All Posts In Food and Nutrition Experts

The New World of Lean Meats

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, December 3, 2016

If you’re trying to eat healthy and select lean proteins, facing the meat case may be overwhelming. You can now find more cuts of meat and poultry than ever before, and knowing how to cook them can get confusing. Here’s a low-down on how to make sense of the meat and poultry case.

Defining “Lean”
The 2015 dietary guidelines for Americans recommended choosing lean protein. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration food labeling criteria, to be labeled as “lean,” the cut of meat must be less than 10 percent fat by weight, or it must contain less than 10 grams of fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol and a maximum of 4.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams. “Extra lean” contains less than 5 grams of total fat, less than 2 grams of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams.

All of the following proteins are “complete,” meaning they provide all nine essential amino acids that your body needs. However, portion control is of upmost importance. Aim for 3- to 4-ounce portions and serve with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low or nonfat dairy for a well-balanced and varied diet. Read more

Are You Eating the Right Omegas? Most Americans Aren’t 

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, November 25, 2016

We hear a lot about the importance of getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids in our diets — and with good reason. They’re heart-healthy fats that help decrease inflammation, plus they’re important for brain development and function. The other Omega fatty acids — the Omega-6 oils — are also considered “essential fatty acids” that are needed for several body processes. But some of them can also cause inflammation when eaten in excess. So while we do need adequate amounts of both in our diets, most of us are getting way too much Omega-6 and way too little Omega-3.

“In the standard American diet, people are getting about a 20-to-one ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3,” says Chris D’Adamo, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology and public health, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “Ideally, that ratio should be more like three-to-one.” The trouble is that Omega-6 fatty acids have become ubiquitous in our food supply in a way that they were not several decades ago. They are found in vegetable oils — like corn, sunflower, safflower and soybean — that are a staple ingredient in so many refined, processed and packaged foods. And when modern agricultural methods meant a shift from livestock that grazed on Omega-3-rich grasses to livestock that was fed Omega-6-packed grains, the balance in our diets shifted even more. Read more

Feeling Hangry? The Science Behind Gut Health and Mood

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, November 16, 2016

Gut health is a trending topic, but the ins and outs of the microbiome are still mysteries to many eaters. Research presented at the recent Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Boston helps explain how diet can affect brain function. 

Gut Health

Making smart dietary choices to promote a healthy environment in the intestines (or “gut”) involves boosting beneficial bacteria. Keeping your gut heavily populated with good bacteria allows for optimal nutrient absorption, immune function and reduced risk of disease; it may also help your mental health. Eating foods that motivate healthy bacteria to flourish (aka prebiotics) and good-for-you microorganisms (aka probiotics) will help ensure a happy and healthy microbiome.  Read more

A Nutritionist’s Tips for Eating Healthy While Traveling

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Healthy Tips, November 15, 2016

I’ve traveled a lot lately, and have even set a new personal record with over a dozen plane rides thus far this year. I’ve been in airports with lots of options, and in others with surprisingly few — and figured out what’s worth buying and what’s a must-pack snack. Plan ahead by using my tips to BYO and make smart on-the-fly buys.

Pack small liquid-y snacks. Creamy snacks like yogurt and applesauce count as liquids or gels when you’re going through security, so buy them in snack-size containers smaller than 3.4 ounces, or pack your own in leakproof containers.

Try it: GoGo Squeez Strawberry Yogurtz, Mott’s Snack & Go Natural Applesauce, 2-ounce OXO Good Grips Mini LockTop Container

Scout a healthy breakfast. Omelets and oatmeal are good go-tos. Many terminals have Starbucks, which offers an oatmeal with little added-sugar — that is, if you skip the brown sugar packet that comes with it (the dried cranberries and cherries are already sweetened with a little sugar). Mix in the packet of nuts, then add a sprinkle of cinnamon. If you prefer fresh fruit, swap the dried fruit for a side of blueberries or a banana. Read more

Sneaky Ways to Get Vitamin D

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, November 9, 2016

During this overcast time of year, the sunshine vitamin isn’t so easy to get. Adults need 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily. But many Americans (specifically, 3 percent of non-Hispanic whites, 12 percent of Mexican-Americans and 31 percent of non-Hispanic blacks) aren’t getting enough, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vitamin D is important for muscle and bone strength, immunity and more — and come July 2018, a food’s vitamin D content will be listed on its label. Until then, this handy guide to food sources will help you get your daily requirement.

1 egg (41 IU): Earlier this year, the new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans gave us clearance to eat the whole egg, waving away concerns that the cholesterol in the yolk affects blood levels of cholesterol. So it’s good news that an egg’s vitamin D is in the yolk: A large egg contains about 7 percent of your daily need.

1 cup cremini mushrooms (3 IU): This amount will increase a lot, to 1,110 IU, when the mushrooms are grown while exposed to ultraviolet rays. UV-grown shrooms are usually listed as such on the label. Read more

Building a Better Nacho

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Healthy Recipes, November 5, 2016

This Tex-Mex favorite can rack up the calories and fat rather quickly. Instead of ruining your healthy eating plan, use these tips to lighten up this popular appetizer.

Holy Nacho Calories!

