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A Look At Some Of The Food Choices Americans Are Making As We Emerge From The Pandemic

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The last 18 months of pandemic life have ushered in tremendous changes in almost every facet of life as we knew it. Our eating habits and food choices are no exception.

From where we eat to what we eat, food industry veteran Arlin Wasserman spoke to us about some of the most notable adjustments Americans have made since the pandemic began. Wasserman is the founder and managing director of the food strategy consultancy Changing Tastes.

Gary Drenik: Arlin, thank you for talking to us today. By and large, let’s start with a look at how the pandemic experience changed our diets and how our health affects our food choices.

Arlin Aquarius: Thanks for talking to us, Gary. I am looking forward to starting broadly. One of the biggest changes we see is that where we eat turns out to be a bigger change than what we eat. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were mostly home whether we liked it or not.

So the Americans went to the kitchen and cooked many of the recipes that they were familiar with, including many home cooking. These look different for each of us and are closely linked to our cultural traditions and regional cuisines in which we grew up. However, many families were high on the list of baking cookies and cooking dishes like macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, and hot dogs. As Americans protected from Covid-19, many also gained weight. It is reported that we gained about two pounds a month while cooking for ourselves at home, according to the JAMA Network Open.

We’ve also focused a lot more on disease prevention as we’ve started wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and wiping surfaces regularly. For many of us, this has resulted in a greater focus on eating foods that might boost our immune systems and keep us healthy, and those aren’t esoteric ingredients or supplements. We have increased our consumption of foods like honey, ginger and oranges over the course of the pandemic.

Drenik: We have just spent over a year cooking for each other at home, much to our dismay in some cases at the American affinity for food. Do you think this will go on?

Aquarius: No, or more precisely, only if we are asked to. That summer, as the Covid-19 restrictions began to lift, Americans flocked back to restaurants. In May 2021, restaurants in the United States had a record month in sales revenue, with consumers spending over $ 60 billion in restaurants. We broke that record in June and then again in July when we combined spent over $ 72 billion eating out as restaurants also had a record month for the number of diners served.

At least some of us even continued to dine in restaurants, even when we were forced to stay at home due to lockdown mandates at the start of the pandemic. During Covid-19, many Americans showed extraordinary determination not to cook for themselves. As many restaurants closed their doors to diners in mid-2020, Americans flocked to delivery services or dared to stand in line near others to pick up meals so as not to have to cook their own meals.

The significant increase in out-of-home dining that we saw was not surprising for another reason either. After each economic downturn, Americans have increased the percentage of their food spending in restaurants, as eating out is one of the first affordable luxury items we enjoy, and now more of us return to work as employment recovers.

From what we hear, the continued growth isn’t the lack of guest interest. The challenge is to hire and train enough staff to cook and serve food fast enough to keep up with the increased volume.

However, with the arrival of autumn and the delta variant, we are seeing more people reluctant to eat out again. I proved this in a recent survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics, which shows that around 1 in 3 Americans still avoid restaurants due to concerns about Covid-19.

Prosper – avoid restaurants

Prosper Insights & Analytics

Drenik: What have been some of the most notable changes you have seen in food purchases by American consumers, and do you think these changes will be permanent?

Aquarius: Two of the biggest changes we saw at the start of the pandemic are Americans reduced the number of grocery purchases each week and increased the amount of groceries we delivered home, whether it was groceries, purchased or delivered directly from producers from grocery stores or meals from restaurants delivered to our homes. They all roll back quickly.

The restriction on trips to the grocery store was a requirement in part because stores were limited in the number of shoppers and times people could enter, and shopping took longer, including queuing. We still shop less often, but that is turning around.

Grocery stores also faced some empty shelves as Americans stocked up for the long quarantine, with a shortage of toilet paper and bleach making headlines. One of the categories that saw a big turnaround was canned foods, especially tuna, which saw significant sales increases after years of decline. At Changing Tastes, we conducted a consumer survey in late spring 2020 and found that if food shortages worsened, consumers stored it and the more cans of tuna Americans bought, the less likely it was to eat any of it.

Shopping online for groceries also increased during Covid-19, but that is rapidly declining today. Online grocery sales rose 43% to over 9 billion at the start of the pandemic. We buy groceries more conveniently online and directly from producers, but in the end we prefer to go shopping and choose for ourselves.

