Are you getting enough fish in your diet? Salmon is a great source of much-needed omega 3 fatty acids, specifically  eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapaentanoic acid (DHA). These polyunsaturated fats support key functions in the brain, blood vessels, and the immune system and studies suggest they may play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. They may also protect the eyes against macular degeneration and support visual and neurological growth in infants. But besides omega 3s, salmon also boasts other key nutrients--it's loaded with high quality protein and contains vitamin D, potassium, and calcium.

Here's a delicious recipe to help you work more fish into your diet. Aim for 2 or 3 fish meals per week (to total about 8 to 12 ounces):

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked salmon* or 15 oz can skin and bones removed

½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs

1 egg or 2 egg whites, lightly beaten

¼ cup minced onion

2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

Directions:

Combine salmon, breadcrumbs, egg, onion, 1 tablespoon oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and stir to blend.

Shape into 4 patties and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Heat skillet with  the remaining oil over medium heat.

Add salmon and cook 5 minutes per side.

Serve on whole grain roll or salad greens with your favorite toppings.

Makes four servings.

Nutrition info per serving: 278 Calories; 25 gm Protein; 15 gm Fat; 10.7 gm Carbohydrate; 311 mg Sodium

*about 15 ounces raw. To make baked salmon, preheat oven to 450°F. Place skin side down on non-stick baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Source: 5 Ingredients for Healthy Living Cookbook by The Nutrition Sisters Chere Bork, RD and Laurie Meyer, RD.

What's your favorite fish and how do you like to prepare it?

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Just about every week, I enjoy putting together a free e-newsletter as a means to share not only nutrition news headlines, but profile the great work (especially books and recipes) of colleagues and friends. Of course I include links to selected magazines, newspapers, or web sites in which I'm quoted and share blogs and articles I write. I also share video clips from recent tv appearances. I thoroughly enjoy sharing my passion for and having a conversation with you about food, nutrition, diet, health and fitness, topics so important to so many of us especially as it's a challenge for many of us--despite our best efforts--to eat well and move more.

The most popular ZIED GUIDE to date was written a couple of weeks ago. In it I shared a link to the great fooducate.com blog in which I fully disclosed the fact that I'm a Diet Coke addict..and that after 30 or so years, I was going cold turkey. I was amazed to see how interested in and passionate about the diet soda debate people are. This is one reason why I love writing the newsletter, and writing books, articles, and blogs. You never know what's going to resonate with others, and it's exciting when something you write generates a conversation (even if some don't agree with you or what you have to say).

In the days, weeks, months and years ahead, I will continue to share a little bit about myself and, hopefully, provide you, my readers, with useful nutrition and diet-related information, delicious recipes, and resources to help you eat and live better whether you're single, married, a new or seasoned mom, or enjoying an empty nest. I will also share personal experiences and struggles with making changes in my own diet and lifestyle (and in helping members of my own family do the same), because even though I'm a registered dietitian and health professional, I'm not perfect. But I do try my best to eat well and stay fit to improve the quality of my life, and hope you will continue to do the same.

For those of you who enjoy The ZIED GUIDE, thank you so much for your continued support. And for those of you who are unfamiliar with The ZIED GUIDE, I invite you to take a look at some recent ZIED GUIDE newsletters:

Make Overs for Thanksgiving Leftovers, Snack Smart When You Travel & Eat Well with Diabetes (Part 2)

My Diet Coke Detox, Adding Spice to Your Life & Eating Well with Diabetes (Part 1)

Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition, Outside the Box Snacks & Great Recipes for Soccer Moms

EZ Guacamole & Scrumptious Sides, How Experts Take Their Taters & How to Boost Kids' Nutritional IQ

If you like what you see, please sign up for the free (mostly weekly) ZIED GUIDE newsletter, go to elisazied.com and click on "Subscribe to Elisa's Email Newsletter" on the right side of the home page.

Why do you enjoy The ZIED GUIDE?

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When you’re pregnant, symptoms like fatigue and nausea make it harder to not only food shop, but spend time preparing healthy meals for yourself, your unborn child, and the rest of your family. The new book, Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition for DUMMIES®, is a great new resource for future and seasoned moms alike. Written by my colleague and friend, registered dietitian Tara Gidus, this book is a handy resource to use not only during pregnancy, but beyond as you strive to get back your body and at the same time, feed yourself and your growing family healthfully and deliciously.

