All posts by Michelle Market Maven

Michelle Market Maven

About Michelle Market Maven

I have dedicated my life to promoting healthy living, it has become my personal passion. I believe that health should be fun when it comes to eating or exercising and I have always stayed true to those beliefs. I am also so very passionate about the cause to educate children on their health.

National Nutrition Month

Print pagePDF page

From infancy through our senior years, nutrition is essential at every stage of life to keeping our bodies running at their best. As we age, our nutrient needs change with our bodies. It is important to get to know your own body and what works best for you. March is National Nutrition Month, so what better time than now to try to incorporate some news foods and spices or rediscover some old favorites in a new way!

 

Avocados

Creamy, succulent avocados not only contain the best kind of fat (monounsaturated oleic acid) but also help your body block the absorption of bad fats (cholesterol). They’re high in lutein, which aids eyesight, and in potassium and folate, which may reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. And they’re low in pesticides.

 

Sweet    Potatoes

Whether orange or white, sweet potatoes contain phytonutrients that promote heart and eye health and boost immunity. They’re flush with beta-carotene (thought to lower breast cancer risk) and vitamin A (which may reduce the effects of smoking).

 

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables—cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli rabe—contain a powerful range of disease fighters. One particular hero, sulforaphane, may increase enzymes that lower the incidence of colon and lung cancers.

 

Blueberries

Fresh or frozen, blueberries have sky-high levels of antioxidants, which combat the damage done by inflammation. Anthocyanins, the natural plant compounds that give blueberries their deep color, may have antidiabetic effects as well. And new research suggests blueberries might protect the heart muscle from damage.

Dark, Leafy Greens

Dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and swiss chard are an excellent source of iron (especially important for women), vitamin A, and lutein for eye health. Best of all, you know those omega-3s everyone’s talking about? They reside in dark greens (including seaweed, which is why they’re concentrated in fish).

 

Oregano

Superstar levels of antioxidants mean that a half teaspoon of dried oregano has the benefits of a spinach salad. Oregano has the ability to act as an expectorant, clearing congestion, and can also improve digestion.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is the gold medalist of the spice rack, with one of the highest antioxidant levels of all herbs and spices. It also has a   positive effect on blood glucose levels, so adding it to foods can keep you feeling steady and satiated.

Walnuts

Of all nuts, walnuts contain the most alpha-linolenic omega-3 fatty acids, which lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and may reduce    inflammation in arteries. Walnuts are also a great source of antioxidants, vitamin E, selenium, and magnesium.

Dark Chocolate

It’s just like chocolate to crash the party, but it’s no mistake that the dark variety confers health benefits. The high antioxidant levels make it a perfect indulgence. Chocolate is high in flavonoids, substances that have been shown to improve blood flow, suppress coughs, improve memory, and give you hydrated, smooth skin. A 1 oz. dose of chocolate a day is now officially the doctor’s word.

Carbohydrates Broken Down

Print pagePDF page

Glycemic Chart

 

The glycemic index,(GI) provides a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels rise after eating a particular type of food. The effects that different foods have on blood sugar levels vary considerably. The glycemic index estimates how much each gram of available carbohydrate in a food raises a person’s blood glucose level following consumption of the food, relative to consumption of pure glucose. The scale ranges from 0-100, with 100 being pure sugar. Foods with high GI tend to be simple, while foods with low GI seem to be complex. Foods with a score of 70 or higher are defined as having a high glycemic index; those with a score of 55 or below have a low glycemic index.

Many factors can affect a food’s glycemic index, including the following:

  1. Processing: Grains that have been milled and refined—removing the bran and the germ—have a higher glycemic index than whole grains.
  2. Type of starch. Starch comes in many different configurations. Some are easier to break into sugar molecules than others. The starch in potatoes, for example, is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream relatively quickly.
  3. Fiber content. The sugars in fiber are linked in ways that the body has trouble breaking. The more fiber a food has, the less digestible carbohydrate, and so the less sugar it can deliver.
  4. Ripeness. Ripe fruits and vegetables tend to have more sugar than unripe ones, and so tend to have a higher glycemic index.
  5. Fat content and acid content. The more fat or acid a food or meal contains, the slower its carbohydrates are converted to sugar and absorbed into the bloodstream.
  6. Physical form. Finely ground grain is more rapidly digested, and so has a higher glycemic index, than more coarsely ground grain.

 

Diets rich in high-glycemic-index foods, which cause quick and strong increases in blood sugar levels, have been linked to an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and overweight, and there is preliminary work linking high-glycemic diets to age-related macular degeneration, ovulatory infertility, and colorectal cancer. Foods with a low glycemic index have been shown to help control type 2 diabetes and improve weight loss. Other studies, though, have found that the glycemic index has little effect on weight or health. This sort of flip-flop is part of the normal process of science, and it means that the true value of the glycemic index remains to be determined. In the meantime, eating whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables—all foods with a low glycemic index—is indisputably good for many aspects of health.

 

To search some more of your favorite foods visit: www.glycemicindex.com, which has one of the most comprehensive and updated lists available.

Sneaky Sugar

Print pagePDF page

When you read the labels on foods in your supermarket, it’s no surprise that you find plenty of sugar in products like cake mix, ice cream, jelly, cookies, and soda. But it can be downright shocking to see 12 grams of sugar in bottled pasta sauce or barbecue sauce — and even more so to find 50 grams of sugar in a healthy-sounding bottled tea!

Just because there’s a nutrition-oriented statement on the package (like “contains whole grain,” “excellent source of calcium,” “fat-free,” “100% juice” or “25% less sugar”) doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain a shocking amount of sugar. And just because the brand name or product name sounds like it’s good for weight loss (Weight Watchers, Skinny Cow, etc.), don’t assume the food is lower in sugar.

So how much exactly is a gram of sugar? One teaspoon of granulated sugar equals 4 grams of sugar. To put it another way, 16 grams of sugar in a product is equal to about 4 teaspoons of granulated sugar. Keep in mind, though, that the grams of sugar listed on the nutrition information label includes natural sugars from fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose) as well as added sweeteners like refined sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. That’s why the label on a carton of regular low-fat milk says there’s 13 grams of sugar per cup. And that’s why the grams of sugar per serving in Raisin Bran (or any cereal with raisins or other dried fruit) seem unexpectedly high.

Soda    Per    Can:    41    grams
Yogurt    (1 container):    28-31    grams
Sports    Drinks    (1 bottle):    28    grams
Energy    Drinks    (1 can):    54    grams
Chocolate    Milk    (16 oz.):    54    grams
Granola    (1/2 cup):    16    grams    sugar
Cereal    (1/2 Cup):   19    grams
Salad    Dressing    (2 TBS):    12    grams
Ketchup   (1 TBS):    1    teaspoon
Bars:    20    grams
Spaghetti    Sauce   (1/2 cup):    12    grams
Frozen    Dinner:    25    grams

ATTENTION!

Print pagePDF page
Do    not    skip    breakfast — or    grades    could    pay    a    price.

 

Evidence suggests that eating breakfast really does help kids learn. After fasting all night, a developing body and brain need a fresh supply of glucose — or blood sugar. That’s the brain’s basic fuel.

Dozens of studies from as far back as the 1950s have consistently shown that children who eat breakfast perform better academically than those who don’t. In a recent study of 4,000 elementary school students, researchers measured the effects of eating breakfast by administering a battery of attention tests. They measured short-term memory and verbal fluency. Across the board, the breakfast eaters performed better than those children who had skipped breakfast.

So breakfast is important, but does what kind of breakfast kids eat matter? The answer is: Yes!

Finding a meal that has a low glycemic index will help keep a child more alert. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly the carbohydrates in food is absorbed into our bodies and converted to fuel. When it comes to sustained brain power, food that is low on the scale is preferable. Even though a bowl of sugary cereal and a bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal may have the same number of carbohydrates, they have very different glycemic loads.

Sugary cereals get into your body quickly and cause a peak in blood-sugar levels, but the levels then fall dramatically after two hours. This dip in blood sugar can bring a release of hormones that affect mood, and in some children, the hormones seem to affect concentration and memory. Oatmeal, on the other hand, is absorbed slowly, so there is a slow rise in blood sugar and enough energy to last through the morning.

Scientists have recently begun to study this phenomenon. One recent study had one group of children eat sweetened oatmeal for breakfast while another ate Cap’n Crunch cereal. Then both groups were given academic tasks, like memorizing the names of countries on a map. Both cereals had the same sugar content, but the oatmeal eaters did up to 20 percent better than the Crunch consumers. The reason being, the oatmeal had more protein and fiber, and therefore a lower glycemic index.

Families should start to make breakfast part of kids’ morning routines. There are some easy and quick meals that have low glycemic index that will help keep your child full without taking up too much time in the morning.

Smart    Simple    Breakfast

Banana with peanut butter
Banana sliced into yogurt
Oatmeal with fruit: apples, blueberries, or peaches
Small tortilla with a few tablespoons of nut butter and chopped strawberries. Roll it up, slice it.
Breakfast smoothies — berries, ice, and milk or yogurt.

 

You can also try making your own granola bars which will be less processed and contain less sugar. Try making the recipe below and get the kids involved in the kitchen!

 

Granola    Bars

Ingredients:

granola

1 & 3/4 C rolled oats

1 C crisp puffed brown rice cereal

3/4 C seeds (1/4 C each of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds)

1/4 C finely ground flaxseed

1/4 C unsweetened coconut

1/2 C brown rice syrup

1/3 C creamy peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 T of mini chocolate chips

Directions: Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl. Mix them together. In a separate (microwave safe) bowl, mix together the wet ingredients, then   microwave them for about 20 to 30 seconds. This will make it easier to mix and add to the dry ingredients since it’s really sticky! Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix! Keep mixing until the wet binding ingredients are as well distributed as possible. Put some muscle into it! Then, put the mixture into a shallow pan and flatten it down. Refrigerate. Done and done!

Heart Health

Print pagePDF page

The heart is an amazing muscle, yet sadly we seem to ignore it and treat it poorly.  Without even asking it our heart preforms these really amazing activities:

  1. Every day your heart beats about 100,000 times
  2. Although it’s no bigger than your fist it pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood through your body.
  3. Your heart has the mighty job of keeping blood flowing through the 60,000 miles of blood vessels that feed your organs and tissues.

 

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey is conducted by the CDC periodically among a nationally representative sample of Americans to track health issues. The report is based on an analysis of three different surveys of adolescents aged 12 to 19 between 2003 and 2008, including a sampling intended to accurately represent minorities. The children in the study included 4,157 kids aged 12 to 17.

The toughest measure to hit was healthy diet. Not one adolescent reported meeting recommended targets on five different nutrition categories: at least 4½ servings of fruits and vegetables a day; three whole-grain servings a day; two or more servings of fish a week; less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily; and less than 36 ounces of sugar-sweetened drinks a week.

In fact, only about 20% of the adolescents met recommendations on two or three of the nutrition factors.

For exercise, 50% of boys and 60% of girls didn’t regularly exercise for more than 60 minutes a day, the optimal target for children. Between 10% and 20% reported getting no exercise. About 30% to 45% had less-than-ideal cholesterol, while about one-third were either overweight or obese.

It is important to make healthy family choices at a young age. Try this simple and easy oatmeal recipe and eat it as breakfast, a snack or dessert!

Personalized   Sized   Oatmeal   Cups

 

Ingredients:

  1. 2 eggs
  2. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  3. 2 cups applesauce, unsweetened
  4. 1 banana, mashed
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons stevia powder or 1/2 cup honey
  6. 5 cups, Old Fashioned rolled oats
  7. 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  8. 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  9. 3 teaspoon baking powder
  10. 1 teaspoon salt
  11. 2 3/4 cups milk (I used 1%)
  12. Optional toppings: raisins, walnuts, chocolate chips

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix eggs, vanilla, applesauce, banana and Stevia together in a bowl.
  3. Add in oats, flax, cinnamon, baking   powder, salt and mix well with wet ingredients.
  4. Finally pour in milk and combine.
  5. Spray a 12 and 6 capacity muffin tin with cooking spray or use cupcake liners. Pour mixture evenly into muffin tin cups.
  6. If using toppings add them onto the tops of muffins now. If using fresh or frozen fruit, drop it right into the batter.

 

Bake 30 minutes until a toothpick in center comes out clean. Cool and enjoy or freeze them in gallon freezer bags.

Bananas for Bananas

Print pagePDF page

These bright, easy to eat, cheap, and tasty fruit are so versatile it is no wonder why they are America’s top selling fruit. Contrary to popular belief bananas do not come from a tree, but the world’s largest herbaceous flowering plant.  First noted by Alexander the Great on his conquest to India in 327 B.C, this banana flower has become sacred in many cultures.  The Hindus associate bananas with prosperity, while Indians believe they are good luck. They are often seen in ceremonies, such as weddings.

Nutrition   Profile:

Rich is potassium

2 grams of protein

4 grams of fiber

Very low in calories and fat

Provide multitude of vitamins and minerals

For   your   health:

Help treat anemia

Lower blood pressure

Resolve bowel issues and diarrhea

Boost brain power and energy levels

Fight depression

Soothe heart burn

Help with mood disorders

Buying   and   Using   Bananas

Fresh and available all year round

Ripen best off the plant

The more they ripen the sweeter they are

Recipes:

1. Chunky Monkey Soft Serve

  1. 2-3 frozen bananas (peeled and frozen for at least one day)
  2. Options: nut butters, cocoa, chocolate protein powder, agave
  3. Throw bananas in food processor/ Vitamix and let run for 5 minutes (scrapping the sides every minute)
  4. Bananas will get increasingly fluffy and light.
  5. Top bananas with granola, chocolate chips, fruit, or other favorite toppings.

 

2. Top of the Mornin’ oatmeal banana bowl

  1. 1/2 cup rolled oats
  2. 1 cup milk of choice (I used almond)
  3. 1/4 tsp salt
  4. 1/2 a ripe banana
  5. 1-2 tbsp peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  6. 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  7. sweetener (the amount will vary, depending on your taste buds and what milk you use)
  8. Optional: chocolate chips

 

Cook the oats, salt, and milk (either on the stove or in the microwave). Meanwhile, blend the pb and banana. Then add your vanilla, sweetener, and 1/2 of the cooked oats to the blender (I used a Magic Bullet) and re-blend. Stir in the rest of the oats. You can blend all the oats if you prefer, but I like the chewiness of leaving some un-blended.

(Feel free to slice remaining banana on top.)

 

bananas

Rise & Shine!

Print pagePDF page

Eating breakfast is an important part of powering up your body for the day. Eating a balanced breakfast can help keep your family alert, improve mood and reduce mid-morning food cravings.

6 Tips for a Healthy Breakfast:  
1.)   Oatmeal in an Instant

 Oatmeal

Instant oatmeal is great on a cold morning and contains fiber and vitamins. Choose oatmeal that isn’t already sweetened. Sweeten it with raisins or fresh fruit.

2.)   Smoothie Madness
Smoothie

Blend frozen fruit (bananas and berries are great) and low-fat milk for a quick, tasty breakfast smoothie with lots of nutrients.

3.) Go 100% Whole Grain

Whole grains

100% whole-grain, fiber-containing cereals served with low- or fat-free milk are a healthier alternative to sugary cereals.

4.)   Egg Head

Eggs

Boil, scramble or poach eggs and serve on whole-wheat toast–they’re packed with nutrition, and in appropriate portions, are great for kids.

5.) Toaster Treats

Waffle

Frozen whole-grain waffles take almost no time to make. Top them with berries, low-sugar applesauce or sliced bananas instead of syrup.

6.)  Go Nutty!
Nuts

Spreading peanut or almond butter on whole-grain toast is a great way to get both protein and fiber.

Did you know?
  1. People who eat breakfast are significantly less likely to be obese and diabetic than those who usually don’t.
  2. Children who eat breakfast are more likely to have better concentration, problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination.
  3. One study showed that “students who ate breakfasts before starting school had a general increase in math grades and reading scores, increased student attention, reduced nurse visits, and improved student behaviors.”

 

A healthy breakfast does not have to take a lot of time. Stick to the basics and serve simple foods that are nutritious and quick in the morning.

‘Let Food Be Thy Medicine’

Print pagePDF page

Fight the Flu With Foods

It’s that time of year where it seems that kids seem to catch colds and school class numbers seem to dwindle. But there are plenty of steps you can take to try to prevent illness this winter!

1. Limit refined sugar.

sugar-dumb

Sugar suppresses our immune system by causing a 50% drop in our ability to fight off bacteria and germs.

 2. Increase healthy fats.

Nuts

Our skin dries, our lips chap and our digestive tracts get dry, which causes our bodies to produce more mucous. Where there is mucous, there are colds and flu. Try to add more healthy fats such as the omega-3s found in salmon, walnuts and flax seeds.

 3. Add onion, garlic, and ginger to everything!

Onions

These are natural immune boosters that can be added to any dish to add flavor without calories!

 4. Drink water.

Water

When our bodies are dehydrated, we are much more susceptible to colds. Water flushes bacteria and viruses from our throats, stomachs and digestive tracts.

5. Avoid dairy.

Milk

Dairy prompts our bodies to produce mucous that becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. We can’t avoid the bacteria and viruses floating in the air, but we can help our bodies to ignore them.