Atlanta’s Aaron’s Amphitheatre At Lakewood

Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, formerly known as Lakewood Amphitheatre, is one of the most popular outdoor concert venues on the south side of Atlanta. The concert season typically runs from late April through October. The amphitheatre opened in 1989 and has changed names several times over the years. The facility is owned and operated by Live Nation and is currently called Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, although many people still refer to it as Lakewood Amphitheatre. The concert venue is conveniently located 3.8 miles south of downtown Atlanta off I-75/85 and 3.5 miles from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The amphitheatre tends to book a lot of rock groups, although other artists do perform there. A sampling of the diverse summer 2012 concert offerings include KISS, Motley Crue, Phish, Jason Mraz, Journey, Pat Benatar, Marilyn Manson, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, and Miranda Lambert. Aaron’s Amphitheatre has high quality acoustics, and music fans as well as groups such as Phish, Linkin Park, and the Dave Matthews Band have cited the amphitheatre as one of their favorite performance venues.

This premier south side concert venue seats 19,000 fans. Approximately 7,000 seats are covered under the roof, and another 12,000 fans may enjoy the concerts from the huge lawn behind the seating area. Lawn seating is reasonably priced but general admission, so fans should plan to arrive early to get the best view of the stage. Two large video screens for the lawn area make viewing the show easier. Fans seated on the lawn are allowed to bring blankets. Shows go on rain or shine, and umbrellas are not allowed. There are no refunds for rain.

Food and beverage concessions are available at the venue. Beer and wine are sold. No outside food or beverages are allowed. Coolers are not allowed. Fans may bring one factory sealed bottled water inside the venue.
Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood is located at 2002 Lakewood Avenue SE in Atlanta. Fans traveling via I-75/85 should exit at Langford Parkway East, which becomes Lakewood Avenue. Pay parking is plentiful in private lots around the venue, but the actual 6,000 spot Lakewood parking lot is free.

Fans should be prepared for heavy traffic before and after the show. Surface streets are less crowded than the interstate route. Aaron’s Amphitheatre is also served by MARTA bus routes 42 and 178 from the Lakewood MARTA station. The amphitheatre box office is open on Tuesdays and Friday from noon-5pm.

Unusual Table Tent Ideas

Have you seen the various table tents in restaurants lately? They are becoming more eye-catching and unusual these days. The competition to get your attention and order more food is indeed heating up especially during these hard economic times. If you are interested yourself in printing table tents, you may want to know how people today make their table tents look unusual and effective. We have scoured a few interesting ideas for you as an inspiration. Just read the list below and see if you may want to use these unusual ideas for table tents.

– The talking table tent – One very innovative idea that we have seen are the talking table tents. Table tents like these have musical or audio voice overs that describe the food or beverage that they advertise. Much like the musical greeting cards on the market these days, talking table tents have built in speakers and a small chip and button. When you push the button, you will get the small sound clip from the table tent. This is a very interesting idea and it can be used effectively as long as you are careful the audio message. You don’t want to sound too annoying with it so always make sure that you provide a clear way to activate it and a clear way to disable it as well. With luck it can be a great entertainment device that your customers can play with as they wait for their orders.

– The interactive table tent: Besides those talking table tents there are also table tents our there that require a more active role in their readers. Table tents like these are called interactive table tents. This basically means that people can interact with or play with the table tents itself offering amusement in a form of a puzzle or interesting questionnaire. These kinds of table tents can be pretty popular, and many people might get tempted to buy new and unusual dishes because of it.

– The customizable table tent: Of course nothing beats total customization in table tents or custom table tents. These kinds of table tents are printing table tents with the same base element, while having many kinds of menus on it through a customizable top element. It becomes basically like a small list or notepad where you can flip the table tent over to show the specific product or dish that you want to show. This is great if you want to feature many different kinds of dishes on a daily basis.

– The shaped table tent: Finally one of the most unusual table tents we have seen are those table tents that go beyond looking like table tents. These kinds of printing table tents are printed in different shapes making them more interesting. Circle table tents, star like table tents, Christmas tree shaped tents and others are among the most creative examples of doing this technique. They may look unusual but the impact that they bring is definitely worth the effort in making them.