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Tara about the book. Here’s what she had to say:

EZ: Tara, I love your new book and wish I had it when I was pregnant with my two sons! I can see it’s a must-read book for every mom-to-be (and for those pregnant more than once). Why should this book be front-and-center on a pregnant woman’s kitchen counter?

TG: The nature of a "For DUMMIES®" book lends to breaking things down in a simple, straightforward manner. You get just what you need in a way you can understand it right away.  Nutrition is a complex science, and pregnancy nutrition can be really confusing with lots of misinformation out there, so this book aims to clear up the confusion and give you what you need to feed your body right so you can have a healthy baby.  It also includes 100 mouth-watering recipes that were carefully designed to have specific nutrients that are ideal for pregnancy.  It also includes sample meal plans to guide you through each trimester, including a meal plan for nursing moms and for weight loss after your bundle arrives.

EZ: We know pregnancy puts increased demands on women’s bodies. What are the key nutritional needs of pregnant women? And what about older moms and moms-to-be--what extra nutritional concerns do they have?

TG: Pregnancy is a time of life when nutrition is paramount--you are fueling yourself as well as growing another human being!  Special attention needs to go to calories, protein, omega-3 fats, and certain vitamins and minerals like iron and folate in order to provide everything both mom and baby need.  Older moms don't necessarily have different nutritional needs when it comes to pregnancy, but they do need to be careful about overall calories to prevent themselves from gaining too much weight and having a hard time losing it again.

EZ: What 5 gadgets or appliances  do you recommend pregnant moms keep in their kitchens to prepare healthful meals in a jif?

TG: A microwave! Sometimes you just don't have time or energy to cook (that fatigue can really get to you!), so microwave meals can be a lifesaver! I’d also recommend a blender. The book has several recipes for smoothies, ideal for on-the-go breakfast or snacks that pack in nutrients! Another must-have is a refrigerator thermometer.  Keeping food safe is really important, especially when you’re pregnant. Keeping your fridge at the proper temperature will allow you to keep meats, dairy, and produce safer. Soap and sanitizers are also essential.  Washing hands is the single best way to prevent illness. Having these things serves as a reminder to wash and/or sanitize your hands and all cooking surfaces often. Finally, it’s a great idea to have a meat thermometer.  All meats need to be cooked to the proper temperature, and the only real way to know the temperature is to stick that thermometer into the center of the cooked piece of meat.

Check out a delicious French Toast recipe from the book on GALTime.com.

Source: Tara Gidus, MS, RD, is the nutrition advisor to American Baby magazine, the team dietitian for the Orlando Magic, and currently appears as the “Diet Diva” on the national television show, The Daily Buzz. Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition for DUMMIES® can be found at amazon.com or wherever books are sold.

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Whether you're a soccer mom, or play soccer or any other sport regularly, these two recipes are great additions to your family dinner table. They're from Food Guide for Soccer: Tips and Recipes From the Pros by Nancy Clark RD and Gloria Averbuch (2011).

Keeley Dowling’s Barbeque Salmon

When Sky Blue FC Defender Keeley Dowling worked at a sports complex in Tempe, Arizona, the chef cooked this recipe. That chef taught Keeley to cover the entire piece of salmon with barbeque sauce, so it completely blankets the fish; the thicker the better!  Keeley strongly recommends Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce. It blends very nicely with the salmon, so much so that folks who normally don’t like fish will enjoy this meal. This recipe goes nicely with asparagus and rice, preferably brown.

½ to 1 cup (120 to 240 mg or more, if desired) Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce
1 pound (0.5 kg) salmon

1. Preheat oven to at 400º F (205º C).
2. Place salmon in a baking dish lined with foil (to simplify clean-up).
3. Cover the salmon entirely with Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce.
4. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes The fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.

Yield: 3 servings

Total calories: 900

Calories per serving: 300

23 g Carbohydrate

30 g Protein

10 g Fat

Val Henderson’s Braised Moroccan Chicken

You can either make this dish the way that Los Angeles Sol Goalkeeper Val does, by browning the chicken as described below. Or, you can more simply toss all the ingredients into a crock pot so dinner can cook while you’re at a soccer game or practice.  If you make it ahead of time, the flavors will taste even better after all the spices really set in.

