Clever Ways to Scale Back on Sugar

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Do you ever track your daily sugar consumption? The majority of us probably don’t. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), Americans ingest an astounding 22 teaspoons of sugar per day! This alone may play a significant role in the rapidly escalating rates of obesity in the U.S., not to mention diabetes and other health problems.

Avoiding sugar takes a concerted effort since it’s added to so many foods and beverages. In fact, many products contain multiple sweeteners. While you may not want to delete sugar entirely, scaling back has many wellness benefits. These tips can help: Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Avoid Common Food Preservatives

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Are you an avid label reader when grocery shopping? It’s a smart tactic, as many commercial food products contain preservatives and other additives. While food manufacturers claim additives are necessary to prevent food from spoiling, some are safer than others. If you’re interested in a naturally healthy diet, it’s worth learning about the most common food preservatives, and how to avoid them: Read the rest of this entry »

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Kid’s Breakfast Essentials

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For those with children, you probably know how hectic school mornings can be. You want kids to get as much sleep as possible, while still avoiding that seemingly inevitable last-minute scramble for pony-tail holders, gym shoes, or worse─homework. If all that isn’t enough, you have something even more important to incorporate: a healthy breakfast!

A challenge we parents face is that children sometimes want to simply “skip the hassle” of eating a healthy breakfast without realizing how hungry they’ll be later in the morning. Nor do many kids factor in the effect that low blood sugar can have on their ability to concentrate and perform at peak capacity throughout the day. What to do?

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and with good reason. Nourishing morning fare fuels children’s bodies and brains, boosts energy and metabolism, and anchors blood-sugar levels so that kids can function well mentally, physically, and emotionally─all of which helps to maximize their daily academic experience. If a healthy, daily breakfast poses a challenge in your home, consider these suggestions: Read the rest of this entry »

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Best Beverages for Kids

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While many wellness-conscious parents focus on promoting healthy foods to kids, how about drinks? Some experts feel that American kids have a “drinking problem” when it comes to sweetened beverages, which may factor into growing rates of childhood obesity.

Many children over consume sugary drinks, from sweetened “fruit” beverages and teas, to “energy drinks,” and even coffee drinks─despite the fact that according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, artificially stimulating beverages are never appropriate for children or adolescents. Here are a few easy ways to help reverse this trend: Read the rest of this entry »

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5 Processed Food Ingredients to Avoid

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While many of us would prefer daily homemade meals consisting of fresh, whole foods, long, hectic days may necessitate a few short cuts. That’s when busy families often turn to processed foods. That might be a frozen entrée, boxed meal kit, canned soup, or even a protein bar in a pinch. Read the rest of this entry »

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Outdoor Health & Beauty Essentials

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Do you love the great outdoors? If so, summer is probably among your favorite seasons. In fact, many families practically live outside in the sunny months, between the beach, hiking, camping, swimming, tennis, golf, BBQs and picnics, or just lounging on the deck, enjoying iced tea or wine with friends.
As enjoyable as open air pursuits are, we also need to take care of ourselves and our children along the way, which requires some planning. These “essentials” can help you enjoy your time outside─beautifully and safely: Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Host a Perfect BBQ

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Festive BBQ parties are among the great joys of summer. So how can you host a winner? Planning ahead is key, so on party day, you’re simply assembling the components─and grilling of course! These tips can help ensure a smashing success: Read the rest of this entry »

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Navigating Milk Alternatives

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If you decide to give up dairy milk, what will you pour over cereal, pair with a freshly baked cookie, or put in your morning coffee? Milk serves many purposes for the average American, so if dairy is out, we need alternatives. Fortunately, your problem isn’t finding an alternative to cow’s milk; rather it’s navigating through the sea of options! Read the rest of this entry »

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Best Non-Dairy Calcium Sources

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Most Americans are brought up to believe that milk and other dairy products are essential foods, due in part to the calcium they contain. Yet many other cultures consume little or no dairy, and often live longer, healthier lives than Americans on average. Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Avoid Hidden Dairy

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Lactose-intolerant individuals can make a concerted effort to remove dairy products from their diets, yet still occasionally experience uncomfortable symptoms after a meal or beverage. What gives? It turns out that going dairy-free involves more than just eliminating the obvious suspects like milk and cheese. Many food products─even “non-dairy” items─may contain dairy-derived ingredients, such as:

Casein

This milk protein is used as an emulsifying and binding agent in many processed foods, including “vegetarian” cheeses and supplements. Other forms of casein used in food processing include ammonium caseinate, calcium caseinate, casein hydrolysate, iron caseinate, magnesium caseinate, paracasein, potassium caseinate, rennet casein, sodium caseinate, and zinc caseinate.

Lactalbumin and lactoglobulin

Lactalbumin is the albumin component in milk. Albumins act as emulsifying and binding agents in a wide range of processed foods. Similar to lactalbumin, lactoglobulin is a whey protein which functions as a gelling and stabilizing agent. It often lurks in unlikely places, like sports beverages.

Lactose

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders, lactose is often added to prepared foods, including bread, muffins, cakes and other baked goods, breakfast cereals, instant potatoes, soups, breakfast drinks, margarine, lunch meats, bacon, sausage, and hot dogs, salad dressings, many types of snack chips, mixes for pancakes, biscuits, and cookies, and numerous forms of candy.

Whey and Whey Protein

Whey, a by-product in cheese-making, shows up in a variety of prepared food products. Whey protein─which is composed of lactalbumin and lactalglobulin─is found in both foods and nutritional supplements in many forms, including sweet whey, whey powder, whey protein concentrate, and whey protein isolate, which is typically lactose-free.

What’s the take away here? Well, it appears that the more processed a food is, the more likely it is to contain additives, often dairy-derived. You best strategy is to stick to fresh, whole foods as much as possible, as well as healthy prepared foods with relatively short, safe ingredient lists. Your vigilance will serve you well!

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