Tips to Replacing Junk Food with Healthy Snacks

Everyone loves junk food. Some people even crave the delicious tastes of these ready-to-eat food items, which are more loved by children. However, parents should know that too much eating of junk foods by their children or themselves might lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. Set a good example for your children and learn how to replace junk foods with healthier snacks.

Choosing Healthy Snacks over Junk Food

Junk food pertains to any food item that contains low or no nutritional value such as chips, candy, or candy bars. These type foods should be limited. However, today, it seems that these types of foods as snacks are consumed by lots of people of all ages, especially young children. You do not want junk foods to consume your child, so how exactly can you keep your child away from these unhealthy snacks?

As a parent, you know for a fact that junk foods won’t make your children healthy, and it could be difficult to find ways to prevent them from craving it, as they are found everywhere. In this case, what you need is an effective alternative to junk food. Junk food has given “snacking” a bad reputation. Having a snack between meals, however, is never a bad idea, if your snack choices are healthier ones.

So, if you want to give your child or yourself a healthy snack, consider the following:

Popcorn –

The fat with microwave brands may be a mere negative here. You can go for healthier versions, having 98 percent fat-free. When you choose plain popcorn, it is fine to sprinkle a bit of butter (no trans-fat). It is better than those full-fat brands in which you cannot control the added fat. Choose to purchase the popcorn kernels and invest in a great air-popper for a great snack. You can sprinkle a little cinnamon, Parmesan, garlic, or other seasonings on your popcorn to make it tasty.

Ice Cream –

Ice cream?  Did I just suggest that?  Let’s be real. Everyone knows ice cream is not a daily snack. However, sometimes you just gotta have it. There are some fine choices in ice cream land. Breyer’s Light Vanilla can be one of the best tastings. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on a small dish and enjoy!

If you have a sweet tooth and you just need a sweet snack, dark chocolate could be very delicious. Choose a small bar of dark chocolate that has a higher content of cocoa, it is filled with antioxidants and even a little fiber too.  Eat it in moderation.

Frozen Yogurt/Yogurt –

If your child does not like drinking milk, yogurt can be a great alternative source for calcium. Yogurt does not require sugar in order to taste good. Purchase plain yogurt and complement it with something, such as fruit and low-fat granola, for a healthy snack.

 

Fruit and Fruit Smoothies –

Smoothies make a great snack choice. For a sustainable, complete snack, you can produce some fruit smoothies for yourself or your child. The dairy should sustain you. Add a variety of fruit and some Greek yogurt and a smoothie will taste as good or better than other sweets and they’re healthier too.

Frozen Fruit/Popsicles Bars –

While we are on the subject of healthy fruits snacks lets add frozen fruit popsicle bars as a choice. You can make your own or choose from some healthier versions out there. There are a few excellent choices around, including the 100 percent fruit-juice selections.

Cookies –

Cookies are something that kids will enjoy. When you think cookies, you probably are thinking Oreos or Nabisco Chocolate Chip cookies. Although they sound good those are not the ones I’m talking about. Do some research and find recipes for healthier cookies. Your kids won’t know the difference. I used to make Zucchini cookies for my kids, and they loved them. You can get very creative here. If you have a child who is picky about their vegetables, well they will get them in those delicious healthy, cookies that you made from scratch.

Crackers and Cheese –

This can be another great choice for a snack when you choose a reduced-fat cheese. Reduced fat means a greater amount of protein. Crackers must be low-fat, wholegrain in order for it to be considered a healthy snack. If the cracker contains more fat usually means more trans-fat. There are some really good choices for wholegrain crackers and cheese.

Cereals –

Sometimes kids and adults just want something crunchy to munch on. Cereal can be a good choice for a healthy snack, but make sure to choose low-sugar, high-fiber cereals. There are a few multigrain choices out there like Cheerios that you can mix with some granola, coconut and dark chocolate chips or raisins for a healthy snack. You may also want a warm cereal for a snack. Oatmeal would make a great choice.

I hope these ideas give you some help in making healthy snack choices instead of grabbing the more popular junk food snacks. Get creative and get your kids to help you make some healthy snacks to share.

 

I hope you enjoyed this “Health-e-Byte.” Please feel free to leave a comment below to let me know what you liked about it.

To your health!

Pamela

 

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Tips for Cutting Out Processed Foods

If you‘ve been looking at anything about health and diet in the last 30 – 40 years, then you’ve probably heard repeatedly that processed food should only be eaten in strict moderation. This is because researchers have studied the effects of these foods on the body, and their conclusions have raised a lot of concerns among health professionals. This information moves many to avoid these foods, so if you are in line with that thinking, the next few paragraphs will discuss tips for cutting out processed foods.

Where to Start

If you’re anything like most people, reading the ingredient list on many of the prepackaged bags of chips, and individually wrapped burritos and sandwiches sold in stores can be baffling. As your eyes trace the indecipherable long names of chemicals, you probably feel some sort of apprehension, and it turns out that is the right mindset. One simple piece of advice that you can always follow, is to avoid anything that is difficult to pronounce, or looks completely unfamiliar to you. That will keep you from ingesting anything with harsh preservatives. That’s not to say that it is all terrible, but that will give you somewhat of a buffer.