6 (1 kg) chicken thighs, preferably skinless
1 to 2 tablespoons oil (15-30 g), preferably olive or canola
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
4 to 5 carrots, diced
2 teaspoons (3 g) cinnamon
2 teaspoons (3 g) ginger
Salt, pepper as desired
1 can of chicken broth
1 1/2 (360 ml) cups orange juice (or apple juice)
½ cup (70 g) dried apricots or dates (or mixture)

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet.
2. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
3. When the oil is very hot, place the chicken in the pan and brown it on both sides, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate.
3. Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil/chicken fat from the pan and heat until it is very hot. Add the onion, garlic and carrots. Cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Add the cinnamon and ginger. Continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Add the chicken broth and orange juice. Return chicken to the pan; add 1/2 cup of either dried apricots or dates.
6. Cook on low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, covered. Remove chicken and veggies to a dish; continue cooking the sauce until it has thickened, about another 10 minutes. (The sauce doesn’t get very thick.)
7.  Serve chicken over brown rice, and spoon sauce on top.

Yield: 3 servings

Total Calories: 1,450

Calories per serving: 480

40 g Carbohydrate

46 g Protein

15 g Fat

How do you like your salmon and/or chicken prepared?

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This recipe for EZ guacamole comes from registered dietitian Susan Piergeorge, author of Boomer Be Well!

Guacamole is a great dip, salad dressing, or topping for meats, poultry, seafood, or as a topper on potatoes.

Ingredients:

1 avocado, washed, peeled, pitted and mashed

Lemon juice (enough to coat avocado to prevent browning—about 1-2 tsp.)

1/4 cup salsa, drained

1/4 tsp. ground cumin, optional

Directions:

1. Mix avocado and lemon juice.

2. Stir in salsa to taste.

3. Add cumin if desired.

4. Store in covered container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 65 Calories, 1gm PRO, 4 gm CHO, 5.5 gm FAT, 3 gm Fiber, 100 mg Sodium, 232 mg Potassium

This guacamole works great with these awesome baked Chili Lime Chips (see number 1 in a previous ZIED GUIDE blog post, 7 Light Bites & Tasty Treats). Enjoy!

What's your favorite chip and dip combo this time of year?

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Who says side dishes have to be boring! These two heart-healthy recipes are infused with plenty of vegetables, tons of color and amazing flavor, courtesy of registered dietitian Susan Piergeorge's book Boomer Be Well.

Mediterranean Vegetable Mix

This tasty and hearty vegetable mix goes well with seafood, poultry and tofu.

Ingredients:

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Tbsp. olive, canola, or Enova oil

1 Tbsp. fresh minced (or 2 tsp. dried) ginger

1 Tbsp. fresh minced (or 2 tsp. dried) oregano

1 Tbsp. fresh minced (or 2 tsp. dried) basil

3/4 pound fresh broccoli, broken into pieces

1 eight-ounce can black pitted whole olives, drained

2 cups fresh sliced button mushrooms or 1 8 ounce can sliced mushrooms (drained and rinsed)

1 pound fresh chopped tomatoes or one 14.5 ounce can chopped tomatoes with liquid

1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1/4 grated parmesan or romano cheese

Directions:

1. In a large sauté pan, place oil, garlic and onion.

2. Heat over medium until onion and garlic are mildly cooked.

3. Add ginger, oregano, and basil. Mix in broccoli, olives, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

4. Cover and simmer over medium heat until vegetables are tender, but not overdone (about 5 to 10 minutes).

5. Add vinegar and toss into vegetables.  Place into serving dish. Top with grated cheese. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 130 Calories, 7 gm PRO, 15 gm CHO, 6 gm FAT, 4 mg Chol, 5 gm Fiber, 416 mg Sodium, 594 mg Potassium.

