Birthday cake has turned into my Achilles Heel. I was doing well by losing or maintaining my weight –  even progressing enough to go from plus size clothing to misses sizes. But alas, the birthday cake has derailed me. This week, it really isn’t looking good for me. Not one stinkin’ bit.

Needless to say, I was anxious about weigh in… so I went to the see what Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser had to say to see could find some words of wisdom. Here they are:

“Set realistic goals and stay positive. Achieving any goal takes time and patience, and always remember your over-arching goal: to lose weight, get in shape, and be the best person you can be.” – Bob Harper

I am happy with that. If I think it is hopeless it will be. A bad week doesn’t mean the end of a successful and fruitful journey – just a brief detour. The main point is, I started the trip and I know my final destination.  So all aboard! It isn’t too late to join the Pound for Pound Challengesign up today. For every pound of weight you pledge to lose, the Pound For Pound Challenge will donate 14 cents to your local food bank.


Food Bank staff who have joined the challenge are holding steady at 91 pounds lost!  Woo Hoo!!!

Oklahoma is still in 24th place, with Okies pledging to lose 60,095 pounds!  But gang – Tulsa is creeping up on us – we need to stay in the lead within our state!

- By Melanie Anthony, Grants Manager

“Healthified” Mediterranean-Style Chicken and Pasta



Prepare the veggies and cook the chicken ahead of time; cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to make the recipe.

Prep Time:  25 min
Start to Finish:   25 min
Makes:  6 servings (1 1/2 cups each)

2 cups uncooked multigrain penne pasta (6 oz)
2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
1 small onion, chopped (1/3 cup)
2 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups 3/4-inch pieces cooked chicken breast
1 can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen® organic no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 oz) Muir Glen® organic tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
**If you want to reduce the cost of this recipe, sliced black olives can be substituted for the Kalamata.
3/4 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese (3 oz)

1. In 4-quart Dutch oven, cook and drain pasta as directed on package, omitting salt. Return to Dutch oven; cover to keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, in 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender. Add zucchini and garlic; cook 2 minutes. Stir in chicken, tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano and basil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender and mixture is hot. Stir in olives.
3. Pour chicken mixture over pasta. Top with feta cheese; toss to coat.

Nutritional Information
1 Serving: Calories 270 (Calories from Fat 60); Total Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 45mg; Sodium 540mg; Total Carbohydrate 29g (Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars 7g); Protein 23g
Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 10%; Vitamin C 15%; Calcium 10%; Iron 15%
Exchanges: 1 1/2 Starch; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 1 Vegetable; 2 Lean Meat
Carbohydrate Choices: 2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Melanie Anthony

Melanie Anthony

Melanie Anthony is a Development Manager at the Regional Food Bank. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate and mother of two.
Read more articles by Melanie



Pound For Pound Challenge Update – Exercise

Overall, the Pound for Pound Challenge – Team RFBOK is doing an amazing job. We are sharing tips, making healthy meals, bringing our lunch or “eating fresh” at Subway. All are great steps, but as we reduce portion size and cut back on calories, fat, sugars, processed foods, etc – we really cannot forget the other important component of healthy weight loss and a healthy lifestyle – and that is exercise.

I feel that this blog topic should really be called “Boot Camp Babes.” There are three folks on our Pound for Pound Challenge team that are participating in boot camps – non-military! They are throwing everything they have into some incredibly intense workouts. Debbie T. is one of these brave ladies. When I talked to her this morning, she was talking about how great she felt. She said she had so much more energy, felt great and was ready for Monday. I could literally see the spring in her step.

Another one of our team member’s son has put together a workout regimen for her and there are several folks who are walking the volunteer center a couple of times a week over their lunch breaks. Yep – we have some guys that I know are working out too – but alas, guys don’t share as much as girls (on the norm).

While the newscasters are sharing some not-so-promising news on the weather the next several days, we can all still get a little extra movement in our day. So make that a goal for yourself this week. Find a way to add more exercise or just movement in your daily activities.

Consider joining us and sign up for the Pound for Pound Challenge today. For every pound of weight you pledge to lose, the Pound For Pound Challenge will donate 14 cents to your local food bank.

Food Bank staff who have joined the challenge have lost a combined total of 81 pounds.

Oklahoma is still in 24th place, with Okies pledging to lose 57,266 pounds! That is 1,000 more pounds that this time last week!

- By Melanie Anthony, Grants Manager

Turkey Ratatouille

Turkey Ratatouille - Pound For Pound Challenge


Prep Time: 15 min
Start to Finish: 30 min
Makes: 4 servings

3/4 pound turkey breast tenderloin, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
2 cups frozen stir-fry bell peppers and onions, (from 1-pound bag)
1 small eggplant, cubed (2 cups)
1 medium zucchini, cubed (1 cup)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Sprinkle turkey with pepper.
2. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook turkey in oil 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown.
3. Stir in stir-fry vegetables. Cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in eggplant and zucchini. Cook 2 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.
4. Stir in tomatoes; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is desired consistency. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

Or, go vegetarian! Skip the turkey, pepper and oil and steps 1 and 2. Add 2 cans (15 to 16 ounces each) garbanzo beans with the tomatoes in step 4. It’s that easy!