So those are the unusual and interesting ideas that people do to their table tents. Try one of those items out, who knows it might be your opportunity to encourage more orders in your business.

Oetiker Clamp – Reliable And Strong

Oetiker is one of the largest producers of tools which include clamps, fitting hoses, clamp tools, pipes and many other useful tools. When you see Oetiker written on product consumers feels safe buying it because they know that it was manufactured with care. Oetiker manufactures products with the latest and cutting edge technology for all connecting purposes a consumer requires. These products are manufactured with the best quality of materials and are very reliable. These products are used in wide and different purposes such as in homes, while fitting pipes and connecting other metal and plastic materials. Not only these products are very reliable but are very easy to handle as they can be fitted easily and has different option when fitting as it can be screwed and adjusted tightly.

Not only these products can be used for home purposes but also in shops and are also used in automobile fittings. I have used some of such products in my car as well which connects pipes to radiators and engines, and not only me these products are sold widely for such purposes as they hold on very tightly and do not come off very easily, you need to put great power in order to remove it without loosening its screws.

Oetiker clamps and hoses are widely used in industries such as automobile industry, used in spare parts, buildings, and constructions and sanitary, food and beverage industries, petrochemical, mining and gas producing industries, maintenance, repair and operations, agriculture, forest and farms, machine engineering, ship-building, aviation, aerospace, public transport and in welding.

Oetiker clamps are available in different varieties and specifications as required. The following are the varieties of their manufactured products: stepless ear clamp, one ear clamp with mechanical, one ear clamp, and adjustable clamp, one ear with insert clamp, 2 ear clamp, stepless spring clamp, stepless screw clamp, universal clamp, closed twin clamps, one ear clamp with mechanical interlock, worm drive clamps, multi crimp rings, ALSI worm drive clamp, mini worm drive clamps, stepless low profile clamps, clamps ER and clamp kits.

Oetiker products are available in different categories, but are mainly categorized in four main product types.

The first types are clamps and rings. Oetiker manufactures mainly 6 types of such clamps which ranges from ear clamps, there are screw and universal clamps, then there are twin and multi ring clamps and also special clamps are manufactured as well. Each of these products is available in different sizes and is available in a wide variety of choices. Several types of clamp kits are also available which might be suitable for your need.

The second categories that Oetiker manufactures are the installation tools. These tools help in installation of the equipment and also ensure safety. Oetiker also manufactures manual closing tools and electronic pincers and swaging tools.

The third categories that Oetiker manufactures are quick connectors; they are available in various sizes and are strong in holding power and can be used again and again.

Must Have Aspects of a Food and Beverage ERP System

In order for a food and beverage process manufacturer to find an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, the software they choose must fit the functional requirements for that specific organization. This is true in the food and beverage field perhaps more than any other due to the highly complex nature of the industry. Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) is a term used to describe the products we use every day. The food and beverage industry falls directly in the FMCG. Because of this, there are certain key components that any food and beverage ERP system must have to be fully functional.

Suited for Process Manufacturing

Process manufacturing for the food and beverage industry involves a large number of various ingredients. It’s also difficult to predict accurate yields, which differs from discrete manufacturing when it is much easier to determine the exact number of finished products. Also included in the mix are the many by-products and co-products, as well as the re-working of product that is common in food and beverage production.

When a food and beverage process manufacturer implements an ERP system designed for discrete manufacturing will find they have invested in a system that will not meet their needs and can in fact be more harmful to the success of their process than if they had never installed it. Highly complex businesses must have a system in place that will meet their unique needs and support their process.

Food and Beverage manufacturers often sell their products to a retail marketplace. This is typical of all FMCG industries. Retailers, of course, have very different buy-in and sell-out cycles between them. They will implement different sales and promotions at different times and there are a great number of promotional types. In order for an ERP system to support the web of distribution channels, it must have the ability to function properly in these areas.

