Posts Tagged ‘
Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Big news, you guys. You know that delicious bowl (or, um, sometimes pseudo-bucket) of olive oil they give you at every Italian restaurant? The one you sometimes feel a little guilty about sopping up with tons of gorgeously crusty bread? Well, scientists have just proven that indulging in a bit of olive oil as part of a Mediterranean diet can dramatically reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from heart disease. And? It’s a smart diet to borrow from during pregnancy—minus the recommended glasses of vino, of course!
Along with a focus on olive oil, the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet studied included servings of fish every week (make sure it’s not a high mercury fish!), including plenty of nuts and legumes, and avoiding processed meats and snacks. No calorie counting. No cardboard-tasting diet foods. Just a delicious “diet” that can save your life.
The really cool thing is that the Mediterranean diet has extra health benefits for pregnant women and their babes-to-be: olive oil (and the olives it comes from), fish, and legumes all contain healthy fatty acids, which are vital in developing your baby’s nervous system—including her brain. Add in a bunch of fruits and veggies for balance, and you’ve got yourself a smart and scrumptious pregnancy feast!
Can’t wait to try the Mediterranean diet? Try this Grilled Greek Salad or Tilapia with Lemony Herb Salad. Yum!
If you’ve got any other good recipes that would go with the Mediterranean diet, put them in the comments.
Image of olive oil via Shutterstock.
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fatty acids, fish, Food, health, Mediterranean diet, Nutrition, olive oil, Pregnancy, pregnant, recipes | Categories:
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
You may have read the news yesterday that blueberries and strawberries can lower your risk of heart disease by about a third. I thought the study—a joint effort between Harvard University and East Anglia University in England—was totally cool for two reasons: Researchers started tracking the women when they were young moms—25 to 42—while most other work of this kind has been done in older women, and blueberries and strawberries are my daughter’s two favorite foods. Seriously, Katie said to me a couple of weeks ago, “I like strawberries better than candy.” And knowing how much she loves candy, that’s a bold statement!
Last night, I sent a note to one of the study’s authors, Aedin Cassidy, Ph.D., from East Anglia University, asking whether she thought her results applied to kids as well as moms. She responded right away: “This is a very interesting question,” she wrote. “We don’t have data on kids but if you extrapolate from our study, it’s likely that a healthy diet in childhood will also play out to a reduced risk of heart disease later in life.” That’s good enough for me. High cholesterol and high blood pressure, two big-time risk factors for heart disease, are becoming increasingly common in kids. One study published last year found that 24,000 children received treatment for elevated BP in 2006—double that compared to a decade before.
Dr. Cassidy also added that besides the strawberries and blueberries that got all the attention on the news yesterday, eggplant, plums, red cabbage, and other berries (like cranberries and raspberries) are also rich in pigments called anthocyanins that help lower the risk of heart disease and keep blood pressure in check. I’ve found some great recipes for each of them. Dig in!
* Strawberries: Puree berries in the blender for strawberry milk or make this strawberry soup for a Valentine’s treat.
* Blueberries: For baby, consider this blueberry puree while older kids will love these blueberry yogurt pops.
* Eggplant: Watch Disney’s Ratatouille, then make this pasta and eggplant dish.
* Plums: This plum pizza with feta cheese is a great way to work fruit into dinner.
* Red cabbage: Try this recipe for apple and cabbage baby food. For older kids, slip shredded cabbage into sandwiches—they’ll probably like it better than lettuce.
* Cranberries: Both fresh and dried are packed with the healthy pigments. Try these cranberry granola bars and this homemade cranberry sauce (it’s not just for Thanksgiving!)
* Raspberries: Whip up a healthy raspberry sauce to top whole-grain pancakes and waffles.
