Red Rabbit - Farm Fresh Meals for Healthy Kids

Red Rabbit Newsletter Vol. 2 - April 2010
Spring's Bounty
In This Issue
From Farm to Table
A Preview of our 1st Gardening Lab
Nutritional Update
Quick Links
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While you were on break, we were working in our kitchen to come up with something new to add to our Spring menu. We found sugar snap peas to be our greatest friend and ally and bountiful this season. We were also preparing new activities for our 1st Gardening Lab so students can continue learning about food sources and their relationship to the food they eat.

We also came across important research on fat in kid's diets we thought would be helpful. Remember, as long as the sources of fat are healthy and wholesome, we should not fear them anymore!

From Farm to Table
 Sugar Snap Peas

Spring is here, which means the first vegetable harvest has arrived at the farmer's market. Here at Red Rabbit our seasonal menu will feature local sugar snap peas two ways; raw and in stir-fry. Try these crunchy, sweet, succulent pods raw with a side of yogurt & feta dip (combine 1 cup plain yogurt or Greek style and 1/3 cup feta with a pinch of fresh ground black pepper, garnish with mint). Serve as an after school snack and watch them disappear.

Peas (legumes) offer many nutritional benefits including high protein, high fiber and low fat. Snap peas particularly are high in folic acid, vitamin A & C and iron. When buying, look for fresh stems and choose crisp pods with a bright green color. Snap peas are best kept in the refrigerator for a few days and will spoil if left out at room temperature.

Remember you can eat these peas whole, pods and all - little waste, big on taste!

A Preview of our 1st Gardening Lab
 Churchill School & Center

Red Rabbit does more than cater healthy food to schools. We also connect students to different food sources through our recently launched Red Rabbit Gardening Labs. In the garden, our goal is to provide schools with much needed resources and volunteer support so they can help expose kids to a wide variety of sustainable topics. At the root of it, we believe that kids learn best when they are involved in the learning process.

Our first Garden Lab launched in February 2010 at Churchill School & Center. The school's preexisting garden and greenhouse serve as the home base for our weekly classes led by Jennifer Kozubek from Pace University and Kristine Morales from Hunter College. Both student volunteers serve as Education and Nutrition Advisers by assist teaching the 7th grade life science classes in topics such as soil investigation, planting, cooking and nutrition.

Students begin with soil and compost activities to understand the potential impact of their waste and to explore the beginning and end of the nutrient cycle which are essential to making healthy food. They participate in gardening activities to get their hands dirty and create a tangible connection to growing food. Students take trips to GrowNYC's Greenmarkets and learn to cook delicious, healthy snacks that in-turn connect them to their local farming community. 

We are excited to use the experience at Churchill School & Center as an example of what can be done at other schools! We are currently looking for candidates to help us build our second Garden Lab for the Fall of 2010. If you are interested, please send us an e-mail at with details about your school and why you think we should help build your Garden Lab.

Nutritional Update
 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.
We are always looking for ways to enhance our offering and welcome all your questions, comments and suggestions - just drop us a line at or call 1-866-MYREDRABBIT anytime.
The Red Rabbit Team
Red Rabbit
Phone: (866) 697-3372

Our newsletter is not a substitute for medical advice. Red Rabbit does not recommend particular treatment for specific individuals and in all cases recommends that you consult your physician or registered dietitian before pursuing any course of treatment.