Preschool childhood obesity is declining. Could it be because schools are serving more vegetables and whole fresh fruits instead of pizza, corn dogs, burgers, fries, and bread finger food? Are more low-income parents using urban gardens or food banks that give out more fresh produce instead of only packaged flour, sugar, and canned or processed foods?
The second part of this article looks at beet burgers as one alternative with healthier ingredients to introduce to preschoolers at a time when food choices have the opportunity to widen as kids eat pretty much what they see their parents and/or teachers eating on a frequent, familiar basis.
Now a new study published in JAMA and Archives Journals reports that a national study shows childhood obesity is on the decline, at least among preschool kids. “To our knowledge, this is the first national study to show that the prevalence of obesity and extreme obesity among young US children may have begun to decline,” the authors write, according to a December 25, 2012 news release, Obesity may be declining among preschool-aged children living in low-income families.
“The results of this study indicate modest recent progress of obesity prevention among young children. These findings may have important health implications because of the lifelong health risks of obesity and extreme obesity in early childhood.”
“Obesity and extreme obesity in childhood, which are more prevalent among minority and low-income families, have been associated with other cardiovascular risk factors, increased health care costs, and premature death. Obesity and extreme obesity during early childhood are likely to continue into adulthood. Understanding trends in extreme obesity is important because the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors increases with severity of childhood obesity,” writes Liping Pan, M.D., M.P.H., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues, according to the news release.
National trends in extreme obesity among young children living in low-income families have not been known.
As reported in a Research Letter, the authors analyzed data from the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System (PedNSS), which includes almost 50 percent of children eligible for federally funded maternal and child health and nutrition programs. The analysis for this study included 26.7 million children ages 2 through 4 years from 30 states and the District of Columbia that consistently reported data to PedNSS from 1998 through 2010.
One routine clinic visit with demographic information and measured height and weight was randomly selected for each child. Obesity (body mass index [BMI] 95th percentile or greater for age and sex) and extreme obesity (BMI 120 percent or greater of the 95th percentile) were defined according to the 2000 CDC growth charts.
The 2010 study population was slightly younger and had proportionally more Hispanics and fewer non-Hispanic whites and blacks compared with the 1998 population
Researchers found that the prevalence of obesity increased from 13.05 percent in 1998 to 15.21 percent in 2003. The prevalence of extreme obesity increased from 1.75 percent in 1998 to 2.22 percent in 2003.
The prevalence of obesity decreased slightly to 14.94 percent in 2010; and the prevalence of extreme obesity decreased to 2.07 percent in 2010. For further information, see, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA. 2012;308:2563-2565).
Beet burgers are an alternative that’s a healthier food item to introduce to preschoolers
Sacramento shoppers interested in varying their burgers and patties are turning to beet burgers as a substitute for meat burgers. You can call them patties, but beat and black-eyed pea burgers are becoming more popular than the commercial, frozen veggie burgers you find in most Sacramento supermarkets and food stores that are made of soy protein, are high in salt, and may also contain spinach, egg, or rice.
Some veggie burgers you’ll find in the frozen food coolers of Sacramento markets contain yeast extract and hydrolized protein powder. Check out this YouTube video on how to make a beet burger. Also be aware that beets have a lot of sugar in them. You also could make veggie burgers from lentils and quinoa or brown rice or from garbanzo beans and lentils or cooked pinto beans or black-eyed peas and black rice or spinach and mashed green peas that have the texture of guacamole from avocadoes.
You can buy a variety of frozen veggie burgers in Sacramento at Whole Foods Market, Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, and in most local supermarkets. Some health food stores also have frozen veggie burgers. Why buy commercial veggie burgers that are frozen if you can make veggie burgers at home such as beet burgers without adding hydrolized vegetable protein or various forms of yeast to extend the taste, fill the burger, or preserve color and shelf life?
What if you want a veggie burger without soy or protein fillers and without salty condiments or yeast added? Check out the You Tube video on how to prepare beet burgers. See, Didi Emmons Beet Burger.
Remember when Sacramento supermarkets recalled certain foods containing some types of commercial hydrolized protein back in 2010? See, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) recall leaves food consumers. When buying any type of protein in packages or bulk bins, check out the ingredients label to see how high the salt (sodium) levels are in the textured vegetable protein. Some have no added salt, and other types are high in salt. Also see the site, How Natural Are So-Called Natural Corn Chips Veggie Burgers? You can make your own beet burgers at home or burgers from legumes and grains. Here’s how to make either totally vegan or ovo-lacto vegetarian beet burgers out of beets and/or black-eyed peas.
Instead of black-eyed peas, you can use green peas or any other type of peas or legumes if cooked and mashed and then added to the beets. Everything’s going to be mashed and formed into a patty. If you want to see photos or check out the original recipe, see the site, “Vegetarian Beet Burger Recipe: A FitSugar Reader Recipe: Vegetarian Beet Burgers.”
Or try this variation on a beet burger recipe, Did anyone ever ask you whether you can turn beets into burgers? The original recipe at the beet burger website uses smoked salt, Chipotle sauce, mustard, and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. All these contain salt.
