Cooking

Trends in Nutrition Tech

Recipe Widgets and Development

Food photography and recipes continue to be a major brand-building tool for Registered Dietitians and Nutrition Professionals.  Aggregating these in one place (a la Healthy Aperture), seamless website integration (a la Wordpress tools and the like), and providing easy organization of steps and ingredients for user print and go are all very popular trends right now - and the tools just keep getting better!

Coaching, Not Just Tracking

Tracking steps, calories, meals, % carbohydrate, grams of protein - the list goes on and while the average user likes seeing this information and can begin to see trends emerge, said user doesn't often know how to create an action plan from this information.  Slowly and continually enacting a plan to become healthier is the key.  This is why we see a lot of apps emerging using health coaches to prod us along that route.  

Just remember, if you have very specific, individualized, nutrition and health questions, you should be speaking with a Registered Dietitian as they are the premiere professional licensed to provide individualized medical nutrition therapy (think: drink more water, good job on the serving of veggies with dinner is appropriate for a health coach versus let's focus on high quality, low-glycemic index foods and sufficient fat/protein for blood sugar management at meals, or understanding high potassium and low sodium foods/meal planning for blood pressure management is appropriate for a discussion with an RDN).

Increasing Touch Points of Care and Incentivization

At this point with healthcare shifting to value-based care and physicians becoming more 'on the hook' for their patients' health and behavioral decisions, the powers that be are concerned, and trying to figure out a solution.  We will see more companies that utilize the premiere healthcare professional (yay RDNs - currently only about 5% are credentialed with insurance companies!) and try to increase touch points with the patient.  More RDNs in physician offices, more tools for phone and video support (read telehealth reimbursement and improvements in interstate provision legislation), more healthcare dollars that have the ability to shift to healthy food purchases, emphasizing using food for chronic disease management, etc. are just some examples of what's ahead.  This is a very interesting time in this space, one that clearly excites me personally as my company, Sitraa, is aiming to make an impact in this space.  

What are some trends you are seeing emerge in nutrition tech??  I'd love to hear.

Projected Nutrition Trends for 2015: Part 2

Nutrition Trends: My Projections for 2015 

  1. Inflammation - Consumers will become more interested with the role that inflammation plays in chronic disease development and learn about the big picture of inflammation.  This will hopefully lead to promoting fruits/vegetables, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, omega-3s, legumes and ancient grains and discouraging sugar, trans fats, processed foods, excessive grain/starch products, fatty and cured meat products.  There is potential for the message to get confusing when discussing things such as types of omega-3 fatty acids (ALA vs EPA vs DHA), proper supplementation, analyzing omega-6:omega-3 ratio, and dairy intake.
  2. More ingredient-specific food marketing - With words such as "Natural" and "Superfoods" being recognized as simply media hype, consumers are starting to get more savvy with reading the ingredient list - which means food companies are going to get more savvy with pushing the "good" and denouncing the "bad".
  3. Consumer push for GMO information - The debate on GMOs and their impact is only just starting.  With the call for more transparency in the food supply, labeling GMO presence is starting to become the standard.  Many still aren't sure what to do with this information, but getting it on the label will help further the discussion.
  4. Let's get cooking and gardening - This has been on the up and up for years, in large part due to the social media boost of instagram, pinterest boards, and rise of the DIY and food blogging realm.  The cacophony begins to organize itself into more concrete messaging and useful layman resources.

Supermarket Savvy & the Taste of Eating 'Right'

Happy National Nutrition Month all!

This year, the theme for NNM is 'Enjoy the taste of eating right!', and I just love that sentiment because food tastes great.  There are a plethora of flavors out there, and as an honest foodie, it makes me sad when I hear about people being addicted to three things: salt, sugar, fat.  This isn't because they don't have interesting flavor properties, it's because they tend to dominate, and start to slowly drown out a lot of other amazing flavors.

