Tis’ The Season for Fresh Veggies & Fruit

Sue, Rachel & Yash at Health Track Sports Wellness shared in their recent newsletter that we are at the height of fresh summer fruits and vegetables. Take advantage of the season to visit a French Market or Farmers Market. This is a great opportunity to expose your kids to new and interesting produce.

With the variety of choices comes a great opportunity to fill your plate in a new and different way: “backwards.” Most of us fill our plates with the carbs first, leaving less room for the nutrient rich fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Try loading up with the fruits and vegetables first then add the lean protein, which leaves a smaller area for the carbs like noodles and rice. This way, you have lots of room for your fruits and vegetables, which provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals, fiber and even water to help nourish your body.  Add some activity at Health Track and you have a recipe for healthy living!

Here’s a recipe they shared for Avocado toast from the Food Network

Hint:There are two secrets to these simple avocado toasts: rubbing the bread with garlic for just a hint of flavor and adding a pop of crunchy sea salt on top.

Ingredients – Vegetarian   –  Serves 4

Produce
  • 1 8-ounce ripe avocado, ripe pitted and peeled
  • 1 clove Garlic
Baking & Spices
  • 1 Red pepper flakes
  • 1 Salt and freshly ground black pepper, Fine
  • 1 Sea salt, Flaky
Bread & Baked Goods
  • 4 slices Whole grain or whole wheat bread
Dairy
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil or unsalted butter, extra-virgin

Recipe for Success: Changing the Way People Eat Their Veggies

Gracie Cavnar, the CEO of Recipe for Success Foundation founded Recipe for Success ten years ago after she became involved in a campaign to remove junk food vending machines from elementary schools in Texas because she knew the power of marketing to young children. During this campaign, she became aware of the childhood obesity epidemic and diseases related to weight issues. This prompted her to found Recipe for Success, and use her newfound knowledge of the diet-related issues affecting millions across America, as a way to change the minds of children about eating healthy food. Ten years later, Recipe for Success has grown to a national footprint, with many initiatives. They produce programs such as hands-on cooking and gardening, healthy community calls to action, school contests, healthy food access, cookbooks, and multi-media projects.

Cavnar worked with professional chefs, scientists, nutritionists, gardeners, and teachers to develop grade-specific, hands-on curriculum for learning in the garden and culinary classrooms. According to Recipe for Success, after one year in their Seed-To-Plate Nutrition Education™ program, children are eating an average of 30 percent more fruits and vegetables.

In 2010, after seeing their impact on 20,000 Houston children through their Seed-To-Plate Nutrition Education™, the Obama administration asked Cavnar to expand Recipe for Success to a national scale. “It took us two years to really find a way to scale our programming in a sustainable way,” said Cavnar. In 2012, Recipe for Success launched their Affiliate Partnershipsfor schools across the country. “Now, you can become an Affiliate Partner, and we will train, certify and support your instructors with a robust library of curriculum, webinars, social sharing, and trainings,” said Cavnar.

Read more

Bullies use a small but powerful weapon to torment allergic kids: peanuts

Eating Fresh Fruits and Veggies Is Easy When They’re Relatively Cheap

Sarah Chaney posted in the Wall Street Journal that in the fresh versus processed food wars, fresh fruits and vegetables are winning, thanks in part to their relatively cheap price tags.

Since November 2008, the consumption of fresh fruits has grown 16.2%, while consumption of fresh vegetables is up 20.6%. Consumption of processed fruits and vegetables increased only 9.9% during the same time period, notes Eugenio J. AlemánWells Fargo senior economist, in a new report.

“Consumers have rationally reacted to much higher prices on the processed side in relation to the fresh side,” Mr. Alemán said in an interview. “In relative terms, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables are cheaper today than processed fruits and vegetables are.”

Processed fruits and veggies are in the “freezer aisle,” while fresh are not frozen, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Read more

The Fruit You Need to Be Eating More Of

Shelley Emling, wrote for the  AARP Health Newsletter that we already knew avocados are good for us. After all, they’re packed with protein (the good-quality kind), potassium and antioxidants. But we just didn’t know how good they are for us. Until now.

