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Feeling stressed? Have some salt

(BPT) – Stress. No one wants it, but we all experience it from time to time. Higher levels of stress can cause problems at work and at home. But stress is not just hard on your mental well-being; it is also hard on your body and can lead to many negative health outcomes.

Stress levels can also increase significantly when economic times are tough. In England, the British Health and Social Care Information Centre found that stress had increased by 47 percent during that country’s recession and that stress was the single biggest cause of sickness in the UK, affecting 20 percent of the population. Professor Cary Cooper of Lancaster University, an expert on stress, was alarmed and told The Independent, “I have never seen figures like this before. Stress is a trigger mechanism for a whole range of conditions, from heart attacks to immune system disorders, mental illness and depression and anxiety.”

Everyone is familiar with comfort foods, but the key comfort foods that have been shown to actually reduce stress all contain salt. Stress is characterized in the human body by high levels of the hormone cortisol, referred to as the “stress hormone.” Scientific research has shown, in animals and in humans, that increased levels of salt consumption are effective in reducing levels of cortisol.

Research from the University of Haifa, published in the science journal Appetite, confirmed the relationship between salt and stress in humans. Researchers found an inverse correlation between salt and depression/stress, especially in women. Craving salty foods may very well be a biological defense mechanism we evolved to cope with daily stress.

The researchers reviewed data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) using 10,000 individuals and demonstrated that depression and stress were higher in individuals who consumed less salt, a trend more prevalent in women than men. They noted that the relationship of higher depression with lower salt intake in humans was consistent with the results of other animal studies. They also found that young people, up to the age of 19, selectively choose foods that are higher in salt, indicating a natural feedback mechanism driving them to consume higher salt foods and rewarding them with more vigorous growth.

Other good stress-relieving tips include getting a good night’s sleep and taking time off to focus on relaxation and regular exercise, which has added health benefits. Of course, with exercise, another benefit of salt becomes apparent, as this vital nutrient is necessary to remain properly hydrated and healthy. When you sweat, you lose not just water but also electrolytes (including sodium) which need to be replenished.

The fact remains that whether they are called comfort foods or mood stabilizers, research indicates salty foods are effective at making us feel better and reducing our heightened stress levels, a common condition in today’s ever-changing world. So, the next time you finish a stressful day and want to wind down and relax, don’t be surprised if you instinctively reach for a salty snack.

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Meet today’s organic shopper

The organics category is growing in just about every measurable way: in volume, dollars spent and even in conversations in the media.
When consumers dabble in organic produce, they are more likely to purchase organic goods like organic snacks or organic cotton sheets. This means it is important for retailers that sell organic products across departments to pay attention to trends in organic produce.
The organic shopper
“Organics are becoming mainstream, and shoppers are beginning to choose organic items over conventional items,” says Michael Castagnetto, vice president of sourcing for Robinson Fresh. “In our survey with U.S. consumers who buy produce, we found that 51 percent of respondents purchased organic produce and of those, 73 percent purchased both conventional and organic produce during the same trip.”
Research indicated that the organic shopper of today is most likely under the age of 35 or has young children living at home. Organic purchases are also highly correlated to household income.
Millennials, Generation X and baby boomers all show a preference for organic produce.
Why organic is becoming mainstream
“In the past, purchasing anything organic was an emotional-based purchase,” continues Castagnetto. “However, for today’s casual shopper, organic purchases are increasingly becoming more of an impulse purchase. The way that produce is merchandised makes a difference in how consumers make purchasing decisions.”
How organic produce is purchased
Here are the main factors people cite when asked why they go organic:
* The freshness and quality of the produce: 73 percent of respondents ranked this as a top driving factor
* The price of the produce: 61 percent of respondents rank this as a top driving factor
* The packaging the produce comes in
* Whether the organic produce is locally grown
To learn about information on the buying habits surrounding conventional and organic produce, visit the Robinson Fresh website at www.robinsonfresh.com.

(BPT) –

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You need more fruits and veggies: 5 easy ways to get there

(BPT) – Most Americans understand the importance of including a variety of fruits and vegetables into their diets, but finding inspiration and fresh ideas for incorporating them into everyday meals can be challenging.

