Articles and Information from GA Foods

5 Myths about Healthy Foods

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Mar 2, 2016 10:00:00 AM

If you've glanced at a magazine or online health site lately, you've probably been bombarded by the term 'superfood'. This is a term that is bandied about haphazardly, and often misunderstood, causing people to overeat (or just simply eat) the wrong foods.

There is no true scientific definition for the term 'superfood'; it is just a term that the nutrition world came up with to signify a food that is full of nutrients that keep the body healthy. While there are many foods out there that are good for you, you should never focus on just one, especially if you are focusing on it simply because it’s part of a current craze.

Here are five myths about healthy foods that you can learn from:

1) Coconut Oil: You have probably heard a great deal about coconut oil. It's been touted as a cure-all for nearly everything that ails you. Unfortunately, while coconut oil has been called a 'healthy oil', it is actually very high in saturated fat. While most people claim that it is okay to substitute this oil in everything from baking to frying to sauteing, as it is a medium-chain triglyceride (which would make it a less damaging form of saturated fat), there is no significant research to back up this claim.

Many experts still say that cooking with olive or canola oil is better, as they have the lowest amount of saturated fats.

healthy_meals.jpg2) Egg Whites: For years it seems you have heard conflicting information when it comes to eggs. One study says don't eat the yolks, the next study says eat the entire egg. Today, the science seems to have come to a consensus: eat the yolks, folks!

Once upon a time, yolks were removed because they are high in cholesterol, but not today. Today, nutritionists agree that without the yolks, you lose half the benefits of eggs. The yolk contains all of an egg's fat-soluble vitamins; vitamins A, D, E, and K. Yolks also contain a number of other nutrients, such as choline and selenium.

3) Granola: Granola may have a reputation as a healthy food, but it is actually loaded with calories, sugar and fat. If you've ever added granola to your diet and started gaining weight, it is probably the culprit. For granola lovers, don't worry, you don't have to cut it out of your meal plans entirely, just eat it (like all things) in moderation.

4) Kombucha: One of the newest buzzwords in the health and nutrition market is kombucha. Kombucha is a black tea that is fermented with yeast, bacteria and sugar. The hype is that it can detox the body, give you more energy, improve your digestion, and even enhance your immune system. The truth? There is no proof for any of this. Studies show that it does no more for you than yogurt or popping a probiotic pill.

senior_meals.jpgIt's also important to note that there have been some contamination issues with kombucha, involving bacteria and fungus, which can be very dangerous or anyone with a weakened immune system (such as older people, very young people, or pregnant and nursing mothers).

Remember, there are plenty of teas out there that are very healthy, with their health claims backed by science. Teas contain flavonoids which will help reduce your risk of heart disease.


5) Veggie Burgers:
While they may not be enjoying the heyday that they once did, veggie burgers are still around, and many people believe that they are a healthier option than fresh meat burgers. Not so. Most veggie burgers that you buy in your grocer's freezer section are heavily processed and have ingredients included that you cannot pronounce.

If you must eat a veggie burger, make sure to read the ingredient list and opt for ones with less ingredients (the more minimally processed choices). But if you were simply eating veggie burgers to save calories, opt for a fish-based burger, a turkey burger, a ground chicken burger or a lean red meat burger. Typically these will offer you more nutrition, fewer chemical additives, and fewer calories.

Variety is the Spice of Life

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans stress variety. Remember that no single food can provide every single nutrient that your body needs to function properly, so your best bet is to eat a variety of healthy foods.

If you are looking for healthy meals delivered, look to GA Foods. Download our free eBook to learn more about selecting a home-delivered meals provider. 

 Download 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home-Delivered Meals Provider

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Topics: Nutrition, Home Delivered Meals, Healthy Lunch

Farm to School Programs: Healthy Kids and Healthy Economy

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Aug 18, 2015 1:04:48 PM

Farm_to_SchoolFarm-to-School Programs

With the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, the National School Lunch Program requires a greater variety of vegetables be served throughout the school week. However, getting children to try vegetables has proven to be a challenge. As a result, many schools are implementing farm-to-school programs. The National Farm to School Program was authorized by Congress in 2004, with the intent to supply fresh, locally grown foods to schools. Children are more willing to try new foods if they interact with the grower.  Local farmers also benefit from financial opportunities by supplying schools and food distributors. 

