Tag Archive for natural foods

Seven Superfoods for Any Budget

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

As I was checking out of my local health foods store last week, I had stunning realization. With less than ten items in my basket I had spent almost $50.00, were these products really worth the hefty price tag or did it make me “feel healthier” by purchasing them at this particular market?  The question is, when it comes to our budget, are we getting the most for our money; are the foods we are choosing to spend money on really even worth the price? Below are 10 Superfoods that weight very little on your pocketbook, and heavy on your families nutrition needs.

1. Yogurt:   look in your store’s dairy section and I guarantee you there is a sale on yogurt, even organic.  I have seen it as low as .59 cents recently and if you by it in quart size or six packs it’s even less expensive.  Yogurt is a great source of protein, calcium, and natural probiotics that keep your child’s gut happy and healthy.  It helps prevent cavities, increase immunity, and build strong bones.  On the label look for “live active cultures” and avoid added sweeteners. Yogurt is an easy, on-the-go snack; add it to granola or cereal instead of milk for a tasty breakfast.

2. Strawberries:frozen strawberries are a steal, and can be purchased for under 3.oo dollars depending on the store you frequent. Real strawberries those are the ones that are whole and actually look like a strawberry; skip anything that says “strawberry flavor”, has artificial colorings, preservatives, or corn syrup.   Fresh or frozen strawberries are high in vitamin C, are cancer fighters, and can decrease asthmatic symptoms. Remember to wash them well and pat dry. Fresh strawberries can be a sweet snack, and frozen ones can be added to yogurt, cereal, or smoothies.

3. Almonds: buying raw almonds in bulk can be as inexpensive as peanuts. Almond butter is usually around $4.00 for a 12 ounce jar. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, antioxidants, protein, and a high source of monounsaturated fat; good fat that keep your brain running smoothly.  Almonds are also known to help prevent anemia, as it helps produce iron in one’s body. Add a handful of almonds to a salad, add to trail mix for healthy snack, or eat in “butter form”.  Almond butter is a great source of protein and can be substituted for peanut butter.

4.  Quinoa: At $1 a pound quinoa is inexpensive and nutrient dense. Quinoa is a complete protein and can substitute for less sustainable proteins. Compared to other grains, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc.  The texture is light and fluffy, which most kids love.  Add beans for a great rice substitution and protein packed meal.

5. Black Beans: A can of these guys may run you $0.89-1.99 depending on the brand; never the less is a great substitution from refried beans or anything laden in lard. Black beans are a good source of foliate, dietary fiber, manganese, protein, magnesium, vitamin B1 (thiamin), phosphorus, and iron. 

6.  Kale At just over a dollar a bunch, kale is a member of the dark, leafy greens group. It’s loaded with vitamin C and vitamin B as well as calcium, and has known cancer fighting properties. Kale is also known as a great source of soluble fiber, which many children (and adults) do not get enough of in their diets  Use as an alternative to your usual steamed veggie, add to a stir fry or pasta dish, it is packed with more nutrients than your usual vegetable.

7. Blueberries:  At less than $3.00 a container, even less for frozen, blueberries are easy on the budget, but packed with power.  The antioxidant-rich fruit provides bodies with protection from sun damage, and have been shown to slow the rate of pre-cancerous cells; they also help boost immunity.  Add some to a smoothie, yogurt, or cereal. Grab a handful as an alternative to a treat, their natural sweetness can curb any sugar craving.

So you don’t always have to break the bank when it comes to eating well.  Maybe heading to the regular grocery store to stalk up on these basics is in order.  For more information on Superfoods that are kid and family friendly check out http://www.superkidsnutrition.com/superfoods.php and awesome site for parents with information from dietitians and nutritionists.

5,141 total views, 9 views today

MSG: In Your Child’s Lunchbox

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

With back-to-school in full effect, many parents are packing their rouine lunches or giving kid’s money to buy lunch at school, but do you really know what your child is eating?  Interestingly enough, we notice when kids are eating more prepared and prepackaged foods, often times their behavior gets worse.  Why? Monosodium Glutamate or MSG is added to many “kid friendly” and fast foods. In many ingredient lists is hidden as “flavor enhancer” or “natural flavors”.  MSG increases glutamate levels (glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitters) thus increasing aggression, impulsivity, and decrease the ability to focus. This is not only occurring in our children’s brains, but ours as well.  That bag of Barbecue chips is full of MSG, so is that “natural flavored” cereal bar….Just think about it.

“It taps out our inhibitory neurotransmitters causing inflammation to the brain.” Says Nikki Jackson-Drummond CCN.  This is a normal reaction to ingesting MSG, even for someone who does not have an allergy to MSG. According to Grocery Warningby Mike Adams,” There is no regulation whatsoever on the use of MSG in school cafeterias despite its possible ill effects.  In fact, current trends allow fast –food pizza and hamburger chains to sell their MSG-laden products during the children lunch hour.” Adams says, ” The sudden increase in glutamic acid within the body is rapidly absorbed an can raise the normal blood level of glutamate to eight or ten or even twenty times its usual amount.”

So what’s in your kid’s lunch box?  Popular children’s soups, macaroni and cheese, even products that are labeled “natural” have “natural flavorings added.”  If you are giving your child these foods, or they are getting them at school, the likelihood is that they are increasing the glutamate enough to disrupt your child’s brain chemistry. We have seen some kiddo’s brain chemistry levels plateau or become worse do to diets heavy in MSG foods, without parents even knowing it was disrupting their neurochemistry!

Common Foods:

  • Hamburger Helper Microwave Singles®  (targeted towards children)
  • Doritos®
  • Campbell’s® soups – all of them – based on their commitment to add “umami” (read – MSG) to their products
  • Pringles® (the flavored varieties)
  • Boar’s Head® cold cuts and most of their hot dogs
  • Progresso® Soups – all of them
  • Lipton® Noodles and Sauce
  • Lipton® Instant soup mix
  • Unilever or Knorr® products – often used in homemade Veggie dips. 
  • Kraft® products nearly all contain some free glutamate
  • Cup-a-soup® or Cup-o-Noodles®
  • Planters® salted nuts – most of them
  • Accent® -this is nearly pure MSG
  • Braggs® Liquid Aminos – sold at Whole Foods
  • Hodgson Mill Kentucky Kernel Seasoned Flour®
  • Tangle extract (seaweed extract) – found in sushi rolls (even at Whole Foods)  Seaweed is what MSG was first isolated from.
  • Fish extract – made from decomposed fish protein – used now in Japanese sushi dishes – very high in free glutamate.
  • flavored ramen noodles
  • boullion – any kind
  • instant soup mixes
  • many salad dressings
  • most salty, powdered dry food mixes – read labels
  • flavored potato chips

This is part of the list from MSG Truth http://www.msgtruth.org/avoid.htm

There are many safe, alternatives to MSG filled foods.  Do an experiment, what is your behavior or your child’s behavior like after avoiding MSG free foods for just a few days?  Check out this mom’s blog post for specific foods and where to buy them for an MSG free diet http://www.latitudes.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=2976

Next time your thinking about grabbing a quick bite, or throwing in that flavored bag of chips into the lunchbox, think about it, do you really want your child eating a flavor enhanced, chemical filled snack?  Think about it….

10,637 total views, 4 views today

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.