News Herald – Juliann Talkington
There never seems to be enough time in the day, especially when you have a job and kids. After a long day of work the last thing most of us want to do when we get home is worry about preparing a meal. As a result, many of us stop for take-out, pop TV dinners in the microwave, or go through the drive-through on the way home.
While fast, pre-prepared, and restaurant food is quick, convenient, and satisfying it is often low in nutrients, fiber, and phytonutrients; high in refined carbohydrates; and full of artificial colors and flavors. In addition, these foods are generally easy to digest and high in trans-fats or processed vegetable oils. Worst of all, many prepared foods are designed for “sensory-specific satiety” which makes it easy for us to eat more than we need and to become addicted to the product.
Sadly, the impact of consuming these foods is not usually immediately apparent. In many cases, it takes years or decades for symptoms to develop. As a result, it is easy for parents to overlook the impact food may be having on the long-term health and welfare of their children.
More information on the hazards of poor food choices has reached the mainstream press recently. Dr. Eva Selhub wrote about the connection between food choices, brain structure and function, and mood in the Harvard Medical School Health Blog. “If your brain is deprived of good-quality nutrition, or if free radicals or damaging inflammatory cells are circulating within the brain’s enclosed space, further contributing to brain tissue injury, consequences are to be expected. What’s interesting is that for many years, the medical field did not fully acknowledge the connection between mood and food.”
Also, according to research conducted by Sanjay Basu M.D., Ph.D. at the Stanford University Medical Center, “increased sugar in a population’s food supply was (is) linked to higher diabetes rates, independent of obesity rates.”
Although it might seem overwhelming, ditching processed foods is possible even if you have a super busy schedule. The key is advanced planning, selecting healthy items when you get to the supermarket, and cooking enough extra food that you can have leftovers on days when there is no time to cook.
Once you adjust to the new approach to food, you will likely notice that everyone is less cranky and feels better, there are less sick days, and that you have more energy and patience.
The Hill – Lydia Wheeler
“The Trump administration is delaying Obama-era requirements aimed at making school meals healthier for kids. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an interim final rule Wednesday allowing schools to serve flavored one-percent milk and get a state exemption to serve grains that are not whole-grain rich through the 2018-2019 school year. Schools under the rule also get out of having to further reduce sodium levels in breakfasts and lunches next year.”(more)
The 74 Million – Kevin Mahnken
“Efforts to make school meals more nutritious have yielded noticeably positive results, according to a paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. That progress, however, isn’t measured in lower obesity rates, but in improved academic performance. The study collected data between 2008 and 2013 from roughly 9,700 California public schools, comparing the vast majority that prepare meals in-house to those that contract with outside vendors. Measuring the nutritional quality of the vendors’ meals against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Eating Index, the authors found that students who ate healthy meals at school also scored slightly better on California’s STAR tests (then the state’s standardized examinations of annual student progress, which have since been replaced by another system).”(more)
The Guardian – Becky Alexander and Michelle Lake
“Eating a good lunch at work is so important: it gives you energy for a busy day, is a break from the classroom and helps balance stress levels. It’s especially key during exam time – long days teaching and invigilating, supporting pupils, as well as all the normal end-of-term activities can take their toll on teachers’ wellbeing. If you don’t have time to nip out at lunchtime and your canteen is heaving, the best option is to take your own food to school. It’s a good idea to have a stash of ingredients in the cupboard, freezer and fridge so you always have something decent to eat. We recommend buying bags of cooked lentils and nuts, tins of fish, and keeping longer-lasting veggies such as peppers, courgettes and radishes in the fridge. Sealed packs of feta, jars of olives and roast peppers all last for ages too and make a delicious, nutritious lunch.”(more)
Medical X-Press – Staff Writer
“Less than 50 per cent of adolescents in the UK eat fruit or vegetables every day, according to the latest research from the University of St Andrews. However, in a new international study, researchers also found that young people in the UK are eating fewer sweets and drinking less fizzy juice than they did 15 years ago. The findings are part of an international WHO (World Health Organization) report into childhood obesity to be presented at a major meeting in Portugal today (Wednesday 17 May 2017). The report, which looked at the health and wellbeing of young people around the world, examined their behaviours over a 12 year period (2002 to 2014).”(more)
Medical X-Press – Amy Norton
“Several new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics may just send toddlers into tantrums. One recommendation is that fruit juice be limited for toddlers and older children, and babies shouldn’t have any at all before their first birthday. Another recommendation is that parents should forgo the beloved sippy cup for their children altogether. The advice is the first update to the AAP’s stance on fruit juice in 16 years.The major change is that fruit juice is discouraged for the first year of life—and not just the first six months, as previously recommended.”(more)