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girl_drinkingMost parents today know that sugary soft drinks and diet sodas are unhealthy for kids and should be avoided, but results of a new study from the University of Connecticut tell us moms and dads may be offering up an equally unhealthy alternative: fruit juices, sports drinks, and flavored waters that are still loaded with harmful sugar.

“The labeling and marketing for these products imply that they are nutritious, and these misperceptions may explain why so many parents buy them,” study author Jennifer Harris told USA Today. She may be right on the money, especially since parents are inundated with labels that claim products are “low in calories” or contain “real fruit juice” and “essential nutrients,” suggesting they are a healthy option for kids.

According to the results of the study, 96% of parents surveyed said they had given their children—some as young as two years old—sugary drinks in the past month. The most popular beverages were regular soft drinks and fruit drinks, but sports drinks, sweetened ice tea, and flavored water were not far behind. What’s more, nearly 50% of parents involved in the study said they believed flavored waters were “healthy,” and more than 25% believed the same about fruit drinks and sports drinks.

Study author Marlene Schwartz believes it all comes down to product packaging—and that we need to be stricter about ingredient claims so parents are accurately informed about what their children are really putting in their bodies. At the end of the day, the healthiest choice for kids (and adults!) is fresh, purified water.

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plate_easter_eggsThis month marks the beginning of spring, and what better way to usher in the season than with a few rise-and-shine brunch ideas to fuel your day? These quick and easy recipes are packed with protein, veggies, and healthy fats to help fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied.

Fresh Spinach & Goat Cheese Omelet
Serves 1
Ingredients:
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. coconut oil
2 cups baby spinach, firmly packed
¼ cup diced sweet onion
½ cup frozen artichokes, thawed and roughly chopped
¼ cup goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Heat 1 tsp. coconut oil in a 9-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add spinach and stir, cooking 1 to 2 minutes until slightly wilted. Remove from pan and set aside. Heat remaining 1 tsp. oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and artichokes; sauté 2 minutes until slightly tender. Stir in eggs; let cook 1 minute to set. Gently lift edges to allow remaining liquid egg to cook. Cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until omelet is firm. Flip immediately and spread all but 1 tsp. of goat cheese on top. Reduce heat to low, cover with wilted spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Fold omelet in half and remove from pan. Top with remaining goat cheese and season with salt and pepper before serving.

Savory Turkey Sausage Patties
Serves 3
Ingredients:
1 lb. ground turkey
1 tsp. dried sage
½ tsp. fennel seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
Dash each of freshly ground black pepper, ground cayenne, ground allspice

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Shape mixture into twelve 3-inch patties; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Heat large skillet to medium-high heat. Add patties and cook for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Serve hot.

Very Veggie Egg Patties
Serves 3
Ingredients:
1 large egg
1 zucchini, grated
1 red bell pepper, seeded and grated
½ onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp. coconut oil

Directions: In a medium bowl, whisk egg lightly. Add zucchini, bell pepper, onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat coconut oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Form three patties of the veggie-egg mixture and place in pan. Sauté about 3 minutes on each side (until lightly browned). Serve and enjoy.

Smoked Salmon Salad
Serves 1
Ingredients:
One 4-ounce fillet smoked salmon
1 rib celery, chopped
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. drained capers
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Flake salmon into a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Chill 20 minutes. Serve plain, with lettuce leaf wraps, or with salad greens.

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