All Posts In Food News & Trends

How One Simple Vending Machine Tweak Could Prompt Healthier Choices

by in Food News & Trends, Healthy Tips, May 22, 2017

You’re at work, feeling a little hungry, low energy or just in the mood to take a break, so you stroll down to the vending machine in search of a snack. You feed some cash into the machine and choose something that catches your eye. A few minutes later, you’re sitting at your desk with an empty bag, greasy fingers and an unmistakable sense of regret. Why didn’t you choose something healthier?

 

Making snack decisions in a snap doesn’t always bring out the healthiest eater in us. To quantify this truism, researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago created a device that can be installed in vending machines that delays the dispensing of unhealthy snacks (candy and chips, for instance) for 25 seconds and but allows healthier snacks (nuts, popcorn) to be dispensed straightaway. A sign on the vending machine lets people know unhealthy snacks will take extra time to receive.

 

Guess what happened when the experimental machines were made available around campus? Yep, people began to choose healthier snacks. Read more

Nut and Seed Butters Are a Trend Worth Spreading

by in Food News & Trends, May 20, 2017

Here’s a toast-worthy trend that just might stick: Nutrition experts are increasingly looking beyond trusty old peanut butter and going nuts for other sorts of protein-rich nut and seed spreads – sunflower butter, sesame butter and more. (SB&J? Why not?)

“When it comes to nut and seed butters, variety is the spice of life!” says San Diego-based nutrition coach, registered dietitian and culinary nutritionist EA Stewart, MBA, RD at The Spicy RD. Healthy Eats asked Stewart to share her thoughts about the incredible spreadable trend:

 

How do seed and other nut butters compare nutritionally to trusty old peanut butter?

While all nuts and seeds contain heart-healthy fats and fiber, each nut and seed is unique in its nutrition profile, so it’s a good idea to include a variety of them in our diets. For instance, macadamia nuts are very high in monounsaturated fats, while flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts are the highest in omega-3 fats. Almonds and hazelnuts are an excellent source of vitamin E, while pumpkin and other seeds are rich in magnesium, a nutrient many of us fall short on. Bottom line: Enjoy a wide variety of nut, seed and legume (peanuts) butters in your diet to get the greatest nutrient bang for your buck. The only potential downside is to keep portion control in mind, as nut and seed butters are a concentrated source of calories, and it’s easy to go overboard. Read more

4 Delicious Ways to Start Eating More Vietnamese Food

by in Food News & Trends, May 6, 2017

While Thai food has become mainstream in the U.S., we often overlook the fresh, colorful and healthful cuisine of another Southeast Asia country, Vietnam. Sure, many Americans have at least heard of or tried pho (a Vietnamese rice noodle soup) so it’s not uncharted food territory. But we’re still not fully aware of the cuisine’s staple ingredients, cooking methods, dishes and nutrition benefits. Having recently taste-tested my way through Vietnam, I discovered a refreshing food culture that’s abundant in fresh herbs and vegetables, clean flavors and light, nourishing dishes.

 

A Unique Food Culture

“What I like about Vietnamese food is its very clean flavors. Other cuisines in the [Southeast Asia] region may use similar ingredients, but are doing different things with them,” says Marc Lowerson, Owner of Hanoi Street Food Tours in Vietnam. Lowerson explains that it’s rare to find in a dish in Vietnam that tastes rich, too spicy or overly sweet. “The Vietnamese are not pounding their own curry pastes or using coconut milk in savory dishes like the Thais do. There is little use of dry spices: the level of hot spice in the food is rarely in the cooking process, and is most often managed by the individual with condiments on the table.” Read more

A New Study Offers Yet Another Reason to Eat Avocados

by in Food News & Trends, May 4, 2017

If you needed another reason to dip your chip (or better yet, a crisp veggie) into a bowl of yummy guacamole, a new comprehensive research review has offered a good one.

