Tag Archives: Nutrition

The Nutrients You’re Not Getting

The Nutrients You’re Not Getting

This is a guest post by Shannon White, the choreographer of the MECKids Dream Team.

Every once in a while, the government comes out with a study letting us know that we are not getting one (or many) of the key nutrients we need in our diets. Then comes the subsequent panic: What are they? Who can remember all of those, and better yet, what foods can you get them from?! Never fear… the most AWESOMEST healthy snack list is here!

Photo From: www.hsph.harvard.edu/

Here is what you’re not getting— And how to get it!

  • Calcium is needed to build and maintain strong bones (dairy products, leafy green veggies, fish with bones)
  • Fiber keeps us regular, helps you lose weight, stay full longer and improves your health (fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains)
  • Magnesium helps keep your blood pressure normal, keeps your bones strong and keeps the heart beating rhythmically (nuts, seeds, bran, halibut and other fish)
  • Potassium acts as an electrolyte that maintains your body’s fluid balance and keeps many of the body’s organs in good condition (potatoes, tomato paste/puree, white beans, yogurt, soybeans, bananas)
  • Vitamin A plays a major role in bone growth, reproduction and a healthy immune system (orange veggies, leafy green veggies, organ meats)
  • Vitamin C protects against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and skin wrinkling (fruits and veggies, red/green peppers, kiwis and guavas)
  • Vitamin E helps fight the signs of aging, protects the skin from sun damage and lowers skin cancer risks (some cereals, some oils, almonds, peanut butter)

Now it’s time to get your (healthy) snack on! Be sure to sign-up for our newsletter to receive healthy recipes and snack ideas right in your inbox! Click here to join our list today!

What are some of your favorite healthy snacks? Please share in your comments!

Spaghetti for breakfast?! DO we dare?! WE DO!

Waking up to a bowl of WHOLE GRAIN pasta for breakfast may be a deviation from usual your bowl of cereal, but it turns out that you can eat this Italian staple for your morning meal. Just make sure it’s whole grain.

Typically, pasta is not associated with breakfast, but why not? Pasta is filled with tons of carbohydrates which convert to energy and what better way to start your day. Whole grain pasta is a way better way to start your day rather than a bowl of sugary cereal.

With this said, I am saying a “healthy” pasta breakfast is great for the body. Avoid fettuccine alfredo and other sauces made with high-fat cream.

Liz Pearson, leading Canadian dietitian and best-selling author, says that “eating whole grain pasta provides essential nutrients, such as fiber, calcium, selenium, potassium, zinc, magnesium and vitamins K and E.” She points to a Cornell University study which found that more than 80 percent of disease-fighting antioxidants are found in the bran or germ part of the whole grain, which is removed in refined grains. “Whole grains have an antioxidant content that rivals or exceeds that of fruits and vegetables, and contain as much as double the calcium and selenium, four times more fiber, potassium and zinc, six times more magnesium and vitamin K, and 14 times more vitamin E than refined grains,” she explains.

Scientific studies link eating more whole grains to a reduced waistline, she adds, pointing to a recent Penn State study of 50 obese adults on a calorie-reduced diet, half of whom ate only whole grains while the other half ate only refined grains over a 12-week period.

Research also suggests that the regular consumption of whole grains translates into lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.

One of the recipes I love for morning spaghetti is the ‘Breakfast pasta with bacon and poached egg’ found on joybaker.com.

9653125930_e294acfe5a_c

 

Breakfast Pasta with Bacon and Poached Eggs

serves 2 and is easily doubled
8 ounces dried spaghetti
4 slices thick-sliced bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
juice of 1 lemon
small handful coarsely chopped parsley
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
salt and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
2 large eggs, poached

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place uncooked bacon on a single layer atop the foil.  Place in the oven and allow to cook until  bacon is crisp, 8 to 12 minutes depending on how crisp you like your bacon.  Remove from the oven and placed the bacon on two paper towel atop a dinner plate.  Allow to rest until cool enough to handle.  When cool, chop coarsely.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add a large pinch of salt to the boiling water and add dry spaghetti.  Cook until al-dente then drain.

While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a small saucepan.  Add the sliced garlic and cook over low heat until the oil is fragrant and the garlic is just slightly golden.  Remove from the heat and add butter.  Stir to melt.

In a large bowl, toss together warm drained pasta, garlic oil with butter, lemon juice, parsley, bacon, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Poach eggs, according to your own genius.

Divide between bowls and top with egg.  Sprinkle with a bit more cheese and crushed red pepper flakes.  This breakfast is best served the day it is made.

