Hunger and food insecurity (i.e., reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns because a household lacks money and other resources for food) might increase the risk for lower dietary quality and undernutrition. In turn, undernutrition can negatively affect overall health, cognitive development, and school performance.10-12
Eating Behaviors of Young People
Most U.S. youth
Do not meet the recommendations for eating 2½ cups to 6½ cups* of fruits and vegetables each day
Do not eat the minimum recommended amounts of whole grains (2–3 ounces* each day)
Eat more than the recommended maximum daily intake of sodium (1,500–2,300 mg* each day) .1,3,7
Empty calories from added sugars and solid fats contribute to 40% of daily calories for children and adolescents aged 2–18 years, affecting the overall quality of their diets. Approximately half of these empty calories come from six sources: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and whole milk.5
Adolescents drink more full-calorie soda per day than milk. Males aged 12–19 years drink an average of 22 ounces of full-calorie soda per day, more than twice their intake of fluid milk (10 ounces), and females drink an average of 14 ounces of full-calorie soda and only 6 ounces of fluid milk.6
Diet and Academic Performance
Eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function (especially memory), reduced absenteeism, and improved mood.13-15
Help support your local farmers and small business owners by going to your local farmers market this summer! This week is National Farmers Week and it is from August 2-8. Take advantage of locally grown foods that are cheap and healthy. Here are some tips on how to enjoy the farmers market.
Find where your local farmers market are. It’s most likely that your area will have more than one spot for farmers and sellers to sell their produces and products. So do your research and go to multiple spots to find your favorite farmers market.
You’re supporting the local economy! You are helping out others while getting great things in exchange. Farmers market often have better produces/products at a lower price than groceries.
Shop with family, friends, and get to know your community. It is a great way to interact with people from your community and learn more about the available businesses around your area.
Eat yummy foods! There will be food stalls that are not offered somewhere else and could be unique only to those certain areas. So explore new flavors and have fun trying new foods from all kinds of backgrounds.
The lotus is an amazingly delicious plant. Aside from the medicinal uses of the lotus plant, the entire plant is edible. After the flower blooms, the golden seed pod turns a vibrant green, which grows larger as the seeds fatten. Eating fresh lotus seeds from a newly picked pod is heaven on earth. The seed germ has not yet developed its signature bitter taste, so you can pop the whole thing in your mouth. The stem of the lotus can be sauteed, as can the lotus root. The root and seeds are the most commonly used parts, but the lotus leaf is great for eating (with scrambled eggs) or wrapping (zong zi!) or as a tea, while the flower can also be lightly battered and fried (not unlike elephant ears). Yum.
If you look at the data the general philosophy in the United States seems to be “bigger is better.” And over the past several decades, Americans have supersized our sodas, our refrigerators, our big-box retailers and ourselves — even our feet have gotten larger.
Here’s a look at a few of the most startling things that have grown in size in the U.S. over the past few decades:
1. Our portion sizes
You probably know that portions in the U.S. have been getting bigger — but do you know by how much?
When McDonalds first partnered with Coca-Cola in 1955, the only size of a beverage available was 7 ounces. By 1999, McDonald’s had introduced a drink that was literally six times as large as that — the 42 ounce Super-Size. Today, the largest size that McDonald’s serves in the U.S. is 30 ounces, though many people still get refills.
A similar trend has been at work with our french fries, hamburgers and restaurant meals in general. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the average restaurant meal today is four times larger than it was in the 1950s. As the graphic below from the CDC shows, the size of the average soda, hamburger and french fries portion has grown substantially since the 1950s.
2. Our chickens
To meet our insatiable demand for white meat, America has begun super-sizing its chickens. As my colleague Roberto Ferdman writes, Americans now eat 80 pounds of chicken per person per year, and we’ve begun breeding bigger and breastier chickens as a result.
According to a study published last fall, the most commonly raised type of chicken in 1957 weighed only about two pounds when it was 56 days old. Today, the most commonly bred type of chicken weighs nine pounds at the same age.
With the size of our food getting so much bigger, it follows pretty naturally that Americans themselves are getting larger.
As my colleague Chris Ingraham has noted, the average American woman today weighs 166.2 pounds, which is almost exactly as much as the average American man weighed about 50 years ago. The average weight of an American woman rose 18.5 percent in that period, from 140 pounds in 1960.
Men aren’t doing much better. Their average weight has risen 17.6 percent in the same time period to 195.5 pounds today. To make the same comparison, an American man today weighs almost as much as 1.5 American women from the 1960s.
4. Our cars
Compared with the gas guzzlers of 1950s, many cars have actually shrunk as time has gone on. Since the energy crisis of the 1970s, however, cheaper fuel prices and expanding waistlines have both encouraged cars and SUVs to once again get bigger.
5. Our houses
New homes in the U.S. today are about 1,000 square feet larger than they were in 1973, and the living space available per person has doubled over the last 40 years, Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute writes, citing data released by the Census Bureau last year.
The average house size in America fell slightly during the Great Recession, but it has once again strongly trended upward in recent years.
