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Eatable News: Extinct bananas, healthier menus, cloned beef and more


SheKnows Editorial

At SheKnows Food, we spend a lot of time reading about — you guessed it — food (and drinks too!). And we’ve come across some stories that are too good to not share. Here are the food items from the week that you don’t want to miss.

1. Applebee’s and IHOP are ditching soda for kids

Applebee’s and IHOP announced this week that they’re doing their part for public health and removing soda from their kids’ menus. Parents can still order soda for their kids if they wish, but on the kids’ menu, only non-soda beverages will be advertised. This is a great step in the right direction considering that soda is literally just sugar water with caffeine. If kids don’t see it listed on the menu, they’re much less likely to ask for it. Now maybe these restaurants can consider making some of their actual kids’ menu items, like the Applebee’s grilled cheese sandwich (which has 35 grams of fat and 1,340 milligrams of sodium), healthier too. — Center for Science in the Public Interest

More: 7 Tips for buying safer food in a recall-mad world

2. Your favorite bananas are in danger, but there’s still hope

No, bananas aren’t going extinct. But the Cavendish banana — the type we’re most familiar with — is in danger of being wiped out by disease. This strain of banana began to be cultivated after another strain, known as Gros Michel, was nearly eradicated by Panama disease. The Cavendish ended up being its replacement strain. It’s easy to ship and visually appealing, though its flavor and texture apparently can’t compare to the Gros Michel, which was almost candylike in its sweetness. Now the Cavendish is also being wiped out across the globe thanks to disease. But you needn’t despair. There are still dozens of varieties of bananas that could take its place, ranging in color from red to blue to green, that taste a whole lot better than Cavendish anyway. The real trick, according to Randy Ploetz, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida, will be convincing consumers to eat bananas that look different from what they’re used to. Can we all just promise right now that if weirdly shaped or colored bananas start popping up in the grocery store, we’ll buy them? Because a life without banana bread is not a life I’m strong enough to live. — Food52

More: Chipotle breaks its commitment to local food and breaks our hearts

3. New York chains are warning diners about high sodium on menus

Considering how dangerous high-sodium diets can be, it’s kind of strange that sodium has flown under the radar when it comes to policing restaurant menus. Luckily New York is stepping up to the plate, requiring chain restaurants to indicate on their menus items with 2,300 milligrams or more of sodium (the FDA’s recommended daily sodium intake), starting this week. However, only 10 percent of menu items will qualify under these regulations. This is mostly because, surprisingly, the majority of fast-food items come in under the limit. It turns out that fast-casual and sit-down restaurant chains like Chili’s, which doesn’t have a single burger with fewer than 3,400 milligrams of sodium on its menu, are the real culprits. This is important, because a lot of people would probably assume that the burger at a sit-down restaurant is healthier than the drive-thru, but the truth is, if you’re watching your sodium, that’s actually the worst place you could be. Of course, high sodium isn’t the only knock on fast food, so if you’re just concerned about your health overall, try making some quick meals at home instead of hitting up the drive-thru. — Grub Street

4. Cloned meat is about to become a reality

Remember Dolly the lamb? Now imagine eating her. It turns out cloned animals are making a comeback — in China, at least. Scientists there have a plan to clone more than 100,000 cow embryos each year in order to raise more cattle. There’s a huge demand for beef in that country, and scientists are hoping that cloning is the answer. However, there are still concerns over how they’ll come up with enough food for these extra cows, seeing as China currently struggles to grow enough feed for the current stock. Also, eating cloned meat just seems… weird. And apparently I’m not alone in thinking so — some citizens have said they would eat the cloned meat only if they saw high-level members of the government eat it first. I hope you’re hungry, President Xi! — Foodbeast

More: Salmonella outbreak in 9 states prompts nut butter recall

5. Too lazy to cook this weekend? Get 50 percent off Domino’s pizza

The holidays are fun, but they’re also exhausting. Thanksgiving and Black Friday are too close together, and next thing you know, you need to get a tree, bake cookies and finish up your shopping, seemingly all at the same time. Give yourself a break this weekend, and instead of worrying about dinner on top of all that, order from Domino’s. Through Sunday, Dec. 6, they’re offering 50 percent off all pizzas ordered on their website or from their app. And let’s be honest: Even cheap Domino’s pizza is better than a dry casserole you forgot in the oven when you were rooting around the attic for that box of handmade ornaments you just can’t leave off the tree. — PR Newswire

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