You Asked It!

Tag: nutrition

Frying with Hot Air

Finger foods are popular foods to cook in an air fryer.

Instead of frying in oil, maybe an air fryer is for you! Reducing oil in foods is one way to make foods healthier. So how does a hot air fryer work?

Extremely hot air circulates around food with a fan. It creates a crispy surface layer and the inside stays moist. This is similar to convection oven cooking. Only a small amount of oil is brushed on the food surface to aid the crisping process. Cook in small batches for even and complete cooking.

When shopping for an air fryer, first consider your kitchen counters and storage space. Do you have room? If the appliance is not visible, it is less likely to be used. There is no oil to dispose of or lingering oily odors. But does the food taste the same with similar crunch? Maybe, maybe not. Just remember to consider making healthier meals for you and your family to reap the rewards.



Have A Plant™

What’s your “veggie vessel?” How do you “finish with fruit?” Learn more at

The Produce for Better Health Foundation is an organization that links public health and industry, government agencies and non-profit organizations. They have been known as “Fruits & Veggies—More Matters.” This year they changed their brand name to “Have A Plant™ to better reflect consumer research about eating a certain daily amount of fruits and vegetables.

Their website,, has information on a variety of produce items, recipes, expert advice and educational series on a variety of topics.


Food vs. Supplements

Lettuce, spinach and other leafy greens are great sources of vitamin K.

New research shows that eating nutritious food can reduce mortality rates. This research was conducted by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. They collected data from over 27,000 adults ages 20 and older.

When comparing consumption of nutritious food versus dietary supplements, there is evidence that getting certain nutrients from food reduces rates of all-cause mortality. Dietary supplements do not show any reduction. They found the following:

  • Lower risk of death from eating foods with adequate vitamin K and magnesium;
  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease from foods with adequate vitamin K, vitamin A, and zinc;
  • Higher rates of death from cancer when more than 1,000 mg/day Calcium were consumed from supplements.



Start Simple with MyPlate

Do you struggle with making good food choices? Healthy eating can happen with one step at a time. It can be simple!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a new initiative to help consumers meet their health goals. It is called Start Simple with MyPlate.

Focus on whole fruits. Add fruit to a bowl of cereal for breakfast or grab one for an easy snack.  Don’t forget that canned and frozen fruits are great choices when your favorite fresh fruit is not available.

Vary your veggies and think colorfully! Dark green, red, orange, yellow and other colorful veggies add lots of good nutrients to any meal or snack. Prepare extra veggies for a side dish or to use in soup or pasta.

Make half your grains whole grains. This message still holds true! Choose 100% whole grain bread, pasta, crackers, or cereal.

Vary your protein routine. Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, legumes are beneficial. Don’t forget to serve veggies and whole grains with your protein choice!

Low-fat or fat-free dairy foods compliment any meal. Be a role model for kids to show dairy foods are healthy!

Learn more at


Eating Healthy Can Equal Cost Savings

Sometimes putting dollars behind the message can really motivate people to change behaviors. That’s what a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found regarding the reduction of health costs when eating a quality diet. This study is the first of its kind to associate cost savings to healthy eating.

They study looked at two eating patterns recommended by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. They included the Healthy US-Style and the Healthy Mediterranean-Style diets. Health issues evaluated included reductions in cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and hip fractures.

The overall results showed cost savings ranged from $16.7 billion to $31.5 billion. This is based on a 20 percent increase in following the Mediterranean diet and Healthy US-Style respectively. That increase reduced cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes when following a Healthy US-Style diet and these same diseases plus Alzheimer’s disease and hip fracture reductions when following the Mediterranean diet.

I think we all can use a little extra money in our pockets!



National Nutrition Month®

Since 1980, National Nutrition Month® has promoted nutrition to consumers during March. It is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

How can you promote nutrition? From social media to school events, incorporate simple nutrition messages. Organize a food donation drive for a local food bank. Explore ways to reduce food waste in your community. At schools, sponsor a coloring contest of fruits and vegetables. Take a field trip to a local farm. Offer nutrition education at a local grocery store.

Learn more at


Have a Healthy Holiday Season!

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!

Source: and


Do You Choose Lower Fat Foods?

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.


American Toddlers Favorite Vegetable

FITS is a survey of national estimates of early feeding behaviors which can influence the development of dietary guidelines.

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.

Learn more at


Probiotics and Prebiotics

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.

Learn more from this presentation at, and