 

9659699086_1bcdc3d89b_z

Can’t get enough of spaghetti for breakfast! Try it with your family and share your thoughts on the comment feed found below!

 

 

Whole Grain Pasta Facts Found here: http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/816050/pasta-for-breakfast-is-good-for-your-health-1

Breakfast pasta with bacon and poached eggs recipe found here: http://joythebaker.com/2013/09/breakfast-pasta-with-bacon-and-poached-eggs/

H2O Intolerant

Let’s face it, most of us know how much water is essential to everyday health, but we neglect to meet the requirement.

Soda can be more inexpensive and convenient than a bottle of Aqaufina™ . Dehydration can cause fatigue, dizziness, headaches, acne, and a general weakness. I have found that even drinking a cup of water with your breakfast- instead of my  usual juice- wakes me up and makes me feel just as energized as if I had a cup of coffee. The dreaded “Eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day” rule makes drinking water sound like a chore. However, I have learned a plethora of tips to help make drinking water easier.


 

Have it handy

When I was younger, I used to love to drink water. When all my friends would respond with Sprite™ or Coca Cola™ when asked what their favorite drink was, I would always stay faithful to H2O. I even drank water when it became hot from sitting in the car all day. Nowadays, with such a busy schedule, I usually choose whatever is convenient when I find myself parched.

It’s pretty self explanatory that keeping a bottle or tumbler accessible at all times can make drinking water a habit. Whether it be in your locker, on your desk, or by your bedside table, reminding yourself that water is available will make the need come naturally.

Spice it up

I used to go to camp every July. The sticky, humid air of Louisiana would weigh all of us down, and we would have our water bottle strapped to our hips at all times. The counselors made it a rule that before we ate, we had to drink three glasses of water. It was not fun for me, especially since being told what to do takes the fun out of everything. So I began to put watermelon cubes in my glass as a way to sweeten the chore. Ever since then, naturally flavored water is my preference.

You can flavor water with any type of fruit, excluding bananas. My mother prefers lemon and lime water. I like to use strawberries and watermelon. It’s simple to make infused water. Here are the steps:

DSC_4684

Step One: Choose your fruit

Here are some fruits that I had handy. Today I am choosing the trusty watermelon. I am also using the mason jar, even though all these containers are viable possibilities. You can even make it in a pitcher.

DSC_4688

Step Two: Squeeze!

After putting the fruit in the container, take a spoon or spatula and squeeze all the available juice out. Try to avoid mangling the fruit itself.

DSC_4689

Step Three: Ice Ice, Baby

Using a handful of ice cubes, pack down the fruit.

DSC_4690

Step Four: Take a Chill Pill

Fill with water and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours. I steep mine overnight.

Another good tip regarding variety is to eat your water. Foods containing high percentages of water can hydrate you. Watermelon, cucumbers, celery, or even soup with a lighter broth can count as your water intake.

Track it

You don’t actually have to follow the 8×8 rule, you just need to remember when and how frequently you should be drinking in the first place. There are many apps available, like Waterlogged, that has set reminders for water breaks. If apps aren’t your thing, you can set alarms to drink 2-3 glasses in intervals throughout the day. Here is a helpful chart to find how much water you should technically be drinking:

http://www.slenderkitchen.com/how-to-calculate-how-much-water-you-should-drink-a-day/

Stay Healthy,

Adia

Happy National Nutrition Month!

PrintHappy National Nutrition Month MECKids! This month marks an annual celebration of nutrition education sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In recognition of this delicious and nutritious campaign, we will be featuring weekly blogs and healthy recipes that highlight this year’s theme of what “Enjoy the Taste Eating Right” means to us and the importance of making  informed food choices and developing sound nutritional habits!

As the largest health and fitness community designed just for youth and families, MECKids believes that practicing healthy eating habits and daily nutrition at a young age is the key to shaping a healthy, balanced, fruitful lifestyle throughout a lifetime.  Eating clean  and green also fortifies our bodies and helps to combat health issues such as childhood obesity. We “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” by nourishing our minds and bodies with the tasty treats found in nature’s very own garden- fruits and vegetables! Rich with vitamins and minerals, these super foods deliver great flavor, bountiful benefits and are amazingly fun to eat, as well!

Today’s healthy, fun and flavorful recipe is for Apple Sandwiches! Apples are a great source of vitamin C, A and fiber and these wonderful nutrients promote great heart health.  It’s true what they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so it green and enjoy this delicious fruit snack!

Ingredients:

* 1-2 apples cut into rings970199af107f462d69d24f6e983ff9ec

* almond  or seed butter

* raisins

* granola

Directions:

* Spread almond or seed butter on one apple ring and place chocolate chips on top of butter.

