Save the date for the 2020 Urban Food System Symposium! This event will be June 4-6, 2020 at the Marriott Country Club Plaza, Kansas City, MO.
The symposium brings together researchers, not-for-profit administrators, community organizers, extension professionals, students, and others, to share and gain knowledge on urban food systems and agriculture and their role in global food security. The focus is on climate change; nutrition and human health; food production and distribution in cities; urban planning and development; food security; food policy and advocacy; international perspectives; community engagement; and urban planning and economic development.
The Food and Drug Administration has updated their advice in regards to consuming fish while pregnant, breastfeeding, young children, and women planning to become pregnant. While the concern about consuming mercury is still valid, the advice now includes the importance of consuming fish as part of a healthy diet.
The nutritional composition of fish is beneficial to women during pregnancy and for young children. This includes heart health benefits and lower risks of obesity. The nutrients include protein, omega-3 fats, more vitamin B12 and vitamin D than any other food, iron, and other minerals like selenium, zinc, and iodine. A serving size for adults is 4 ounces and to consume two to three servings a week.
The FDA guidance includes charts and information in English and Spanish. There are lists of different types of fish categorized by best choices, good choices, and choices to avoid.
Nuts have been touted as beneficial with healthy fats, protein, and fiber. New research from the University of South Australia shows that they can also help adults have better mental function, improved thinking, reasoning, and memory.
The study followed 4,822 Chinese adults aged 55-plus from 1991-2006. They consumed 10 grams (two teaspoons) of nuts a day. They mostly ate peanuts. The results showed an improvement in cognitive function up to 60% compared to those who did not eat nuts.
Age is the biggest risk factor for cognitive health. Eating a few nuts each day is worth the effort!
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.
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, https://fruitsandveggies.org/, has information on a variety of produce items, recipes, expert advice and educational series on a variety of topics.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!