About Stephanie Ronco

Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.

 

Is it strawberry season where you are? Right now the markets near me are overflowing with ruby-hued gems. To celebrate, let's explore some little-known strawberry facts!

Fun Fact #1: Strawberries are the only fruits whose seeds grow on the outside.

Fun Fact #2: Strawberries are members of the rose family.

Fun Fact #3: A single strawberry has roughly 200 seeds.

Fun Fact #4: A cup of sliced strawberries has just over 50 calories, with 3 grams of fiber, 26 milligrams of calcium, 254 milligrams of potassium, and 98 milligrams of vitamin C.

Fun Fact #5: There are over 600 different kinds of strawberries.

We've got loads of fruit and vegetable trivia for every season! Which of the following will be most useful for you, right now?

Not quite done with strawberries? Neither am I! Here's a brand-new handout with the trivia we've reviewed today: 5 Fun Facts About Strawberries

Strawberry Trivia Fun Fruit Trivia: Strawberries

By Judy Doherty, MPS, PC II

References:

  1. https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/school-nutrition/pdf/fact-sheet-strawberry.pdf
  2. https://www.nj.gov/agriculture/farmtoschool/documents/seasonality-chart/F2S%20Strawberries.pdf
  3. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/167762/nutrients
  4. https://healthysd.gov/strawberries/
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The Vital Nutrients series is back and better than ever! Today we're going to talk about iron, but before we begin, have you caught up on the other installments?

What Is It? Iron is a mineral that your body needs in order to grow and stay healthy. You'll find it in most meats, beans, and lentils, along with some nuts and seeds, and even greens! You can also get it through fortified foods.

What Does It Do? Your body uses iron to make certain hormones. Iron is also crucial for the formation of hemoglobin and myoglobin, which help transport oxygen throughout your body.

How Much Do I Need? Most men (age 19 and up) need 8mg of iron each day. Women age 19-50 need 18mg of iron daily, while women over 50 need only 8mg in the same time period.

Kids and teens need varying amounts of iron, as do pregnant and lactating people. You can find a detailed chart of those iron needs right here!

How Can I Get Enough Iron? There are two types of iron: heme iron and nonheme iron. Both can be found in meat, poultry, and seafood. Fortified foods are usually fortified with nonheme iron, and that's what plant sources of iron contain too. By eating a variety of these foods each week, you'll ensure you're meeting your iron needs.

It's easier for your body to absorb heme iron than it is for it to absorb nonheme iron, but vitamin C can help! Did you know that you can absorb more iron when you pair iron-rich foods with things like strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, and broccoli, which are all full of vitamin C?

Want a handout with a summary of these fun facts? Look no further: Meet Micronutrients: Iron

Meet Micronutrients Iron Meet Micronutrients: Iron

And stay tuned for the next micronutrient on deck: zinc!

References:

  1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer/
  2. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/vitamins-minerals/iron.html
  4. https://medlineplus.gov/iron.html
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June 2022 Newsletter and Resources for Premium Food and Health Communication Members:

Table of Contents:

  • Read-offline PDF newsletter
  • Research update for professionals
  • White label newsletter
  • Shareable articles and handouts
  • Graphic of the month
  • Special member-only discounts

Read-Offline PDF:

FHC June 2022 Page 01 June 2022

Here's the entire PDF edition of the June 2022 Newsletter, ready for you to download to read offline, print for your next meeting or presentation, or distribute however you see fit!

(You can click the image to download it).

Professional’s Corner:

Article Links to Share with Your Clients:

  1. Steak Grilled Cauliflower by Judy Doherty, MPS, PC II
  2. Loaded Black Bean Soup by Judy Doherty, MPS, PC II
  3. Better Food, Better Mood? by Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
  4. Can Food Tracking Apps Boost Health? by Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES, CHWC, CPT
  5. Food Tracking Apps: Foodvisor by Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES, CHWC, CPT
  6. The Pros and Cons of Foodvisor by Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES, CHWC, CPT
  7. Skip Processed Foods at Night by Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD

June Image:

portfolio1745 1 June 2022

Editor's Note:

Let us know if you need anything! Just click “Contact Us” at the top of foodandhealth.com.

Discounts:

Use code HOT22 at nutritioneducationstore.com or TRY10NOW at foodandhealth.com for renewals and classes.

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Fun Vegetable Trivia: Artichokes


July 2022

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There are a large number of apps that promise to make tracking your food choices quick and easy while providing feedback that can help people reach their health goals.

A review of diet-tracking apps published in 2019 noted that apps may help people lose weight, manage chronic health conditions, understand more about their food choices and eating patterns, set realistic goals, improve knowledge about food and nutrition, and develop self-efficacy.*  

Pretty great news, huh?

