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  • The Best Yogurts For Your Health: Greek or Regular? The Best Yogurts For Your Health: Greek or Regular? Jayne Hurley | 02/12/2016 With so many options, how can you know which yogurts are the best yogurts? AdobeStock_99258772_400

    The yogurt aisle isn’t what it used to be. In the last few years, greek yogurt has taken over a sizeable chunk of the refrigerator case, leaving non-greeks to compete for the remaining real estate.

    Meanwhile, both greek and non-greek yogurts are branching out. Fat-free? Cream on top? You got ‘em. Fruit purée or fruit mousse? Yep. Lactose-free or no dairy at all? Got you covered. With so many options, how can you know which yogurts are the best yogurts?

    What is yogurt?
    Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are two of the strains of bacteria that companies add to milk to make yogurt. Many brands also add other bacteria.

    You can tell if the bacteria are alive if the label says something like “live cultures” or “active cultures.” It may or may not carry the National Yogurt Association’s “Live & Active Cultures” seal, which requires a yearly fee. Live cultures decline over time, so the sooner you eat your yogurt, the more live cultures you’ll get.

    So far, the only clear benefit of yogurt cultures is their ability to change milk’s naturally occurring sugar (lactose) into lactic acid. So people with lactose intolerance should have less diarrhea, gas, or other symptoms when they eat yogurt.

    Does yogurt help restore beneficial bacteria to the gut after a course of antibiotics or help treat yeast infections? No good studies have looked.

    Which are the best yogurts?
    The best yogurts should be a good source of protein and calcium without loading you down with saturated fat, added sugars, or possibly unsafe sweeteners.

    Should you look for added vitamin D?
    If you need D from yogurt to help you reach your daily target – 600 IU for adults up to age 70 and 800 IU for people over 70 – check the label. Vitamin D is listed as a percent of the Daily Value (400 IU). So a yogurt with 20% of the DV, for example, has 80 IU.

    What is Greek yogurt?
    Greek yogurts are made by straining ordinary yogurt. The straining removes some of the liquid whey and leaves more concentrated solids behind. That makes Greek yogurt thick and rich – even if they’re fat-free – and higher in protein (about 17 grams for a 6 oz. fat-free plain) than non-Greek yogurts (about 8 grams).

    The only downside: by straining out calcium-rich whey, the Greek yogurts end up with less calcium (about 15 to 20 percent of a day’s worth) than the non-Greek yogurts (25 to 30 percent).

    One note about sugars in yogurt: Companies don’t have to disclose on their Nutrition Facts labels how many grams of sugar they’ve added and how many are naturally occurring in their milk or fruit ingredients. So we recommend reading the labels carefully.

    Our recommendations (??) are plain unsweetened yogurts. We’ve listed the criteria—maximums for calories and saturated fat and minimums for protein and calcium—at the beginning of each section. We disqualified products with artificial sweeteners. Within each section, yogurts are ranked from least to most calories, then least to most saturated fat, most to least protein, and most to least calcium.

    Best-Bites-Yogurt-Chart

    And one last caveat regarding the best yogurts: Some items with yogurt included as an ingredient may not contain all that much in the way of actual yogurt. For instance, Post Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch has very little Greek yogurt in it.

  • How to Turn your Child into a Healthy Eater How to Turn your Child into a Healthy Eater Brie Holmes | 12/08/2015 With a little work, it's possible to get even the pickiest eaters to enjoy their fruits and vegetables. AdobeStock_97167121_350

    As parents, we want to do everything possible to make our children happy. When it comes to health, it isn’t always easy–kids are notorious for being picky eaters. If left up to them, many children would stick to just three food groups: desserts, goldfish, and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets! Alas. These narrow tastes can leave us frustrated and desperate for quick solutions. “You’re not leaving the table until you finish your broccoli,” quickly turns into, “fine, you can have extra dessert if you eat your peas without throwing a tantrum!” They say to pick your battles, right?

    Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Health is a value that is inherently transferred from parent to child. From a young age, our children differentiate between “good” and “bad” foods based on what we teach them. If they are rewarded with unhealthy foods, they will continue to eat and enjoy these foods regularly as they grow. It’s up to us to instill healthy values in our children.

    But how?! Fortunately, with a little work, it’s possible to get even the pickiest eaters to enjoy their fruits and vegetables. Here are some tips:

    1. Start a dialogue. When your child asks, “Why do I have to eat my (insert green vegetable here)?!” It’s tempting to respond with, “because I said so.” Instead, explain why that food is a good choice for your child and how it will help him or her grow big and strong. Talking about health is the key to starting a healthy lifestyle. Take your child grocery shopping with you and let them help decide which healthy foods they’d like to try. When you get home, invite your child into the kitchen with you to help cook a meal. Make it fun! Children will be more open to trying something that they helped cook.
    2. Don’t reward bad behavior. Make the same meals for everyone at your table. Don’t make a separate meal for your child because he or she doesn’t like what you’re already cooking. Instead, introduce “scary” foods slowly and incorporate them into dishes that your child already likes. Making a separate meal teaches a child that it isn’t important for him or her to try a new food because there will always be a backup.
    3. Offer Choices. Instead of telling your child what you’ll be preparing for dinner, give them a choice between two healthy options. Say, “do you want carrots or green beans?” instead of “we’re having green beans at dinner.” If children choose which healthy food they’d rather eat, it makes them more inclined to actually eat it. In addition, if your child is hungry (even between meals), offer healthy snack options instead of encouraging him or her to wait for dinner or preparing an unhealthy snack.
    4. Lead by example. Believe it or not, your food choices shape what your child craves. If you expect the rest of the family to eat salad for dinner while you eat pizza, your child will notice! Developing your own healthy habits is beneficial for everyone. In addition, emphasize health rather than dieting or weight loss. Teach your children the importance of long-term, sustainable healthy lifestyles.
  • Six Tips for a Healthier Halloween Six Tips for a Healthier Halloween Hannah Walters | 10/29/2015 Though fun, Halloween is a notoriously sugary holiday. Here are 6 tips to keep you and yours healthy this fall! Focus on...

    Though fun, Halloween is a notoriously sugary holiday. Here are 6 tips to keep you and yours healthy this fall!

    1. Focus on family fun activities rather than sugary treats. You can go pumpkin or apple picking, navigate corn mazes, carve pumpkins, make crafts and decorations, and so much more!
    2. Sneak in an extra serving of vegetables by adding pumpkin puree to your favorite foods! Pumpkin is packed with Vitamin A, fiber, and potassium, and tastes great in oatmeal, muffins, nut butters, soups, and many other dishes.
    3. Get creative with Halloween-themed fruits and vegetables. With a bit of work and imagination, apples can transform into creepy mummies, clementines can become cute pumpkins, and carrots can turn into witchs€€ fingers! (Check these Pinterest accounts for ideas: ESMMSC, CSPI, ACDKids, MomsRising)
    4. Skip the fried, sweetened treats at festivals or markets and take advantage of fall harvests! Apples, grapes, and sweet potatoes are all in season. Nature is sweet, too!
    5. Make sure your family eats a healthy meal before heading out to trick-or-treat! This can help discourage excessive snacking. Also, keep any leftover Halloween candy stored out of sight (and out of mind!).
    6. Instead of passing out candy on Halloween, try giving out dried fruit, fruit strips, gum, stickers, bubbles, small toys, rings, etc.
  • What's in Season? What's in Season? 09/22/2015 Navigating your local grocery store or farmers market is easy when you know what's in season.

    Navigating your local grocery store or farmers market is easy when you know what's in season. Here's a chart from the South Carolina Department of Agriculture to show you which fresh produce to buy from your local farmers in October (and every season). Time to look up recipes for apples, squash, grapes, sweet potatoes and more!

    SCProduceCalendar

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