The main focus of the Asian diet is to create wellness. This I believe is the best medicine. By practicing these diet habits you will see improvement in your overall health. We all know:
“Health is not simply the absence of sickness.” — Hannah Green
This top 10 list serves up healthier habits, better nutrition and enhanced immune function. This top 10 list has been perfected and practiced for centuries.
To paraphrase Sun Simiao, the great Chinese physician in the sixth century, one wastes the skill of a great physician if one does not first consider the food he or she are eating. This is still true today. Consider also when you eat and how you eat as you read these 10 Asian diet habits.
#1. Limit Drinks, Especially Cold Drinks With Meals
Americans have a bad habit of drinking a cold glass of water or soda with meals. Changing this habit alone will create better digestion of food. Limit fluid intake with your meals and you will stop diluting your digestive enzymes which are so important for proper digestion. Green tea or other hot teas before a meal supports enzymatic activity and helps enhance your digestive abilities. It’s best to add liquids 30 minutes before or after meals, not during.
#2. Have Soup Often
Soup is a nutrient dense food and fills you up quickly. You don’t need much, just a half cup is beneficial. Most Asian soups are made with bones and/or combinations of vegetables so you’re getting lots of vitamins and minerals even with a small portion. Whether it is bone broth soup, vegetable or miso, soups are rich in vitamins and minerals and easily absorbed. Secondly, but equally important is that the warm temperature of soup (like tea) can improve the entire digestive process.
#3. Eat a 3:1 Ratio Vegetables to Meat
3:1 means three times the amount of vegetables to the amount of meat. The meat and potato American diet does not make much room for vegetables on the plate. In fact, the favorite American vegetable, potatoes, (i.e., French fries) should be replaced with sweet potatoes if you absolutely can’t live without that starch. Better still, consider vegetables with bitter flavors. Give radishes, radicchio and bitter melon a spot on your plate.
#4. Small Plates and Chopsticks
Small serving bowls and small plates are a great way to eat smaller portions. I love to mix up attractive small plates and bowls in different shapes and sizes. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing to eat from these but it helps you eat smaller portions. Chopsticks are an easy way to avoid the shovel techniques of eating. For the average American inexperienced chopstick user, they are guaranteed to slow down your rate of consumption and give your stomach time to send the message to your brain that you’re full and it’s time to stop eating.
#5. Rice Combining
Rice combinations like black, brown, red, or even purple rice are nutritionally denser than white or brown alone. (The best is unpolished/less processed rice, because it is rich in B vitamins.) Rice is eaten to supplement the meal in Asia, not a main course. Rice has always been a popular carbohydrate, cheap to grow and easy to transport and store. But as a carbohydrate it is converted into sugar during the digestive process. This means it can cause a dramatic effect in our glycemic index. This is good for fast energy, but bad if you want to avoid blood sugar fluctuations and bad for those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Rice combinations are less starchy therefore less sugar conversion and lower in calories.
#6. Not Every Night Is Dessert Night
My kids will tell you from the time they were very little if they asked about dessert, my standard answer was “tonight is not dessert night.” Admittedly, this didn’t work so well past the age of 7, but it’s still a great rule of thumb. If you must have dessert make it fruit. Fruit is nutritious and delicious and a common Asian dessert. Cut and serve it up in a fun and interesting way to make it that much more exciting. Sugary cakes, cookies and ice cream can be for special celebrations only.
#7. Seafood — See Food Differently
No need to repeat what we already know. Research supports this common Asian diet practice of eating fish daily. We’ve heard all about the healthy oils from fish. Fish has always been part of man’s diet nearly everywhere in the world, not just Asia. But the Asian culture has kept this part of their heritage alive better than most.
#8. Asian Snacks are Healthier
Take a look at what Asians eat for snacks and compare it with the American chips and cookies and you’ll understand part of the reason Americans are so overweight and Asians are not. Choose seaweed snacks, nuts, dried fruit and seeds. I love pumpkin and sunflower seeds. All are easy to find in nearly every market. These healthy snacks are packed full of micro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals and the choices are limitless. One caveat, do watch out for the salt content of nuts. Raw is preferred but admittedly not as tasty as salted. If you really want the salt, try “lightly salted” versions.
#9. Optimize Food Temperatures With Seasons
Energetic temperatures of foods should not be overlooked. Eat warming foods in cold weather and cooling foods in hot weather. This common-sense rule of thumb is barely spoken in Asia because it’s simply practiced. Cold drinks and cold foods such celery, melons and cold salads are not eaten in the middle of winter. Hot soups and stews with meat are preferred because this is what the body needs in cold weather. A hot summer day is the perfect time for watermelon or a cooling drink made with aloe and cucumber. Every food has an energetic temperature and acts on the body accordingly. Eating the right temperature foods during the various season of the year is an important part of a healthy diet.
