Thursday, March 25, 2010

Good Nutrition for Small Children

Did you know that by the time a child is six years old they have more than likely developed the eating habits that will last throughout their life? If you have children, one of the best lessons you can teach them is how to eat healthy and have a good attitude about food and nutrition. Setting an example is even more important than telling them to "eat your veggies", so get on board with good eating habits yourself and keep the whole family eating well.

Here's a great article from Melissa Halas-Liang's site,, about how to feed your kids nutritiously while teaching them to make choices and form habits that will be great for them to continue as they grow up:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Orthorexia: Another eating disorder

The newest recognized eating disorder is actually not yet medically classified as diagnosable in the classic psychological diagnostic manual (The DSM). Then again, bulimia wasn't officially classified until the 1980's. Orthorexia is a disordered type of eating where the person focuses on avoiding foods and ingredients they believe are bad for them.

In a balanced life, people enjoy foods they like to eat and limit foods that aren't good for them.  Some people, of course, eat what they like regardless of whether it's good for them or not. People with orthorexia do not see food as something enjoyable. They eat because they want to be nourished. They avoid certain fats or additives or food components because they want to be healthy. Ironically this condition leads to poor health in many ways.

Some foods are excluded to the extent that the person may suffer a deficiency of fat, protein, vitamins, or minerals. Usually too much weight is lost and the person suffers some degree of malnutrition. Emotionally, much of the person's time is spent figuring out what to eat, reading labels, reading about the latest "bad" food and feeling near phobic about ingesting something they view as toxic.

Their social life is affected because they can't eat in restaurants and they can't eat what other people might be serving. They become obsessed with healthy eating to the point that it's not healthy anymore.

Signs that someone is orthorexic include focusing hours a day on purchasing and planning meals, staunch avoidance of certain classes of foods (eg, no fat, or no dairy, or no processed food, or no additives), obsessively reading labels, and often having the same food every day for each meal.  For example it would be common to hear someone say, "I have whole grain cooked hot cereal for breakfast with rice milk, organic yogurt and carrot sticks for lunch, grain-fed chicken with brown rice for dinner, and an apple or rice cake if I want a snack". At first glance this may sound healthy, but the diet is actually quite low in calories (less than 800), low in protein (less than 45 grams) and almost devoid of fat and vitamin C.

It is unfortunate that the initial goal to be healthy actually leads to health problems in many of these people (more commonly they are women, as is true for other eating disorders as well). If you or someone you know fits some of this description it's important to find a trusted health professional to speak with. You can get back on the right track and get your health back!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More Delicious Jerky Flavors!

You may remember about a year ago I told you about this great pineapple jerky I had tried from that was sooo delicious! This week I had the opportunity to try two of their new products, Sweet and Spicy Orange Beef Jerky and Sweet and Spicy Mango Beef Jerky from Spencer's Jerky products. Wow!

First of all, as a dietitian I love the fact that a serving is just 100 calories. It's a great alternative to many of the popular100 calorie snack packages that contain just a handful of little cookies or pretzels that doesn't keep you full for much longer than 10 minutes. For just 100 calories, a full ounce of jerky (about 4 or 5 strips) provides 15 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat and 4 grams of carbohydrate. It's really going to tide you over until the next meal.

Second, the flavor is absolutely savory! Enjoy the sweet taste from the fruit mixed with the spicy taste from the seasonings, all melded together with the chewy beef texture. It's not tough or dry like some other jerkys I have tried, but has a great consistency that's as enjoyable as the tang of whichever variety you choose.
You can order some at beef jerky and find dozens of options to suit your personal taste.

They also have turkey jerky if you, or someone you know, prefers turkey to beef!