But which app to choose? In general, food tracking app users look for:

  • Ease of use – Can I set up and use the app quickly and intuitively?
  • How large is the food database and can I find the foods I usually eat?
  • How can I track foods – Can I take a photo of a barcode or a photo of the food or meal? Entering names of foods takes longer and typically results in a long list of possible food choices. Plus, often the food I actually ate isn’t listed.
  • Are the portion sizes in terms I understand and can use? For example, is a serving size option the number of crackers? Or is that serving size only available in ounces?
  • What type of feedback is provided? Nutrition analysis for each food, meal, and the day are important. Some apps go beyond the data to providing other types of analysis such as color rating systems or personalized feedback.
  • Can I track my progress for goals that I want to set? Weight, calories, macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, fat), fiber, water, micronutrients (individual vitamins and minerals) are often options.
  • Can I track physical activity?
  • Can I track hunger and fullness?
  • Can I track where I’m eating?
  • What type of notifications and reminders does the app provide?
  • Does the app include a community of users or links to social media?
  • Can I use the app for free? If not, what is the cost?

One of the more popular food tracking apps is Foodvisor. Let's take a closer look at that one in Food Tracking Apps: Foodvisor.

By Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES, CPT, CHWC

References:

  1. Ferrara G, Kim J, Lin S, Hua J, Seto E. A Focused Review of Smartphone Diet-Tracking Apps: Usability, Functionality, Coherence With Behavior Change Theory, and Comparative Validity of Nutrient Intake and Energy Estimates. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2019;7(5):e9232. Published 2019 May 17. doi:10.2196/mhealth.9232
  2. American Psychological Association. Teaching Tip Sheet:  Self-Efficacy. https://www.apa.org/pi/aids/resources/education/self-efficacy created 2009. Accessed 3-28-22
  3. Foodvisor. https://www.foodvisor.io/en/ 

*Self efficacy is a person's confidence in their ability to control their own behavior, environment, and emotions.

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New research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Australia reveals that being comfortable in the kitchen not only keeps your taste buds happy, it also helps your mental health.

The study was done in partnership with The Good Foundation and Jamie’s Ministry of Food Initiative, along with a mobile food kitchen that provided community cooking classes to the University’s Perth and SW campuses from 2016 to 2018.

The seven-week health cooking series had 657 participants. While the cooking course continued, ECU Institute of Nutrition Research academics monitored the effect of the program on participants’ cooking confidence and self-perceived mental health. Overall satisfaction with cooking and diet-related behaviors were also measured.

Significant improvements in the subjects' general health, mental health, and vitality after the program. Those improvements were even sustained for six months after completion of the course, compared to the research control group. 

In addition, improved cooking confidence, ability to alter eating habits, and reduced lifestyle barriers to nutritious eating were observed.

The study’s researcher, Dr. Joanna Rees, noted the importance of the link between healthy eating and mental health. "Improving people's diet quality can be a preventive strategy to halt or slow the rise in poor mental health, obesity, and other metabolic health disorders," she asserted.

Dr. Rees suggests that programs in the future should focus on the barriers to healthful eating, like poor food environments and time restrictions. Greater emphasis should be placed on the value of nutritious meals through the use of quick and easy, home-cooked meals containing lots of fruits and vegetables and minimal ultra-processed, convenience foods.

Confidence Helps

Previous research by the Institute uncovered a connection between eating more fruits and vegetables and sustained mental health. This was a larger study that obtained more detailed dietary data. This study suggested that participants’ improved diets may have helped them feel better too.  

Although participants denied that their diets changed after completing the cooking classes, their mental health still improved.

Benefits to mental health were equal in normal, overweight, and obese participants, suggesting a connection between cooking confidence, satisfaction with cooking, and emotional health benefits, according to Dr. Rees.

Who Should be Cooking?

The authors note that cooking is still a highly-gendered task. From the beginning of the cooking classes, 77% of participants that identified as female admitted to having cooking confidence while only 23% of identified male participants claimed the same.

By the end of the cooking program, confidence in cooking skills was equal in both men and women.

"This change in confidence could see a change to the household food environment by reducing the gender bias and leading to a gender balance in home cooking," Dr Rees explained.

She further suggests that knowing how to cook may help people overcome barriers such as time constraints, which can segue into convenience meals or fast food, which is high in calories, and low in nutritional content.

How to Use This Information to Help Your Clients:

  • Collaborate with farmer’s markets to provide cooking classes.
  • Offer cooking classes in your local garden center.
  • Provide a list of online virtual cooking classes for clients.
  • Create a cooking class series that’s affordable and accessible.
  • Partner with your state agriculture education extension specialists.
  • Seek grant funding to provide community cooking classes at churches or other venues.

By Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD

Journal Reference:

  1. Joanna Rees, Shih Ching Fu, Johnny Lo, Ros Sambell, Joshua R. Lewis, Claus T. Christophersen, Matthew F. Byrne, Robert U. Newton, Siobhan Boyle, Amanda Devine. How a 7-Week Food Literacy Cooking Program Affects Cooking Confidence and Mental Health: Findings of a Quasi-Experimental Controlled Intervention TrialFrontiers in Nutrition, 2022; 9 DOI: 10.3389/fnut.2022.802940
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Foodvisor describes itself as a personal nutrition guide. In addition to tracking what you eat by taking a photo, scanning a barcode, or typing in the name of what you ate; the app also includes access to registered dietitians via chat, recipes, and motivational tips.

Foodvisor's Set Up Process:

Setting up the app goes beyond putting in height, weight, age, sex, and activity level. Foodvisor asks questions about:

  • How motivated are you to achieve your goal?
  • Do you have any food allergies or intolerances? (Examples include vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free, lactose intolerant, nut allergy, etc).
  • Do you have any health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, an eating disorder, a heart condition, kidney disease, liver disease, etc?

There are also questions about your lifestyle and environment.

    • How much time do you have to dedicate to diet (a lot, moderate, a little)?
    • Are you a parent or guardian of young kids?  
    • Are you a student?
    • What about work? Do you work too much? Do you work and it feels great? Do you not currently work?
    • Is money a factor in your health journey?
    • Do you feel supported by your friends and family? 

Questions about habits and behavior are also part of the set up process.

      • Is snacking an issue? 
      • What triggers a snack? Boredom, hunger, seeing food, stress, strong emotion? 
      • Which statement rings truest?
        • My diet is mostly healthy.
        • My diet needs a lot of work. 
      • When is it the hardest to eat healthy? (Breakfast, lunch, dinner)? 
      • Why is it hard to eat healthy?
        • Hard to eat different than everyone else
        • No access to healthy food
        • Not much time to cook
        • Don’t know what’s healthy.
      • How often do you drink soda? 

Finally, the set up process prompts you to take a closer look at your needs.

    • What would you be interested in learning? (Options include nutrition, habit creation, stress management, dealing with failure, motivation helpers, behavior change, sleep, etc).
    • What would your perfect program include? [For example, healthy and delicious recipes, personal nutritionist (a human one), being part of a community, water challenge, workout routine, cognitive behavior therapy, sleep, etc].
    • To be successful, what is most important to you? (Examples include seeing fast results, being able to eat everything, no workout or cardio, easy to follow, etc).
    • What would success look like in 2 weeks? (Would you feel more energized, eat healthier, sleep better, be able to run more, etc?).
    • In a typical day, how much time do you spend sitting?
    • Do you currently work out? 

Diet Options:

There are various diet programs to choose from, such as clean eating, keto, low carb, detox, intermittent 18/8 fasting, and pregnancy. There are even plans using HelloFresh recipes in a 4-week meal plan as well as a custom 28 meal plans for 4 weeks if you want something specific to follow.

Fitness programs include a running program, bulking up, toning, and a Beach Body program. Each program comes with an overview of the program, weekly tips and suggestions as well information like "3 tips to eat more fiber," "what are macronutrients," "what to eat to sleep well," etc.

Monitoring Progress:

Foodvisor uses a positive, motivational messaging approach.

In the progress tab, you’ll find calorie tracking as well as macronutrient breakdown for the week, the past 30 days, and the past 90 days. For example, after one week of using Foodvisor 18% of my calories came from protein (70 grams on average), 36% came from from fat (35 grams per day on average), 44% came from carbohydrate (169 grams on average) and 3% came from fiber (27 grams on average).

The more complete and accurate the information I put into the app results in more accurate results.

I’ll be honest – I didn’t log 100% of what I ate each day. Sometimes I couldn’t find the exact food I ate so I picked something that looked similar, and sometimes I couldn’t figure out the amount I ate.

A Dietitian's Impressions:

Food tracking apps can provide useful information about our food choices, and Foodvisor takes this a step further by incorporating positive messaging and individualized help from a registered dietitian.

Foodvisor is available on both iOS and Android for $29.99 per month with an initial 2-week free trial.

And there you have it! An overview of Foodvisor. If you'd like to know more, don't miss The Pros and Cons of Foodvisor.

By Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES, CPT, CHWC

References:

  1. Ferrara G, Kim J, Lin S, Hua J, Seto E. A Focused Review of Smartphone Diet-Tracking Apps: Usability, Functionality, Coherence With Behavior Change Theory, and Comparative Validity of Nutrient Intake and Energy Estimates. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2019;7(5):e9232. Published 2019 May 17. doi:10.2196/mhealth.9232
  2. American Psychological Association. Teaching Tip Sheet:  Self-Efficacy. https://www.apa.org/pi/aids/resources/education/self-efficacy created 2009. Accessed 3-28-22
  3. Foodvisor. https://www.foodvisor.io/en/ 
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Fun Vegetable Trivia: Artichokes


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