World Food Day: Working Against Hunger

16 Oct

World Food Day: Working Against Hunger

Today is World Food Day – a day to honor the global commitment to eradicate hunger in our lifetime.

World Food Day was first established in 1979 and it falls on October 16 in commemoration of the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on October 16, 1945 in Quebec, Canada.

Hunger by the Numbers

 According to the FAO and the US Department of Agriculture, 1 in 9 people on the planet live in a state of chronic hunger.

Malnutrition and its associated health maladies disproportionately affect the most vulnerable populations:

  • 60% of the world’s hungry people are women
  • Nearly 5 million children under the age of 5 die annually from malnutrition-related causes
  • In the US, 1 in 7 Americans does not have enough to eat.

Take Action

In the US, 99% of our population does not work on a farm. And while farming in the US is dominated by large agribusiness companies, 98% of farms in the world are family farms.

This year’s World Food Day theme is “Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth”. To learn more about family farming and its impact on alleviating world hunger, check out the Perspectives page of the World Food Day website available at: http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/perspectives.

Find Events

The World Food Day project maintains that YOU are part of the solution to end world hunger. You can find out about World Food Day events going on in your neck of the woods by clicking here: http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/events

Some other ways you can help include:

  • Host a World Food Day Dinner
  • Attend a Hunger Walk
  • Organize a Meal Packaging Event

If you want to do something right now, consider taking the Hunger U Challenge Quiz available at http://hungeruchallenge.com/

To learn more about World Food Day, visit their site at http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/.

Consuming for a Cause: National Non-GMO Month

15 Oct

Consuming for a Cause: National Non-GMO Month

October is National Non-GMO Month.

Did you know:

  • In the US, foods with genetically modified (GM) ingredients do not have to be labeled as containing GM ingredients
  • More than 80% of the packaged and processed foods in the US contain GM ingredients
  • 90% of the corn, canola & cotton in the US is GM

Think this doesn’t affect you? Think again…because it does!

GM corn becomes GM animal feed, high fructose corn syrup and corn oil. GM canola and cotton turn up in your foods as canola oil and cottonseed oil.

So unless you are eating 100% organic – it’s pretty safe to assume you are eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Genetic modification is the use of the experimental technology called gene splicing to add DNA from one organism into another, creating a potentially unstable end product.

Because these products have only been in our food supply for a few decades, the jury is still out on whether or not GM foods are safe; however, many health advocates maintain that as a consumer, you should have a right to know what is in your food.

Enter the Non-GMO Project. The Non-GMO Project is the only independent 3rd party verifier of GM-free foods in the US. Their mission is to:

  • Preserve and build sources of non-GMO products
  • Educate consumers about GM ingredients
  • Provide verified non-GMO choices

You can find a list of GM-free products, restaurants and retailers on their website here.

To learn more about National Non-GMO Month, visit www.nongmomonth.org or check out my recent TV segment on eating GM-free foods.

Tricked Out Tortellini from Buitoni

6 Oct

Tricked Out Tortellini from Buitoni

Prepackaged pastas aren’t usually much to write about.

But the Whole Wheat Three Cheese Tortellini from Buitoni is a fabulous fiber find with flavor to boot.

The first ingredient – whole durum wheat – is a whole grain responsible for the 6g fiber per serving. Durum wheat is the hardest of all wheats, is high in protein, and is used to make pasta.

I found the Buitoni WW pasta product in the refrigerated aisle at Target. A 9 oz package (2 1/2 servings) runs you $3.99 and nets:

  • 300 calories
  • 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat)
  • 500 mg sodium
  • 6 g fiber
  • 16 g protein

Like all packaged foods, this tortellini is higher in sodium than a homemade whole foods version would be. However, if you’re not into making your own whole wheat pasta, then this is a pretty delicious alternative…if you can keep from eating the whole package in one sitting!

Dorm Room Diet Done Right

21 Aug

Dorm Room Diet Done Right

Colleges and universities are back in session, and that means students are busy stocking their dorm room refrigerators.

As students are gearing up for a new school year – many have questions about how to eat healthy on campus without gaining the dreaded “Freshman 15”. Here are some tips for staying lean and mean this semester:

Eat Small Frequent Meals

Going long stretches without eating is a major downfall for people trying to eat right. Small frequent meals help you stay alert, keep blood sugar levels stable, and help you avoid overeating late in the day. Choose easy-to-prepare on-the-go meals, like this new Pirate’s Booty Mac & Cheese made with organic wheat pasta, real cheese and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

Find Time for Fruit

Fruit is not just a fantastic between meal snack, it’s also a great way to incorporate nutrition into your meals. Try this Cranberry Chicken Salad on Flatbread recipe as an example of a super easy way to incorporate cranberries into your back-to-school meal planning.

Cranberries not only taste great, they are also really good for you. You probably know they help prevent urinary tract infections, which is true – but all cranberry products (like cranberry juice cocktail, dried cranberries, cranberry sauce and fresh and frozen cranberries) contain flavonoids. A specific type of flavonoid that is unique to cranberries actually prevent bacteria from sticking to cell walls, which prevents UTIs.

A new study in the journal Advances in Nutrition found that the bioactive compounds in cranberries not only help reduce the incidence of certain infections and maintain a healthy urinary tract, but they also improve heart health by improving blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure and reducing inflammation.

Snack Smarter

Did you know that 91% of American snack every day? And kids in particular need snacks, as their small stomach size can’t always meet daily nutrition needs in 3 meals alone.

But what you snack on matters – and here is a smart snack for you: sprouted grains chips. Way Better Snacks’ line of chips has sprouted grains, beans, and seeds. Sprouting helps to reduce certain anti-nutrient compounds that inhibit absorption – meaning that these chips have more bioavailable nutrients, and are more easily digested than other grains.

Grab Good To-Go Options

Now you might not think of a convenience store when you picture health food, but there are some pretty good options available out there today, and in particular at 7-11. The Fresh Food line at 7-11 offers fresh salads, sandwiches, seasonal fruit and snacks that would make any dietitian proud! Look for options with whole foods, minimal processed ingredients, and those that contain protein and fiber, which help keep you full.

For more tips on how to eat right on campus, check out my segment on KUSI Ch 9 Good Morning San Diego this week.

Fiber: This One’s for the Birds

14 Aug

Fiber: This One’s for the Birds

It’s probably not something you think about every day – but our feathered friends need their fiber too.

In a recent article in HGTV Magazine, Stephen Kress – vice president for bird conservation at the National Audubon Society – said you have to fill your feeder properly.

Birds are energetic animals and need high calories options, so foods like bread and wheat in a bird feeder don’t cut it.

Instead, aim to fill your bird feeder with more nutritious options, such as:

  • Millet
  • Cracked corn
  • Black-oil sunflower seeds

For more information on how to stock your bird feeder, check out the National Audubon Society’s Bird Feeding Basics page.