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ice cream is not for breakfast

feeding your kids without losing your mind

Archive for the 'food costs' Category

Food prices expected to go even higher


The rising cost of food has been the subject of more than one post on this blog in the past (See: “How the cost of food can make children less healthy” and multiple posts on Bloggers Unite for Human Rights day.), so I was disheartened last week to see a report about how world food prices were expected to be perhaps even more volatile over the coming decade.moneyegg-2.jpg

The joint report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization contained grim news.

While the focus of the report was world-wide, naturally, it has ramifications all the way down to the most local level. For example:

Compared with the previous decade, the report said average prices from 2008-2017 for beef and pork will rise 20 percent; sugar around 30 percent; wheat, maize and skim-milk powder 40 to 60 percent; butter and oilseeds more than 60 percent; and vegetable oils over 80 percent.

Here’s some of the highlights from the report:

• Both consumption and production is growing faster in developing countries for all agricultural commodities except wheat. By 2017, these countries are expected to dominate trade in most farm products.
• High prices will be beneficial for many commercial farmers both in developed and developing countries. However, many farmers in developing countries are not linked to markets and are unlikely to benefit from the projected higher prices.
• Cereal markets are expected to remain tight as stocks are unlikely to return to the high levels of the past decade.
• Consumption of vegetable oils, both from oil seed crops and from palm, will grow faster than for other crops over the next 10 years. The rise is being driven both by demand for food and for biofuels.
• Brazil’s share of world meat exports is expected to grow to 30 percent by 2017.

So, how have rising food costs been affecting you? Please respond below or e-mail me off the blog; I’d like to write a follow-up post regarding how people are dealing with the increased prices.

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Posted by Amy Vernon on Monday, June 2nd, 2008 at 5:07 pm |

The most important meal of the day


We all know higher gas and food prices are cutting deep into our own family budgets — $65 dollars to fill up! Milk at $3.99 a gallon! — but they are also carving holes into one program aimed at helping poor kids get better nutrition.

The federal school breakfast program gives nearly 10 million children the opportunity to start their days with a healthy morning meal at school, regardless of their ability to pay. Numerous studies have shown the benefit of starting the day out with a good breakfast (Mom was right!) so it was troubling for many educators to learn lawmakers are eyeing cuts to the states’ share of the federal program to save money.

Last month, Florida lawmakers citied the economy in shelving a bill that would have mandated free morning meals by 2010 to all children attending schools where a high percentage of the students come from low-income households. In Rhode Island, legislators tried to figure out the impact of a proposal to cut the state’s contribution to their breakfast program, about $600,000, entirely.

The Washington D.C.- based Food Research and Action Center says children and adolescents who eat breakfast are significantly less likely to be overweight, since skipping breakfast is associated with a higher risk of obesity.

They also say research shows offering breakfast at school improves students’ attendance, increases their attentiveness and achievement, and reduces school nurse visits.

A full report on the benefits can be found here.

Posted by Katie Ryan O'Connor on Thursday, May 15th, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
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Bloggers Unite for Human Rights


For a few weeks now, some of you may have noticed the badge in our blog’s sidebar that declares today as the day that Bloggers Unite for Human Rights.

Several of us here at ice cream is not for breakfast decided to join in, writing about topics that relate to our blog topic, feeding our children.

First off, at 9 a.m., we’ll have Tracey Princiotta writing about food insecurity in the Lower Hudson Valley as the worsening economy puts more families at risk of hunger.

At 11 a.m., Amy Vernon will explain the PB&J campaign and why eating less meat is a good idea not just for your arteries, but for others who are hungry around the world.

At 1 p.m. Marcela Rojas will tell you about Bread Alone, a bakery that a nonprofit in Africa to set up bakeries giving children with HIV/AIDS access to nutritious, whole grain breads.

At 3 p.m., Katie Ryan O’Connor will examine how higher food and fuel costs are forcing school districts around the country to slash critical food programs such as free school breakfasts.

We’ll update this post as the day goes on to hyperlink to each of the aforementioned posts.

Please let us know what you think and I hope we provide you with some (pardon the pun) food for thought.

Posted by Amy Vernon on Thursday, May 15th, 2008 at 7:00 am |


Think you can make a meal this cheap?


This is indeed a challenge.

I stumbled upon Cooking With Anne and found she has a monthly cooking challenge (with Lots of Kids) for her readers, and this month’s is a doozy.tjndc5-5g4qd2wbjtdihg5l6ar_original-2.jpg It fits right in with the issue I discussed earlier this month, increasing food costs.

What is it, pray tell? Create a meal for your family that costs just $1 or less per person. Fortunately, they’re taking it for granted that it’s pretty dang hard to create a meal for $3 or $4, so you can pretend you have a family of at least five for the purposes of this challenge.

It’s got to be a meal, though, under the rules  –  i.e., no mac & cheese. Check out the entire list of rules here.

The contest runs until April 30 and the winner will be announced May 5.

If you submit an entry, I’d love to hear about it, too, please let us know in the comments for this post.

And I’ll be checking in with Anne next month to see who won! I’m not involved in the contest at all, just an interested bystander. Good luck!

2007 file photo by Tom Nycz / The Journal News/LoHud.com 

Posted by Amy Vernon on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 at 4:58 pm |

How the cost of food can make children less healthy


A few weeks ago, my husband came home from our local bagel store with horrible news: the price of bagels was going up.

tjndc5-5eg81s60c0h5jfqr41q_original-2.jpgThe cost of flour, the nice lady at the store had told him and Rafael, was going up from $25 to $50 in one leap and she expected it to go up another $10 any day.

The unfortunate side effect of her huge cost increase, naturally, was that our bagels now cost more.

They’re really good bagels and we only buy about a dozen a week, so we’re not feeling an extreme pinch.

But I had that in mind when I read an article by Associated Press business writer Ellen Simon (coincidentally, a college classmate of mine), about how increasing food costs are severely squeezing the poor.

It was this sentence, however, that really got my attention. It’s in reference to how the working poor may have to resort to methods to save even $5 a week that are not best for their children’s health. Of course, it’s still healthier for their children to actually eat rather than go hungry:

For the U.S. poor, any increase in food costs sets up an either-or equation: Give something up to pay for food.
“I was talking to people who make $9 an hour, talking about how they might save $5 a week,” said Kathleen DiChiara, president and CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. “They really felt they couldn’t. That was before. Now, they have to.”
For some, that means adding an extra cup of water to their soup, watering down their milk, or giving their children soda because it’s cheaper than milk, DiChiara said.

Of course, it’s very easy to sit where I do and reflect on how horrible it is that people would give their children soda instead of milk, but I’m fortunate enough not to know such financial pressures. To be sure, we’re not sitting on easy street by any means. But things aren’t so tough that we have to choose cheap soda over ever-more-expensive milk.

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Amy Vernon on Tuesday, April 15th, 2008 at 10:02 am |