What has also changed is how much we want to have meals delivered to us. The high cost of food delivery services is certainly a factor. But also the very social aspect of eating and eating with others. “Ghost kitchens”, restaurants that only exist online and cook meals in a central kitchen for online ordering and delivery but never greet guests, are likely already overbuilt, as investments were made there during the pandemic.

Drenik: One of the major health trends before the Covid-19 pandemic was eating less meat. Will we continue to move beyond meat as we move out of the pandemic, and if so, what will replace the meat that has so often been on our plates?

Aquarius: The long-term trend towards less red meat is something we can see every year when we ask consumers what their intentions are for the year ahead and then look at what we actually buy and eat. About a third of Americans intentionally try to eat less red meat, and Covid-19 has not affected it. It was true before, during the darkest days and now that we are emerging from the thicket of the pandemic. And less really means less, not nothing at all. The proportion that is vegetarian or vegan remains consistently low.

What has changed is how we want to get there. A few years ago, the best choices were to eat less meat, eat smaller portions of meat, and try meat alternatives made from plants that were just coming on the market. A few years later, and for the past two years, the first choice has been to eat more seafood. My opinion is this: Because we’ve significantly reduced the portions of meat we eat, including recently more chefs taking up the plant-centric culinary approach I developed more than a decade ago and offering products like the mixed burger, who relies on it when scratch cooking real food.

Interestingly, and especially during Covid-19, our flirtation with artificial meat substitutes faded after a few months. Their predictable flavors in the factory were not comparable to the flexibility of real meat, poultry, or fish to take on all the flavors a chef or home cook can imagine with condiments, condiments, and the like. A recent survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics found that only one in 20 younger adults buys meat substitutes when shopping for food.

Prosper – Buy more vegetable meat products

Prosper Insights & Analytics

Drenik: What are some of the ingredients people will be looking for in this next chapter and what makes them rising stars?

Aquarius: We see two different types of ingredients that will shine in the market.

As consumers become more concerned about their health and wellbeing, the benefits of ingredients that boost the immune system are compelling. Covid-19 has made consumers aware of the benefits of staying healthy and many choose ingredients that boost the immune system, such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, green tea, CBD, and citrus fruits.

There is also a new desire to eat a wider variety of ingredients caught or grown in our oceans, particularly in the waters of the United States, as more Americans become interested in some of the red meat they eat replace it with more fish and seafood. Notably, we eat a greater proportion of seafood meals out than at home. There we are more open to trying out new ingredients. For example, when was the last time you cooked an octopus at home? However, octopus is becoming increasingly popular on restaurant menus.

When Covid-19 first disrupted global supply chains, seafood was hit hard, reducing or interrupting the number of flights that could transport fresh fish. This threatened to spoil frozen shipments. More than ever, many Americans are concerned about where our food comes from, what precautions are being taken, and who has touched it before us. All of this has shifted our focus and tastes to local fish and seafood sources, among other things.

Drenik: Very interesting, Arlin. Indeed, a lot has changed in what, where and how we eat. We can only hope that the increased focus on our own health and wellbeing and where that merges with the health and wellbeing of our planet continues.

Many implications for the food industry beyond restaurants and delivery services play a role here. The ups and downs in demand for certain products will certainly continue to put pressure on supply chains to expand and contract as consumer habits and preferences change. Grocery manufacturers and grocers are likely to remain on their guard as these preference changes appear to be frequent and rapid.

Thank you today for your thoughtful insight.

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Healthy Eating

9 Peach Benefits for Skin, Health, Nutrition

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It’s not breaking news, peaches taste fresh, canned or in a cake. But peaches are not just nature’s candy; they’re also a fruit that offers a number of health benefits.

Need an excuse to order boxes of peaches? Click on “Buy” and confirm the order. Here are all the benefits of peaches.

Eating peaches every day is not a panacea, but there are many reasons to nibble on this stone fruit. This is how the potential benefits of peaches stack up.

1. Full of nutrients and antioxidants

Peaches are full of good for you vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function optimally.

Eating a large piece of fruit (225 grams) will give you a boost:

They also contain a variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals that help protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals (compounds often linked to disease and cancer).

2. Help with digestion

A healthy bowel depends on good digestion, and peaches (and other high-fiber foods) can be your ticket to good digestive flow.

A single large peach (225 grams) contains nearly 3.38 grams of fiber, which helps keep things moving in your digestive tract. Fiber also keeps you “regular” (yes, we’re talking about 💩) so that you can prevent the oh-so-unpleasant constipation.

3. Improving heart health

Peaches (as well as other fruits like apples, pears, and plums) are full of flavonoids – antioxidants that can promote a healthy heart. A 2017 study found that high ingestion of flavonoids was linked to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and causes in both men and women.

Studies also suggest that consuming more foods rich in flavonoid antioxidants, like peaches, may help reduce your risk of high blood pressure (a risk factor for heart disease).

4. Can support your immune system

Peaches contain nutrients that support the immune system, such as vitamin C.

A large peach provides about 10 percent of your body’s daily vitamin C levels, which your body needs to support the immune system and protect you from infection. This will help protect your immune system and prepare it to fight off any disease or infection that may arise.

5. Help maintain a healthy weight

Nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables, including peaches, are low in calories and full of nutrients to support a healthy weight.

Since they are high in water and filled with fiber, they can also help keep you feeling full longer.

6. Protect and improve skin

Thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties, peaches can help improve and protect your skin.

Peaches contain vitamin C, which plays a role in maintaining overall skin health.

They also contain provitamin A, which can protect your skin from harmful UV rays and other harmful factors for a youthful glow.

Peaches are also a good source of provitamin A carotenoids, which can be converted to the active form of vitamin A in the body. Carotenoids build up in the skin and can help protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

7. Can help reduce the risk of cancer

TBH there is no single food that completely prevents cancer. But total consumption of vegetables and fruits in general is associated with a lower risk of cancer.

Research also suggests that two other antioxidants in peaches – carotenoids and caffeic acid – may be linked to preventing some cancers.

A 2014 test-tube study even found that antioxidants called polyphenols from peaches and plums could help prevent breast cancer cells from growing and spreading without harming healthy cells.

While these results are interesting, more human studies are needed in this area. And eating a peach every day won’t treat existing cancer.

8. Can help to support blood sugar regulation

Eating fruit is generally associated with lower blood sugar levels, lower blood sugar levels, and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Although it wasn’t a human study, a 2015 study in rats found that consuming peach and plum juice helped prevent risk factors related to high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular health.

9. Improve eyesight

Peaches can help keep your eyes healthy thanks to an antioxidant found in peaches called beta-carotene.

This antioxidant is what gives peaches their lovely orange color. Beyond aesthetics, beta carotene can be converted into vitamin A in your body, which is essential for your eyesight.

We all know it: you buy a bundle of fruit just to make it go bad before you can eat it all.

If you’re looking to add peaches to your shopping list but aren’t sure how to store them to keep them fresh, you’ve come to the right place.

Fresh peaches

Fresh peaches usually last about a week at room temperature, so you can usually leave them on your counter for a few days after buying them. Keep in mind that they will continue to ripen over time, so you can also keep them in the refrigerator so they don’t get overripe and mushy.

Frozen peaches

Frozen peaches are a great way to preserve your peaches (and can make a delicious smoothie!). Throw some prepackaged frozen peaches in your freezer. Or you can cut fresh peaches and freeze them yourself.

Pro Tip: Before freezing them, sprinkle fresh peaches with some lemon juice as you slice them. This will prevent them from turning brown.

Canned peaches

Canned peaches should be kept at room temperature and can be kept in your closet or pantry. Pay attention to the label for specific temperature requirements and write down the expiration date (so you can be sure that you will use it in a timely manner!). Also, keep in mind that these peaches are often bottled in a sugary syrup.

Not only are peaches widely available, but they’re super easy to prepare and delicious to eat on their own.

Here are a few of our favorite peach recipes for your enjoyment:

Peaches are packed with vitamins and antioxidants that make them a tasty and nutritious choice. Adding peaches to your diet can offer a variety of potential benefits, including improving skin, aiding immune health, and aiding digestion.

Peaches can be bought fresh, frozen, or canned. Knowing how to properly store them will make them last longer so you can get the most out of this juicy fruit. While you can enjoy peaches straight from the tree, there are also plenty of ways to prepare them to make delicious desserts and meals.

