Global Donuts Day!

Om nom nom nom!

Global Donuts Day is here with Dunkin Donuts!

Get a free donut when you purchase any Dunkin beverage all day today, June the 6th 2014!

Thank you Dunkin Donuts for the delicious treats :)

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Candy Land!?

A guest post by Virginia Cunningham. A freelance writer from Los Angeles whose writing covers everything on health and fitness, travel and dining and marketing and social media.

Everyone loves candy, but not everyone can (or should) satisfy their sweet tooth every time they crave a little sugar. Too much artificial ingredients and flavoring means that most candies aren’t meant to be more than an occasional snack. However, by making candy yourself you can ensure that you know what you’re eating, and you get the satisfaction of knowing you made this candy yourself–you’ve earned it! Whether you eat it all in one go or store it in a candy container for a rainy day, homemade candy is well worth the effort. Check out these 8 great recipes, perfect for any season!

See any you like, or have any great candy recipes of your own? Share them in the comments!

Best Foods For Active Brain Health

Today we’ll have a guest post on the best foods for active brain health.

About the guest blogger:

Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer from Los Angeles whose writing covers everything on health and fitness, travel and dining and marketing and social media. To keep her mind active throughout the day, she drinks coffee every morning.

Hope you’ll enjoy it :)

Just as eating the right foods can protect your body from disease and improve its ability to function, eating well can also help to protect and enhance your mind. Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are all necessary to keep your brain working at an optimal level, while helping prevent certain debilitating illnesses and boosting performance.

Maintaining a healthy diet is an excellent way to get these necessary elements. Many of the nutrients needed to keep your body healthy are the same that constitute a “brain-healthy diet”, as defined by The Alzheimer’s Association: “one that reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, encourages good blood flow to the brain, and is low in fat and cholesterol.”

Here are a few of the best foods that will help keep your brain healthy:

1) Avocados: This fatty fruit contributes to healthy blood flow, which in turn, means a healthy brain. Avocados also lower blood pressure, which can protect against hypertension—a condition which can lead to a decline in cognitive abilities.

2) Apples: Eating an apple a day can help keep the doctor away…from your brain! The quercetin (a phytonutrient) found in apples protects the brain from deterioration due to oxidative stress, which can lead Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

3) Eggs: The “perfect protein,” eggs provide steady energy to fuel the body and brain. They are also are high in choline—a necessary component in the production of brain cells specializing in memory.

4) Whole grains: Folate found in whole grains plays a great part in the development of brain cells. Enriched whole grain products not only provide this much-needed nutrient, but also are an excellent source of fiber—for energy regulation—and other B vitamins, which help enhance alertness.

5) Blueberries and strawberries: The antioxidants found in these sweet and tart berries are associated with improved motor skills and memory. Some research also suggests that a diet high in antioxidants can also inhibit the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

6) Salmon or other fatty fish: Research has shown that people who regularly consume fish have a better memory than people who do not eat fish. In addition to the protein for energy, fatty fish are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids—which are linked with an improved ability to learn, and provides protection from Alzheimer’s disease.

Of all the fatty fishes, salmon is the number one source of DHA, the predominant omega-3 fat in your brain, which can help protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Salmon is also nature’s top source of vitamin D (a deficiency in vitamin D is linked to cognitive decline amongst older persons).

7) Coffee: A recent Finnish study found that people who drank three to five cups of coffee a day reduced their chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 65-percent (compared to individuals who drank only two to three cups a day).

The antioxidants found in coffee are believed to provide these protective effects. And the caffeine—a natural stimulant—found in coffee helps enhance focus and concentration, and can stimulate the production of endorphins, which can improve mood.

8 ) Dark chocolate: Like coffee, dark chocolate is packed full of antioxidant properties and contains a small amount of caffeine. Additionally, the polyphenols found in cocoa is considered to help increase blood flow to the brain.

A Journal of Nutrition study in 2009 found that eating dark chocolate (the type that has the highest levels of polyphenols and antioxidants) each day helps protect against age-related memory loss—a third of an ounce was all the subjects needed to eat in order to see the benefits.

These eight foods will help you protect your brain from disease and deterioration while also boosting performance. The best “brain foods” not only help to improve focus and memory, but also provide energy for busy days. Try to incorporate some of these foods into your daily meals, and eat them frequently to see the biggest benefits.

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s day to all the fathers in the world!

Have a blast :)

Check The Complete Cupcake for more Father’s Day Treats the picture used in this blog post is taken from there.

A Collaborative Post: Back-to-school “Importance of Breakfast and Snacks”

Today we’ll be having a collaborative post with Christele Daccache, a nutritionist, yoga instructor and blogger at Health ‘n’ Horizons; on the importance of breakfast and snacks for school aged children and young adults. Christele offers at-home nutrition counseling for families in Jeddah, KSA where she helps them adopt a healthier lifestyle through a complete nutrition management program that suits their specific needs with kitchen makeovers, guided grocery shopping tours, and more. If you haven’t checked Christele’s awesome blog already, I invite you to. I am sure you will enjoy her writings and advice as much as I do!


Part 1: The Importance of Breakfast

Why is Breakfast Important?

