Entries in Healthy Foods (5)


Nutritionist Offers Tips for Managing Sodium Intake at Mealtime

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Think twice before adding extra dressing to your salad at lunchtime. A few tablespoons of salad dressing alone could contain your recommended daily amount of sodium.

The FDA is considering a new recommendation for all Americans to lower their sodium intake from 3,400 mg to 1,500 mg per day -- that adds up to about 2/3 of a teaspoon. But considering the average American consumes more than double that on a daily basis, it’s not going to be easy.

Restaurants may also have to lower the amount of salt in their dishes, following the successful artificial trans-fats fight, launched nationwide in 2006.

ABC’s Nightline asked nutritionist and registered dietitian Cynthia Sass to create four average dinners to see just how quickly that salt can add up. Here is her breakdown of a kid’s meal, a microwave meal, a football game day meal and a date night meal:

MEAL 1 - Kids Dinner: Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwich
1 can Campbell’s Tomato Condensed Soup – 1,775 mg
2 slices wheat bread – 320 mg
2 slices Kraft singles – 560 mg
1 Tbsp margarine – 100 mg
Total: 2,755 mg

MEAL 2 - Microwave Dinner: Frozen Chicken Pot Pie & Salad with Ranch Dressing
Marie Callendar’s Chicken Pot Pie – 1,700 mg
Dole bagged salad – 10 mg
Kraft ranch dressing, 2 Tbsp – 370 mg
Total: 2,080 mg

MEAL 3 - Football Game Day: Pizza Delivery & Wings
4 slices medium Pizza Hut pepperoni pan pizza – 2,360 mg
4 medium traditional Buffalo wings – 1,600 mg
Total: 3,960 mg

MEAL 4 - Date Night: Olive Garden’s Salad & Lasagna
1 serving garden fresh salad with dressing – 1,930 mg
Classic lasagna – 2,830 mg
Total: 4,760 mg

All of these meals top the 1,500 mg recommendation for the whole day -- and each was just one meal!  The Olive Garden dinner is more than three days worth of sodium rolled into just one of your three meals of the day.

Sass recommends reading labels carefully -- counting calories isn’t enough anymore. Here is an example of Sass’s recommendation for a healthier meal:

MEAL 5 - Family Dinner: Stir Fry Chicken with Brown Rice
2 cups Asian vegetable mix – 30 mg
Stir fry sauce recipe: 1 Tbsp 100 percent orange juice, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp chopped scallions, ½ tsp fresh grated ginger, dash crushed red pepper – 0 mg
3 oz chicken breast – 64 mg
1 cup brown rice – 10 mg
Total: 104 mg

Tune into ABC’s Nightline Tuesday at 11:35 p.m. ET to see more of Sass’ tips.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Healthy Vending Machines Gaining Ground

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As the obesity epidemic grows, vending machines around the country have come under fire, described as bastions of empty calories and trans fats in a sea of hungry consumers.

But Sean Kelly, CEO of Human Healthy Vending, saw a market where others cast doubt.  He knew it was time to give the vending machine a makeover.

"There is a lack of access to healthy foods and drinks," said Kelly.  "There are these nutritional food deserts everywhere you look, and there's a lack of access to education at the point of sale.  There's a big demand for it."

Human Healthy Vending Machines offers several different machines, including a coffee machine, a snack machine filled with granola bars, rice-based chips, coconut waters and teas, and even a machine that dispenses healthy hot foods.

"There's no way we're going to snap fingers and tell an entire country to stop snacking," said Kelly.  "That might work for six months, but it's not sustainable.  Rather than creating no benefits, we're going to create some benefits and help people get healthier and healthier."

Now that the government has encouraged healthy eating habits to curb obesity and schools have banned sodas, sports drinks and sugary and fatty foods from vending machines, vending machines dispensing healthy snacks have become staples in school hallways and recreational centers.

"A healthy plan of eating can include healthy, portion controlled, moderate calorie snacks," said Martin Binks, clinical director of Binks Behavioral Health. "So, providing easy access to these is a great tool.  Swapping out unhealthy vending machines for healthy ones, with small portions of truly healthy options, is a great strategy."

While Binks said that, in a perfect world, no one would be bombarded with food cues and have the urge to snack, this will not likely happen, so "improving what is available to us when our planning falls short or our hunger is taking over represents a step in the right direction."

In April, the Food and Drug Administration drafted a proposal in which owners who operate 20 or more vending machines must post the calorie information for food sold inside the vending machine, unless the nutritional information is already visible from the inside. The regulation is still pending, but it will likely come into effect in the coming months, experts said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Fast Food Wins over Healthy Eating Choices, Study Finds

Thinkstock Images/Getty Images(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- If you live near a fast food joint, you'll probably eat there.

That's the finding of a new study about Americans' eating habits published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Using data collected from 1985 and 2001, researchers at the University of North Carolina concluded that the closer people live to a restaurant that serves fast food, the more likely they'll dine there, especially if their mobility is limited due to a lack of car or other easy means of transportation.

There's also the perception that fast food is a cheaper alternative to other meals.

However, the same result doesn't necessarily hold true if folks live nearby a supermarket or store that offers a wide array of healthy food, such as fruits and vegetables.  Researchers found that diet quality did not improve in this scenario.

The findings suggest that to get disadvantaged Americans eating more healthy, adding supermarkets won’t help, but taking away the fast food places might.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: People Prefer Foods Labeled 'Organic'

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As consumers, we like to feel good about the food that we purchase, and that’s why we’ll very often gravitate toward products labeled “organic,” even if we have to pay more for them.

A new study by researchers at Cornell University suggests that people perceive foods with an “organic” label as being lower in fat, higher in fiber, and more nutritious overall than their “non-organic” counterparts.

Nearly 150 participants were asked to compare identical foods that were labeled as either “regular” or “organic.” They were instructed to rate the food for different attributes, such as taste and perception of fat.

Preliminary data showed that those surveyed preferred organically-labeled foods for almost all taste characteristics, and also perceived them to be lower in calories. Additionally, participants said they would be willing to pay more for the “organic” foods than the “regular” items.

Low fat nutrition labels and some fast food restaurants that claim to be healthy have in past studies been shown to mislead customers into underestimating a product’s true calorie count, prompting people to overeat and feel less guilty as they do so.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: School Lunches Linked to Obesity

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A study has found that childhood obesity can be linked to the consumption of school lunches.

The study found that children who regularly consume school lunches had a 29 percent higher chance of becoming obese, as compared to their classmates who brought lunches from home, according to a report by The New York Times.

The study was conducted in southeast Michigan, and involved over a thousand sixth grade students from area schools. According to the story by the Times, of the 142 obese students who took part in the study, almost half consumed school lunches on a regular basis, while only one-third of the 787 children who were not obese regularly consumed school lunches.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio