Central’s Week in Brief: July 15, 2011

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more.  It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

1)      With all of the pushes on starting gardens, whether at schools, in the community or at home, you’d think any attempt at growing fresh veggies would be applauded.  However, this week a Michigan woman actually potentially faced time in jail for planting a garden because….it was in her front yard.  Apparently, the issue was the garden wasn’t considered suitable plant life for a front yard.  The woman, Julie Bass, received a warning, a ticket and then charged with a misdemeanor that could have led to up to 93 days in jail.  However, now the charge may be dropped due to a huge media backlash including a Facebook page, blog and a ton of other media attention.

2)      An opinion piece recently came out by an obesity doctor at Children’s Hospital Boston and a researcher at Harvard’s School of Public Health.   With just this info many would be hard pressed to think that this could be anything other than great advice and/or wonderful guidelines.  This isn’t exactly the case in this situation.  The piece suggested that when a child is morbidly obese, the state should put the child into foster care instead of performing surgery to make the problem go away.   This has created a huge backlash on the internet from parents, experts and everyone in between and has brought on much different, less extreme suggestions such as family nutrition education.

3)      Speaking of removing children, a restaurant outside Pittsburgh has banned children under 6.  While this isn’t exactly anything new (recently former Top Chef contestant Dale Levitsky put a similar ban at his restaurant for brunch), it has caught some flack from parents.  However, since this restaurant is on a golf facility where people with children aren’t a huge part of the daily patronage, the receipts have actually grown around 20%.

4)      On a totally opposite note, the National Restaurant Association and Healthy Dining launched the Kids LiveWell program this week.  This program has been developed to create healthier meals for children at restaurants.  Currently, 19 different national brands are participating.  In order to be a part of the program, the restaurant must have at least one full kids meal under 600 calories, one individual kids item under 200 calories, display the nutritional info on the menu and identify the healthy items on the menu.

5)      And since it’s been getting pretty hot lately (it’s been in the 90’s here pretty often this week), why not cool off with a nice cold smoothie?   Eating Rules has a very interesting flowchart to figure out how to make the perfect smoothie for both your cravings and health.  And if you’d rather go by a recipe, check out Smoothie Web which even has an iPhone app called Pocket Smoothies for your smoothie needs on the go.  Or just check out this yummy looking Mango Strawberry Banana Smoothie from their site.

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