A Treat from Sunny Italy

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Here’s your chance to try polenta (the yellow, cake-y looking stuff on the right).

Our new Health-e-Recipe, Mediterranean Chickpea Stew with Polenta, balances this humble cornmeal product with a richly seasoned blend of squash, eggplant and red bell pepper in a garlicky tomato base flavored with paprika, red pepper, oregano and parsley.

The stew ingredients are full of cancer-protective phytochemicals and fiber. Polenta adds even more fiber to the vegetable-chickpea stew. It is sold pre-made in tube-shaped plastic packages in the chilled dairy section of many supermarkets. Click here to subscribe to AICR’s weekly Health-e-Recipe.

Can Salads Sabotage Healthy Efforts?

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You’re trying to cut calories – how bad could a Chicken Caesar salad be?

Potentially disastrous if you’re eating at the Cheesecake Factory.   The 1510 calories in their Caesar chicken salad is almost a full day’s supply for some people.

Read our review of fast food and restaurant salads to see how they stack up as low-calorie, veggie rich choices.  You can find low-calorie choices, but you’ll also find salads that will break your calorie bank.

The Bottom line:

  • Keep it simple.  More veggies, fewer add-ons.
  • Go lean.  Main course salads should include chicken, fish or beans – high protein, low fat.
  • Always dress with less.   Go light with two tablespoons of low-fat dressing.

Do you have a favorite lean and mean salad recipe?

TV Ads and Chunky Kids

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News stories about childhood obesity are all over the news lately, many of them sparked by Michelle Obama’s campaign. (Last week Alice wrote about her new initiative, and how it may help prevent cancer.)

There’s no shortage of reasons why the rate of childhood obesity has increased over the years. One of the manyChildren watching television culprits on the short list is watching too much television. Now a study of more than 2,000 children suggests that it’s not the TV watching, but the commercials that are leading to overweight kids.

The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health and you can read the abstract here.

The TV watching data was first gathered in 1997 and then again in 2002. Parents filled out detailed activity reports of their children for one randomly chosen weekday and one weekend day. When watching TV, parents included the format (e.g., video, TV) and show. The UCLA researchers then analyzed the children’s TV information to their BMI.

For all the children, ages 0 to 12, the risk of being overweight increased the more commercial TV a child watched.There was no link with television viewing and obesity for children who watched videos or commercial-free programs. These results held even after the authors took into account exercise and eating while watching television.

What do you think about the foods advertised on kids’ TV programs? Any ideas on how to handle the ads for foods you don’t want your kids eating?

The authors note that it may be more effective to focus on promoting physical activity directly than to try to limit television viewing generally. For ideas on moving and healthy eating for kids, visit AICR’s The Taste Buddies.