Research shows that only 10 percent of Americans are meeting the MyPlate recommendations for daily intake of fruits and veggies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a rule of thumb, half the foods you eat for any given meal should be made up of fruits and veggies — preferably ones incorporating a range of different colors and nutrients.

Daily meal planning is made easier if you turn to your freezer for a little help. Balancing your plate with frozen meals and pizzas and adding fresh side dishes is a simple solution that can help make you feel good about what you’re eating, even with a hectic schedule. Choose your favorite frozen prepared foods and pizzas as the foundation, add side dishes made with fresh fruit and vegetables and you have a balanced meal that is both delicious and nutritious.

Nestlé’s Balance Your Plate educational program aims to help you put together delicious and nutritious meals that incorporate frozen and fresh foods. The website, www.nestleusa.com/balance, provides information, tips and recipes to help consumers create easy, balanced meals that meet dietary guidelines.

Here are some quick and easy tips for including more fruits and veggies in your diet:

1. Chop, eat, repeat. Not into cooking? Simply buy whatever looks good, wash it, cut into slices and enjoy, perhaps dipping it into salad dressing or a yogurt dip.

2. Shop the frozen-food aisle. Delicious and easy-to-prepare frozen foods such as DiGiorno pizzeria! thin Margherita pizza or Lean Cuisine Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Ravioli provide your family plenty of wholesome meals without requiring lengthy prep time. Simply pair with tasty side dishes made with fruits and vegetables for a balanced meal.

3. Divide and conquer. Each Sunday night mix your favorite veggies into a big salad bowl with a cover, combining Romaine and iceberg lettuce with darker green varieties and throwing in other tasty ingredients that will motivate you to want more; consider slices of grilled meat or shrimp, boiled eggs, or small amounts of nuts, cheeses, dried fruit, etc. Then divide the mix into individual plastic containers for the week’s lunches.

4. Top it off. As soon as your favorite frozen pizza comes out of the oven, boost its nutrient punch by adding pieces of fresh tomato, basil, pineapple, spinach or arugula.

5. Stir it in. Add complementary veggies to your favorite comfort food, like Stouffer’s Mac & Cheese. Suggested stir-ins: roasted broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots or butternut squash.

Nestlé’s Balance Your Plate offers two delicious side dish recipes that, when served with your favorite frozen prepared foods, create a perfectly balanced meal you and your family will love.

Arugula and Roasted Pear Salad with Toasted Walnuts

Pairs well with DiGiorno pizzeria! thin Margherita

(Recipe from Hungry Couple of Tasting Spoon Media)

Recipe

4 cups arugula

2 pears

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

* Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

* Slice the pears vertically and scoop out the seeds with a spoon or melon baller. Spread the walnut halves on one side of the baking sheet and layer the pear slices on the other. Place in the oven for about 5 minutes, toss the nuts and flip the pears. Continue roasting for an additional 5 minutes.

* Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey and mustard until fully combined. Season with salt and pepper.

* Assemble the salad by adding the arugula to a large bowl or platter. Top with the roasted pear slices, sprinkle on the walnuts and drizzle with the dressing.

Simple Kale Salad

Pairs well with Lean Cuisine Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Ravioli

(Recipe from Loop88)

Recipe

2 medium bunches kale, stemmed and roughly chopped

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

Sea salt

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

Dress kale with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and sea salt, then top with red onion, feta cheese and toasted walnuts.

For more recipes, information and meal ideas, visit www.nestleusa.com/balance.

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Winning routines for warding off winter weight gain

(BPT) – With cold weather and short days, it’s easy to fall off healthy eating and exercise routines. Here are tips on how to eat right and stay motivated to exercise during the winter months from a leading nutritionist and a top celebrity trainer.

EAT RIGHT

Dr. Michael Roussell holds a degree in biochemistry from Hobart College and a doctorate in nutrition from Pennsylvania State University. He is a nationally recognized nutrition consultant and nutrition adviser to Men’s Health, as well as the best-selling author of The MetaShred Diet (2017).

