Happy 4th of July!

Good morning! I hope all of you have fun days planed with your families and/or friends. Today is another busy day for me. My boyfriend and I have to get a few more things for the apartment before we move tomorrow. Then we both have to finish packing and possibly start packing up the U-haul today. Busy, busy! I am hoping we still have enough time to do something fun tonight for the 4th.

My favorite thing to do on the 4th of July is to watch fireworks. Grilling and playing bags outside come in a close second! Last year I saw a pretty cool firework show and managed to get this cool picture of a firework:

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I’m hoping we have time to catch a local firework show tonight, fingers crossed.

After today I may not be able to post on here for a few days as I will be busy moving and unpacking. I’ll also be without Internet until early next week. I’ll try to go to a local coffee shop or something after we get settled, but no guarantees.

If you celebrate the 4th of July what is your favorite thing to do? Also, if any of you have any suggestions of topics you’d like me to write about in the coming weeks comment below and I’ll take your ideas into consideration. Thank you! Smile

Wise Wednesday- organic foods: don’t get confused by the labels

DISCLAIMER: I am not a registered dietitian. I am a student who is studying nutrition and preparing to become a registered dietitian, though. I still do want to share with you nutrition and healthy living topics that I find interesting and am learning about in my classes or through my own research.

Organic food and labels

Today I wanted to share what I learned in my summer class a few a weeks ago about organic foods. I was a little surprised by what I learned and I think that you guys could benefit by knowing this information! First of all, it is worth mentioning that organic has an official definition as defined by the USDA, but the following commonly used terms do not: certified organic, free-range, organically produced, natural, hormone free, pesticide free, and raised without antibiotics (Understanding Food Principles and Preparation by Amy Brown pg. 16). What this means for consumers, typically, is confusion.  I don’t know about you, but certified organic sounds pretty official.  Now why does it matter? Well, it matters because if you buy organic food you probably purchase it because you want food free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers that have not been exposed to hormones or antibiotics and have not been genetically modified. Furthermore, organic food tends to be more expensive to purchase so if you are shelling out the extra bucks, don’t you want to buy food that is actually organic? It seems to me that those unofficial terms may just be a way to sell the product for more money and they may not even contain USDA organic ingredients. This does not mean you should not buy those foods, you just need to decide for yourself how you feel about the labeling. So, what should you look for when buy food to ensure it is actually organic? Look for the USDA organic label or the terms Made with Organic Ingredients and Contains Organic Ingredients (Understanding Food Principles and Preparation by Amy Brown pg. 16). USDA organic means the food product contains 95-100% organic ingredients and the other two terms mean 70% of the ingredients meet the organic criteria or less than 70% of the ingredients meet organic criteria (Understanding Food Principles and Preparation by Amy Brown pg. 16).

I shop organic when I can, especially for produce. It does tend to be more expensive so I pick and chose what I buy organic because as a student I am on a budget. I know that apples are one of the fruits highest in pesticides so that is probably the top food I buy organic when I can. Just remember that non organic foods can be healthy, safe, and you do not necessarily have to buy organic to be healthy! I personally eat a combination of organic and non organic foods and both have a place in our diets and budgets.

I have a helpful picture below that I often refer to when grocery shopping. This picture lists the dirtiest (in terms of pesticides) and the cleanest produce. It may help you decide which produce you want to buy organic and which you want to buy non organic (courtesy of environmental working group. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews).

EWG1

I hope you all found this helpful! After learning about organic foods in my class this summer, I have been checking food labels more often. It’s nice to know which foods are actually organic and which are labeled with uncertified terms. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pay organic prices for nonorganic foods! Another thing you can do is to buy produce that is in season and local. Your local farmers market is a great place to check! The food at a farmers market is typically fresher and travels less distance than what you buy at the local grocery store. You can even ask the farmers what kind of pesticides, hormones, etc. they treat their food or produce with. I’m excited to move to my apartment this weekend which is just down the street from a local farmer’s market! I’m probably going to be a regular there Smile with tongue out.

What foods do you buy organic, if any? Do you go to a local farmers market? If so what do you buy there? Do you ask the farmers or producers about how they grow, treat, and produce their food?

 

 

 

Wise Wednesday- organic foods: don’t get confused by the labels

DISCLAIMER: I am not a registered dietitian. I am a student who is studying nutrition and preparing to become a registered dietitian, though. I still do want to share with you nutrition and healthy living topics that I find interesting and am learning about in my classes or through my own research.