Choose Healthier Brands

While you are learning to create your own sauces and condiments for your food, which are healthier for you and your family, you can try some healthier versions of the sauces and condiments you normally use. They are slowly becoming more common, but you can always find them at specialty stores. Once you’re used to the idea of making your own, you’ll be able to compare your version with the ones you’ve tried.

 

Foods to Help You Make Healthier Choices:

 

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is extremely versatile. You can use it to add a coconut flavor to foods and baked goods, you can use it to lightly saute veggies and give them a beautiful, fragrant smell and taste.

Coconut oil is also great for tea, smoothies, and can be a great addition to mellow out an intense sauce.

 

Specialty Cut Veggies

Who would pass on some fun cuts of tasty vegetables? If you have a food processor or a special cutting device that can make pasta shapes out of vegetables, then you have a huge list of great foods that you can make. When you feel like you want some pasta, but veggies are a better idea, then you can get something going with these. Zucchini makes a great noodle. You can also try other vegetables cut into fries or small chunks and lightly roasted in a small amount of olive oil and your choice of seasoning.

 

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is great for all kinds of projects. You can use it to make everything from salad dressings to sweet treats. It can also be used to make savory dips or spreads for your favorite veggie sticks, multigrain crackers or a small slice of bread.

 

 

Potatoes and Squash

These great ground treasures have such a massive role in food all over the world. Sweet potatoes can be prepared in a variety of ways. Baked, roasted, mashed or cut into healthy chips. Regular potatoes are not as healthy as sweet potatoes but can be used in the place of other processed foods.

Squashes make a great base for soup and other innovative ideas. Spaghetti squash has become a noodle replacement in our family. Acorn squash mixed with a few other vegetables like peppers and onions sauteed with lean meat makes an excellent bowl. Butternut squash makes an excellent soup.

These are just a few things you can use instead of the highly-processed foods out there. Try experimenting and coming up with new ideas you can use to have a healthier diet.

 

I hope you enjoyed this “Health-e-Byte.”  Please feel free to leave a comment below to let me know what you liked about it.

To your health!

Pamela

 

 

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Why Are You Fat?

healthy oil

Every time you look into the mirror, you might be wondering why people out there have a nice summer body with full confidence while you are still struggling with your recent-up-sized t-shirt. You might even be wondering, are you going to be like them one day? Is there any chance for you to change? Of course, there is. However, summer body doesn’t come with ease.

Many work their butt off to attain their dream body. But, the important thing is, you are healthy from the inside out. When I say fat burn, the first thing that comes in your mind is exercise. Yes, of course, you need to exercise to have a nice summer body. But, do you know that our eating habits affect our body the most? Have you ever heard that weight loss is 80% diet, 20% exercise? I beg to differ.

Diet can actually make up as much as 90-99% of your weight loss journey. The MAIN reason why you’re fat is because of your lifestyle! Having an unhealthy lifestyle not only slows down your metabolism but also brings you chronic diseases. With a slow metabolic system, you can even gain weight by only drinking water! This is also the reason why some people slim down at a very slow rate but gain all the weight back in one night.

Slimming down is good, but slimming down healthily is the key point here. We want you to look into your health first instead of focusing on all the crazy diet plans and exercise regimes.

Fat Facts

So, what exactly is fat? Fat is made up of building blocks called fatty acids and these are classified as saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated depending on their chemical structure. Fat is essential to human life, we all need fat in our diets. For years, nutritionists and doctors have preached that a low-fat diet is a key to losing weight and preventing health problems.

However, not all fat is the same. Our body requires small amounts of ‘good fat’ to function and help prevent disease. However, most of the ‘modern’ food contains a lot more fat than the body needs. Too much fat, especially too much of the wrong type of fat could be detrimental to your health causing serious health problems such as higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels, obesity, which in turn leads to a greater risk of heart disease.

So, it is significant to know what types of fat should you be cutting back on.

Good Fats VS Bad Fats

We are constantly being told that “fats are bad”, and many will spend lots of time and money to completely rid their diet of fat. The truth is, we need fats. Fats help in nerve transmission, nutrient absorption, maintaining cell membrane integrity, etc. Simply said, fat is actually necessary for you to lose weight. However, when consumed in excess amounts, it can increase your risk for a number of health threats. The key is to replace bad fats with good fats in your diet.

1. Good Fats

Good fat is sometimes called unsaturated fat. The types of potentially helpful dietary fats are mostly unsaturated. Unsaturated fat comes in two forms: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

 

2. Monounsaturated Fats

This is a type of fat is found in a variety of food and oils. You can get it from:

Nuts – walnuts and pistachios including almonds, peanuts, cashews, and macadamia nuts

Oils – avocado, canola, and olive oils

The most well-documented benefit of consuming monounsaturated fats is the potential for keeping your heart healthy. It improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that these fatty acids may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type-2 diabetes.

