National Food Day is Friday, October 24 -- a day to celebrate not just food, but REAL food! Ideally, we get to enjoy all the benefits of REAL food every day; however, given how crazy busy our lives are these days, it's nice to have a day to step back and celebrate the great-tasting, nutritious, affordable food that local producers, restaurants and others make available to us!
What is National Food Day? Food Day is designed to unite us in a vision of food that is healthy, affordable, and produced with care for the environment, farm animals, and the people who grow, harvest, and serve it. Across the country, more than 4,700 events took place in 2013, up from 3,200 in 2012. There were community festivals in Denver, Savannah, and New York City; a national conference in Washington, DC; a 100-mile meal in Salt Lake City (with all ingredients sourced within 100 miles), plus thousands of school activities in Portland, Minneapolis, and all over the United States. These events included corporate wellness programs, community cooking classes, schools planting vegetable gardens, and other great events. Wichita hosted The Great Vegetable Soup Showdown at City Arts in Old Town in 2013, which was won by the team at Garden Grill Café.
Food Day 2014 in Wichita! In celebration of National Food Day on October 24th, The Wichita Health and Wellness Coalition, in collaboration with the Sedgwick County Health Department, is promoting a “Flip Your Fridge” Selfie Contest! Tell your friends, family, students, and co-workers -- anyone in the community can participate! To be entered into a drawing to win a FREE gift card to a local grocery store, post a “selfie” with your “flipped fridge” to http://www.facebook.com/fitWichita by October 26th!
So, how do you Flip Your Fridge? Here are a few easy steps to get started! If nothing else, this is a great opportunity to clean out the fridge (if you are like us, this sometimes doesn't happen as often as it should)!
- Easy to see, easy to choose! Place healthy snacks such as fruits, ready-to-eat veggies, hummus, yogurt and string cheese at eye level and in clear containers so you know what's inside!
- Make it snack-ready! Spend a little time washing and cutting up produce ahead of time so it's ready to grab when hunger strikes!
- Out of sight, out of mind! Keep the less healthy items in the back of the fridge or tucked away in the drawer so they won't be the first choice to grab. Better yet, remove unhealthy options altogether -- you can't be tempted if they're not available!
- Be food-safety minded: keep raw meat in the bottom section or bottom drawers of your refrigerator…this prevents their juices from contaminating other items in the fridge.
- Re-think your drink! Best options are water, seltzer water, unsweetened tea and milk as your thirst quenchers!
Does your pantry need a makeover too? The pantry is sometimes the snack stop before the fridge. Try to keep healthy options available there too! If you are looking for some help with the pantry, check out this link for Extreme Home Makeover: Pantry Edition, https://eatrealamerica.com/2013/10/extreme-home-makeover-pantry-edition/.
One of the biggest challenges to eating healthy is snacking. As you renovate and restock your fridge and pantry, here are some healthy (REAL food) snack ideas:
- Roasted nuts and seeds – you can include a little honey, maple syrup, herbs and spices! Check out our recipe for Spiced Mixed Nuts at https://eatrealamerica.com/recipes/spiced-mixed-nuts/.
- Smoothies: as simple as adding frozen strawberries, a banana, and milk to a blender. Mix it up with your favorite fruits! Delicious quick breakfast too!
- Dips with veggies: hummus is a great option…and serving great-tasting dips is a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies! Check out a yummy recipe for Avocado Hummus at https://eatrealamerica.com/recipes/avocado-hummus/!
- Fruit and cheese kabobs: everything is more fun eaten on a stick! Use strawberries, grapes, cheese cubes, etc.
- Yogurt, fruit, and granola parfaits: plain yogurt (Greek yogurt is a great option), your favorite fruit, and top with granola – YUM! For a great Fall-inspired granola recipe, go to https://eatrealamerica.com/recipes/pumpkin-spice-granola/.
- Yogurt popsicles: simply blend plain yogurt with your favorite fruit (add a little honey if you want), and freeze. You can make mini popsicles in an ice try with toothpick or pretzel stick handles!
- Air-popped popcorn: fantastic alternative to packaged popcorn – just add a little olive oil and sea salt! You can also jazz it up by adding cinnamon, drizzling melted dark chocolate or adding your favorite nuts: https://eatrealamerica.com/recipes/dark-chocolate-drizzled-popcorn/.
- Homemade energy bars – we have a great recipe for Peanut Butter Protein Bars (shared by a Get REAL Wichita member) at https://eatrealamerica.com/recipes/peanut-butter-protein-bars/– add your favorite nuts or better yet, dark chocolate chips!
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Apple…or apple slices with natural peanut butter or other nut butter
- Fresh pineapple or better yet, pineapple salsa
- Oranges or other in-season fruits
- Ants on a log: celery, peanut butter and raisins
- Trail mix
(For a complete healthy snack idea list, check out our Get REAL Wichita blog at https://eatrealamerica.com/2014/02/whats-plan/).
If you can, do ONE thing to celebrate National Food Day! Whether you "Flip Your Fridge", or enjoy a great meal with family and friends -- just remember to enjoy REAL food! Please share -- we would love to hear your ideas for Food Day this year or future Food Days! You can find additional tips, meal ideas and resources at www.eatrealamerica.com or www.hwcwichita.org!