Nutritional Information
1 Serving: Calories 225 (Calories from Fat 65 ); Total Fat 7 g (Saturated Fat 2 g); Cholesterol 60 mg; Sodium 440 mg; Total Carbohydrate 21 g (Dietary Fiber 5 g); Protein 25 g
Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 18 %; Vitamin C 56 %; Calcium 14 %; Iron 12 %
Exchanges: 4 Vegetable; 2 1/2 Lean Meat
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Melanie Anthony

Melanie Anthony

Melanie Anthony is a Development Manager at the Regional Food Bank. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate and mother of two.
Read more articles by Melanie



We Built This City on Corn and Beans

I spend a lot of my time thinking about food; professionally and personally.  Professionally, my focus is concentrated on teaching people how to eat healthy food that still tastes good and helping them make sensible consumer decisions at the grocery store.  Personally, my interest is in historical foodways, traditional preparation methods and how what we eat has shaped our culture.  The recipe I’m making this month with the children at our Kids Cafe afterschool programs rolls all of these subjects, plus a little food science and human nutrition, into a very neat (please pardon my pun) ball.

You: “What are you talking about?”

Me: “Recipe first, science and history second.”

Peanut Buttery Oat Balls

Peanut Buttery Oat Balls

1 large jar of Crunchy Peanut Butter (40oz)

½ box Whole Grain Breakfast Cereal Flakes, such as Total or All-Bran (16oz)

3 cups Rolled Oats

1 cup Raisins

1 cup Dried Plums (Prunes), chopped

1 cup Sunflower Seed Kernels

¼ cup Honey

Pour ½ box of cereal onto a cookie sheet and crush with a rolling pin or your hands.

(Should be well smashed up, but not a fine powder.)

Combine all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Mix until stiff, but not dry.

Roll into small balls (½ the size of golf balls), and roll in crushed cereal.

Place on wax paper covered cookie sheet and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Makes 30 servings of two balls each, with 342 kcal/serving.  Retail price using store brand ingredients: $0.32/serving.

You: “Where is he going with this?”

Your Mom: “Honey, I haven’t the faintest clue.”

Amino Acids.  They’re these little molecules that build proteins – our bodies make most of them for us, but there are nine that we only get from food (phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine, leucine, and lysine – you don’t need to remember that, there’s no test).  Lots of foods are missing some of these, so combining foods lacking in opposing aminos make complete proteins.  One of the best ways to eat complete proteins is combining whole grains and legumes.  Why?  Because they’re cheap, tasty and healthy.  Beans and corn tortillas.  Lentils and brown rice.  Peanut butter and whole wheat bread…or oats.

Oats (even rolled oats) are whole grain.  Yup.  When you’re eating your bowl of morning oatmeal, you’re consuming one of the tastiest whole grains on the grocery aisle.  So adding peanut butter to whole oats?  Cheap, healthy, tasty and a complete protein with a full complement of amino acids!

You: “How is he going to tie this into food history?”

Your Dad: “Huh?  Oh yeah, it looks good.”

Farming and agriculture were key components of our development as civilizations.  About 10,000 years ago we stopped wandering around looking for berries and started planting seeds.  We were able to grow more food than we needed at any given time, allowing us to store some of it for times of cold or drought.  Preventing mass starvation was a crucial step in societies flourishing.  Food surpluses also afforded people time to think about things like wheels, buildings, science, art, music and the internet (much later, obviously).  In what is now central Mexico, rows of corn were staggered with rows of beans, and their combined eating (after soaking the corn in wood ash – a fascinating conversation for a different time) led to one of the most advanced cultures in human history.  Several hundred generations of those lovely complete amino acid chains stoking our muscles and brain structures helped us to build cities, sail oceans and commit our exploits to written words.

You: “How is he going to tie this all together?”

Me: “Like this:”

Eating well on a budget seems incredibly daunting to a lot of people, but once you know where we’ve come from culinarily, a clear path forward starts to emerge.  Starting with the basics, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Lean Proteins and Whole Grains; nearly infinite combinations open up – the majority of them healthy and affordable.  Peanut Buttery Oat Balls are an iceberg’s tip; keep your RSS readers tuned to this station for more from me on food, history, science and how we can all be better people.

- By Mason Weaver, Nutrition Educator & Americorps Member

Mason Weaver

Mason Weaver

Mason Weaver (AmeriCorps Member) is our Urban Harvest Director. Mason returned to Oklahoma last year to teach kids about healthy food and pursue his passion for sustainable market gardening. He believes that teaching a child to grow, harvest and cook their own vegetables will make ours a more just and equitable society.
Read more articles by Mason