Forecasting and demand planning is an area that many ERP systems are not adept at managing. Because forecasted values can be so varied, an ERP system must have the flexibility to handle the burden. It also must be able to apply and manage the pricing involved in the various promotional projects. Also important is the ability for a food and beverage ERP system to properly analyze the financial and sales effects. This must involve input from multiple departments including sales, marketing, and accounting.

Regulatory Compliance

There is perhaps no greater consideration than that of regulatory control. The need for lot traceability, raw material isolation, regulatory compliance, and environmental guidelines must be successful at the highest level. The system must be thorough, agile, and rapid in case product recalls were to occur. Furthermore, the regulations are constantly changing and becoming more exact. This is true organization wide from eliminating the chance of cross-contamination to packaging.

Ensuring that you use an ERP provider that specializes in solutions that are designed specifically for your industry, and working with the provider to make sure the system will meet the needs of your business can make the difference between a valuable investment and a waste of capital.

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How Food and Beverage Accounting Principles Will Increase Profits

Restaurants, pubs, and eateries, and any business that serves food and beverages, are always tricky places to do accounting. There are many reasons why food and beverages are difficult to track: they are consumable, food and beverages can spoil, and orders can be returned to the kitchen by customers. Food and beverage accounting principles can help to prevent financial losses for your establishment. If you follow these simple pieces of advice your business can improve its accounting, and hopefully increase profits.

Conduct Menu Engineering

Before you open your establishment or consider introducing a new menu item, you should conduct some menu engineering. This involves analyzing how many meals a certain amount of food can make, and determining the price that a customer will pay for an item. Menu engineering also determines an item’s popularity, and therefore, its profitability. This is the start of quantifying and controlling food and beverage for accounting purposes.

Use Standardized Recipes

The use of standardized recipes that are followed by everyone in the kitchen is the next step in food and beverage accounting. You need to make sure that your food inventory will make a certain number of meals, and your beverages are poured to a common standard. All employees should be trained to follow these guidelines. When they don’t, your business is losing money and profit.

Track Sales Carefully

All of your staff that deals with ringing in meals, customer payments, and cashing out cash registers should be trained to do so properly and diligently. Proper training can prevent many errors at the till that can throw off inventory and skew your accounting numbers. Make sure that everyone is well versed in how to use the register and your food and beverage accounting will be so much simpler.

Strict Purchasing Guidelines

Everyone in your establishment should be aware of and adhere to strict purchasing guidelines in order to establish effective food and beverage accounting. There should be one person designated to make purchases for the business, and he or she should be informed of inventory counts so that he or she can place orders. This prevents over ordering and food spoilage, which cause eateries a lot of money! Prevent this by putting a procedure in place before ordering and purchasing becomes an issue for you.

Have Effective Inventory Management

Effective inventory practices are essential to proper food and beverage accounting. You should create inventory sheets and an inventory policy that guides employees as to how often they should conduct inventories, and how they should be conducted. Inventories can aid with ordering the necessary amount of supplies, and also with determining if standardized recipes are being followed.

Food and beverage accounting is essential to the success of any eatery. You need to do menu engineering to determine the profitability and costs of individual items, and you need strict recipe inventory and purchasing guidelines to make sure food orders are being used to their full potential. If you own a restaurant, pub, or bar, it’s extremely important that you implement the suggestions detailed above to improve your food and beverage accounting practices.

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Cape Town Carnival 2017 theme is revealed

In honour of South Africa’s 2,500-kilometre-long coastline, the theme for the Cape Town Carnival 2017 is AMAZA! – Ocean Odyssey. The festival is set to take place on 18 March.
The carnival will celebrate the country’s oceans and beaches in dance, performance and music. Over 2,000 costumed performers and musicians will parade down the Green Point Fan Walk in the company of giant floats and puppets.

The story behind the theme

The AMAZA! – Ocean Odyssey theme was chosen for the wide variety of creative choices it offers, from strange and astonishing sea creatures, to surfers and fishermen, dolphins and penguins, and perhaps even Atlantis. Brad Baard, creative director of the Cape Town Carnival, points out that the theme also brings the plight of our oceans to the attention of the public. “As well as exciting and delighting our audience, we hope to inspire people to look after this amazing, life-giving resource,” he says.

