Healthy Eating Strategies

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • I recently attended the ADA/FNCE in Boston.  Here's a re-cap of some of the presentations and offerings from the event:

     

    (1) Kids Eat Right is the new campaign and effort by the ADA to help Registered Dieticians have an impact on the childhood obesity epidemic. With the White House emphasizing its own Let's Move initiative through Michelle Obama's efforts, the ADA hopes to focus on weight issues that can exist concomitantly with chronic low intake of nutrients due to a diet subsisting of mostly processed foods. The campaign hopes to have RDs empower parents, and push to get quality, appealing food options into schools nationwide.

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    (2) Cereal studies shared by both Kellog and General Mills with information extrapolated from NHANES data sets from 1999-2002 suggest that kids who eat cereal for breakfast on a regular basis have lower BMIs, waist sizes and better health profiles later in life regardless of whether the cereal is sweetened or unsweetened. Per serving many cereal choices are fortified with as many as 9 essential vitamins and when paired with low fat or fat free milk can provide a nutritious first meal of the day. It should be noted that despite the findings, most dieticians, when polled, obviously prefer a whole grain, low sugar cereal choice, however, the data suggests that regardless of the particular choice, simply eating a breakfast cereal daily is a good health habit

    (3) Making healthy food is easy - getting people to eat it, is the challenge. The focus needs to be on "eating behaviors" since eating is mostly a social experience. If experts try to make it too therapeutic, they will turn off the very people they are targeting. So we need to find a way to help people eat more healthy choices and be cognizant of portion sizes without taking the pleasure out of eating.

    (4) Fat in the diet is not uniquely responsible for people becoming fat. In fact, carbohydrates are probably bigger culprits right now in the obesity equation. The example of cows who consume only carbohydrates in the form of "chewing the cud" or pasture grasses is a clear example of girth obtained from a carbohydrate source. Certainly the type of fat you mostly consume is very important from a health profile perspective. As one expert offered: "We are unhealthy or fat because of what we do eat...what we don't eat...what we eat too much of."

     

    Some take-away messages:

    • Going meat-free several days a week can help you to lose weight, improve your cholesterol profile and allow you to "be green."  Choosing complete proteins like soy in the form of tofu, tempeh or soy beans is one great meat alternative.
    • Do eat a daily breakfast and choose a whole grain cereal that is fortified.  Use skim or 1% milk or soy milk and add berries or other fruits to create a balanced meal.
    • Take note that many cereal companies are making an effort to reduce sugars and sodium
    • When it comes to fruits and vegetables, get them any way you can - fresh, frozen, canned in order to meet 5 - 13 total servings daily.  If not fresh, try to avoid added sugar and salt.

     

Published On: December 29, 2010