POSTS WITH TAG: healthy choices

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    I knew it when I saw it sprinkled all over the baked goodies at my favorite Parisian-style bakery. Amaranth is having a moment. Amaranth is one of those so-called "ancient grains" that have become trendy lately, in the wake of quinoa's success. Just a couple short years ago I was searching for it in vain. Now it's all over the place -- even on my damn croissants! So what's the hype all about? Here's why you may want to give amaranth a chance.

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    These are unfortunate times to grow up loving sweet stuff. The World Health Organization just popped a lot of our (candy) bubbles when it recently released a study stating only 5 percent of our calories should come from sugar. That's waaay easier to say than do if you're like me and your number one favorite snack in the world is chocolate-covered strawberries dipped in (heavily sweetened) vanilla yogurt. No fair.

    But a fact is a fact. And rather than fight it and risk all of the health consequences involved with overdosing on sugar -- diabetes and obesity, for example -- we can embrace some of the sweet alternatives out there. Lucky for us, one of these sugar substitutes is healthy, not saccharine-sweet, and can be used in more delish recipes than you would believe. I speak of everyone's latest and greatest favorite sweetener: agave.

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    Do you know how much sugar is too much sugar? I had no effin' idea -- until now. According to the World Health Organization, only 5 percent of our calories should come from sugar. That's added sugar, by the way. Even broccoli has natural sugars, after all. WHO director of nutrition Francesco Branca admits that 10 percent is probably more realistic for most of us. But just out of curiosity, I wanted to figure out what 5 percent of your total calories per day would look like.

    Let's say you consume around 2000 calories a day. That would mean you could eat 100 calories in sugar. 100 calories of sweet, sweet indulgence. How many M&Ms is that, exactly? Well, our nutritional labels don't tell us that, yet. But you can estimate based on 4 calories per 1 gram of sugar.

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    I hear it over and over again: Good skin health comes from the inside out. In other words, slathering on ointments and creams will only get you so far. To truly improve your skin you need to avoid eating foods that can exacerbate your skin issues AND you need to eat foods that will help heal your epidermis. That's especially true when it comes to eczema. That stubborn skin condition may need more than topical treatment. These 7 foods can also help fight off the red and scaly.

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    Disturbing as it sounds, there are people who eat bugs. On purpose. In fact, 80 percent of the world's cultures eat bugs. Many of us have probably accidentally swallowed a gnat while biking through the park (what, just me?) or chewed up an ant leg in our peanut butter. I'm not talking about that -- I'm talking about sitting down to a meal of grubs. Or crickets. "People" say it's a trend and that it's the future of food. I think those "people" should go 'head and eat all the bugs they want, but this is one food trend I'm probably sitting out. Nevertheless, in the interest of science, I thought I'd look into the idea of eating bugs. What's out there, and why would you EVER?

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    The jury's out on just how good dairy is for us at all. But if you or your kids are going to have what my mother-in-law calls "cow milk," or regular butter, or real ice cream, it should the full fat kind -- if you want to be a healthy weight, that is. I know, it sounds completely backwards, but that's what researchers in Sweden claim after doing a study over a 12-year period.

    It bears noting that the research was done on middle-aged men, but still. They found that the subjects who used whole milk, cream, and butter had a lower risk of becoming obese than did people who avoided fattier dairy products. At the same time, a European review of 16 studies found most of them showed a lower risk of obesity for people who consumed high-fat dairy products. And if that wasn't enough, a study last year found kids who drank low-fat milk gained weight! Whoa!

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    It's almost St. Patrick's Day, and it's almost time to taste the rainbow. Taste the rainbow fruit platter  that is! They're all the rage on Pinterest for the big holiday!

    I love the idea of this fruit platter because not only is it visually pleasing, but it's healthy and delicious too! I thought for sure it would be Pinterest win as a snack for my kids and I'm thinking it would make a really easy birthday decoration for hungry kids.

    The marshmallow clouds and pot of gold (Rolo candies) at the end of the rainbow fruit platter look like the perfect final touch!

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    So you’ve decided to eat healthier and cook more at home. Super! If you’re new to this whole home cooking thing, though, you’ll need to stock up your pantry with some essentials. You want to be able to walk into your kitchen and cook something nutritious -- that you and your family actually want to eat -- without too much trouble. Well, here are 15 pantry staples you'll be glad to have around.

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    Looking to slim down in the new year? Click here for this one weird trick to a flat belly -- oh I'm just kidding. No weird tricks or quick fixes here. But we've been talking about this one food rule that's supposed to let you eat whatever you want. A food loophole! Wanna hear it?

    One rule -- it seems simple, but wait until you hear what it is. Like I said, no weird tricks or quick fixes here, and the road to great health is never easy. But the simplicity of the food rule is compelling. And it could change your life.

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    The following is a post from our sponsor, Panera.

    It’s right around this time of year that I begin to realize I am slipping on my perennial New Year’s Resolution: to eat healthier. I start with the best of intentions, but my job gets crazy, the kids need help with homework, and ... it’s easy to slip.

    I am always on the lookout for healthy, nutritious, delicious, AND fast alternatives to keep fueled on the go. But, having tried a lot of things, I’m pretty skeptical too. I’ve had the “power bars” that promise a full belly but turn out to be little bricks of sugar, the puffed rice concoctions that taste like cardboard, and the salads advertised as a full meal that don’t even get me through 2 p.m. without me raiding the vending machine. I won’t lie: there’s a part of me that wonders if it’s possible to eat right on the go and be satisfied.

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