In the News: Super-Bred Veggies, Teen Weight-Loss Getaways, Trans-Fat Label Confusion & More by Toby Amidor in Food News, July 17, 2009
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From this week’s headlines: Dole is producing new super veggies, top chefs share their healthy secrets and not many Americans are walking or biking to work these days (are you?).
A New Breed of Veggies
Farming and food manufacturing giants, Monsanto Company and Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc. have joined forces to start breeding enhanced versions of broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and spinach. Note that they don’t plan to genetically engineer these plants (learn more about GMO foods here). Instead, researchers will target plants that have desirable characteristics — good taste or texture — and keep breeding them until the “perfect” veggie is produced. Some food-safety experts are skeptical and claim that Mother Nature’s fresh fruits and veggies are already (or should already be) highly nutritious, so why do we need to tweak them more? What’s your take on these super veggies?
Your Favorite Chef’s Healthy Secrets, Revealed
In this fun article, some big name chefs reveal their favorite healthy eating tips, including Robin Miller, the host of “Quick Fix Meals” on Food Network. There are even some ideas on getting a quick, healthy meal on the table for the entire family. Mollie Katzen, a best-selling author and chef, also had an interesting theory: Follow an “80-20 Rule.” Eat wholesome, healthy, well-balanced meals 80% of the time and allow yourself to enjoy less-healthier favorites the other 20%.
Weight-Loss Camps for Teens
Over the past few years, I’ve come across job postings from teen weight-loss camps looking for registered dietitians. These getaways are definitely a growing trend across the U.S. — especially now that our children get more and more caught up in the obesity epidemic. Camps like the ones from Wellspring promote themselves as the “new” summer vacation for kids. They’re not looking to be a quick-fix either; most places follow a scientific approach to dieting and exercise and bring in educated pros, who can help teach campers good habits to adopt for a long-term, healthier lifestyles. (P.S.: That’s some Wellspring campers on a shopping excursion above.)
Less Americans Walk or Bike To Work
When I was a little girl, my grandparents both walked to their jobs. A new study looking at health and commuting habits found that only 17% of Americans walk or bike to work regularly. Not surprisingly, those who do walk to work are considered to be more physically fit. Of course, in this day of sprawling suburbs, it’s not always easy to walk to a job that’s 15 miles away or you may find it unsafe to bike the distance (no set bike paths, narrow streets or harrowing highways). I must admit that I’m one of these 83% who drive to work. What category are you in? Would you ever consider switching?
Michelles Obama’s Garden Sparks New Food Trend
The First Lady is making growing and eating healthy food the cool thing to do (not that the idea is new to us here, right?!). Even on a recent trip to Moscow, the Russians were more interested in hearing about the White House garden than Michelle’s wardrobe! The initiative’s focus has been to bring children to the garden to participate in farm-to-plate events. Although the garden’s only a small step for food reform, talk is that it’ll lead to healthier school lunch programs and a greater availability of fresh fruits and veggies for all.
Sneaky “Trans Fat-Free” Labels
I’ve explained this concept to many confused clients, just because a food label claims 0 grams of trans fat, that doesn’t necessarily mean the food is entirely free of it. Sounds nutty, but this is the time to remember your elementary school rounding rules. Food labeling laws state that if a food has less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, the label can say “trans-fat free.” Your best bet is to read the ingredient list for the words “partially hydrogenated” (a.k.a. trans fat).