Friday, May 31, 2013

Final: The NEW view... myPlate

The following article is about the new food guide. Basically, the pyramid is gone! Go through the article and the follow-up item at the end.

(CNN) -- The food pyramid has been dismantled in favor of a simple plate icon that urges Americans to eat a more plant-based diet.

One half of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, with whole grains and lean protein on the other half, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Low-fat dairy on the side, such as a cup of skim milk or yogurt, is also suggested.

The new icon, MyPlate is designed to remind Americans to adopt healthier eating habits, in a time when more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.

"It's an opportunity for Americans to understand quickly how to have a balanced and nutritious meal," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "It's a constant reminder as you look at your own plate whether your portion sizes are right, whether you've got enough fruits and vegetables on that plate."

Vilsack, first lady Michelle Obama and Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin spoke at a Thursday press conference to unveil the new plate icon.

Obama has led a national campaign for healthier diets and more physical exercise, called Let's Move, which aims to reduce childhood obesity in the United States within a generation.

The goal of MyPlate is to simplify nutritional information, Obama said.

"When it comes to eating, what's more useful than a plate?" she asked. "It's a quick simple way for all of us to be mindful of the foods we're eating."

She warned that the new icon won't end the obesity epidemic alone.

"It can't ensure our communities have access to affordable fruits and vegetables," Obama said. "That's still work we need to do."

She said kids still need to be active and that parents still need to be vigilant on making good food choices.
The plate also reflects another shift.

Goodbye food pyramid, hello plate
USDA to replace food pyramid
end of the  food pyramid

Grains, which had been featured prominently as the base in a previous food pyramid, are less dominant on the new plate. But that doesn't mean that there's less emphasis on all carbohydrates.

"Nutritionwise, carbs make up the bulk of our diet," said Marisa Moore, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "Fruits are a source of carbohydrates and most starchy vegetables are carb sources in addition to pasta and rice. They'll still be represented. It's more of an emphasis on fruits and veggies."

The plate icon is consistent with the USDA's dietary guidelines released in January, which recommended consuming whole grains rather than refined grains, such as white rice or white bread, which are stripped of some nutrients such as vitamins, fiber, and iron.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans also recommended consuming fewer calories, filling half of the plate with fruits and vegetables, reducing sodium, and drinking water instead of sugary drinks.

"The simplicity is the key," Vilsack said about the new symbol. "The food pyramid is very complicated. It doesn't give you as much info in a quick glance as the plate does."

With growing numbers of Americans obese, many have weight-related conditions such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes -- which are leading causes of death, with an estimated annual $270 billion price tag in health care costs.

"We know that there are significant health benefits from consuming more fruits and vegetables, and that's an opportunity for us to sort of move away from some of the meals that we've been preparing in the past," Vilsack said. "It doesn't take a lot to put your plate with half fruits and vegetables. It doesn't necessarily even have to cost more money."

The USDA also introduced a new website,, designed to help Americans make better food choices. It will show families how to stretch their dollars while buying fruits and vegetables, Vilsack said. The website is also to contain recipes, tips and techniques on healthier meals.

"We need to give Americans choices, instead of telling them what they cannot do, what they cannot eat," Benjamin said at the press conference.

The new plate icon will replace the MyPyramid image as the government's primary food group symbol. The pyramids have been criticized as too confusing.

"We are people," said Marion Nestle, a professor in the department of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University. "We don't eat pyramids. We eat off of plates."

She pointed out on her blog, Food Politics, that several health organizations, including the American Diabetes Association, American Institute for Cancer Research, and Canada's food guide have adopted plate symbols that urge eating mostly plant-based diets consisting of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Registered dietitians like Moore already have been using plate symbols to instruct patients on weight management, diabetes care and general wellness.

While the plate symbol is much simpler, she said, portion control is also crucial, even while eating healthy foods.

"You have to think about the size of the plate," she said. "Instead of a dinner plate, start with a salad plate, so you start with fewer calories."

"Research shows the more food that's put in front of us, the more we tend to eat," Moore said. "So we need to make sure we get the message that portion control is important, even when eating foods that are healthy for us."

The most recent food pyramid, called MyPyramid, introduced in 2005, didn't offer much information. It showed a stick figure walking up a staircase on the side of the pyramid.

Its predecessor, the first food pyramid, released in 1992, recommended five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables. But these were secondary to the recommendation of six to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta. It didn't differentiate between refined and whole grains.

