By Jenny Everett, SELF magazine
2010 was a good year to be a health-minded foodie! From a nutritional standpoint, we saw some hugely important, long overdue changes -- in legislation and in our attitudes toward food.
For example, more and more people realized the benefits of eating fresh-from-the-ground food, our dependence on salt and sugar looks to be waning and we're taking steps to reduce meat consumption (you don't have to go totally vegetarian to reap the benefits!).
Related: Try these 6 Easy, Natural Mood Lifters
Take a bite of our Top 4 Food Stories of the Year:
High-Fructose Corn Syrup Tries to Mend Its Rep
The Corn Refiner's Association is petitioning the United States Food and Drug Administration to change the name of high-fructose corn syrup (which has become the Scarlet Letter of food labels) to simply, "corn sugar." Clearly they're trying to pull one over on unsuspecting consumers who might be fooled by the more innocent-sounding name. Well, we're not buying it (literally)! Over the years, scientists have learned that HFCS may disrupt our metabolism, contributing to obesity. Early in 2011, the FDA will release their decision. Either way, we're going to avoid HFCS (or "Corn Sugar"), and generally make it a New Year's resolution to keep our intake of all types of sugar in check. Having a snack attack? Try one of Jillian Michaels' recommended healthy bites that quell hunger!
Related: Who Are the Happiest Celebrities of 2010?
Meatless Mondays: Even Carnivorous Chefs Are Game. Are You?
The Meatless Monday movement -- a grassroots campaign to reduce meat consumption by 15 percent -- gained some serious steam this year, with famous chefs like Mario Batali jumping on board. Batali has added two vegetarian meals to the Monday menu at ALL 14 of his restaurants. Why should you consider going meatless at least one day a week? Well, one 2010 study found that cutting back on meat can help you maintain a healthy weight. And, don't worry, going meatless doesn't mean you have to eat like a rabbit. There are plenty of delicious, indulgent vegetarian recipes. Here are some smart strategies for adopting healthy vegetarian habits and some amazing ideas for veggie meals (LOVE the Bean & 'Bello Burger!).
Americans Trying to Shake Salt Habit
New York City was famously the first city to ban artery-clogging trans fats. And, this year, the city took its healthy quest to the next level, calling for food manufacturers and restaurants to voluntarily curb sodium in food, with the goal of a 20 percent reduction in menu items and packaged foods in the next five years. This would be huge, as sodium has been linked to increased incidence of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease -- a leading cause of death. With fast-food menu options such as KFC's Double Down (which we taste-tested and gave the nod for being the Worst Fast Food of 2010), it's clear that we need to be aware of just how much sodium is in our meals and condition ourselves to crave less of it. Next time you're having a salty snack attack, try these mind-over-munchies tricks.
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Locatarianism Is Hot
Overall, we're eating healthier and embracing fresh, simple foods over processed, chemical-laden eats. Community-Supported Agriculture programs and so-called "Locavore" eating are all the rage, making veggies such as watercress the new stars of our plates.
Locavores aim to eat food that comes from within a 250-mile radius of their homes. Why go loca? Not only are you eating more healthy fruits and veggies, you're also helping your local economy and the environment (what you're eating isn't shipped all over kingdom come!) and getting the best-tasting produce, because what you're eating is in season with peak flavor. Click here to find a CSA near you.
More from SELF:
- Heidi Klum's Happy, Healthy Life
- 10 Ways to Lose Weight Like a Guy
- How to Destress with Yoga: How To Do A Sun Salutation
- The Workweek Diet
- Makeover your upper body now!
Photo Credit: CN Digital Studio