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.

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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!

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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!