At a healthy foods seminar hosted by the MU Extension, a panel of five speakers discussed what constitutes healthy foods Tuesday night at Memorial Union.
All of the speakers had varied responses as to what healthy food is.
Kevin Fritsche, a nutritional sciences professor in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, defined healthy foods as “those foods that contribute to meeting overall nutrient requirements and promote health.”
He noted that “there are no good or bad foods, only bad diets.”
Fritsche also introduced nutrient profiling.
“It is the science of ranking and or classifying foods based on their nutrient composition,” he said.
Doing so could make consumers healthier, Fritsche said.
More than 60 percent of adults are overweight in the U.S., David Goldstein, a professor of child health, said.
“The good news is that the steady prevalence of obesity in the U.S. over the past 50 years seems to be reaching a plateau,” he said. “The bad news is that we are still fat and sedentary.”
Carol Lorenzen, an animal science professor emphasized the benefits of red meat because it is packed with nutrients at a reasonable price, and it has complete protein, iron, B vitamins and zinc.
“Healthy food means a complete protein delivered in a tasty and appealing manner,” Lorenzen said.
“Beef can fit into a healthy diet in three-ounce portions,” Lorenzen said. “Protein intake plus resistance exercise can maintain muscle mass in older people.”
Protein is essential to keeping you full longer — a must for college students, she said.
Though there is no simple rule to follow, students want 20-25 percent of their diet to be fats, 15-20 percent protein and the rest carbs, she said.
“We’ve really screwed up breakfast,” Fritsche said.
He recommended a reasonably good amount of protein such as a bowl of cereal with milk.
Goldstein recommended writing a three-day food diary and going through it with a nutritionist.
An ideal lunch, according to Laina Fullum, the nutritional services director of Columbia Public Schools, is a sandwich with meat and a vegetable, water and an apple.
Fullum works toward providing healthy lunches for Columbia Public Schools students. CPS serves 29 kitchens for 33 sites with at least 155 employees.
Fullum expressed the challenge of providing healthy food with the small budget.
“USDA funding has not kept pace, budget constraints affect the quality of food, many students do not like the new food," Fullum said. "There is a discouraging level of interest in healthy food. Budgets are tightening. We cannot afford organic and we cannot source 100 percent local."
Tuesday night’s panel was the first in a series of panels that will continue for the next five weeks. The panels will cover topics such as affordability, fairness, greenness and a wrap-up of healthy living.