From Left to right back row: Jay Douwes-CEO of Cape Town Carnival, Cllr Eddie Andrews-City of Cape Town , Cllr Roxanne Hoorn-City of Cape Town. Front Row: Cllr Brandon Golding-City of Cape Town, Cllr Charles Esau-City of Cape Town
From Left to right back row: Jay Douwes-CEO of Cape Town Carnival, Cllr Eddie Andrews-City of Cape Town , Cllr Roxanne Hoorn-City of Cape Town. Front Row: Cllr Brandon Golding-City of Cape Town, Cllr Charles Esau-City of Cape Town

The night will culminate in a street party, with two of South Africa’s top DJs entertaining the crowds.

The Cape Town Carnival attracts over 50,000 spectators from all over the world. “Revellers and families from all walks of life start converging on the Fan Walk early in the afternoon to ensure they get a great view of the event, and also to grab a bite to eat from one of the vendors or restaurants in the area,” says Cape Town Carnival CEO Jay Douwes.

Sponsors of the event include the City of Cape Town, the National Department of Arts and Culture, M-Net, DStv, the Western Cape Government, Tsogo Sun, Media24 and Kfm.

The carnival’s contribution to the city

M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle says, “M-Net is delighted to once again be part of the Cape Town Carnival. As a group, we’re proud to see how our involvement has contributed to its growth over the past seven years. The carnival drives tourism, economic development and skills development for the city and its communities. It brings people together, which is vital for social cohesion.”

Cllr Brandon Golding-City of Cape Town

Over 50 community groups are involved in the carnival, as well as small businesses that are commissioned to handle elements of costume production, event services, and VIP and bar areas on the night. Vendors are selected to sell merchandise, food and beverages along the route. “Last year saw an estimated 86% of spectators purchasing items from vendors, and several vendors were sold out towards the end of the night,” says Langa Mancunga, Cape Town Carnival’s event logistics manager.

“Besides the fun and creativity, the Cape Town Carnival has become an important job-creation platform,” says Councillor Eddie Andrews, the City of Cape Town’s newly elected Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development. “It provides skills-training opportunities in the clothing, costume, set-building and other industries. Testimony to this is the number of individuals who get their big break after being involved with the carnival. We’re pleased to be associated with an event that works towards uplifting communities and also allows for skills development, as it gives many people a much-needed opportunity during these tough economic times.”

Douwes confirms this, saying, “Thanks to our sponsors, we’ve been able to grow the Cape Town Carnival into an extraordinary, impactful event, both economically and socially, generating over R40 million in economic activity for the city.”

Etihad Airways introduces state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to Joburg

After its inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi, a state-of-the-art Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner touched down in Johannesburg. Operating daily on the route, the two-class B787-9 Dreamliner features Etihad Airways’ next-generation Business and Economy Class cabins. Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways chief executive officer, said the decision to upgrade to the Dreamliner aircraft on the Johannesburg route was to meet the needs of growing numbers of business and leisure passengers travelling to and from South Africa.

Etihad Airways introduces state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to Joburg

“Today’s modern traveller is constantly searching for comfort, innovation, and convenience, and we aim to provide the highest standard of hospitality and technological advancements to make any journey a memorable one.”

John Friel, Etihad Airways general manager South Africa, added: “The introduction of the Boeing 787 is a welcome development that will further enhance our guests’ experience on this route.

Next-generation interiors

All Etihad Airways’ B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft feature the airline’s highly acclaimed next-generation interiors with 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats.

The Business Studios all offer direct aisle access, a fully flat bed of up to 80.5 inches long, and an increase of 20 percent in personal space. Upholstered in the Poltrona Frau leather, the Business Studio is equipped with an in-seat massage and pneumatic cushion control system which enables guests to adjust the firmness and comfort of their seat. Each Business Studio has an 18-inch personal touch-screen TV with noise-cancelling headsets.