"It promoted eating so many grain servings, it was promoting obesity," Nestle said.
Dr. David Kessler, author of "The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite," agreed that the older food pyramid "didn't reflect best of the dietary guidelines."

"Refined carbohydrates should've never been the major part of the diet," he said. "It was never about eating refined carbohydrates. It's why it didn't work."

With the new changes, Kessler added, "Maybe now, we have a chance." 

© 2011 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The article above talks about changes to the way that nutritional choices are presented to the public. We have covered many aspects of nutrition - from the basics of nutrients and the choices we make, to planning, labels and diets. Using all of those pieces along with the information above:

Construct a menu for cafe: Deli sandwich, entree, vegetable side dish, starch side dish, soup, salad, dessert and beverage.
  • The menu should be appealing and fit the new guidelines of the 'plate' explained above. 
  • The menu should be very specific - include detailed descriptions of the food items offered as well as portions.
  • Use descriptive wording (like that covered previously) as well as take into account at least one diet plan (as in Week 9).
  • Your final product should consider various cultures and appeal to a wide variety of tastes (as in Week 1)
  • Various ingredients (Week 3 & 4) of different nutritional values will be used
  • Explain how each item fits into the new model for nutritional choices (the 'Plate')
Your artifact will be professionally prepared and presented based on your hands-on experience in the Culinary Arts class as well as using information discovered with the Applied Nutrition material.

Your menu will be submitted as a 'hard copy by June 11th. 

Additional resources

Cornell University Restaurant Menu Database - Almost 10,000 menus to give you ideas

Heart Healthy Menu Sample

Asian Menu Sample

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Week 11: You Want Salt with That? Why we eat what we do... Part 2

We have heard... and heard... and heard about watching how much salt we consume. But, why? Doesn't salt naturally occur in nature and in most foods? Check out the video below and think about this as you watch: Who is responsible for monitoring how much salt we consume?

Click here to watch the video 
((There is usually a commercial before the video starts))

So, here is your question*:

Who's responsibility is it to control how much salt you consume? Should manufacturers/restaurants be responsible for your health? Or is the burden yours? Points to consider:
Where do people that don't know what is or isn't healthy learn about nutrition?
Do restaurants have a responsibility to the public?

Click HERE to respond.

* A Well Constructed response is defined as: Clearly stating your position; defending that position (based on fact and/or opinion); presenting an understandable argument; using as many words as necessary to make your point; not using so few words that your position is not understood; composing a response that is not completely full of grammatical errors and misstatements.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Week 10: Why We Eat What We Do... part 1

If You Thought Oatmeal Couldn't Be Bad For You, Guess Again

By Meredith Melnick Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The first clue you might be eating something unhealthy is that you're eating it at McDonald's. That applies even to some of Mickey D's most nutritious-sounding menu items, such as the recently debuted breakfast offering: Fruit & Maple Oatmeal (FMO).

In an enlightening and entertaining opinion piece, New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman points out all the ways in which the McDonald's version of the most wholesome of foods ("Real oatmeal contains no ingredients; rather, it is an ingredient.") is nothing more than a bowlful of expensive junk food. Remarkably, McDonald's oatmeal contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than an Egg McMuffin.

Bittman writes:
[I]n typical McDonald's fashion, the company is doing everything it can to turn oatmeal into yet another bad choice. (Not only that, they've made it more expensive than a double-cheeseburger: $2.38 per serving in New York.) "Cream" (which contains seven ingredients, two of them actual dairy) is automatically added; brown sugar is ostensibly optional, but it's also added routinely unless a customer specifically requests otherwise. There are also diced apples, dried cranberries and raisins, the least processed of the ingredients (even the oatmeal contains seven ingredients, including "natural flavor").
A more accurate description than "100% natural whole-grain oats," "plump raisins," "sweet cranberries" and "crisp fresh apples" would be "oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and 11 weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen."
Some might argue that buying McDonald's oatmeal is a lot more convenient than making it at home. Surely, those people have never actually made oatmeal at home. Read the full Times column for Bittman's advice on how to cook oats correctly and quickly, and for McDonald's justification of FMO.

© 2011 Time Inc. All rights reserved

So, your question is this: How do you feel about McDonald's approach to oatmeal? 

