GOING GLUTEN-FREE

Gluten is a particular kind of protein that is not found in eggs or meat but is in barley, rye, wheat and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Going gluten-free means avoiding these grains. A gluten-free diet is essential for those who have celiac disease, a condition that causes inflammation in the small intestines, or gluten allergies.  Symptoms of celiac disease include anemia, constipation or diarrhea, bloating, gas, headaches, skin rashes, joint pain and fatigue.

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A DIET FOR HEALTH & WEIGHT LOSS

Have you noticed? Look around and you’ll see a majority of Americans who are either overweight or obese. Look in supermarkets and you’ll see a plethora of food products, many of them processed or high-fat and/or sweet laden.  Consuming such a diet often leads to poor health and weight gain. It is not surprising that the leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease. A number of diseases, including pre-diabetes, diabetes, stroke and depression, are linked to how we eat .....

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ANTIBIOTICS IN OUR FOOD

Just what is in the food we eat? Considering the food chain, did you know adding antibiotics to food dates back to the 1940s? Antibiotic use has led to a dramatic reduction in illness and death from infectious diseases, yet there is a downside to this practice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others encourage health care professionals and patients to use antibiotics more wisely and seek education and understanding about both the risks and benefits of using them.

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supermarket and calculated the cost of each ingredient used for one portion of a recipe. For most of the dishes, the cost was roughly doubled when using a meal kit delivery service. For instance, Blue Apron’s Spring Chicken Fettuccine was $9.99 as opposed to $4.88 for buying the ingredients at the supermarket. Green Chef ’s Greek Chicken Bowl was $13.49 (including shipping) as opposed to $10.49 at the supermarket.


Most of the Consumer Reports panelists whose annual income ranged from less than $25,000 to more than $150,000 considered meal delivery services a good value. Others considered factors other than dollar-to-dollar comparisons to attribute value, such as not having the time or energy to plan meals out every week and grocery shop. Only you know your own circumstances, preferences and biases to conclude whether these services are economically good. However, nearly all the services have introductory offers from discounts to free trials, so you could always give it a go if you wish.  

Since 2012, meal kit delivery has become a $400 million market that is projected to increase tenfold in the next five years, according to the food industry research and consulting firm Technomic. Currently, there are more than 100 meal kit delivery services nationwide with new ones starting all the time. Will one of these services work for you?


The commonly advertised appeal of these services is convenience: Have all the ingredients and a recipe delivered to your home – no shopping necessary. “Freshness” is another benefit the services advertise. However, these services appeal mostly to individuals and families that want an interactive, hands-on culinary experience. The true benefit of these services is getting to try your hand at original recipes without having to shop for the ingredients. It’s more of a foodie experience.


Still, consumers ask pertinent questions about the services.


How Healthy Are They?

Consumer Reports had nutrition experts test five popular meal delivery services. The ingredients were all fresh but not all services furnished enough nutrition information for their meals, said Kimberly Gudzune, M.D., M.P.H., an obesity-medicine expert and assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Hello Fresh listed the most information on its recipe cards, including calories, fat content,

MEAL KIT DELIVERY SERVICES: ARE THEY WORTH IT?

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

saturated fat, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, sodium and sugars. Others provided only calories. To determine how healthy the meals were, all the above factors were calculated using a nutritional database program. The experts were most concerned with the high sodium content of many of the meals. Almost every recipe called for seasoning ingredients with salt several times – as many as five times for one recipe. Half the dishes had more than 770 milligrams of sodium, more than a third of the maximum recommended daily intake of 2,300 milligrams. Ten dishes had more than 1,000 milligrams per serving.


How Do They Taste?

The Consumer Reports panel of nutritionists and subscriber members gave 24 of the 27 recipes tested an “Excellent” or “Very Good” score for taste. The recipes included ingredients unfamiliar to many people, such as Korean rice cakes, hemp herb dressing, udon noodles and Poblano peppers. “A meal delivery service is a great way to try new things,” said Amy Keating, R.D., who oversaw the testing.


How Much Do They Cost?

The panel bought the ingredients for five meals – one from each service - at the