healthy choices …

April 14, 2011

Did you know that you could make microwave popcorn in a brown paper bag?
Well, I didn’t either until just recently.  I was thrilled to discover this as an option to make some quick and easy microwave popcorn!  The store bought microwave popcorn isn’t always the healthiest choice, plus there is now talk if microwave popcorn releasing harmful chemicals from the packaging.  Yikes, right?
I couldn’t believe how simple it was to make your own microwave popcorn!
All you need is: (adapted from this recipe)
  • a brown paper lunch bag (10 5/8″ x 5 1/8″ x 3 1/8″)
  • 1/4 cup un-popped popcorn kernels
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • scotch tape
place kernels into the brown paper bag.  fold the bag over twice and seal with tape.
place bag into microwave (can be on it’s side or up-right).  cook on high for 2-3 minutes or until the popcorn pops are 3-5 seconds in between pops.  Remove from microwave and shake before opening. Once popped*, open the bag and drizzle with olive oil and salt while shaking bag.
*you can also add the olive oil and salt to the kernels before before you pop them, just keep in mind that the oil can seep through the bag.  also, you can of course substitute butter for the oil, I like olive oil because it is a little bit healthier.
I also wanted to share a few other healthy ideas!
In our home, we really try to make good decisions regarding the food we choose to eat.
It has become even more important to me to make good food decisions since I have had my children.  I feel responsible to feed and nourish my children with the healthiest options possible.
One method I use to help our family choose healthier options is by reading the nutrition labels on any food that has packaging.  Ideally, we try to eat as many foods as possible that do not have labels, like fruits and vegetables, but when we do eat packaged foods, I try look very carefully at the label.
A few things I like to look at are:
  • Ingredients.  For me, less is more.  I try to purchase the items with the least amount of ingredients.  For the most part, that means it is less processed foods.
  • Sugar Content:  I also look at the amount of sugar.  Again, less is more there.
  • Calories:  it will vary depending on the item.  But, it is always good to be aware of the amount of calories that are in an item.
  • Protein:  For protein, usually more is good.  Protein in healthy items helps you feel full longer.
  • Sodium:  Many items these days are incredibly high in sodium.  Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, so it is always good to be aware of your sodium intake.
  • Cholesterol:  If you tend to have high cholesterol, or even if you have good levels, it is always good to be aware of your cholesterol intake.
Choose this, not that:  For most products, there are many options.  Some options are much healthier than others, and if you just take a minute to read the labels before you make your decisions, you can be on your way to eating healthier in no time.  Here are a few items that we eat in our home all the time, and the healthier options I have found for them.
  • Peanut butter:  There are many brands and choices for a staple like peanut butter.  But, have you read the ingredients in some of these brands lately?  Or the sugar content for that matter?  I have recently started buying the organic peanut butter from costco.  Not necessarily because I buy into the whole organic thing.  I just like that the ingredients were simply, organic peanuts and salt.  And, it only had 2 grams of sugar.  You should have seen the ingredients on the skippy brand peanut butter we used to eat.  Too many and I couldn’t pronounce half of them.
  • Popcorn:  Did you know that popcorn is considered a healthy whole grain?  While popcorn alone is healthy, all the additives are not.  But, instead of the un-healthy microwave popcorn’s with a lot of butter and salt, you can always pop your own popcorn in the microwave using a brown paper sack, or air popped is great as well!
  • Crackers-  My children love crackers.  But, after looking at some of the ingredients in a lot of the popular kid crackers, I wasn’t really happy with that choice.  We choose to eat a lot of triscuits at our house.  I like them because the ingredients are simply: whole grain soft winter wheat, soybean oil, and salt.  It is hard to find crackers with only 3 ingredients these days.
  • Syrups-  I have avoided letting my children add any kind of syrup to their pancakes or waffles, but lately they have been asking for it more and more.  Instead of the high fructose corn syrup choices, the better choice if you have to have syrup is maple syrup.  It has only one ingredient, pure maple syrup.  I think it is clearly the better choice.
  • Fruit Snacks-  My children call fruit leather, fruit snacks.  Really, I am not sure why some of the “fruit snacks,” on the market are even called fruit snacks.  Really, they are just candy.  I love the fruit leather as a healthier option because it does in fact contain fruit!  I like the stretch island fruit co. fruit leather, and each strip has a 1/2 a serving of fruit and they don’t have added sugar or food coloring.
  • Yogurt-  Some of the yogurt choices out there are really interesting to me.  Really some are just a bunch of food coloring and sugar.  A healthier option would be to make your own yogurt, or I like to buy plain greek yogurt.  The ingredients in the greek yogurt I buy is, skim milk, and live and active cultures.  We like to add fruit or fruit preserves for different flavors.
So, I hope this has helped you to become more aware of how to make healthier choices.  I do try to make healthier choices, some times I am better than other times, but it is nice to know there are always healthier choices for many of the food items we eat in our home regularly.
So, what are your secrets to making healthier choices?

3 thoughts on “healthy choices …

  1. jennifer

    hey! awesome! i need this. i tried popping popcorn by myself in a pot and it was just the worst thing ever. i failed. all three times. i still have some left over kernels. i'll try this out instead! =) thanks!! xo


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