Sometimes we get questions about the ratings and how they are decided, or why some foods get more (or fewer) stars that one might guess. From time to time I will cover your questions in this column, so feel free to send those questions in! Here’s our first one…
Posts By: kbroihier
Feeling left out at the cookout? Not to worry, the options for vegetarians these days are more plentiful than ever. Maybe you just need some inspiration? Here are some of my ideas that will help you (or your vegetarian friends) feel just as satisfied at the next backyard grill fest, block party or ahem, weenie roast.
For years the debate about whether organically-raised food is more nutritious than conventionally-raised crops has made media headlines and spurred heated conversations. For some consumers, these reports may lead to flip-flopping from one side to the other, perhaps trying to balance their concern over their health (and that of the environment) with concern over their food budget. Sound familiar?
Though few of us are large-scale farmers, lots of us have heard of cover crops (sometimes called “green manure.”) These crops are typically not raised as cash crops. Instead, they are planted to keep the bare soil from being exposed to the elements and also to nourish the soil and suppress weeds during the regular crop’s “off season.” Which crops are these exactly? Often they are legumes, grasses and certain grains. Small grains like barley, millet and buckwheat are common cover crops. These also happen to be cover crops that local farmers can actually harvest and sell as well. Growing this type of cover crop allows farmers to make money from crops grown past the normal summer season, so buying these products is a great way to support smaller, local farms.
To some of us, seaweed is just that annoying stuff that you gingerly step around when walking the beach, but for others, it’s on tonight’s dinner plate. Seaweeds, sometimes called sea vegetables, have been a traditional food in China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, and are frequently used as a salad ingredient in Indonesia and Malaysia. Other people who live close to the oceans (various European and Nordic countries) have also a history of harvesting and eating local sea vegetables. Along the northeast coast of the U.S. as well as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, seaweed companies are growing their businesses rapidly as food manufacturers discover that the public is becoming interested in the taste as well as the potential health benefits of sea vegetables. Eating seaweed isn’t something new in the U.S. and Canada, but it is becoming more popular as people learn more about these abundant sea vegetables. Last year Maine hosted its first Seaweed Festival to help spread the word.
Have you heard of “superfood bowls”? Maybe you’ve seen the many bowls full of colorful food combinations on Pinterest? “Superfood bowls” are really just artfully arranged, mini-portions of various healthy foods all collected into one bowl. Bowls are appropriate for breakfast and lunch since they are designed to be a quick and healthy option you can take with you on the fly. But a casual dinner is also the perfect time for a bowl you create at home. They are endlessly customizable, which appeals to today’s consumers, and you can find them everywhere from hipster hangouts to everyday franchise restaurants—or make your own bowl of goodness.
I’m just guessing here, but I bet that you probably are not interested in reading the 500+page report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee last week. No worries (and I don’t blame you)! The Committee (made up of 14 recognized experts in the field of nutrition and health) has been at work for the last year and a half or so, reviewing pertinent new science in order to present their Scientific Report to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, who are jointly responsible for revising the Dietary Guidelines. Why do they need revising? Because science changes, because the state of Americans’ health changes, and because the Dietary Guidelines form the backbone upon which rests a good deal of national nutrition policy—including those of public food and nutrition programs like school lunch.