Facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS Feed

See an unfamiliar ingredient

Soup Can Ingredients

Search the Be Food Smart database

Keyboard

Enter food additive or ingredient name

Select and eat smarter food

Plate

Tag: junk food

Your family is visiting a friend’s family for the holiday weekend. The friend generously offers to have you stay at their house. Things are going great until it’s lunchtime and out comes the florescent orange mac & cheese and fake lemonade. What do you do? Well, you have a few options: (1) tell yourself that it’s only a few meals and it won’t seriously impact the kids’ health (2) tell your host that you’d never feed your child that crap (3) come prepared in anticipation of this possible scenario.

Health is incredibly important and I’m generally in favor of doing whatever you have to do to eat healthy. However, friendship is also precious and waving your nose in the air at her meal suggestion is not advisable either. No one likes to be made to feel bad about the way they feed their family. Instead, come prepared. Here are a few suggestions to survive a junk food weekend.
Continue reading…

From Junk to Funk: One Mom’s Tale

This is a guest post by Janeane Bernstein. Be Food Smart showcases voices from all fronts of the food movement. Know of a blogger, farmer or passionate storyteller who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

Hasta la vista fast food, bye-bye TV dinners – I’m out of my funk!

Bacon double cheeseburgers, French fries, ring dings, Twinkies, pepperoni pizza, sodas galore, TV dinners – you name it, I ate it. Those were just a few of my favorite things growing up and the list goes on. Of course, now I know why I was packing on a few extra lbs, was so sluggish and even depressed at times. I was eating cookies for breakfast and a whole assortment of high sugar treats on the way to school. As the day continued my high fat, high sugar roller coaster continued.
Continue reading…

After a session of A&E’s Horders (why can I not stop watching that show?), my hubby flipped to TLC where the show Extreme Couponing was on. Have you seen this series? If not, here is the quick overview: TLC follows families who uses hundreds of coupons on each grocery trip to get free stuff. Picture 3-4 carts overflowing with boxed food, toiletries and household goods on every visit to the market. Inevitably, you will get to see two things: first, the “magic” at the cash register when the $600 grocery bill turns into a $10 bill after all the coupons and store discounts have been applied. Second, the crazy amount of space required in the basement or garage to store hundreds of tubes of toothpaste, more deodorant than anyone can use in a lifetime, and canned goods with sophisticated methods of can rotation to combat expiration dates.

At first it sounds good. All I have to do is collect coupons and I too can have $1000 worth of groceries for $50? Yes, until you figure out what exactly you are getting for your new part-time job (some spend up to 30 hours a week on coupon collection and management). The short answer: crap. Okay, maybe I’m being a wee bit harsh. A coupon for toilet paper is great. The one for 10 frozen dinners for $10, not so much. When you start to see what these Extreme Couponers are buying, you realize there is no real food to be seen.
Continue reading…

Have you ever sat down and watched a half hour of children’s programming? How many ads do you see marketed specifically towards children? Between Ronald McDonald, the Keebler Elves, Captain Crunch and Tony the Tiger, there is no shortage of cartoon mascots tantalizing our children with visions of sugary and colorful delights.

According to a newly formed inter-agency Working Group (FTC, FDA, CDC, USDA), the food industry spends more than $1.6 BILLION each year to promote junk foods to our kids (foods high in calories, low in nutrition). They find every possible way to reach your kids using TV, the internet, video games, social media, movies, and even marketing in schools. Here is a shocking statistic:

Cookies and cakes, pizza, and soda/energy/sports drinks are the top sources of calories in the diets of children 2 through 18. Chips and french fries comprise half of all the vegetables kids eat.

Since when are french fries and chips vegetables? It’s no wonder that one in three children will be overweight or obese putting them at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and other diseases.

Yesterday, this Working Group released a set of proposed principles for the food industry to use when marketing food to children. The proposal is designed to “encourage children, through advertising and marketing, to choose foods that make a meaningful contribution to a healthful diet; and contain limited amounts of nutrients that have a negative impact on health or weight…”

Overview of the Proposal:

The basic premise is our government is trying to get the food industry to market healthy foods to kids instead of junk food.

  • Applies to children ages 2-11 and adolescents 12-17
  • Defines what  “food marketing targeted to children” means
  • Sets separate guidelines for individual foods, main dishes and meals.
  • Gives the food industry 5 years to be in compliance with guidelines (by 2016)
    Continue reading…

If you skipped the TV show, Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution this past spring, you missed out. The “Naked Chef” (as he was known on his former cooking show) had a mission to change the way the people eat. Between 2005 and 2008, this British chef began a campaign to ensure UK children were fed healthy and nutritious food in school. The campaign brought public awareness to the issue and prompted the UK government to pledge millions to change school lunch programs.

In December, Jamie was announced as the 2010 TED Prize Winner.

“I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”  – Jaime Oliver

After his success in the UK, he brought his message to the US with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution show on ABC. Through six, 60-minute episodes, he helped open America’s eyes to the world of public school lunch programs, flavored milk, junk food, and the expanding waist bands of millions of American families. I watched every episode in awe that I was actually hearing such an amazing message on prime-time television. Not only did Jamie do a terrific job of pointing out what’s wrong with food these days, but he also offers solutions.  If he can change the mind of stubborn school cafeteria workers, grumpy radio hosts, parents, and politicians in West Virginia, he may actually be able to elicit change across our nation.  Check out this short clip above  which explains his mission.

The show won an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Series and based on recent news reports, has been renewed by ABC for a second season.  It is scheduled to air in Summer or Fall 2011.  Join Jamie’s campaign by clicking on the “Sign the Petition” logo at left.