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Food News Wrap: July 22

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We keep saying it, and we’re still going to keep saying it: Watch what your kids are watching on TV, because it’s hard to say who else is watching out for them. Exhibit A: Coming up at the same time period as proposed new federal guidelines, food manufacturers have drafted their own nutrition guidelines for marketing to kids. Critics like Bettina Elias-Siegel at The Lunch Tray are calling these industry guidelines inadequate (products that can still be marketed to kids under these nutrition guidelines include Trix, Lucky Charms, etc.). The New York Times gives the example of Goldfish crackers – proposed federal guidelines say they contain too much fat, salt, and white flour; while the food makers say they belong on a healthful list. For some background and a good round-up, see Michelle Simon’s story in Food Safety News. Bottom line: You always need to watch out for your kids – perhaps more vigilantly than before.

Mass. Limits: In other nutrition news, Massachusetts has become the first state to enact nutrition guidelines for “competitive” foods, as reported by Fooducate. Those are the foods that are not part of the federally subsidized lunch or breakfast program; they’re sold in vending machines, a la carte, or at sports events and fundraising activities. So…no soda or cotton candy at basketball games? This is going to be interesting to watch.

Bagel Before Cookie?: We love this piece by Dr. Dina Rose, who writes about the parent who says to his kid, “You have to finish your bagel before you can have a cookie.” As she points out, bagels are pretty far down on the nutrition scale (white flour) and you could eat a piece of Entenmann’s chocolate fudge cake for half the calories and the same amount of fiber. Message: Don’t get trapped into classifying foods as “main course” foods when they’re mostly empty calories.

Parents’ Role: Want some more sobering food-for-thought? Lisa Leake from “100 Days of Real Food” points out that the reason kids eat junk/processed food (Goldfish, Pirate Booty) is because their parents give it to them. A no-brainer, right? But it’s good to be reminded that if we give them healthy, good-tasting stuff, they’ll eat that instead.

OK, it’s summertime; our brains are starting to hurt from all of this thinking. Let’s wrap it up with a few easy lists:

Top 12 Kid-Friendly Raw Superfoods (from Healthy Child Healthy World)

Top 5 Nutrition Myths for Kids (from Chicago Parent)

Top 5 Ways to Keep Your Kid Busy in the Kitchen This Summer (from Jolly Tomato)

And last but not least, please remember those kids who are hungry this summer – there’s plenty you can do to help.

Happy weekend to all!

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