 

The review, published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, evaluated the results of 129 studies to determine the effects of the avocados on various aspects of Metabolic syndrome, which is a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Read more

The Ingredient Your Probiotic May Be Missing

by in Food News & Trends, Wellness, May 2, 2017

For the past few years doctors and nutritionists have been recommending probiotics as way to control gut health. The little pills are filled with good bacteria, which have been shown to help improve digestion, boost mood and immune system and even help clear up skin. According to new research out of the University of Florida, some probiotics can even help curb allergy systems. But it turns out that most probiotics on the market are missing a key ingredient: fungus.

Read more

Trend Alert: Riced Vegetables

by in Food News & Trends, Healthy Recipes, April 8, 2017

Remember when “rice” was a just a noun? Nowadays it’s become a verb and an adjective to describe one of the hottest veggie trends around. These tiny chopped pieces of vegetables have found their ways into all kinds of recipes, and can offer a hefty dose of nutrients.

 

Riced revolution

What started out as a new-fangled way to use cauliflower has evolved into so much more. Cauliflower “rice” came on the scene as a popular grain free alternative to rice. Riced cauliflower can be used as a standalone side dish or as the star ingredient in traditional recipes like fried rice and baked casseroles. Using a vegetable-based option in place of grains lowers the calories and carbohydrate counts but this swap isn’t completely a nutrition win. If you compare one cup of cooked rice to the same portion of cooked cauliflower, rice contains more fiber, protein and magnesium but less vitamins K and C.

As with many food trends, the “riced” craze has continued to advance. Instead of just cauliflower, ricing other veggies like sweet potatoes, broccoli and carrots has begun to gain momentum. There is also more variety of flavored rice vegetables. Check ingredient lists as some are seasoned with flavorings that can up the sodium content. Read more

It’s Not Just You: Stress and Fat Are Linked

by in Food News & Trends, March 14, 2017

In times of stress, many of us turn for consolation to sugary, fatty, high-calorie foods. Macaroni and cheese? Meatloaf and mashed potatoes with extra butter? A massive hunk of buttercream-frosted cake? They don’t call them “comfort foods” for nothing.

“I often see unmanaged stress lead to overeating and binging with my clients,” says Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT, author of Nourish Your Namaste e-book and blogger at The Foodie Dietitian. “When we push away our basic needs for self-care — relaxation, spirituality, fun, sleep — we wind up feeling overexerted, depleted and stressed and turn to food as a way to fulfill an unmet need. Overeating because of stress often leads to more stress and anxiety and it becomes a vicious cycle.”

Given that, the results of a recent British study that found a link between long-term stress and obesity may not come as much of a surprise.

The study, conducted by researchers at University College London and published in the journal Obesity, looked at hair samples representing about two months of growth from more than 2,500 men and women age 54 and over participating in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing to determine the levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, present in the hair. The researchers found that those with higher levels of cortisol, which plays a role in metabolism and fat storage, were more likely to be overweight or obese – to have a larger waist circumference, weigh more and have a higher body-mass index. Read more

5 Nordic Foods to Add to Your Diet

by in Food & Nutrition Experts, Food News & Trends, February 21, 2017

Nordic food is hot. It’s healthy too. A recent study in The Journal of Nutrition found that a Nordic diet — rich in foods like whole grain rye, unsweetened yogurt, wild berries, root vegetables, herbs and fatty fish — can lower levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, and even lead to weight loss. While you may not make it to restauranteur Claus Meyer’s new Great Northern Food Hall in New York, the popular Minneapolis’ Fika Café or Broder Söder at the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation in Portland, OR, you can certainly discover these delicious ways to enjoy the new Nordic diet.

