Entries in Healthy Eating (17)


New York Hospitals Prescribing Fruits, Veggies

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An apple a day keeps the doctor away, so the saying goes. But for many living in New York City, that apple might come by prescription.

Two of the city’s hospitals — Lincoln Medical Center and Harlem Hospital — have joined a national experiment: the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, or FVRx for short. The hospitals serve some of New York’s lower-income families. And according to Wholesome Wave, the organization spearheading the experiment, those families face the biggest hurdles when it comes to healthy eating.

The prescriptions come in the form of “health bucks” — coupons — $1 per day for each member of the family.  That means a family of four would get $28 worth of coupons per week to be used at local farmers’ markets for fresh fruits and vegetables.

The program has seen a success in other metro areas, including Boston.

“It was a great way to start the conversation about eating healthy,” said Dr. Suki Tepperberg, lead physician for the program at Codman Square Health Center in Boston. “It motivated families to make a change. It even motivated families to make clinic appointments and to keep their appointments because they knew they were getting fruits and vegetables.”

“By the end of it,” Tepperberg added, “more kids ate fruits and vegetables.”

New York joins seven other states testing the Wholesome Wave plan. According to the organization’s end-of-market survey, participants reported a 93 percent increase in fruit and vegetable consumption in 2012. And it seems to be having an effect on health: 37.8 percent of child participants decreased their body mass index, or BMI.

“This looks like an excellent program,” said Dr. Donald Hensrud of the Mayo Clinic. “Increasing fruit and vegetable intake is associated with decreased risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity and even overall mortality.”

Cost is one of the biggest barriers to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. But Hensrud said “behavioral inertia” — the tendency to eat what we’re used to eating — also stands in the way.

“Change is sometimes difficult, including eating new foods,” he said.

‘Self-Medicating’ With Fruits and Vegetables

Even if you are not in a place where prescriptions for fruits and vegetables have begun, there are affordable ways to increase your intake. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines recommend 2 ½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day — a “dose” estimated to cost about $2.25 per day.

Here are a few tips that can help:

•    Buy frozen: Research has shown that frozen fruits and vegetables have the same amount of nutrition as fresh produce. Frozen produce is often half the price of fresh produce and won’t go bad as quickly.

•    Buy in season: Food grown in season is cheaper and tastes better.

•    Grow your own: Growing your own fruits and veggies can be very satisfying. Not only is homegrown produce tastier but it’s cost-effective too.

•    And buy in bulk: It’s cheaper to purchase fruits and vegetables such as apples, oranges, grapefruit, potatoes and onions by the bag, not by the piece. You’ll fill more lunch bags and cover more meals.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Food TV Star Reveals Healthy Cooking Secrets

Tom Briglia/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- What do you get when you take a young, hip Canadian comedienne, add food, fun, fashion and music, then put it on TV?  Nadia G!

Nadia Giosia is one tough Canadian cookie, raised in an Italian home in the diverse neighborhood of St. Leonard in Montreal, Quebec.

“On one street you had duplexes with perfectly manicured yards  and a few blocks away were the projects,” she said. “Public school was rough but I grew up happy, in an ‘angry teen’ kind of way.”

Nadia’s family is filled with cooks, which is where she learned her culinary skills and love for food. Her dishes are approachable, delicious and uncomplicated.

Certain that an internet comedy-cooking show hybrid concept would be a smash hit, she created Bitchin’ Kitchen, her Web based show.  Nadia wrote the material, branded the concept and designed the logo and website by herself in her not-so-spare time.  Bitchin’ Kitchen was such a success that the Cooking Channel took notice and brought Nadia and her show to America and into our living rooms.

“‘Healthy eating,’ for me it's all about cooking at home from scratch. This way I can really control what goes into my food. As for what to cook, well, we all know the drill: low-fat, low sodium, no refined carbs, lean protein. … It isn't easy, our bodies are built to crave that fatty, juicy burger, but back in the day, hunting one down was a lot harder than going to the drive-thru, so here we are. One trick that works for me is to stick to a very healthy grocery list. This way even when you're craving cheese puffs at midnight, all you have handy is organic raisin bran, or soy chocolate pudding. A bit painful, but healthy,” she says.

So what’s her secret to cooking healthier without sacrificing flavor?

