While Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team work on some new and exciting projects, you may notice less posts on the Eating and Living Moderately Blog. We have created a “blog shelf” below to keep you entertained and educated. Get caught up on the latest nutrition education by clicking on each year below. We will send you nutrition updates, but we will not be inundating your mailboxes on a weekly basis. If you want weekly “love” and inspiration, subscribe to our Mom Dishes It Out blog for weekly posts and recipes. Mom Dishes It Out provides expert advice from mom Registered Dietitians and mom Speech Pathologists on the “how to” of health promotion!
The EALM Blog Shelf
Please feel free to peruse our posts organized by year below. Or take a look at the categories listed at the bottom of the page to find a post in the desired.
Have you ever looked into your refrigerator and noticed the dried out carrot sitting in the back of the fridge, or the wilted lettuce you forgot you bought 2 weeks ago (let’s face it, we’ve all been there at least once!) At some point or another, we had the intention to eat it but whether we didn’t know what to make with it or simply forgot, the end result is often the same: the waste bin.
Even as a fairly seasoned cook in the kitchen, I must admit that I often have difficulty deciding what to make with the kale I bought last week or how to reinvent leftover, steamed rice. And if you are fairly new to cooking, it can be especially difficult knowing which cuts of meats can be reused or which veggies can be stored for another meal. But when there’s no way to salvage the spoiled produce or forgotten leftovers, the reluctant answer is to toss it. While any food you toss away may seem like a small quantity, individual food waste adds up and contributes to a much larger issue at hand, and that includes damage to the environment and loss of resources.
Food waste occurs when food makes it to the end of the supply chain, i.e. the consumer, but doesn’t actually get consumed. It is a major issue in the United States. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture reports that in 2010, combined sources of food waste in the U.S., including from stores, restaurants, and homes contributed to an estimated 133 billion pounds of uneaten food–that’s a value of approximately $161 billion dollars.
In America, nearly 40 million tons of food waste is sent to landfills every year. Food waste in landfills produces methane gas, which is more harmful to the environment than CO2 gas. Moreover, the amount of resources it takes to produce the food (whether it be vegetables, fruit, or meat) takes up a ton of energy. There are many ways in which we can eliminate the waste in landfills. From the farmer to the food companies, grocery store, restaurant, and consumer, there are many opportunities to join the challenge on food waste.
Join the Challenge on Food Waste
Think about how easy it can be to reduce food waste in your daily life. If we work together, all of our actions (yes, even the small changes we make) can impact the environment on a larger scale. So what are you waiting for? Join the U.S. Food Waste Challenge now and to start you off, here are some activities you can undertake to practice reducing food waste.
Shop Your Kitchen First – Before heading out to the market and purchasing more food, check out your fridge, freezer and pantries to see what you can make with the ingredients you already have.
Plan Your Meals – Step into the grocery store with a list in hand. This will not only cut down the amount of time you spend in the store, but it will also reduce the chances of impulse buys or foods you won’t actually consume.
Shop Smart – Buy only the amount that you need. If you’re making soup for 2 tonight, do you need 1-2 carrots or an entire bag? If you buy the whole bag, will you actually eat them all? For grains, try out the bulk section where you can measure out exactly how much rice or quinoa you’ll need that week. If you’re trying out new grains, seeds or dried fruit, the bulk section may be the way to go. this is also a good way to measure out a small portion in case you may or may not like the new grain or seed. Since perishables go bad rather quickly, resist buying more especially if you haven’t already used up the ones in your fridge.
First In First Out – The concept of FIFO is exactly as it states– first in first out! When unpacking groceries, organize them so that foods with the earliest expiration date are moved to the front. Foods with a later expiration date, or are least likely to go bad first, should be moved to the back of the refrigerator or pantry. This practice will increase your chances of using the foods before they go bad.
Tune Into Your Body – Tune into your body’s hunger and fullness cues so that you can determine how much you want or are able to eat during meal/snack times. Remember, if you’re full and have leftovers, you can always save them.