* Sprinkle raisins with granola and top with a second apple ring to make a “sandwich.”

Yummy! Eat clean and Enjoy!

What Do The People Think About Metabolism

Many people hear the word metabolism used in common health conversations such as, “I have a very high metabolism.” or “I have a very low metabolism.”  Even though we often use this word almost everyday do we really know what it means and its relation to both weight loss and weight gain?

Metabolism is the energy used for your body to function , including burning calories and breaking down food.  A calorie is the amount of energy a food or drink provides when you eat it.  Your body’s metabolism is constantly burning a continuous amount of calories to provide energy needed.  Healthy foods help your metabolism regularly perform its function and fatty, greasy foods slows it down, this may cause people to become overweight and obese.  This explains the common beliefs about fast and slow metabolisms.  Metabolism is based on body composition, the greater percentage of muscle, the higher the metabolism.

Children have a higher metabolism than adult because children are more physically active than adults and their bodies burn calories faster.  Their metabolic system can be easily shaped since they are young and it can also be affected by growth hormones and puberty.

In conducting interviews with people and their thoughts on metabolism I learned that people really don’t have an understanding of what metabolism really is.  “Hmm, I guess I can say that metabolism is what fuels the body,” said James Mickens, security guard for Martin Luther King Jr. Library.  He added there should be more recreational center activities for the kids and more programs to get them moving.  “It is a regulatory device used to burn fuel,”  said librarian Liane Rosenblatt.  Each of these interviewees agreed that children of this generation are less likely to have a high metabolism because they aren’t as active as they used to be when they were children.  “Look at the kids today, sitting around with all this social media; they need to get outside,” Rosenblatt added.

In my opinion, its all about knowledge and awareness.  The more adults and teenagers that are aware of health issues and what can be done to prevent them, the more children will want to participate and be more healthy.  Also, children should encourage each other to be more physically active so that they can have high metabolisms and healthy diets.  Since it is summer time children can take group trips to the pool and play team sports that everyone is familiar with.  Making their own healthy snacks like apple slices, and carrot sticks with peanut butter is an alternative instead of spending money on junk food.  Older kids can encourage younger children to use technology in a positive way such as looking for resources to get kids engaged in other activities than watching t.v.and playing video games.

Student Ambassador: Tameka Evans

Get Kids Movin Interview with Green Tea & Tosh Patterson

By Whitney Wasso, MECKids Blog Ambassador

The Get Kids Movin Tour featured a variety of fun festivities for kids to get moving, including a wonderful  interview with phenomenal fitness experts such as the amazing soul singer, Green Tea and “Healthanista,” Tosh Patterson. Here’s the wisdom and fitness advice they shared with youth and families to keep them moving!

Green Tea: In the health industry, I’m a certified group exercise instructor. So I teach step aerobics and I teach strength resistance. I also counsel people on how to eat healthy and how to still eat cakes and pies while you’re doing your thing. If you stop once you have that little taste you start binging for it all the time when you aren’t eating the cakes and pies. I teach people how to do that, so that is what I do.

Tosh Patterson: In regards to what I do, I help people with two things. One, how to lose weight if you have been on a diet for a decade or more.  I help people figure out how to keep the scale moving again, so that you have success and I teach people the power of juicing fruits and vegetables. I’m a huge juicer! So I love juicing and that is one of the ways I got healthy. I like to show people the power of juicing.

Interviewer: Many people think that healthy eating is more expensive, they think it’s nasty what do you ladies have to say about that? Tosh Patterson: Because I buy so many vegetables to juice them and eat them, it’s actually not expensive. As you buy more fruits and vegetables, you are probably buying less cookies and less chips and that money is going towards fruits and vegetables instead.

Green Tea: I would say that I have a group of seven: 3 kids, a husband, 2 cats, and 1 dog. So it can get expensive when you’re trying to eat healthier because you’ll notice that certain things cost a bit more if it is healthy. So if you go to Starbucks, the smallest size of cups they have is a short and nobody knows that. People think the smallest cup is a tall. The short is not even on the menu and sometimes the smallest size which is a regular 8 ounce cup cost the most because it’s a regular portion size for a cup; it sometimes costs more than a tall but it’s a healthier choice. So just an input from me, I always ask my clients how much they spend in the grocery store and if they say $200, I can relate to that because when I go grocery shopping every two weeks, I always get fresh produce. I don’t do anything boxed or any frozen veggies. I do everything fresh and I still get all of my stuff for $200. So, I teach my clients that with that $200 budget that you have when you’re buying hot pockets, pizza and steak and all that stuff you can still get fruits and veggies.

Interviewer: So what are some of your favorite meals and what are some snacks kids could make for themselves?