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Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
Language Learning Begins in Utero, Study Finds; Newborn Memories of Oohs and Ahs Heard in the Womb
Research led by Christine Moon, a professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University, shows that infants, only hours old showed marked interest for the vowels of a language that was not their mother tongue. (via ScienceDaily)
Circumcision On The Decline? What Parents Need to Know About The Procedure
Having your newborn baby boy circumcised used to be a common practice in the United States, but in recent years, more parents are opting out. According to Charge Data Master, newborn circumcision rates declined from 58.4 percent in 2001 to 54.7 percent in 2010. Yet these numbers don’t take into account circumcisions performed outside of the hospital – such as those for religious reasons. (via Fox News)
Ultrasound Parties: New Frontier in Pregnancy Oversharing
Thanks to improved ultrasound technology, parents-to-be can now invite friends and family to share in an intimate viewing of baby in utero. (via Today Moms)
Philadelphia School District Plans to Close Dozens of Schools
Now, facing deep financial problems, the Philadelphia School District has proposed an unprecedented downsizing that would close 37 campuses by June — roughly one out of six public schools. If the sweeping plan is approved, the district says it will improve academic standards by diverting money used for maintaining crumbling buildings to hire teachers and improve classroom equipment. (via New York Times)
More Food for Hungry Students: USDA Tweaks School Meals
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Schools across the country continue to struggle with implementing the first new nutritional guidelines in 15 years governing meals served to nearly 32 million U.S. students every day. Some schools are finding it a challenge to meet the new requirements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National School Lunch Program, put in place in January 2012. Amid pressure from government officials, the USDA recently loosened up on some of its requirements on meat and grains. (via TIME)
circumcision, Food, language learning, newborn, newborn behavior, Noelia de la Cruz, Parents Daily News Roundup, philadelphia, school lunch, schools, ultrasound, ultrasound parties, USDA | Categories:
Friday, October 26th, 2012
My elementary school didn’t have a cafeteria, but every Tuesday was pizza day. Drooling students lined up in the hallway clutching dollar bills to pay for a piping-hot pepperoni slice and a little carton of milk. I looked forward to it all week.
Luckily, pizza day was only once per week, and my other four lunches were comprised of healthy sliced fruits, veggies, and sandwiches on whole-grain bread (thanks, Mom). But these days, kids are eating in school more often—and that may mean that they’re gorging on fat-packed foods daily. We discussed the problem of unhealthy school lunches in this article from our September 2010 issue. These unhealthy meals have serious long-term effects—check out our recent story on the childhood obesity crisis. The National School Lunch Program dishes out 31 million lunches per day. This school year, the NSLP’s nutrition standards were updated in accordance with the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Lunches have an age-based calorie cap, and schools are required to limit sodium and saturated fat and serve more fruits, veggies, and whole-grain items. But are they measuring up?
Last week, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine released its eighth School Lunch Report Card evaluating meals served by the National School Lunch Program. Standout schools received high grades for offering veggie-packed side dishes, vegetarian and dairy/egg-free entrée options, and nondairy beverages. (The valedictorian: Pinellas County Schools in Florida, which earned a perfect score.) Schools also garnered points for implementing nutrition education in the cafeteria. Failing grades were assigned to schools that dole out cholesterol-heavy dairy products and processed meats such as hotdogs and pepperoni. Low-scoring districts in Houston and Milwaukee were criticized for serving meals such as chicken-fried steak fingers and breaded catfish.
The good news: healthy lunch options are on the rise. The average grade is a B (84%), up 5% from 2008. Healthier lunch options can help decrease students’ lifetime risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and colorectal cancers.
Looking for healthy meals you can stash in your kid’s lunchbox? We’ve got tons of creative ideas to please even the pickiest eaters.
Read the full report here, and tell us how your kid’s school compares.
Image: School lunch via Shutterstock.
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Food, kids' health, National School Lunch Program, Nutrition, obesity, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, school lunch | Categories:
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Thursday, October 25th, 2012
Last week, Food Network’s chef Aarón Sanchez (you probably know him from Iron Chef America or Chopped) joined popchips for the ultimate happy hour at The Kitchen NYC. Sanchez is known for keeping things spicy both in the kitchen and on television, so I was eager to watch his food demonstration, steal some of his cooking tips, and sample some food. It turned out to be a blast, as Sanchez was very down-to-earth and kept cracking jokes all night long. And of course, the food was delicious!
Even better, Sanchez gave us a few of his recipes at the end of the night. Now, I’m no expert chef but these look straightforward enough that even I can handle them. One of my personal favorites was the chile, which I was fascinated to learn should not have beans in it. Instead, Sanchez says it’s all about the meat and the chilies. He also kept insisting that a meal must have texture as well as flavor, so that’s why he’s promoting the new tortilla popchips. The flavors perfectly complemented the recipes, and they have half the fat of regular tortilla chips, so that’s why he suggests serving the chile over some nacho cheese tortilla popchips.
Here’s my favorite recipe from the night:
All-Beef Chile Colorado
6 guajillo chilies, stems and seeds removed
1 1/2 cups boiling water
6 fresh tomatillos, papery skins peeled off
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 chipotle chiles in adobo
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2 pounds ground beef (preferably chuck)
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper
grated sharp cheddar
1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the guajillo chilies on each side for 30 seconds, until just softened. Put them immediately in a glass bowl and pour the boiling water over them to cover. Soak for 15 minutes.
2. In the same dry skillet, toast the tomatillos and garlic, turning several times until the vegetables have softened slightly and the exteriors have brown marks, 3 to 4 minutes. Discard the paper skins on the garlic.
3. Put the guajillo chilies in a blender with the soaking water, the tomatillos, the peeled garlic, and the chipotle chilies in adobo. Pulse to make a smooth puree.
