From Junk Foods to Fresh Foods

Produce,BasketFull‚ÄčLike clock work, I put the kids to bed and right around 8pm all I can think about is chocolate! Food cravings are pretty common, but when they are completely out of control and stear all your meal choices that's a red flag. We recently looked to Dr. Josh Axe's e-book (get it free here) Superfoods Super You for advice on how to turn your food cravings into fresh food eating. Which foods to substitute for each of the top 10 most craved foods in America. 

It will take will power and determination, but keep in mind that you are eating for your health with every bite you take at each meal. Everything you eat will either contribute to a disease process in your body, or boost healing and health. We encourage you in this podcast to eat as much fresh foods as possible, avoid over processed foods and most importantly, be an example for your kids. 

Listen to our podcast here: From Junk Foods to Fresh Foods

We would love to answer your questions about this or any other nutrition related subject you'd like! Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter and connect with us.

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“I don’t know the answer, my brain is not working!”

brain blogWhen I heard my 6 year old say that in response to a homework question I decided to see the “upside” in the situation. I had the perfect “in” to get her to eat more fish!

I redirected her thinking skills towards answering the question: “What foods do you think fuel your brain so you can think better and learn more efficiently?” She quickly recalled our recent conversation about how different nutrients feed different parts of the body, and our brain specially needs fats. The “good fats”, mono and polyunsaturated, full of omega fatty acids, those are the ones that will benefit our brain the most. And you can find a lot of them in fish! Connect the dots, and there you go. She was really excited about having fish for dinner. She had been eating tilapia and salmon since the age of 12months, but sometimes tuna and other fish she is a little resistant to trying it. Making the connection to how it can help them achieve her goals is all the incentive most kids needs to take the first bite.

When discussing the brain I can’t forget to also mention the foods we should avoid: those full of artificial coloring and over-processed foods with trans fats and overwhelming amounts of sugar and salt. Ends up those toxins make their way easily to the brain, which is a fast oxidizing mass. Therefore protecting it from wasting away is just as important as feeding it to grow! Other ways to protect is enriching our diets with lots of antioxidants. The more common ones are Vitamin A and carotenoids found in carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, Vitamin C found in citrus, green peppers, green veggies, Vitamin E found in nuts and seeds, Selenium found in fish, eggs and garlic! Others include flavonoids, lycopene, lutein and lignin.

We have lots of recipes that will include plenty of those brain feeding foods! Just search our tab for brain recipes here: Recipe Tab

You can also learn more about feeding your children’s brain by listening to this podcast: Better Food Choices – Feeding your children's brain

Subscribe to our podcast here to listen to all past shows!

 

… for the health of your family,

Carolina

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Chia Seeds: worth the try or just a trend?

Chia seeds have become very popular in the last few years; within the last 18 months they’ve begun to show up on our grocery shelves. You find them in bags, but also in granola bars, chips, cereals and even cookies! And yes, these are the same seeds that we got to know as “Chia Pets.”

But what are they? And are they really good for you?

Chia, Salvia hispanica, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family.  It is grown commercially for its seeds.  These little guys are loaded with good fats:  55% Omega 3, 18% Omega 6, 6% Omega 9 and 10% saturated fat. Plus they are high in fiber and protein as well! And, they also have up to 18% of recommended daily intake of Calcium along with phosphorus and manganese.

Not only do they power us up, their nutrients help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance, reduce high cholesterol, and their fiber content helps regulate bowel function.

Good News. Chia seeds are fun to eat!  They can be consumed raw or be added to a liquid substance such as smoothies. When wet, they turn into a gelatin form (pudding!).  This gelling action coupled with their fiber and protein content, cause a satiating effect – a bonus for those on a weight management plan.

I think chia seeds are here to stay!  They are easy to consume, have almost no taste and are pretty shelf stable.  For these reasons, they are more commonly consumed – even taken the place of flax seeds.

Have I convinced you yet to try them? Great! Check out a recipe that will get you started on getting to know these powerful little seeds. PS- they are good for kids and adults!

