Friday, March 25, 2016

Nutrition Label Blooper - Lindt Easter Chocolate Carrots

Nutrition Label Blooper

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month
The Challenges of Feeding

As a parent of a child with disabilities and a Registered Dietitian my goals are to provide Jake as many tools and resources to allow for maximum independence; while providing nourishing meals. Through mistakes, observations, experiences and the help of very wise health professionals we adapted our environment to achieve these goals. Lately, I've noticed the goals need to be revised as Jake gets older. 

1. Utensils were not used in our home for a long time, except when we had guests over. Jake and I ate a lot of finger foods. It was difficult for Jake to hold the utensils. As I watch Jake get older, I have noticed his muscles getting tighter. He now asks for help in feeding – most of the time. 

2. For drinking, we use a weighted cup base, this is to prevent spills. We would place a cup inside with a flexi straw and Jake would be able to drink on his own and whenever he would like. Lately, I've noticed a lot more spills.

3. Jake loves to dine out and have dinner parties. I never had to worry about getting him to try new foods. Jake is a culinary explorer.

4. I love his understanding of food and nutrition. Jake has a wonderful sense of taste, as he combines different flavors. He creates meals based on colors, designs, and nutrition. Jake is my inspiration, as can be seen in my art and photography.


Assistive technology to facilitate independent eating and drinking

The first video describes feeding challenges encountered by persons with disabilities and the advances in assistive technology. It’s not an endorsement of the Mealtime Partner Dining System, but the video shows good examples of challenging eating/feeding situations.

Eating and Drinking: Children with Cerebral Palsy

Quadriplegic Eating Utensils

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Savor the Flavor of Eating Right
Try Healthy Blue and Purple Foods

Blue and Purple Foods

Food Sources
Blue Grapes, Blue and Purple Potatoes, Blueberries, Dried Plums, Plums, Eggplant, Pomegranates, Elderberries, Juniper Berries, Purple Belgian Endive, Purple Cabbage, Purple Figs

Do you know other foods rich in blue or purple?

About Blue and Purple Foods

Blue and Purple fruits and vegetables get their color from a natural plant pigment called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are an antioxidant and belong to the phytochemicals called flavonoids. Anthocyanins are found in blueberries, grapes and raisins.

Anthocyanins have health-promoting benefits, such as:
·         Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
·         May reverse the short-term memory loss associated with aging.
·         Reduces the risk of several types of cancer.
·         Protects the urinary tract from infections.
·         May help control high blood pressure
·         May help boost the immune system.
·         Protects our cells from environmental damage (harmful free-radicals)

Ways to Increase Blue and Purple Food Intake:
   Add blueberries in muffins, pancakes and hot or cold cereals.
   Grab some plums or raisins for a snack on the go.
   Use Purple Belgian Endive as a main ingredient to a salad
   Use Purple Cabbage when preparing cole slaw.

Phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) are found in plants. They are part of what gives fruits and vegetables their colors. Phytonutrients help protect plants from diseases found in the environment and protect us in a similar way. Studies have linked an increase of fruit and vegetable intake with lowering the risk of specific cancers and heart disease. The following list describes how phytonutrients may also help protect human health.
1. Act as an antioxidant.
2. Improves immune response.
3. Improves cell-to-cell communication.
4. Destroys cancer cells.
5. Repairs DNA damage caused by toxins in the environment.

Antioxidants. As the body uses oxygen, there are by-products (known as “free radicals”) that can cause damage to cells. Antioxidants can prevent or slow down the damage caused by these free radicals and decrease the risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants may also improve the immune defense and lower the risk of infection. Some examples of antioxidants include vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, lycopene and flavonoids.

Wellness News employs young adults with "Special Needs" (Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy). My staff started the project in September 2010. Over the next five months, we would take over 600 photographs of colorful foods in order to create the March presentation for NNM. Many of the photographs are available for purchase with the proceeds going to special need young adults. Contact Dr. Sandra Frank for additional information (

Prepared by
Wellness News (
Sandra Frank, Ed.D, RD, LDN
Jake Frank
Lance Li
Jonathan Cruz

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Savor the Flavor of Eating Right
Try Healthy White and Black Foods

White and Black Foods

Food Sources
White: Cauliflower, Coconut, Garlic, Ginger, Green Onions, Scallions, Horseradish, Jicama, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Millet, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Quinoa, Shallots, Soy Products, Sunflower Seeds, Tofu, Turnips, White Beans, White Corn, White Sesame Seeds, Milk, Eggs

Do you know any other WHITE foods?

About White Foods
The white food category is diverse and includes fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, eggs, and tofu. The fruits and vegetables are a good source of fiber and tofu is relatively high in protein. Eggs and milk are an excellent source of protein and milk is rich in calcium, vitamin D, potassium and magnesium. Potassium is also found in potatoes, which assists in protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism and essential for normal heart function.

White fruits and vegetables contain the natural color pigment anthoxanthins; a type of flavonoid, which range in color from white or colorless to yellow and exhibit antioxidant properties. Allicin is a phytonutrient found in garlic and onions. Allicin may help reduce heart disease, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of some types of cancer, act as an anti-inflammatory and may function as an antioxidant. Quercetin is another anthoxanthin found in onions and shallots. Quercetin may lower the risk of heart disease and act as an anti-inflammatory.

Ways to Increase White Food Intake:
  Add onions, garlic or shallots to salads, entrees or soups.
  Snack on sunflower seeds.
  Try tofu in soups or prepare as a main-course.
  Add white beans to salads or season and serve as a side dish.
  Try a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk at bedtime.

