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Food News Wrap: July 1

As we head into the holiday weekend, we’re thinking all about healthy summer eats for kids. Some of the most troubling things we’ve read this week have come out of the Childhood Obesity Conference, including the fact that the average teen sees five fast food ads per day, and the average preschooler sees more than 1000 fast food ads per year (via Kelly Brownell, director of the Yale Rudd Center on Food Policy and Obesity). Time to step awayyyy from the TV.

Speaking of TV time, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released a policy statement calling for a ban on junk food advertising in kids’ programming. The AAP says that  kids’ media use may be linked to their weight, partly because sedentary activity can displace other activities that burn more calories; and because the ads for junk food and fast food increase kids’ desire for those foods. But industry associations including the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative and the Grocery Manufacturers Association say that they have made strides to reduce direct food marketing to children – and claim that the AAP statement was based on outdated research.

In the meantime, PreventObesity.net and other groups are leading an effort to call on the FTC to finalize and implement proposed guidelines on marketing food to kids. If you want to contact the FTC to urge them to move the proposal forward, they’ve made it easy for you to do it here.

Here’s another whopper in the news: CBS News posted a story about a study showing that kids who eat candy are less likely to be obese than kids who don’t. So many questions, so many questions…Until we get to page 10 of the study, where (as an astute reader points out) the study was funded in part by the National Confectioners Association. Things that make you go hmmm…

OK – so what can kids eat this summer without guilt? Nutritionist Connie Evers gives us some ideas on The Truth on Health to make it easier for your kids to stay healthy. Example: When you go out, pack plenty of water, fruit, nuts and/or trail mix to take the hungry edge off so you’re not tempted to go in search of the nearest vending machine.

Looking for inspiration for a great summer snack? How about snacking on summer’s sweetest veggie treat, sweet corn? According to Fooducate, it’s a great source of thiamin, folate, fiber, vitamin C, phosphorous, manganese, and cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Tip: Our kids love it when it’s fresh cooked, but they also love it served cold the next day. Need an even sweeter treat? Try this “miraculous” chocolate/banana ice cream, with just three ingredients (cocoa powder, milk, and banana) from The Scramble on PBS Parents.

Got peanut allergies? Summer baseball fans will be glad to know that there’s a growing effort to create peanut-free sections in baseball stadiums. According to Reuters, at least half of the big-league teams will offer at least one nut-controlled game this season.

And last but not least, for your amusement we present these Patriotic Food Fails from Zagat. (Just say “no” to Rush Limbaugh Sweet Tea and Obama Sushi.) Hang on until this weekend, when we’re going to be giving you a much better patriotic treat option (of course with no food coloring).

Happy Friday to all!

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