“It’s easy to fall into eating calorie-loaded or nutrient-empty comfort foods in the winter, but take time and plan ahead. The optimum winter foods for weight loss and maintenance are packed with nutrients and filling fiber, so we feel full longer and eat less. Here are five suggestions for your shopping list.”

Pistachios. The fiber-rich green nut makes the perfect wintertime snack for many reasons. Research shows that pistachios promote healthy, stable blood-sugar levels and can help improve various risk factors for heart disease when snacked on regularly.

Winter squash. In season, butternut squash delivers a sweet, nutty flavor for fewer carbs and more fiber than you would expect. It is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, both antioxidants that will help keep your immune system in top shape. Add into soup and give your body what it craves: cold weather comfort.

Mushrooms. Mushrooms are a great cold-weather food that is in season all winter long. They are not only a unique source of a potent antioxidant called ergothioneine, but they are also a low-calorie, appetite-filling food that can be roasted, braised or sauteed.

Cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage are fibrous low-calorie foods that are perfect for the winter. They also contain powerful antioxidants like glucosinolates that help reinforce your body’s cellular detoxification pathways.

Green tea. Green tea is one of the few truly fat-burning foods. The antioxidants in green tea work to increase the amount of calories that your body burns as heat while also stimulating the liberation of stored fat in your body.

STAY FIT

Julie Diamond of Julie Diamond Fitness is a well-known, highly regarded personal fitness trainer with more than 20 years of experience empowering clients to reach their maximum fitness potential. She trains clients at all fitness levels and ages that run the gamut from celebrities to athletes to moms to anyone who aspires to live a healthier life.

“Every year as the weather gets colder, I hear the same thing: It’s too hard to get motivated to exercise on cold, dark mornings, and by nighttime I just want to get home and eat something warm. But there are tricks to staying motivated to move during the winter months.”

Set a new goal and reward yourself. Whether you want to lose weight, get stronger or move faster, set reasonable and specific goals that involve numbers or tangible accomplishments. Once you’ve attained your goal, treat yourself with a massage, new outfit or whatever tickles your fancy.

Find a workout buddy. Accountability is a great way to stay on track. Make a commitment with a friend or personal trainer for set times. This not only forces you to show up, but it can also make you push harder when you have someone cheering you on — and it’s fun!

Think outside the box. Do something different like a dance class, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) class, join a running group, or grab friends and go ice-skating.

Dress the part. Invest in some new gear. It’s a known fact we all feel better and perform better in the appropriate attire. Invest in a couple of great pieces.

Amp up your playlist. Music motivates. Create a bunch of playlists that get you up and going. Play songs as you get ready.

Focus on nutrition. Food is fuel to get moving. Every week, set yourself up by preparing healthy snacks that you can just grab and go if needed, such as portable pistachios, hard-boiled eggs or chopped vegetables.

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Four times you should choose organic when it comes to your child

(BPT) – If you’re a parent, you’ve probably come across ongoing debates regarding the term “organic” and what should go into your child’s body. But, what about organic versus non-GMO? A recent study from Perrigo Nutritionals revealed that more than half of moms didn’t know that organic is inherently non-GMO.

So, what’s the real difference? Simply put, organic is always non-GMO, but, unlike non-GMO, products labeled organic also guarantee:

* No use of toxic pesticides or chemical/synthetic fertilizers.

* No use of antibiotics or synthetic hormones, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.

* Support for organic farming practices and animal health and welfare.

* Regulated by the federal government under the USDA (non-GMO products are not regulated and can vary based on the company or third party making the claim).

“It’s important to understand the difference between these labels so you can make the right nutritional decisions for you family,” says Jessica Turner, best-selling author and founder of the Mom Creative blog.

Looking beyond the non-GMO label doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach, especially since purchasing all organic can add up quick. As a mother of three, Turner believes the following products are worth the extra splurge for organic instead of just non-GMO for your child.

Baby Food

As a child starts eating solids, many organizations such as The Environmental Working Group recommend always going organic when it comes to the “dirty dozen” such as apples, bell peppers, peaches, etc. to avoid pesticides. Purchasing baby food jars or packets? Make sure you look for the USDA Certified Organic label, not just a non-GMO certified label to avoid all those chemicals.