The 271 Economy Smart Seats provide enhanced comfort with a unique ‘fixed wing’ headrest on each seat, adjustable lumbar support, a seat width of approximately 19 inches, and an 11.1” personal TV monitor.

In addition to full mobile and Wi-Fi service with USB and power points at every seat, the Dreamliner fleet features the latest in entertainment innovation, providing more than 750 hours of on-demand entertainment, including seven live TV channels, improved gaming and high definition screens across all cabins.

A smoother ride

The airline’s renowned hospitality includes innovative services such as Flying Nannies trained by the world-famous Norland College in the UK, who provide assistance to families on board. Food and beverage managers handpicked from the world’s finest hotels and restaurants, guide guests in Business Class through the extensive a la carte and ‘dine anytime’ options, and provide recommendations on the best food and wine pairing.

Guests on the Dreamliner also enjoy the industry’s largest windows; air that is cleaner, more humid and at a lower cabin altitude for better comfort; large overhead stowage bins, soothing LED lighting; and technology to sense and counter turbulence for a smoother ride.

Etihad Airways uniquely offers travellers from Africa the convenience of US Customs and Border Protection at Abu Dhabi International Airport. This facility, exclusive to Etihad Airways in the Gulf region, allows guests to complete immigration, customs and security clearance procedures for the USA while in transit at Abu Dhabi – avoiding lengthy queues upon arrival at US airports.

Johannesburg is the ninth city to be served by Etihad Airways’ B787-9 Dreamliner. The aircraft is also deployed to Brisbane, Düsseldorf, Perth, Riyadh, Shanghai, Singapore, Washington DC and Zurich. Etihad Airways’ order for two variants of the B787 (-9 and -10), is one of the world’s largest for the type, totaling 71 aircraft.

AU passport will unlock the continent to more African travellers

The introduction of the pan-African passport in 2018, with which African travellers can visit other countries on the continent without a visa, should see air travel spend rise by 24%.
AU passport will unlock the continent to more African travellersNew research released by Sabre Corporation is aimed at uncovering the opportunities and challenges faced by travellers in Africa today, and to help airlines’ growth by providing African travellers with an overall better journey.

Travel too expensive

Travellers from four countries – South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt were surveyed, with those having flown in the past 24 months saying they would spend nearly a quarter more with the introduction of the passport.

But despite a willingness among travellers to spend more on flights, travel in Africa still remains inaccessible to the majority, with only 23% of those surveyed having travelled abroad at all in the last two years. When asked what prevents them from travelling more, the top reasons were:

32% said travel is too expensive

31% said it is difficult obtaining visas

30% said it is too difficult to book travel

28% said there are no flights to their chosen destination

Travellers also expressed a number of gripes about their current experiences when travelling:

27% said the check-in process takes too long

22% said the check-in procedure is confusing

20% don’t like the food on aircrafts

19% think there is not enough to do at the airport

“The results suggest that while travel is inaccessible to many and is difficult for those who do travel, there is a still a strong desire to travel more,” says Dino Gelmetti, vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, airline solutions, Sabre.

Improved and personalised service

“Additionally, most of the pain points can be addressed by airlines, and these tweaks could make all the difference to travellers. African carriers currently face tough competition from international rivals that control 88% of African airspace but, as demand for travel increases, African airlines have a real opportunity to win the lion’s share of bookings by addressing the pain points of travellers and going the extra mile to improve their experience.”

Like many other travellers globally, Africans also expressed a strong interest in experiencing a travel journey that was more personalised and appealing to their taste. Respondents said that they would be willing to spend up to $104 per trip on an airline’s extra products and services – such as excess baggage, cabin class upgrades, and special food and beverage – if it improved and personalised their journey.

Invest in technology

“Airlines, globally, currently pocket an average of just $16 per passenger on ancillaries, so the fact that African travellers are prepared to spend six times more than that represents a significant retail opportunity for carriers on the continent,” says Gelmetti.

“Airlines will flourish if they invest in technology that can make sense of customer data and use it to offer passengers the right product in the right context at the right time. This technology, which empowers airlines to mirror the personalised shopping tactics already mastered by the online retail industry has been proven to increase ancillary revenue by an average of 10%, and is being used by some of the world’s most forward-thinking carriers.”

