3 Meals To Cook With Loved Ones

Did you know cooking makes a great group activity? You can cook alone, a lot of people do, but involving other people can boost the fun of the task itself, and promote bonding between those who are cooking. This might be through the discussion they have while cooking, bonding over failed attempts at cooking, et cetera. So what can you cook with your loved ones? What meals lend themselves really well to this? Let’s look at three of them now:

Pizza

Pizza is amazing to cook as a group. You can do homemade crust if you would like, but premade crusts make this even better. It works well if you cook multiple pizzas, where each person can sit at the table and customize their toppings. Common ones to start with include mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and green pepper. We recommend you ask people what their favourite toppings are so there can be a plethora of choices during the cook.

Tacos or Fajitas

Similar to pizza, tacos and fajitas work well for a group cooking setting since all you really need to do is heat up the shells and/or tortillas. Then it becomes a matter of each individual filling their tacos and fajitas with the toppings and fillings they desire. This normally includes one protein like chicken or ground beef, though it can be just about anything.

Barbeque

When in doubt, have a barbeque! Someone can grill the burgers, hot dogs, et cetera, others can make salads and sides, et cetera. Some of this can be made beforehand at everyone’s own house, but if you want to truly embrace the idea of cooking with loved ones, we recommend doing everything on the day. You have to do this with anything you are actually putting on the grill, so why not include the other parts on the actual day as well?

Why You Should Eat The Rainbow

Occasionally when you read about eating healthy, especially when the topic leans towards eating fruits and vegetables, you will hear the phrase “eat the rainbow.” This is a great practice to follow, but many people may not, at least initially, be aware of what exactly this means. Are you unsure? You have come to the right place!

Eat the rainbow refers to eating a variety of fruits and vegetables in a range of different colours, instead of limiting yourself tow only a couple of different ones. Thus, you might find yourself eating things like carrots, zucchini, strawberries, blueberries, and bananas instead of just strawberries and carrots.

So what exactly do you get out of eating this variety of fruits and vegetables? Why is it important for your body and health? The answer is simple:

Nutrients

The food you eat contains nutrients you need in order to survive. You need nutrients to help your body function! Different food contains different nutrients (both in the specific nutrients as well as the quantity). You might think you can get away with just eating the fruits you enjoy, such as strawberries, raspberries, and cherries, to get the nutrients your body needs. However, the colour of fruits and vegetables actually plays a role in what nutrients they contain. This means that, while you are getting nutrients from red fruit like strawberries, you are missing out on the iron and other nutrients you will find higher quantities of in green vegetables.

Eating one colour of fruits and vegetables is better than not eating any—but you are still missing out on all these other nutrients, which can put your health in a compromised position.

Happiness

Another secondary reason to eat the rainbow is happiness. Studies show eating from a plate bearing food in a variety of colours (e.g. a rainbow of colour) actually increases your happiness, at least while you are eating. Thus, fill your plate with bright reds, oranges, and yellows. Why not throw in some green in there too, to introduce the forest?

 

3 Differences Between Ice Cream And Frozen Yogurt

Cold desserts are incredibly popular, especially when the weather starts getting warmer. You have a lot to choose from, of course, but the two most popular are normally ice cream and frozen yogurt. So how do you choose between the two? Is there a difference? What are the differences? Let’s find out:

Nutritional Content

If you compare regular ice cream to regular frozen yogurt, you will notice that, on average, frozen yogurt has fewer calories and less fat. This can shift if you consider low fat ice cream options, but for the most part you will be consuming less if you eat frozen yogurt. Of course, frozen yogurt tends to have more protein than ice cream—but with that also comes more carbohydrates, on average. It is important to look at the labels of the specific products you buy in order to compare. The best comparison, of course, comes with examining within the same brand of products (especially the same flavours).

Amount Of Air

Yes, the amount of air plays a role in ice cream and frozen yogurt as well. Both of them contain some air, something that is often the result of the churning process. However, the major difference when it comes to ice cream and frozen yogurt is how ice cream has a limit on how much it has to weigh in order to qualify as ice cream. This requirement is 4.5 pounds per gallon. With this comes a limit on the amount of air allowed in the ice cream, since more air makes it lighter. There are no such regulations for frozen yogurt.

Ingredients

A lot of the differences between ice cream and frozen yogurt come down to the specific ingredients they include. The biggest shift between the two in ingredients is cream and cultured milk. Cream is, as you might guess, in ice cream. But frozen yogurt? The main dairy ingredient becomes cultured milk, which helps mimic the idea of regular yogurt, though the freezing process eliminates the bacteria. Of course you  can get the same mix-ins with both desserts, though you are far more likely to find fruit in frozen yogurt than in ice cream. You also tend to find more sugar in frozen yogurt in order to maintain the low fat properties.

3 Reasons Why You Should Never Grocery Shop Hungry

We’ve said it before and we will say it again: the golden rule of grocery shopping is to never, ever grocery shop hungry. It is always a recipe for disaster—often one you won’t see coming even if you make a promise before walking in the doors of the store. So why do we say this? Let’s review a few of the key reasons now:

Overindulging

Indulging in your favourite dessert or other comforting food on occasion is a good thing. You can, however, go over the line and overindulge. Walking into a grocery store with an empty stomach is priming you for buying all kinds of food not so healthy for you. In other words, when you grocery shop hungry you are setting yourself up for overindulging. This can easily ruin your diet or weight loss goals before you know it.

Overspending

Even if you make a list of things you need to buy when you grocery shop, going when you are hungry increases your chances of buying things not on your list—often the junk food, as we mentioned in the previous section. Unfortunately, buying things not on your list, even if you were going to be under budget with that list, opens the possibility of overspending. Stay on budget by eating a snack before you go, lessening the chances of you buying something that looks good simply because you are hungry.

Forgetfulness

Unfortunately, going grocery shopping while you are hungry also sets yourself up for forgetting to buy things you actually need, especially if you do not have a list or do not check it frequently while in the store. Your mind will just be focused on how you are hungry, and will want to steer you towards whatever looks good to eat right now, never mind what you actually need to buy for the week (or however long you happen to be buying for).

3 Reasons Indulging Is Important

Eating healthy food is a big part of your overall wellness. It helps you stay fit, lose (or just manage) weight, and just generally makes you feel good! However, this does not mean you should not eat some more indulgent types of food. In fact, indulging is important to maintaining a healthy diet! Here are three reasons why:

Satisfying A Craving

No one is immune to getting cravings. If you’re lucky these cravings can be for specific, healthy meals, but more often than not they are pointing you towards something a little more indulgent. While you obviously should not go overboard and eat tons of chocolate or something like that, occasionally indulging (in moderation in terms of quantity as well) helps to easily satisfy a craving.

Boost In Your Mood

Enjoying something you truly love, especially with food, is a great way to boost your mood. It really has to do with the endorphins your brain will release when you finally consume the food in question. This is especially the case if you have been craving the food in question for a little while now!

Increases Chances Of Success

Have you started a new diet? Whether it is a temporary change or a permanent one, any significant shifts in your diet can be very hard to maintain. No one is meant to be absolutely perfect with what they eat, regardless of what they tell you or others. Being too strict with yourself, especially if you are just starting a new diet, can be a recipe for disaster. If you are not careful, you will eventually crack and overindulge. But knowing you have a regular time for indulging (just remember to keep it in moderation), makes it far easier to actually stick with your overall diet. Trust us on this!

3 Tips For Effective Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping will always be in our regular routine. You likely started accompanying one of your parents when you were small, since you couldn’t be home alone. But once you leave home? Going to the store and picking out what you want to eat is all your responsibility. Sometimes people find themselves overwhelmed by all the choices, while others just simply have no idea what they should get. Need some help grocery shopping for any reason? Here are key tips to consider:

Use The Flyer

The vast majority of grocery stores will have a weekly flyer showcasing which of their products are on sale. Examining these flyers is the perfect way to not only save money when you shop, but also to generate ideas on what you can make throughout the entire week. If you really want to make this an effective grocery shopping strategy, try looking at more than one flyer when constructing your list and plan of what to eat for the week.

Stick To The List

Speaking of grocery lists, you should always bring your list with your when going to the grocery store and you should always stick to buying what is written on your list. This will help manage your overall funds, while also helping minimize the amount of junk food you buy. If it is not on the list, you are not allowed to buy it! Just be kind to yourself and avoid putting a lot of junk on the list in the first place.

Never Go Hungry

The golden rule of grocery shopping? Never go hungry. When you step inside a grocery store with an empty stomach, you will be far more likely to overindulge in junk food like chips, chocolate, pop, and literally anything that looks appealing. If you need to go to the store but you do feel some hunger pangs, eat a small snack (at least) before you head out. You will thank  yourself later.

3 Sources For New Recipes

Need to think of new things to cook for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert? Tired of the same old recipe night after night? Finding good new recipes can certainly be a challenge, especially if you really are not sure where you can look. With that in mind, here are three popular sources for new recipes, as well as what you can expect or should keep in mind when searching each of them:

Family and Friends

Your loved ones are the perfect source for quality recipes. Is there a dish your Mom or Dad made all the time growing up, but you don’t actually have yourself? Ask them for it! Does your friend make a mean macaroni and cheese? Why not ask if you can have that as well! This is a great way to pick up recipes you know are good. Recipes from any other source have a risk of not turning out quite well, even if the risk is small.