Tropical Green Smoothie: http://www.kidkritics.com/recipes/Tropical-Green-Smoothie/404 

For the health of your family,

Carolina

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Recipe. Veggie Stix Salmon Cakes – out of this world!

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How clever of this Healthier Recipe Mom, Shonda – she used the new Veggie Stix with their retained nutrients from seven vegetables (broccoli, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, beets, potatoes, shitake mushrooms) to create this kid friendly nutrient power- packed recipe.  CLICK HERE.  If you question whether kids will like them… here's your answer (photos below)!

KidKriticEatingSalmonVeggieCakes KidKriticEatingSalmonVeggieCakes,boy

Yes, they ate the broccoli, tomatoes and carrots, too! Their mom put each cake into a roll for eye and texture appeal.  It worked!  Try it and let us know if your kids loved these salmon cakes as much as these kids did.

… for the health of families,
ellen

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Sesame Seeds. Performance Food of the Week

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This delicate nutty flavored herb is chock-a-block full of nutrients. Sesame seeds feed your brain, bones, ears, hair, heart, lungs, mouth/teeth, muscles, nails, nerves, and nose. Their good brain supporting fats help to lower LDL and increase HDL levels. Along with their quality amino acid proteins, they also supply you with B complex vitamins (niacin, folic acid, thaimin, pyridoxine and riboflavin). They contain a very rich source of minerals: calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium and copper.

And, boy are they good to eat! Hummus is made with Tahini, a sesame seed paste. They often are sprinkled on baked goods such as bagels. We love to add them to salads, including egg and tuna. Certainly they enhance all salads, egg dishes and many fruit desserts. Adding them to entrees before serving is a great way to add nutritional power to every meal. Sesame seeds are a brilliant way to stoke your kids with so many of the nutrients they need while growing. We buy them in bulk and keep them in jars for handy use. Try this, too!

    … for the health of your family,
ellen

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Steps to Picking Your Food Oil – the Good Fat

Here's what food oils to buy and how to use them to get the most for your money.  Buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil and non GMO Canola Oils in dark green or brown glass jars.  The rest , including "Pure Olive Oil" have been processed enough to remove their health benefits and add unwanted ingredients – chemicals. Store in a cool dark place, away from your stove and burners.  These oils should be good for 18 months to 2 years.  Hopefully you use them up before then – your brain needs it!  The best have a bite in the back of your throat.  The bigger the bite, the better it is. If you open a jar and it smells like Play-Doh, it 's bad – take it back or throw it away.  Please, stay away from those sold in plastic containers or cans that are now being lined with BPA. 

Use your non-GMO, organic Canola Oil for everyday cooking.  Save your EVOO for drizzles over vegetables and salad dressings, though it is also good for sauteing as well. 

One more thing:  Those bright store lights degrade oils.  Pull out a bottle/jar from the back of the shelf where it has not been exposed to the light.  (I do this when buying produce as well.)

For more good facts on food oils, please listen to Food Expert and Author (Reading Between the Lines), Kimberly Lord Stewart,  on www.iTunes.com, Podcast, Better Food Choices dates 2/17/12.  She is worth every minute!

… for the health of your family,
ellen


You have until Sunday evening to enter to win a Case of Enchilada Sauce Mix by Simply Organic.  If you want a stash of this quick fix for a delicious healthier family dinner, please go to www.KidKritics.com/sweepstakes.  Enter more than once to up your odds.

 

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Cocoa. Performance Food of the Week

CacaoPowder

Performance Food for Valentine's Day and everyday! Cocoa Powder (dark chocolate)! It's nutrients feed your brain, heart, muscles, nerves, bones, hair, nails and skin! You can thank its concentration of minerals and omega-3 fats for this. This powder itself actually reduces your cravings for sweets. Plus it is loaded with antioxidants – 20% more than wine. And, you know it helps lift your spirits. Catch is, for these benefits, it has to be eaten as true dark chocolate. I enjoy a square or two of a 70% dark chocolate bar everyday. 85% is even better. Start your kids on 60% dark chocolate.  Most love it… and it loves them!

