FIFA World Cup 2014: A Healthy Food Guide

Dear Healthy Eaters

The intake of food and carbonated drinks is bound to go up this FIFA World Cup as football parties are usually accompanied with post-midnight munching, chilled beer and exceeding levels of stress and excitement. Not to sound like a party pooper, but these might turn out to be very unhealthy for you.

If you like to believe you can keep your alcohol and food consumption under control you\'re most definitely underestimating the magnitude of this gala event. Watching anything that late needs serious dedication.

But we\'re going to try and make this easier for you. What you need is a healthy diet strategy that allows you to eat food that is delicious, filling and easy to make. Here are some star recipes you and your friends can munch on, guilt-free!

Chicken Satay
Recipe by Vicky Ratnani

Don\'t be quick to assume this dish is difficult because it isn\'t. All you need to do is cook marinated strips of chicken over a medium flame and serve with a thick sauce of crushed peanuts, chili, jaggery and coconut milk.

Recipe by Joey Matthew

This classic Italian starter is very easy to make. Take a slice of bread and layer it with luscious tomatoes, basil, mushrooms and garlic. You can also get creative and use leftover vegetables from the kitchen.

\"bruschetta-new_600.jpg\"Egg Chaat
Recipe by Aditya Bal

This Indian treat is a perfect balance of protein and flavor. Boiled eggs laced with green chutney are topped off with chili sauce, tamarind extract, lemon juice, roasted cumin, green chili and salt.

\"Egg-Chaats_600.jpg\"Croque Madame
Recipe by Vicky Ratnani

A ham and cheese sandwich topped with fried egg makes a great late night snack.

\"Croque-Madame_600.jpg\"Roasted Potatoes with Hung Curd Dressing
Recipe by Chef Sunil Gadihoke, Maurya Sheraton-New Delhi

Fries and potato wedges definitely count as sport friendly foods but are a bad idea if you\'re watching those calories. Instead try these crunchy roasted potatoes with a beautiful herby yogurt dip.

\"roast-potato-hung-curd_600.jpg\"Vegetable Burritos
Recipe by Aditya Bal

Eat healthy with this brilliant Mexican recipe. Corn tortillas packed with kidney beans and served with a sensational salsa sauce.

\"BURRITOS.jpg\"Mexican Yoghurt Dip
Recipe by Seema Chandra

All finger foods must have a partner! Mix jalapenos, tabasco, capsicums and creamy yoghurt to get a power-packed Mexican dip that goes with a range of finger foods. You can also scoop it up with carrots, cucumber or whole wheat crackers.


Can big food firms get us to eat more healthily?

Thirty years ago Tony the Tiger, Snap, Crackle and Pop grinned out at you from the supermarket shelf, and the next thing you knew, the sugar-coated cornflakes and puffed rice were being wolfed down at the breakfast table by a circle of cheerful kids.

These days Kellogg\'s colourful brand ambassadors have a much harder job on their hands.

At the company\'s site in Manchester, the head of nutrition for the UK, Alexa Hoyland, pours out a tray full of what are supposed to look like tiny helicopter rotor blades in a pale cocoa-flavoured shade of brown.

About the size of a squashed pea, a Croco Copter in the mouth is very dry and crisp, and distinctly less sweet than a mouthful of Coco Pops or Frosties, two of Kellogg\'s long-established brands.

\"We\'ve made lots of changes,\" says Ms Hoyland.

\"Last year we launched four new lower-sugar products for children.

\"We were listening to consumers, we understand they want that choice so we\'ve offered those foods.\"

Manchester is the company\'s largest manufacturing site outside of the United States, serving customers across Europe - who are increasingly demanding healthier options.

As the question of how to tackle obesity moves up the political agenda, food firms like Kellogg\'s are coming under pressure to focus on more than just taste.

With new lower sugar brands like Croco Copters, Kellogg\'s is working hard on the fun shapes and the marketing to make up for lack of calories.

\'Balanced diet\'

Kellogg\'s and other big food companies insist they can play a big role in changing our diets without government regulation or restrictions.

\"It is a complex societal thing that needs answers from all sides and definitely Nestle wants to be part of the solution,\" says the Swiss company\'s chairman, Paul Bulcke.

He points to Nestle\'s widening portfolio of lower sugar and lower fat offerings.

\"We can drive research and development and science solutions, so people can have a balanced diet.\"

Consumers, Nestle hopes, will stick with brands and products that they already know, even as the recipes are tweaked. And some other businesses have already made a start.

\'Just good business\'

A study published earlier this year in the US found that 16 of the country\'s biggest food firms have reduced the number of calories in their products by over six trillion in five years.

That\'s four times the original target.

Campbell\'s has served up \"light\" canned soup, Nestle has reduced the sugar in Nesquik by a quarter, and General Mills is selling low-calorie Greek yoghurt.