Not just that, studies have also found that switching to monounsaturated fat from diets rich with trans fats and polyunsaturated fats results in significant weight loss. Yes, both consume the same amount of fats in their diet, but end up with different results!

The key here is the type of fats you’re consuming on a daily basis.

 

3. Polyunsaturated Fats

There are two types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 and omega-6. These are also known as essential fatty acids. Our body can’t produce essential fatty acids on its own, so we need to get them from food.

Omega- 3 – is a type of polyunsaturated fat you get from foods such as:

Legumes

Soy food

Tuna, salmon, and mackerel

Green leafy vegetables

Walnuts, other nuts, and flaxseed

Babies can also get omega-3 from breastmilk. It promotes brain health during pregnancy and early life. Omega-3 helps a baby’s brain and eye development in the womb and during the first six months of life. It has a great impact on children’s learning and behavior. As for adults, omega-3 can be good for rheumatoid arthritis, pain relief, morning stiffness, and inflammation. It can also protect adults from heart disease.

Omega-6 – is a type of polyunsaturated fat you get from foods such as:

Sunflower oil

Evening primrose oil

Peanut oil

Canola oil

Cereals

Omega 6 plays an important role in cell growth and is thus essential for brain and muscle development. The omega-6 arachidonic acid (AA) is for this very reason added to most infant formulas. Both brain development and muscle development are critical for infants.

The growth benefits of omega 6 also explain the great interest that bodybuilders and top athletes have in omega 6 consumption. Omega-6, particularly gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), is linked to increased bone density and reduced bone loss and it helps to promote hair growth and supports skin health. Omega-6 has an anti-inflammatory effect on our skin, soothing irritated skin.

 

salmon

Bad Fats

There are two main types of potentially harmful dietary fats: Saturated fat and Trans fat

Saturated fats are fats you get from foods such as:

Animal products such as meat fat

Full-fat dairy products such as butter and cream

Palm and coconut oil in processed food such as biscuits and chips

Saturated fats have no known health benefits. A high intake of disadvantageous saturated and trans fats can lead to elevated low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol levels, which may increase your risk of developing heart disease. Saturated fats may also contribute to obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

Trans fats are sometimes used in the following:

Commercially-made cakes and biscuits

Takeaway foods

Energy bars

Ready-made meals

Snack food like chips

Trans fats can increase harmful low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol while decreasing good high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol. In turn, this can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, it has been associated with the development of type-2 diabetes.

 

I hope you found this information to be helpful.  Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you liked about it.

 

To your health!

Pamela

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Bad to Best Real Foods List

For some people, it takes a lot of effort to make corrections to habits that they’ve had for long periods of time. Or you might be someone who needs to see something at a glance in order to make a positive change. In this short “Health-e-Byte,” you will learn about the best foods that are considered ‘real foods’, similar to clean eating and following a whole foods lifestyle.

Below are a few examples to help you get a good grasp of the tiers of food quality. The list shows in a simple way how source, content, and freshness can make a major impact on the quality of your food. Convenience foods make up a large portion of what people consider when they are short on time but sacrifice their nutritional content in doing so. There are also cultural factors that appear across the board, but the impact is relatively clear.  If you take the time to plan out your meals you’ll be sure to make better choices.   

 

Breakfast

Bad – Coffee with artificial sweetener, name brand jelly with high-fructose corn syrup, box cereal with high fructose corn syrup.

Good – Coffee with white sugar, jelly that’s been sweetened with fruit juice, Instant oats, orange juice from the store.

Better – Coffee with a small amount of natural sweetener like honey, freshly crushed berries, plain oatmeal sweetened with honey or fruit chunks, homemade granola.

 

 

Lunch

 

Bad – Bag of processed snacks, inexpensive white bread, prepackaged meat cuts with filler, salt, and water added, name brand mayonnaise, can of soda.

Good – Baked seasoned nuts, pre-seasoned popcorn, Specialty whole grain bread bought at the store, store sliced cold cuts of meat, organic specialty mayonnaise, store-bought juice drink, or flavored name brand iced tea.

Better – Raw nuts, popcorn you seasoned, homemade trail mix, whole wheat bread made by you or a bakery, freshly cooked and sliced meats, lightly seasoned mashed avocado for spread, freshly squeezed juice, tea, or water.

 

Dinner

Bad – Conventional meat from the store, box macaroni, and cheese, dehydrated vegetable packet, can of soda or fruit punch that doesn’t contain much juice and is abundant with high fructose corn syrup.

Good – Organic meat from the store, organic box macaroni, and cheese, frozen vegetables for a side, store-bought sparkling cider, specialty sodas.

Better – Locally raised meat, homemade shells and real cheese, fresh seared vegetables, homemade sodas, juice, teas, flavored with juice mixtures, or water.

This simple list should help you and give you a better idea about foods that are good, bad, or the best when eating a real foods diet.

 

I hope you enjoyed this “Health-e-Byte.”  Please feel free to leave a comment below to let me know what you liked about it.

To your health!

Pamela

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