Thursday, June 3, 2010

NYC Business Spotlight: Red Rabbit

I have been working with an amazing food company called Red Rabbit.  They serve farm fresh breakfast, lunch, and snacks to schools all over New York City.  My older son was the recipient of these delicious meals at his old school and we sure do miss their healthy food.  If you wish your child's school served healthier food, check out their website and share the link with other parents and your school administrators.

Here is a link to their most recent newsletter.   Below you can find the text from their Newsletter Nutritional Update:

Nutritional Update from Red Rabbit
 Fat Facts for Kids You may have heard some news over the past few weeks that seems to turn the nutrition world on it's head. You may be confused about how to feed your kids, now that it seems that saturated fat is not as bad as previously believed. A new research study pooled data from 21 good-quality research studies examining the effect of saturated fat on heart disease. In this re-analysis, saturated fat was not found to be associated with an increased risk for heart disease.
Previous studies have similarly reported none or negative effects on heart disease when replacing saturated fat with other types of fat or carbohydrates. This is not the first study to find a lack of association between low saturated-fat diets and heart disease. However, it is attracting attention because the low saturated-fat recommendations, prevalent over the last number of decades, have led to parents altering the way they feed their children in ways that may not be necessary or beneficial:
  • The saturated fat scare led parents to switch from using butter to using margarine, and also to replace fat with carbohydrates in order to eat a lower-fat diet. Research now shows that these changes may lead to higher rates of heart disease later in life since they can increase triglyceride and "bad" cholesterol (LDL levels), while also lowering "good" cholesterol (HDL levels).
  • Children on low-fat diets might be hungrier because fat helps them feel full. The low-fat diet often leads to eating too many total calories, which can cause excess weight gain.
  • Parents and children start to fear fat in foods (and on their hips), which depending on their age can have detrimental effects on growth and development. Children between 1-3 years old require 30-40% of their diet to come from fat; children between 4-18 years old require 25-35% of their diet to come from fat. This has been shown to keep triglyceride and HDL levels in a healthy range, and support healthy brain growth.
Red Rabbit's philosophy encourages growing healthy relationships with food by using lots of real food - fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and whole grains like oatmeal and barley. So at home, if you haven't already, you should try to incorporate these foods into your diets. Healthy sources of fat such as olives and olive oil, avocado, nuts and nut oils, and fruit/vegetable oils such as canola, palm and coconut oil, can be used for dressings, stir-fry's, toppings, cooking, and baking to add nutritional value, taste, and satiety. When eaten along with a healthy diet, meat, fish, and dairy products are an excellent way to add taste and nutrients into your child's diet.

When children grow up eating processed foods, they may not acquire a taste for the more complex tastes in these whole foods. Avoid using low-fat processed food and snacks and offer real food for meals and snacks instead. A healthy diet that includes whole foods can provide the appropriate balance between carbohydrates, fats, and protein to keep your child healthy and strong.

Here are a couple of helpful resources on the subject. To read more about the research behind low-fat diets, take a look at Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. For a quick read about 

how to incorporate whole foods into your diet, check our Food Rules by Michael Pollan.

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage)Food Rules: An Eater's Manual 

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