Health Benefits of Overnight Oats

If you often experience busy mornings, overnight oats for breakfast is one of the most popular answers. You can easily prep them the night before and leave the oats in your refrigerator overnight. Their name is clear: they “cook” overnight in your fridge and are ready for you to pull out in the morning for your breakfast. But beyond their convenience for busy mornings, what do you actually get out of consuming overnight oats? In fact, there are quite a few health benefits of overnight oats. Here is a quick selection of three:

Prolonged Energy and Fullness

Raw oats are quite an effective resistant starch, which means you digest them quite slowly, during which time you will release digestive acids we know suppress appetite and boost how fast you burn calories. Consuming overnight oats in the morning, made from raw oats the night before, makes sure you have a filling breakfast, reducing the chances of overeating later in the day. In addition, their fullness packs a punch and ensures you have a good store of energy to use throughout the day without a significant crash, like you might experience with a sugary cereal.

Nutritious and Delicious

Oats are packed with nutrients, but so too are the delicious mix ins you will often find in recipes for overnights, such as the array of fruits and nuts! These nutrients make for a good, balanced breakfast. The benefit of the mix-ins to your overnight oats? Make your breakfast delicious at the very same time you are helping out your health!

Increased Heart Health

If you prepare your overnight oats in the traditional manner, which includes lemon juice, you can add vitamin C to your oats ability to reduce your overall cholesterol levels through beta-glucan. Working together, and if you eat one bowl of overnight oats each day, you are just about doubling your heart’s overall health. Great, right? Grab a bowl and go!

3 On-The-Go Breakfast Ideas

The vast majority of the population will have a string of busy mornings sometime during their lives, if not busy mornings just about every day of their lives. Regardless of how busy it gets, you should always take time to eat breakfast in the morning. It gives you your first burst of fuel for the day! In addition, skipping breakfast increases your potential for overeating later in the day. So how can you eat breakfast even when you are in a time crunch? Take breakfast on the go, of course! Here are three excellent on-the-go breakfast ideas to help get you through your busy mornings.

Smoothies

A smoothie for breakfast is a perfect choice for those busy mornings, especially if you are not a big fan of breakfast. You can even make your smoothie the night before if you will really be in rush! You have your choice, but a great nutritious smoothie would include your choice of fruit, a sliced avocado, some milk, and an add-in like flaxseed, chia seeds, or spinach. Once you blend your smoothie you are good to go for the morning. If you are making it the night before, make sure you store it in a covered container/cup in the fridge, so the smoothie remains fresh when you’re ready for it in the morning.

Overnight Oats

Yet another great idea for an on-the-go breakfast: overnight oats. We recommend choosing a quick cooking oat for this. Then all you need is water or milk for a basic recipe, though we also recommend adding some nutrition with fruit, chia seeds, flax seed, et cetera. You may also choose to add a sweetener like maple syrup to taste. All you need to do is combine the ingredients and leave them in a covered container in the fridge overnight.

Breakfast Muffins

Muffins are perhaps the most transportable item on this list. You also have a wide range of options when it comes to having muffins for your on-the-go breakfast. You can make your typical sweet muffin, such as a blueberry muffin, or a chocolate muffin. Alternatively, you can find a good savoury muffin recipe. There are often ones made from eggs, ham, cheese, and chives as a base! Simply make ahead of time and store them in your fridge or freezer. Just be sure to heat before you leave house if you want a warm muffin!

 

Meals For Lazy Days

Whether you’ve just come home from a long day at school or work, have been running around all day with your kids, or simply are not in the mood to cook at all, you will still need to eat. Of course, you have options like ordering a pizza or whipping up boxed macaroni and cheese (or just reheating leftovers). However, it is still nice to have a nutritious meal. So what kinds of meals might you want to cook when you are having a lazy day? We have some clear ideas for you:

Power of Slow Cooking

Do you own a slow cooker? If not, and if you lead a busy life, you should invest in one as soon as possible. This appliance is perhaps the most helpful thing when you have a lot on your plate in other areas of your life. All you really need to do to make a meal in a slow cooker is to add the ingredients with some preparation (e.g. chopping the vegetables), setting the timer, and letting it run until your meal is ready to eat. Popular dishes for the slow cooker include soup and chili.