And for the salt-sensitive person with high blood pressure trying to eat more vegetables for their potassium content and the natural salt already in the bread buns and in the black-eyed peas and beets, this variation on the recipe leaves out the salty ingredients.
Also the original recipe calls for dairy (butter). But in this recipe, instead of butter, you can use extra virgin olive oil or any other oil if you’re interested in leaving out the long-chain fatty acids. Even a teaspoon of melted coconut oil with medium chain fatty acids could be used, or grape seed oil, rice bran oil, or walnut oil.
Preparing beet burgers
Choose the ingredients you enjoy according to what you need for your health requirements. Here’s how to make beet burgers. The recipe becomes vegan if you leave out the dairy product (butter) in the original recipe. Also, instead of using one can of drained black-eyed peas with all the salt content of the can, since some canned vegetables contain more than 500 mg of salt and others less, how about just boiling your own black-eyed peas without adding salt, if you’re trying to lower your salt intake?
Here are some alternative ingredients for those who don’t want to add salty condiments, dairy, or even eggs. For example 1/4 cup of ground flax seed takes the place of one egg, for vegans who don’t want animal products in their beet burgers. See the site, The Cooking Inn: Egg Substitutes. The quarter cup of flax seed (ground meal) holds the patty or batter together when baking instead of using one egg.
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion (finely diced)
2 cloves of garlic (grated or finely diced)
2 roasted beets (peeled and finely diced)
1 cup of cooked and mashed black-eyed peas
1/4 cup of ground flax seed for vegans or 1 egg for those who are not vegans. The ground flax seed (flax-seed meal) substitutes for egg. The ratio is 1/4 cup of ground flax seed equals one egg in its ability to hold things together in baking.
1/4 cup garbanzo bean/chickpea flour
2 tablespoons of chipotle BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon of no-salt added sauerkraut
2 tablespoons of lime juice
1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of dried basil
dash of black pepper, dash of turmeric, dash of curry powder, optional 1/4 teaspoon thyme, optional 1/4 teaspoon oregano or 1/4 teaspoon of tarragon
Saute onion in olive oil or any other oil you choose until the onion is translucent and add the garlic. Saute for a minute or two more and then add the diced beets and cooked, mashed black-eyed peas.
Cook until the peas are soft and the beets are heated. Add in the, apple cider vinegar, spices, and season to taste. Cool the mixture a bit and add the ground flax seed meal if vegan or the egg if not vegan and garabanzo bean/chickpea flour. Ground legume flour also can be used, such as lentil flour. Or sweet potato flour can be used instead of garbanzo bean/chick pea flour. Finally, puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor.
Form the mixture into patties. Then bake your burgers instead of frying them to keep the grease at bay. Bake the patties at 350-degrees for about 25 minutes. The burgers/patties also can be shaped and stored in the refrigerator for a day, if necessary.
Another variation is to partially bake the burgers as the original recipe states, but then you’d have to refrigerate them and heat them up again on a grill. But why use a grill to char food which is defeating the purpose of eating food not charred at high heat where it could form AGEs. See, Health Correlator: High-heat cooking will AGE you, if you eat food and WHFoods: High-Temperature Cooking & The World’s Healthiest Foods.
Exposure of food to high heat may be convenient and quick, but high heat causes end products (AGEs) to form in various foods that cause more tissue damage and inflammation than foods cooked at low heat or are dehydrated or fermented.
So the healthiest move to make would be to just bake the patties/burgers until they hold together and have the chewy feeling of other types of veggie burgers as far as consistency. Your stomach really doesn’t crave charcoal or or smoky flavor, even if your nose is drawn to that scent. Most commercial veggie burgers are made from soy protein and vegetables.
What you get out of making your own vegan or vegetarian patties or burgers at home is that you don’t have to add hydrolyzed vegetable protein to your burger to get the ingredients to hold together in a patty shape.
You can just let the patty chill in the refrigerator a few hours and bake them. Then put them on a bun, a whole-grain corn tortilla, or serve on a bed of leafy vegetables.
Last year, many commercial foods were recalled due to problems with hydrolyzed vegetable protein. See the article, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein Recall | Child Nutrition.
What’s really in “natural flavorings” you see on hundreds of food labels in the supermarket?
According to the USDA site on “Food Safety: Natural Flavorings on Meat and Poultry Labels, “The USDA site answers the question: “What substances or ingredients can be listed as “natural flavor,” “flavor,” or “flavorings” rather than by a specific common or usual name?” USDA notes that, “Spices (e.g., black pepper, basil, and ginger), spice extracts, essential oils, oleoresins, onion powder, garlic powder, celery powder, onion juice, and garlic juice are all ingredients that may be declared on labeling as ‘natural flavor,’ ‘flavor,’ or ‘flavoring.’ Spices, oleoresins, essential oils, and spice extracts are listed in the Food and Drug Administration regulations.”
Beet Burger Recipes Sites
The Beet Burger | Macheesmo
Roasted Beet-Tofu Burgers | recipe from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Cook’s Hideout: Beet Burger
Beet Burgers @Craftzine.com blog Beet Burgers and The SOS Kitchen Challenge! | Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Vegetarian Beet Burger Recipe