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On the Hot Plate for 2012

January 27th, 2012 - By Therese Madden

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It’s a new year, so what’s going to be in the nutrition headlines? Picking up where Fit left of last year, we’ll continue to talk about where food comes from. Plus, look for more homegrown vegetables and nutrient rich foods on our plates.


Just like fashion, diet trends come and go. In the 70’s, cottage cheese and grapefruit went the way of bell bottoms and macrame. There was the Atkins craze and even something called “The Caveman Diet” was hot for a while. So, what are the trends to look for in 2012? Althea Zanecosky is a Registered Dietician. Here are some of her predictions for this year in food and healthy eating, “I think fad diets are going away. It used to be people were looking at what can I remove from my diet. And now the trend is what can I add to my diet.”

Zanecosky is happy to see people eating more of the right things, rather than depriving themselves of the wrong ones. “Add more fruits and vegetables, to have more low-fat dairy, have more days where you choose to go meatless.” One way she sees people getting more vegetables in their diets is by growing some themselves, “and that has something to do with the economy. Because food prices are higher in 2012 than 2011, and 2011 they were higher than 2010, and so food is taking bigger bite out of people’s budgets.”

This means more community and school gardens. Teenager, Paige Lyles Edge works at one of these gardens in West Philadelphia. “This has taught me about where food comes from is a big thing, I have not realized where food comes from. I would go to the supermarket, I would just say that just popped up there and I really didn’t think about it and now I realize where a tomato comes from, a seed, you plant a seed in the ground.”

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Wanting to know where your food comes from has hit the mainstream, as evidenced by recent potato chip commercials featuring actual farmers. “I’m Brian Kirshman, I am a 5th generation California potato farmer, and these are my potatoes… My name is Steve Singleton and I grow potatoes right here in Florida. You’ve got to start with a great potato, in order to end with a great potato chip.” Potato chips, aside, Zanecosky does see this trend as positive. “I think when people start to concentrate on where there food comes from, when you start to do that, you generally pick foods that are more nutritious.”

I asked Zancoskey if there is any food item we may be seeing in every shopping cart. She’s thinking probiotics. Foods with probiotics are said to aid digestion and boost the immune system. One simple way to get this is through yogurt, hence the rising popularity of greek yogurts. “Having a probiotic yogurt and now Kefir, that’s the drinkable yogurt, are hot items for 2012. So, people are looking for foods that have medicinal benefit beyond just nutrition.”

One of the good things about these food trends versus fashion, is you can usually keep up without breaking the bank.

Slideshow Photo by Flicker user Claudio Brisighello / CC BY-NC 2.0
Greek Yogurt Photo by Flicker user madlyinlovewithlife / CC BY-NC 2.0
Vegetables Photo by Flicker user gomattolson / CC BY-NC 2.0

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Photo by Flicker user Chiot's Run / CC BY-NC 2.0

Move Over, Kale Chips! Kale Buds Are Here

By Lari Robling - April 18th, 2012

High Tunnel farming caught my eye because its extended growing season adds to the amount of local produce we get. While farm manager Aviva Asher was tidying up the winter crop to make way for spring, I discovered another benefit of local growing: use what you’ve got.

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Philly Food Bucks are coupons that help ACCESS/food stamp customers save money on fruits and vegetables. Philly Food Bucks can be redeemed for $2 worth of fruits and vegetables for every $5 spent in ACCESS/food stamps at a participating farmers' market. Learn more about Philly Food Bucks at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health's recently expanded web site Food Fit Now also accepted at the West Oak Lane Weaver's Way Food Coop.