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Healthy Eating

The Worst Breakfast Habits for Inflammation, Say Dietitians — Eat This Not That

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Inflammation can be a sensitive issue. On the one hand, it is a necessary process that our bodies need to heal injuries known as acute inflammation. On the other hand, it can lead to serious health problems and illnesses when it becomes chronic, which we will refer to in this article.

Chronic inflammation can be caused by things like autoimmune diseases, exposure to toxins, obesity, and an inactive lifestyle, and according to Harvard Health, “it plays a central role” in diseases like diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and Alzheimer’s.

Because inflammation is linked to weight, diet, and exercise, there are certain foods we can eat and avoid to reduce the risk of chronic inflammation in the long term.

Read on to learn about some of the worst breakfast foods and breakfast habits for inflammation. For more inflammation tips, see Popular Foods To Reduce Inflammation After 50.

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When it comes to inflammation, added sugars and refined carbohydrates are some of the main culprits.

“One of the worst breakfast habits for inflammation is eating refined carbohydrates and foods high in added sugar like packaged pastries, donuts, and baked goods,” says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD Author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook.

Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, registered nutritionist on our medical panel and author of The first mother’s pregnancy cookbook and Promote male fertility Agrees, saying that “sugary and refined pastries like donuts and muffins can be loaded with ingredients that can contribute to inflammation. So it’s best to stick to whole grains with no questionable ingredients instead.”

RELATED: A Major Side Effect of Eating Too Much Added Sugar, Says A New Study

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Sometimes consuming sugar-sweetened beverages in the morning, like fancy coffee beverages or juices with added sugar, can lead to inflammation or other undesirable health problems.

“Some research suggests that excessive sugar intake can encourage the growth of inflammatory bowel bacteria, which can increase the risk of obesity and inflammatory bowel disease,” says Goodson – like blood sugar and energy levels throughout the morning and even throughout the day. “

TIED TOGETHER: Sign up for our newsletter to receive recipes and food news in your inbox every day!

Artificial sweetener coffeeShutterstock

Even if you’re not roaming the Starbucks driveway for a PSL, your morning cup of coffee can still cause unwanted inflammation.

“Coffee can be a healthy addition to a breakfast plate, depending on what’s added to your cup of joe,” says Manaker, “and adding spoons of sugar is delicious, but not the best choice when you’re trying to reduce chronic inflammation treat. “

RELATED: Coffee Habits That Make You Aging Quicker, Says Nutritionist

McDonalds breakfastJoe Raedle / Getty Images

Goodson also mentions that foods made high in trans fats cause inflammation and can have negative effects on cholesterol levels and heart health.

“These foods, such as deep-fried fast food breakfasts, goodies, pastries, baked goods made from margarine or vegetable shortening, and certain non-dairy creamer can be identified by the fact that hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils are on the ingredient list of the food,” says Goodson.

CONTINUE READING: Worst fast food breakfast according to nutritionists

baconShutterstock

Manaker warns against eating certain processed breakfast meats such as sausage or bacon on a regular basis. “These foods are linked to the development of chronic inflammation,” says Manaker, “and while it’s probably okay to eat these foods every now and then, eating them every day isn’t the best habit.”

Read this next:

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Healthy Eating

How to Start a Meal Plan According to Dietician

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If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed while browsing the aisles of the grocery store and waiting for inspiration to give you some direction on what to buy and cook, you are not alone. Many people buy and cook off the cuff without planning meals in advance. While this can certainly work, it is not without its pitfalls: you can be stuck in a dead end and make the same dishes over and over – and cut the variety in your diet necessary for optimal nutrition – or you can forget about ingredients you end up using or buy things that don’t go well with a cohesive meal.

Meal planning solves many of these problems and can help save time, money, and potential secondary last minute trips to the store to pick up ingredients you didn’t know you would need. Meal planning also makes it easier to stay on top of diet and weight loss goals, and to eat well-balanced, nutritious meals with plenty of variety throughout the week. While it may seem intimidating to deal with meal planning when you’ve always been spontaneous with shopping and cooking, it’s actually quite easy to start planning your weekly meals, and most people find meal planning to be the entire process Making food preparation more efficient and effective. To get the best tips and advice on getting started with meal planning, we spoke to Anna Rios, RDN, a registered nutritionist and recipe developer. Read on to learn how you can simplify and streamline your meal planning process.