“To be honest, you're always going to sacrifice a bit of flavor. It's one of those big life decisions: Do you want to shake off a greasy, delicious pepperoni pizza? Or do you want to look good in skinny jeans? Cutting down on fat and sodium is challenging, but there are a few things you can do to get some satisfaction. Experiment with spices, pile on the garlic, caramelized onions really add a ton of flavor without barely any fat. Also, get your hands some good, aged balsamic (minimum 7 years old), this stuff is so tasty you barley need to add any oil to dressings.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lawyer Who Beat Big Tobacco Targets Food Industry

Jupiterimages/Pixland/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Mississippi lawyer who landed a multimillion dollar settlement from "big tobacco" is taking on the food industry, claiming some food makers mislead consumers about their products' health effects.

Don Barrett, a trial lawyer from Lexington, Miss., said his firm has filed 27 cases and counting, hoping to quickly whip another "deceptive" industry into shape.

"The food industry has realized that the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] has no teeth," said Barrett, arguing that FDA rules that prohibit food misbranding are routinely broken. "You can't use euphemisms and you can't disguise ingredients by calling them something people can't understand. If you do, your product's misbranded. And if it's misbranded, it's illegal to sell it."

Barrett -- a relative newcomer to the world of food industry fraud, having filed his first case in April -- is drawing on his past battles with tobacco companies. In 1998 he was part of a major legal victory over the tobacco industry.

"The health claims they made for tobacco, and the denials they made about it being bad for you, they affected people's health," he said. "Perhaps the food industry doesn't affect people's health as directly, but people have the right to know what they're getting."

More than a third of American adults are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And obesity-related conditions like diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers are among the country's top killers.

"The three major determinants of all our ills are tobacco, poor diet and lack of physical activity," said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. "And there's no question the problem of poor diet has been aided and abetted by those profiting from the status quo."

Katz said some food companies blatantly trick consumers into thinking a product is healthier or more natural than the competition's. He cited a jam-maker that listed apricots as the first ingredient by using five different forms of sugar -- so that it would not be required to put any one of them at the top of the list.

"You have to list the ingredients in the order of abundance, and there was more apricot than any one type of sugar," said Katz, adding that, generally, "the shorter the ingredient list, the better."

But some companies use different names for ingredients that might be perceived as unhealthy, according to Barrett, who recently sued the Greek yogurt maker Chobani for calling sugar "evaporated cane juice."

"It's so deceptive that it's really kind of funny. But it ain't funny if you're a mother whose child has juvenile diabetes," said Barrett. "It's a crime to misbrand food in that way, so we want them to quit selling it and pay everyone back."

Calls to Chobani were not immediately returned.

The slew of suits from Barrett and other trial lawyers targeting "big food" are a welcome boost for food industry watchdogs like the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

"We need all the help we can get," said Stephen Gardner, the center's director of litigation.

Gardner has filed suits against Splenda Essentials and Nature Valley granola bars, alleging the high-priced products fall short of their health claims.

"Companies consider the consumer responsible for checking out all the facts; for assuming the ads they're seeing are lies," he said. He pointed out that "natural" Nature Valley granola bars contain maltodextrin -- a chemical that's "fresh from the factory."

"The 'natural' claim is a good example of something that may or may not matter to a food scientist, but it does matter to the consumer," he said.

But Gardner said the comparison between "big food" and "big tobacco" is a little far-fetched.

"All tobacco companies are evil killers of human beings, but there are a whole lot of food companies that sell food that's good for you," he said. "And even that stuff that's bad for you isn't going to kill you if you consume it in moderation. ...That's not to say I don't welcome people who had the skills and inventiveness to bring tobacco to its knees."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


First Lady Hosts Kids' State Dinner at the White House

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the first-ever kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House today, celebrating the young winners of a national healthy recipe contest who proved food can be “healthy and tasty at the same time.”

“Is this not cool?” the first lady asked as she welcomed the 54 contest winners and their guardians to the White House. “This is just so very cool. And understand, it's not just cool for all of you. I mean, this house has been abuzz with this event. I think this is one of the best events that we've ever had here, our very first-ever Kids State Dinner -- so, so awesome.”

