Nutritious Dessert

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Credit to Kim Siciliano from Flickr.com. License terms of Photo.

At the end of a long day, many people look for something sweet, such as ice cream, cookies, chocolate, cupcakes, or brownies. It’s hard to resist something like that and sometimes is nice to reward yourself every once in a while. However, what about all of the other nights when we want something sweet? How do we satisfy our sweet tooth without getting into desserts that are high in added sugar?

There are some nutritious desserts that you can do to satisfy that sweet tooth at night and I am going to give you an example of a very simple one.

Banana & Peanut Butter Chocolate-Dipped Bites 

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter or other nut butter
  • 10 oz. cooking dark chocolate

Directions:

  • Slice bananas about 1/2 inch thick and place on parchment paper on a tray
  • Spread peanut butter on half of banana slices
  • Melt chocolate in microwave for about 30 seconds or in a pot on the stove
  • Put other half of slices on top of the ones with peanut butter and freeze for ~1 hour
  • Dip frozen banana peanut butter bites into dark chocolate
  • Put bites back in freezer on tray and leave in there for ~2-3 hours

This is a great snack to have at night! The peanut butter provides you with a small amount of healthy fats keeping you full, bananas provide potassium, and the dark chocolate gives you antioxidants plus the chocolate flavor you crave.

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Go Nuts!

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Credit to Susan from Flickr.com. Photo has been modified; license for photo

Processed vs. Natural

Peanut butter and other nut butters are great to have in your diet! They’re high in good fats, which will keep you full longer, and can be a great snack paired with multiple foods. However, a certain type of nut butter is better than others and that would be the natural ones.

Yes, natural nut butters are considered processed since they are not in their original forms of the actual nut itself. However, unlike popular brands, they only consist of 1-2 ingredients total! As I had discussed in my past blog post about the nutrition facts label, you want to try and find products that have 5 or less ingredients because that means there’s not a ton of chemicals and other bad things in those foods.

To show the difference, here is a comparison of the nutrition fact labels between Jiff creamy peanut butter and Teddy’s peanut butter:

Jiff Creamy Peanut Butter                                                  Teddie’s Natural Smooth Peanut Butter

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As you can see from the natural peanut butter there are only 2 ingredients, while with the processed one has added sugar from the molasses and also hydrogenated vegetable oils, which is a form of trans fat. There are also nutrients in the natural peanut butter that are lower than in the processed one, such as saturated fat, sodium, total carbohydrates, and sugar.

Credit for Nutrition Fact Labels:

Sugar, Sugar, and More Sugar

How much added sugar should we really be having?

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Credit of Photo to Gunilla G from Flickr.com. License Terms of Photo.

Today instead of talking about my blog, I want to show recognition of someone else’s blog that is really interesting and great to learn about. Charlene Pena, the blogger for Under25Sugar, discusses how according to the World Health Organization that we are only supposed to be consuming 25 grams of added sugar per day. As she points out in one of her blog posts, “Oh My Sugar, It’s Everywhere!,” that equals 6 teaspoons! In our country, we tend to go over that limit more than we know with the temptations of empty-calorie foods, take-out, sweets, and restaurants. If you’re looking for a way to either lower the amount of added sugar you consume or go completely cold turkey on added sugar, check out her blog through the link below!

Under25Sugar Blog Link:

https://under25sugar.wordpress.com 

Why Smoothies?

Hey everyone! Hope you enjoyed my video and may be interested in trying out smoothies! As I said in the video, I am giving you all a smoothie recipe of mine in this blog post. Enjoy!

Berry, Banana, & Avocado Smoothie

  • 1/2 an avocado, sliced
  • 5-7 large strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 c blueberries
  • 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 c almond milk (or other milks that you prefer)
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1-2 handfuls of kale
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)
  • Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

* Feel free to add more of an ingredient for a preferred flavor.

Snacks On-The-Go For College Students

Credit to: Migle from Flickr.com for “Peanut Butter and Banana Granola Bars” Photo. License Link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Transcript of Podcast

“Hey everyone! I’m Megan Antoniazzi, the blogger for Quality Not Quantity. Today I’m going to talk to you all about snacks on-the-go for college students. When you’re in college, it seems that you’re always “on the go” with your crazy schedules and many times you need to grab a quick snack to satisfy your hunger. Nutritional bars, which are also known as energy bars, happen to be one of the most common snacks picked because even though it’s quick and prepackaged, it can be good for you.

However, how do you know which ones are good and which ones are not?

One of the things that I myself do when trying to choose a good nutritious bar, I look at the nutrition facts label. Now I know sometimes you may just pick up a snack and go, but take a few minutes to look at the label and you might be surprised with what you find. This is a useful way to determine whether an energy bar is good or bad by looking at nutrients, such as fats, sugar, protein, and also the ingredients section.

For instance, if you look at the sugar, which shows the amount for added sugars in a product, it’s great if it is 5g or lower. But if it’s more than 10g then it may not be the best option. According to the World Health Organization, you’re recommended to have 25g or less of added sugar daily!

Now when it comes to fats, DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEM! Fats are necessary to have in our diet and can help us feel satisfied longer; it’s just the matter of which ones are good and which ones are bad. You want to try to limit saturated fats as much as possible because they are known as the “bad fat.” According to the American Heart Association, people who consume a 2000-calorie diet should be limited to 13g of saturated fat max/day. This amount is even lower for those who don’t consume this much daily. The good fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, which you want more of.

