Outsmart Your Sweet Tooth

Try These healthier alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth during that next sugary craving!  Enjoy the flavors without the unhealthy-ness! 

Honey-Yogurt Dip-Mix 8 ounces of vanilla yogurt with a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Use it as a dip with fresh, in-season fruit.

Chocolate Apples-Melt a quarter cup of dark-chocolate chips in the microwave and enjoy it as a dip with sliced fresh apples. (You can dip any of your favorite fruits.)

Hawaiian Smoothie-Whip together one cup of skim milk and a half cup each frozen strawberries and crushed pineapple (canned in juice and drained). Stir in a few teaspoons of shredded coconut.

Strawberries and pineapple make a great smoothie.

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Go For A Mango!

Mangos are a delicious and refreshing fruit but many of us forget they are also extremely healthy!

Health Benefits:

1.  Prevents Cancer: 
Research has shown antioxidant compounds in mango fruit have been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers. These compounds include quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat, as well as the abundant enzymes.

2.  Lowers Cholesterol: 
The high levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C help to lower serum cholesterol levels, specifically Low-Density Lipoprotein (the bad stuff)

3.  Clears the Skin: 
Can be used both internally and externally for the skin. Mangos clear clogged pores and eliminate pimples. (Read more on page 5.)

4.  Eye Health: 
One cup of sliced mangoes supplies 25 percent of the needed daily value of vitamin A, which promotes good eyesight and prevents night blindness and dry eyes.

5.  Alkalizes the Whole Body:
The tartaric acid, malic acid, and a trace of citric acid found in the fruit help to maintain the alkali reserve of the body.

 

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Chia Seeds-A Must!

Chia is native to southern and central Mexico and Guatemala.  Cultivated by the Aztecs, this was once considered a superfood that sustained the warriors for an entire day on a single tablespoon of chia seeds.  It has disappeared from the region after the Spanish conquest because the Spaniards banned foods that were linked to Aztec tradition.  Today, chia seeds have once again become a popular superfood among health conscious consumers.

Chia seeds are effective in boosting weight loss efforts.  High in protein and fiber, their carbohydrates are slowly digested.  This helps curb appetite and increase fat burning.  Chia seeds are a great source of energy before workouts and are also higher in omega-3 fatty acids compared to any other food.  Omega-3’s are known to improve memory, concentration and other cognitive abilities.

Chia seeds are also filled with antioxidants, even more than blueberries! Eating these seeds on a regular basis may help prevent health conditions such as strokes, heart diseases and cancer.  Chia seeds also help maintain lower blood sugar levels and detoxify the body.  When fiber is consumed, the body is effectively able to remove waste and toxins from the body.

Eating chia seeds on a regular basis can reduce inflammation in the body because chia seeds contain essential fatty acids.  High levels of inflammation are associated with many health conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and chronic pain.

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Edamame Salad

 

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 cups (12 oz) cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 16 oz package frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1 cup (4 oz) sugar snap peas, sliced in half
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha chile sauce
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook the mushrooms, stirring, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add remaining oil to pan. Cook the edamame, snap peas, and ginger, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender and edamame is bright green, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the red pepper, chestnuts, Sriracha, and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat; stir in the toasted sesame seeds and vinegar. Serve hot, or refrigerate and enjoy cold.

     

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Nutrition Bars

Whether they are protein, fiber or energy claimed nutrition bars, they may be nutritious or straight sugar bars-depending on the kind you purchase.  Here is a list of the 5 best and worst nutrition bars out on the market.

Best:

1.  Kind Blueberry Pecan + Fiber

2.  Quest Coconut Cashew

3.  Larabar Uber Roasted Nut Roll

4.  Zing Almond Blueberry

5.  Health Warrior Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chia

Worst:

1.  Luna LemonZest

2.  Clif Bar Coconut Chocolate Chip

3.  Pro Bar Superfood Slam

4.  Balance Bars S’mores

5.  Amazing Grass: Green Superfood Berry Whole Foods Energy Bar

For additional reasoning on why these nutritional bars were selected as good or bad choices, visit the original source here.

