Do Cheez-its have real cheese?

My mom recently sent me a care package in the mail. Was it full of homemade cookies and chocolate hearts and love notes? Nah.

Cheez-its. Yep, bags and bags of individual servings of Cheez-its. I don’t even remember the last time I had one of the crispy yellow cheese-crackers. But hey, I took it as a nutritional learning opportunity. So here’s the question…Do Cheez-its actually include real cheese??

Do Cheez-its really have REAL cheese??
Do Cheez-its really have REAL cheese??

Continue reading “Do Cheez-its have real cheese?”

Milk is “Dairy”, but Cream is not?

If you look at the USDA “Dairy” Food Group, you will see that not all milk products are listed as “Dairy”.

Huh?? Why?? Why is Cream not dairy?

And wait–Why is Ice Cream considered “Dairy”?

Butter is not?? Cream cheese is not?

Don’t they all come from the same thing??

dairycow

Continue reading “Milk is “Dairy”, but Cream is not?”

Mac and Cheese, Please!

Mmmmmmm Mac and Cheese. Who doesn’t love it?

Taken from http://www.youknowyouloveit.com/
Taken from http://www.youknowyouloveit.com/

The beauty of this dish is that it is such a cinch to put together, and such a crowd-pleaser.

Examine this Kraft Macaroni & Cheese nutrition label to get an idea of the nutrients in this delicious concoction.

But even if you don’t look at a nutrition label, knowing the main ingredients of any recipe can help you estimate nutritional content.

Mac and Cheese is pretty much exactly what is sounds like. Macaroni and, Cheese! However, usually some Milk and Butter are added as well to get just that right consistency.

So let’s look at these four ingredients: Macaroni, Cheese, Milk, and Butter. What nutrients do they offer?

Well…..

1) Macaroni (aka an elbow shaped pasta) is usually made of enriched flour. This means it is made from fortified wheat flour that contains many B vitamins and iron. And since it is made from flour, this means it is a carb! Our body loves and NEEDS carbohydrates.

2) Cheese is a processed dairy product, meaning it contains protein, calcium, fat, and sodium. Oh and since it is an animal food product, it contains the essential vitamin B-12!! Remember, B-12 is mostly only found in animal food products.

3) Milk is ..milk. Usually, the kind we consume comes from cows. And even though milk is used to make cheese, there are some key nutritional differences.

4) Butter. butter butter butter. So yummy, and so nutritious! Check out why it is great to include some butter in our diets. (Hint: Butter is a Fat. And we NEED fats!)

Phew! What a wonderful list of nutrition from our friend, Mac and Cheese. Remember to learn about the proper nutrition for YOUR body, and to maintain a healthy balance of nutrients in your diet. Undernourishment, overnourishment, and malnourishment are no bueno.

Taken from http://www.youknowyouloveit.com/
Taken from http://www.youknowyouloveit.com/

Mac and Cheese can absolutely be part of a healthy diet once we understand the nutrients it offers! Look at the nutrition labels on mac and cheese ingredients to see what you’re consuming. And remember, recipes can be tweaked to fit your diet! That is why learning how to cook is essential in life. Happy Mac’ing!

French Toast to Fuel the Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!!!! Whether you are taking Mom out for Sunday brunch, or cooking at home, French Toast is a surefire way to make any mom happy. Crispy, eggy, drizzled in maple syrup, a touch of butter, how can you go wrong? You can’t!!!! Besides being a delicious meal, it is also VERY nutritious!!

French Toast deliciousness. Photo credit: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/french_toast/
French Toast deliciousness. Photo credit: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/french_toast/

French toast was originally created to “revive” old stale bread by soaking it in a mixture of eggs and milk, and then pan frying it with some butter. Today we enjoy it ALL THE TIME–stale bread, fresh bread, any kind of bread..we LOVE french toast!!

It is truly a great way to fuel your body for the day. Why? Let’s focus on the three macronutrients–carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

Bread and maple syrup provide lots of energy due to high concentrations of carbohydrates (which is our body’s main source of energy).

Eggs and dairy have a high concentrations of protein (what most of our body is made of!), along with some fat.

Butter is essentially just fat, which we need for fat-soluable vitamins (D, E, A, and K)!

USDA recommends a diet with ratio ranges of about 45-65% carbs, 15-35% protein, and 20-35% fat. 

If you do the math (or if you just estimate;), French Toast is the perfect balance of the three macronutrients. Mostly carbohydrates, and then some protein and fat! In food terms–mostly bread, some milk and eggs, and some butter! Syrup just adds plenty more carbohydrates, which is great for your body especially if you are consuming french toast in the morning. Carbs are not bad! Carbs = ENERGY!!!!