The children, ages 8 through 12, were all winners of the “healthy lunchtime challenge,” a nation-wide competition that asked kids and their parents to submit recipes for lunchtime meals that were “healthy, affordable, and tasty.” Today’s “State Dinner” luncheon featured a selection of the winning recipes, including “Yummy Cabbage Sloppy Joes” and “Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Salad.”

“You’re here because your recipes truly stood out, right? And that's really saying something. You came up with dishes that were packed with nutritious, delicious ingredients, dishes that are good for you, but more importantly, they taste good too. See? It can happen, healthy and tasty at the same time,” the first lady said.

The president also made a surprise appearance to thank the kids for “spreading the word about healthy eating.”

“Usually, I get invited to the state dinners. So this time I just had to crash,” the president said as he entered the ornate East Room to squeals of excitement from the young guests. “I had to crash the party because I did not want to miss out on all the fun.”

“I could not be prouder of you… because, you know, it's hard enough to follow a recipe and make something good to eat,” the president said.

“I'm not a great cook. I'm an OK cook. I can make a good omelet and toast,” he joked. “Let's face it, I don't cook that often these days, but I remember cooking, and it's not always easy to make something that people like to eat. Then for you guys to actually come up with recipes that are healthy and tasty, and to do it in a way that helps to contribute to spreading the word about healthy eating among your peers, that's a really big deal.”

The White House chefs and a team of judges critiqued more than 1,200 entries to pick the winning recipes from each state and territory and recreated the winning recipes for today’s lunch, as seen in this behind-the-scenes White House video.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


329 Pound-Weight-Loss Trio Share Their Secrets

Tom Morello/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Having lost a combined total of 329 pounds among them, Dana Campfield, Michelle Mohr and Eli Sapharti know a few things about transforming your body, and your life.

The trio dropped the pounds the old-fashioned way, too, relying on their own food choices and motivating themselves to exercise in order to lose the weight.  Their transformations are so notable that they’re now cover models, each featured in the “Summer Slim-Down Special” in the latest issue of People magazine.

So how did they do it? Campfield, Mohr and Sapharti stopped by ABC’s Good Morning America today to reveal how they lost the weight, and how they have stayed motivated ever since.

For Campfield, 44, a divorced mother of two from Orange, Calif., it was the realization that she needed to be strong and healthy in order to be a single mom to her sons, Matthew, 7, and Luke, 4.  Campfield planted a vegetable garden in her backyard and exercised with her sons in tow, pushing them up and down the driveway in a double-wide stroller up to 10 times each day.  When she gave birth to Luke four years ago, she weighed 244 pounds and her idea of a snack was buckets of popcorn. She now weighs 125 pounds.

To maintain her 119-pound weight loss, Campfield follows a meal plan that includes items like low-carb tortillas – paired with almond butter and sugar-free jelly at breakfast and turkey and provolone at lunch – sauteed chicken, vegetables and almonds.  For a treat, she whips up a “root beer float” with diet root beer and Cool Whip instead of ice cream.

Weight Loss Tip: Use portion control.  “You can do it,” Campfield said on GMA.  “You just have to keep reminding yourself everyday to keep trying and not give up.”

Mohr, 27, of Bradenton, Fla., lost 100 pounds after graduating from college and deciding she was tired of being the “fat kid.”  Mohr, who used to snack on boxes of family-sized stuffing, told People she read magazines and watched online videos in order to create a weight-loss plan that worked for her.  The plan now includes eating scrambled egg whites, fat-free cottage cheese, an apple, a slice of toast and almonds for breakfast; salad with chicken and chickpeas for lunch; grilled chicken with zucchini and half a sweet potato for dinner and a sugar-free fudge pop for dessert.

Weight Loss Tip: Eat a snack of string cheese and a half-cup of grapes.  “It’s protein.  It’s carbs.  It’s perfect,” Mohr said.

Sapharti, 42, of Miami, was prediabetic and known to drink two liters of soda per day before deciding to change his life.   He cut out all soft drinks from his diet and started walking 15 minutes per day.  Now, 110 pounds lighter, he works out six days a week.  While he used to eat a bowl of cereal with whole milk and a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, now he eats oatmeal with protein powder and blueberries.  For lunch, Sapharti says, he has grilled chicken with brown rice and black beans and tomato and, for dinner, he’ll enjoy meatloaf made with lean turkey breast and a baked sweet potato.  When he wants a snack, Sapharti reaches for items like Greek yogurt, apples, low-fat chocolate frozen yogurt and protein bars.