Besides including locally grown foods on the school menu, farm-to-school activities can enhance classroom education through hands-on learning with school gardens and composting programs. Children learn the source of their food and how food choices affect their health, the environment, and their communities.  School gardens improve children’s attitudes towards produce and they are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables that they grow.

Blog_local_food_sidebarShortening the distance between the farmer and the school, helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefits our environment and wildlife. When food doesn’t have to travel so far, it also is less prone to chemical, physical, and biological hazards.

A successful farm-to-school program includes students, parents, farmers, school food service staff, teachers, community, etc. People like to hear about the story of their family, their operation and how they bring their products to market. Other farm-to-school activities can include nutrition education with cooking and tasting activities.

Buying Locally Grown for Families

Buying locally grown food for your family is also a great way to eat flavorful, healthy meals while supporting your local economy! 

The ability to talk with producers when purchasing food allows you to ask questions about pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, animal treatment, fertilizers, and any other queries you may have about how your food was produced.
Plus, knowing your local farmers and food producers gives you a stronger sense of place, relationships, trust, and pride within your community.

To find local food for your family, visit www.localharvest.org.

GA Foods' and Locally Produced Foods

GA Foods is committed to using locally grown and produced foods in all of the markets we serve. Our distributor works with local farmers to source produce.  We use a local dairy for our milk and a local bakery for our breads and rolls.

Buying locally supports Florida's economy and keeps local people employed.  To get an idea of the impact that child nutrition programs have on the local community and economy, watch this video. For information on our child nutrition offerings, click here.

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Topics: Child Nutrition, Healthy Lunch, School Lunch

Why We Love School Lunch (And You Should, Too!)

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Dec 17, 2014 8:35:00 AM

Bringing lunch from home

When my son was younger, he was a picky eater. He didn’t like to eat the school-prepared lunches…he always wanted to bring lunch from home. In our minds, I think we both thought his packed lunches would be like this:

lunch_kid-1

But in reality, being a working mom with a busy family, his lunches looked more like this:

lunch_LR

Some of you may think this lunch looks pretty healthy, after all, there is an apple in that picture!  But in reality, lunches brought from home are less nutritious than lunches purchased from schools.  

National School Lunch Program

The National School Lunch Program has been in place since 1946.  Congress created it after an investigation into the health of young men rejected in the World War II draft showed a connection between physical deficiencies and childhood malnutrition. Since then multiple studies have shown that children who participate in school dietary programs have superior nutritional intakes compared to those that do not participate.  Proper nutrition improves a child’s behavior and school performance.

In 2012, new nutrition standards were implemented by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for school meals. The new standards require school cafeterias to offer more fruit, vegetables and whole grains and to limit sodium, calories and unhealthy fats.  Grain-based desserts, like cookies, have been limited to twice a week and must be whole grain rich.  While there was some resistance from students on the healthier meals, studies have shown that students’ intake has improved with the new guidelines.

School meals that rock!

School foodservice directors have become creative in delivering a healthy school lunch menu that appeals to kids…I love the site, schoolmealsthatrock.org, because they showcase all of the healthy school lunches served in school cafeterias. You can check out actual school meal trays here, but below is an example from their site of a tray that meets the new USDA standards.  

2011-11-tray

 

Are school meals the healthiest option?

If you still aren’t sure that school meals are the healthiest option for your family, a new study from Virginia Tech University might change your mind.  The researchers compared school lunches with those children brought from home.  Here is what they found:

  • Calories, carbohydrates, fat, saturated fat, and sugar were higher in packed lunches.
  • Protein, fiber, vitamin A, and calcium where higher in school lunches.  (Sodium was also higher in school lunches. However, new sodium standards for school lunches are being phased in, so this is expected to improve.)
  • Packed lunches had more dessert items, savory snacks, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • School meals had more milk, fruits and vegetables.

Be a good example

If your children are like my son and resistant to eating lunch from the cafeteria, here are some tips from the USDA:

  • Join your child for lunch in the school cafeteria
  • Let your child see you eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • When your child gets home from school, ask them what he or she ate for lunch
  • Grocery shop with your child and talk about where foods come from
  • Offer new foods one at a time and always with something your child likes with that food.  Discuss how the food smells, tastes, and feels.

Childhood health and nutrition is important to GA Foods.  For more information on nutrition and children, read this blog post.

GA Foods Child Nutrition Programs

GA Foods offers nutrition programs for...

See How GA Foods is Making a Difference in Children's Lives

 

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Topics: Child Nutrition, Healthy Lunch, Lunch from Home, School Lunch

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