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Monday, November 11, 2019

Low calorie fast food options - Fast food calorie menu labeling reduces calorie intake slightly

Low calorie fast food options - Fast food calorie menu labeling reduces calorie intake slightly

When every dish and beverage on a typical fast food joint menu shows the calories it contains, people immediately tend to buy food with less calories, on average, than if they don’t have calorie labels, says a study published on October 31, 2019, in the British Medical Journal. The decrease was small, but if the purchasing pattern is followed up, it tends to vanish over the next year. The researchers conclude that simply adding calorie information may not make people change their long-term calorie intake from fast food restaurants.





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The study About one-third of the calories ingested by the average American in a day comes from food purchased from outside. Again, one in three American adults eat fast food every single day.
The current study was based on data collected by a large restaurant chain in the US, where it has been mandatory for large franchises to label fast foods with their caloric count since May 2018. The idea was that knowing how many calories different foods supplied would help consumers choose more healthy foods, and would also thereby provide an incentive for the manufacture of fast foods with lower calories, or a larger variety of low-calorie fast foods. The UK is also considering the adoption of similar measures.

However, available research could not say whether this step actually affects consumer choices. This motivated the current study, which analyzed the information on purchases at a large fast food franchise in the southern part of the USA. The population rate of obesity in this part of the country is among the highest in the US, at about 34%.



The restaurants in this chain first put calorie counts on their menu in April 2017. The sales data for each week was available from 104 restaurants from April 2015 to April 2017, and then, after the beginning of labeling, from April 2017 to April 2018. Thus there were almost 50 million transactions covering two years of pre-calorie label choices, and one year after labeling began.
Using this data, the researchers classified the purchased food items into the following groups:
  • Entrees and main courses
  • Side dishes including desserts
  • Beverages containing sugar
  • Low-calorie beverages
  • Condiments



  • They first looked up the total number of calories for each item individually, using a database called Menustat which lists nutritional information for menu items from the best-selling restaurant chains in the US. They then looked at purchases over this 3-year period and calculated the average calories per transaction.
    The findings They found an immediate decline by 4% in the total food calories bought in an average transaction. In other words, there were about 60 fewer calories per transaction. This remained true even when seasonal changes, holiday meals and the baseline patterns were all adjusted for.
    This might have been an encouraging trend, if not for the one-year follow-up period. During this time, the average calories with each purchase crept up slowly week by week, and over one year, the average calorie reduction was only 23 calories below what it had been before labeling. Moreover, the researchers hint that the number of calories might revert to this higher level even faster among people with a lower income.
    Again, there was a nearly 25% initial decrease in the number of calories from side dishes ordered, but the calories per purchase then began to increase again over the post-labeling period. Calories from beverages containing sugar were also reduced and continued to reduce over time. Though small,
    Implications

    The outcomes are subject to some study flaws, say the researchers. For instance, they could not find out the average calorie count for the food bought by one individual. They also have no clue as to whether and how much of each type of condiment was added, the number of beverage refills, and the amount of food eaten out of each meal ordered. However, they are confident that the size of the sample population, the long period of study, and the robustness of the findings after adjusting for several variables, makes the study conclusions more reliable.


    As a result, they say, “Before drawing conclusions on the overall effectiveness of calorie labeling as a nutrition policy, future research should be done to estimate the effects of labeling over a longer period, especially once restaurants have had sufficient time to reformulate their menus.”
    Other nutritional researchers commented on the study, in an editorial published with the study. They pointed out the apparent shift towards higher-calorie food purchase by the poorer section of the restaurant’s customers, which could reinforce unequal health opportunities. In other words, those with more money to spend can afford to buy more healthy foods, leaving those with less disposable income to gravitate towards the cheaper fast food options available. Another possible outcome could be that restaurants cut calories by changing around the recipes for their fast food dishes, but compensate for any loss of taste by piling on less healthy nutrients like salt, sugar and fat. One way to get around this could be to ensure that nutritional labels contain this information as well. Another simpler way would be, of course, to encourage home cooking!


    The researchers do not discount the apparently small reduction in average calories purchased following calorie labels. The fact is that at population level, a small change is immensely magnified in terms of its effect on health, particularly on obesity and linked metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. They say that nutritional labels, including calorie labels, on restaurant menus, is a good idea and should be implemented as part of a wider approach across regions, countries and governments, to improve population health.