#10. Avoid Cow’s Milk and Milk Combining
Milk combines horribly with just about everything, while supplying vastly too much calcium and not enough magnesium. Cow’s milk is completely absent in Asian diets. Other cultures such as Jewish kosher rules recognized thousands of years ago that milk products should be eaten apart from other foods. If you just can’t give up cow’s milk, at the very least don’t ignore the tenet of food combining. Combining the wrong foods, i.e., dairy, slows down gut motility to a snail’s pace, the exact opposite of what is best for healthy digestion. Replacements for cow’s milk are easier than ever today with the arrival of convenient cartons of almond, coconut, rice or organic soy milk.
That’s 10, but if you would like just one more Asian diet tip there is one that the previous 10 helped create. #11 is regular bowel movements. Healthy eating and good digestion create healthy bowel movements and a healthy gut is a clean gut. Although often not talked about in the S.A.D. Standard American Diet, a minimum of one bowel movement a day is an absolute necessity. So much of our immune system is dependent on our gut health and this is one reason proper digestion is key to optimizing our health and wellness. This is our body’s natural detox method and the last on this list of Asian diet tips.
Join us for the 1st ever Hmong Dance Drama –Longing for Qeej
Minneapolis, Minnesota – In kicking off the Bicultural Active Living Lifestyle (BALL) Campaign, Asian Media Access and Iny Asian Dance Theater join hands to showcase the first ever Hmong Dance Drama – Longing for Qeej at both Cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul, to help the communities to recognize the beauty of the cultural exercises.
July 19 (Sunday), 5:30pm at
Central Park Frank Rog Amphitheater
2540 Lexington Ave. N
Roseville, MN 55113
July 23 (Thurs), 5:30pm at
Outside of Asian Media Access, on the Plymouth Ave
2418 Plymouth Ave. N.,
Minneapolis, MN 55411
Both events are part of Asian Media Access’ BALL strategy to emphasis on bicultural healthy living by utilizing cultural pride and parent involvement as motivations for youth to be proud of themselves, and exercise more through cultural exercises. By wearing beautiful costume, listening to traditional music, stepping into ancient footsteps, it gives youth a sense of self-esteem, and cultural identity other sports may not offer, along with strong parents’ support in preserving the cultural traditions. Therefore, both AMA and IADT have supported youth learning/performing Asian dances as a way to live healthier in a bicultural environment.
Longing for Qeej will be performed by Iny Asian Dance Theater’s 109 dancers, which is a dance drama adapted from Hmong folktale portraying the origin of Qeej – a traditional Hmong music instrument, a mouth organ with six bamboo pipes of different lengths attached to a wooden air chamber. Hmong believes that Qeej can communicate between the heaven and the earth, the living and the dead. One of the opening mysterious dance – the Dragon Dance will be performed by Iny Asian Dance Theater’s most advanced group – MN Sun Shine. The team has long history of winning titles of Hmong New Year Dance Competition. Not only the dance includes a beautiful dragon head with matching gold/red masks, MN Sun Shine dancers has also performed this powerful dance with explosive physical capacities along with beautiful costume, and refreshing Asian music.
This is not the first time Iny Asian Dance Theater brought the Hmong dances/folklore to the broader audience. Led and Choreographed by Acclaimed Hmong Artist, Iny Xiong, Iny Asian Dance Theater has successfully served more than 200 students annually. Its mission is to broaden students’ ability and general public’s appreciation of Asian Dances through teaching and performance, and their major projects include: 1) Bringing the Asian Traditional Dances to Life, with a special focus on Asian Indian, Chinese, Hmong, Laotian and Thai dances through weekly dance classes and community engagement performances; 2) Sharing Asian cultures and talents with mainstream audience to build a better community of appreciation of diverse arts with Annual Recital and newly created Dance Drama Performance series. Currently, Iny Asian Dance Theater has 13 different levels and ages groups.
Both performances are outdoor, please bring your lawn chairs to enjoy a 2-hours Asian dances you have never seen before. This unique project is sponsored by the MN State Arts Board (which that was created by a vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov., 2008); Minnesota Department of Education; Roseville Parks and Recreation; and Minneapolis Roseville Parks and Recreation. For more information, please check the website at www.inyasiandancetheater.org, or call at 612-376-7715 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The summer months are always a great time to start up the grill and invite over friends and family! The problem is, while all of the food is delicious, barbeque and all of its accoutrement add up to be a not-so-nutritious splurge. To rectify this, we’re providing you with three recipes that can help you keep the flavor you crave while eliminating the fat and calories you don’t.
1-2 packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 14oz cans of pineapple chunks
2 sweet onions, any variety
½ cup Barbeque sauce
Wooden or metal skewers (if you’re using wooden, don’t forget to soak them in cold water!)
The beauty of this recipe is that you can make it up to a day in advance. Cut up the chicken and onions into chunks. Place the pieces in a bowl and pour the pineapple chunks, and a quarter of their juice, on top of the chicken and onions. Squeeze barbeque sauce and lime juice (to your liking) on top of ingredients and mix. Arrange the chicken, pineapple, and onion on the skewers. Refrigerate for at least an hour, then grill away!
In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper and whisk until smooth and thoroughly combined. Place slaw blend/cabbage in a large bowl and pour Greek yogurt dressing mixture over top. Stir to coat cabbage thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until using (preferably at least 30 minutes)