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Tuesday, June 10, 2008; 9:58 AM

Popular nutritional lore often includes advice to skip eating anything white--the better to avoid foods loaded with processed white flour, such as white bread, and foods that are often loaded with added sugar. But if you strictly adhere to this notion of avoiding all "white" food, you'll also miss a lot of great choices, as you'll learn in today's Lean Plate Club column.

How do you make smart choices about the foods you eat? What do you do to tailor your diet to your personal preferences and still stick with wise nutritional advice? Tell us now, then check the Lean Plate Club Web chat transcripts at your convenience. Or join us live from 1 to 2 p.m. ET today. E-mail me anytime at leanplateclub@washpost.com.

FDA Warning About Raw Tomatoes

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a nationwide warning to consumers to check the source of any raw tomatoes. Here's why: contamination with the bacteria, salmonella, that the federal agency says is linked to certain red Roma, red plum and red round tomatoes and any products containing them. Still safe to purchase are cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, the FDA says.

The agency has published a list of states that have NOT been linked to the outbreak. It recommends skipping raw tomatoes unless they have been grown in one of the following locations: Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Israel, Netherlands, and Puerto Rico. After the FDA recommended that retailers, restaurateurs, and food service operators not offer for sale raw red Roma, raw red plum, and raw red round tomatoes unless they are from the sources listed above, many restaurants and grocery stores pulling tomatoes and uncooked tomato-based products.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections particularly in young children, as well as in frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. Healthy people can get sick, too. Symptoms are fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. If you've recently eaten raw tomatoes or foods containing raw tomatoes and are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately. All Salmonella infections should be reported to state or local health authorities, according to the FDA.

Okay, so what do you do when you hear about another food recall? Do you pay attention and change what you eat? Or do just take your chances? Tell us now. Or join us live from 1 to 2 p.m. ET today. E-mail me anytime at leanplateclub@washpost.com.

Best Pedometers

Pedometers don't do the walking for you, but they sure can be great motivators to help you stay active throughout the day. Good Housekeeping magazine rated pedometers and came up with three winners: One of them is the Omron Pocket Pedometer, which I have been using for several months after it was recommended to me by a West coast researcher from a major university.

By the way, the Lean Plate Club/Misfits group continues to operate even though the National President's Challenge ended in mid-May. Join us by linking here, then type in Lean Plate Club for the group name. The group number is 69734.

Looking for motivation to stay active this summer? Check out the Walking Site, which will give you a variety of events that can provide great goals. Among them: The American Volksport Association, which offers an interactive guide to year-round walking events.

How are you staying active this summer? Whether you're gardening or taking up a new sport, tell us how you're toning and training in today's Lean Plate Club Web chat. Leave your comments now, then check the Web transcript later. Or join the conversation live from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. E-mail me anytime at leanplateclub@washpost.com.

Food Allergies

Food companies are producing an increasing number of products geared to special needs, from gluten-free food to foods without peanuts as you'll learn in this article.

Is this a good thing or not? Does it just add to the plethora of products? Or does it really help? Tell us now.. Or join the Lean Plate Club column live from 1 to 2 p.m. ET today. E-mail me anytime at leanplateclub@washpost.com.

What's for Dinner Tonight?

Stay cool with a strawberry lemonade from Natural Health magazine. A 16-0unce serving is packed with flavor and has no added sugar or sugar substitutes. It's sweetened naturally from fruit--but you'll likely need to have a juicer or a high speed blender or food processor to enjoy it.

Speaking of staying cool: Cucumber and black-eye pea salad from Eating Well magazine is low calorie, low sodium, low cholesterol and low carb. It's also ready in about 20 minutes and earns 3.5 stars from those who have made it.

There's also Grilled Filet Mignon with Vegetable Kabobs, with about 300 calories per serving.

Skillet Pizza is one option from Vegetarian Times magazine. This recipe uses chilled pizza dough to save prep time. Ingredients are a little olive oil, pesto, part-skim mozzarella, lowfat ricotta and zucchini. Each serving has about 250 calories. Serve with a side salad or a cold soup and you've got quite a meal.

For something different, consider tufuna sandwiches--made with tofu instead of tuna. They could be the centerpiece of a great lunch or a cool, summer supper.

Mangoes are a cool fruit, perfect for summer. They're also rich in vitamin A, potassium and pack fiber. Vegetarian Times gives you five ways to use mangoes, from mango wrapped bananas to chilled noodle salad with mangoes.

For dessert: Try a dark chocolate and orange granita. It's easy to make--in fact all granitas are easy to make--and this recipe has just 105 calories per serving, a fraction of what you'd get in lots of other frozen desserts.

What are you cooking--or concocting without cooking since the mercury is going so high? Tell us now. Or join the Lean Plate Club Web chat live from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. E-mail me anytime at leanplateclub@washpost.com.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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