An April 2017 review of 129 previously published studies related to avocados found that eating the fruit — and eating it often — could ward off metabolic syndrome. Ominously nicknamed the “new silent killer,” metabolic syndrome is the label applied to a deadly combination of three or more risk factors that can lead to stroke, diabetes and heart disease. These risk factors include abdominal obesity, high triglyceride levels and high blood pressure.

(And yes, you might be tempted to call an avocado a veggie. But technically, it’s a fruit — and more specifically, a single-seeded berry.)

Avocados and their healthy fats appear to have the most dramatic impact on cholesterol levels, which have a positive effect on obesity rates, heart health and blood pressure. But they can help fight off almost every other aspect of metabolic syndrome, as well. And metabolic syndrome is not a condition to take lightly, as it affects 40 percent of Americans 40 and older.

If that weren’t enough, avocados also have been shown to stave off belly fat, the worst kind of fat to carry, and boost metabolism.

“This is just yet another study to show that avocados truly deserve superfood status,” Healthmagazine’s contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass told Time magazine. Sass was not one of the researchers involved in the review but agrees that it includes “an impressive range of studies.”

Sass also pointed out that avocados fill you up — which means it’s hard to eat too much of this food that’s high in healthy fat. If anything, people who eat a lot of avocados generally weigh less than those who don’t.

“This is yet another example of how not all calories are created equal,” Sass told Time.

The new review of studies, conducted by Iranian researchers, was published in the journal Phytotherapy Research.

Fortunately, American consumption of avocados has skyrocketed in the past four decades, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture released in January 2017. Indeed, thanks in part to the avocado’s reputation as a healthy fat, consumption of avocados jumped 1,342 percent between 1970 and 2014.

So what are you waiting for? Jump on the bandwagon and whip up some guacamole. For something a bit different, check out AARP’s recipe for a bacon-lettuce-avocado-tomato sandwichor this recipe for avocados stuffed with crab-mango salad.

Are You Getting Enough Iron?

Jenny Sugar from POPSUGAR  shared that if  you get plenty of sleep and you’re not catching a cold, yet lately you feel run-down, have crazy headaches, and can’t focus at work, it may have something to do with how much iron you’re getting in your diet.

An adult woman should aim for 18 milligrams of iron a day, and if you’re not reaching this goal, you may have anemia, an iron deficiency. Our bodies need iron to make hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen. If your cells aren’t getting oxygen, that explains the tired, foggy head. You may also notice pale skin, brittle nails, and cold hands.

You may be at risk for low levels of iron if you tend to have heavy periods, are pregnant, or just had a baby. Other at-risk individuals include endurance athletes, vegans, and individuals who donate blood frequently or have a condition that makes it hard to absorb nutrients from food. You can take iron supplements, but they may cause an upset stomach, heartburn, or constipation, so it’s best to get your iron from food. Check out the list below to see which foods contain the most iron so you can be sure to get your fill.

 

FOOD AMOUNT IRON (MG)
Apricot, dried 1/2 cup halves 1.2
Artichoke 1 medium 0.7
Asparagus, cooked 1/2 cup 0.8
Barley, cooked 1 cup 2.1
Beans (garbanzo) 1/2 cup 1.6
Beans (kidney) 1/2 cup 2
Beans (lima) 1/2 cup 2.3
Beans (pinto) 1/2 cup 1.8
Broccoli, cooked 1/2 cup 0.5
Brown rice, cooked 1 cup 0.8
Cashews 1/4 cup 2
Cashew butter 2 tbsp. 1.6
Egg 1 large 0.7
Flaxseed, ground 1 tbsp. 0.4
Fortified cereal such as Wheat Chex 3/4 cup 13.5
Ground beef 1 patty 1.9
Kale, raw 1cup 1.1
Lentils 1/2 cup 3.3
Molasses 1 tbsp 0.9
Oats 1 cup 3.4
Oysters, cooked 3 oz 10.2
Peanuts 1/4 cup 0.6
Peanut butter 2 tbsp. 0.6
Pine nuts 1/4 cup 1.9
Potatoes, with the skin 1 small 1.5
Pumpkin seeds 1/4 cup 5.2
Quinoa, cooked 1 cup 2.8
Raisins 1/4 cup 0.8
Salmon 3 oz. 0.9
Shrimp, cooked 3 oz. 2.6
Soybeans (edamame) 1/2 cup 1.8
Spinach, raw 1 cup 0.8
Steak 3 oz. 3.2
Sun-dried tomatoes 1/4 cup 1.2
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup 1.8
Sunflower seed butter 2 tbsp. 1.6
Tofu, extra firm 1/2 block 4.3
Turkey (dark meat) 3 oz. 2.1

 

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria del Rio
Product Credit: Fleur du Mal Bra, Underwear + Robe

 

When is it right to add a protein supplement?