You Should Feed Your Baby Organic Food

Are you a new parent? If you are, you may be looking for safe and healthy foods to feed your baby. When doing so, you will find that you have a small number of options. Unfortunately, a large number of baby foods currently on the market cannot be considered completely natural. If this causes you concern, you may want to take the time to examine organic baby food.

As nice as it is to hear that organic baby food is safe and healthy to feed your baby, you may be looking for reasons why you should do so. After all organic food is known for its increased prices. There are many first time parents who wonder if the cost is truly worth it. After a close examination, you will see that it is. In fact, there are at least three reasons why you should feed your new baby organic baby food.

1 – Organic Baby Food Is Healthy

The health reasons are just one of the many reasons why organic baby food is ideal for babies. As previously stated, many food products designed for babies cannot be considered completely natural. This is because many companies add in unhealthy sugars and other additives. This is not the case with organic foods.

Although there is no scientific proof, there are many individuals, including parents, who claim that organic food can help to improve a child’s health, as well as their behavior now and in the long run. Despite the lack of scientific proof, many parents are not willing to take the chance. Another impact has to do with recalls. Whether it be recalls on toys, food, or clothing, parents are concerned with companies following all government restrictions to the letter. Many wonder if a toy manufacturer can put too much led in a toy, can too many chemicals make their way into baby food?

2 – The Options that You Have

Another one of the many reasons why all parents should consider feeding their babies organic baby food is because of the options that they have, in terms of flavors. Unfortunately, many parents mistakenly believe that choosing organic foods limits the number of foods their children will be able to consume. Yes, this is true in some cases, but you may be surprised how many flavors and different variety food are available for babies and other small children.

As an example of having an option, in terms of organic baby food, Earth’s Best Organic is a well-known supplier and product manufacturer of organic foods for families. In terms of their jarred baby food, which is ideal for infants, they have flavors that include apples, carrots, bananas, peas, sweet potatoes, and pears. It is also important to mention that these flavors are only for jarred baby food. Organic formula, rice cereals, and other snacks can be made organically as well.

3 – You Can Make Your Own Organic Baby Food

As previously stated, organic baby food does cost more than traditional foods. This is due in part to the extra steps that must be taken to ensure that all foods are organic, including certification. Although many grocery stores and organic food stores, both on and offline, offer sales and discounts, the costs may still be too much for many parents. If it is for you, you can still feed your baby organic baby food by making your own. In fact, you may be surprised just how easy it is to do so. All you need to do is find homemade baby food recipes and make sure that you use organic fruits and vegetables.

As you can see, there are a number of reasons, three of which were outlined above, why organic food is great for babies. If you are concerned with your child, their health, and the ingredients found in many common foods, organic baby food should be examined. In addition to jarred baby food, there are also companies that sell organic food that is designed for toddlers.

Convenience Food Tips

While it would be ideal to make all of our own snacks and meals from scratch everyday, the plain and simple truth is that most of us simply donÕt have that kind of time. This is where we turn to convenience foods to meet our dietary and weight loss needs. However, the right convenience foods in the right amounts can easily be integrated into almost any diet.

Shop Smart – Never shop on an empty stomach. This will only make it harder for you to make choices that are in your best interests. Always be prepared with a thorough shopping list and do not divert from it. If an aisle is full of tempting goodies but has nothing on your list, simply walk right by it, instead of down it. If you see something healthy that you would like, but itÕs not on your list, jot it down and add it to the list next time. This will provide you with something to look forward to.

Reach for the smaller bags and boxes of what you need when possible. The less food you have leftover in your kitchen translates into less temptation.

Read Labels – All convenience foods are not the same. Depending on your chosen diet, some will fit much better into your routine than others. This is why itÕs important to become an informed consumer and never place anything in your grocery basket unless youÕve read the label and determined itÕs in your best interests to buy it.

