Upon returning from my latest epic holiday adventure, I found myself looking down at the ‘Tofu-rkey roast sandwich’ that greeted me as I attempted to get back into the swing of the new year.

After multiple eggplant parm dishes, a 7 fish meal, & various types of cheesecakes, the meat substitute sitting in front of me just didn’t seem to live up to my holiday eating standards.

Food has always played an important part in my life, which is part of the reason why I’ve been so excited about the innovative work being done in the Cedar Rapids community centered around healthy lifestyles.

I’ve been impressed to see new restaurants featuring farm to table menus, the large scale Blue Zones Project (can’t help but mention that 2 KOC schools have achieved the coveted Blue Zones Designation), our vibrant Downtown Farmer’s Market, and the Cedar Rapids School District’s Wellness initiatives.

It’s no secret that a healthy mind & body are crucial ingredients (see what I did there!) to our students’ success & overall well-being.  I’ve seen how much of a difference it makes when teachers allow students to take brain breaks throughout the school day, the excitement & curiosity that comes with exploring the school garden, and how appreciative families & kids are when they receive a bag full of weekend food from HACAP’s Operation BackPack.

So here’s to a delicious & heart healthy 2016.

And with that, I’m off to Sushi House :)

– David Savino, Grant Site Manager

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