Canned or jarred fish

Pickled herring anyone? While not typical lunch fare, a Swedish smorgasbord would be incomplete without it. In the Nordic Diet study, people ate two to three servings weekly of fish. And eating fish more often is as easy as opening a jar of pickled herring from IKEA stores or most supermarket deli sections. Herring are mild tasting fish that are often pickled in a vinegary onion and black pepper brine, and are addictive on dark rye crackers topped with red onions, fresh dill and a bit of sour cream. And don’t forget canned sardines, which are harvested in the frigid waters of the Norwegian fjords; these trendy tins are packed with immunity boosters. Norwegian salmon is also an appealing choice; add it to potatoes and greens in our hearty-and-healthy Salmon Hash.

Pickled vegetables

The old technique of pickling vegetables is new again. This is evidenced by the whopping $14 price tag found on a jar of pickled seasonal veggies – and by their appearance on restaurant charcuterie platters. Participants in the Nordic diet study ate a lot of cukes and cabbage. Both would be perfect in this quick pickle recipe. Read more

Fix Your Diet, Fix Your Sleep

by in Food News & Trends, February 18, 2017

You snooze, you win! Turns out eating sleep smart will deliver enough zzz’s to boost your immune system and shrink your stress. “Sleep is one of the first things I ask patients about,” explains Dr. Donielle Wilson, N.D. naturopathic doctor, certified nutrition specialist and author of the upcoming, A Natural Guide to Better Sleep, “because it tells me about their health and how well they’re holding up under stress.”

But a good night’s sleep — generally defined as 7.5 to 9 hours of uninterrupted slumber per night — can be elusive. Sure, caffeine and alcohol are known sleep disrupters, but your daily eating habits could also be sabotaging your shut-eye. Besides perfecting a bedtime routine (see below), here are Wilson’s top 5 ways to fix sleep issues by giving your diet an upgrade:

  • Balance your blood sugar level during the day, which affects your blood sugar balance while you sleep. If you eat large meals, infrequent meals and/or high sugar/carb meals (including bananas), especially near bedtime, you’re likely to wake up from blood sugar fluctuations.
  • Reduce inflammation in your body, which for many people means avoiding gluten and dairy. Inflammation can travel to the nervous system and cause symptoms from anxiety to insomnia.
  • Boost nutrient-dense foods high in sleep-friendly vitamins and minerals, including magnesium (nuts, seeds, fish, dark leafy greens, dark chocolate), B6 (salmon, beef, chicken, turkey, sweet potato, hazelnuts) and melatonin (cherries, pomegranate, cranberries, pineapple, oranges, tomatoes).
  • Ditch your sugar-filled, late-night treat for a non-dairy protein powder–fueled smoothie to break those sweet cravings.
  • Calm your nervous system with herbal teas like chamomile and lavender. Stress triggers a stress response involving stimulating cortisol and adrenaline, which leads to disrupted sleep patterns.

Read more

Make Whole-Grain Swaps to Burn Calories, Boost Metabolism

by in Food & Nutrition Experts, Food News & Trends, February 17, 2017


A new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that people who replaced refined grains with 100-percent whole grains absorbed fewer calories from foods eaten with whole grains and burned more calories. These losses added up to a 100-calorie deficit per day, according to the Tufts University researchers who conducted this 8-week study.

While 100 calories might not sound like a lot, eating 100-percent whole grains consistently could add up to significant savings when spanning weeks, months and years. Losing 700 calories per week by cutting calories with a traditional weight loss plan, for example, could add up to nearly a pound of fat loss per month. A brisk 30-minute walk also burns 100 calories.

Eating intact whole grains like brown rice and steel-cut oats versus those that are ground or milled could potentially offer more calorie-saving benefits, the researchers hypothesized.

If you’re ready to up your whole-grain game, there are a few things to consider.

 

What 100% whole grain is

A whole grain has the germ and outer bran either still intact, as in the case of brown rice, or ground, like in 100-percent whole-wheat flour. The milling process of refined grains, however, removes the outer bran and germ. During this process, fiber, protein, and other important nutrients decrease. Oftentimes food manufacturers add nutrients back in another form, as is the case for white fluffy bread. Read more

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