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Archive for the month “December, 2013”

10 Processed Foods to Avoid Giving Your Kids

We throw around the term “processed food” quite a bit, though many of us don’t actually understand what it means.


In simple terms, it refers to raw produce or meat that’s taken and used to produce food items that are the following:

  1. Attractive
  2. Marketable
  3. Have a longer shelf-life

Now, this isn’t inherently bad, but what can cause problems is the manner in which these foods are “processed.” Artificial ingredients, high amounts of sodium and/or sugar and low nutritional density all come into play with most processed foods.

In the past several years, there’s been a general cultural shift towards more organic and naturally grown foods that are free of processing– a phenomenon which is being taken note of by retailers.

Yet, there are still a ton of processed food choices, much of which is marketed to young kids.

As parents, it’s up to you to identify those foods and keep them out of your pantry, especially since there are so many natural and non-processed options in our day.

Here’s a short list of what to avoid:

1. Fast Food: While it’s certainly easy and probably even acceptable on an infrequent basis, fast food is almost always a poor choice in terms of nutritional value.

High fat, sodium and sugar are all major staples of most fast food chains. While some chains are making moves to increase the nutritional quality of their food, it’s not widespread or typical at this point.

You’re better off avoiding them entirely.

2. Hot Dogs and Bologna: Once again, the draw is that these foods are easy to prepare, but hot dogs and bologna are both a highly processed meat products with little nutritional upside.

3. All processed sugars (most children’s cereal, pop-tarts, etc.): Look for cereals that contain high fiber, oats, dried fruit and/or nuts and a modest amount of natural sweeteners. The headliners like Fruit Loops and Trix contain high amounts of corn syrup and little more than empty calories.

4. Bread: Aim for naturally baked bread with unbleached flour. This will probably mean that you’ll have to consider avoiding white bread entirely, but multigrain and high-fiber breads are not only better for you, they are quite delicious as well!

At first, your kids may not necessarily enjoy the taste of more wholesome breads, but the more they are included in their diet, you’ll find that their taste buds will adapt.

5. Mac and Cheese (pasta): There are some great natural and organic mac-and-cheese options. You can even get some that are made with rice pasta (gluten-free). Since the processed pasta is almost always made from enriched wheat, it poses the same problems you would get from white bread.

6. Frozen Pizza: Lots of sodium and a fair amount of processed toppings means most of these pizzas have little nutritional value. There are, however, some non-processed options starting to crop up.

7. Fries: Natural cut fries are better, but lots of salt and cheap oil (usually vegetable) make fries a poor choice for your kids in general. Instead, try a healthy homemade recipe with olive oil. Rather than stick them in the deep fryer, try baking them instead!

8. Potato Chips: They’re always tempting, no matter how old you are, but you run into the same problem as you do with the fries: salt, saturated fat and cheap oil.

9. Soda: It almost goes without saying, but this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning soda. It’s particularly addictive to kids because of the high sugar content, enough so that many people have grown up viewing it as a water substitute. Don’t even let your kids get started on it.

10. Juice or other Sugary Drinks: While it’s not as bad as soda, most juice drinks that are marketed to kids still just have too much sugar. Dilute their juice drinks with water and make sure you only buy drinks that are labeled as 100% juice with no added sugar. The fruit that’s used to make organic juice drinks have natural sucrose that will already make it sweet.

Don’t Even Start

Processed, packaged foods have nearly completely taken over the diet of Americans. Microwave popcorn, muffins and bakery muffins are packed with trans fats, which are twice as dangerous for your heart as saturated fat. Not only do these fats boost HDL (“good”) cholesterol and reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, they also increase your levels of artery-clogging lipoprotein and triglycerides, all of which can contribute to the number-one killer in the United States: heart disease.

So, the next time you’re at the grocery store, carefully read the ingredient list for any of the following words and avoid them at all costs:

Partially hydrogenated

  • Fractionated
  • Hydrogenated

The best way to get your kids to be and eat healthy is to not even start them on the foods mentioned throughout this article. Make sure their dietary habits are established before they start getting their hands on this type of stuff.

About the Author: Felicity Dryer is a health and nutrition enthusiast living in Southern California. She enjoys sharing personal health tips with both individuals and families, encouraging everyone to live a fulfilling lifestyle.  Check out Felicity’s website with more knowledge about health and wellness. How do you get your kids to eat healthy? Share your comments below!

Happy Holidays – The 2013 Charities of the Month

holiday tree

Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies – GF & Vegan

hazelnut cookies 1

Winter is here and what’s better than indulging on decadent sweets sitting by the fireplace?  These gluten free and vegan cookies give you a guilt free conscious and satisfy your sweet tooth with their chocolate almond butter filling.  The Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies will have the judges at your holiday cookie party begging for more.  It’s a must try recipe from our friend Jodi at, “What’s Cooking Good Looking.”  Jodi Moreno is a Natural Foods Chef, Photographer, and creator of the blog What’s Cooking Good Looking where she shares her healthy, clean, seasonal recipes and photographs. She’s passionate about showing people that vegetables can play a main role on the plate. Get the full recipe of Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies and check out more delicious recipes from “What’s Cooking Good Looking.”

hazelnut cookies 2

Happy Holiday’s!

Deck the Halls with Holiday Travel

travle blog post lights

To celebrate the 2013 Holiday Season, we asked our EatSmart fans to share their craziest “travel experience” as part of our “Voyager Holiday Giveaway.”  Their responses came from far and wide, the best of which we wanted to share with you.  Perhaps, some of these stories will remind you of similar traveling fiascos that you have endured but the stress and aggravation fade as we spend time with family and friends during the holidays.

From our Fans…

“I was traveling to England for the summer and my luggage was stuffed and it was over the weight limit.  Then right there in the airport I scrambled to move some heavier items to my carry-on and even resorted to throwing out a bottle of my favorite shampoo so I would not have to pay extra fees.” –Daiva Baumgarten

“Not crazy so much as frustrating.  I was at the airport with my 4 year old and infant daughter.  Going through security I had to put everything through the X-ray machine including the stroller. I had to try to do this while holding the hand of my 4 year old and holding my infant in one arm.  To make matters worse I then had to take my belt and shoes off while still holding my daughters.  Not once did anyone offer to help! I was in tears by the time I got through security.” –Marci

“Years ago, I toured through parts of India. During my trip I had to take many smaller flights between the cities of India.  The strangest thing I noticed was as soon as the locals saw a hint of land they would abruptly remove their seat belts and jump up and line up at the exit door so that they could get off the plane first.  The flight attendant didn’t seem to mind at all!” –Pri Richards

“As the plane pulled away from the terminal, my baby’s stroller and car seat were sitting on the ground outside the plane…” –Michelle Goldbergholiday travel blog post 1

“My luggage popped open halfway down the escalator at Heathrow, leaving a puddle of my clothes at the bottom!” –Sharon Goudeau

“On a flight out of Beijing China, bound for Hong Kong, the airplane encountered a heavy thunder storm and the plane dropped hundreds of feet and people were screaming. We had to make an emergency landing in another Chinese city where the police held us in a security lock-up because none of the passengers had the correct travel documents for that city. After a 12 hour delay, we finally re-boarded the aircraft and flew on to Hong Kong. I will never forget that experience!” – Richard Harold

“We were supposed to be flying out of Newark Airport and the flight was cancelled.  They sent us by cab to LaGuardia Airport to catch the next flight, a 30 minute drive.  As my family was running through the airport, we heard our name being announced to come to the gate -the flight was leaving.  When we got there, they explained to us that the plane was already on the runway and that it would not be coming back for us.  Needless to say, we waited in the airport for the next flight.  While we waited, the cruise ship in Florida left without us.  They flew us to Nassau and left us on the cruise ship dock with our luggage waiting for the ship to arrive.  Considering it was only a 3 day cruise, we lost more than half of the cruise in a cab and the airport.  (Just an interesting note, we missed the plane in LGA by 3 minutes!)” –Danielle Murgia

happy travels

Olio d’Oliva Pagnotta Senza Glutine (Gluten Free Olive Oil Loaf)

oil loaf


  • 2 Eggs (large)
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar + 2 Tablespoons (divided)
  • Zest of 1 large Valencia Orange (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Orange Juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 3/4 Cup Olive Oil (make sure its a good one)
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 Cup Gluten Free Flour (I use Cup4Cup)
  • 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts

Glaze (Optional)

  • 1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Orange Juice

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400•F
  2. In a large bowl add eggs and 1/2 cup of sugar – beat with a wire whisk until pale and you see a bit of foam.
  3. Add orange zest, , salt, orange juice, and olive oil.
  4. Beat with wire whisk until well combined.
  5. Add baking powder and gluten-free flour, mix with a rubber spatula to combine all ingredients well.
  6. Add 1/3 cup of mixture into each of the four wells of the pan.
  7. Top each loaf well with even amounts of sugar and pine nuts.
  8. Bake for 20-22 minutes – turning 1/2 way through to ensure even browning.
  9. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  10. If using a glaze – prepare it now: in a small bowl add powdered sugar and orange juice, mix until well combined and drizzle over warm loaves.
  11. Enjoy!

About the Author: Jenny Manseau is a Chef, Culinary Nutrition student and author of the blog Creative Cooking Gluten Free. Jenny created her website after being diagnosed in 2008 with Celiac Disease and takes many “regular” every day recipes and alters them to the gluten-free diet.

