Why You Should Stop Skipping Breakfast!

Our registered dietitian Carolina Jantac, MS,RD,LD recently wrote an article for the Natural Solutions Magazine packed with breakfast ideas! 

Check the article here: Natural Solution Published

 

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The Pumpkin Latte: A big wake up call to all Parents!

This week’s announcement of “early fall arrival” at Starbucks was followed by more negativity than ever before. Consumers want to be equipped with knowledge when it comes to buying food and drinks. Therefore just as soon as the Pumpkin Spice Latte’s made headlines, they were followed by bloggers and food experts questioning what exactly makes up this delicious and indulgent coffee drink that promises to leave you feeling like fall has arrived (even when it is still 98F here in Florida!).

food dye tubesThe results shocked moms across the country who were so looking forward to their favorite time of day, right after kids are dropped off at school. It’s personal coffee time! Unfortunately, you may want to take Pumpkin Spice Latte off your list of choices. To the surprise of many, its long list of ingredients has plenty of harmful components.  On the menu it says in simple words, “The Pumpkin Spice Latte is of pumpkin and traditional fall spice flavors combined with espresso and steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice.” Here is alarming truth; this latte contains no pumpkin at all. In my opinion that is not the worst news: it includes “caramel color level IV” which is an artificial food coloring made with ammonia.

Here is what I really want to come out of this “viral” news that has hit the social media fast this last week: Wake up moms! Caramel food coloring, as well as many other harmful artificial food coloring, is a common ingredient in many foods you might be packing in your kid’s lunch boxes as we speak!

Caramel color is one of the oldest and most widely used food colorings. Often it is added to soft drinks and other beverages, batters, beer, brown bread, buns, chocolate, cookies, cough drops, liquors, candy, custards, potato chips, doughnuts, frozen desserts, fruit preserves, ice cream, sauces, dressings, vinegar and so much more. There have been a handful of studies that looked at this additive’s risks for humans. In 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined the chemical to be “possibly carcinogenic to humans” after a federal government study concluded that it caused cancer in mice ("Caramel Coloring in Soda – Artificial Food Coloring".consumerreports.orgConsumer Reports. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014.)

Food dyes are abundant in so many foods that are targeted to children mainly because they do indeed make food “look better.” Food manufacturers use these synthetic ingredients to make their products stand out on the shelf more than their competitors. In addition to the potential cancer risks these substances may cause, there are other side effects that are much more apparent to parents on a daily basis. Dr. Sears recommends that parents trying to solve behavior issues with their children by cutting out all food coloring from their diet. He believes that alongside MSG and high fructose corn syrup, food colorings are the main culprits affecting children’s behavior (http://www.drsearswellnessinstitute.org/resources/healthy-living/family/behavior/).

The presence of artificial food colorings in any products prevent them from being awarded the Kid Kritics Seal of Approval. We strongly believe in not feeding our children any artificial additives. We all support the need for more research to better explain their effects on not only the human body, but more importantly on the growing body and developing brain of children. The reality is that foods do not require food coloring. It is simply added to enhance visual pleasantness and package the product for first pick by shoppers, you. Say “no thanks” by voting with your pocket book. Be assured, we choose to only taste test and recommend products that are free from these substances, and will continue to do so for the health of our children and yours!

… for the health of your family,

Carolina

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Smart Snacking!

chocolate granola bites by elizabeth1You may be surprised to learn, snacks are the fastest growing food category?  90% of people snack at least once a day. 60% or more snack 2 and even 3 times a day.  Snacks have become mini-meals.  Challenge: which are the Smart Snacks we should be grabbing as we race through the grocery store?  What ones should we be sending with our kids to school?  Which are the best for balanced energy and focus renewal?  Which provide the best source of calories our mind and body will use efficiently, thereby avoiding unhealthy weight gain?  What are the best Smart Snack food choices? Our guest, Maggie Jones Patton, founder of Bitsy’s Brainfood, has devoted her career to providing Smart Snacks for kids, ones adults love, too!  Together with co-host Carolina Jantac, RD (Kid Kritics Approved), we will give you a list of snacks both your children and you will love, ones you will know will nourish your mental and physical needs throughout your family’s busy days!

