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?”

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Ramen-it can fit into your diet!

Ooooooh Ramen. We all remember glorious college days living off those 10 cent blocks of noodles. It was cheap, it was food, and it was delicious.

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Now all we see in the media regarding instant noodles are negative things like this.

But let’s remember that there are no bad foods. We should not label or assign a moral value to foods, or the people eating certain foods.

Let’s just look objectively at the nutrition of Ramen. Here is a PDF of Top Ramen nutrition for your reference.

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If you were not aware before, the Ingredients List on a nutrition label is listed in order of greatest to least by weight. Looking at the Top Ramen nutrition label, you can see that Ramen is mostly made from enriched flour, oil, and salt.

These three main ingredients-flour, oil, and salt- signal that Ramen probably is high in carbohydrates, fat, and sodium. The enriched flour means that the noodles are fortified with vitamins and minerals, which explains why you may see 10-15% iron per serving of noodles.

By the way, a “serving” of Ramen is only HALF the block. So remember if you are consuming one entire package, you are getting twice the amount of nutrients on the label.

Eating an entire block of Ramen noodles means you are getting 70-80% of you daily sodium needs (based on the average diet), and about 20-25% daily fat.

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And that is ok! We need sodium to survive. We need fat to survive. We need carbohydrates. We need vitamins and minerals.

Food is nourishment for our bodies, and we should never feel guilty or ashamed of eating something. But we should make the best nutritional choices for our health, and to do so requires knowledge of the nutrient content of foods. We need nutrients, but don’t forget that over-, under-, and mal-nourishment are things too!

With knowledge, we can make  choices to nourish our bodies in the best possible, balanced way. With positivity, we can see the benefits of ALL foods– even Ramen!

Check out this article for how Ramen could be Saving the World.

Now, how do you feel about instant noodles?

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!

How does a Chick-fil-a biscuit contain 15% daily iron?

Check out the nutritional info and ingredients here!

Biscuit. Picture from chick-fil-a.com
Biscuit. Picture from chick-fil-a.com

Educate yourself on the ingredients in foods and you will be able to estimate nutrient content without having to memorize numbers.

Share what you learn with friends, coworkers, family, ..anyone! The more you know about nutrition and nutritional needs, the better you will be able to make decisions for optimal health. And a healthier body means a happier you!

Also remember that rather than looking at foods as “good” or “bad”, choose to look at foods as different vehicles of nutrition. Some foods have more carbohydrates. Some have more fat. Some have lots of sodium. Some have tons of protein. Some have many vitamins. Some have few vitamins. Some foods have carbohydrates AND protein AND fat AND vitamins AND minerals. We need a balance of nutrients, and ALL foods have at least SOMETHING to offer us. That’s right, even soda, and a Chick-fil-a biscuit.

Which brings us back to the topic of this post: How does a Chick-fil-a biscuit contain 15% of daily iron needs? (take this “15%” number with a grain of salt, as it is based on the average diet..not necessarily yours).

Answer: If you look at the ingredient list, you will see “enriched wheat flour“. Enriched flour means there are vitamins and minerals added in. And iron is one of them!

Awesome. Now that we know a little more about biscuits, it is time for the relevant but irrelevant question of the day: What do you like to put on your biscuit? Jelly? Butter? Honey?

 

White or Wheat? The Answer May Surprise You.

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– Does White Bread or Whole Wheat Bread have more Folic Acid (a.k.a vitamin B9)?

– Which has more Riboflavin (aka vitamin B2)?

Niacin (aka vitamin B3)?

Thiamine (aka vitamin B1)?

– Which kind of bread has more Iron?

To find the answers, take a look at some nutritional info from Pepperidge Farm’s bread. Notice anything surprising??

The white bread most often has the same, or more B vitamins and iron than the whole wheat bread! Why is that??

Well, the answer lies in the type of flour used to make the bread. Most white bread in the US is made from enriched flour. In fact, there is mandatory legislation in place in the US to fortify flour with at least folic acid or iron.

Does this mean that white bread is better than whole wheat? No. One type of bread is not inherently better than another. Just like for any food. One cannot justify any food being “better” or “worse” than any other. Everything depends on the individual and the situation.

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Let’s promote nutrition education instead of judgement and health propaganda. The choice to eat or not to eat something is up to YOU. Do your research, understand the nutrition, and then eat.  And move on with life. Food fuels us and should only exist as positive influences in our lives.

Now whether you choose White bread or Whole Wheat bread for your sandwich today, know the nutrients you are getting, and which ones you are not. Enjoy your lunch, and remember this: There are no bad foods! (only bad relationships with food!)

Happy Eating!!

What you didn’t know about Donuts

Donuts. They contain nutrients. Lots of them, in fact.

In honor of National Doughnut Day, Positive Eats is celebrating the nutrition in the torus-shaped, glazed delight. Often categorized as “unhealthy” and “bad”, the donut has earned a terrible rap over its lifetime. But why?? WHY must we label foods?? Are foods not just different vehicles for different amounts of nutrients?

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Let’s break it down–And you will see soon enough that donuts (or doughnuts) are NOT bad for you!! In fact, no foods are bad for you when looking objectively at the nutritional content, and when you understand what amounts of nutrients are necessary for healthy survival.

Check out this recipe for homemade donuts. Positive Eats encourages everyone to learn how to cook. Why? Because once you know that foods come from a combination of simple ingredients, you learn how to estimate nutrient content (and also how to tailor recipes to fit your nutritional needs)!

The classic glazed doughnut is made from a mixture of flour, milk, eggs, sugar, and butter, and then deep-fried in some oil and coated in a sugary glaze. Being majority flour, oil, and sugar, this means that donuts contain a lot of carbohydrates and fat. COOL! We need carbs and fat for survival. Would eating donuts every day for every meal be the best decision for a balanced, healthy diet? We will let you make that choice.

Notice here from Dunkin’ Donuts site, that their glazed donut contains a whopping 6% of your daily iron needs. This is because flour in the United States undergoes mandatory fortification with essential vitamins and minerals–one of them being iron.

Great!

Now go enjoy your day, and share some positive nutrition knowledge!

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Oh, and here are some additional positive notes on donuts, given to you by children. Sometimes they know best. 🙂

 

Burgers: part of a BALANCED diet

If you do an internet image search on “bad foods”, the primary results are those of juicy burgers. This is an issue. Because burgers are NOT bad for you! In fact, no foods are bad for you. Foods provide us with the nourishment we need to live!! Image

Here is a list of why burgers provide LOTS of nutrients:

1) The burger bun: Usually made with enriched or whole wheat flour, this provides us with essential B-vitamins and Iron! And also FIBER! By the way, did you know fiber is part of the carbohydrate macronutrient group?

2) The meat patty: Standard burgers are made from beef, and beef is rich rich rich in IRON and PROTEIN!! There is also plenty of fat. Oh, and ZINC and B-Vitamins! Remember, vitamin B12 is ONLY found in animal food products!

3) The fixings! The more you add on top of your burger, the more nutrition you are adding. Read about the benefits of cheese here. Veggies add plenty of vitamins. Condiments like mayo add more fat (which also helps your body with the absorption of vitamins!)

Remember, learn about nutrition in foods so you can make the choices and find the balance that is best for your life! Our bodies require a certain amount of nutrients for optimal function. While we want to nourish our bodies, we do not want to fall victim to overnutrition or malnutrition or undernutrition. BALANCE is the key to happiness!!

So how about that summer bbq?? 🙂 What toppings to you like on your burger?