Get your heart healthy with a smoothie bowl for breakfast

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smoothie bowl

February is Heart Health Month and I’m going to tell you about how eating a smoothie bowl for breakfast can help reduce your risk of heart disease! Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women in the United States, so give this smoothie bowl a try!

Now, you may be wondering, what is a smoothie bowl? Aren’t smoothies supposed to be drunk from a glass? Smoothie bowls are simply smoothies you can eat with a spoon with lots of delicious toppings!

This smoothie was made with mixed berries, a frozen banana, plain Greek yogurt, and unsweetened cashew milk. It was topped with oranges, hemp seeds, and pomegranate!

Berries, oranges, and pomegranate are packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, they are naturally low in calories and high in fiber and water! Fiber helps lower your cholesterol.

Bananas are a great source of potassium. Potassium can help manage high blood pressure by reducing the effects of excess sodium. When you eat more potassium, you lose more sodium in urine. Other foods rich in potassium are avocados, beans, potatoes, and more!

Greek yogurt and cashew milk are both fantastic sources of calcium. Calcium is a mineral that helps with muscle contraction!

And last but not least, hemp seeds are an excellent source of those healthy fats, omega-3 and rare omega-6 GLA. They are also packed with protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, and riboflavin! It’s really important to limit saturated and trans fats as they can damage your arteries and lead to heart disease. Load up your diet with omega-3 rich foods like hemp seeds instead!

There are so many variations of smoothie bowls you can make, so I’m going to give you a base recipe and you can create your own!

Step 1: Choose your fruit. Frozen fruit works best in smoothies because it makes it nice and cold!

Step 2: Choose your yogurt. Any kind is fine, but if you want extra protein try Greek yogurt. Try to stay away from yogurts with a lot of added sugars to cut back on calories.

Step 3: Choose your milk. Any kind of milk is fine too! I always go for nut milk because it is a lot lower in calories. If you are trying nut milk, make sure it’s the unsweetened variety to decrease added sugars.

Step 4: Pick some optional add-ins: spinach, nuts, seeds, protein powders. Add-ins like spinach are very tasteless and give you an extra serving of vegetables!

Step 5: Pour into a bowl and load up with healthy toppings like sliced fruit, coconut flakes, granola, and extra dark chocolate!

Go to Kellyschoice.org to see this recipe and more that were created by Rosemary Squires.

 

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New Year’s Resolution: Convert your Kids to Healthy Snackers

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Childhood obesity is an epidemic in our country. It’s not uncommon for children to be overweight, but think about the convenience foods on the market. They are loaded with sugar…even some foods that we think are “healthy.”  And. sugar converts to fat and has even spiked incidents of type-2 diabetes in children

Start reading labels when you go grocery shopping and have your children “investigate” with you. Look at yogurt for example; it’s marketed as healthy, but many yogurts have 16 or more grams of sugar. That’s crazy—every four grams of sugar represents a teaspoon and your kids up to the age of 8 really should not be having more than 3 to 4 teaspoons of added sugar per day. This means that one container of yogurt could take up all the added sugar they should have in a day (try plain Greek yogurt instead and add fruit for sweetness).  Older kids and teenagers should limit themselves to no more than 5 to 8 teaspoons of added sugar each day.

You will find that sugar is everywhere when it comes to packaged foods, so your best bet is to try to get your kids hooked on fresh fruit for a sweet treat. Here are some other healthy snack ideas:

  • Mixed Nuts
  • Trail Mix
  • Edamame Poppers
  • Hummus Dippers
  • Greek Yogurt and Granola
  • Tuna and Whole Grain Crackers
  • Roasted Chickpeas
  • Popcorn
  • String Cheese
  • Hardboiled Eggs
  • Greek Yogurt & Berries
  • Dried Fruit
  • Frozen Watermelon Kiwi Or Grapes
  • Melon Kabobs
  • Cherry Tomato & Cheese Kabobs
  • Whole Grain Cereal Dry

Also make sure that your kids drink a lot of water, avoid soda, and when they drink juice, make sure that it is 100 percent fruit juice.

