No Credit for Protein

Selection of high-protein foods like meat and eggs

Protein is an essential macronutrient that must be included in the diet at an adequate amount for good health. Due to their high protein content, foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the Protein Foods Group. According to USDA’s MyPlate, protein foods should make up ¼ of our plates. However, these foods contain a lot more than protein and nutrient density varies because of it. In this edition of Surprising Stars, we will explain why Guiding Stars does not consider protein level as it evaluates the nutrient density of food. 

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Family Dinner Fallbacks

Black Bean Pizza.

The physical, mental and emotional benefits of regular family meals are substantial and in an ideal scenario they would take priority in our family calendars over other activities. However, with conflicting schedules it can be challenging to fit in family meal time. For busy nights, home cooks need family dinner fallback meals that are guaranteed to please and require minimal time and effort. Keeping some basic ingredients on hand will help you whip up a simple, but nutritious meal and avoid the drive thru, takeout or eating at restaurants. This is a win for your family’s health and budget. For this month’s Nutritious Nudge, let’s discuss some fallback recipes that you can call on to consistently and quickly get dinner on the table. 

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Snack Bars Only Go So Far

Homemade Snack Bars

As kids start to head back to school and family calendars become increasingly busy with after-school activities, there’s even more interest among shoppers in convenient snacks that do not compromise on nutrition. Snack bars check off a lot of boxes for consumers looking for on-the-go snacks. They are available in appetizing flavors, have a long shelf life, are packed in attractive single serving packaging, and are perceived as a healthy choice due in part to convincing health claims by manufacturers. However, in terms of nutrition, not all snack bars are created equal. For this edition of Surprising Stars, let’s discuss why there are less Guiding Stars-earning snack bars than some might expect and how to ensure your selection within these foods is nutrient dense. 

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Get Ahead of Midday Meltdowns

Two kids snacking on fruit

Whether you’re feeding a toddler, a school-age kid who isn’t going back to in-person instruction yet, or yourself as you work from home, lunchtime can be sticky. Literally, perhaps, in the case of the kids. Even for adults, getting a regular midday meal during a disrupted routine can be harder than it seems. A small amount of structure and intention, however, can help you defeat the hunger grumps before they derail your day.

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Local Foods

Sausages on a campfire

Supermarket sales continue to show shoppers’ growing interest in and demand for local foods. In the Hartman Group’s Health + Wellness 2019 report, 69% of consumers say they look for locally grown or produced foods and beverages when shopping. To meet this demand, grocers are sourcing and marketing more local foods in their stores. The same Hartman report noted that consumers across the board see locally sourced foods and beverages as healthier, but is that true? In this edition of Surprising Stars, let’s explore how Guiding Stars evaluates local foods and determines if they really are a nutritious choice.  

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Local Fruits & Vegetables

Blueberries and other berries at a farmers market

It’s summertime and locavore living is easy. Just like in years past, an abundance of locally grown and produced food can be found at Farmer’s Markets, food co-ops, or through membership in a CSA. What’s new is that traditional supermarkets are sourcing an increasing amount of local fruits and vegetables and proudly installing farm stands in their produce departments. This appeals to shoppers who want to shop local, but value convenience most. Shoppers, farmers, and supermarkets all benefit from this budding relationship.  

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Healthier BBQ

Nicole Friedman, from Retail Business Services, who we frequently partner with, interviewed me about great ideas for enjoying a healthier barbecue. Learn how to improve the nutrition of burgers, why to start with veggies, and how playing with your family can improve the healthy balance of your gathering.

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