Brussels, Beets & Sweets

This colorful hearty side dish goes well with beef, pork, game, tofu, turkey or chicken. It's easy to make, full of flavor, and loaded with nutrition. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. minced fresh ginger

1 medium onion, rinsed, peeled and chopped

2 lbs. sweet potatoes, rinsed, scrubbed and cut into bite size chunks

1 lb. beets, rinsed, peeled, and cut into bite size chunks

1/2 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, rinsed and cut into halves (or 12 ounce frozen)

2 Tbsp. canola oil

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. dried rosemary

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. On large cookie sheet or baking pan assemble all vegetables including onion.

Drizzle canola oil over vegetables and mix together with tongs (or clean hands).

3. Sprinkle garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and rosemary on top of vegetable mixture and stir to coat well.

4. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

5. Take out of oven and stir vegetables.

6. Place back into oven and bake another 20 to 25 minutes until cooked.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 200 calories, 4 gm PRO, 35 gm CHO, 5 gm FAT, 7 gm Fiber, 0 mg Chol, 227 mg sodium, 789 mg potassium, 16203 IU vitamin A, 39 mg vitamin C, 595 mcg lutein and zeaxanthin, 80 mg omega-3 fatty acids, 0.8 mg zinc

What are your favorite vegetable side dishes?

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If you love creamy dishes, this one gives you what you want- sans guilt! It comes from Ellie Krieger's latest cookbook, The Comfort Food Fix. If you make it at home, snap a photo and I'll post it on this blog! Enjoy.

Fettuccine Alfredo, with its ribbons of pasta coated in a luxurious cheese sauce, is the very definition of decadent comfort. This recipe is all that redefined. Zucchini ribbons mingle harmoniously with the noodles, allowing a big serving, healthfully. The sauce is made creamy with thickened milk but kept full flavored with plenty of real, fresh grated cheese.

2 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 pieces thinly sliced skinless boneless chicken breast cutlets (1 pound total)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

12 ounces fettuccine pasta, preferably whole wheat

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 cup cold low-fat (1%) milk

1/2 cup evaporated skim milk (not condensed milk)

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Slice the ends off the zucchini and discard. Using a mandoline or carefully with a sharp knife, slice the zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices. Stack the slices and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add half the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the zucchini ribbons, cover, stirring occasionally, and cook until the zucchini is just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and the black pepper and cook until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Cook the pasta al dente according to the directions on the package. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pasta pot.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Combine the flour and low-fat milk, stirring until the flour is dissolved. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the milk-flour mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add the evaporated skim milk, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

Add 1 cup of the sauce, the zucchini, and 3 tablespoons of the parsley to the pasta in the pot and toss to combine. Add a little of the reserved pasta water as necessary to loosen the sauce.

To serve, place 2 cups of the pasta mixture on each plate. Top with a piece of chicken. Drizzle with the remaining sauce and garnish with the remaining parsley.

Makes 4 servings

Serving size: 2 cups of pasta mixture and 1 piece of chicken breast

Per Serving: Calories 660; Total Fat 20 g (Sat Fat 5 g, Mono Fat 9.2 g, Poly Fat 1.7 g); Protein 49 g; Carb 79 g; Fiber 11 g; Cholesterol 90 mg; Sodium 880 mg

Excellent source of Calcium, Copper, Fiber, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Potassium, Protein, Riboflavin, Selenium, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Zinc

Good source of Iodine, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D

Source: Comfort Food Fix: Feel Good Favorites Made Healthy by Ellie Krieger, New York Times Bestselling author and host of Healthy Appetite (which airs on the Cooking Channel).

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The two recipes below come from the brand-spanking new enticing cookbook The Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook: Foods to Fill You Up, Not Out by Robyn Webb. But make no mistake, these recipes are for anyone--not just those with diabetes--who loves sweet potatoes and loves good food.

SWEET POTATO AND SQUASH MASH

6 servings/serving size: ½ cup

preparation time: 10 minutes

cook time: 30 minutes

A perfect fall side dish incorporating the best of autumn squashes. The banana gives it a slight dessert like panache. This recipe was developed by Corinne Dobbas, MS, RD, who loves this so much she sneaks it onto the holiday table as well.

INGREDIENTS

2 large sweet potatoes

½ medium butternut squash

1 ripe large banana

2 tablespoons brown sugar

½ tablespoon ground cinnamon

PREPARATION

1. Peel the sweet potato and cut into medium chunks. Discard any seeds from the butternut squash.  Peel the squash and cut into medium chunks. Add the sweet potatoes and butternut squash to a large pot. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Gently boil the potatoes and squash for about 30 minutes until fork tender.