Weight Loss Tip: Start each day with a healthy breakfast.  “Oatmeal is an excellent complex carbohydrate and I put protein powder in it,” Sapharti said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


6 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

iStockphoto/ThinkstockBy DIANE HENDERIKS, Good Morning America Health Contributor

(NEW YORK) -- Many people believe that eating healthy is expensive and time consuming, but that’s not necessarily the case. The reality is that healthy eating can be cheap and quick too.

Difficult economic times do not mean that we have to sacrifice our health — or budget – when it comes to food.  With careful planning and a little effort, healthy eating can fit into  a budget, but preparation and planning are key.

Here are six easy tips for economic, healthful eats:

1. Local, seasonal fruits and veggies can often be less expensive than what’s in the typical grocery store.  Buying produce by the bag instead of individually is cheaper and puts more fruits and veggies in front of you to eat at home.

2. Protein such as chicken, fish, pork and beef are not cheap, but there are some ways to save a buck.  Buy the large, family packs, and when you get home place them in separate bags for each meal.  Bulk packs are always cheaper than smaller packs.  Don’t buy preseasoned or marinated meat or fish, because that means paying for someone to do that for you.  Season, rub and marinate the cuts yourself for an economical and healthier way to add flavor to your food — that way you control the amount of salt, fat and sugar, which is always better.

3. Make extra portions of what you prepare for dinner to pack for the kids’ lunches the next day — saves time and money.

4. Check the store circulars and websites for coupons to save some cash

5. Buy generic items and store brands, which are often less expensive yet identical to name brands

6. Try to have a meatless meal at least one day a week.  It is a recommendation that I have always made to my clients, regardless of their economic situation.  Legumes (beans and such) , grains and soy-based products are inexpensive and healthy.

My philosophy is to purchase foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, which means the least processed, with no added sugar, fat and salt.

Diane Henderiks is a registered dietitian, the founder of and a Good Morning America health contributor.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


First Lady to Announce Food Initiative With Disney Theme Parks

Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama will appear with Disney CEO Bob Iger in Washington Tuesday to announce an expansion of the media company’s food guidelines.

Disney representatives say the corporation will be making health-conscious revisions to menus at its theme parks and resorts, though the details and scope of their implementation are yet to be revealed.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Michelle Obama has made promotion of nutrition and exercise a major theme of her tenure as first lady, particularly concerning children. The administration says her “Let’s Move!” campaign has led 1,500 American schools to adopt healthier menus and fitness programs. Several large food distributors have also partnered with the initiative to cut back on calories in their products or expand their stores into neighborhoods without ready access to healthy foods.

In February, the first lady visited ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World to host athletic and dance games for children at the theme park, alongside professional athletes and Disney stars.

Some critics of the president have targeted Michelle Obama’s initiatives for what they view as unneeded government intrusion into their private lives. Last week on Good Morning America, the first lady said it was about a larger issue.

“That’s not really what “Let’s Move!” has ever been about,” she said, “This isn’t about government telling people what to do. What we know we need to do is give parents, communities, families the tools and the information that they need to make choices that are right for them and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


The End of the School Bake Sale in Massachusetts?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- When the PTA needs money, when the team needs new gear, when the band needs train fare, many schools turn to brownies and cookies and whatever else parents are willing to bake and sell. 

But a new law in Massachusetts may change that -- it limits access to junk food during the school day, and health officials want it expanded to cover all school activities from bake sales to the football game concession stand.  

Officials say healthy options are needed in a state where a third of school kids are overweight.

Some parents say bake sales fund what taxpayers don't.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ronald McDonald: Healthy Food Adviser?

Courtesy Principal David Hahn, Union Terrace Elementary School(ALLENTOWN, Pa.) -- Ronald McDonald: wellness instructor? The hamburger pitchman recently showed up at the Union Terrace Elementary School in Allentown, Pa., to teach kids about the benefits of healthy eating and exercise.

Yes, that's right. The Big Mac mascot is delivering a health pitch on the trail of evidence that suggests American kids are getting fatter by the day, and that schools are the natural frontline in the battle against obesity.

