appetizers

Here's a taste of what's cooking in the nutrition world:

By Sandy Todd Webster
Jan 19, 2015

Disrespecting the quality of the U.S. school lunch program is practically a national sport. But it appears the institutional lunch lady may know more about feeding American kids a balanced and healthy square meal than parents who pack their kids’ lunches—at least according to research that appeared recently in JAMA Pediatrics. In a study of lunches brought from home at Houston area elementary and middle schools, researchers found that the homespun brown bags did not meet National School Lunch Program guidelines; in fact, many contained too much sodium and too few servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and milk. About 90% of lunches contained desserts, snack chips and sweetened beverages, which are not permitted in reimbursable school meals.

Ramen purists who are all about the messy slurp and smack in the face they get from inhaling their noodles and broth may look at this “spork” and scoff. But the utensil, created by designer Masami Takahashi for a popular ramen noodle restaurant chain in Japan, can help even novice ramen eaters to spool and ladle their noodles and broth in one easy dip.

Even though just 1% of the population actually has celiac disease, product space has exploded in the past few years. TIME magazine recently teamed up with My Fitness Pal to learn more about the gluten-free eating habits of 1,800 users of the calorie-counting app. Of those surveyed, 13% had experimented with a gluten-free diet; 27% had shopped for gluten-free products; just 14% of those who had woven gluten-free products into their diets reported having a gluten allergy (more respondents were doing it for “health reasons,” including weight loss); and 53% of those purchasing gluten-free products had also sought gluten-free options when dining outside the home. Do you think this trend is on its way out, or would you say it has staying power? Why? Share your gluten-free thoughts with [email protected]

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Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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