Quick Cook Pasta

There are gourmet pasta dishes out there, there is no denying it. However, you can have quick pasta dishes, which makes it a great choice for lazy days. If you really want to get down to it, all you really need to do is cook the pasta itself and open a jar of premade sauce. If you did have some energy, you can steam vegetables and incorporate those into the sauce, or slice precooked meat (e.g. chicken or sausage) and include that as well.

Scrambled Egg Sandwiches

Want to have breakfast for dinner? Scrambled egg sandwiches are a perfect choice for a quick dinner. All you really need to make the sandwich are two eggs, two pieces of bread (or a bagel or English muffin), and a little bit of butter to coat the pan and butter the toast. Of course, you can add flavour to the eggs with shredded cheese, and increase their fluffiness with a splash a milk during the scrambling process. You may also choose to add a slice of lunch meat or slice of bacon to the sandwich, if you have those on hand.

Differences Between Pasta

 

pasta

You are standing in the pasta aisle, faced with a wide variety of different shapes size, and even colours of pasta. What do you choose? Though you can walk away with anything and use it however you like without major taste differences, you still want to consider your options carefully. The different types of pasta are intended for different dishes, so for the best results consider what you want to cook with your pasta!

Sheet

Sheet pasta is easy to explain. They are quite wide, and instead of eating your pasta out of a bowl or on a plate like spaghetti, you are better of making a casserole like lasagna with your sheet pasta. Some of the sheet pastas out there come with ridges along the sides. For the most part, this is for sauce retention, though either option is fine for you to use in your casserole.

Strand

There are quite a lot of different strand pastas, though the three most popular are fettucine, spaghetti, and spaghettini. The only significant difference between them is the size/width of each strand. Fettuccini are the largest, which makes them ideal for heavier sauces (such as Alfredo). Spaghettini is the smallest strand pasts, and is best suited for thin sauces, such as simple olive oil or basil pesto. Spaghetti is a good all-purpose pasta, as it is a nice middle ground between the two.

Tube and Shape

Of course, there are also countless tube pasta and ones in fancy shapes, such as fusilli or bowtie. The uses vary widely based on the specific shape and size, but the general rule of thumb is the bigger the tube/size, the heartier the sauce you can serve it with. Significant ones to note include orzo pasta and the giant shell pasta. The former is actually best suited in a soup, whereas the latter is often stuffed and baked in the oven.

3 Reasons Why You Should Eat Healthy

When most people think of why they should eat healthy food, they tend to latch onto the idea of losing a little weight. While you can definitely do this, provided you pair a healthy diet with a sufficient amount of exercise, it is not the only reason to eat healthy. Here are three significant reasons why you should eat healthy aside from losing weight:

Get Better Rest

When your body has whole grains, leafy greens, and similar running through its veins rather than greasy food and candy, it runs more efficiently. It also runs in a way that allows you to get a higher quality of sleep on any given night. This is particularly helpful if your schedule demands a lot of your time, resulting in less overall sleep. While you should make time to get roughly seven to eight hours a night, making sure it is quality sleep is perhaps just as important.

Add More Energy

Have you ever felt fatigued, bloated, or just run down when you eat a lot of unhealthy food like greasy pizza and fast food? You can kiss these feelings goodbye nine times out of ten when you shift to a balanced and healthy diet. Watch your energy levels spike on a daily basis when you eat healthy food every day and consume less junk.

Arm Your Body

When you eat healthy, you are giving your body exactly what it needs to function. Well, you can actually be giving it even more? When you eat a healthy and balanced diet, you are also arming your body to fight off all manners of illnesses, including the common cold. This is because the nutrients, vitamins, et cetera in your food help build your immune system so it is as strong as it can possibly be.