You also want to get some protein from an energy bar, but at the same time it depends on the source of the protein. What I mean by that is to look at the ingredients section and if you, for instance, see that it mostly comes from soy, then it may not be the best option. However, if it’s something like grass-fed whey, then that’s great!

The ingredients section is very important because at times it can either make or break the quality of a product. Something that you may not know is that the first 3 ingredients listed in that section are what mostly make up a product. Also when it comes to the ingredient section, the saying “less is more” definitely comes into play. Especially if there are ingredients that you can’t even pronounce, then you might want to look for a different option.

In relation to this topic I actually found an article a while back on Pinterest comparing 10 different nutritional bars to each other; 5 being good and 5 being bad. I’m only going to name 1 of each, but to learn about the rest of the bars from this article, you can click on the link in the transcript of this podcast posted below: https://www.skinnymom.com/the-nutrition-bars-causing-you-to-gain-weight/. Since I’m conveniently in my kitchen I actually have 2 of the bars right here to look at the label and compare it to what it says in the article. The first one is the KIND bar, which is known as a better choice. It only has 5g of sugar and for the most part is made of natural ingredients. It also only has 3g from saturated fats and mostly contains the good fats. The other bar I have here, a Clif bar, is one of the bad ones listed on the article. Immediately I can see why this is on the bad side because it loaded with sugar! You can even see it in the ingredients section where the first few ingredients are organic brown rice syrup, soy protein isolate, and organic cane syrup. The syrups being within the first three ingredients indicates that this product is mostly made up of added sugars.

The last tip I have for this topic is if you have time during the weekend or sometime during the week, you can always make your own homemade energy bars! Depending on what recipe you use, you can either freeze them or bake. A recipe I use, which once again I found on Pinterest (swear I have a Pinterest problem) is very easy and quick to make. The link for the recipe itself you can find in the transcript posted below: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-easy-3-ingredient-energy-bars-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-184306#. This recipe actually reminds me of a Larabar because it has very simple ingredients and you only need 3 ingredients to make it. They can last a long time and you also get a good amount of them where 1 batch can be 1-2 weeks worth of nutritional bars.

So the main points that I hope you all take away from this is (1) picking a prepackaged snack for on the go is not a bad thing; life gets busy and chaotic at times, (2) use the nutrition facts label as a tool to know which prepackaged snacks are better than others, and (3) if possible, try making your own homemade version.

After listening to this podcast on snacks on the go for college students, I hope you learned something new and it was helpful. I’m Megan Antoniazzi, the blogger for Quality Not Quantity, and thank you for listening!”

 

Simple Food Swaps

 

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A simple and easy way of making better choices is by making small changes. This infographic that I created can give you some ideas/examples as to how you can swap out foods for others that have more nutritional value. For instance, in the first example the two food items seem somewhat similar to each other, but the oatmeal is a better option than the cereal. Why? Because oatmeal provides a good source of fiber and is much lower in sugar than cereal.

The last example compares butter to peanut butter. They are both high in fat, so what’s the difference? With butter, the type of fat that it is high in would be saturated fat, which is known as a “bad fat;” you want to limit saturated fat as much as possible. Peanut butter is high in fat as well, however, it’s a “good fat” and is nutritionally better for you. However, you still want make sure you don’t eat too much of it because sometimes too much of something isn’t good. At the end of the day by making these small swap outs for other options, you’ll be rewarded with great benefits!

 

The Secrets Behind the Nutrition Facts Label

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Source of Photo: SU Professional and Technical Writing’s photostream; license for photo

Nutrition fact labels are not easy to understand or read. In this blog post, I’m going to take you through each section so that you’ll know what you’re reading the next time you go to the grocery store.

Serving Size

The serving size tells you how many servings a food item contains, and also how much is equal to one serving for all of the nutrients.

Calories

Calories fuel our bodies and the amount you need is different for everyone. Also, calories differ when comparing two food items, such as shown in this example.

Calories from Fat

This part of the calories section means how many of the calories in one serving come from fat, which is also important to look at.

Total Fat, Saturated Fat, Trans Fat, Cholesterol, & Sodium

You want to limit these nutrients. However, some fats are better than others, such as these:

  • monounsaturated fats
  • polyunsaturated fats

But then there are bad fats that you want to limit:

  • saturated fat
  • trans fat

With sodium, 2400 mg is the maximum amount per day, and 1500 mg for the elderly. Lastly, the Dietary Guidelines recommend to have 300 mg  of cholesterol/day.

Daily Value%

The Daily Value%, “…show[s] how much of a given nutrient there is in one serving in relation to how much you need for the entire day.” ( We Are Teachers site) Here’s how to read this section:

  • 5% or less = low
  • 20% or more = high

Sugar

This section accounts for added sugars, and it’s been recommended to only have 25 g per day (6 tsp). One easy way of finding sugar is looking for words ending in “-ose,”such as fructose in the ingredients or these:

  • syrups
  • juice concentrates
  • sweeteners

Protein

Here is the calculation formula to knowing how much protein you need per day:

0.8 – 1 g ÷ kg of body weight (pounds/2.2 = kg)

Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins and minerals you want to have plenty of and are essential for the health of your skin, hair, teeth, muscles, eyes, bones, and so much more!

Footnote Guidelines

The footnote at the bottom of the label gives suggestions for 2000 or 2500-calorie diets. This guideline is not for everyone since each individual has different needs.

Ingredients

The first few ingredients listed determine what a product is mostly made of. Also, 5 or fewer ingredients in a product may give you a better option. (heart.org)

Credit to these sources used as a reference for this post: