At the end of last month, Sam Kass — White House chef, Executive Director of Let’s Move! and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy — stepped down. Thirty-four and recently married, Kass, who has played a pivotal role in first lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to encourage healthy eating and reduce childhood obesity, said that, while he loves the first family (they attended his wedding in August) and remains a staunch supporter of their work and mission, he is ready to join his wife, TV journalist Alex Wagner, in New York. “I have to put our future first,” Kass, who started as the Obamas’ personal chef in 2005, when the president was but a lowly freshman senator, told the Wall Street Journal.
It’s January, so get ready to be inundated with the latest diets, plans and cleanses destined to capitalize on your health and fitness desires. Unfortunately, the long-term odds are not in your favor when following these regimens – research shows a significant percentage of people will ultimately see a loss (or regain, more accurately) of those results within a couple of years. Why are so many of us destined to fail before we start?
In this week’s news: Fast food may make grades sink fast; there’s new evidence that resveratrol in red wine may carry ancient benefits; kids diet for the darnedest reasons (i.e., the best!).
On my recent visit to the annual Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo (the “Super Bowl of nutrition,” as it’s referred to by nutritionists), health care pros from around the country came together to talk about the hottest topics in nutrition. This year the conference was buzzing about one particular nutrient: protein. Here’s what all the fuss was about.
In this week’s news: Energy drinks may not be worth the energy, or the risk; eating right and exercising during pregnancy is a big boon for your baby; and researchers find yet another reason to start eating a Mediterranean diet, pronto. Read more
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.
Getting kids to eat healthy has become the Mount Everest of parenthood. Every day is a rocky, uphill battle with daily obstacles thwarting parents’ best intentions: bake sales, kiddie menus, birthday parties and vending machines are everywhere. It doesn’t help that kids are still wired like their early ancestors to gravitate towards sweet foods to maintain their weight in case of a famine and avoid unfamiliar foods that may be poisonous. Fast forward to the twenty-first century with easy access to store-bought processed products and introducing kids to cauliflower can sound as daunting as climbing a mountain.
The good news is that there are plenty of tactics to encourage healthier eating habits in kids.
When it comes to apps for my iPhone and iPad, I can barely wrap my head around the number of available options. I will admit I only go for the freebies, but that has not limited the amazing amount of information and entertainment available. Here are my top mobile apps . . . and yes, they are all FREE!
- Calorie Counter (About, Inc)
This app tracks your calories/food intake as well as weight and exercise. It offers voice recorded logging, bar code scanning to search for foods, articles, community support forums and more.
- Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker (MyFitness Pal)
Track food and fitness goals with a huge food database and bar code scanner. MyFitness Pal allows you to add and follow friends for diet motivation and support. You can also set and track customizable goals and get daily nutrition reports.