 

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Ricotta and Lemon-Basil Pasta

 

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta, such as seashell or campanelle
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

Preparation

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.

2. Combine ricotta, next 5 ingredients (through pepper), and reserved cooking liquid in a large bowl. Add the pasta, and toss to combine. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired. Serve immediately.

Wine note: Wolf Blass South Australian Chardonnay, around $12, is a classy number that tastes like twice the price. It combines lemony fruit and a soft kiss of toasty oak to complement the zestiness of the pasta and nuttiness from the green beans.

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Top 10 Worst Foods In Your Fridge/Freezer

Dana Angelo White from the Food Network, has written an article regarding the worst foods to have in your fridge or freezer.  Take a look at the list to see how many you may be guilty of having and learn more on why by following here.

1. Expired Condiments

2. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

3. Coffee Creamer

4. Frozen Fried Foods

5. Bottled Salad Dressing

6. Rotten Fruit

7. Frozen Entrees

8. Ready-to-Bake Dough

9. Highly Processed Meats

10. Artificially-Sweetened Yogurt

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Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July from My Better Self! Take the time to relax and enjoy the day.  We encourage you to try these red, white and blueberry freeze pops! These sweet, cool and healthy frozen pops are great pick-me-ups during 4th of July festivities!

              Ingredients
  • 10 (5-oz.) plastic or paper cups
  • 1 quart raspberry juice
  • 10 Popsicle sticks
  • 1 pint frozen vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Instructions
  1. Assemble the cups on a cookie tray. Pour an inch of raspberry juice into each cup, then place the tray in the freezer. When the juice is partially frozen, set a Popsicle stick in the center of each cup and let the juice freeze solid.
  2. Pour 1 cup of water into a blender. Add 4 large scoops of frozen vanilla yogurt and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour an inch of the vanilla mix on top of the frozen raspberry juice layer in each cup and freeze again.
  4. Once the vanilla layer sets, blend 1 cup of water, the blueberries and a large scoop of frozen vanilla yogurt. Spoon the blueberry mix into the cups. Freeze overnight.
  5. To serve, dip each cup into a bowl of warm water for an instant. The pop should slide out easily. Serves 10.

Build A Healthy Sandwich

Mayo Clinic has provided a healthy sandwich building list for your next quick meal! Choose from the healthy options below to jazz up the typical PB and J!

To build your healthy sandwich, choose one or more from the following:

  • Turkey: Roasted, sliced, diced, shaved, shredded — or substitute any lean protein
  • Whole grain: Sliced bread, bun, roll, tortilla, pita, ciabatta, baguette, focaccia, naan, English muffin, bagel, flat bread, cracker
  • Spread or relish: Mustard (regular, hot or sweet), low-fat mayonnaise, cranberry relish or other fruit spread, hummus, honey, pesto, peanut butter, salsa, low-fat refried beans, BBQ sauce
  • Toppings: Lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, peppers (sweet, hot or spicy), celery, radishes, cucumbers, herbs, apple, pear, grapes, raisins, chopped nuts
  • Preparation method: Traditional (layered), toasted, grilled or panini style, roll or wrap, stuffed, open-faced, salad-filled

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Raspberry Chocolate Scones

Ingredients

    • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/3 cup trans fat-free buttery spread
    • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
    • 1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain fat-free yogurt
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


Directions

Mix flours, baking powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Cut in buttery spread until crumbly. Add berries and chocolate chips. Mix gently. Mix yogurt and honey together in a small bowl. Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture, mixing until just blended. Place ball of dough on countertop. Knead one or two times. Roll into a 1/2-inch-thick circle. Cut into 12 wedges. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Mix sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl. Sprinkle over top of scones. Bake at 400 F for 10 to 12 minutes.

Recipe provided by Mayo Clinic

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