… for the health of your family,
ellen

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Recipe. Black Bean Quesadillas – inexpensive and easy

Black beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese (soy in this case) and tortillas… little olive oil and you have an inexpensive, nutritious, delicious meal for your kids.  Will they like it?  "Yes," says Janice, the mother of two, who created this recipe.  We agree. The flavors cook together for yummy bites.  Whole grain tortillas were used in this photo's version.  We encourage you to try them – great source of fiber and tummy filler.  There are gluten-free tortillas for those want them. You don't need a Quesadilla maker for this recipe, and, if you have one, great!  (I don't… yet).  For recipe details, please go to www.KidKritics.com. It is featured on the homepage. Ask you kids to help you make some of these Quesadillas and watch your family gobble them up!

… for the health of your family,
ellen

Heart Healthy Week spills into our sweepstakes.  Win a whole case of Wild Blueberry Juice by Wyman's of  Maine,  PLUS,  a children's book, A Heart Pumping Adventure by Dr. Heather Manley.  This is  a win/win opportunity so please enter at www.KidKritics.com/sweepstakes today!

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Dr. Heather Manley’s Healthy Heart Food List

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Since you heart is pumping hard to push blood through about 60,000 miles of blood vessels  a day, wouldn't it be a good idea to feed this muscle its needed fuel?  Dr. Heather shares what she feeds her family of four so all stay healthy and function at their best.  Good fats (Omega-3s) were tops on her list.  Putting flax seed oil with heart healthy blueberries and other fruit into smoothies is a daily event for breakfast or snacks.  Avocados in salads or Guacamole are frequently consumed by her family.  Grass-fed beef and eggs are commonly found on their plates for dinner and other meals.  One of her young daughter's was making scrambled eggs with spinach and cheese for her breakfast while we were on the air.  It's not that hard!

To hear all of Dr. Manley's Heart Health interview, please go to the www.BetterFoodChoicesRadio.com archived shows, or, www.iTunes.com, Podcast, Better Food Choices and click on the Feb. 3rd, 2012 show. PLEASE, avoid having any heart disease statistics in your family.  Listen to Dr. Heather Manley.

… for the health of your family,
ellen

Chocolate lovers, enter to Win a Case of Chocolate Walnut Cookies, Sugar Free, by Joseph's Lite Cookies.  This is a great opportunity for those diagnosed as pre-Diabetic or Diabetic, or for those who want to avoid either diagnosis.  Joseph made them especially for you.  Go to www. KidKritics.com/sweepstakes today.  Enter more than once to up your winning odds.

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Nut Butter Buying Tips

Artisanaproducts  Yes, they are as good as they look! 

How to Choose Nut Butters:

ADDRESS ALLERGENS by reading for peanut butter ingredients or exposure during processing.  This helps those with and without PB allergies. 

ORGANIC or NATURAL: Certified Organic means fields, plants/trees and processing meet strict organic standards… as good as it gets.  Natural may or may not mean void of unhealthy ingredients.  Know your source.

READ INGREDIENTS: one or two ingredients is enough for good nut butters. Avoid added stabilizers, sweeteners and oils. 

RAW or ROASTED: Raw means no heat application which alters nutrients such as essential fatty acids – essential for your body's cellular production.  Roasted uses heat for this adjusted flavor.  The less the better which is why Lightly Roasted is a good choice.

NUT VARIETIES: Almond, Cashew, Walnut, Pecan, Macadamia and even Coconut are alternatives to Peanut Butter. Those taste tested by the Kid Kritics were big hits!

This and so much more was shared by today's radio guest, Co-Founder and President of the Artisana brand, Santiago Cuenca-Romero.  Listen to all he had to say, www.iTunes, Podcast, "Better Food Choices." Very interesting guy!

… for the health of your family,
ellen

Be the one who Wins the Case of Chocolate Energy Bites by Greens+.  Enter by going to www.KidKritics.com/sweepstakes.  They are perfect for kids… just ask the Kid Kritics.

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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.