Some points to consider:
  • Is McD's doing the public an injustice by treating a usually healthy item in an unhealthy manner? 
  • Is it the public's responsibility to educate themselves? 
  • Do you think people are eating this particular menu item under the belief that it is healthy? 
After reading the article above and thinking about the question, click here to reply in a WELL CONSTRUCTED response*

* A Well Constructed response is defined as: Clearly stating your position; defending that position (based on fact and/or opinion); presenting an understandable argument; using as many words as necessary to make your point; not using so few words that your position is not understood; composing a response that is not completely full of grammatical errors and misstatements. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Week 9: Diets

Labels. Health Claims. Packaging. Choices. So many nutritional choices... and so much information. Below is a selection of diets (some conventional, some 'fad') for you to examine. At the end of the article is an investigation for you to complete.

In the unending and increasingly urgent quest for weight loss, we have an abundance of diets to choose from. Faddish diets come and go so fast we can barely learn their formulas. From glorifying particular foods (like the acai berry) to demonizing others (like high-fructose corn syrup) diet promoters hop from one aisle of the grocery store to the next.

In contrast, long-term transformational programs cover all aspects of life, from eating to stress management. Some diets are anchored in geography like the Mediterranean, Scarsdale and Sonoma diets. Others are named after famous people such as the Atkins, Suzanne Somers and Jenny Craig plans. Some associate themselves with a religious reference, for instance, Pastor Rick Warren's Daniel Plan. Others are named after a specific food like the cookie, grapefruit or cabbage soup diet. Others take on descriptive names such as Weight Watchers and TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly).

Some use technical-sounding names, for instance, the hCG Diet, which first surfaced in the '50s. Even for diet groupies, the hCG diet seems severe (and is expensive). Calories are limited to 500 a day, and promoters claim that a daily injection of the pregnancy hormone hCG will make unwanted fat in the wrong places disappear. After reports of health complications, this regimen triggered a warning by the Food and Drug Administration; nonetheless, the hCG diet continues to grow in popularity.

While not as severe as the hCG diet calorie restrictions, all diets share the common goal of limiting calories to achieve weight loss. The dieter, forced to live in a constant state of deprivation and hunger, eventually finds the diet difficult to sustain. When the regimen is predictably discarded, the dieter regains the lost weight and frequently adds a few pounds more.

Copyright © 2011, Inc.

Your mission: 

Select a diet plan and evaluate it. Here are the pieces you want to investigate-


What is the name of the diet plan?

Step 1

Evaluate the rate of weight loss the product promises

Step 2

Evaluate the type of eating plan offered

Step 3

Evaluate whether the diet offers some kind of maintenance plan after the goals are met

Step 4

Decide what the diet costs

Step 5

Know the health risks of the diets

Step 6

Justify why you would or would not recommend this diet to somebody

By Monday, May 6th @ 2:30:
Click HERE to respond after examining a diet plan of your choice

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Week 7: Health Claims

FDA Specifications for Health Claims and Descriptive Terms

The FDA provides guidelines about the claims and descriptions manufacturers may use in food labeling to promote their products:

Take a look at the following product descriptions. Have you come across this type of wording? Any food decisions you have made that uses some of these terms? Have they changed the food purchases you have made?

Claim Requirements that must be met before using the claim in food labeling
Fat-Free Less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving, with no added fat or oil
Low fat 3 grams or less of fat per serving
Less fat 25% or less fat than the comparison food
Saturated Fat Free Less than 0.5 grams of saturated fat and 0.5 grams of trans-fatty acids per serving
Cholesterol-Free Less than 2 mg cholesterol per serving, and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving
Low Cholesterol 20 mg or less cholesterol per serving and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving
Reduced Calorie At least 25% fewer calories per serving than the comparison food
Low Calorie 40 calories or less per serving
Extra Lean Less than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 95 mg of cholesterol per (100 gram) serving of meat, poultry or seafood
Lean Less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 g of saturated fat, and 95 mg of cholesterol per (100 gram) serving of meat, poultry or seafood
Light (fat) 50% or less of the fat than in the comparison food (ex: 50% less fat than our regular cheese)
Light (calories) 1/3 fewer calories than the comparison food
High-Fiber 5 grams or more fiber per serving
Sugar-Free Less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving
Sodium-Free or Salt-Free Less than 5 mg of sodium per serving
Low Sodium 140 mg or less per serving
Very Low Sodium 35 mg or less per serving
Healthy A food low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, and contains at least 10% of the Daily Values for vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or fiber.
"High", "Rich in" or "Excellent Source" 20% or more of the Daily Value for a given nutrient per serving
"Less", "Fewer" or
At least 25% less of a given nutrient or calories than the comparison food
"Low", "Little", "Few", or "Low Source of" An amount that would allow frequent consumption of the food without exceeding the Daily Value for the nutrient – but can only make the claim as it applies to all similar foods
"Good Source Of", "More", or "Added" The food provides 10% more of the Daily Value for a given nutrient than the comparison food

The assignment attached to this week's piece is as follows: Find something in your house, at the store or in school that uses some of the wording you see above. 