It is not a pang of conscience that is driving the change, but a growing realisation that this makes financial sense, says Hank Cardello, who has previously been an executive at some of America\'s biggest food firms, including Coca Cola, General Mills and Cadbury Schweppes (now Dr Pepper Snapple).

\"It\'s just good business - there\'s a segment of consumers out there that\'s insisting on taking care of themselves a little better,\" he told BBC World Service.

As that segment grows, he says, financiers are also shifting focus.

\"If you are Wall Street looking at these companies, the ones that are with the programme are the ones that are worth investing in.\"

Sugar-free options

But radically reducing sugar now would be hard.

As Alexa Hoyland at Kellogg\'s points out, not all consumers are ready.

\"Very large changes can alienate a consumer, so when we change a food we have to make sure we bring them with us.\"

Kellogg\'s moment of truth came a few years ago when they tried marketing a line of lower sugar Frosties, she says.

\"It didn\'t sell, Frosties is a product people understand. It\'s a cornflake covered in sugar.\"

\"If they\'d wanted a lower sugar option they\'d have bought cornflakes.\"

Quick Fettuccine Alfredo

In this healthy fettuccine Alfredo recipe, the sauce for this classic pasta dish gets a makeover, using yogurt. Although we like to toss this creamy pasta sauce with fettuccine, any whole-wheat pasta can be used.

Makes: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 8 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the reserved pasta water and remove from heat. Whisk in yogurt, 1/2 cup Parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the fettuccine and combine well. Serve topped with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.


Per serving: 312 calories; 8 g fat (5 g sat, 2 g mono); 21 mg cholesterol; 45 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 4 g total sugars; 18 g protein; 7 g fiber; 421 mg sodium; 207 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Calcium (26% daily value), Magnesium (24% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 3

Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 lean meat, 1/2 fat

5 Foods You’re Eating Wrong

Don\'t slice your strawberries or eat your tomatoes raw


Your mistake: Microwaving or boiling them
The fix: Steaming

Why it works: Steaming helps retain cancer-fighting nutrients in broccoli better than other cooking methods, reports a new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Sulforaphane — a plant compound with strong anti-cancer properties — is abundant in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale and arugula. The enzyme myrosinase is necessary to release the compound, but most cooking methods destroy it. Steaming is a slower, gentler heat and isn’t intense enough to kill myrosinase, explains study author Elizabeth Jeffery, Ph.D. Cook broccoli in a steaming basket for three to four minutes for the biggest cancer-fighting boost.


Your mistake: Slicing them before eating
The fix: Eating them whole

Why it works: Whole strawberries contain 8% to 12% more vitamin C than the cut fruits, according to a 2011 Brazilian study. That’s because vitamin C begins to break down when it’s exposed to light and oxygen. For the biggest C boost, store whole strawberries in the fridge — cool temperature helps retain vitamin C too, finds the same study.


Your mistake: Letting a bottle “breathe”
The fix: Sipping a freshly opened bottle

Why it works: When red wine is decanted for long periods of time — up to 12 hours — the organic acids and polyphenols begin to break down, according to a 2012 Chinese study. Leaving the bottle open overnight nixes the usual benefits of a glass of red, including decreased depression, increased testosterone and a healthier heart.


Your mistake: Eating them raw
The fix: Heating them up

Why it works: Tomatoes have been linked to lowering men’s risk of stroke, helping fight prostate cancer and preserving brain power with age. Heating tomatoes significantly increases their levels of lycopene, the chemical that can up antioxidant levels. In fact, a recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that raw foodists — people who eat mostly uncooked produce — were deficient in lycopene. Cook tomatoes in olive oil for the biggest nutritional boost: lycopene is fat-soluble, meaning you need fat in your diet for your body to absorb it properly.

Frozen Produce

Your mistake: You skip right over frozen foods at the grocery store
The fix: Hitting the freezers

Why it works: “Most people think only fresh is healthy, but this is a huge misconception,” says Mary Cluskey, an associate professor of nutrition at Oregon State University. In fact, U.K. scientists found that in two out of three cases, frozen fruits and vegetables packed higher levels of antioxidants — including polyphenols, vitamin C and beta-carotene — than the fresh kind. As produce ages, nutrients begin to change and break down, says Cluskey. It’s therefore better to eat food that was frozen at prime ripeness with its nutrients intact than week-old produce that no longer has the same beneficial chemical makeup.

Obesity genes? Fried foods worse for some people

People with certain genes may be more susceptible to the fattening effects of fried food, a new study suggests.

In the research, people whose genes put them at high risk for obesity saw bigger changes in their body mass index (BMI) from eating fried food than people with a lower genetic risk for obesity.

For example, among women in the study with a high genetic risk for obesity, those who ate fried food four times a week had an average BMI that was 1 point higher compared to those who ate fried food less than once a week. That point amounts to about 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms) for a 5-foot-3 inch (1.5 meters) person. In contrast, among women with a lower genetic risk for obesity, those who ate fried food frequently had a BMI that was just 0.5 points higher than those who rarely ate fried food.