Now go celebrate with Mom! ❤

 

 

 

Why Pizza is the Perfect Food

Image

I really don’t know why pizza gets a bad rap, because honestly, could there be a more PERFECT food?? I think not. Here is why:

We need a balance of nutrients to live a balanced life, and pizza is a DELICIOUS vehicle for nutrition!!!

1. Pizza crust is made from fortified (or enriched) white flour, giving us an essential dose of the B-vitamins and iron. The crust = Carbohydrates = ENERGY!!!!!!!!!!!

2. Pizza sauce is a full of lycopene and glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant from cooked tomatoes. Hello serving of vegetables!

3. Cheese, like most dairy products, is an excellent source of calcium and b-12. It is also full of PROTEIN! And a great source of dietary fat! Image

Add some vegetable or meat toppings, and you add even more nutrition!

Pizza is macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fats) AND essential micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals) all in one. WOW.

PIZZA IS THE PERFECT FOOD.

Don’t you agree?? 🙂

Image

Icing on the Cake

I have read many-a-health-blogs that suggested you scrape the icing off a piece of cake before eating it to save calories, save fat, save sugar. And to that I say, save it for what? Save it to ingest in some other form that is not the delicious frosting on top of my cake? Save it for after the party so I can pride myself for snacking on an apple and peanut butter instead?

The icing on top of the cake: Goodness on top of more goodness
The icing on top of the cake: Goodness on top of more goodness

The idiom “Icing on the Cake” came into existence because it is the perfect example of “something good that is added to another good thing”. But our over-obsessed health culture today is rendering this expression meaningless. Icing, or frosting, is becoming synonymous with “bad”, “unhealthy”, “fattening”. And that is true if you choose to look at it that way.

Or you can choose to look at frosting as what it is! A simple mixture of sugar, dairy and butter–all of which are FOODS with nutritional value!! I’ve discussed sugar and dairy in the “Ice cream is good for you” post, so let’s focus on the butter component of icing. Or frosting. Whichever you call it.

BUTTERcream frosting
BUTTERcream frosting

Alright. Let’s get some things straight. Butter facts:

1. Butter is a fat. It is not what makes you fat. It is a TYPE of fat. Fat is essential for survival.

2. Butter is rich rich RICH in Vitamins A, E, D, and K2.

3. Butter has iodine!!

4. Butyric acid. Wonder where it get its name from?;)

5. Linoleic acid. <—read about it. it’s cool stuff!!!

6. THE benefits of BUTTER list goes on and on and on..

So celebrate butter. Celebrate the icing on the cake. Make this buttercream fosting today. Life is too short to rob ourselves of nutritional happiness in times of celebration (isn’t this usually when we eat cake anyway?)

Have your cake, eat it, AND the icing too!!!!!

And now for today’s relevant, yet irrelevant question: What is your ideal cake:frosting ratio?

Ice Cream is Good for You

Why? Because when you break it down, it really just is milk and sugar. Milk and sugar.

The extra serving of calcium I had last weekend.

Milk.

and

sugar.

Cows and plants.  Both provide us with great amounts of nutrients! Let’s take a closer look:

There are MANY benefits of milk. Click the picture to find out more!

Cow’s milk is a dairy product and  an EXCELLENT source of calcium, which is an essential mineral for a strong, healthy skeleton and teeth. Calcium is important for us to maintain bone density, ESPECIALLY for women as we are at a higher risk for osteoporosis. If we do not get enough calcium, our body strips it away from our bones (NOT good!).

Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products (plant foods do not contain Vitamin B12, unless they are fortified), so its no surprise that ice cream can provide a good supply of this micronutrient! It is important for making DNA, healthy red blood cells, and supporting our nervous system. Vitamin B12 deficiency is bad, bad, bad.

Sugar cane

Now I could go on and on about the benefits of milk, but let’s move on to the other main ingredient of ice cream–that delicious, sweet SUGAR!

Sugar cubes
Every wonder why you feel so energized after a sweet snack? Because sugar is a carbohydrate!

The majority of the sugar we eat comes from the sugar cane, a giant bamboo-like plant.

Scientifically, table sugar is known as sucrose, a molecule made up of two simpler sugars, fructose and glucose. Sugars fall into the macronutrient group– carbohydrates.

Why does our body need carbs?

FOR ENERGY!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!

Sugar gets converted into glucose and is readily absorbed by our cells to give us an instant lift. We NEED sugar to survive, and for our brains to function at optimal levels!

Picture 4
Thanks Ice Cream, for being so good to me!

Next time you have a scoop of ice cream, think about all the STRENGTH and ENERGY you have consumed, and go show the world what you are made of! (strong bones!) 😀

And now I will ask an irrelevant, but relevant question: What’s your favorite flavor??