5 Ways to Prevent Summer Weight Gain in Children

by in Healthy Tips, July 6, 2014

ice pops
A Harvard University study released last month found that kids gain weight more quickly over the summer than during the school year. With the warm weather and more opportunities to play outdoors, one might think the opposite is true. But it turns out there are several factors at play.

The study, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Preventing Chronic Disease, compiled and analyzed the results of seven studies published since 1990. The studies were conducted among children ages 5 to 17. The researchers found that black, Hispanic and overweight children and adolescents were at highest risk of gaining weight quickly over the summer. The study determined that these adolescents gained weight because they spent more time in front of TV and computer screens and were more likely to eat unhealthy snacks. These children also may have slept less, as their summer days were less structured compared with those during the school year.

What Parents Can Do
There are several basic strategies that can help keep kids from gaining weight during summer vacation. Here are five.

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Three Cheers For the Healthiest Berry Desserts

by in In Season, July 5, 2014

raspberry sherbet

Independence Day may be over, but the summer berry season is just hitting its stride. If your kitchen is bursting with all kinds of juicy gems, here’s a collection of red and blue berry desserts fit for any summer celebration.

Raspberries
Super-high in fiber (one cup provides more than 30 percent of the daily recommended value), these delicate berries can be found in various shades — including red white, black and purple — at farmers markets. Make homemade sherbet better than anything out of the freezer aisle or layer raspberries with other summer fruits in a cool and colorful terrine.

Raspberry-Buttermilk Sherbet (above, from Food Network Magazine)

Raspberry-Watermelon Terrine with Blueberry Sauce
summer fruit terrine

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, July 4, 2014

gummy bears

In this week’s news: Imagining the coffee-pod version of Soylent; sizing up gummy bears as body-builder food; and creating a non-profit supermarket in a low-income suburb.

Make Mine a Decaf — with Extra Vitamin D
Nestle researchers have announced they are developing tools to analyze an individual’s levels of essential nutrients such that they can offer custom-blended drinks tailored to a person’s specific dietary needs. The end goal, they say, is to create a Nespresso-like machine to brew it all up just like your morning joe. Comparisons to Soylent, the Silicon Valley–born meal substitute promising to forevermore eliminate your need to chew, have already been made. That said, don’t hold your breath for the coffeemaker version. The kinds of workups Nestle is talking about currently cost around $2,000 per person.

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A Salad to Celebrate Summer: Spicy Corn with Watermelon (No Salt Added)

by in Scaling Back on Sodium, Seasoning with the Seasons, July 3, 2014

watermelon and corn salad
If you’re searching for a side dish that cools things off and heats them up at the same time, this is the recipe. Two star ingredients of the warm-weather months, corn and watermelon, take a zingy turn with the help of traditional street-corn chili-powder seasoning and a quick pickle. With just a few minutes of prep work, you’ll create a colorful salad that highlights the sweet flavors of watermelon and corn, all balanced by a spicy surprise. Also nice: The salad offers a refreshing counterpoint to traditional barbecue fare.

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Summer Sips: Which Are the Healthiest of the Bunch?

by in Grocery Shopping, July 2, 2014

summer drinks
Looking for something refreshingly fun to beat the heat this summer? Check out these sensible sippers. Read more

Smoothie of the Month: Frozen Peach and Ginger

by in Amy's Whole Food Cooking, July 1, 2014

peach smoothie
Nothing says summer like fragrant, juicy peaches. Their sweet, tangy flesh also makes the ideal base for a variety of summer smoothies.

Peaches have a subtle flavor that can easily be masked by stronger ones, so if you want the peach to shine, stick to ingredients that enhance their floral quality.

Here, I add a pinch of fresh ginger, vanilla and a touch of honey — along with soaked cashews, which create a velvety texture when blended with fruit. Freezing the peaches beforehand results in an ultra-thick and creamy smoothie that goes down well on hot, humid days.

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Taste Test: Which Hot Dogs Are the Top Dogs?

by in Taste Test, June 30, 2014

hot dogs
With the season of backyard food fests in full swing, Healthy Eats vetted the most popular hot dog brands around to see which ones deserve a coveted spot on the grill grates. Find out which frank emerged as top dog.

The Criteria
We rated beef wieners on a 5-point scale (5 being highest), judging the dogs on taste, ingredient quality and nutrition and paying special attention to calories, fat and sodium. We stuck with regular franks instead of the reduced-fat versions, as many of those use a considerable amount of fillers made from potato starch to displace some of the meat (no thank you). We were also on the lookout for the presence of preservatives such as sodium nitrite. Hot dogs ranged in size from 42 to 57 grams (1.5 to 2 ounces) per piece.  Read more

7 Summer Sides That Will Make Everyone Happy

by in Healthy Recipes, June 29, 2014

quinoa

Throw a bash these days, and you’ll likely be faced with a barrage of requests from friends who are gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free — you name it. But that doesn’t mean these guests are fun-free! Whatever your pals’ eating styles, they will be primed to party (and think you are the Best Host Ever) when you serve one of these dishes.

For the (Gluten-Free) Quinoa-tarian: Quinoa Salad (above)
Here, the gluten-free king of the grain aisle gets tossed with cubes of cucumber, red onion, and tomato in a simple oil-vinegar-lemon dressing. Fresh mint and parsley add bright flavor, and when the salad is spooned into endive spears with diced avocado, the whole thing becomes a party on a platter.

For the Flexitarian: Creamy Broccoli Salad
A little bit of bacon goes a long way in this tasty side — good news for friends who are trying to cut back on meat, especially the processed variety. Two strips of crisp bacon are finely chopped before being tossed with the broccoli, onions and golden raisins. Buttermilk, reduced-fat sour cream, lemon and bacon drippings form the irresistible dressing.
broccoli salad

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DIY Hummus from the Silk Road Vegetarian Cookbook

by in Cookbooks, June 28, 2014

hummus
These days, it’s all the rage to join a community supported agriculture plan, or CSA. But as recently as 2008, it wasn’t quite as easy. That was the year Dahlia Abraham-Klein, frustrated with the lack of locally sourced food in her Long Island, NY, town, gathered enough signatures to start a CSA out of her garage.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, June 27, 2014

french fries
In this week’s news: Restaurant chains phase out salt on the sly; the buzz on edible insects keeps growing; and doctors confess to being clueless about nutrition.

Sodium Levels? Nothing to See Here. 
Until recently, a meal of chicken, stuffing, cornbread and mashed potatoes at Boston Market would have contained about 2,590 mg of salt — or 290 mg more than U.S. guidelines recommend for an entire day. Today, that same dinner tallies up at 2,000. Facing increasing pressure to make products healthier, the restaurant chain has quietly cut down on salt content in many of its dishes. The food giant is far from the only one: Hamburger Helper, Oreo cookies and McDonald’s french fries are just some of the items that have been “stealth health”-ified. You read right. Consumers may know that healthier food options are a good thing, but that doesn’t mean that they’re always excited to partake. Case in point: When McDonald’s started cooking without harmful trans fats, it was flooded with complaints of the fries tasting different — and not in a good way. As a result of such episodes, many brands are trying to make changes on the sly. Nevertheless, even though General Mills went the quiet route, slowly reducing sodium in Hamburger Helper by 50 percent over a six-year period, the product’s sales have been in steady decline since the salt reduction began.

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