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In this week’s nutrition news: Jamie Oliver’s new TV show takes on fat America, stay fit by moving an hour a day and baby food is the latest snack trend.
Jamie Oliver vs. America’s Obesity Epidemic
Jamie Oliver revolutionized the school lunch system in England, and now he’s brought his crusade to America in a new reality show. His first stop: Huntington, West Virginia, a city many have dubbed the nation’s unhealthiest. If you caught the preview episode, you saw kids chowing down on high-fat processed foods at breakfast and lunch (one school had pizza for breakfast!). His mission is to introduce these people to more freshly cooked, nutritious meals, but will he succeed? I plan to catch the full premiere tonight at 8 p.m. EST.
NY Banning School Bake Sales
Home-baked cookies are a no no, but packaged chips and granola bars are okay — at least in New York City schools these days. After New York’s Department of Education passed a provision to help combat obesity among the city’s 1.1 million students, homemade baked goods went on a banned food list; meanwhile, 29 packaged items, including Pop Tarts and potato chips, are nutritionally sound, according to the new rules. Not surprisingly, some parents are unhappy with the changes; they argue it promotes processed foods over fresh stuff and they’re holding a “bake in” to protest. What do you think about the new no-bake rule?
An Hour a Day to Battle the Bulge
A new study indicates that older women who aren’t dieting need at least one hour of moderate physical activity every day to maintain their current weight. What’s “moderate physical activity” exactly? Well, brisk walking, biking and golfing are options. If you can’t make time for that hour a day, even 20 to 30 minutes of exercise is better than nothing.
Newest Snack: Baby Food
If you need a portion-controlled snack, try baby food. At least that’s what some folks who want more fruits and veggies are trying. Baby food fans, including the celebrity chef/model Sophie Dahl, say the fruit varieties are jam-like and addictive. Dahl even included a recipe for mashed bananas in her new cookbook. Most jarred baby foods range from 45 to 140 calories, which is appropriate for a snack. You can even find organic varieties with fewer chemicals and preservatives.
Another Hot Trend: Kombucha
Kombucha, a fermented tea that some claim boosts your immune system and digestion, is hotter than ever. Americans purchased more than a million bottles of it in 2009 alone, and an article in this week’s New York Times reports Bay Area fans are making their own brews — trading recipes at swap meets and selling the best stuff on Craigslist. Honestly, we’re not fans of Kombucha and agree with doctor and alternative health expert Andrew Weil, who warns that the tea can be dangerous to the elderly, children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems. Have you tried it?
Earlier this year, the FDA released details of the proposed nutrition label makeover. Many experts have been weighing in on the new look trying to determine if the proposed changes will help consumers make more informed decisions or add to the confusion.