Green Tea: For snacks, I would say always keep live fruits or veggies in the house.  I have a drawer in my house filled with tangerines, apples, kiwis and bananas something that is a go-to and always have that on you when you’re hungry. And here is what parents and  kids could make for themselves, an english muffin pizza! What you do is get a light english muffin. The english muffin has two pieces, you add a little tomato sauce, sprinkle some reduced mozzarella cheese and put any size of turkey pepperoni. Let your parents help you put it in a toaster oven or regular oven for a couple of minutes so the cheese can melt. And as a result, the kids are happy because they have two pizzas when it’s really only one english muffin.

Interviewer: What would you suggest to some parents on meals that are affordable for children on a weekly basis?

Green Tea: I would say that I would keep in mind when I make dinner that I have protein, starch, and veggies. I try to keep that in mind all the time. So I can take some chicken breast, put it in the oven, season it a little bit, some cabbage and then have a veggie with it. So different things like that. So I try to think like that. Or if I want to do quesadillas I would do it  with chicken and a little bit of cheese and then I’ll have a vegetable or a salad. So I always try to keep those things in mind: a whole bunch of vegetables, you have different options for your sides. You could have brown rice, you could have yellow rice if you want. You could have cabbage or cauliflower. All these different things so I try to keep them on the side. So I plan ahead of time. If you keep that in mind that you have a meat, you have a starch, and you have a veggie. If you have a whole bunch of veggies, a whole bunch of meats, sometimes kids get a little tired of chicken but you can do so much with chicken. Or one thing that I do that is very easy, you know how to cook cabbage, you can get some sweet Italian sausage and add it to the cabbage, so that is something really easy to do.

Other female: You guys won’t like this answer but I stopped eating fast food for the most part, a couple years ago, just as it has been for the effort to save money and it turned into a part of my lifestyle, so I really don’t eat fast food. But one of the things I stumbled on, I was cleaning my car and I found an old french fry from the Golden Arches and the french fry did not look a day old, at all. So, it really got my attention and I wondered why didn’t it have green mold on it? And why didn’t it look weird? And so I decided to do an experiment and if anybody in the audience wants to see it after this panel. But on Sunday March 31st, I bought a four piece chicken nugget meal from the Arches and it is still sitting on my counter untouched, unchanged. It does not smell and it’s sitting next to a cucumber that has completely shriveled up. It’s got nasty. It’s like mold and everything and it leads me to the conclusion that the fast food is not real food and it does not nourish us and it’s not worth spending our money on. If you want to see my project. I have pictures with me and so I would encourage people to move away from fast food  because I don’t think it’s real food. Because if it’s like that on my counter, it hasn’t changed, its not green, its not moldy, it doesn’t smell, then what is it doing in my body. And do we want to put those thing in our bodies? I don’t think so! We want to nourish ourselves, we want to nourish our bodies and we want to be well, not just to look good and be a certain size but so we can live a healthy life and have a good internal body as well, and we only get one body!

Green Tea and Tosh Patterson

MECKids Goes Green at The White House Gardens!

Lettuce, kale, spinach, broccoli and more… these are just some of the greens that MECKids adores! These and many more delectable legumes can all be found on the South Lawn of the White House,  beautifully arranged in it’s ornate gardens with a host of delicious and nutritious vegetable varieties. MECKids had the wonderful pleasure of visiting the White House Gardens this month, and experiencing a grand tour that walked us through colorful landscapes that told a beautiful story of our nation’s Presidential history.

We were truly inspired by the walking tour which featured many illustrious landmarks, including the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden and South Lawn of the White House. We were especially thrilled to observe the many crops found in the vegetable garden, that inspires healthy eating and living for youth and families across our local and global communities. Mrs. Obama planted the vegetable garden in 2009 to help launch the Let’s Move! campaign, an initiative to end childhood obesity, encourage healthier lifestyles and more physical activity for children. The 1,100-square-foot garden is the largest and most expansive vegetable garden to date on the White House lawn. It features 55 varieties of fruits and vegetables, including garden Swiss chard, arugula, potatoes, wheat, radishes, cilantro, garlic, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and herbs, along with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and even an apple tree!

This year, the First Lady planted lettuce and other crops in her garden on the South Lawn of the White House, with assistance from students from Washington Metropolitan Area school districts and around the country, as well. To date, the garden has produced over 3,000 pounds of food, a large amount of which The White House donates to local area soup kitchens and The Food Bank Organization. Mrs.Obama  has placed great emphasis on the vegetable garden movement to encourage children to increase healthy food choices in effort to prevent childhood obesity and diet related health issues affecting the nation. The Obama’s vegetable garden is a wonderful example of community-orientated sustainable gardening and it’s positive effects on the betterment of the health of our nation, as a whole.  MECKids applauds the Obama’s efforts towards childhood obesity prevention and healthy living. We are truly honored to observe the White House Gardens and inspired to advance Mrs.Obama’s Vegetable Garden initiative by encouraging children to nourish and enrich their lives, every healthy meal at a time!