    Wednesday, November 6, 2019

    Healthy Breakfast: Delicious Protein Smoothies To Drink For Breakfast

    Healthy Breakfast: Delicious Protein Smoothies To Drink For Breakfast

    A healthy breakfast is very important for a healthy body. If you are one of those people who skip breakfast due to lack of time or any other reason, then here are some simple smoothies that you can have for breakfast. Protein is one of the most important things that the body needs for healthy skin, hair, bones, and even heart. A breakfast filled with protein can also reportedly prevent overeating.
    Also Read: Vegan Diet: Top Protein Rich Vegan Foods To Include In Your Diet
    Also Read: Whey Protein: How To Use The Protein Drink For A Fitter Lifestyle


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    1.  Apple smoothie Ingredients: Water, milk or yoghurt, vanilla flavoured protein, 1 sliced apple, 1 cup spinach, handful almonds, 1/4 cup of uncooked oats, and cinnamon (optional).
    Recipe: Do not peel the apple. Just blend all the ingredients using a blender. Add ice to the smoothie if you like. Serve it in a mason jar and sprinkle some cinnamon on top. The smoothie contains about 535 calories, 58g of protein, and 13g of fats.
     
    2. Chocolate and banana smoothie Ingredients: Water, milk or yoghurt, 2 scoops chocolate flavoured protein powder, 1 banana, 1 cup of spinach, 2 teaspoons natural peanut butter, 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder.
    Recipe: Blend all the ingredients and serve chilled. This smoothie contains 585 calories, 59g of protein, and 22g of fats.
     
    3. Strawberry-banana smoothie Ingredients: Water, milk or yoghurt, 2 scoops of vanilla or strawberry flavoured protein powder, 1 banana, 1 cup of frozen strawberries, 1 cup of spinach.
    Recipe: Just blend all the ingredients. Serve the smoothie chilled. Cut some strawberries and add it as a topping. The smoothie has about 490 calories, 55g of protein, and 9g of fats.
     
     
     
    4. Chocolate cherry smoothies Ingredients: Water, milk or yoghurt, 2 scoops chocolate flavoured powder, 2 cups of sweet cherries, a cup of spinach, walnuts (optional), cocoa powder
    Recipe: Blend all the ingredients. Remove the seeds from the cherries before blending. Serve the shake chilled and sprinkle some cocoa powder on top for presentation. The smoothie is made up of 520 calories, 56g of protein, and 47g of fat.
     
    5. Coconut almond smoothie Ingredients: 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 teaspoon unsweetened coconut flakes, 1 cup almond milk, dark chocolate, 1 teaspoon of almond butter, 1 and a half cup of water, ice cubes optional.
    Recipe: Blend the ingredients using a blender, add ice cubes as required. Decorate using coconut flakes and dark chocolate shavings.
    Also Read: 5 Best Whey Protein Powders In India: The Best Protein Supplements For You
    Also Read: Zumba: Burn Fats And Calories With These Workout Preps

    Quick hearty meals-Joe Trivelli’s hearty, sustaining autumn recipes

    Quick hearty meals-Joe Trivelli’s hearty, sustaining autumn recipes

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    After an early, stop-start beginning, autumn is well under way. It is arguably the finest and most exciting season for the cook: when the showstoppers, ripened or fattened by mellow sun and lazy summer days, hit the shelves. At work, whole fungi, game and pumpkins take turns glowing in the embers of the wood oven, while close by the celebratory first white truffles are being shaved over taglierini, pizza and sometimes salads.
    At home our weekly vegetable box keeps us locked into the season. It is heartening, too, to see more unusual seasonal products, such as cobnuts, on supermarket shelves. My recipes reflect how we eat as a family and our longing for dishes with backbone, something to sustain and support us as the long nights draw in.

    The beetroots and shallots are dressed with a piquant but fortifying old-fashioned sauce that plays to the vegetables’ sweetness. Contrastingly, bitter leaves, such as radicchio, raise the bar in the salad stakes. I can’t resist their ruby leaves and love how their flavour offsets the aniseed flavour of fennel and cuts through the fattiness of the salty bacon. I have used the heart of the celery, one of my favourite ingredients, to add extra crunch. Then there is a variation of a parmigiana that I first made by accident. Everyone loves aubergine parmigiana, unctuous, rich and melting. Here, I’ve steamed mushrooms to allow their heady character to shine through in the bake with special effect.
    If it’s autumn, there has to be pudding, at our house anyway. The fig and walnut recipe is intended to satisfy fans of steamed puddings, but it is so easy to make it’s almost cheating. The fruit rises to the top in marbled, jammy splodges. We ate it just above room temperature without cream or yogurt, but could have had either, or both. It’s autumn. And indulgence starts here.
     
    Baked apple and radicchio salad  The ultimate autumn salad and a meal in a bowl. Serves 4
    crisp apples, such as Cox 2 good bacon or pancetta lardons 200g fennel seeds a pinchwine 1 glassparsley a small bunchround radicchio ½ inner celery heart 1 fennel 1 bulb lemon 1horseradish 2 tbsp, grated olive oil
    Heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Cut the apples into segments and core them. Fry the bacon/pancetta over a medium heat in a heavy pan that will go in the oven. When a bit crispy round the edges add the fennel seeds followed by the apples and wine. Move to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Allow them to cool a little before assembling.
    Pick and wash the parsley, wash the radicchio, tearing the leaves as you go. Slice the celery heart and fennel.

    Squeeze the lemon over the horseradish and loosen with a little olive oil. Season the leaves and vegetables with a little salt and pepper in a salad bowl before adding everything else and tossing further.
    Beetroot and caper sauce An old-fashioned preparation: beetroot and caper sauce. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer An old-fashioned preparation for beetroots with a sauce thickened with a touch of flour. A meat stock will add an extra dimension if you have it but reserved vegetable cooking water would be equally good. Serves 4
    beetroots 500g, scrubbedgarlic 3 cloves shallots 200g, peeled celery ½ head thyme 2 sprigs, pickedolive oil butter 40g small salted capers 2 tbsp rosemary 1 sprig, pickedfine flour ½tbspwine vinegar 2 tbspbroth or water 100ml

    Heat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5. Lay two foil sheets side by side with a square of baking paper on top of each. In the centre of one place the trimmed and well-cleaned beetroots and one of the garlic cloves, on the other the shallots, celery heart cut into pieces roughly the same length as the shallots, and another garlic. Season both well, sprinkle with the thyme leaves and drizzle with oil.
    Fold and crunch up each to make two enclosed parcels. Bake on a tray, with the folds facing up so that no liquid escapes, until soft when pricked with a knife.
    Be cautious when opening the packages to check, so you are not burnt by the steam within. They will both take about an hour depending on the size and freshness of the beetroots.
    Slice the beets and arrange on a warm plate with the other vegetables before making the sauce. Melt the butter in your smallest pan over a medium heat with the last garlic sliced in two. When foaming well, add the capers and rosemary leaves and fry for half a minute before adding the flour. Stir continuously over a lowered heat for 3 minutes, then add the vinegar and broth or water in quick succession, stirring quickly all the while to avoid lumps. Continue to cook for 5 minutes and pour the smooth sauce over the vegetables. Season with plenty of freshly cracked black pepper.
    Celeriac, porcini, potato and mozzarella This would be good with many types of fungi: celeriac, porcini, potato and mozzarella. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer I was going to make this with fresh porcini, but when I went to my local deli, they were £99.50/kg so I stuck to dried porcini and shiitake. Nice in a couple of big dishes or individual ones, this is more of a main than a side and would be good with many other types of edible fungi. Serves 4 as a main
    dried porcini 15g shiitake or fresh porcini 300g garlic 2 cloves, chopped thyme 8 sprigsextra virgin olive oilceleriac 250g celery with leaves 2 stickspotatoes 250g mozzarella 250g, slicedparmesan 50g, grated



    Heat the oven to 170C/gas mark 3. Soak the dried porcini in hot water for 20 minutes and then cut the fresh and dried mushrooms into ½ cm slices. Chop the garlic and pick the thyme. Dress the mushrooms with most of the thyme, the garlic, a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
    Peel and slice the celeriac and celery as thinly as you can. Thinly slice the potatoes as well, you don’t have to peel them – just scrub. Toss them together with salt, pepper and olive oil. Drizzle a high-sided cooking dish/dishes with olive oil and embark on a first layer interspersed with potatoes, celeriac and celery. Cover with a layer of mushrooms and a third of the mozzarella slices. Finely sprinkle with parmesan before adding another celeriac and potatoes layer and repeat the process. Continue until everything is used, finishing with mozzarella, parmesan, 3 tbsp of water and a sprinkle of the remaining thyme leaves.
    Loosely cover with foil or paper and bake for 45 minutes, removing the foil cover for the last 10 minutes so that the top is bubbling and golden.
    Fig and walnut pudding Especially good with rye bread: fig and walnut pudding. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

    I especially like this with rye bread. There’s no need for any salt with this recipe as the bread will already have it. The method is quite crude, but the result is special. I am told it is good cold for breakfast, too, but I was up last so didn’t get to try.
    bread 200g, thickest crust removed milk 400mlgolden caster sugar 120g honey 30g butter 30g eggs 4 shelled walnuts 100g figs 300g (4 large), each fig segmented into 8ths
    Soak bread in the milk for at least half an hour until totally soft. Heat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3.
    Blitz the bread and milk in a food processor. Add the sugar and honey and mix more. In a small pan, melt the butter and then turn down the heat and cook until light brown and nutty. Pour into the mixer, too, followed by the eggs. Mix.
    Tear off a large sheet of baking paper that will comfortably fit inside a suitable baking dish. A tip is to screw the paper up first so that it holds its shape better. Pour the batter in, stir in the walnuts and evenly scatter over the figs.
    Bake for 45 minutes. Serve hot with cold pouring cream and whisky if desired.
    Joe Trivelli is co-head chef at the River Café

    Best quick meals - Keep celebrating the season with pasta dinner with pumpkin, sage and sausage

    Best quick meals  - Keep celebrating the season with pasta dinner with pumpkin, sage and sausage

     
     
     © Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS The warm garlic bread is finished with fresh herbs, like sage, thyme, chives and oregano. Best quick mealsThis season puts me in panic mode: Sunlight dwindles and, therefore, so does the herb garden. Farmers markets close up shop. What to cook now?
    In the Midwest, we feel blessed if the garden’s basil, cilantro, mint and dill remain bright and green until October. Late in the month, fresh sage, thyme, parsley and perhaps chives are all my garden offers to enhance my cooking and cravings for flavor. Fortunately, these decidedly fall herbs pair well with other fall offerings such as pumpkin, winter squash and hearty greens.
    Now is the time to stock up on sugar pumpkins, aka pie pumpkins, and other gorgeous varieties. Decorate with them, yes, but be sure to cook them into soup and stews throughout the season. Indeed, the pale, blueish-green flat pumpkins, the bright orange lakotas, the oddly shaped turbans and the small “sweet lightening” squash taste as good as they are attractive. In fact, I like eating all pumpkins with the exception of the large specimens best for Halloween carving.
     
     

    © Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS Fresh sage leaves fry up beautifully in a little olive oil and make a handsome garnish to the pasta. Use the oil to flavor the dish, and save the extra for salads and other pasta dishes. Peeled, diced and roasted, pumpkin and other winter squashes make a fantastically delicious side dish to roast pork and poultry. Of course, I clean, rinse and salt the pumpkin seeds to slow roast for a snack.
    How much pumpkin to buy for cooking? Know that small to medium-size pumpkins and winter squash yield about 1 cup peeled, diced flesh per pound. In other words, a 3-pound pie pumpkin will give you 3 cups of cubes ready for roasting. The skin is not edible no matter how you cook these hard winter squashes. A vegetable peeler rarely works; you’ll need a sharp knife and a bit of patience.
     
     
     
     
    © Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS Fresh pumpkin is roasted for the pasta dish, then bolstered with a sausage and sage ragu. Styling by Shannon Kinsella. The taste and texture of freshly peeled pumpkin (or ranut squash) is worth the effort to me — when I have the time. For a quick weeknight supper, I confess to using peeled and diced butternut squash sold in bags in the produce section. Just know that some texture will be sacrificed as the prepped vegetable tends to be soggier.
    My fall celebration meal pairs roasted pumpkin with a quick sausage ragu with a topping of fried sage leaves served over pappardelle pasta. You can also use wide egg noodles here; just be sure to use a brand made with egg yolks for the deep yellow color — a nice contrast to the pumpkin.
    For the sausage in the ragu, I like the chub of sage-infused pork sausage sold in the breakfast meat section of the grocery store — near the bacon. Alternatively, use mild or hot Italian sausage without casings. When I’m watching my fat intake, I substitute ground turkey and add a double-dose of the poultry seasoning for added flavor. My favorite version uses fresh venison sausage brought to me by a loving cousin.
    Serve the pasta dish with a wedge of baby romaine topped with a fresh lemon dressing. Crusty garlic bread is always a treat.
    Armed with ideas to celebrate fall flavors, I’m ready for the ghosts and goblins to show up. Just ring the doorbell, please. No panic needed here.
    Fall celebration menu
    Pumpkin, sausage and sage ragu over pappardelle pasta
    Baby romaine wedge salad with creamy lemon dressing
    Crusty garlic bread with herbs
    Pumpkin ice cream and cookies
    Sparkling cider
    ————
    PUMPKIN, SAUSAGE AND SAGE RAGU OVER PAPPARDELLE
    Prep: 25 minutes
    Cook: 25 minutes
    Makes: 4 servings
    You can use diced butternut squash from the produce department to save time. Bottled poultry seasoning tastes like fall; it’s usually made from thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper and nutmeg.
    2 to 3 generous cups diced peeled fresh pumpkin or butternut squash, 12 to 16 ounces
    1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 pound bulk pork sausage with sage, or bulk mild or hot Italian sausage
    1/2 large white onion, diced
    1 cup diced mushrooms
    1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with juices
    2 large cloves garlic, crushed
    1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
    Salt, freshly ground pepper
    1 package (8.8 ounces) egg pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta (or egg noodles)
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or chives
    1 tablespoon very finely sliced fresh sage leaves
    2 tablespoons sage oil, see recipe, optional
    Fried sage leaves, see recipe
    Shredded Parmesan
    1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss pumpkin cubes with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet, stirring once or twice, until tender and golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven. (Refrigerate covered up to several days; reheat before using.)
    2. Meanwhile, put sausage, onion and mushrooms in large nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat (use a splatter guard) stirring and chopping up the sausage with a spatula until meat is thoroughly cooked and golden, about 10 minutes.
    3. Stir in tomatoes, garlic and poultry seasoning. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. (Mixture can be made up to 2 days in advance; refrigerate covered and reheat before using.)
    4. Heat a large kettle of generously salted water over high heat to boil. Add the pasta. Cook, stirring often, until al dente, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain the pasta.
    5. Add drained pasta to the skillet with the meat. Toss to coat. Add the roasted pumpkin, parsley, fresh sage leaves and sage oil if using. Toss.
    6. Serve garnished with fried sage leaves. Pass the Parmesan.
    Nutrition information per serving: 551 calories, 23 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 66 mg cholesterol, 62 g carbohydrates, 9 g sugar, 23 g protein, 973 mg sodium, 4 g fiber
    SAGE OIL AND FRIED LEAVES
    Prep: 5 minutes
    Cook: 2 minutes
    Makes: about 1/3 cup
    1/3 cup expeller-pressed canola oil, safflower oil or sunflower oil
    15 to 20 large sage leaves, patted dry
    Coarse salt
    1. Heat oil in a small, deep skillet set over medium heat until the edge of a sage leaf sizzles when inserted into the oil. Add 5 sage leaves and turn with a fork (watch for sputtering oil) until dark green but not brown, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain on a paper toweling. Repeat to fry all the leaves making sure oil never gets too hot.
    2. Use the sage leaves while still warm. Reserve the oil for use later with pasta or in salads.
    CREAMY LEMON SALAD DRESSING WITH FRESH THYME AND HONEY
    Prep: 10 minutes
    Makes: about 1 cup
    This tangy dressing tastes delicious over hearty salad greens such as baby kale, endive and wedges of baby romaine. Diced tomato or roasted red bell pepper bits complement the dressing nicely.
    1 large or 2 small lemons
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
    2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon each, finely chopped fresh thyme and fresh sage leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon each dried)
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 to 2 teaspoons honey
    1. Use a rasp grater to grate lemon zest into a small bowl. You’ll need about 1 teaspoon zest (but no white pith or the dressing will be bitter).
    2. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl. You should have just about 1/4 cup. Add the oils, mayonnaise, garlic, salt, herbs and pepper. Whisk to mix well. Add 1 teaspoon honey. Whisk again and taste. Adjust the seasoning with more honey or salt if desired.
    Nutrition information per 1 tablespoon: 60 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 1 g carbohydrates, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein, 84 mg sodium, 0 g fiber
    CRUSTY GARLIC BREAD WITH HERBS
    Prep: 10 minutes
    Bake: 12 minutes
    Makes: 6 servings
    I confess to a fondness for Lawry’s Garlic Salt with Parsley for speedy garlic bread. Use a par-baked loaf (also called take-and-bake) from the supermarket, found in the bakery or freezer case.
    1 baguette loaf (about 14 ounces) take-and-bake bread
    1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
    Garlic salt with parsley, to taste
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as a combination of sage, thyme, chives, oregano
    1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Slice bread horizontally in half and place cut side up on a baking sheet.
    2. Smear butter over both bread halves. Sprinkle generously with garlic salt. Bake until edges of bread are crusty, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with herbs. Bake 1 or 2 minutes more. Serve warm.
    Nutrition information per serving: 249 calories, 9 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 35 g carbohydrates, 3 g sugar, 7 g protein, 399 mg sodium, 1 g fiber
    ———
    ©2019 Chicago Tribune
    Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
    Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

    Free school meals in jeopardy for nearly a million poor children - cheap dinners for 2

    Free school meals in jeopardy for nearly a million poor children - cheap dinners for 2

    World Food Day, established in honor the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, was last Wednesday.
    What timing for the Trump administration to release, on the eve of World Food Day, an analysis of proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture regulatory action that would result in almost 1 million low-income children losing automatic eligibility for free school meals.
    The proposal would affect children certified for free meals because their families get food stamps, bureaucratically known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.


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    About 3.1 million people would lose food stamps under an administration plan that would affect eligibility. The administration's analysis says "potentially as many as 982,000 children would no longer be directly certified for free school meals based on SNAP participation."
    About 13.4 million children were automatically certified for free school meals through SNAP in the 2016-2017 school year, according to the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), using USDA data. It is a nonprofit that works to eliminate poverty-related hunger.
    Speaking of timing, the department's Food and Nutrition Service allowed only until Nov. 1 for public comment on the analysis that could affect the health and nutrition of so many. Agencies can change the way programs operate through an administrative or regulatory process that does not require congressional approval.


    "Shockingly, the department failed to disclose this analysis when it originally published its proposal despite being required to do so" in July, said Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., chairwoman of the House Education and Labor civil rights and human services subcommittee. The two-week comment period, beginning Friday, "is woefully insufficient in light of how many people will be affected by this rule."
    The administration wants to change options that allow states to offer SNAP benefits to an expanded group of low-income recipients.
    "Children lose twice under the SNAP rules change," FRAC experts Crystal FitzSimons and Ellen Vollinger said in an email to the Federal Insider. "They lose SNAP food benefits at home and lose free breakfasts and lunches at school."


    The new estimates are far greater than the 400,000 households that would lose food stamps and the 265,000 children who would lose free school meals under an earlier and similar, but not identical, proposal that Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio), chairwoman of the House Agriculture nutrition subcommittee, cited in June using Congressional Budget Office data.
    "I take hunger very, very seriously," she told Brandon Lipps, a USDA deputy undersecretary, at an Education and Labor subcommittee hearing last week. "I represent one of the poorest districts in the United States. Half of the children in the city of Cleveland are living in poverty, according to U.S. Census data. These kids often live in SNAP households and rely on the free nutritious meals provided by their local schools to succeed in their classrooms."
    Lipps said the administration wants to eliminate "egregious program abuses" that "leave a dark cloud over this important program, risking future support and reflecting negatively on participants who need access to the programs." The analysis was provided as soon as it was ready, he said, and 14 days "is sufficient time for the public to comment" on the four-page document.
    Of the 982,000 children, "55 percent would no longer be income eligible for free school meals," though most of those would be eligible for reduced-price meals, according to the USDA's analysis. About 45 percent would be able to receive free meals through other programs but not automatically, as is now the case.

    With automatic or "direct certification" gone, families seeking free or discounted meals would have to apply for a service that now happens without any action on their part.
    About 2,000 schools now provide free meals to all their students, which simplifies the program, reduces paperwork and results in, Bonamici said, "the elimination of stigma among students."
    In response, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, the top Republican on the panel, insisted that "all eligible children will continue to receive school meals. Let me repeat that, all eligible schoolchildren will continue to receive meals."


    His comment did not note the elimination of automatic free meals. "I believe the rule will strengthen integrity in the SNAP program by closing an unintended loophole that has allowed some states to extend food stamp eligibility to millions of people who did not qualify while taking away resources meant for the truly needy," he said.
    But as a result of the Trump plan, "These schools will be forced to go through the burdensome process of asking low-income families to fill out individual applications for free or reduced-price school meals," Bonamici said.
    "Inevitably, if this rule is implemented, many more low-income students who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals will not receive the food assistance they desperately need. That is nothing short of a preventable tragedy."
    This article was written by Joe Davidson, a reporter for The Washington Post.