Head to the Cheesecake Factory and order the Factory Nachos with Spicy Chicken and that’ll cost you 965 calories, 31 grams of saturated fat, 52 grams of carbs and 1,390 milligrams of sodium. At home, the numbers can be similar if you pile on chili, sour cream, guac and other calorie-laden toppers. Making your own allows you to control the ingredients and portions so you can enjoy the game while indulging in a lightened-up version.

The Base

With a plethora of chips hitting market shelves, you can now find better-for-you varieties that are made with whole grains and contain more fiber. Some chips to choose from include:

Remember, it’s still about portion size, so aim for 1 ounce (about 15 chips) per serving. Read more

Pre- and Post-Game Fuel for Kids

by in Fitness, Food and Nutrition Experts, September 10, 2016

Stumped by the question of what to serve hungry young athletes before and after practices and games? Check out our hit list of energy-boosting, muscle-building, lip-smacking grub that will give them the nutrition their bodies need to stay at the top of their games.

Sports Nutrition Crash Course
Young athletes don’t have the same nutritional needs as elite athletes, but they do need the proper fuel to perform their best. Kids participating in middle school and high school sports often run to their games right after a day of classes, long after lunchtime, leaving them low on energy and pressed for time. For this reason breakfast is a must, lunch can’t be skipped, and a snack leading up to an afternoon sporting event is a really good idea. Before exercising, easily digestible carbs are the best types of snacks – no one needs a bellyache on the field or court. Post-exercise eating is all about recovery of energy stores and repair of tired and worn-out muscles. Here the goal is to replenish with protein, carbs and fluid. Read more

The Sustainability of Alaska Seafood

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Healthy Recipes, September 7, 2016

The 2015 dietary guidelines stress the importance of fish consumption, but there are still misconceptions swirling around about the seafood industry. What exactly is farm-to-table seafood, and is it sustainable? I had the opportunity to learn firsthand about the Alaska seafood industry by taking a sponsored tour of the breathtaking state and even getting on a fishing boat to catch my own fish.

About Alaska
They say everything is bigger in Texas, but it’s even bigger in Alaska! The state commands 34,000 miles of tidal shoreline. To give you some perspective, the Atlantic Coast (from Maine to Florida) is about 2,000 miles, whereas the Alaska Coast is about 5,500 miles. But there’s just about one person per square mile actually living in Alaska. (If you applied this population density to Manhattan, you would have about 37 people living on the entire island.)
And because of its exceptional fishing waters, the state produces more than half the nation’s wild seafood harvest by volume.

The Seafood
Alaska is known for its salmon, whitefish varieties (like halibut, cod and rockfish) and shellfish. There are five species of Alaskan salmon: king, sockeye, coho, keta and pink. Peak salmon harvesting is from June to September. Peak harvesting for whitefish (like halibut and cod) varies but is mostly between March and October, while shellfish are harvested more in the fall and winter months. Read more

Food Fight: French Fries vs. Sweet Potato Fries

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, September 5, 2016

French fries aren’t generally considered health food, but there are many options to consider. Are you baking them, frying them or getting them at the drive-thru? Is it a healthier move to order the sweet spuds when they appear on the menu? Here are the real differences between traditional french fries and those made from sweet potatoes.

French Fries
Potatoes have a bad reputation, but they’re actually filled with good-for-you nutrients, including fiber and potassium. The calorie count is also relatively low, coming in at about 170 calories for a whole potato. Armed with this knowledge, you can easily see how a sliced and roasted spud with a drizzle of olive oil can be a healthy side dish.

If you hit up the freezer section for a bag of fries, every 3-ounce portion (about 12 pieces) contains 120 calories, 5 grams of fat and 300 milligrams of sodium — but who eats only 12? Fast-food fries can get you into even more trouble, with a medium-sized order averaging 400 calories and 17 grams of fat. Sodium levels can range from 300 to more than 1,200 milligrams, depending on how those fries are seasoned. Read more

Raw Cheese: Good or Bad?

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, August 27, 2016

Buying artisanal, local foods, including unpasteurized cheeses made from raw milk, is very popular at the moment. Some advocates even claim that raw cheese is healthier, but of course there are two sides to every story. Read on for the pros, cons and the verdict on eating raw cheese.

The Good
According to Carlos Yescas, program director at Oldways Cheese Coalition, “the benefits of eating raw milk cheese are many, amongst the most important are the diversity of the microorganisms that are present in these cheeses.” Although there are many questions that still remain due to the complexity of the human microbiome, these microbes found in raw milk cheese can help fight infection and disease.

Many folks, including myself, have food safety concerns when it comes to raw milk cheese. Yescas explains that in order to keep food safety under control it is important to source good milk. The raw cheese producers must pay attention to the quality of the milk, which included the living conditions of the animals, the nutrition of the dairy cows, and animal husbandry. “Because the processing of raw milk will not go through pasteurization (heat treatment) it is even more important to ensure that the conditions around the milking parlor are clean and safe,” says Yescas. Further, producers are mandated to constantly train their employees, as well as follow food safety guidelines (known as HACCP) that ensure that the points of contamination where pathogens can be introduced are carefully supervised. Read more

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