April 2017 | Hotlunch.com | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 9, Issue 4]

Sweet or Salty? The Answer May Predict Weight Gain

Lots of kids love sweet foods like cookies, candy, cake and ice cream. And some kids prefer salty snacks, such as chips and pretzels. And, I should think, a lot of kids love both. Is it possible that having a craving for sweets could lead to weight gain? Maybe… 

Cookies or chips? Kids' choices may predict weight gain, study finds

This news story describes a study where researchers gave 200 hungry toddlers their choice of snacks such as cookies or potato chips and kept track of what each child ate. Then they found that kids who were more likely to eat sugary treats were also more likely to gain unhealthy weight by the age of three.

I’m not sure why that’s the case, and it’s not like salty snacks are healthier, but maybe it’s worth noticing. If you have little kids that love sweet flavors, steer them toward fresh fruit and berries instead of candy and sweets.
Homemade Food Is Healthier and Cheaper

Eating at restaurants or ordering takeout is a popular way to eat and last time I checked, Americans were spending a ton of money on food they weren’t cooking at home. And I totally get that. Cooking can be very time consuming. Grocery shopping alone can take a few hours. Then you need to plan each meal, prep, cook and serve each meal. And then, clean up afterwards. I get tired just writing about it. The thing is, cooking at home is really better for you.

Want cheap and healthy meals? Cook at home

This news story from HealthDay describes a study that found eating out frequently was associated with lower diet quality, more calories and higher costs. This isn’t a surprise by any means, so if you want to eat healthier at home, there are things you can do to make it easier.

What to do at school:

  • Keep your meals simple. Half of your meal should be fruits or veggies, one fourth should be lean protein and one quarter should be grains.
  • Try a service such as Blue Apron or Fresh Direct Meal Kits. They’re affordable and you don’t need to do the shopping.
  • Experiment with once a month cooking. If you can set aside one weekend a month (and have the freezer space), you can prep a bunch of meals and store them in the freezer. Pop the meals in the oven to save time during the week.
Do We Really Need the Extra Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is certainly an important vitamin. You need it so that your body can use calcium properly and a number of studies linked a potential lack of vitamin D to all kinds of health conditions including heart problems and various types of cancer. Current studies don’t show that taking extra vitamin D will help those conditions, but still, a lot of people are taking vitamin D.

Why are so many people popping vitamin D.

This story from The New York Times describes this issue. Back when research suggested some links between vitamin D deficiency and various health conditions, testing for vitamin D and sales for vitamin D supplements jumped. But, taking vitamin D doesn’t seem to do much for most of the conditions that have been studied and all the vitamin D testing doesn’t appear to be valuable.
Shut Off the TV to Slim Down

Clearly, the foods you eat have a lot to do with your weight. But part of the solution for a weight problem may be fixing the way you eat. There are a number of eating habits that people develop over time. Some are good and some are bad. Eating in front of the TV is probably one of the bad ones.

No TV during meals may lower obesity risk

This news story from MedicalNewsToday talks about a study that looks at the links between family meal practices and obesity. What the found was that quality of family meals was more important than how many family meals were eaten during the week. And families whose meals were home cooked and not eaten while watching TV had the lowest rates of obesity.

It’s hard to say why exactly watching TV could contribute to obesity. Maybe because when the TV is on, you’re not focusing on your meal and how you feel about the food. This could lead to overeating. Also, if you’re watching TV, you may not be paying attention to each other, which is an important part of eating together.
Banning Trans Fat May Save Lives

Some counties in New York banned trans fats a few years ago and a national ban on trans fats will begin in 1018. Although I know this feels like ‘food policing,’ I really think this is a good idea. And studies are starting to show that may be true.

Trans fat ban saved lives in New York, study shows

This news story from HealthDay describes a study that found eating out frequently was associated with lower diet quality, more calories and higher costs. This isn’t a surprise by any means, so if you want to eat healthier at home, there are things you can do to make it easier.

Trans fats are associated with higher levels of bad cholesterol and other blood markers. Removing the trans fats and replacing them with healthier fats is definitely better for your heart.

What to do at school:

  • Teach kids about dietary fats. Which ones are good and which ones are bad.
  • Have students find recipes that include healthier fats.
  • Teach your class to read food labels. Which foods are lowest in trans fats?
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About Shereen Lehman

Shereen Lehman is a health and nutrition writer with two decades of experience counseling people on nutrition and diet. She has a master's degree in human nutrition and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Association of Health Care Journalists.

Shereen writes about nutrition for the large website About.com (http://nutrition.about.com), is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies (http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470445394.html) and Clinical Anatomy for Dummies (http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118116437.html).