In the spirit of going GREEN, MECKids wishes youth and families around the world a very Happy Earth Day and recognizes the Obama’s sustainable vegetable garden model as a resource for healthy eating and living. In recognition of Earth Day, we encourage families to Spring into action with your very own community garden, and begin planting fresh fruits and veggies that will contribute to the overall health of our local and global communities.

DSC_0300

Click Here to View More Photos of the Beautiful White House Gardens in our Photo Gallery!

MECKids Goes Green at the White House Gardens!

MECKids Goes Green at the White House Gardens!

By Tatiana Noboa, MECKids Team Captain

Lettuce, kale, spinach, broccoli and more… these are just some of the greens that MECKids adores! These and many more delectable legumes can all be found on the South Lawn of the White House,  beautifully arranged in it’s ornate gardens with a host of delicious and nutritious vegetable varieties. MECKids had the wonderful pleasure of visiting the White House Gardens this month, and experiencing a grand tour that walked us through colorful landscapes that told a beautiful story of our nation’s Presidential history.

We were truly inspired by the walking tour which featured many illustrious landmarks, including the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden and South Lawn of the White House. We were especially thrilled to observe the many crops found in the vegetable garden, that inspires healthy eating and living for youth and families across our local and global communities. Mrs. Obama planted the vegetable garden in 2009 to help launch the Let’s Move! campaign, an initiative to end childhood obesity, encourage healthier lifestyles and more physical activity for children. The 1,100-square-foot garden is the largest and most expansive vegetable garden to date on the White House lawn. It features 55 varieties of fruits and vegetables, including garden Swiss chard, arugula, potatoes, wheat, radishes, cilantro, garlic, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and herbs, along with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and even an apple tree!

This year, the First Lady planted lettuce and other crops in her garden on the South Lawn of the White House, with assistance from students from Washington Metropolitan Area school districts and around the country, as well. To date, the garden has produced over 3,000 pounds of food, a large amount of which The White House donates to local area soup kitchens and The Food Bank Organization. Mrs.Obama  has placed great emphasis on the vegetable garden movement to encourage children to increase healthy food choices in effort to prevent childhood obesity and diet related health issues affecting the nation. The Obama’s vegetable garden is a wonderful example of community-orientated sustainable gardening and it’s positive effects on the betterment of the health of our nation, as a whole.  MECKids applauds the Obama’s efforts towards childhood obesity prevention and healthy living. We are truly honored to observe the White House Gardens and inspired to advance Mrs.Obama’s Vegetable Garden initiative by encouraging children to nourish and enrich their lives, every healthy meal at a time!

In the spirit of going GREEN, MECKids wishes youth and families around the world a very Happy Earth Day and recognizes the Obama’s sustainable vegetable garden model as a resource for healthy eating and living. In recognition of Earth Day, we encourage families to Spring into action with your very own community garden, and begin planting fresh fruits and veggies that will contribute to the overall health of our local and global communities.

DSC_0300

Click Here to View More Photos of the Beautiful White House Gardens in our Photo Gallery!

MECKids Get’s Kids Movin!

The MECKids team had an amazing time at the Get Kids Movin! Event, this past weekend. We jumped; hula hooped and stretched our muscles with our student participants. The Boulevard at the Capital Centre will never be the same again! Our interactive hula hoop activity was a BIG HIT, even parents were excited to move along with our MECKids team. A host of dynamic talent and organizations showcased a fun-filled production to raise awareness about childhood obesity prevention, including ten year old singing sensation Chi Chi Monet, The Think Brown Ink Agency, Nike trainer Deanna Jefferson, Sports Zone,  BET Born to Dance winner LaTanya Swann and many more, who joined MECKids in bringing fun and fitness to hundreds of Washington Metro area families!

DSC_0357

Check out our Photo Gallery to view more pictures of  MECKids getting kids movin!

After such a great event in Maryland, Meckids heads home to Virgina for our next event at Urban Evolution. Check out our Meet Up group and click here to RSVP! MECKids is on the move with our health technology and new after school program. If you know any schools looking to add an afterschool fitness and health technology program that includes a six week fitness program with our online tracking system contact us today contact@meckids.com

National Nutrition Month

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

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.

Heart Health

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

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