local produce is for the week or the season. You can even ask them what they think will be going on sale in the future.
  • Local Farmer’s Markets: While you’re there picking up some fresh fruits and vegetables, you can ask the farmer what he or she is currently planting or harvesting.
  • Newspaper Events Section
  • Helpful websites:
  • Going on a trip or planning to move? Different plants may be in season in your new area. Inquire online and around town to determine what produce is now in-season.



Celina Parás Recognized as Young Dietitian of the Year

Congratulations to CHEF Dietitian, Celina Parás, for being awarded the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year by Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics! Celina, a Registered Dietitian and Certified Texas Educator, has a passion for child nutrition and culinary medicine. She does a phenomenal job teaching CHEF at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio where she helps patients make the connection between food and health.

Heart Smart Cooking

by Katy Bowen, MS, RDN, LD
Director of Community Outreach, CHEF

February is Heart Health Month and what a better way to celebrate than to get in the kitchen and cook something healthy and fun! The key to heart healthy cooking is to use plenty of fruits and vegetables, while limiting ingredients that are high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, are high in fiber, which can lower cholesterol and help decrease your risk for heart disease. Here are some helpful tips for heart smart cooking:

  • Add vegetables, such as bell peppers, to mixed dishes to add flavor without adding salt.
  • Use low-fat or fat free dairy products.
  • Make your own salad dressings with heart healthy olive oil, garlic, fresh or dried herbs, and white wine vinegar.
  • Choose leaner cuts of meat or trim excess fat.
  • Use light meat poultry (breast) instead of dark meat, which is much fattier.
  • Put your salt shaker in your kitchen cabinet instead of next to the stove so you are less likely to add salt. Reducing salt intake can help lower your blood pressure.
  • Eat more fish. Fish contain heart healthy fats known as omega-3s. Eating one to two servings of fish per week can significantly decrease your risk of dying from a heart attack.

Our Roasted Salmon with Pistachio-Oat Crust is full of heart healthy fats. Combined with our Roasted Root Veggies with Parsley, you’ve got yourself a Heart Month worthy meal!

CHEF named winner of the 2018 Innovation Award for Healthcare Provider Training and Education

We are honored to announce that CHEF was named the winner of the 2018 Innovation Award for Healthcare Provider Training and Education by The Alliance for a Healthier Generation! Check out the link below to learn more about how we, in partnership with The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, are making a difference in our community.

Read full news release from The Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Read Interview with Suzanne Mead Feldmann, Chief Executive Officer of Culinary Health Education for Families