Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Seasonal Smoothies

Makes 2 Servings

Smoothies are the perfect snack to grab after school or in the morning. They are a balanced-- loaded with complex carbs,  powerful proteins and fiber. It is perfect to keep you and your kids satisfied and focused for hours. Best of all kids can customize them .It is a great easy way to get kids involved in the kitchen and to take charge of their snacks. Easy,cheap, healthy, and most importantly out of the box.

1 cup of milk of choice -- almond, soy, rice, coconut, hemp, grass fed
1/4 plain yogurt

1 small ripe banana

1 cups mixed frozen berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries)

1 scoop of protein powder
1tablespoon flax seeds

1. Gather all ingredients.
2. Add the milk, frozen fruit, banana, protein powder, yogurt and flax seeds to you blender. 
3. Blend until smooth. Thickness tastes vary. I like my smoothies thick, my kids likes them thin. 
Add more milk if the blend is too stiff. Add more fruit if it is too thin.
4. Serve in smoothie glasses, garnish with a fresh strawberry and a fun swirly straw if you have one

Why add flax seeds?
Flaxseeds are a powerful source of fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, and potassium: and Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help protect kids brains and the hearts.  Flax also contains fiber, which acts as a broom sweeping out all the toxins and waste, keeping kids regular and happy.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Powerhouse Foods For Eyesight

Adding the proper super foods to our diet can promote and maintain eye health as well as general health. The Antioxidants, highly concentrated in vibrant fruits and vegetables, have been shown to improve eye sight. Antioxidants that promote eye health include, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and carotenoids. Highly pigmented fruits and vegetables are the best sources of antioxidants that benefit eye health. So, the next time you’re grocery shopping, choose fruits and vegetables that appear rich in color. When you color your plate. you color your world.

Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, the antioxidant pigment responsible for giving certain produce a vibrant orange color. Beta-carotene is the precursor to vitamin A, which ensures normal functioning of the retina and prevents the development of night blindness. Vitamin A also protects against vision related degenerative diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. (Tip: If your kids aren’t fans of carrots, offer them watermelon instead, because this hydrating fruit contains the same antioxidants that promote eye health that carrots do.)

Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, are loaded with antioxidants that promote eye health, including vitamin A, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that protect the eye from damaging free radicals found in UV light. In other words, carotenoids act as a sun block for our eyes, preventing UV light from causing degenerative eye disorders. Fruits, such as mangoes, apricots, peaches, oranges, tangerines, and melons are also great source of lutein and zeaxanthin.

Citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C, which has been shown to prevent the development of degenerative eye disorders, including age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and even glaucoma. Vitamin C can also be found in tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. Additionally, these vitamin C containing foods are also great sources of lutein and lycopene, antioxidants that support eye health and prevent age-related degenerative disorders.

Goji berries are the number one source of zeaxanthin available. Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid that protects our eye from age related degenerative changes. Goji berries are loaded with tons of antioxidants, especially carotenoids. Snacking on goji berries is a delicious way to protect your eyesight.

Sunflower seeds are packed with selenium, a mineral that prevents harmful free radicals from damaging the eye. Other sources of selenium include garlic, brown rice, oatmeal, and walnuts.

Avocados are the best fruit source of lutein, an antioxidant that protects the eye from degenerative disorders, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Avocados are extremely nutrient dense and contain an array of additional antioxidants that promote eye health, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Vitamin E is especially helpful in delaying cataract growth and preventing cataract formation. Other food sources of vitamin E include green leafy vegetables, nuts, and fortified cereals.

Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote overall eye health and help to maintain proper eye moisture. Flax seeds and flax seed oil are also excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Edamame 411

Edamame is a Japanese soybean, commonly steamed and served as an appetizer. Recently, edamame has been popularized as a popcorn substitute and is offered in bulk, frozen, at Costco, Whole Foods, and other stores. Although edamame offers an array of health benefits, it should be eaten in moderation. If consumed in bulk, certain toxins and antinutrients can accumulate in our bodies and cause health problems.

First, always cook edamame. Raw and undercooked edamame has a higher concentration of toxins and phytoestrogens than does cooked edamame. Boiling or steaming edamame helps to destroy some of the toxins that are natural found inside the soybean. Secondly, try and avoid eating edamame in bulk. If you eat edamame in moderation you can get all of its health benefits without allowing its toxins to accumulate in your body.

On the plus side, edamame is loaded with antioxidants and isoflavones, which strengthen your immune system and protect your body from damaging free radicals. It has a high nutritional value and is an excellent source of protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. Edamame is loaded with B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin E. Each bean contains an array of minerals, including iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, calcium, and manganese. Additionally, edamame is a great source of folate, which is especially important for pregnant women to ingest because it offers certain properties that help to prevent birth defects.

Edamame is the most protein rich soybean. We use protein to make enzymes and hormones, which are necessary to complete various bodily processes. Every edamame bean is about 35 percent protein and contains all nine essential amino acids, making edamame a complete protein. It’s a great snack for vegans and vegetarians who typically have a hard time getting sufficient protein in their diet.

Edamame is packed with fiber, which helps to maintain a healthy metabolism and digestive system. One serving of edamame provides you with more than 4 grams of fiber, so eating edamame in moderation is a great way to get your daily dose of fiber. Additionally, eating snacks that contain fiber helps to keep you satisfied longer, so that you can power through your day without experiencing cravings and fatigue.

Try roasting edamame with sea salt. Simply place unshelled edamame, sea salt, and olive oil in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. This is a great snack that’s loaded with protein and fiber, which help to sustain energy and keeps you satisfied. Best of all, roasting the edamame helps to destroy unwanted toxins that are naturally found in soybeans, so you get all the benefits without the antinutrients.

Back to School: Fast Lunchbox Snacks

With school almost back in session, It is time to think about what goes into those lunch boxes. Kids need healthy, fast snacks that will sustain their energy, appetite, and mood throughout their long days.

Healthy high quality snacks, that consist of powerful proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats are a great strategy for regulating blood sugar, appetite and warding off those mid-afternoon meltdowns.

The trap most parents fall into is not realizing the difference between a snack and a treat, or not being prepared enough to pack balanced snacks. A snack is merely a mini meal, meant to nourish your children. So Plan ahead and have healthy snack choices on hand. The ice cream truck is a treat, not a snack and will not sustain or nourish your kids.

Below are some of my favorite grab and go snacks, which should give you some ideas and help you plan ahead. I would love to hear your kids' favorite snacks!
  • Apple or pears with almond, peanut, cashew, or sunflower butter 
  • Lara bars- a great three ingredient snack bar 
  • Cottage cheese mixed with, berries, walnuts /almonds/flax seeds 
  • Hummus with carrot sticks/ sliced red/yellow/orange pepper 
  • Guacamole with carrot sticks/ sliced red/yellow/orange peppers 
  • Ricotta cheese mixed with cocoa powder, stevia, and vanilla extract topped with berries 
  • Hardboiled eggs with carrot and celery sticks and hummus 
  • Celery sticks with organic peanut butter or almond butter add raisins for kids 
  • Avocado slices wrapped in nitrate-free turkey breast 
  • A piece of sprouted grain toast sprouted-grain preferred nutritionally over whole grain with almond butter and bananas 
  • Fresh sliced pineapple with a handful of pistachio nuts 
  • A bowl of blueberries mixed with raw almonds 
  • Cottage cheese with cinnamon, apple slices, and walnuts 
  • Organic cheese stick and carrots