The holiday season is here and parties and gatherings are being planned to celebrate the season. Whether it is a small gathering or a large office potluck, remember to bring healthy treats to curb high-calorie snacking.
Holidays offer many food temptations. Spread out the sweet treats so they are not lurking around every corner. Guests will appreciate lighter, non-sweet options more than you think. Parties can be stressful for some because they feel overwhelmed and forget that the season should be fun. This leads to mindless snacking and extra calories.
Offer healthy choices such as using whole wheat bread for sandwiches and seltzer water with fruit instead of soda. Encourage people to take a walk to work off holiday stress and anxiety.
Do you have several parties to attend? Plan ahead to help reduce those extra calories. Eat a small meal for breakfast with whole grains, fruit and protein. Don’t starve yourself thinking you’ll save room for party food. Take small bites and savor the delicious party foods. Go through the buffet once to reduce nibbling.
Above all, take time to relax and enjoy the holiday season!
How many times a week do you go out to eat? This activity is a part of the American way of life. In fact, households at more than 300 percent of the Federal poverty guidelines dined away from home 5.5 times per week. Households with income less than or equal to Federal poverty guidelines dined away from home 4.2 times per week.
In 1977-78, Americans consumed 17.8 percent of calories away from home. By 2011-14, away-from-home food calories increased to 33.7 percent. But, the fat calorie consumption has decreased!
In 1977-78, fat calories made up 41 percent of total calories in foods served at home and away from home. By 2011-14, fat calories decreased to 32.1 percent in foods served at home and 37.4 percent in foods eaten away from home.
The decrease in fat calories could be due to changes in school lunch guidelines, restaurant menu labeling of nutrition information, and other factors.
When toddlers reach the age of two, many have established food preferences that can last a lifetime. So parents should do their best to get toddlers eating behaviors established early. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, they found that while toddlers eat vegetables, the number one choice is french fries.
The Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) was a large study of nearly 10,000 parents and caregivers of children age four and younger. Here are some of the shortfalls they found:
Only 18% of infants, aged 6-12 months, get the recommended amount of iron.
Less than 25% of infants get the recommend amount of vitamin D.
Sodium intake is high. Of 1-year-olds, 40% exceed the upper limit of sodium; of children aged 2-3, 70-75% exceed the upper limit of sodium intake.
Gut health is important for a healthy quality of life. Maintaining good gut health can help prevent disease, enhance health, help you live longer and improve physical and mental performance. Therefore, many people consume probiotics and prebiotics to improve gut health.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, can give a health benefit. When consumed regularly, they help enhance the immune system. They are found in many yogurt products, beverages and even certain candy products.
Prebiotics are non-digestible oligosaccharides that survive digestion and move into the colon. These are found naturally in fiber-rich foods or added into foods. The best foods include bananas, berries, legumes, onions, leeks, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Fish oil supplements have been touted as beneficial for the heart and eyes. But, a meta-analysis of 10 clinical trials with almost 78,000 participants showed that the fish oil caplets are of little benefit to patients with heart disease.
Another study, regarding dry eye disease, also concluded that fish oil supplements are not beneficial. This study compared fish oil supplements with olive oil supplements.
Evidence still supports the benefits of eating eight ounces of fish per week to reduce cardiovascular disease risks.
Have you seen the television commercials about A2 milk? Do you wonder, what is A2 milk? Is it better for me?
All milk contains beta casein protein which has several variants. The two most commonly found are A1 and A2. Certain breeds of dairy cattle only produce A2 beta casein proteins. In general, those breeds include Guernsey, Jersey, and Asian herds. Human milk and other animal milk also mostly A2. Holstein milk has both A1 and A2.
So what’s the big deal about A2 milk? Research is very limited, but some claims say that milk containing A1 leads to Type 1 Diabetes, coronary heart disease, and maybe, schizophrenia and autism if immune deficiencies are present. Some claim that A1 is digested differently than A2 and causes negative health effects.
Scientifically, the evidence is very limited. Only rat studies have shown any benefit of consuming A2 milk. Human clinical studies have not shown evidence to match the rat studies. Therefore, the information to show benefits of A2 milk are anecdotal. Also, those with lactose intolerance or milk allergies will not benefit from A2 milk.
The BWP is a free, interactive tool developed by NIDDK researchers that can help people create physical activity and calorie plans to reach their goal weight and maintain it afterward. The tool uses science-based technology to tailor recommendations to individual users and accurately calculate how their bodies adjust to changes in diet and physical activity.
If you have not yet tried the Body Weight Planner, we invite you to visit the new page to practice using the tool. A short instructional video can be found at https://youtu.be/v1gluQwieog.
Beginning in May 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requiring certain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards. This is applies to chain restaurants and retail food establishments with more than 20 locations. These operations include:
Foods served at sit-down and fast-food restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops and restaurant-type foods in certain grocery and convenience stores.
Take-out and delivery foods.
Foods purchased at drive-through windows.
Foods that you serve yourself from a salad or hot-food bar.
Alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine and cocktails that appear on menus.
Foods at places of entertainment, such as movie theaters or amusement parks.
Calorie information on menus and menu boards must be clearly displayed. For self-service foods, such as foods served at salad bars and buffets, the information must be clearly displayed so consumers can see it when they are serving themselves.
The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has a large catalog of publications and videos on food safety, nutrition, dietary supplements, and more. Best of all, they are free!
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