Milk

Milk is a nutrient powerhouse when it comes to your child’s nutrition with vitamin D, calcium and protein, but unfortunately it can sometimes contain not-so-good ingredients. Organic milk brands like Organic Valley have absolutely no antibiotics, synthetic hormones, toxic pesticides or GMO anything. Going organic also supports a better life for the cows since they have access to pastures (another thing not guaranteed by only purchasing non-GMO).

Infant Formula

According to the Perrigo Nutritionals study, 43 percent of moms said they purchased organic foods for their babies when they started eating solids, but only 10 percent purchased organic infant formula. So why not choose organic for your baby from the very beginning? Choosing organic brands like Earth’s Best or Honest may be worth the extra investment since it will ensure you are avoiding pesticides and hormones- something not guaranteed by just the non-GMO label.

Skin Care

Skin care products that go on a baby’s skin, like lotion, diaper cream, shampoo and soap, are being absorbed into their bloodstream. Since their skin is more porous than adults, products from organic/natural lines such as Burt’s Bees or Seventh Generation may be worth the extra splurge to ensure your child is being exposed to the least number of chemicals as possible.

At the end of the day, if you’re not sure, err on the side of buying organic since organic is always non-GMO, plus more. For more information on organic versus non-GMO, visit www.choose-organic.com.


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Making sense of nutrition labels

(BPT) – You can find them on the side of most every product at your local grocery store. They are plain and kind of boring but nutrition labels were designed to contain vitally important information for good health and wise food choices. These labels tell you the number of servings in a container, how many calories per serving, and what amounts of vitamins and essential nutrients (like sodium) they contain.

However, they don’t just give you the raw data, they also tell you what percentage of your daily allowance of needed nutrients you are getting. When it comes to sodium, however, that may be a problem. The daily allowances are based on the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, with guidance from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), now known as the Health and Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies).

The current FDA Dietary Guidelines call for a maximum daily sodium allowance of 2,300 mg, well below what the average American eats, which is about 3,400 mg per day of sodium. But, when the IOM studied this issue and released their report in 2013, “Sodium Intake in Populations: Assessment of Evidence,” they found no evidence to lower the daily allowance below 2,300 mg per day and some indication that doing so would be harmful. The level set by the FDA not only represents a significant population-wide sodium reduction effort, it also ignores the latest evidence.

An increasing amount of research is contradicting the FDA’s sodium guidelines. A 2014 study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the healthy range for sodium consumption was between 3,000 and 6,000 mg per day and eating less than 3,000 mg per day may increase the risk of death or cardiovascular incidents. And a 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that low-sodium diets were more likely to result in death from cardiovascular disease.

Low-salt diets can lead to insulin resistance, congestive heart failure, cardiovascular events, iodine deficiency, loss of cognition, low birth weights, and higher rates of death. Dr. Michael Alderman, editor of the American Journal of Hypertension and former president of the American Society of Hypertension, has repeatedly cited his concern that a population-wide sodium reduction campaign could have unintended consequences.

Very few countries in the world meet the government recommendations. A study of almost 20,000 people in 33 countries shows the normal range of consumption around the world is 2,800 to 4,800 mg/day. This is consistent regardless of where people get their food, either from home-cooked meals, prepackaged meals or restaurants.

The new nutrition labels were supposed to go into place this year, but now the FDA has indefinitely delayed their implementation. Hopefully this will allow them time to adjust the sodium limits to more accurately reflect the evidence as well as how real people eat and the safe range of sodium consumption.

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Sports nutritionals 101: What you should know about supplementing your workout

(BPT) – Whether you’re an athlete looking for an extra competitive edge or would just like to increase the effectiveness of your daily workout, you have most likely considered adding nutritional supplements to your fitness routine. Diet, exercise and everyday lifestyle are all factors that can help determine the right supplements for you.

“It’s not uncommon for people who’ve never tried nutritional supplements to have some misconceptions about them,” says Don Saladino, a fitness and nutrition expert who trains celebrities and is a brand advocate for Garden of Life(R) SPORT. “People may think supplementation is only for die-hard athletes, but every human being is an athlete. We do things each day like move, carry items and change direction. Carrying a baby, hauling groceries or running across the street — these are the exact same patterns an athlete needs to perform, which is why it’s important to learn about all the options available and how they can help.”