Real food tastes great.  Real herbs, spices, produce, eggs, cheese, poultry/meat/fish.  And the list goes on... All great.  The awesome bonus to this is the role that good food can play in meeting health goals.  That means that your health goals can be reached by eating real, whole foods.  This is not an accident.  I always joke to patients that if they were busy eating their recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, they'd have little room for 'the crap'.  We laugh together, but I mean it.  

Learning how to properly grocery shop, stock a pantry, make a meal out of a few basic ingredients, and utilize a few basic knife and cooking techniques are essential life tools.  Essential life tools that become part of your roadmap to 'eating right'.

Some great resources I love to help get you there!

  • Supermarket Savvy: A virtual tool for healthier shopping aimed at consumers, chefs, and RDNs!
  • Meal Makeover Moms: Two RDN's that have dedicated their careers to developing family-friend cookbooks and spreading the news on necessary tools for a healthy kitchen.
  • MyPlate Healthy Eating on a Budget: From the MyPlate messaging, tip sheets and tools to help with meal planning for the budget-conscious household.
  • Fruits and Veggies More Matters: This public health campaign is the most important thing you can learn for meal planning.  And seasonality matters.  I beg you to check out the site and use their tools!
  • Whole Foods Healthy Cooking Guide: Great tools for the visual learner - watch their healthier cooking videos to master new kitchen techniques and use their whole grains guide to rotate in new options.
  • Healthy Aperture: A foodie-nutrition community of health & food bloggers that have uploaded their recipes with beautiful photos.  Your new free cookbook complete with professional input.
  • Fruitable: Ever wonder how to pick and store fruits and vegetables?  Use this website (launching an app soon!) to figure it out!

Have any other ones to add to the list?!  Happy cooking, and more importantly, happy healthy eating!

The Longevity Foods List

Purchased photo. And if you remember, the original banner of WittyNutrition in 2009!The Science Behind a Long and Vital Life

Aging is a process that none of us can stop but plenty of us try to slow down.  So what does it come down to?  And how can we modify our external factors?

Genetics - Unfortunately not much you can do to change this!  But what you can do is take hold of the narrative.  Talk with your family, stay aware of your personal and familial health risks, and bring these up with your team of health care providers.  This way they can help guide you and provide suggestions for minimizing risks.  Knowledge is power and will guide your decision making.  

Sleep - Even though I've said it before, I'm just going to go ahead and reinforce how important adequate sleep is to cell regeneration and hormonal balance.  Although it can be hard to do, set up good habits surrounding bedtime and don't let yourself get sleep deprived too often.

Stress - Managing stress is also important to maintaining a healthy hormonal balance.  This is a particularly important topic in encouraging healthful stress management.  That means trying to utilize behaviors such as exercise instead of smoking or drinking excessive alcohol to deal with those tough days.

Food and Drink - Ah yes, the most modifiable aspect of the discussion, and something you get an average of 21 opportunities a week to maximize.  So let's talk about the most friendly foods for fighting free radicals (yay, antioxidants), fighting cancer and chronic diseases, and aging gracefully.  Some of these superfoods are adapted from Chef and guru of cooking for optimal health, Rebecca Katz' list from her new book, The Longevity Kitchen.  Some of them are added on by yours truly based on the science of food that I speak about every day with clients.

Superfoods List

Almonds   |   Asparagus   |   Avocado   |   Basil   |   Black and Green Teas   |   Berries (all of the above but blueberries and blackberries pack the biggest antioxidant punch)   |   Cinnamon   |   Citrus   |   Coffee   |   Dark Chocolate   |   Flaxseed and Chia Seed   |   Garlic   |   Grapefruit   |   Kale   |   Kimchi   |   Leeks   |   Olive Oil   |   Onion   |   Pomegranates   |   Soy   |   Spinach   |   Sweet Potato   |   Thyme   |   Tomato   |   Walnuts   |   Watermelon   |   Wild Salmon   |   Yogurt

And most importantly - Water!  What would you add to this list?  What foods are part of your favorite go-to recipes to help you stay healthy and vital?

