Easter is the second biggest holiday for candy sales in the United States after Halloween. Kids will expect a basket full of candy and while it’s fine to indulge every once in a while, the Easter Bunny may want to consider swapping out some of the sugar and artificial coloring for non-food items. Here are a few ideas that can help:
It’s cheap, delicious, and kids and adults both love it. Peanut butter is a quick and easy way to get some protein and make other foods more exciting. Consider trying the “natural” varieties of peanut butter, as they don’t have the added sugar and oils that others do. Here are 5 reasons we like peanut butter:
For some time, activated charcoal has only been used in emergency rooms to treat overdoses. Now, however, it can be purchased over-the-counter in many different forms and is gaining in popularity due to its various absorption properties. Here’s what you need to know about activated charcoal:
•Scientific research on its over-the-counter uses is still very new and somewhat limited.
•It’s not the same stuff you use in your grill at barbecues or what you get if you burn dinner.
•Creating activated charcoal involves heating carbon-rich materials such as wood, coconut husks, or peat to extremely high temperatures.
•This heating is what makes the charcoal “activated” as it removes previously bonded molecules and makes it ready to absorb new ones.
•It can be purchased as capsules or powder and can even be found in toothpaste.
•Kidney health is one of its uses. Animal studies have shown that activated charcoal helps filter out undigested toxins and improve renal function.
•Excessive gas is another area activated charcoal can help. It’s thought that gasses trapped in the intestines can be carried out of the body in the charcoal and animal studies back this up.
•Charcoal and carbon has been used in water filtration for quite some time as a means to absorb and trap toxins.
•Teeth whitening and oral health is another area activated charcoal is being used. It’s thought to have antibacterial and detoxifying properties, but research in this area is still very limited.
•Skin care and deodorant uses are popular as the charcoal draws in and absorbs toxins, odors, and moisture.
We all know vegetables are part of a healthy diet, but did you know the way they’re prepared can affect just how healthy they are? It depends on the vegetable, but some cooking methods can cause nutrient loss.
•As a general rule, it’s best to keep cooking time, amount of water used, and temperature to a minimum when cooking vegetables - that’s why steaming is one of the best methods for retaining nutrients.
•Boiling often causes vitamins and minerals to be leached out into the water, that you’ll then pour down the sink as you drain the pot unless you’re making a soup.
•Cooking vegetables by any method causes the nutrients to change and the impact varies depending on the vegetable. Carrots notably keep their nutrients whether raw or cooked. Also, studies found carrots and potatoes weren’t nutritionally affected much whether they were boiled or steamed.
•Steaming was found to result in the best taste, texture, and flavor of vegetables in blind taste tests.
•When in doubt, go for cooking vegetables using a steaming basket over a pot of boiling water or microwaving in a covered dish with a small amount of water.
•Regardless of the prep method, getting vegetables on your plate and in your body is the most important thing!
Along with brushing and flossing, your nutrition can play a big role in the health of your mouth. A balanced diet that’s full of variety will help increase your overall health as well as the health of your teeth and gums. Here are a few key things to look out for that can help support your healthy smile:
•Calcium for strong teeth and bones - Rich sources include milk, yogurt, cheese, almonds, dark green leafy vegetables, and tofu.
•Phosphorous for strong teeth - It can be found in eggs, fish, lean meats, dairy, beans, and nuts.
•Vitamin C for healthy gums - Tomatoes, citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, peppers, and potatoes are all great sources of this vitamin.
•Snacking - Keep in mind that every time you eat, you are bringing on acids to your teeth so you want to minimize the severity as much as you can when it happens. Choosing healthy snacks like fruit, yogurt, raw veggies, or popcorn over sugary snacks will help keep your teeth and whole body in better shape.
•Sticky/Chewy Candy - The stickier a candy is, the worse it is on your teeth. Extra chewy or sticky candy like taffy or caramels will hang around on and in between your teeth for long periods of time after you’re done eating them. This gives bacteria plenty of time to turn those sugars into acids that can harm tooth enamel and cause cavities.
•Sour Candy - Candy that is both chewy and highly acid, such as extra sour candy, is a double-whammy on your teeth. Sour candy is high in citric acid, which delivers its own blast of harm on your teeth in combination with the sticky sugars left behind.
•Soda - If you need another reason to stop drinking sodas, think of your teeth. They take enough hits throughout the day from eating, the last thing you want to do is increase the time they’re exposed to acid and sugar even more. Drinking soda throughout the day keeps your teeth constantly bathed in sugar that can have harmful effects.
When it comes to frozen desserts, you have lots of choices and some are better than others. Frozen yogurt is becoming increasingly popular, so let’s take a quick look at how a ½ cup serving of vanilla bean ice cream (listed first) compares to the same serving of vanilla bean frozen yogurt:
•Calories 🍦150 🍨100
•Total Fat 🍦9g 🍨2.5g
•Sat Fat 🍦5g 🍨1.5g
•Cholesterol 🍦50mg 🍨20mg
•Sodium 🍦45mg 🍨55mg
•Carbohydrates 🍦16g 🍨19g
•Sugars 🍦15g 🍨16g
•Protein 🍦3g 🍨4g
•Vitamin A 🍦6% 🍨2%
•Calcium 🍦10% 🍨15%
To sum it all up, frozen yogurt comes out ahead in calories, fat, cholesterol, and calcium. Ice cream wins when it comes to sodium, carbs, sugar, and Vitamin A. Keep in mind there are many different varieties of ice cream and frozen yogurt with varying nutrition, but it’s definitely something worth comparing next time you’re in the freezer aisle.