3 Types of Lettuce

So you are making a salad. What type of lettuce do you need to use? While much of this depends on personal taste, there are some differences between each type of lettuce you might want to take into account. However, there are quite a lot of different types of lettuce. To make things easier, we have compiled data for the three most popular types below:

Iceberg Lettuce

Many reports indicate iceberg lettuce is simply water—that there is no real nutritional value in its leaves. However, this is not strictly true, though if you really want to squeeze as much nutrition out of your lettuce as possible, you are better off looking elsewhere. If you still want to consider this light and crunchy choice, continue:

Iceberg lettuce contains, on average, four grams of carbohydrates, and 1.8 grams of dietary fiber per two cups. This two-cup serving also includes 35 micrograms of vitamin K and 722 international units of vitamin A.

It is particularly good for adding to a wrap, creating a lettuce wrap, or in a mixed greens salad.

Butter Lettuce

For each serving of butter lettuce (1 cup) you have only 21 calories, less than half a gram of fat, 0.74 grams of protein, 3.63 grams of carbohydrates, 1.53 grams of sugar, as well as 8 milligrams of sodium. It also contains roughly 91 micrograms of vitamin A per serving.

This lettuce is often sold in plastic containers to avoid bruising, and you may end up using an entire head for a meal-size salad. It is also a good addition to sandwiches, or as an alternative covering for wraps.

Romaine Lettuce

This is perhaps the most common type of lettuce, particularly for those who enjoy eating Caesar salad. Per every two cups of this type, you can expect 15 calories, two grams of dietary fiber, 10 milligrams of sodium, as well as 140% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A, 8% of vitamin C, and 4% of your recommended iron intake.

In addition to Caesar salads, romaine lettuce is also good when grilled, in other salad types, as well as an addition to wraps, though it is not good to replace the breading itself due to shape.

3 Ways To Help Kids Eat Healthy

Children can be notoriously picky eaters, there is no denying it. And when their picky eating falls into things like macaroni and cheese, pizza, and chicken nuggets, things can get quite unhealthy very quickly. So what can you do as a parent to help your kids eat healthy, while also contending with the world’s most notorious picky eaters? Here are three key strategies to get you started:

Engage Kids In Cooking

If you child is more involved in cooking, chances are they will have an increased level of interest in what they are eating. Engage them from the very start: while you are grocery shopping. Of course, you cannot just let them loose. Make the exchanges something like letting them choose one or two fruits for the week. You can do the same thing with vegetables! If you want to, you may also let them pick out one treat if they pick out a selection of healthier options from choices you present them with.

Introduce New Food Slowly

When you are adding new food into your child’s diet, try not to introduce too much too quickly. You will not make progress that way! Taking things a little slower can make the world of difference. For instance, are you trying to get your child to eat peas or broccoli? Try including it once or twice a week to start with. Ease them into eating it and you will find there is less resistance than forcing them to eat something they are wary about all the time right away.

Make Food Fun

Kids are far more likely to eat their fruits and vegetables when they are in fun shapes, arranged in a smiley face, et cetera. Does your child like pancakes? You can make it healthier and a lot of fun by adding in blueberries or another fruit and arranging it to appear as if the pancake is smiling. Cut carrots into stars! Make ants on a log with celery, a little peanut butter, and raisins. Making food interesting, even into a game, can really increase the chances of your child eating healthy food without much resistance.

3 Dishes To Make With Your Children

Cooking with your children is a great way to not only bond with them, but also to begin teaching them a life skill they will need to rely on once they are all grown up. But where do you start? Particularly with younger children, you do not want to let them use knives to chop anything, which can put a limit on what they are able to do with certain recipes. If you are really interested in cooking with your child, however, here are three delicious dishes and treats to get you started:

Personal Pizzas

Pizzas are perhaps the best savoury food to make with your child. You can get pita bread for the crust, or make your own dough beforehand. Ask your child what toppings they like on their pizza and buy a selection. Put them in bowls or on plats and have your child help prep their pizza (e.g. spread the sauce, sprinkle the cheese, place the pepperoni, et cetera). You will have to preheat the oven and complete the cooking yourself, but almost all prep is safe for your child!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

You will have to measure out quite a few of the ingredients, but you can have your child pour each into the mixing bowl and even start mixing! Once things like flour go in (and oatmeal, if you have those in your cookies), you might have to help your child out in terms of strength, but aside from that they are good to go! They can also help scoop the dough onto the cookie sheets!

S’mores

Do you have bonfires? Do you go camping? Make some s’mores with your child! All you need are some marshmallows, some easy to melt chocolate, graham crackers, and a long stick to spear your marshmallows on. Your child, with some supervision, can hold the stick with the marshmallow over the fire to toast it. Once it is ready (you might need to help watch it so it does not burn) you can assemble this delicious summer treat.

How To Maintain Healthy Eating Habits

healthy grocery shopping

Healthy eating is important so we can maintain our overall health and wellness—so long as we remember the other aspects, such as regular physical activity. However, sometimes people who start on a new healthy eating regime, particularly those who make the sudden change around New Years Day, have a hard time maintaining their resolve. If you really want to change your diet, here are some tips to help you maintain healthy eating habits:

Step By Step

When you are making a change to your diet, particularly if it a dramatic change, do not try to change everything overnight. Take your healthy eating in steps and make this shift a gradual one. Do you want to make it your New Years resolution? This is great, but try either starting the process a few weeks before the new year begins, or give yourself extra time to make the change complete. Try introducing 2 or 3 new healthy meals each week until everything is healthy!

Never Shop Hungry

Doing your groceries while you are hungry is a recipe for disaster if you want to maintain healthy eating habits. If you need to go to the grocery store but are hungry, eating a small meal or quick, healthy snack is key. This will help you avoid the junk food aisles and other unhealthy temptations while you are walking up and down the aisles.

Look For What You Love

What do you love to eat? Which foods are healthy? There is likely a lot of overlap between the foods you love and food that is good for you. Is there a salad you enjoy? Include that a little more often in your diet. You can even find healthy versions of some not-so-healthy food. Consider pizza—from a fast food restaurant, this dish is often full of grease and really is not too healthy. But you can make a much healthier pizza yourself if you wish, so why not? If it is a food you love, look for ways you can make it healthy and include it in your new eating habits.

Remember To Indulge

It is unrealistic for someone to eat healthy all the time for the rest of their life. This is why you should remember to indulge yourself every so often. Perhaps you can give yourself one treat a week or once a month. Just remember to treat yourself every now and then if you want to maintain healthy eating habits long term.

3 Tips For Becoming A Vegetarian

Do you want to stop eating meat? Vegetarianism is quite common, though the reasons people make this switch vary quite a bit. Some may have been raised as a vegetarian, others may change because of their morals, and others may just feel intrigued by the idea and want to give it a shot. Regardless of the reason behind your decision, however, this can be difficult if you are not prepared. Here are three tips for help you become a vegetarian easily.

Do Your Research

What nutrients do you need in your everyday diet? Write this down. Where can you get those nutrients as a vegetarian? Where do you get them now? What recipes can you make? Understanding as much as possible about what you need in your diet and what you can eat are essential to being a vegetarian. You can consult books and the Internet for quick information. Do as much research as possible before you make the change—this puts you in the best position for success, since you will know how to move forward.

Make It Gradual

While you can certainly give up meat “cold turkey” and one day decide you are never going to eat it again, we do not recommend this. Make the change gradual by introducing a few meatless meals every week and slowly increasing that number until they are all vegetarian. In addition, you might want to try meatless substitutes during the transition period to help wean your taste buds off meat. These substitutes are often very close to the real thing, so they can also help satisfy a craving down the road.

Consult A Professional

Are you unsure about anything related to your diet as a vegetarian? Not sure about what next step you need to take in your personal experience? Consulting a professional, e.g. a dietitian or your primary care physician, is a great way to ensure you are on the right track. Too many people make mistakes with their diet, particularly when they are changing it dramatically. Be sure you are getting everything you need and your new diet is balanced by check with a professional. In addition to this, they can provide any other insight you might need, including direction to recipe books and other helpful resources.