Cooked

I've never been shy about my enthusiasm for Michael Pollan and his well-researched writing on the human engagement with the natural world (i.e. food, agriculture, food production, nutrients vs. nutrition, etc.).  I have read many of his books and am interested to delve into his new book, Cooked.  I find his writing to be lucid, insightful, and thought-provoking.

Cooked seems to be the natural next step in the progression of his writing.  It seems it is more of a journey with him through the experience of learning to cook (which should be fun as even on my best day I still feel like quite the novice!).  Now I realize this blog sounds like a PSA for his writing, but I just wanted to share my enthusiasm and invite you to join me in reading this.

Any other good nutrition and cooking books you've enjoyed recently?

Tips for Healthier Cooking Practices

Creating a healthy lifestyle starts at the grocery store with food selection, but extends itself into the kitchen with the utilization of healthy cooking practices.  Here are some tips for ways to retain flavor and nutrition, but cut out excess fat, cholesterol, sugar, and calories.Photo courtesy of getcooking.com pinterest board

Cooking Methods:

  • Poach - immerse skinless chicken or fish in liquid
  • Roast - place meat on a rack so that the fat can drip off and use basting liquids that are low in salt and sugar (lemon juice, wine, low sodium juices/sauces)
  • Grill/broil - place meat on a rack for the same principle: fat drips off
  • Steam - place veggies over simmering water
  • Bake - can use covered cookwear with extra liquid, (or! use parchment paper to create a bag/covered pouch and place a cut of fish with some antipasti or chopped vegetables in - the vegetables will release fluid for the fish to cook in, creating a very lean meal)
  • Stir-fry - start with a little non-fat cooking spray or olive oil and sautee onions/garlic/etc.  Then build on that with vegetables (frozen is great for this), drained/rinsed beans, etc.  Top it off with your preference of whole wheat grains (quinoa, brown rice, whole whet pasta) for a healthy meal. 

 

Additional Food Tips:

  • Buy the 97% fat free ground red meat and turkey meat.  Per one pound add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of water.  It will add moisture for a better end-product while keeping the lean profile and ensuring you're eating unstaturated fatty acids over the saturated ones.
  • Steam or bake vegetables for better nutrient retention as compared to boiling them.
  • Use one egg yolk with several egg whites for a healthier, high-protein version of your morning eggs.
  • Use your spice rack!  I know it can be intimidating, but using herbs and spices over the traditional use of salt in cooking is an important habit to create for yourself, and your family!

 

What tips do you have to share?!  You can also check out this pinterest board I made with smart and helpful tips and exchanges.  [The image at the right is on there!]  I am learning more and more about food substitutions in cooking (ex. greek yogurt for mayo or sour cream in recipes) and there are truly helpful tips available online.

Kids Cooking Academy

Kudos to Frigidaire

I applaud private companies that work to improve the community.  Frigidaire has partnered with Save the Children (an incredible organization! I am consistently impressed with them - plus my mom works for them!) to create a children's Cooking Academy.  

          Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

An online vault with video tutorials, recipes and tips for safely including children into the kitchen helps to establish the importance of healthy foods, basic cooking skills, and the togetherness of family.  

If you have children of your own, want to enter for the chance to win a Free Range Oven (hello benefits of corporate sponsorship), or just want to check it out for the sake of supporting the cause, feel free to visit their site.  

We've reached the point where we need to make the time to change our kitchen habits.  Real food requires real kitchen actions in order to really enjoy it.  

Grilled Watermelon... Mmmmnnn!

Fruits and Veggies More Matters has a wonderful video archive brimming with tips on cooking, nutrition, food prep, just about anything!  I'm so happy to have discovered it!  I may post their videos from time to time just to share the wealth of knowledge.  

Check out a funny one that I found... First of all, grilled watermelon sounds interesting.  I may have to try it sometime soon!  [Apartment living is not conducive to grilling.]  Second... Where did he find that shirt?!  And where can I get one?!  

I'm having trouble embedding the video... Womp womp.  Check out the link below!

Grilling Watermelon