4. In a large stewpot over medium heat, cook the onions until softened and just turning golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook through, breaking it up with a spoon as you cook, about 10 minutes.
5. Add the pureed chiles and tomatillos, the tomatoes, ancho chile powder, cumin, salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour, loosely covered, until the deep orange-red sauce is thick. You may need to add a little more water, but take it easy. The finished chili should not be too wet.
6. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. For each serving, put a handful of nacho cheese tortilla popchips in the bottom of a bowl and ladle a serving of chili on top. Scatter with a handful of cheese and eat at once.
Photos courtesy of popchips.
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Monday, October 8th, 2012
Calling all bakers! Dream up your own cupcake creation for a chance to win drool-worthy goodies including a high-end stand mixer. Visit Reynolds Wrap on Facebook to design your own cupcake liner, and pair it with the virtual cake and icing of your choice. (And next time you’re in the kitchen, try the foil-lined StayBrite Baking Cups, which help prevent your batter from seeping out into a goopy mess.)
Submit your masterpiece by October 19, 2012, then check back on October 22 to vote for your fave. The winner will be selected by cupcake wizards Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, authors of the book Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My! (This duo really can make baking magic–just check out the wild cake Karen designed for our zoo-themed birthday bash.) Good luck!
Image: Many cupcakes via Shutterstock
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Thursday, October 4th, 2012
Kids (and parents!) need whole grains all year round, and autumn is the perfect time to incorporate these nourishing ingredients into your family meal plan. The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children consume at least 2 to 3 servings of whole grain daily. In addition to lowering the risk of many chronic diseases, fiber-rich whole grains have been proven to keep you feeling full for longer, so you’ll eat less and feel energized all day long. There are plenty of fun ways to get kids eating nutritious and tasty meals, so what are you waiting for?
We spoke with Karen Mansur, program manager of the Whole Grains Council about how to help your family make the switch to whole grains. Here are a few of her tips:
1. Host a family taste test
Make three different whole grain pastas (brown rice, whole wheat and quinoa are some popular possibilities) and vote on the family favorite. Next time you make pasta, use the newly crowned whole grain favorite. Do the same with breads, cereals, pancakes mixes, etc. until you’ve switched out all of the classic meal components with whole grain options. And if your picky eater just does not like one particular grain, don’t worry—there are plenty of others to choose from.
2. Cook whole grains together
“Studies show that cooking with children encourages them to be more adventurous with flavors and textures,” Mansur says. Little ones can help out with simple tasks like measuring and stirring. “Getting their help in the kitchen also creates a bonding opportunity and best of all, teaches an appreciation for the effort required to put together a meal,” Mansur adds.
Here are some easy recipes that incorporate whole grains:
You can also adapt your current recipes by simple substitutions like switching from white to brown rice, or by replacing half the white flour with whole wheat flour for foods like cookies and quick breads.
3. Pack healthy lunches for school (or work)
Switch out potato chips for popcorn, make trail mix by combining whole grain cereal with dried fruit or nuts, or select an oatmeal cookie for dessert. Best of all, the whole grains will help kids stay full and focused for the rest of the school day.
4. Look for the Whole Grain Stamp
If you’re having trouble locating whole grains at the grocery store, just look for the Whole Grain Stamp. Food packages with more than a half serving of whole grains are eligible for the black and gold seal, making it easy for shoppers to identify nutritious options.
Image: Various rye bread via Shutterstock.
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Friday, September 21st, 2012
IUDs, Implants Best for Birth Control, Docs Say
New guidelines from the nation’s leading group of obstetricians and gynecologists advice that all women, including teenagers, should look to IUDs and implants first. (via Today)
More Kids Get Nonmedical Exemptions From Vaccines
In 2011, just over 2 percent of school children were exempt from getting their vaccines for nonmedical reasons, up from about 1 percent in 2006, a new report finds. (via My Health News Daily)
Race Doesn’t Affect Injury Outcomes in Kids
White, black and Hispanic children who got seriously injured were equally likely to survive their hospital stay in a new study – despite past evidence of racial disparities. (via Fox News)
Second-hand Smoke Tied to Memory Problems
Smokers and people who regularly breath others’ cigarette fumes are worse at remembering things on their to-do lists than people with no tobacco exposure, a small study says. (via Reuters)
Wal-Mart, Humana to Offer Healthy Food Discount
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Health care giant Humana, Inc. is partnering with Wal-Mart to give shoppers deals on fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy and other health products starting next month. (via ABC News)
birth control, Food, health, healthy eating, Humana, Injuries, memory, Noelia de la Cruz, Parents Daily News Roundup, race, secondhand smoke, smoking, vaccines, Walmart | Categories: