Going Vegetarian in a Healthful Way
While making a switch to a vegetarian diet can be an incredibly healthful decision if done correctly, there’s some fear that teens may be missing nutrients vital to
their development. With a vegetarian or vegan diet (where individuals also give up animal products, including dairy and eggs), the biggest concern is that teens won’t
get the calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and iron they need. Teens can obtain these nutrients in a vegetarian or vegan diet, but it requires some planning.
Fruits and Vegetables
Whereas CACFP's previous meal pattern placed fruits and vegetables into one category, the new regulations split them into separate categories to increase the
importance of each as distinct meal components, each of high value. In addition, preschools now can serve two vegetables at lunch and at dinner. The new regulations
also specify that fruit juice served must be 100% juice and limited to one serving per day.
Previous regulations didn't address whole grains at all. But the new regulations specify that at least one daily serving of grains must be whole grain-rich, defined as
grains containing 50% whole grain with the remainder being enriched grain or else 100% whole grain. The recommended best practice is to offer two servings per day.
Grain-based desserts no longer can be counted towards the grain component of meals. In addition, beginning October 1, 2019, servings of grain foods will be measured in
ounce equivalents rather than in cups to allow for more precision in meal planning.
The new regulations allow meat and meat alternates to be served in place of the grain component at breakfast up to three times per week. In addition, tofu is now
acceptable as a meat alternative up to three times per week. This change was intended for cutting some of the carbohydrates that were formerly the go-to component of
To reduce the amount of added sugar in meals, the new regulations allow yogurt with no more than 23 g sugar per 6-oz serving. They also specify that breakfast cereals
must contain no more than 6 g sugar per dry oz.
Only unflavored low-fat or fat-free milk must be served to children aged 2 and older. Nondairy substitutes may be served in place of milk to children with documented
special dietary or medical needs.
Frying is no longer allowed as an onsite cooking method.
Food can't be used as either reward or punishment. Children will eat meals family style, which means serving themselves from larger bowls of food shared with their
peers. When teachers help children to serve themselves, they must offer the foods before serving them. The intent of these measures is to allow children to control
which foods and how much food they'd like to eat.
As men get older, their risk of developing chronic diseases increases. Adopting healthier lifestyle habits can decrease that risk and help ensure a higher quality of
life for years to come.
1. Heart Disease
The statistics are clear: More men die from cardiovascular disease than any other condition. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), more than one in three
adult men has some form of cardiovascular disease.1 The good news is that men can take control of their heart health. The best weapons against heart disease are diet
and other lifestyle choices. The AHA recommends watching calorie intake to control weight, and including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products,
poultry, fish, and nuts, while limiting red meat, sugary foods and beverages, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and high-calorie/low-nutrient foods.2
This dietary pattern is good for preventing and treating hypertension, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, diabetes, and, when paired with portion control, overweight and
obesity—all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In addition, avoiding smoking and getting at least 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity
can help protect men's hearts throughout their lifetimes.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 848,200 men will be diagnosed with cancer in 2015, and more than 300,000 will die.3 Research has shown that both
poor diet and inactivity increase a person's cancer risk. In fact, one-third of the cancer deaths in the United States each year are linked to poor diet, physical
inactivity, and being overweight.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 15.5 million men over age 20 in the United States are living with diabetes. An
estimated 86 million more have prediabetes.7 The good news is diet and other lifestyle changes have been proven to lower risk, even in people diagnosed with
4. Vision Loss
An even greater concern for men as they age is eye health. Reading glasses and bifocals may seem like a normal part of aging, but more than 8 million men across
America suffer from significant vision loss or blindness.8 The leading causes of blindness in the United States are cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and
age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Chew recommends eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables, with an emphasis on lutein- and zeaxanthin-rich dark
leafy greens, plus fish at least two times per week. If an eye exam shows early signs of AMD or the presence of the more severe stage of AMD in one eye, the AREDS 2
supplement is recommended to slow progression of the disease.
In addition to diabetes, achy joints are another concern for men as they get older. Nearly 20% of men have arthritis, and the condition becomes more common with age.11
While there are different types of arthritis, what they all have in common is inflammation.12 Research has shown that some foods seem to increase inflammation, and
others may decrease it. The antioxidants and polyphenols found in plants may help fight inflammation. Tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and fruits such as
strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, as are olive oil and fatty fish. Fried foods, refined carbohydrates, sugar-
sweetened beverages, red and processed meats, and fats such as margarine, shortening, and lard are considered inflammation-promoting.
Whole grains also have been shown to reduce inflammation,14 and coffee may be protective.13 The Arthritis Foundation further recommends balancing omega-3 and omega-6
fatty acids to reduce the activity of the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes that are a major cause of joint inflammation. That means individuals should eat more fish such as
salmon and tuna, and less egg yolks, meats, and corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean, and cottonseed oils prevalent in snack foods, fried foods, and margarines.14
Trigger foods aren't uncommon in arthritis, and foods that help some people may increase pain in others.
In addition to diet, exercise has an important role to play in easing arthritis pain. "A moderate walk for simply 10 minutes five days a week allows oxygen to properly
flow through the cartilage and reduces pain in joints," White says. "If walking is too difficult at first, I recommend trying swimming or exercising in a pool. Water
allows for more resistance but is very easy on the joints."
6. The Use of Probiotics in Pregnancy
Maternal health is paramount to an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery and a healthy baby. Of course, pregnancy is a completely normal condition and not akin to
disease. However, researchers are studying probiotics for the possible treatment of some common conditions that may occur in pregnancy that range from minor to
The development of the infant microbiome is a key area of study, and it's known that there are a variety of contributing factors and situations that impact differences
in microbial colonization among infants. Differences in the microbiome have been linked to increased allergy risk. Presently, there's support for the use of probiotics
to prevent eczema. Since eczema is a precursor to a variety of atopic conditions (eg, food allergies and asthma), and because it causes a great deal of suffering,
reducing or preventing it is important. About 10.7% of children younger than 18 have eczema, and about 37% of those with moderate to severe eczema go on to develop
food allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.6,7 While researchers continue to learn about the connection, controlling eczema
may be one way to reduce the development of food allergies.
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