Donate Excess – Have any wholesome, packaged goods that you haven’t or won’t be eating? Donate them to food banks, soup kitchens, or look into donating to other awesome organizations like God’s Love We Deliver. Not only will you be reducing food waste, but you’ll be doing social good by helping others in need. Just be sure to check the expiration date before donating, as many places have stringent inspections on the donated goods they receive.
To learn more about food waste in the United States, tune into registered dietitian Laura Cipullo on Why Do We Waste Food?
Are there other activities you practice to help reduce food waste? We’d love to hear your ideas!
Are “Super foods” worth the money? This answer depends on which food one is referring to. The Willis Report recently asked me if consumers who are being bombarded with trendy super foods like quinoa, goji berries, acai berries, and spirulina getting the most for their money? Well these foods are indeed packed with nutrition especially vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals but they are not necessarily better than other more main stream supper foods like blueberries or salmon. See our post “Are Super Foods So Super? ”
While “super foods” like raw pumpkin super chips or oats with goigi berries are extremely nutritious, they don’t always live up to their cost. They could possibly be even less super than a local or frozen food as they may be less fresh if they are exotic, processed, or have added ingredients. Keep in mind there is no formal qualification defining super foods. Rather this term is used loosely implying this specific food has as much or a greater amount of nutrition than another food.
When comparing prices of foods marketed as ‘super foods’ and sold in specialty health boutiques, I found that pumpkin chips were five times the costs of just purchasing pure pumpkin seeds and flax seeds. Oat based cereal sold, as a super food was twice as expensive as purchasing stone ground oats with fresh blueberries and a chocolate bar from Africa that was only 44% cocoa was sixty-six percent more expensive then a USA dark chocolate bar like Sweet Riot with 70% coca.
The message here is when opting for value, go with the foods that are most wholesome and unaltered like nuts, wild salmon and organic blueberries. See here for more natural super foods:
To find foods that have positive affects on your health without paying top price go with non-packaged fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and nuts. Stroll the bulk section of your health food store and buy foods sold by the pound rather than by the package.
“If it is in a package, it is probably processed!
If it is has been processed, it’s probably not super.
If it is has sugar as the first ingredient, and
If it is marketed as super it’s probably not so super.
Real whole foods are the super foods that are a super deal.”
Keep in mind, if you are buying juices or super chips with agave, these products have added sugar since agave is sugar. Local fresh and or frozen are usually the best foods to buy for greater nutrition, sustainable efforts and economical value.
We all know how important adequate water intake is and CamelBak has just made things a lot easier! Their new Groove water bottle provides great-tasting filtered water that follows you wherever you go! The plant-based filter lasts three months, which means that it replaces 375 disposable plastic water bottles. The bottle is BPA free and contains a spill-proof bite valve so it helps you take on the day regardless of what comes your way! GIVEAWAY DETAILS: Two lucky winners will receive a CamelBak! Enter by one of the following ways. You can submit more than one entry by doing any of the following. Just be sure to leave an additional comment letting us know you did! Good luck!
From comparing grocery store prices to analyzing a product’s nutritional label, a weekend trip to the grocery store can turn into stressful and overwhelming task. Many of us want to eat healthier, but how can we shop for healthy foods while on a limited budget? Although price often plays a major role in influencing what we buy when we go food shopping, buying healthy foods doesn’t have to be expensive.
Many organizations are making an effort to tackle this nationwide issue by teaching nutrition education, but one organization’s unique efforts is City Harvest’s Shopping Matters, which takes place right in local grocery stores. And just like many other Americans, if money is what is keeping you from making healthy food purchases, I challenge you to think again. What if you could learn to stretch your budget, to buy and eat healthy foods? Read on to learn about the awesome efforts made by City Harvest, and the programs’ tips to get the most healthful bang for your buck.
What is Shopping Matters?
Shopping Matters is an initiative created by City Harvest in partnership with Share Our Strength. The two-hour grocery store tour is led by a qualified facilitator, who teaches the participants how to shop on a budget, read food labels, how to identify whole-grains and stretch your budget to create more than just one meal. After one hour, participants are presented with a $10 challenge to put what they’ve just learned into practice. Participants must follow specific guidelines, i.e. grain must be whole-grain bread or cereal, to buy at least one food from each food group totaling no more than $10. This part of the tour is particularly fun and exciting for the participants because it not only tests their knowledge but it offers motivation to try new foods like 2% milk rather than whole milk.