Traditional Cookbooks

There is a plethora of traditional cookbooks out there. The recipes they contain are just about endless. There are cookbooks exclusively for desserts, for vegetarians, for clean eating, et cetera. All you need to do is decide what type of thing you want to cook and there should be a cookbook not far behind! The risk with this, however, and especially if you are going through dietary changes, is the quality of the recipes and whether or not you will actually like them. To help minimize the risk, look at the reviews of the cookbooks you are considering before you actually buy them. This should help give you a picture of the general consensus about the quality of the recipes in the book.

Online Sources

Of course, you can easily search online for new recipes to try. However, one of the catches to doing this is you need to have a rough idea of what you want to cook. For instance, do you want to try vegetarian meals? Do you have a lot of a particular ingredient you want to get rid of? Use these as keywords to help in your search. Google is great, but Pinterest is excellent for easily finding recipes.

3 Pitfalls of Gluten Free Eating

Want to try eliminating gluten from your diet? Whether it is because you suffer from celiac disease and medically need to cut it out, or are simply trying a new diet for weight loss or other health reasons, you need to consider potential pitfalls. Gluten free eating is not nearly as simple as eating a diet without restrictions. Here are key things to watch out for:

Highly Processed Alternatives

There are gluten free alternatives to most of the common products we are used to eating, like pasta, granola bars, and cereal. However, relying on these alternatives is not a healthy option and can actually cause a lot of other problems for you, including weight gain. Why? In order to replicate these products without gluten, they have to use thickening agents, sugar, and oil (that often goes rancid during the production process of this food). All of these will quickly add more sugar to your body.

Uncomfortable Transition

When you decide to start eating without gluten in your diet, you will experience a transition period, which is often characterized by feelings of withdrawal from the products you’ve come to love. This is, unfortunately, unavoidable if you really want or need to practice gluten free eating. There is no set time for this uncomfortable transition period, unfortunately. It is just something you have to work through!

Malnourishment

Unfortunately, you can actually experience malnutrition when you are trying out gluten free eating. You need to pay a lot of attention to your diet to ensure you are actually getting the vitamins and other nutrients you need for your body to function well. This is difficult because gluten free alternatives do not always have what you need (most of the time they don’t), and even some supplements can have gluten in them as well, so you still have to be careful if you need help from that angle. The only sure fire way to avoid this particular pitfall if you insist on still practicing gluten free eating is to consult a professional (e.g. a registered dietician) and to pay extra attention to your diet in the aftermath.

 

3 Benefits Of A Slow Cooker

Do you own a slow cooker? If not, you should invest in one! They are amazing when it comes to cooking your meals for you. They are great additions whether you are only cooking for yourself or for a large family. Here are three significant benefits of using a slow cooker:

Save On Time

Do you lead a busy life? A slow cooker can help with that. Many of the recipes you would make in this appliance just require you to do some simple food prep (e.g. chopping vegetables) before dumping all the ingredients into the slow cooker and just letting it cook for you throughout the course of the day. You can then run errands outside the home, go to work, do chores like laundry, or even relax with a nap! No need to be standing at the stove and slaving away.

Cooking For A Crowd

Need to feed a lot of people? Aside from ordering food, your best course of action to easily feed a crowd is to plug in your slow cooker and let it do its magic. You can buy a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker, which is enough to make food for quite a large group in a single pot. You can easily feed an average family with food to spare with one pot!

Year Round Cooking Benefits

Slow cookers provide benefits to cooking throughout the entire year, aside from what we have already discussed. In the summer, cooking meals in your slow cooker helps minimize the number of times you have to heat up your kitchen. In the winter, what could be nicer than coming home to a nice, hot, cozy bowl of something like soup or chili? Not very much when the cold is threatening to make your fingers fall off!

3 Benefits Of Organic Food

When you’re in the grocery store, you might see some produce and other food marked as “organic.” They are marketed as being better for you, but what do you actually get out of consuming organic products? How will your body improve? Your health? Let’s examine three significant (and some hidden) benefits of consuming organic produce now:

Improved Taste

Yes, you can actually have an improved taste with organic produce. Sure, if you are fond of junk food and other processed products, you might initially crave them. However, once you get into the routine of eating organic products your body will eventually crave them instead! There’s no chemical aftertaste with organic products—you might not be able to taste this at the moment, but you will be able to tell the difference once you make the switch.

Lower Cost

This one isn’t a joke! You can actually save money by consuming organic products. How, you might ask, since most organic food is marked up a little higher? It comes in the future, when you have fewer medical expenses and the like, since you are taking better care of your body and giving it more of what it needs when you eat the organic food regularly.

Boost In Nutrients

In most cases of organic food, you will be consuming more nutrients on average. Most organic products have a far denser nutritional value than their nonorganic equivalents. You could be eating the same number of apples, the same amount of lettuce, et cetera, and be getting more out of it. This is part of the reason why you tend to have fewer health issues (along with the lack of chemicals), which connects with the previously discussed benefit of a lower cost associated with organic food when you consider the long term.