Archive for June, 2012

Several years ago, I wrote a weekly newspaper column titled “You Are What You Eat.” An article in USA Today added a different twist, “Food as fashion: We eat what we are.” The author, Bruce Horovitz, pointed out the impact of emotions on food selection.

Food suppliers have recognized our penchant for incorporating emotional factors into food choices. Honest Tea, a company now owned by Coca-Cola, plans to change a major ingredient in a kid’s beverage this fall. New labels will boldly state “Sweetened only with fruit juice.”

Would you be more inclined to give your child drinks made with fruit juice instead of sugar? Do you realize that in the process of making fruit juice into a sweetener, it becomes nutritionally the same as sugar? Our brains tell us fruit juice is good and sugar is bad. Those decisions are based on emotions—not facts.

Consumers want to know they can trust products and product labels. As astute listeners and shoppers, they react with fear to weekly announcements about food issues from pink slime to supersized sugary drinks. The food industry and restaurants recognized those emotional links and responded to consumers’ needs.

Applebee’s developed menu choices to help customers connect with the fall football mania. Their revamped “brew pub pretzel” and “beer cheese dip” gave patrons an added sense of being inside the stadium instead of perched on a barstool.

At the same time, food establishments and industries noted the nostalgia of eating comfort foods of yesteryears. British Airways replaced fancy desserts with Crumb Crumble Cobbler and discovered customers’ preference for comfort foods. Foods from childhood make a hit.

Other examples of emotional links include the surge in local grown products. Consumers want to know the source of the food they eat and a host of other issues. They have become leery of artificial foods, designer foods, and the hormones and antibiotics used in food production. They insist on information about what they eat while at the same time long for comforts as simple as china plates.

We’re all a product of what we choose to eat. But in today’s culture, food selections identify our emotional bent because we tend to eat what we are.

For more information, go to http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/story/2012-05-21/

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Refreshing Summer Breakfast

Looking for a refreshing nutritious summer breakfast? Take advantage of fresh summer fruits. Build a tasty meal you can grab to make you feel confident of acquiring needed nutrients and energy for the morning. An easy make-ahead treat is Fruity Oatmeal Delight. Try it to start your day with wow.

Fruity Oatmeal Delight

1          cup instant oatmeal

2          cups low-calorie strawberry yogurt

1          cup crushed pineapple with juice

2          tablespoons slivered almonds

1-2       cups fresh strawberries

Combine oatmeal, yogurt, pineapple, and almonds. Spoon into parfait or sherbet dishes, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. When ready to serve, top with sliced fresh strawberries.

Use your imagination to create other delightful nutritious concoctions. Try tasty combinations such as vanilla or blueberry yogurt topped with fresh blueberries. Or strawberry-banana yogurt piled high with sliced bananas. How about peach yogurt with fresh peaches? The possibilities are endless but the results the same. You have a quick, easy, tasty breakfast loaded with vitamins, minerals, and protein to start your day. Yum!

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Younger generations may not remember the refreshing respite from sleek 6.5-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola. Bottling companies gave Americans only one choice. It was one-size-fits-all.

Today, we have multiple selections. Coca-Cola, as well as other beverage companies, bottles their tasty liquids in sizes from the original smaller one to liter bottles. Fountain drinks may range from seven ounces to sixty-four ounces. The larger the size, the cheaper the cost per ounce, enticing people to supersize for a bargain.  

Americans consume about 200-300 calories a day more than they did thirty years ago. Most have increased consumption of sweet drinks without restricting calories from other sources.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City wants the drink industry to change. He proposes to restrict graded food establishments from selling any sugary beverages above sixteen ounces. The decree defines sugary drinks as those with twenty-five calories per eight-fluid ounces except those with fifty-one percent milk or milk substitute. His justification—the obesity epidemic.


Who favored government intervention? In a Rasmussen Report, a higher percentage of women and young adults (ages eighteen to thirty-nine) agreed with government control. The highest percentage favoring, however, were Democrats (forty-one percent) compared to Republicans (eleven percent).

The Executive Director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest praised the proposal as a “pioneering” effort to reduce American’s exposure to calorie-laden, non-nutritional beverages.


Not everyone agrees. According to the Rasmussen Report, nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose Bloomberg’s radical approach. Eighty-five percent did not believe government had the constitutional authority to prevent people from buying sugary drinks.

Food industries and businesses claim consumers have adequate information to make informed choices. McDonald’s stated that the proposal was “misguided.” The New York City Beverage Association questioned Bloomberg’s assumption that sugary drinks were the primary culprits in the cause of obesity noting that consumption of sugary drinks has decreased while obesity has increased.

Still others point out the numerous sources of calories on the market. A regular sixteen-ounce cola has about 220 calories. Compare that to the bucket of movie popcorn at 1,200 calories. Where do government regulations stop?

 What Do You Think?

Should government control portion sizes of sugary beverages or any other foods? Send a comment and let me know your thoughts.


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