I hope these tips help you help your kids! It takes a little planning, but the snacks I listed are “almost” as convenient as sugary granola bars, yogurts and other not-so-healthy snacks that are marketed otherwise.

Healthy Choices for Dad on Father’s Day

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turkeyreuban

We all want to make dad a delicious dinner for “his” day and often rich foods come to mind: bacon and eggs for breakfast, spare ribs or his favorite Reuben with homemade fries for dinner. Well, I have some great ideas of ways you can “treat” dad and not worry about giving him a heart attack in the process.

For his breakfast

Swap out the bacon for Canadian ham; it has way less fat than bacon and packs in 11 grams of protein. It’s berry season and few foods are as delicious as berry pancakes. Look for a whole grain pancake mix and sneak in a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed for extra fiber and healthy omega-3 fats. Use coconut oil on the griddle instead of butter and reap the benefits that the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil boast, resulting in a perk to dad’s metabolism.

For his lunch

So maybe dad really wants a Reuben; no problem! You can make him a healthy rendition. The Thousand Island dressing in a Reuben is much of an assault on your health as the corned beef. And don’t think a fat-free Thousand Island dressing is your answer. Do you know how many chemicals are in that? Instead, look for a yogurt-based Thousand Island dressing.  Find a low-sodium turkey and use Alpine Lace Swiss, which is low in fat, for the cheese. And the remaining three ingredients are sauerkraut, mustard and rye bread. Try to find a hearty rye from a bakery for more fiber. And be generous with the sauerkraut; it is fermented and will boost those healthy bacteria in dad’s gut!

For his dinner

Guess what? Dad can still have steak for dinner, just look for a leaner cut! The Mayo Clinic has a great diagram, which shows the leanest cuts of beef, such as sirloin or flank steak. Steam up some asparagus on the side with a sprinkling of sea salt and a teaspoon of lemon juice for a delicious veggie side.

We hope your dad has a happy and healthy father’s day. Keep in mind that most days, a mostly plant-based diet is the best route to optimal health, but on days like Father’s Day, give the man what he wants, with healthy substitutions.

 

Food Choices to Reduce your Risk of Breast Cancer

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salmon fillet with vegetables and basil

Approximately one in eight women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.  And sadly, the death rate for women with breast cancer is higher than any other form of cancer except for lung cancer. While there is not a food recommendation that can guarantee that you will not develop breast cancer, I will discuss some food choices that will help keep your risk for breast cancer as low as possible.

#1: Eat Plenty of Fruit and Vegetables

Aim to eat at least five cups of vegetables and fruit a day. A recent study has found that carotenoids (nutrients) in fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Make those salads as colorful as possible; experiment with fruit and veggie combos (spinach, strawberry and a sprinkling of feta cheese; diced tomatoes, avocados, and mangoes; arugula, pecans, pears, and dried cranberries). The more colorful your fruits and veggies diet, the more variety of powerful carotenoids!

#2: Load up on Fiber

A study of 99,534 women, published earlier this year, found that those who ate more fiber in early adulthood had up to a 19% lower risk of developing breast cancer, depending on how much more fiber they ate. Some great high-fiber food choices include: apples, pears, berries, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, oats, almonds, chia seeds, and sweet potatoes.

#3: Eat Foods High in Omega=3 Fatty Acids

Several studies have suggested that the higher your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, the lower your chances of getting breast cancer. Fish is the greatest source of omega-3s. If you are not a fan of fish, consider a fish oil supplement. Other food choices that have an attractive amount of omega-3s include flaxseeds and walnuts, both of which I love adding to a bowl of oatmeal!

When you are deciding what to eat, think of the return on investment you get when you make healthy food choices. Not only does that choice help you to maintain a healthy weight, but also, it may be helping to reduce your risk of developing diseases like breast cancer. Choose the apple over the candy bar and the grilled salmon over the burger and watch your quality-of-life improve!