Healthier Alternatives to Popular Kids’ Snacks

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Kids and snacks. It’s inevitable that children may or not eat “enough” at their meals, but they will almost always be up for a snack. No matter the length of a car ride or errands, kids will ask if you packed a snack, so we parents need to have them on hand. No doubt the food industry knows this–the supermarket is, after all, full of packaged snacks that appear to have our job done for us, but do they? Here are a few guidelines to help you give your kids the best nutrition with every snack.

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Nutrition Labeling: The Inside Story

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It may not surprise you that when it comes to our food, many of us want and need guidance. Front of package (FOP) labels like the one created by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Food Marketing Institute (Facts up Front) or the beverage industry (Clear on Calories), are attempting to better inform consumers by putting certain details about a product on the front of food packaging for easy viewing. This saves shoppers time and makes the facts about a product as clear as possible for individuals who don’t have time to read every label. The Facts Up Front label must include calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar per serving. A manufacturer can also choose to include two positive attributes, such as fiber and protein.

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World Vegetarian Day

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October 1st is World Vegetarian Day, a day founded by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) to kick off Vegetarian Awareness Month. Whether you follow a vegetarian diet or not, NAVS is hoping you will take a pause on October 1st to think about how a vegetable-based diet benefits your body, our environment and, of course, the animals we eat.

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Sugar on the Brain

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There is so much talk about sugar in our diet–especially added sugar. I think that people are unaware of just how much sugar they are consuming. It seems to me that in most cases, all sugar is thought of as “bad” and that individuals neglect to realize that some of our most loved and commonly consumed foods, such as yogurt, fruit and even milk (lactose anyone?) contain sugar. What we are really trying to control is our added sugar.

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Barbecuers Beware!

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Ahh… summertime. A time of long days and lazy afternoons spent outside in the warm sun and dragged out meals that take us from the summer sun into the evening. It is also a season of delicious foods that are left out longer than they should be at unsafe temperatures that set the scene for uninvited guests (like bacteria). Luckily, with some simple tips from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and the right tools, you can keep food safety a top priority without giving up on dining al fresco or cooking up your favorite barbeque foods.

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Gluten Free Outside the Gluten-Free Aisle

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People often ask for me for guidance on how to spot gluten-free foods that are good (better or best!) for them. For some, the transition to gluten-free foods feels like a move toward foods that are more processed or less healthful. I am quick to highlight the many fresh and naturally gluten-free foods that our found throughout the produce, meat, seafood and dairy departments. Shop in these departments and you are likely to find many healthful items.

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