Whats

Supermarket shelves and restaurant menus feature a broad array of foods that weren't easily available a few short years ago—all offering more ways you can eat for health, flavor, convenience, "on the go" lifestyles, and enjoyment! Today's food manufacturers and packaging provides you with:

  • More convenience. You'll find more prepackaged foods—precooked meat and poultry, meal kits, speed scratch meals, and take-out—to help you serve a nutritious "home served" meal in record time.
  • More variety of fruits and vegetables. With more health-consciousness, produce departments—even the canned and frozen aisles—stock a greater variety of fruits and vegetables year-round, including "exotics" and varietals. For example, an apple isn't just an apple anymore; it may be a Granny Smith, a Rome Beauty, or a Gala! Specialty produce also comes in different colors and miniatures: red carrots, okra, and corn; purple asparagus, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, wax beans, and yams; white eggplant and sweet potato; yellow beets; golden kiwifruit; and miniature avocados, eggplant, squash, corn, bananas, and kiwifruit.
  • More variety of grains. Interest in breads has shifted to more coarse-textured, denser, whole-grain breads. Breakfast cereals are made with more whole grains—and not just corn, oats, or wheat. And whole grains of all kinds are also used in salads, soups, and mixed dishes. Eating more whole grains and whole-grain foods is easier with so many new whole-grain products to select from.
  • More "fresh." Even in mixes, you'll find more fresh foods—fresh salad mixes, stew and stir-fry mixes, vegetable snacks, and herbs. Mixes for breadmaking machines let you bake bread without effort. Fresh pasta is sold in refrigerated displays. And the fresh seafood department is commonplace. Fresh foods aren't necessarily more nutritious. See "Fresh vs. Processed: Either Way to Health" later in this chapter.
  • More function and personal customization. See "Functional Foods: A New Wave" earlier in this chapter.
  • More vegetarian entrées. With growing interest in vegetarian eating, you'll find more meatless, prepared entrées, such as bean burritos or vegetarian lasagna. There's a greater variety of pasta, vegetables, and legumes (dry, canned, and fresh) for home-cooked vegetarian meals, too. Enjoy legumes—perhaps in vegetarian entrées—several times a week.
  • More specialty foods. With growing food sophistication, more gourmet and unique foods are available, too. Being "gourmet" doesn't make food any better. Read the Nutrition Facts on the food label.
  • More flavor. The influence of ethnic cuisine, herbs, and other flavor ingredients has put more flavors in canned, frozen, and packaged foods; recipes; and restaurant foods. Consider the availability of hot sauces!
  • More indulgence. There's a flip side to the growing array of foods marketed for health. There are now more indulgence foods: richer, higher-fat frozen desserts, bigger portions, and more high-calorie snack foods, among others. If you choose these foods, fit them into a smart strategy without overdoing on calories.

Look for new foods in stores. Of the eighty thousand known edible plants, only about three hundred are cultivated for food! Only twelve are major food staples.

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