Another Kind of Desert
Can you imagine travelling 15 miles to buy a head of lettuce or some fresh fruit? Many of us are fortunate to be able to call Whole Foods or Trader Joes, our local market. With organic foods and fresh produce so readily available to us, it can be easy to forget that for many Americans, this is not the case. Imagine if the closest grocery store was too far to get to without transportation. An area where grocery stores are scarce or missing, this is called a food desert.Although there may be bodegas or take-out restaurants in the surrounding neighborhood, it would still be considered a food desert since many atimes only highly processed foods are offered. It is in these areas that poverty, obesity and health related diseases are at an all time high. City Harvest considers these factors and implements the Shopping Matters Tours in only specific neighborhoods. The tours currently take place in the following neighborhoods: 1) The South Bronx, 2) Stapleton, Staten Island 3). Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. By conducting the tours in the actual neighborhood markets like Key Foods, not only places the participants in a realistic environment, but makes the food culture relevant.
Build the Skills To Make Healthy Choices While On a Budget
A Shopping Matters Tour may not be taking place in your local market but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the tips City Harvest has to offer! Here’s the inside scoop on the skills you need to build to stretch your budget and make tasty, healthy meals for you and your family:
Buy Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables – Not only will your produce taste better, but during peak season fresh produce costs less.
Fresh, Frozen and Canned – People tend to think fresh produce is the “best” form. However, keep in mind that fresh produce often needs be used quickly and if not in season, can be expensive. A more economical alternative is to buy frozen fruits and vegetables, which can cost less and is available year-round. If canned foods are on sale, they have a long shelf life and can be a good purchase. If opting to buy canned products, choose items without added sodium, low in fat, or 100% juice. If there is sodium in it, simply rinse off canned produce to reduce the sodium. Surely every packaging has its pros and cons but by opening yourself up to fruits and vegetables in all their forms, in terms of prices, you’ll have more options to choose from.
Compare Prices – Use unit prices to find the best bang for your buck. The unit price shows ounce for ounce or pound by pound just how much you are paying for a particular item. For example, when comparing two bagged items of different sizes, it can help you identify just exactly which costs less.
Read Food Labels – Take a few seconds to check the serving size. If considering your family meals, this can be especially helpful in meal planning. Look at the calories, sodium and nutrients you will be getting from the product.
Read the Ingredients – Just because the bread is brown or says “multigrain” or even “100% wheat” doesn’t mean it is actually made with whole grain. Be a smart and saavy shopper and check for the first ingredient on the list. Some examples are: Whole wheat, bulgar, buckwheat, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice
Organic vs. Non-Organic – Some items need not be purchased organic. If you wish to purchase organic, check out this Dirty Dozen list for a better understanding of what items are better off organic and which ones you can do without. If cost is a factor however, getting your fruits and vegetables should be at the top of the list, even if its not organic.
I’m not sure how Japanese mothers find time to create the mini-masterpieces for their children called Bento. To us that means packed lunch – but the Japanese take the cultural tradition of ‘presentation’ to the extreme with these works of art. Shaped to resemble teddy bears, pandas or cartoon characters kid’s packed lunches in Japan not only manage to look incredible but they’re even full of all kinds of foods to fuel healthy, energetic kids. I could probably knock together a Telly-Tubby mashed potato sculpture if I was pressed, but this level of dedication is beyond me, especially at half six in the morning! In my case, I’m afraid that quality, not presentation, is difficult enough to achieve on a daily basis. For those of you who sympathize, here are three packed lunch ideas to turn the kids away from crisps and chocolate. These are focused on three essential ingredients for mums; cost, effort and vegetarian/healthy options.
Vegetarian, Low Cost and Low Effort Ingredients
A vegetarian packed lunch is a good idea to include in your weekly pack-ups even if you and the kids are not full-time vegetarians. With health warnings about the risks of too much red meat in our diets ringing in our already overloaded brains, it makes sense to include a vegetarian choice now and then. It also adds variety to the menu – which is half the battle.