2,. Drain the squash and potatoes and add to a large bowl. Add the banana and mash with a potato masher until a creamy, yet lumpy texture has developed.

3. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and mix well.

SPICED SWEET POTATO WEDGES

6 servings/serving size: ½ medium sweet potato

preparation time: 25 minutes

cook time: 30 minutes

My tester for this recipe kept repeating over and over again that this was such a good substitute for regular fries. I couldn’t agree more. Everyone loves to munch on fries and these have more vitamin A, less fat and calories than a regular fry could hope to have. With a beautiful burnt orange color and deep spiced aromas released when a wedge was cut in half makes these really addictive, so keep your portion under control, but do enjoy.

INGREDIENTS

6 medium sweet potatoes

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

PREPARATION

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

2. Peel the potatoes and cut lengthwise into sixths. Combine the potatoes and the oil in a large bowl and toss well. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.  Add the spice mixture to the potatoes and toss again.

3. Arrange the potatoes cut side down in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the wedges over and bake 20 more minutes until tender.

Source: The Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook: Foods to Fill You Up, Not Out, by Robyn Webb, MS.

Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The author used one of my recipes in her book, and I am mentioned in the acknowledgments section.

How do you like to eat sweet potatoes? Please share your recipe below.

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Makes 12 Cupcakes

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

2 large eggs

1/4 cup 1% low-fat milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1¼ cups finely grated carrots (about 8 ounces)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 ounces light cream cheese

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1.    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.

2.    Combine the sugar, oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl and beat at medium speed  until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots and stir to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

3.    In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt. At low speed, gradually beat the flour mixture into the liquid mixture until just combined.

4.    Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and cool completely before frosting.

5.    To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and sugar at low speed until blended. Raise the speed to medium once the sugar is incorporated and continue to beat until creamy. Spread the frosting over the cupcakes and garnish as desired with a jelly bean, an M&M, sprinkles or nothing at all!

Tip: For a non cream cheese based frosting, whisk together 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1½ tablespoons lemon juice or 1% lowfat milk.

Nutrition Information per Serving (1 cupcake): 270 calories, 12g fat (2g saturated, 0.9g omega-3), 170mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate, 1.5g fiber, 4g protein, 40% vitamin A

Source: No Whine with Dinner by Liz Weiss, MS, RD & Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD, The Meal Makeover Moms.

What's your favorite cupcake recipe? Please share it below.

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On October 6, 2011, the Prevention Institute--a national non-profit organization committed to preventing illness, fostering health and building momentum for community prevention--launched a new video called We're Not Buying It. It sheds light on the many negative health effects food marketing has on vulnerable children, and serves as a call to action for parents, families and health advocates to ask President Obama to support strong voluntary guidelines for food marketing that are currently be considered by the government. And just a few days ago I reviewed a new study in the Journal of Pediatrics for msnbc.com. The study suggested food commercials had more of an impact on young kids' food choices than parental input.

As stated on the Prevention Institute's web site,

"From soda companies using school marketing campaigns disguised as charities, to food package labeling that misleads parents, We’re Not Buying It takes just two minutes to debunk industry claims that they’re trying to be part of the solution in the fight for kids’ health. Parents alone simply can’t compete with the $2 billion a year the food and beverage industry spends selling kids foods that are laden in sugar, salt and fat, the video reveals."


The voluntary federal guidelines that are currently being considered were developed by the Interagency Working Group, a coalition of nutrition and media experts from federal agencies, ask companies not to advertise their most unhealthy foods to kids. And only time will tell if the voluntary guidelines will take hold or instead, be trumped by those opposed to such guidelines including Congressman Lee Terry. Stay tuned for results from congressional testimony on this topic set to take place on Wednesday, October 12th.

You can read more about the push to have government support voluntary marketing guidelines by the Centers for Science in the Public Interest and by Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

What say you? Should food companies need to follow certain guidelines when marketing foods and beverages, or is it simply up to parents to help their kids ignore the ads, resist temptation, and make more healthful food decisions? Please Share your thoughts below.

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