For Americans, Healthier Is All The Rage


Americans are on a health kick, or at least would like to be. While 54 percent of American consumers report that they "strive to make food choices that offer a balance between good nutrition and taste," another 54 percent would still "like to eat healthier," according to a national consumer survey conducted by Caravan Research for White Wave, makers of Silk soymilk and other soyfoods.

What stops many Americans from making the dietary changes that can benefit our health? According to the survey, fear that healthier food options will taste bad, and lack of knowledge about what foods to buy and how to prepare them are common barriers.

"Food manufacturers have become very innovative," says Tamara Schryver, registered dietician. "With so many options on the market today, all it takes is a little experimentation to find the healthy foods that you like."

Here are five resources for consumers to make eating healthier a little easier.

1. Read the label. It's not such a chore anymore. Many foods prominently display their health benefits as a way to educate consumers. Look for labels with the American Heart Association seal or Food and Drug Administration endorsements. Just be mindful that there are minimum daily serving requirements in order to get the health benefits.

2. Use the Internet. The Internet is a valuable resource for health information and recipes. For example, White Wave's site, features an interactive menu planner that allows users to select healthy, soy-based recipes for the week, complete with printable instructions and a customized shopping list.

3. Try healthier versions of familiar foods. Foods like reduced-fat cheese, veggie burgers and calcium-enriched orange juice are tasty and convenient ways to get the nutrition we need and the tastes we love.

4. Check out organics. With the USDA's recent announcement of national organic standards, consumers can purchase organic products with confidence knowing that they are free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and are not genetically engineered. Consumers can expect to see consistent labeling beginning in June 2001. And you don't have to shop exclusively at natural foods stores to find organic foods anymore. Many mainstream grocery stores have natural and organic foods sections.

5. Discover the joy of soy. Not only has the FDA endorsed soy as a heart-healthy product, but most recently, the American Heart Association announced that it encourages increased consumption of soy protein as part of a low-fat diet. Consuming at least 25 grams of soy protein daily can help lower blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.

Reading the labels and selecting the right foods are the first steps to a healthier lifestyle. Preparing them can be just as easy. Try these recipes for an easy and tasty meal with the goodness of soy and visit for additional soy recipe and meal recommendations.

Courtesy of ARA Content.