Joshua Steckler, owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio located in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning, and nutrition recently shared in the Daily Herald’s Health and Fitness section that to ensure a variety of dietary nutrients, we recommend eating a combination of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Many clients come to us eating too many carbohydrates and not enough protein. Not that protein is more important than carbohydrates, or fat for that matter, but if you lack quality protein, you’ll have a hard time maintaining healthy body composition.

Protein is essential for preserving and building muscle, and its consumption helps reduce hunger while stabilizing blood sugar levels — all of which help you burn fat while supporting overall health.

We always preach the importance of building your diet on a foundation of natural and wholesome foods, especially protein-dense foods such as beef, chicken, fish, and eggs. Additionally, having a whole food alternative like a protein powder is a great option for a pre- and post-workout shake or convenient snack options.

So how much protein do you really need? The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that those individuals who are strength training regularly need 0.5 — 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. You may need more or less depending on your body composition and individual goals, but this is a good rule of thumb.

We recommend the following protein powder supplements if you aren’t getting enough protein from whole foods.

• Whey Protein Powder. Whey is a type of protein derived from dairy products. It contains all the essential amino acids our body must obtain from food, so it’s a top choice of many athletes or those wanting to maintain and build muscle. Whey should be avoided by those with lactose issues or those who may have an intolerance to dairy.

• Egg Protein Powder. Egg protein is generally a powdered version of egg whites. It contains all the essential amino acids and many vitamins and minerals, so it’s also a great source for muscle-building proteins. Egg protein is lactose-free, so it may be a good option for individuals who can’t do whey protein.

• Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein Powder. Collagen protein powder is made from the connective tissue, skin, and bones of animals. It might not sound appealing, but hydrolyzed collagen is similar to bone broth or gelatin used for cooking and it contains a substantial amount of protein. Collagen has a slightly different amino acid profile than whey or egg, but it can still help repair and build muscle, while supporting bones and connective tissue. A good-quality collagen supplement may be an option for someone with both dairy and egg allergies.

• Plant-based Protein Powders. Vegetarians as well as those wanting to get more plants in their diet may benefit from a plant-based protein supplement. A combination of rice, pea, and hemp protein will give you a dose of all the essential amino acids and adds the benefit of phytonutrients as well.

With any supplement, it’s important to understand that its safety and efficacy will be dependent on the ingredients. Is the source grass-fed or raised on factory farms? Are the animals treated with hormones or antibiotics? Were chemical pesticides or artificial sweeteners used? Was the protein powder heated during processing or chemically treated? These are all important questions that should be answered before you make your purchase.

So ensure a balanced diet by eating quality protein from whole foods often, and supplementing when needed.

Most kids rely on french fries as their vegetable

Recently, the Daily Herld Newspaper reported that most children go days without eating any greens, a new study reveals.

For 90 percent of kids, potatoes — in the form of french fries — are their only constant vegetable, the Daily Mail reports.

And more than half of babies aren’t getting any breast milk.

The bleak figures, reported in the journal Pediatrics, have been held up as concrete evidence that America needs to do more to improve children’s nutrition.

“We knew from previous studies that more work was needed to improve feeding habits in this age group,” said study co-author Gandarvaka Miles, a public health researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“We observed many of the same trends in our study: a substantial proportion of American infants are not breast-fed, vegetable consumption is lower than desired, and consumption of sweetened beverages and sugary snacks is prevalent.”

From 2005 to 2008 and again from 2009 to 2012, researchers surveyed parents about infant and toddler eating habits. For the new study, they compared data collected from a total of 2,359 participants.

With the older children in the study, researchers found toddlers were more likely to consume fried white potatoes than green vegetables.

Consumption of green veggies fell by half during the study to only about 8 percent of toddlers by the end.