As you’re considering nutritional supplements, keep these important points in mind:

* Power up with protein — Adding a protein-rich sports supplement to your diet provides many benefits. Protein fuels workouts, aids in muscle recovery after exercise and extends energy throughout the day. Supplements can provide needed nutrients that are difficult to get through diet alone. Adding protein powder into a smoothie or snacking on a protein bar can help incorporate necessary nutrients like antioxidants into your daily diet.

* Match your supplement to your objective — An exercise regimen can greatly benefit from a system of supplementation. Various nutrient-rich supplements are designed to be taken before you exercise, and others following exercise. For example, pre-workout supplements such as Garden of Life SPORT ENERGY + Focus incorporate ingredients intended to improve focus, such as organic coffeeberry, and optimize energy production, such as B12. Post-exercise supplements such as SPORT Organic Plant-Based Recovery can help your body recover faster from the rigors of vigorous exercise.

* Pick your best protein — Protein is a key component of sports nutrition, since it helps build muscle mass and supports muscle recovery post-workout. When a supplement contains all nine of the essential amino acids that the body can’t produce on its own, it contains “complete proteins.” You can get these essential amino acids from different protein sources, such as plant-based protein or whey protein. Plant-based proteins are great for people following a vegetarian or vegan diet, and they are especially effective at enhancing post-workout recovery. Whey protein is designed to refuel and repair muscles and can help maximize muscle growth when supplementing with regular exercise.

* Keep it clean — It’s important to be aware of what’s in your supplement. Just as you choose organic foods and beverages for their ingredient transparency, you wouldn’t want a nutritional supplement that’s made up of chemicals. Look for a truly clean sports nutrition system that’s designated with the Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified seals, as well as by Informed-Choice for Sport and NSF(R) Certified For Sport.

“Working out is good for you — whether you choose to supplement or not. But the right nutritional supplement can help maximize the benefits of your exercise regimen and improve how you feel during everyday life activities,” Saladino says.

Nutritional supplements may be the fuel your body needs to reach the next level of performance, whether it’s putting that extra weight into your workout or lifting an extra child at home.

To learn more about clean sport supplements, visit www.gardenoflife.com/sport.

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The key to personalized vitamins: Understanding medication and nutrient interactions

(BPT) – Technology, science and research are turning our world into a personalized powerhouse at our fingertips, including products made specifically for us delivered to our doorsteps. We wear personal fitness trackers to track our steps, sleep and heart rates. Personal trainers are commonplace to design fitness routines that are made just for us. Today, we understand that our family history, lifestyle choices and even genetics are predictive of our health needs and this information is integrated into our health care plans. With all of this personalization, our nutritional supplement options still deliver the same cookie-cutter solutions found in store aisles.

According to New Nutrition Business and its report “10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition and Health 2017,” personalized nutrition is the next big nutrition movement, as people want individually tailored diets. Personalized or precision nutrition is nutrition health care that considers the uniqueness of an individual to provide recommendations that are tailored to their needs and specific goals. When creating a personalized nutrition plan, it’s important to take into account holistic well-being; however, deciding what is truly right for you can be confusing.

“Personalized nutrition shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s not a catchy-named pack of vitamins or nutrition plans curated from a few questions about how you want to feel, it needs to include everything that makes you unique, down to the medications prescribed by your doctor,” said Michael Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, co-author of the new book “Age-Proof: Living Longer without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip” and Vitamin Packs science advisory board member. “Technology is creating amazing advances in personalized nutrition, but it’s only as good as the data it can collect and the information you are willing to share.”

Medication and Nutrition Interactions

Nearly 50 percent of the U.S. population is taking prescription medications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 68 percent of Americans are taking dietary supplements, based on the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) estimations.

