Big changes coming to nutrition facts labels, see what's in store

You may have noticed a few things changing on the back labels of your favorite food products. The FDA has enlisted changes to help make nutrition information easier for consumers to both see and understand. The label updates were supposed to go into effect by this July, but the deadline has since been extended to 2020. Take a look at the nutrition labels of your favorite products to see if they've made the required changes. 

One of my very first blog posts was on the updates that are coming to our nutrition facts label. Read it here to learn about the label changes, what a 'serving size' actually means, nutrients you may be lacking, and more. Westfalia Technology shared the infographic below with me that also sheds some light on the new updates.

the-new-nutrition-facts-label-whats-changing

food safety in your home- what you should be doing

My colleague, Jasmynn Lahner, works in food service and offered to write a post to share her tips for keeping your food free from bacteria and reduce the risk of foodborne diseases at home.

My approach to nutrition is quite laid back and these are not meant to be used as strict rules or guidelines but to educate you and help prevent your dinner guests from getting sick.

Each year 1 in 6 Americans get sick from a foodborne illness. While many think this can only happen at restaurants and public food service establishments, foodborne diseases can also be carried in homemade foods. Certain populations with weaker immune systems are at an increased risk of acquiring a foodborne illness, including pregnant women, older adults, and newborns.

You likely know that you shouldn't use the same knife and cutting board you used to prepare your raw meat when you cut your veggies, but how do you properly store your leftovers or transport food on a hot day? Read on for Jasmynn's tips to improve food safety at the store and in your home. Check out her blog (linked below) for more nutrition information and tips.

 


 
food safety and meal prep
 

Guest Post By: Jasmynn Lahner

 

Food safety isn’t just important during food preparation, food safety should be implemented at grocery stores, in the car, and at home.

In the Grocery Store

  • Most grocery stores provide hand sanitizer and wipes near the entrance. Use these to stanitize both your hands and your cart. If sampling foods, clean your hands.

  • Inspect food packages - do not purchase any food packages with punctures, tears and/or visible damages.

  • Avoid purchasing foods with lids that are loose or appear to have been opened.

  • Choose canned goods that are not dented or bulging. Cans that are visibly dented or bulging may be a sign of botulism, a foodborne illness that is potentially fatal.

  • Separate raw meats, poultry, and seafood from fresh produce and other goods. Place the raw meats in the bags to prevent leaking.

  • At checkout, bag and separate raw meats, poultry, and seafoods from raw produce and other foods.

In the Car

  • Do not let perishable items stay in the car more than 30 minutes. If you have a long to-do list, make sure grocery shopping is last on the list!

  • During the summer, place perishable items in an air conditioned car. Placing foods in the trunk in the heat may increase chances of spoilage.

  • Bring a cooler with ice or a chill pack if you do not plan to go straight home after grocery shopping. Perishable foods can be stored for up to two hours in a cooler.

At Home

  • Refrigerate perishable foods items quickly, put them away first.

  • Store raw meats, poultry, and seafood on the bottom shelf to avoid dripping or leaking onto other foods.

  • Avoid overcrowding the refrigerator, this will decrease the cold air circulation which may ultimately increase spoilage.

Storing Leftovers

  • Store your leftovers in airtight containers to help keep bacteria out.
  • After wrapping leftovers, immediately place them in the refrigerator for rapid cooling.
  • Smaller, shallow containers are best as larger containers take longer to cool.
  • Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or frozen for 3 to 4 months (frozen leftovers can lose moisture and flavor when stored longer).

 

Follow these steps to ensure a safe shopping experience from start to finish. You can find tips on how to create your perfect grocery list, here

 

 

Jasmynn Lahner is a registered dietitian nutritionist located in San Antonio, Texas. Her goal is the help people live their best lives through tailored nutrition services and education through grocery store tours, nutrition education, and nutrition coaching. You can learn more about her on her website and blog or follow along on Instagram and Facebook.

 

National Nutrition Month: 7 tips to Go Further With Food and reduce food waste

There's nothing I hate more than throwing away leftovers or other food we didn't get around to eating. In the US, one third of all food produced is thrown out. Most of this waste occurs at the store and in the home but is also high among fresh product during harvesting and processing. Food waste is the largest component filling up our landfills and producing methane. The country spends millions of dollars each year transporting waste and families spend hundreds on dollars on food that ends up in the trash.

This year's National Nutrition Month theme is Go Further With Food with a focus on reducing food waste. Reducing food waste can save you money, save your local community money, produce less methane gas, preserve your natural resources, and feed more people. We can all do our part to reduce our waste, below are a few simple tips to get started in your own home.

 
  National Geographic - representing the 1,160lbs of food the average American family wastes each year

National Geographic - representing the 1,160lbs of food the average American family wastes each year

 

1. Shop your freezer, pantry, and fridge before going to the store.

Towards the end of the week when my fridge is looking bare and I'm running out of fresh produce, I often pull together meals from what I have on hand - canned beans, frozen meats or seafood, frozen veggies, whole grains, etc. It's actually usually pretty easy to do it just takes a little brainstorming. This saves me from going to the store and buying extra food I don't need. It's always a good idea to check what you have on hand so you don't double or triple up on ingredients you may already have.

2. Shop the discounted food section.

 I love that more and more grocery stores have a discounted section with 'ugly' produce or foods that are on their way out. I often buy partially moldy strawberries here for just 50 cents or a dollar. I cut off the bruises and mold and make strawberry chia jam or freeze them to use in smoothies, on oatmeal, or to have with waffles.

3. Use vegetable scraps to make broth to use in soups, stews, casseroles, etc.

Unfortunately, I don't have a place to compost at my apartment complex. I do however try to use my vegetable scraps in other ways, like homemade broth. To make homemade broth -  boil a pot of water with onion skins, celery ends, pepper stems, and any other type of veggie scrap. Strain out the scraps and use the broth in soups or other recipes later on. It also freezes well. Or try some of these recipes to use your food scraps and reduce food waste.

4. Freeze leftovers before they go bad.

Sometimes a recipe makes more than I planned on and I end up with too many leftovers. Luckily, many things freeze well and can easily be stored and saved for a quick meal later. Anything from meatballs and pulled pork to frittatas and chili all store and reheat well. Also slice your fresh fruit and veggies if they're about to go bad and store in freezer bags to use later.

5. Plan meals for the week and factor in leftovers.

Most weeks I think of 2-3 meals or recipes I want to make for dinner. I'll plan to make enough to have leftovers for lunch too. Planning just 2-3 meals leaves room for flexibility - some recipes will make more than expected, we may go to a friends house or go out one night, etc. - things come up. If I run low on food I refer to Tip #1.

6. Make a list before going to the store.

You've likely heard this before but it really does help to save you money, time, and even food waste.

7. Only buy what you need.

Similar to Tip #6- buy only what you need. Go to the store with a plan to prevent spontaneous purchases that may ultimately be wasted.

 

 
reduce food waste
 

What do you do to limit your food waste? Comment below!