Sunday, December 30, 2012

AARP lists good and not-so-good foods

A Whole Foods Market shopper, right, sampling crispy, wild-caught flounder.

Editor's note: Today, I report on AARP's "New American Diet," and try some premium free samples at Whole Foods Market in Paramus.

The editors of AARP The Magazine can't resist exaggerating how much weight you'll lose or money you'll save, if you just follow their advice.

When it comes to food safety and nutrition, I've found Consumer Reports magazine and its newsletter, On Health, far more reliable.

Now, the magazine for the 50-plus set is heralding "The New American Diet" from Dr. John Whyte.

In the December 2012/January 2013 edition of the magazine, a double-page photo illustration of fruits, vegetables and fish promises:

"Groundbreaking research shows how the right foods can fight disease. Here's how to lose weight and live longer."

I found a list of good foods and not-so-good foods on Page 41:

Eat this: figs, brown rice, oil and vinegar, sweet potatoes, whole-wheat bread, unbuttered popcorn, whole-wheat pretzels, grilled or roasted chicken, piece of dark chocolate, handful of blueberries, whole-wheat pasta, high-fiber cereal, broiled salmon, steel-cut oats, nuts or seeds, Greek yogurt, olive oil.

Avoid this: cookies; white bread, rice, potatoes or pasta; chips or crackers; fried chicken, sugary cereal, ice cream, butter, prepared salad dressing, fish sticks and instant oatmeal.

Low-fat dairy foods also are recommended.

There is no explanation why pricey Greek yogurt is preferable to other yogurt with active cultures. Or why cream isn't on the no-no list.

But the list of the right foods to eat seems to be on the mark.

On Page 43, here are some of the tips on "How to lose weight fast."

Drink water (not diet soda), eat breakfast every day, sleep at least 7 hours a night, eat smaller meals more often, eat fish two or three times weekly (and red meat at most once), spend at least 30 minutes on a meal, count steps (at least 10,000 per day), incorporate heart-healthy nuts and olive oil into your meals; eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, especially berries."

From my own experience, I would add: ditch bread and pizza. 
Super samples

At the Whole Foods Market in Paramus today, I had some terrific free samples: 

Breaded and fried wild-caught flounder; an avocado-and-cucumber sushi roll; and sauteed collard greens, sweet corn and broccoli from the Hudson Valley of New York State.

At the butcher counter, where ground-beef sliders were on sale for $4.99 a pound, an employee grilled some and offered them to other customers.

Whole Foods usually offers free samples only on the weekends.

I picked up organic Fuji apples on sale for $1.99 a pound, and about 5 pounds of frozen organic chicken necks and feet for $2.99 and $3.99 a pound, respectively.

My wife makes soup with the chicken parts, which she usually buys at ShopRite.

Whole Foods' parts are naturally raised, but ShopRite's chicken feet and necks aren't.

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