With several new personalized vitamin subscription services launching, it’s important to select one that takes into account your diet, physical fitness, sleep patterns, lifestyle habits and family health history as well as your medication use. Some drugs can deplete nutrients while other medications add nutrients to the body. One subscription service, Vitamin Packs, delivers customized vitamins and nutritional supplements in daily packs based on what it learns during a free Nutritional Assessment. Its technology cross-examines more than 650 possible medication interactions and recommends only what an individual’s body needs.

Mixing Meds and Nutritional Supplements

* Taking a statin? You will want to add Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) because the average blood concentration of CoQ10 in blood plasma decreases within 30 days by an average of 50 percent.

* Taking a medication for allergies or inflammation? Consider adding vitamin D and calcium. These types of medications may reduce the absorption of calcium, which can lead to unnecessary bone loss. Supplementing with vitamin D and calcium may support bone health and adding vitamin D with calcium can have a greater impact on calcium absorption.

* Taking a blood pressure medication? You should know that taking an iron supplement two hours before or after taking this type of medication can decrease its absorption rate.

* Taking a synthetic thyroid hormone? Look at your supplement facts to be sure you’re avoiding soy, iron and calcium. Soy, iron and calcium, if taken within four hours of taking a synthetic thyroid hormone, may reduce the absorption rate.

Personalized nutrition, while exciting and impactful, should be focused on the whole person. Be sure to consult your health care practitioner before starting any dietary supplement regimen.

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5 tips to make family mealtimes more mindful

(BPT) – The hectic workday is over. As you pull into your driveway, you feel relief because you’ve finally escaped the cranky co-workers, the deadlines and traffic jams. Now you can spend the next few hours relaxing at home with your family. What better way to enjoy this time than with a delicious meal together?

Sometimes, the lingering stress can be hard to shake, especially if you’re in a rush to get dinner on the table. You can shed your stress and make this time together more meaningful. Consciously ease into the transition from work mode to family mode, and use these tips to make your evening meal more relaxing and mindful.

1. Take a breath.

As soon as you get home, just take a few minutes and chill out. What you’ll want to do is shake off any lingering “fight or flight” stress response that’s making you feel tense and on edge. With deep breathing techniques — the kind that get your belly moving — you’ll lower your heart rate and feel much calmer. Sit in your favorite chair, soften your gaze and start those long, drawn-out inhales and exhales, counting your breath if needed. Just by transitioning into this calmer state, you’ll set the right mood and standard for the rest of the evening.

2. Give the devices a timeout.

Being mindful is all about staying in the present and following each action with intention and awareness. But when your mobile device is pinging from the latest Facebook update, text message or news alert, that can distract us from this calm and aware state of mind. For now, while you’re preparing and eating the meal, put the devices out of reach — or in another room, if that’s practical.

3. Include the kids.

With devices out of the way, it’s also much easier and more pleasant to focus on the people in the room. If your kids are hanging around the kitchen, take it as a sign they want to be with you, so use this time to connect. A great way to do this is to include kids with the meal preparation. The youngest ones can rinse fruits and vegetables, cut soft foods with a butter knife and tear lettuce. Older kids can help measure ingredients, stir and whisk, and eventually peel foods with a paring knife.

4. Simplify your menu.

Eliminate the stress of getting weeknight meals on the table, and build a list of delicious go-to meals that you can prepare with ease. For example, this recipe for Easy Shrimp Kabobs will allow you to get the entrée ready in minutes, plus the skewers and easy dips will make this a fun favorite with the kids. For more ideas and inspiration to make the weeknight meals more mindful and relaxing, visit seapak.com/recipes.

5. Slow down and savor the food.

Give yourself a few moments for mindful eating. Before earnest conversation begins, put your focus on the food you’ve taken the time to prepare. Put down your fork, and pay attention to the flavors, the textures and how you respond to them. No matter how hungry you are, don’t rush. Mindful eating is all about pacing yourself and staying in the moment to experience the delicious meal you are eating.

After a long day, you can make the evening meal more relaxing and enjoyable by bringing a mindful approach to dinnertime. When it’s time to eat, you’ll be in the right state of mind to enjoy your food, as will the people around you.

Easy Shrimp Kabobs

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 12-ounce package SeaPack Popcorn Shrimp

Wooden skewers

Dipping sauces, such as tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, barbecue sauce and ranch dressing

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 Fahrenheit.