5 Juices and Smoothies Your Kids Will Love

Guest Blogger Cathy White asks, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your kids ate all of their vegetables and fruits with a smile?” Getting picky eaters to consume the 5 daily recommended servings is not that easy.

As more families are adopting healthier lifestyles and eating habits, it can be frustrating when all your kids want to eat is junk food. If you are at your wits end with trying to find produce your children will eat—try juices and smoothies!

Even if they don’t like kale, you can make delicious treats that incorporate greens without them even knowing it. When you juice fruits with vegetables, the sweetness of the fruit masks any “green” taste. Your little ones get all of the vitamins, minerals, and probiotics in a luscious drink they will love.

They may even ask for more! Hopefully, they will share with their siblings. Plug in your juicer or blender and try some of these scrumptiously nutritious juices and smoothies:

  1. Froggy Power Juice

This gloriously green drink will have your kids hopping with energy! They will never guess the secret ingredient.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of kale (wash and remove stalks first)
  • ½ of a peeled lemon (Myers are nice for this drink)
  • ¼ cup of your favorite mint (optional)
  • 2 whole apples (Try Granny Smith)
  • 1 small piece of peeled ginger (optional)

Directions

  • Following your manufacturer’s instructions, place ingredients one at a time into juicer.
  • Make sure that all juice is extracted.
  • Pour juice into a tall glass and stir until blended.
  • Serve immediately.

This recipe makes one 8 oz. serving. Repeat process to make more juice.

  1. Over The Rainbow Smoothie

You do not have to visit the Emerald City to enjoy these fruity concoctions. There’s no place like home to find a nutritious smoothie!

Ingredients

  • 2 small kiwi-cut into chunks
  • 1 small mango or papaya, cut into chunks
  • ½ cup fresh strawberries, cut into chunks
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries, mashed
  • ½ cucumber, cut into chunks
  • Organic pineapple juice
  • Blender and 2 juice glasses

Directions

Prepare and wash each fruit, then cut into chunks. For now, leave the blueberries whole. Separate fruit junks on a cookie sheet and freeze for a couple of hours.

Put the strawberries in your blender and add a little pineapple juice until it makes a thick smoothie. Using a small spatula, fill the glasses about a quarter full. Next, make a smoothie from the blueberries and a little pineapple juice until it has a smoothie consistency.

Layer it over the strawberry smoothie. Repeat the process with the mango and the kiwi fruit/cucumber. Let the glasses sit in the freezer for a half hour to set. Enjoy!

  1. Sunshine Smoothie

Get the benefits and Vitamin A and C with this bright carrot/orange smoothie:

Ingredients

  • 6-8 fresh carrots-tops removed
  • 1 whole large orange
  • 1 small piece of fresh peeled ginger (optional)
  • Makes two glasses

Directions

  • Follow your juicer’s manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Juice the carrots, orange, and ginger-Pour into two glasses.
  • Serve immediately.
  1. Purple Passion Smoothie

Put all of the ingredients to this fabulous smoothie in individual freezer bags. Anytime you are ready to blend up a special treat, just grab a bag from the freezer and voila!

Ingredients

Each freezer bag of ingredients will make two servings:

  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup raspberries (or strawberries)
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 1 small banana (peeled)
  • ½ cup skim milk (or almond milk)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (or another natural sweetener)
  • 2 tablespoons of old-fashioned oats (not the instant kind)

Make as many freezer bags as you need for the week. There is no need to thaw them.

Directions

  • Add frozen contents of bag to a blender and blend to a smooth consistency. Garnish with a dash of oats and fresh blueberries, if you wish. Serve immediately.

Morning Cocoa Bliss

Chocolate for breakfast? Of course—when it is part of this decadent smoothie! Only you know that it also contains heart-healthy avocado.

Ingredients

  • 2 squares of your favorite dark chocolate (grated)
  • 1 ripe avocado, scooped out
  • 1 teaspoon of honey or guava
  • 1 avocado – super-ripe, stone removed, scooped out
  • 1 tablespoon of flax or chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of old-fashioned oats (not the quick kind)
  • 2 cups of warm skim milk (or almond milk)

Directions

• Put all ingredients in blender one at a time, and blend until smooth. Slowly add the milk to the mixture. Pour into