“Good” is a four letter word

Yogurtparfait“Good” is a four letter word in nutrition. “Good for you” might be worse. The word “healthy” is practically cringe-worthy!

Brian Wansink, the great communicator of consumer behavior and nutritional science, says our words effect our enjoyment of food.

A clever experiment in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign food lab (that looks like a restaurant) compared wine (and food acceptance) of “Two Buck Chuck” wine compared to Noah’s Winery from California. Both groups of diners were served the exact same inexpensive wine, yet the people who thought they were served a Noah’s California Cabernet not only liked the wine, they enjoyed their food more as well.

What’s our lesson? No need to tell your kids or family that what you’re serving is “good” or “healthy” or “good for you”. Like Wansink suggests, add some descriptors and suddenly your carrot and celery sticks and ranch dressing becomes hors d’oeuvres with dipping sauce. Could your cheese snack become Italian mozzarella with crostini? Put it on a cheese board or fancy plate; now it’s not “good” it’s special.

Yogurt layered with fruit is transformed when it’s titled a strawberry parfait. Put it in a clear glass sundae dish and it’s called dessert. A quarter sandwich tastes an awful lot better when you term it a deli quarter – cut on the diagonal of course.

It doesn’t take much effort or creativity to transform the ordinary, GOOD, GOOD FOR YOU and HEALTHY SNACKS into a real treat.

Snacks matter at every age but as our kids head back to school, it’s a good time to get organized and plan those snacks, to be better than just GOOD.


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Blue Zones

BlueZonessolutionI was recently invited to teach a continuing studies course on Blue Zones this fall. I look forward to discussing the healthy habits of centenarians around the globe. These people are not only are long lived but do not suffer from the chronic diseases common to us in the US.

Naturally, my class will focus on the dietary aspects of their lives.

Let me share just one of the concepts Dan Buettner, author of several books on Blue Zones notes.  There is not a single “diet” nor magic food that delivers good health.

These centenarians eat “locally” so their diets vary from one part of the globe to another.

These people do not discuss single nutrients (darn, didn’t I just talk about vitamin D?). No percentages or calculations (darn again, I love calculations and numbers!) No carb avoidance. No willful dietary restrictions. Simply – whole foods in moderation.

But having said that, some foods all these people had in common were summed up by Buettner in this way.

FOUR ALWAYS: 100% whole wheat bread, nuts, beans, your favorite fruit

FOUR AVOID: sugar sweetened beverages, salty snacks, processed meats, packaged sweets

Buettner says the key to longevity: Eat well, stress less, move more, and love more.

In comparison to the ALWAYS and AVOID list, how are you doing? I’ll confess after you.


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