Listen to the podcast here and feel free to comment with questions: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/familyfoodexperts/2014/08/21/smart-snacking-recipe-and-guidelines-for-you-to-plan-the-perfect-snacks

for the health of your family,

Carolina

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Simply Gluten Free: Podcast!

simply gluten free magazine Gluten free products have found their own place in grocery stores now. They are much easier to find and their quality has come a long way. You can bake cakes, cookies, make pies and even pasta that is completely gluten free and taste delicious. Rather you are avoiding gluten due to Celiac disease or due to an intolerance you can count on some amazing recipes and tips from Carol Kicinski to make your life easier and better! Carol is the founder and editor in chief of Simply Gluten Free Magazine, she is a recipe developer, TV chef and cookbook author. And she joined us for this podcast episode to talk about how and why she herself transitioned to a gluten free diet.

She shared her struggles with migraines since a young age, which medication and treatments were never quite enough to eventually finding the answer in the simple step of eliminating gluten from her diet. 

Listen to our chat with her and get some delicious recipes and tips! Here is a link to our podcast: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/familyfoodexperts/2014/08/14/simply-gluten-free-recipe-and-tips

… for the health of your family,

Carolina

 

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Plant Powered Diet!

How would you feel about revolutionizing the way you look at your plate? Instead of planning your meals about an entree consisting of animal product, such as chicken, steak, ground meat or even fish; try making a vegetable or legume the center of your meal! Sharon Palmer, RDN (http://www.sharonpalmer.com/) has inspired many to do just that. She explains the benefits of a plant powered diet and gives you ideas of different ways you can add more plant sourced proteins and nutrients to your diet. Her recipes are amazing, and even the most "meat loving" member of your house won't miss his steak when you prepare one of her entree recipes. We talked with her extensively as well about beans! An ofen overlooked source of protein, iron, fiber and so much more. It is relatively cheap and so powerful that it is a no brainer for you to start there and get more beans in your daily routine! To listen to all we had to say about beans and so much more listen to our podcast, link below, and if you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us via Facebook, Twitter or here with a comment. 

Listen to the full episode here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/familyfoodexperts/2014/07/10/are-you-plant-powered-for-life-tips-and-recipes-add-more-plants-to-your-diet

You may also find us on iHeart radio and iTunes, search for Family Food Experts Kitchen.

… for the health of your family,

Carolina

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Greek Yogurt: The many ways you can enjoy it!

2lb_Greek_Vanilla_Bean_500x610_300_RGBHave you noticed how the yogurt aisle has changed at the grocery store? Greek Yogurt has quickly become a favorite and taken over the shelf space. And all for good reason! Greek yogurt is lower in sugar, higher in protein, has a smoother and thicker texture and is delicious! Toby Amidor, MS, RD who recently wrote a book called: The Greek Yogurt Kitchen with over 130 recipes joined us to share her favorite uses and recipe with Greek Yogurt.

Beyond the basic (and oh so delicious!) way to enjoy it with a little honey and toppings of your choice, Greek Yogurt can be used for baking! You can use it instead of heavy cream, butter and even buttercream in recipes. You can also add it to smoothies, oatmeals, pancakes and french toast (Toby shared a Lemon Blueberry French Toast Recipe with us that is amazing!). Toby also highlighted how Greek yogurt can top off meatballs, lamb dishes and other dinner entres you may not expect it.

Kid Kritics Approved has two Greek Yogurts on our grocery list (and a staple in my own kitchen): Cabot Creamery's Greek-Style Yogurt Plain low-fat and Vanilla flavor.

To listen to our entire show and be inspired to try Toby's recipes just click HERE.

… for the health of your family,

Carolina

 

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Your Introduction to Biodynamic Foods!

Have you heard about this new way (well, actually old way!) to farm that produces food of superior quality? Biodynamic farmers have looked back to how farmers use to run their crops prior to world war I. They strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. They use fermented manure, minerals and herbs to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised. Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in harmony with their ecosyste; in a nutshel, it is a way of farming that sustains itself! It is a much more earth friendly way to grow food and in the end produces food untouched by toxic chemicals and pesticides. 

