More than 80,000 people have signed vegan author and activist Kathy Freston's petition urging McDonald's to add a veggie burger to the menu, and celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Simmons, Pamela Anderson and Alicia Silverstone have chimed in with support on social media. The chain offered a veggie burger for a while starting in 2000, but it didn't meet with success; Freston says times and tastes have changed since then as consumers have become more health conscious.
Nutritionists pack lunches for their children that offer lean protein, low-fat dairy, plenty of fruit and vegetable options, and a treat. Registered dietitian Kit Broihier says she includes ingredients for a wrap, such as turkey, lettuce, tomato and a tortilla, so her daughter can make it herself, while RD Ilaria St. Florian says she tries to strike a balance between healthy foods and foods she knows her children will eat.
Comfort foods such as meatballs, burgers and meatloaf don't have to ruin a healthy diet. Adding shredded vegetables to lean ground meat can pump up the flavor while trimming out unnecessary fat. "Vegetables add flavor and texture that can make a typically meat-centric dish much more interesting," says cookbook author Tara Mataraza Desmond. "The featured meat still lends all its best qualities -- richness, umami and chew -- but they are accentuated by those of veggies -- sweet or earthy notes, soft bite, color."
The traditional green-bean casserole often is the only green vegetable on the Thanksgiving menu, but autumn offers hearty options such as kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli, chef and cookbook author Kim O'Donnel writes. She recommends adding kale to mashed potatoes, turning Brussels sprouts into a slaw side dish and roasting broccoli pickup sticks in the oven.
Nutritionist Tracye Lynn McQuirter wants African-American women to regain control of their health and battle high rates of obesity, cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Her book "By Any Greens Necessary: A Revolutionary Guide for Black Women Who Want to Eat Great, Get Healthy, Lose Weight, and Look Phat," advocates a plant-based diet and dispels myths about vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.