2013 EatSmart Happy Holiday Gift Guide

holiday gift guide

Do you face the dilemma of having SO MANY gifts to buy for all your favorite people but OH SO FEW ideas on what would make the perfect gift? We come prepared with a list of EatSmart suggestions that helps those on your gift list eat smarter, live healthier and travel easier.

TravelWise “Weekender” 3 Piece Packing Cube Systemholiday gift guide packing

The TravelWise 3 piece packing cube set is a travel essential that allows clothes to stay folded and neat when packed in their own “small drawers”. The cubes are fantastic for staying organized on short travels and long travels alike and help you avoid over packing. Constructed of lightweight, durable nylon, these multi-sized cubes allow you to compartmentalize similar items such as shirts, pants, undies and electronic accessories, keeping them organized and easy to find.

Available in 5 distinct colors, teal, purple, red, silver & black–The TravelWise cubes make a great gift for the frequent flyer, casual traveler, biker and backpacker who needs to utilize interior space to the max and streamline packing.

Where to buy?? Go to to pick up a set ( or 2) for only $22.95

EatSmart Precision Digital Tracker Scale

holiday gift guide tracker

The newest addition to our line of innovative bathroom scales, the Precision Tracker gives users the ability to work towards long term weight goals, while monitoring short term progress–often the motivation needed to achieve success.  At each weigh-in, the scale displays 3 readings: current weight, weight change from last weigh-in and the total change from starting weight.

Thinking of running a family ‘biggest loser’ contest? This scale privately stores personal data for up to 8 users and automatically identifies the person standing on the scale.  Everyone in the household can enjoy tracking their progress together. It’s the perfect gift to reinforce the fact that pound shedding is not a quick-fix, but part of a lifelong commitment.

Buy the Precision Tracker for only $44.95 on

EatSmart Precision Elite Digital Kitchen Scale

holiday gift guide elite

The EatSmart Precision Elite Kitchen Scale is every cook and bakers dream! The Precision Elite has the capability to weigh ingredients in four different units; ounces, pounds, grams and kilograms, allowing bakers and cooks to master international recipes. It features an extra-large backlit LCD screen for clear reading, a stainless steel platform that provides ample space to accommodate large mixing bowls, all with a 15lb weight capacity. You will also receive a FREE Calorie Factors Book making it easy to achieve goals such as portion control and calorie counting. Portion control isn’t just about restriction; it’s about remembering that in moderation, everything can be a part of a healthy diet.

The Elite is an essential tool in the kitchen and can be purchased at for only $36.95.

 What EatSmart Products will you add to your Wish List?

About the Author: Maria Geronimo is the Public Relations Director at EatSmart Products.

Charity of the Month December 2013 – The Lydia Project

EatSmart fans will continue to select each Charity of the Month in 2013. Fans will submit short stories about the charity’s mission and why it’s meaningful to them. We began our Charity of the Month donations in 2011.

December’s Charity of the Month has been chosen by Michelle Waller, owner and author of Sweet Southern Lovin.  Read why Michelle has chosen The Lydia Project.

the lydia project

The Lydia Project helps women of all ages who are going through any type of cancer. Located in Augusta Georgia, they are a 501 (c) 3 non-profit charity that was started back in 2003. The ladies of The Lydia Project send their support to women in all parts of the country facing cancer by sending them ongoing support and encouraging words along with a handmade tote made by a volunteer.  These heartwarming bags are filled with items to make their time a little easier. The ladies and volunteers of The Lydia Project would give a cancer patient the shirt off of their back if it would bring a smile to their face. lydia tote

This charity is very special to me because my grandfather was diagnosed with leukemia 5 years ago and ended up hospitalized the last few months. A volunteer from The Lydia Project walked by her room and saw my grandmother with a sad look on her face. She sat with my grandparents for hours and when she left she handed my grandmother 3 of their bags (which are filled with things like lotion, ink pens, travel sized tissues as well as other items). One was for my grandmother, my mother, and myself. When my grandfather passed a few weeks later, the ladies from The Lydia Project were back by my grandmother’s side to help her cope for her loss. Shortly after my grandfather’s passing my grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer.  The wonderful ladies from The Lydia Project came by every few days to check on my her and would bring her anything she needed, as well as sending her encouraging notes in the mail. The Lydia Project is an amazing charity that helps the women (and men) get through their suffering one patient at a time.

About the Author: Michelle is a stay at home mother and wife  to her husband and two daughters.  Her other passion is cooking and baking, brought up cooking in the kitchen with tons of memories of her grandmother, and  hopes to have that with her girls as well.  Get to know Michelle and her blog at Sweet Southern Lovin!

We will be donating 50 cents for every new Facebook follower during the month of December. (So spread the word!)

Click here and EatSmart will donate: FaceBook_512x512

If interested in submitting a charity for consideration, please email The donation amount will be capped at 500 new followers/likes.

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