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Monday, November 24, 2008

Accessible Nutritional Content Information Websites

Most will agree that eating is one of life's greatest pleasures. There are many foods and many ways to fix them. There are packaged foods, meats, fresh fruits, vegetables, and fast foods. Some are better for us than others. The trick is to know how to combine them in order to build a healthy diet and lifestyle.

But how do we go about learning which foods are better for us than others, and the kind of nutrients they offer? By law, packages are required to have labels specifying the nutritional content of the food they contain. For fast foods, fruits and vegetables there are a number of charts and tables available in books, health magazines and grocery store billboards. However, none of this information is readily accessible to blind individuals.

Although the Internet has become a great resource for blind people to acquire information, most of the sites that list nutritional content of foods are not accessible. Most of them use a variety of charts and tables to list the nutritional content of foods. While this is an effective way to visually convey information, charts and tables are very difficult or impossible to follow for people relying in screen access software.

Since nutritional information is as essential to blind individuals as it is to anyone who wants to have a healthy lifestyle, we did some research for you. In this record we have found some speech friendly Internet sites for nutritional contents.

Do You Really Want to Eat That?

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has an article by Janet Ingber titled Do You Really Want to Eat That? Accessibility of Nutritional Information on Restaurant Companies' Websites. Taken from the article:

"Did you ever wonder how many calories and how much fat are in a fast-food burger or latte? Some cities now have regulations that require restaurants to post the nutritional information for the food they serve. However, if you are blind or have low vision, you may not have access to this information. Before you drink that latte or eat that burger, you may want to check out the nutritional information for these and other items. This article reviews a variety of fast-food websites to determine whether nutrition information for their products is accessible... An accessible website can help consumers with visual impairments make informed decisions about what food they choose to eat. The restaurant websites that I reviewed are Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Subway, Papa John's, Domino's, Baskin-Robbins, and TCBY."

You can read the entire article at http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw090605.

Chow Baby

At Chow Baby you can check out the nutritional content of those delicious fast food tacos, burgers, cheese sticks and fried chicken. Although the site is not specifically designed for blind users, it is speech friendly and easy to use.

Looking for new "Restaurant Experiences"? If you're tired of frequenting the same old restaurants or can't find that specific "something" you are craving, Chowbaby.com is the place to visit. Their dining directory hosts restaurant websites from all over the nation and your next perfect dining experience is likely among them. Use the search tools to find the "type of restaurants" you like and then read among the results before clicking on the website links. The websites offer you virtual tours or photographs of the restaurants interior, a list of the services they provide, the hours of operation, all their menus including wine and cocktails, what it costs to dine there, what methods of payment are acceptable, if they have a dress code, what specialties they offer and how to map the drive from where you are to the restaurant. Did you say you're looking for a restaurant? Chowbaby.com is the go to Restaurant Guide!

Click this link to visit the Chow Baby homepage: http://www.chowbaby.com.

To retrieve information about a particular fast food place, you need to select one of the choices listed in their combo box, and do a search. For instance, you may want to check out "Burger King". Your search results will retrieve a list of those items in their menu, for example, the "whopper", "fries", etc. Each item will link you to its corresponding nutritional content analysis.

Click this link to visit Chow Baby's Fast Food Calories and Calorie Counter page.

Food and Nutrition Solutions

The University of Illinois' Food and Nutrition Solutions Series website offers tips and guides on food preparation, preservation, safety and storage, and tools for nutritional analysis. Particularly useful: Its "Is it safe" guides for a number of questionable-appearing foods, its suggestions for reducing cholesterol, fat and sugar. Start your search with these three topics:

  • Food Preparation - Help with selecting and preparing a variety of foods
  • Food Preservation - Guides to canning, drying and freezing foods
  • Nutrition & Analysis - Tools for analyzing and improving your diet
Click this link to visit the Food and Nutrition Solutions website.

Calorie Calculator and Diary at CalorieLookup.com

CalorieLookup.com aims to help users maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle through informed nutrition and exercise. It is a database of information about how many calories are in the foods you eat and how many calories are burned when you exercise. You can also create a personal calorie diary to track your caloric intake and your exercise, and even print weekly reports. Any visitor to the site can check the food or exercise calorie calculators, but only registered users can create a diary or participate in discussions in the ^D<"clubhouse,^D>" a general bulletin board for discussion. The clubhouse also features a page of YouTube videos about fitness and nutrition topics. At last count, CalorieLookup.com listed 8,932 foods in its database, with new foods being added regularly. One way the database is expanded is when users add a new food by entering information off the label or copying a recipe into the site. When users add a new food or recipe, it becomes accessible to the entire community.

We all know that if you burn more calories than you take in, you should lose weight - but that can be easier said than done. CalorieLookup.com could be a really helpful resource for people who want to get serious about tracking their calorie intake and exercise to lose weight or stay healthy. Even users who do not choose to keep a calorie diary on the site could find the calorie calculators for food and exercise quite helpful.

Click this link to visit http://www.CalorieLookup.com.

HealthyDiningFinder

"Healthy Dining Menu Choices from Fast Food to Upscale Restaurants." Input your location, price range, and other options, and get recommendations from the restaurants participating in the Healthy Dining Program. Click on the restaurant names to get recommended menu selections from each, along with nutritional information about each entry.

Click this link to visit HealthyDiningFinder at http://www.healthydiningfinder.com/site.

Calories Per Hour

I really like the approach this Website takes for weight loss. They're not telling you to go run a marathon tomorrow, only drink water or give up all the foods you love. No, it's much easier than that!

  • Diet and Weight Loss Tips: In this section, you'll find practical tips for diet and weight loss. Each tip discusses something different and gives you a link to a related article with more information on the subject.
  • Tutorial: The purpose here is to give you a solid foundation that will help you put an end to the dieting cycle.
  • Calories Burned Calculator: Here you'll find calculators for your BMI (Body Mass Index), BMR and RMR (Basal and Resting Metabolic Rates), an activity calculator and five advanced calculators tuned for specific activities. Each calculator has a tutorial article linked at the bottom of the section, so you'll learn exactly how everything works in conjunction with weight loss. This is one of those sections that we as blind people can really benefit from because this information is typically inaccessible.
  • Food Calories & Nutrition Calculator: I suggest starting by clicking on the Help button for this calculator, because it will give you clear instructions as to what you need to do. Basically, what it does is allow you to input food items and calculate the calories for them. If you check out the food lists, you'll find fast food information and some stats on frozen foods and prepackaged foods as well, really cuts down on trying to scan the side of a box with the computer.
  • Weight Loss Calculator: This section provides three calculators for you. One that lets you calculate the time to reach your weight loss goal, one that lets you calculate the daily calorie deficit to reach your weight loss goal and one that lets you calculate your weight loss over time.
  • Weights & Measures Converter: Here's another great section for us, it helps to convert weight, height and food measurements to the metric version and back again.
  • Weight Loss Forums: Here you'll find people who will support your weight loss efforts, who you can ask questions or even give answers to. The forum has topics on eating disorders, dietary supplements, surgery, diet plans, training and more!

This accessible Website will educate you on how to live healthy and lose those extra pounds! Again, it's great because a lot of this information is found in formats that are not easy for us to access.

hClick this link to visit http://www.CaloriesPerHour.com.

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