What are the benefits of meal planning?

Meal planning can save time, money, and food waste by making sure you buy only what you need rather than ending up with knickknacks or added ingredients that could spoil. When shopping on the fly, you may have to make multiple trips to the store to collect everything you will ultimately need to prepare your meals. Rios adds that meal planning can improve the quality of your diet and also reduce stress. “Meal planning makes it a lot easier to stay on top of things and have balanced meals throughout the week,” she notes. “It also gives you security because you have a plan instead of having to think about what to eat at the last minute.”

How do you go about planning your meal?

Unsplash

Meal planning is actually quite simple and can be broken down into a few simple steps:

  1. Select balanced recipes / dishes that you want to prepare for the week.
  2. Create a tentative / flexible meal plan for the week.
  3. Make a list of the ingredients you will need for the recipes, taking into account what you already have and what ingredients are used in multiple recipes.
  4. Buy the ingredients in the supermarket.
  5. Prepare your meals by dicing products, pre-cooking certain grains, making marinades, etc.

What factors should you consider when planning your meal?

Recipe meal planning.Unsplash

Rios says the top factors to consider when planning your meal include your budget, dietary restrictions, health goals, time, and meal preferences. It can also be helpful to think about what you already have in stock and what products or foods are in season. If you’re on a tight budget, before choosing your recipes, you can browse the flyers (online or in the mail) from your local grocery store to see upcoming sales or cut out available coupons. Once you know what foods are on offer, you can search for recipes that include those offerings to save costs. That way, you can take advantage of the cost savings without having to rethink in-store and develop a recipe that uses the sales ingredients on-site.

Another benefit of meal planning is the ability to more easily tailor what you end up preparing and eating towards your nutritional goals. Too often people intend to eat healthily or follow a specific nutritional plan like the Mediterranean Diet or the DASH Diet, but all of this can be thrown out the window while shopping on the fly or trying to cobble together a meal made with whatever ingredients at the last minute Have a hand.

“In general, you want to make sure that you consume the following food groups at every meal – proteins, complex carbohydrates, vegetables, and healthy fats. The inclusion of all food groups ensures proper nutrition, energy and will keep you full until your next meal, ”explains Rios. “It is also important to contact a registered dietitian if you have any health concerns. Everyone is different and nutritional needs vary from person to person. “

Avoid the common pitfalls of meal planning

Rios says there are some common pitfalls or obstacles in meal planning, but they can be easily circumvented. “When we set ourselves unrealistic goals, we often feel overwhelmed,” she explains. “I recommend setting realistic and achievable goals – start small! For example, start by planning a meal 1-2 days a week and build from there. You can also set a small goal for yourself, such as: B. add more plant-based meals and prepare them before the week starts. “

She also says that meal planning is a chance to add variety to your diet, which is not only optimal from a nutritional point of view, but can continue to be fun and exciting. After all, eating the same meals every day or week after week can get boring. “Make sure you allow 15-20 minutes once a week to search for new recipes or remake old favorites,” she advises.

Helpful resources for meal planning

Meal planning inspiration.Unsplash

Rios says there are many resources online that can help with meal planning. “Looking for recipes on Pinterest, MyPlate.gov, Recipe blogs and YouTube can be great motivators, ”she shares. “I love using Pinterest to organize my recipe categories from ‘quick and easy meals’ to ‘date night dinners’. Finding new and exciting recipes can also motivate you to stay on the right track. “

Flexible meal planning

A common concern with meal planning is that people fear that they will be planning a meal that they simply don’t want to prepare or eat once the day is up. Rios says that a flexible approach to meal planning can work around this problem. “Create a flexible menu so that you can eat intuitively. If one day you don’t feel like having a bowl of burrito, make another meal that you planned for that week, ”she says. “It’s also important to have backup recipes made with similar ingredients so you can change the meal up if necessary.” In other words, give yourself the freedom to postpone things a little. Your meal plan doesn’t have to be set in stone.

Last snack

Meal planning is actually quite simple and can streamline the meal time in your home. It can save you time and money, and it can keep you updated with your diet goals. “Meals to look forward to. If there’s one dish you absolutely love, double the serving for leftovers the next day, ”suggests Rio. “Try new foods. It’s important to keep it interesting and exciting! “

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