Many snack foods come in different versionsÑlow fat, reduced fat, low calorie, low carbohydrate, low salt, etc. Choose the variety that best fits your dieting needs.

Remember that different labels can mean entirely different things. The following list may help you discern between them:

No calorie: Less than 5 calories per serving
Low calorie: Less than 40 calories per serving (or less than 120 calories per meal)
Reduced calorie: 25% less calories than the same amount of a similar food

No fat: Less than 0.5g fat per serving
Low fat: Less than 3g fat per serving (less than 30% of calories from fat per meal)
Low saturated fat: Less than 1g fat per serving
Reduced fat: 25% less fat than the same amount of a similar food

No cholesterol: Less than 2mg cholesterol per serving
Low cholesterol: Less than 20mg cholesterol per serving
Reduced cholesterol: 25% less cholesterol than the same amount of a similar food

No salt: Less than 5mg sodium per serving
Low salt: Less than 140mg sodium per serving
Reduced salt: 25% less sodium than the same amount of a similar food

No sugar: Less than 0.5g sugar per serving
Low sugar: No requirementsÑmake sure to read the label
Reduced sugar: 25% less sugar than the same amount of a similar food

As you can see, eating six servings of a no-fat food can actually total as much as 3g of fat. For someone who is severely restricting their fat intake, this can greatly hinder their progress. ItÕs best to be informed and make wise shopping decisions. Take charge and be responsible.

Trim the Fat – Just because a macaroni and cheese frozen dinner is oozing extra cheese doesnÕt mean you have to eat it. A common sense approach to preparing and consuming convenience foods can go a long way to making them healthier.

When you take a frozen meal out halfway to stir it, remove or blot away any excess oils and fats. Transfer to a real plate when finished, so you can discard the excess sauces.

If rice or pasta calls for a heaping tablespoon of butter, opt instead for a conservative teaspoon of soy margarine or olive oil. Ultimately your rice will taste the same and you wonÕt have all those extra calories to contend with.

Milk and cookies is a long-time favorite, but try for milk and crackers next time. Experiment with jellies and spreads instead of the usual mayonnaise and butter for toppings.

Portion Control – ItÕs easy to lose track of how much youÕve eaten when you drink or eat straight from the container. Stay on track by carefully measuring out serving sizes before you begin eating.

When you do buy items like chips or pretzels, locate the appropriate serving size on the nutrition label. As soon as you arrive home, divide the larger bag into individual servings in small plastic baggies.

In this same spirit, when snacking on any food, separate a single servingÕs worth and put it aside in a plate or bowl. Then immediately put the food away, before you begin eating, to avoid temptation.

Try not to make the original packages easily accessible. Purchasing a bag re-sealer is more effective than using chip clips, because you are less likely to cut open a bag than to simply unclip it. Heavy-duty tape and hard-to-open containers can also do the trick.

Fast Food – Ideally, fast food should be avoided. However, the ever-expanding menus at many of the top fast-food chains are now offering many options that can fit into a variety of diet plans.

Look for grilled meals instead of fried. Opt for alternate sides instead of French fries if possible. Many chains offer salad and yogurt options as well.

Ask for substitutions if a menu item is not quite ideal. For example, you can request a hamburger without a bun, or you can request a bun without a hamburger. If you cannot get the substitution, make modifications yourself before eating, i.e. throw the hamburger bun in a nearby garbage bin or discard half your French fries.

Make Your Own – ThereÕs no rule that says only store-bought, pre-packaged foods are convenient. Take time on the weekend or on days off to do some conscientious grocery shopping and cook one or two large meals of something healthy that you enjoy. Separate into serving sizes and refrigerate (or freeze) as necessary.

Buy fruits, vegetables, deli meats, and cheeses to snack on, and prepare them ahead of time by slicing into bite-sized pieces. Separate into serving sizes and store to use as snacks during the week; since they now require no preparation, youÕll be more likely to reach for the carrot sticks and less likely to reach for more processed convenience foods. Your own frozen vegetables make a delicious side dish in a snap.

Voila! Now you have your own frozen dinners (or lunches, or snacks) with much healthier contents.