Does the Health Claim seem reasonable for the product? For example:  Would you agree with "Oreos - Good source of calcium" ?? 
Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks? Use the 'comment' section below to share your findings.

Some material Copyright ©1997-2012 HealthCheck Systems, All rights reserved

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Week 6: Planning

Planning meals makes eating (and serving) healthy meals a lot easier than not having a plan.  So, let’s take a look at what goes into planning. Like we discusses last week (for last week's Sports' Banquet)...

Planning healthy meals is not always easy. Here are some guiding points to consider:

Let the Pyramid be Your Guide — Hot or cold, convenience or scratch, everyday foods or new and exotic — use MyPlate for planning healthy meals. Include foods from all the food groups, and choose a variety of foods from each group. A variety of foods prevents boredom and is the best way to ensure your family gets the 40+ nutrients they need each day. 

Plan Ahead — It avoids the question, "What's for dinner tonight?" and increases the likelihood that meals are nutritious. There's no magic formula. Choose what works best for you - one day, a few days, or a week at a time. They key is knowing your family's schedule and including foods that that can be prepared in the time available. Use your plan for your grocery list.

Think Convenience… in moderationTake advantage of the variety of healthful and convenient foods available. For busy nights, plan to pick up a pizza, roast chicken or entree on the way home. Prepare a salad, cut up some fruit, cook some pasta or slice some bread, pour some milk and dinner is served!

Keep a Well-Stocked Pantry and Fridge — Put nutritious meals together in hurry when there's a last-minute schedule change or you didn't get around to planning.

Plan Family Meals and Meals for the Family — Schedule family meals several times during the week. Children who eat with their families tend to have healthier eating patterns. Include your favorites, as well as others. Too often it's easiest to only plan meals around what kids like. Remember that the family needs to develop a taste for new foods. 

Save Time (and Money) by Using Leftovers — Many foods taste just as good, if not better, the second time around. So be sure to incorporate leftovers into your menu. Not only does it cut time in the kitchen, it's a great way to stretch your food dollar. Use leftover chicken in salads, soups, pasta dishes, quesadillas or sandwiches. Rice is great for stir-frys, pilafs, rice pudding, soups or salads. Toss cold veggies in salad, or add them to sandwiches or casseroles.

To establish an understanding for what goes into planning, create 2 days’ worth of menus for your household. Take the above items into consideration, as well as cost, personal preference, the mission to eat healthy and any other pieces of the nutritional puzzle that may need to be considered. Create 2 menus with breakfast, lunch and dinner. BE SPECIFIC!

--> Post your menu as a Comment to this article by putting your 
First Name & Last Initial then your menu. <--
Last day to submit: Monday, April 15

We want you to be able to see other people's posts as well as have others' see (and comment) on yours!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Week 5: Top Ten... bottom ten?!

In the first few weeks of this course, you were asked to look at your own food choices as well as some of the 'hot topics' in today's nutritional landscape. You examined the bad reputation of Carbohydrates (both simple and complex) and looked at the better option when selecting margarine or butter. Now, it is time to look at some prepared foods. Below is a video that explores the 10 Worst Foods for a healthy life. Watch the video and respond to the question following the video.

Here's the golden question: Do you eat any of the foods mentioned?
  • If yes, which ones? What would it take for you to control or limit your consumption of those items?
  • If no, what has influenced your nutritional choices to stay away from less healthy options?
Take a moment to post a response here and really explain yourself.  Some ideas that may make it easier for you to answer:
  • Do you really care about what you eat?
  • Does what you see advertised, good or bad, make you think about your menu selections?
  • Where do you get your information about what is healthy?
  • Think about what you ate yesterday. If you were serving it in a restaurant, would it be good for your customers?
Please submit your responses by 3/25. Thanks!