Food Sources
Black: Black Beans, Black Cherries, Black Currants, Black Mushrooms, Black Olives, Black Quinoa, Black Raspberry, Black Rice, Black Sesame Seeds, Black Soybeans, Blackberries, Boysenberries, Prunes, Raisins, Seaweeds, Tamari (Soy Sauce)

Do you know other BLACK foods?

About Black Foods
Black colored foods are rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Black Rice contains vitamin E and the antioxidant anthocyanin.  Black Lentils are rich in iron and fiber and may help in wound healing and lowering blood cholesterol.  Blackberries are high in the antioxidant polyphenolic, which may reduce inflammation. Blackberries are also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, and manganese. Black Soybeans are high in fiber and protein.  Raisins and prunes help in the treatment of constipation.  Raisins are a good source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, iron, potassium, and calcium. Prunes are a good source of fiber, vitamin A, potassium, and copper.

Ways to Increase Black Food Intake:
  Add raisins to hot cereal or use as a snack.
  Add blackberries or black raspberries to salads or yogurt or carry as a snack.
  Substitute black rice for brown rice.
  Use black sesame seeds on fish or salads.

Wellness News employs young adults with "Special Needs" (Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy). My staff started the project in September 2010. Over the next five months, we would take over 600 photographs of colorful foods in order to create the March presentation for NNM. Many of the photographs are available for purchase with the proceeds going to special need young adults. Contact Dr. Sandra Frank for additional information (

Prepared by
Wellness News (
Sandra Frank, Ed.D, RD, LDN
Jake Frank
Lance Li
Jonathan Cruz

Saturday, March 5, 2016

World Salt Awareness Week
How am I supposed to live without you?
Find Out

Knorr ll Sidekicks ll Commercial
The use of the video is not an endorsement, but an example of why
it is important to read the label; and I like the song.
"How am I suppose to live without you?"
 - Read below to learn how to cut back on salt.

World Action on Salt and Health (WASH)  was established in 2005 and is a global group with the mission to improve the health of populations throughout the world by achieving a gradual reduction in salt intake.

WASH works to encourage multi-national food companies to reduce salt in their products and with Governments in different countries highlighting the need for a population wide salt reduction strategy. The aim is to reduce salt intake throughout the world to the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended maximum intake of 5g per day by reducing the amount of salt in processed foods as well as salt added during cooking, and at the table.

WASH have long been campaigning for everyone to eat less salt. As part of the campaign WASH has identified that in order for people to take control of their own health they need to know what they are eating in the first place. In 2014 attention will be focused on the need for better nutrition labeling; investigating the current global trend towards nutrition labeling; congratulating those countries that have already implemented clear and consistent nutritional labeling, and targeting those countries that need to do so. The theme aims to show that there are options for consumers that want ‘less salt please!’, and to help make it easier to choose them.

Salt Matters: Preserving Choice, Protecting Health

Where does sodium come from?
Sodium comes from natural sources or are added to foods. Most foods in their natural state contain some sodium. However, the majority of sodium Americans consume comes from sodium added to processed foods by manufacturers. While some of this sodium is added to foods for safety reasons, the amount of salt added to processed foods is above what is required for safety and function of the food supply.

Reading Labels
When you buy prepared and packaged foods, read the labels. You can tell the sodium content by looking at the Nutrition Facts panel of a food. Listed are the amount for sodium, in milligrams (mg), and the “% Daily Value.” Also read the ingredient list to watch for the words "soda" (referring to sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda), "sodium" and the symbol "Na" to see if the product contains sodium.

Salt and/or Sodium Descriptors
Salt Free:  Meets requirements for "sodium free."
Sodium Free: Fewer than 5 milligrams sodium per serving.
Very Low Sodium:  35 milligrams or less sodium per serving.
Low Sodium: 140 milligrams or less per serving 
Reduced Sodium:  At least 25 percent less sodium per serving.
Unsalted:  Has no salt added during processing. To use this term, the product it resembles must normally be processed with salt and the label must note that the food is not a sodium-free food if it does not meet the requirements for "sodium free".

The FDA and USDA state an individual food that has the claim "healthy" must not exceed 480 mg sodium per reference amount. "Meal type" products must not exceed 600 mg sodium per labeled serving size.

Sodium and Hypertension.
In order for a food to make an Allowable Health Claim it must contain a defined amount of nutrients. In relationship to sodium and Hypertension the amount is 140 milligrams or less sodium per serving.

American Heart Association (AHA)
The American Heart Association recommends you choose and prepare foods with little or no salt to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Aim to eat less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day (less that 3/4 teaspoon of salt).
The AHA is working with federal agencies to identify ways to reduce the amount of sodium in the food supply. The association is encouraging food manufacturers and restaurants to reduce the amount of sodium in foods by 50 percent over a 10-year period. AHA will help Americans lower the amount of sodium they consume by the following strategies:
 1. Reduce the amount of sodium in the food supply,
 2. Make more healthy foods available (e.g., more fruits and vegetables); and
 3. Provide consumers with education and decision-making tools to make better choices.

 Tips for reducing sodium in the diet
 1.  Choose fresh, frozen or canned food items without added salts.
 2.  Select unsalted nuts or seeds, dried beans, peas and lentils.
 3.  Limit salty snacks like chips and pretzels.
 4.  Avoid adding salt and canned vegetables to homemade dishes.
 5.  Select unsalted, lower sodium, fat-free broths, bouillons or soups.
 6.  Select fat-free or low-fat milk, low-sodium, low-fat cheeses and low-fat yogurt.
 7.  Use spices and herbs to enhance the taste of your food. 
 8.  Add fresh lemon juice instead of salt to fish and vegetables.
 9.  When dining out, ask for your dish to be prepared without salt.
10. Don’t use the salt shaker. News

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