Place shrimp on baking sheet in a single layer so shrimp are not touching.

Bake 5 minutes on the middle oven rack, then turn shrimp over.

Bake another 5-6 minutes until shrimp are hot and crispy.

Using a fork to hold the hot shrimp in place, slide shrimp onto wooden skewers.

Serve with small sides of sauces for each person. For example, use tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, barbecue sauce and ranch dressing.

Source: The blog A Helicopter Mom via SeaPak.com.

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Want to lose weight? Research proves a big breakfast is the first step

(BPT) – If you want to lose weight, you’re not alone. More than half of Americans desire to shed pounds, according to Gallup. This goal inspires people to take action in many ways, from increasing exercise to modifying meals.

One thing many people do is skip breakfast in order to lower calorie intake. While this may seem like a good idea to lose weight, research proves otherwise. In fact, eating a big breakfast followed by smaller meals throughout the day is the best method for weight loss.

A new study in The Journal of Nutrition investigated the relation between meal frequency and timing and changes in body mass index (BMI). The study found that “eating less frequently, no snacking, consuming breakfast and eating the largest meal in the morning may be effective methods for preventing long-term weight gain.”

“When you eat your meal matters,” says Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner. “The best way to eat for energy and weight is to eat a big breakfast, smaller lunch and light dinner because it mimics our days’ activities.”

Blatner explains that people are typically most active in the beginning of the day and so need the most fuel then. They slow down as the day progresses, and by dinnertime they need less fuel.

“But it’s not just about eating anything in the morning,” she cautions. “It’s important to pick nutrient-dense foods to fuel your day right.”

Blatner provides three tips for creating a wholesome breakfast that will give you energy and support your weight-loss goals:

1. Fruits and veggies

Wake up your taste buds and give your body important vitamins by eating a rainbow of colorful fruits and veggies. Try shopping the farmers market for locally sourced in-season produce. A quick frittata with egg and chopped veggies or a smoothie bowl topped with fresh fruit will satisfy. If fresh produce isn’t available, frozen has optimum nutrients so it is a smart alternative.

2. Whole grains

Make whole grains part of your breakfast and you’ll feel fuller for longer. Oatmeal is a classic whole-grain breakfast option. Use whole-grain pancake mix to whip up some flapjacks. Bake muffins with whole-grain flour. Make cornbread with whole cornmeal. When shopping for cereal or other breakfast products, look at the label to ensure it’s made with whole grains.

3. Proteins

Eggs are a great source of protein and nutrients for breakfast, but not all eggs are created equal. Swap out ordinary eggs for Eggland’s Best eggs, and you’ll get great taste and superior nutritional benefits with 10 times more vitamin E, six times more vitamin D, more than double the omega-3s, more than double vitamin B12 and 25 percent less saturated fat.

Short on time in the morning? Try Make Ahead Breakfast Bowls that can be frozen and microwaved in minutes for a satisfying start to your day.

Make Ahead Breakfast Bowls

Ingredients:

12 Eggland’s Best eggs (large)
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 green pepper, seeded then chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped
toppings: tortilla chips, salsa, avocado
6 individual-sized containers with lids

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

On a large baking sheet, place potatoes, peppers and onions in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoned salt and ground black pepper. Toss until evenly coated.

Roast for about 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and tender, stirring and rotating pan halfway through cooking.

Meanwhile, crack Eggland’s Best eggs into a large bowl, then season with salt and pepper and whisk until smooth.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat then spray with nonstick spray and add eggs.

Scramble until the eggs are just barely cooked through and still slightly glossy, then scoop onto a plate and set aside.

Divide the potatoes and scrambled eggs evenly between the containers then set aside to cool.

Once cool, sprinkle with cheese and green onions, then cover and refrigerate. Freeze any portions that aren’t eaten within three days.

To reheat from frozen: microwave for 1 1/2 minutes then stir and continue microwaving until food is reheated, stirring between intervals. Top with optional toppings, then serve.

Tip: Store in individualized microwave-safe containers with lids to make these bowls ready to reheat and go.

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