• Hummus is great source of protein and energy and can be added to wholesome pita bread with green salads. Tasty and slightly messy this should appeal. Add chunks of cucumber for additional sources of five a day. A fruit Fromage Frais can be included for dessert along with grapes and a milk.
Cost is on everybody’s mind at the moment and pack ups are the original money saving lunch idea, which have been common for centuries. Low cost doesn’t mean unhealthy. The following are useful ideas:
• Toasted sandwiches fall into the low cost options. Tuna with canola oil mayo or low fat cheeses are excellent fillings. The toasted effect keeps the bread from getting too mushy for our picky kids. Whole grain pasta is another great, low cost buy to keep handy. Beans or vegetables can be added to make a tempting pasta salad and this can be prepared and packed in advance.
As mentioned, half six in the morning is not a good time to design and implement a food sculpture. Half six in the morning is the time for battling with the cat over the familiar issue of her food and your coffee. For those with several kids to coax downstairs as well, effortless pack ups are a godsend.
• Pita breads are an excellent pocket lunch and unlike bread they don’t need cutting! I use them a lot. Fillings can include bean salads, or egg salads and green salads. Teach your kids to love dried fruit like apricots, at an early age and brook no resistance; they’re healthy and preparation is limited to taking them out of the packet. String cheeses are just as easy and a great source of protein and calcium.
These of course are just a few ideas, but some of the ingredients, particularly pita bread and pasta are fantastic basics for a range of easy lunches. Your imagination is the only limit. Keeping packed lunches varied can be a chore of a task, but using staples as mentioned above and varying the ingredients daily can help to break away from the boredom of meat based sandwiches! Keeping kids interested is, as we all know, more than half the battle.
Carlo is a freelance writer and blogs about food, culture and technology covering everything from grocery shopping to contemporary art. He loves gardening and can’t stay a week without his fruit boxes and Italian wine. Carlo loves to eat with his niece, Clotide.
Laura’s Take on the Let’s Move! Campaign. Listen to Laura talk with Rita Cosby on wor710.com on 2/1/2012 or via podcast.
As a leader Michelle Obama is in a unique and powerful position to empower Americans to live healthier lives. She can influence food companies to provide less processed, higher quality foods to schools and to our supermarket shelves. She can raise the energy and spirit of health by advocating for health awareness and encouraging physical activity. Her celebrity status can help bring the USDA’s “MyPlate” to more families’ tables. She can help spread the message to fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy. Thankfully, Michelle Obama also stresses moderation and admits to eating her burgers and fries.
Let’s Move! is taking information that is already out there and bringing a greater awareness on how to access such health education. Many of the materials and guidelines are those developed by the USDA.
Michelle Obama has companies like Goya and California Fresh Work Funds trying to help initiative change.
Is this the right campaign?
At the end of the day, bringing awareness to health promotion and disease prevention needs to be the ultimate goal of someone like Michelle Obama. However, rather than fight obesity, the campaign may want to rephrase their negative spin and create a new positive tone to Let’s Move!
How about let’s move more, let’s move towards eating real wholesome foods and let’s move towards eating less processed food. Let’s move to building self esteem!!!
Can one person create change?
Yes, Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution and The Biggest Loser are just two examples of how change happens. Even, the presidential chef is making change. In the Washington Post today, the presidential chef Cristeta Comerford reports losing 15 pounds and eating healthier with her own home garden. She was influenced by her boss, Michelle Obama!! That’s right, the White House has their own garden and serves seasonal garden veggies to their guests. Comerford now has her own garden too.
What can you do to make a difference? Can you change your language about health or perhaps just add a half cup of veggies to your dinner plate?
Some New Year’s resolutions can help you save cash. Put the savings in the bank and use it for practical things, such as retirement, groceries or the power bill. Or reward yourself with a night on the town, a much-needed getaway or a new toy.
While you’re ruminating on how you’ll spend your well-gotten gains, here’s a look at just how much keeping five popular resolutions could save you, along with the items that money could buy.