Our guest, Elizabeth Candelro shares her knowledge of biodynamic farming from it's origins to where we can expect to find it nowadays. Also what are the differences between this produce versus organic foods. Listen to this podcast and share it with your friends to better understand this wonderful step to better farming! 

Podcast here: http://www.iheart.com/talk/show/24843992/?episode_id=26924809

Learn more here: https://www.biodynamics.com/biodynamics.html

… for the health of your family,

Carolina

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It’s Picnic time! Tips and recipes for a perfect picnic.

There is something special about eating outdoors! My kids are huge fans of picnics. As a matter of fact, when we can't go out on a hike or to the beach because I'm swamped with work, I simply take a blanket to the backyard and bring lunch outdoors and they absolutely love it. But if you are planning an outdoor picnic some preparations ahead of time can really help! There are some foods that are portable and perfect for an all day picnic affair, some foods are a must for picnics on the beach, and water is always on top of the list for hydration when you plan anything outdoors. 

We had the pleasure to chat with Amy Roskelley from Super Healthy Kids and she a ton of great tips and recipes for us when it comes to picnic foods! She has some of her ideas here for you:  http://www.superhealthykids.com/blog/fresh-and-healthy-summer-picnic.php and here is a link to our full conversation with her: Podcast here

.. for the health of your family,

Carolina

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Make the switch today to EVOO!

If you haven't made the switch yet let me give you a few reason why you should today. In my pantry today all you'll find is coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil. And yes, they are stored in my pantry! I buy small bottles/containers that I can use up within 1 month so that way I don't have to worry about long term oxidation of my oils. If you like to buy in bulk you can always portion out what you'll use in a month and store the rest in the refrigerator. But thats a whole new topic, let's go back to why I want you to consider getting rid of other oils and making EVOO your oil of choice.

OO_32oz_RGB_72dpiExtra Virgin Olive Oil is high in a type of fat known as monounsaturated fat (MUFAs) which can help lower your cholesterol and control insulin levels in the body. Olive oil is also rich in polyphenols and Vitamin E, both types of antioxidants. This powerfu combination of nutrients makes olive oil not only good for your heart by protecting your cells from damage but also as an anti-inflamatory. Studies have over the years amounted to overwhelming evidence of all the benefits of EVOO to the heart, and are also now exploring it's benefits to the bones, brain and even as cancer prevention (to find out more, read Olive Oil as Preventive Medicine from Bragg here)  

Are you lost on how to start using olive oil? We've recently chatted with Mary from The California Greek Girl blog who is an expert in cooking with Olive Oil! Her brand new book "Cooking Techniques and Recipes with Olive Oil" is a complete guide to discovering olive oil. Listen to our podcast and get inspired today: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/familyfoodexperts/2014/05/22/cooking-with-olive-oil-recipes-and-tips

.. for the health of your family,

Carolina

 

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Fresh Food Power!

Do you do a "grocery cart check" on your way out of the grocery store? Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN advises everyone to get it right from the get go! When you go to the grocery store, right before you pay at the check out isle, do a quick check: your cart should be more than 50% vegetables/fruits! She takes it a step further and explains that when you get them home don't hide them in the "crisp" drawer of the refrigerator. Place them at eye level shelves so you can see them first thing when you open the fridge looking for snacks and or ingredients to prepare your meals.

That is such great advice! After all, if you are bringing all those fruits and vegetables home you are likely leaving behind some over-processed snack like foods that would have occupied your cart. Out of sight, out of mind! Or even better: Near to you, in your mouth it goes! So how do you cook with all these fresh foods? Dawn's website is filled with fresh food recipes and serving suggestions, so check it out here.

Listen to our entire podcast to find out all her other tips and advice, such as how to avoid: C.R.A.P foods and what that stands for!

Click here to listen to Podcast

… for the health of your family,

Carolina

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DISCLOSURE: Once a product passes ingredient standards evaluation followed by a blind Kid Kritics taste test, a company can opt-in to the Kid Kritics Approved marketing program. Though monetary compensation for marketing is involved, this does not affect the nutrition evaluation or taste test results.