Breakfast is one of the most important meals especially for school aged individuals (children and teens). As the term “BreakFast” shows that during breakfast we “BREAK” the “FAST”. Meaning, disturbing the sleeping night fast in the morning with a balanced diet, and that is essential for a healthy body.
Studies have shown that breakfast has an important effect on behavior, learning and overall school performance. On the other hand, it may help control weight and reduce the risk of weight related diseases, because when the child eats breakfast he/she will not feel hungry earlier during the day and more kely to eat less fat foods during breaks.

On the other hand, children who do not eat breakfast are often bad-tempered, impatient with bad attitudes toward school with less energy during the day. That in turn affects the child’s concentration and school performance ability.

As a conclusion, it’s very important to make breakfast a repetitive continuous behavior for ourselves and our children.

Now you might say: But we have a hectic lifestyle and no time to make breakfast for ourselves even. We say, nowadays we all have a hectic lifestyle; thus why not prepare the basic ingredients beforehand to make the “on the go” process fast, healthy and easy.

A balanced breakfast contains a source of carbohydrate, protein and fats along with vegetables and fruits.

To make it easier for you, we will share with some simple breakfast recipe ideas.

Breakfast Recipe Ideas

– Labneh Sandwich with a Banana
– Light Cheese Sandwich with an Apple
– Zaatar and Labneh Sandwich with Vegetables
– Broccoli Mini Omelets or any type of vegetable omelet (made in the shape of a muffin)
– Milk, Cereals and mixed nuts (that’s for the weekends)
Stress-free overnight oats recipe

Part 2: The Importance of Snacks

Snacks can be nutritional disasters if children are having sugary drinks, chips and all-they-can-eat candy, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Good planning and some tricks can help you make sure your kid is snacking the right way.

Why do kids need snacks?

– Children have small stomachs; they need snacks to keep them going to the next meal – a midmorning snack to keep them focused at school and going till lunch and an afternoon snack to make them go to dinner. However, if the next meal is just within two hours, you wouldn’t want to offer a snack so as not to ruin your child’s appetite.
– Snacks make it easier for children to get all the nutrients they need.

How can you help your kid have the right snack?

Snacking is not equivalent to grazing. You don’t want your children to be eating every hour and they should not be allowed to have snacks in front of the TV or computer screen. They will be more likely to override their satiety signals and gain weight. Plus, you don’t want your children to consume extra calories they are not burning off with physical activity.
– Sit down with your child every week or every month and decide on what snacks to have. They will appreciate being treated as adults and will be more likely to go for nutritious and healthy snacks that they have come up with.
– If your child likes chocolate, include it in the plan occasionally just don’t make the mistake of calling it a treat. You don’t want your child to think there is something special about it.
– Midmorning snacks should be simple and appealing enough to compete with cafeteria junk or whatever other kids are having.
– Afternoon snacks can be a bit experimental. Since they are mostly offered at home, a new fruit or vegetable can be introduced.
– Cutting up fruits and vegetables into fun shapes works well with smaller kids.

What are some good snack ideas?

A snack should be nutrient dense; easy to eat, and low in salt, sugar and fat. You want to steer clear of prepackaged snacks that contain trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, additives and preservatives.

– Fruits are obvious snack foods. They can be served alone or paired with a source of protein: an apple or a banana with a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter, grapes or watermelon with feta or two slices of halloumi cheese.
– Make your own fruit yogurt without the additives by mixing half a cup of yogurt with slices of peaches, plums or strawberries…
– A handful of dried fruits (apricots, prunes…), nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios) and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower).
– Veggie sticks including carrots, cucumbers, peppers … to dip in labneh, yogurt or hummus.
– Homemade baked vegetable “chips”. Forget store brought potato chips. Experiment with zucchini, sweet potato and squash. Cut them into thin circles, toss in a teaspoon of canola oil, add your favorite herbs or spices and bake in hot oven until crispy.
– A small bowl of plain popcorn.
– Half a small bagel or pita bread topped with a slice of turkey, low-fat cream cheese, or low-sugar jam.
– The occasional snacks (once a week): a small chocolate biscuit bar, a snack-sized chocolate bar, or two biscuits or cookies, or a small muffin (homemade is better like this Banana Oat Cake with chocolate or check the ingredient list for the most natural ingredients and serving size).

We hope you enjoyed it! If you have any questions regarding the topic don’t hesitate to connect with us :)

Photo Source:

http://fisd-reads.blogspot.com/2012/09/welcome-back-to-school.html
http://blogs.faithlafayette.org/community/back-to-school-lunch-boxes/

Additional References

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/healthy-snacks-for-kids
http://www.nfsmi.org/documentlibraryfiles/PDF/20100916044310.pdf
http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/07/31/85-snacks-for-kids-and-adults/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dina-r-rose/french-parenting-advice-_b_1499249.html
http://www.supernanny.co.uk/Advice/-/Food-and-Nutrition/-/4-to-13-years/Healthy-snacks-for-kids.aspx
http://www.lowcarb.ca/articles/article122.html
http://recipes.slides.kaboose.com/307-10-back-to-school-breakfasts/7
http://www.lowcarb.ca/articles/article122.html
http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442460400#.UHReBxV3bG8
http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=resources/lifestyle_community&id=8333184
http://www.colehealth.com/blog/back-to-school-basics-tips-for-a-successful-school-year/
http://ateacheratheart.blogspot.com/2011/08/back-to-school-breakfast-ideas.html
http://chefmom.sheknows.com/articles/822467/the-best-kid-friendly-breakfast-recipes/page:2

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