Organic food and labels

Today I wanted to share what I learned in my summer class a few a weeks ago about organic foods. I was a little surprised by what I learned and I think that you guys could benefit by knowing this information! First of all, it is worth mentioning that organic has an official definition as defined by the USDA, but the following commonly used terms do not: certified organic, free-range, organically produced, natural, hormone free, pesticide free, and raised without antibiotics (Understanding Food Principles and Preparation by Amy Brown pg. 16). What this means for consumers, typically, is confusion.  I don’t know about you, but certified organic sounds pretty official.  Now why does it matter? Well, it matters because if you buy organic food you probably purchase it because you want food free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers that have not been exposed to hormones or antibiotics and have not been genetically modified. Furthermore, organic food tends to be more expensive to purchase so if you are shelling out the extra bucks, don’t you want to buy food that is actually organic? It seems to me that those unofficial terms may just be a way to sell the product for more money and they may not even contain USDA organic ingredients. This does not mean you should not buy those foods, you just need to decide for yourself how you feel about the labeling. So, what should you look for when buy food to ensure it is actually organic? Look for the USDA organic label or the terms Made with Organic Ingredients and Contains Organic Ingredients (Understanding Food Principles and Preparation by Amy Brown pg. 16). USDA organic means the food product contains 95-100% organic ingredients and the other two terms mean 70% of the ingredients meet the organic criteria or less than 70% of the ingredients meet organic criteria (Understanding Food Principles and Preparation by Amy Brown pg. 16).

I shop organic when I can, especially for produce. It does tend to be more expensive so I pick and chose what I buy organic because as a student I am on a budget. I know that apples are one of the fruits highest in pesticides so that is probably the top food I buy organic when I can. Just remember that non organic foods can be healthy, safe, and you do not necessarily have to buy organic to be healthy! I personally eat a combination of organic and non organic foods and both have a place in our diets and budgets.

I have a helpful picture below that I often refer to when grocery shopping. This picture lists the dirtiest (in terms of pesticides) and the cleanest produce. It may help you decide which produce you want to buy organic and which you want to buy non organic (courtesy of environmental working group. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews).

EWG1

I hope you all found this helpful! After learning about organic foods in my class this summer, I have been checking food labels more often. It’s nice to know which foods are actually organic and which are labeled with uncertified terms. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pay organic prices for nonorganic foods! Another thing you can do is to buy produce that is in season and local. Your local farmers market is a great place to check! The food at a farmers market is typically fresher and travels less distance than what you buy at the local grocery store. You can even ask the farmers what kind of pesticides, hormones, etc. they treat their food or produce with. I’m excited to move to my apartment this weekend which is just down the street from a local farmer’s market! I’m probably going to be a regular there Smile with tongue out.

What foods do you buy organic, if any? Do you go to a local farmers market? If so what do you buy there? Do you ask the farmers or producers about how they grow, treat, and produce their food?

 

 

 

Tasty Tuesday #1- my favorite snacks

Good evening! I don’t know about you, but I just finished watching the USA vs. Belgium World Cup game. It was a slow moving game until it went into extra time where both teams were 0-0 initially.  Belgium scored twice during the extra time and USA scored once at minute 106. Belgium will advance to the quarter finals against Argentina. What a heartbreaker for the USA, but I am still proud of my country and they fought hard. I am happy I was able to watch the game live! I have a summer class once a week on Tuesdays and for the last few weeks I’ve had to commute from home to class for a total commute time of nearly 4 hours. I got out of class early today and my commute took less time than normal so I was able to catch the game! This is my last week of a long commute though, thankfully! I move to my apartment this weekend and I will be much closer to my class there.  🙂

My favorite snacks

I am a big fan of snacks. In fact, I LOVE to snack! I’m more of a grazer than a three meals a day kind of girl. I’d rather eat smaller meals/snacks more often during the day. The amount of meals/snacks I eat in a day really just depends on what workouts I am doing and how my body feels. For tasty Tuesday I thought it would be fitting to discuss something food related so, I thought I would share five of my favorite snacks right now.  I try to eat healthy most of the time and my snacks reflect this. I do think that moderation is key and a little dessert or processed food every once in a while shouldn’t hurt or jeopardize your health though. 😉

1. Smoothies. I absolutely love smoothies! I  typically make mine with fresh or frozen fruit, vanilla or plain Greek yogurt, and almond milk. I also like to freeze my smoothies and eat them with a spoon, kind of like ice cream. I’ve been eating frozen smoothies a lot lately. 🙂  I am going to eat this cherry smoothie later, once it is frozen:

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2. Hummus with pretzels and/or carrots. I also love hummus and I’ve been eating Sabra original and Tribe sweet red pepper or original lately. Both brands are delicious, but I really need to learn how to make my own hummus because it is probably a lot cheaper.

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3.Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips. When I’m craving something sweet this is my go to snack. It tastes especially good if you put the Greek yogurt and dark chocolate chips in the freezer for a bit. My favorites are Oikos vanilla or plain Greek yogurt and Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips.

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4. Homemade energy bars. My current favorite homemade energy bar is the banana oat energy bar from the Runner’s world cookbook.  I also really like homemade energy bars with peanut butter such as the ones I made and posted here on this blog last Saturday.

5. Popcorn. Most microwave and bagged popcorn are high in fat and full of unrecognizable ingredients which is unfortunate because popcorn is delicious and can be healthy. Thankfully, if you pop your own in an air popper you can turn it into a healthy snack. I typically eat air popped popcorn plain or with a little salt or cinnamon sugar. As far as microwave popcorn goes, Orville Redenbacher’s Simply Salted is the most “natural” I could find in terms of unrecognizable ingredients. I believe it just has popcorn, oil, and salt and I eat it sometimes instead of air popped. I also enjoy  an occasional bag of microwave kettle corn.

What are your favorite snacks right now? Also, any suggestions on toppings for air popped popcorn?