The results suggest that some genes may \"amplify the adverse effects of fried food consumption on body weight,\" said study researcher Lu Qi, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health.

The findings underscore the importance of eating less fried foods to prevent obesity, particularly for people who are genetically predisposed to weight gain, the researchers said.

Previously, this same group of researchers found that people\'s genes affect the obesity risk they face from drinking soda.

Fried food and obesity

Previous studies have shown eating fried food increases people\'s risk of obesity. However, these studies did not look at how this risk might vary depending on a person\'s genes.

In the new study, researchers analyzed information from more than 37,000 men and women who took part in three large studies in the 1980s and 1990s. Every four years, participants answered questions about their food and beverage intake.

The subjects also had their genomes analyzed for the presence of any of 32 genetic markers linked to obesity. Each person received a score based on the number and type of genetic markers the individual had that reflected the subject\'s genetic predisposition to obesity, or an obesity risk score.

Not surprisingly, those who ate fried food more frequently tended to have higher BMIs than those who ate fried food less often. But this link was strongest among those with the highest obesity-risk scores.

The people with the highest obesity-risk scores and also the most fried food consumption had the highest BMIs overall.

Fried food all right for some?

The findings held even after the researchers took into account other lifestyle factors that might affect obesity risk, such as consumption of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, and how much time people spent watching TV or exercising.

Still, the researchers noted that the study found only an association, and cannot prove that fried food causes obesity among people with certain genes. It\'s possible that other unhealthy habits not taken into account in the study were responsible for the link.

The findings do not mean that people with a low genetic risk for obesity can overindulge in fried food, Qi said. He noted that, in the study, frequent consumption of fried food was tied to an increased risk of obesity, even for people with a low genetic risk of obesity.

In addition, fried food consumption is linked with other adverse health effects, such as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, Qi said.

The findings support recommendations that encourage healthy eating for everyone, Qi said. In the future, it may be possible to tailor diet recommendations for people based on their genes, he said.

Which expired foods are okay to eat?

Expiration dates are like threatening work deadlines: They loom overhead, and if you’re even a day late, you’re in for it.

Or so we think.

But sometimes, food can be perfectly good a day, a week, a year, or even multiple years after the numbers branded onto a package.

In fact, Doug Rauch—the former president of Trader Joe’s supermarkets—is turning “expired food” into a business of his own. Come May, he’s opening a grocery store in the Boston area called The Daily Table—it’ll be a market where all the items have one thing in common: They’re past their “sell-by” date. 

Which additives do you really need to worry about? Here are 5 common chemicals added to your food.

But before you turn up your nose, know this: “The terminology of shelf life labeling can be confusing,” explains Men’s Health nutrition expert Alan Aragon, M.S. People confuse three popular terms

But how do you really know if a food is safe to eat? It’s tough to say because it’s a tough topic to study: It’s difficult to determine the point when a food doesn’t look and taste optimal and when it’s downright unsafe, Aragon explains. “Food can be safe to eat even when it doesn’t look great or taste amazing,” he says. 

Find out which food labels you should pay attention to and how to decode them.

A general rule of thumb: “The more refined and processed a food is, the longer you can keep it past the expiration date,” says Aragon. Chalk that up to very low (or no) water content in these foods—environments that microbes can’t thrive in, especially when preservatives are added, he says. The exception: Meats—especially processed ones like deli sandwich meat, hot dogs, and sausages. “You don’t want to eat these past the expiration date,” Aragon says. They have a particularly high danger of a type of bacteria called listeria—which can lead to an infection called listeriosis, which—in some cases—can lead to meningitis.

Below, Aragon outlines seven food types and how long you can trust them—even after an expiration date says they’re bad.

Canned goods: Most expiration dates on foods in cans range from 1 to 4 years—but keep the food in a cool, dark place and the cans undented and in good condition, and you can likely safely double that shelf life from 3 to up to 6 years. 

Restock your kitchen with the Best Canned and Jarred Goods for Men.

Frozen foods: They’re much like canned goods: pretty much expiration-proof. The exceptions? Meat.

Eggs: Here’s the barometer: Put an egg in a bowl of water. If it floats, the bacteria count is too high and unsafe too eat. Bacteria produces gases in high numbers, causing the egg to float, showing you it’s gone bad.

Pasta: Pasta is a dry good that is hard to spoil—it has no water content. As long as it doesn’t smell odd, you can keep pasta longer than the expiration date.

Bread: You can keep it dramatically longer than the date on the box if you put it in the fridge or freezer. As long as you don’t see mold, it’s good.

Fresh fruits and vegetables: Look at it, smell it, and feel it—and you can usually tell if a food is going down or not.

All right reserved © elie saade 2013
Site by OSITCOM ltd