The school welcomed the red-haired clown because, in a time of program cutbacks and tight budgets, Ronald McDonald came with a $1,000 check, whose memo line reads: "nutrition program."

McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud explained that while the gift was a local initiative by McDonald's Restaurants of the Greater Philadelphia Region, it was related to a promotional nationwide effort by the restaurant chain to make meals healthier by decreasing fat, salt and sugar, while increasing fiber.

According to Proud, after Ronald McDonald lectured the students on healthy eating, he broke into a 40-minute "Go Active With Ronald McDonald" show intended to encourage kids to up their physical activity. "As Ronald says, 'It's what I eat and what I do ... and what I do is Go Active!" reads McDonald's literature on clown act, which is delivered free-of-charge to grade schools across the country.

The Allentown Morning Call quoted some parents and local nutrition experts as expressing approval of the gift and congratulating McDonald's on its generosity. Others, however, took exception, enough so that school district superintendent Russell Mayo later issued a statement that read in part:

"Allentown School District appreciates the gift of $1,000 from McDonald's Corporation ... to support student activities. By accepting this contribution, the district is not endorsing, condoning or condemning McDonald's Corporation. We are aware of the positive changes they are making to their menu for children, and we appreciate their community service practices."

Eric Ruth, co-founder and CEO of the Kellyn Foundation, which fights childhood obesity, in Bethlehem, Pa., told ABC News that he understood perfectly why the district took the money that came with the clown's message: "Schools are strapped. How do you pass up a thousand bucks? I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just that you have to call it what it is: a marketing program."

Kids, he said, lacked the ability to distinguish between advertising and genuine instruction. The fact that the dispenser of advice came in the guise of a clown naturally entices them to go eat at McDonald's, Ruth said. He conceded that McDonald's food indeed had gotten healthier, but still had a ways to go.

Proud said similar events would likely take place at other franchises, but since McDonald's allowed its franchises considerable autonomy, it was difficult for the home office to know exactly how many or by whom.

She confirmed, though, that the same group that did the Allentown show had additional in-school events planned for 2012 in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware. To the north, a different group of franchises has launched the McDonald's New York Metro Nutrition Network, whose goal, according to its website, is to help local nonprofit organizations provide nutrition guidance. Nonprofits, including schools, can apply for $5,000 grants, five of which will be awarded this year.

Tanya Zuckerbrot, a dietitian and author of The F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight Loss, said she had partnered with the New York network to advise it on nutrition. In an earlier book, Zuckerbrot named McDonald's as one fast-food chain that offered healthy menu choices. She recently prepared tips for eating at McDonald's for the New York network, showing how the health-and-calorie conscious could eat three meals at day at the Golden Arches and still keep their calorie count to 1,180.

"I have always recommended to my patients that they can eat healthy while dining out," she told ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


5 Lucky Foods for New Year’s Day

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Are you hoping that 2012 will be a year of good fortune?  Try some of these foods that some believe bring good luck in the New Year.

Black-Eyed Peas:  A common food on American tables, black-eyed peas look like little coins and are thought to bring good luck those who eat them.  Another belief is that as the beans grow when they cook, those who eat them will “grow” with good fortune.

Try:  Emeril’s Stewed Black-Eyed Peas

Long Noodles:  Eating long noodles for the new year is thought to bring a long life in Asian cultures.  It’s considered bad luck to break the noodle once it’s in your mouth, so eat quickly!

Try:  ‘Hungry Girl’ Lisa Lillien’s 200 Calorie or Less So Low Mein With Chicken

Cooked Greens:  Cooked greens, which look like folded dollar bills, are believed to bring money and prosperity for the New Year.  Cabbage is made into sauerkraut and served alongside pork in German cultures.

Try:  Emeril’s Wilted Kale with Walnut Butter

Pork:  In addition to eating sauerkraut, eating pork on New Year’s Day is another German tradition.  Pork signifies abundance and plenty of food.  Pigs also root forward into the ground, which symbolizes progress.

Try:  Michael Symon’s Pork Roast with Warm Cabbage, Mustard and Champagne

Fish:  For years, many different cultures ate fish for the New Year because it could be easily preserved.  The silver skin of the fish is thought to bring good fortune.

Try:  Disney Dream’s Baked Salmon Royale

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio