Eating for Life

Adults get a reality check

When Cook's Illustrated founder and editor Christopher Kimball surveys readers about the kinds of recipes they want, they say they're eager to cook more vegetables and fish.

Later, when he goes back to survey which recipes were most popular, good intentions lose out to reality.

"We really all want meat and chocolate," says Kimball, the trim, bow-tied and bespectacled host of the magazine's popular PBS television show "America's Test Kitchen."

Look up the word "diet" in Webster's New World Dictionary and you'll find this definition: "what a person...usually eats or drinks; daily fare." But over the last two decades the calorie count of our daily fare is far in excess of our energy output.

Sixty-five percent of American adults are considered overweight or obese, and health experts estimate 350,000 deaths each year can be linked to obesity. The economic costs are equally as staggering: $117 billion a year in the United States.

No wonder low-carbohydrate regimens, such as Atkins or South Beach, are among the hot diets of the moment. But what most adults really need isn't a short-term diet but a way of eating that can truly change our lives for the long haul.

This is the third installment in The Star's Eating for Life series, a four-part series featuring age-specific recipes that reflect the particular tastes and important nutrition milestones encountered throughout the life span. The six-month project included a team of home economists and registered dietitians who consulted with us.

The recipe solutions stem from a five-part Nutrition for Life series that appeared last May and detailed the societal and cultural shifts leading Americans to our current obesity epidemic. And because exercise is crucial to health, FYI asked fitness experts to provide tips on meeting your activity goals.

Who wouldn't want to work out if the reward for the effort is Orange Glazed Salmon and Greens, Broccoli Asian Slaw or Cranberry Spiced Oatmeal Chews?

We believe if it tastes good and it's good for you, it's a "diet" we can live with.