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Food for Thought: Back to Lunch : Tips for Children's Healthy Eating

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Grocery stores are filled with nutritious choices nowadays and by enlisting the help of your child when shopping for their lunch foods, he or she can learn how to make the best choices as they grow up and create meals of their own.

Be sure to check out the following areas of your supermarket and your child's lunch will not only be filled with great tasting foods, but it will also create a healthy lunch.

Healthy Lunch Tips for Children

  • The Produce Section: The produce section is always a good place to start when it comes to a healthy lunch. Choosing fruits and vegetables that your child enjoys and even some they may have never tried is a great idea and is always a good place to find those important vitamins and minerals that every child need.
  • The Drink Aisle:  While many children would love to enjoy a sugary soft drink with their lunch, a better option is a 100 percent juice instead.  Be a label reader and avoid juices with high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and artificial flavors.
  • The Dairy Section: The dairy section is also an area where you can find some great foods.  Try low-fat dairy options, like cottage cheese, string cheese and yogurt.
  • The Snack Food Aisle: Many parents would avoid this aisle completely, but there are still some great lunch items that can be found in the snack food aisle. Be on the lookout for baked and not fried snacks, avoid trans fats, choose whole-wheat over non-whole grain snacks, grab some all-natural granola bars that offer whole grains, nuts and pieces of fruit all in one snack.

A Banana a Day Keeps the Doctor Away for Women

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Everyone has heard that an apple a day can keep the doctor away, but if you are a woman over the age of 50 then you should be having a banana or two along with that apple.

Health Benefits of Bananas

Recent studies show that woman over the age of 50 who ate foods high in potassium were 12 percent less likely to suffer from a stroke in general and 16 percent less likely to suffer from a stroke caused by a blood clot, or an ischemic stroke.

Lastly the study showed that women were 10 percent less likely to die, from any cause, than those who ate low amounts of food containing potassium.

Another interesting finding from the study was that the correlation between potassium intake and stroke prevention was highest amongst women who did not have high blood pressure.  Therefore, nutritionists suggest that women should increase their potassium intake before high blood pressure has the chance to develop.

For women who aren't big fans of bananas, never fear.  You can get twice as much potassium in a serving of spinach, then you get in one banana. Become a label reader as many foods contain potassium that you may not know about.

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Spinach

Written by Lisa Jillanza
  • Leafy, green vegetables, like spinach, provide more nutrients than any other food.
  • Researchers have found at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that have been known to act as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents, combating specific cancers like ovarian and prostate cancer.
  • The vitamin K in spinach provides 200% of the daily value in fresh spinach and nearly 1000% of the daily value in boiled spinach.
  • Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, folate and magnesium.

Health Benefits of Spinach

Recipe: Spinach Lasagna

  • 2 egg whites
  • 26 oz of prepared spaghetti sauce
  • 24 oz of ricotta cheese
  • 10 oz of Lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz of frozen spinach, thawed and chopped, then squeezed dry
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, grated, reserve ½ cup
  • ¾ cup of Parmesan cheese, grated and divided, reserve 2 tablespoons
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9-in. by 13-in.baking dish for lasagna. Prepare lasagna noodles as directed on the package, then rinse and drain. Combine parmesan cheese, ricotta cheeses with the egg whites, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour ¼ cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out using a spatula. Cover the sauce with a single layer of lasagna noodles. Spread about half the cheese mixture over the noodles, and then cover with about half of the spinach and shredded mozzarella cheese. Finish this layer with half of the remaining spaghetti sauce. Add a second layer of noodles, topping with the remaining cheese mixture, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of noodles and remaining spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle the reserved Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set for 10-12 minutes.

Recipe: Wilted Spinach Salad

  • 10 to 12 ounces spinach, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, 1 chopped and 1 sliced
  • 2 to 4 slices bacon
  • 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes. Refrigerate, tightly covered. Fry or microwave bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside. In a small jar or measuring cup combine drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving. When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on high for 30 to 45 seconds, or until mixture boils. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hot dressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly. Top with sliced egg and crumbled bacon.

Healthy Living: Tasty Hacks for those Pesky Life Issues

Written by Lisa Jillanza

No one ever wants to admit that their breath may not be the best smelling or that they are an insomniac, but they are both issues that many people must deal with, among other pesky health problems.

Fortunately, there are some easy “food hacks” that will tackle bad breath and much more!

Food is your “best weapon” when it comes to helping your body deal with some of these not-so-pleasant situations.

Here are some foods that can help:

Tasty Hacks

Have bad breath?  Try eating some yogurt.  According to experts, eating unsweetened yogurt can reduce the level of odor-causing hydrogen sulfide bacteria in your mouth.  Good bacteria found in yogurt, like streptococcus thermophilus and lactobacillus bulgaricus, overpowered the hydrogen sulfide and helped lower levels by more than half : helping to eliminate the smelly mouth odor.

Can't sleep? Try some kiwi.

Because of the high levels of antioxidants and serotonin in kiwi, many people with sleep disorders have found that eating kiwi one hour before bed will help with their insomnia.  People with sleep disorders have increased levels of oxidative stress and low levels of serotonin can cause insomnia.  Eating kiwi counteracts this process and can help people catch their ZZZZ's.

Have a hard workout? Eat some ginger.

If you hit the gym hard and are dealing with the aftereffects of a tough session, munch on some ginger.  Eating just 2 grams of raw or heated ginger per day can reduce post-workout muscle soreness by 25 percent.   Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds and oils called gingerols that contain painkilling and sedative effects in tests conducted.

Have acne? Indulge in some salmon.

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which decreases inflammation.  Studies show that inflammation is one of the underlying causes of acne and pimples.

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Tomatoes

Written by Lisa Jillanza
  • Besides containing 40 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, it also contains 15 percent of your daily value of vitamin A, 8 percent of your daily value of potassium, and 7 percent of your recommended dietary allowance of iron for women and 10 percent for men.
  • Lycopene, what gives tomatoes their red pigment, acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells in the body.
  • Studies show that men who at least eat 10 servings of tomatoes a week can reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer by a whopping 45 percent.

Health benefits of tomatoes

Recipe: Tomato Casserole with Sweet Onions

  • 6 medium tomatoes, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 large Vidalia onion or other sweet onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, or scant ½ teaspoon dried dillweed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or scant ½ teaspoon dried leaf thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Place peeled tomato wedges on paper towels to drain.  Peel onions and slice into ¼-inch rings.  In separate bowl combine dill, thyme, salt, pepper and bread crumbs.  Layer half of the tomatoes and onions in a lightly buttered baking dish and top with half of the minced garlic.  Sprinkle with half of the bread crumb and seasoning mixture, half of mozzarella cheese, and drizzle with half olive oil.  Repeat layers.  Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until bubbly.

Recipe: Corn and Black Bean Salsa

  • 3 to 4 small ears of corn
  • 1 can (15 to 16 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 large tomato, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely minced jalapeno or poblano pepper
  • Juice of one lime, about 3 tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro
  • Dash salt and pepper, to taste

Grill or broil corn to char slightly; let cool. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Cut corn from cobs and add to the mixture.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving time.

Great alternative to sauces, and is especially tasty on grilled fish, chicken or pork!