Fruits & Veggies Really Do Matter

A variety of delicious culinary products.September is “Fruits and Veggies – More Matters Month,” and according to the site, 90% of us do not eat the daily recommended amount of either. We know how important they are for everything from nutrition to fiber to digestive health, yet most of us just don’t eat enough of them.

Fruits and veggies not only pack a serious nutritional punch, but add visual interest and color to our plates, are low in calories, may reduce the risk of diseases like heart disease and high blood pressure, are easy to grab as a snack, and are fun to eat! So here are a few tips to help us get them into our diets:

First, remember the ‘half rule;’ fill your plate half full of fruits and vegetables. This even goes for snacks. Remember also, that all forms (frozen, dried, fresh, 100% juice), count towards the recommended daily serving. So when shopping, don’t just think about fruits when you’re in the produce dept. Dried fruits are great and easy snacks, and 100% juices are always a better choice than sodas.

Try these specific ways to add them into your diet:

  • Eat strawberries with breakfast; 8 whole strawberries = 1 cup
  • Add a quarter cup raisins to oatmeal; ¼ c dried = ½ c fresh
  • At snack time, 1 banana = ½ cup, and 100% apple/orange juice instead of soda
  • Add frozen or canned veggies to casseroles
  • Smoothies, smoothies, smoothies…any fruits or berries
  • ½ cup of fat, in many recipes, can be replaced with applesauce
  • Add beans to salads and veggie soup
  • Add dried fruit to grain side dishes such as rice or couscous
  • Stir fry and pasta dishes (my favorites): Anything goes in stir fry, and pretty much anything goes in Alfredo dishes and primaveras

Fruits and veggies are so good for us; we should really start reaching for the carrot sticks and dried cranberries instead of the candy bars, don’t you think?

Written by: Tricia Doane, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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We Have A Better Rainbow For You To Taste!

fruits-and-veggiesI know you may have heard that expression before on some candy commercial, but really? Their rainbow is chock full of sugar and artificial colors & ingredients.

The rainbow I am talking about is one that not only gets its color from Mother Nature, but is so wonderfully tasty and good for your insides and out. It’s natural, nutritious and ever so sweet!

So we all know that fruits and veggies are better for us, but which ones are best? Here is a short list of my own personal favorites:


Apple’s antioxidant properties prevent cell and tissue damage. Studies by nutritionists have shown that apples contain abundant amounts of elastin and collagen that help keep the skin young. Applying a mixture of mashed apple, honey, rose water and oatmeal can act as a great exfoliating mask on your skin.


Carrots are brimming with tiny orange pigments called beta-carotene. When you eat foods with those pigments, you are not only giving your insides a healthy boost, but your skin a healthy glow. And what’s more, research shows that this can actually help prevent premature aging from sun damage.


Recent studies have shown that people with higher intakes of monounsaturated fats, the essential fats that make up more than 50% of the calories in an avocado, have fewer wrinkles. Avocados are also rich in B vitamins, which help to keep your skin looking vibrant and smooth. Other monounsaturated-fat foods: olive oil, almonds, and peanut butter.


Besides providing protection from heart attack and stroke, antioxidants called polyphenols found in grapes can also help keep middle-aged skin from sagging. That’s because polyphenols improve skin’s elasticity by strengthening collagen, the primary protein in skin’s innermost layer. Blueberries are another great choice!


Or legumes, to be exact. These include black beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts. And how do these puny pods protect your face? By smoothing out wrinkles. Australian researchers analyzed the diets of more than 400 elderly men and women and found that high intakes of legumes—alongside vegetables and healthy fats—resulted in 20% fewer wrinkles over time. The effect is likely a result of isoflavones—potent antioxidants—concentrated in the beans.


Lycopene, the phytochemical that makes tomatoes red, helps eliminate skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays. Cooking tomatoes helps concentrate its lycopene levels, so tomato sauce, tomato paste, and even ketchup pack on the protection. So does a hunk of lycopene-rich watermelon, which gives you hydrating benefits as well.

We suggest you skip the candy rainbow, even if the commercials are funny, and instead opt for the healthy one. Not only will you look better, but you’ll feel a whole lot better overall, too. So, what’s your favorite food color?

P.S. My favorite of the above group is watermelon! I’ve been eating it, but also cutting a hole in a seedless melon (the hole should be big enough for a blender attachment) and whipping it right in the melon. It makes the best, freshest watermelon juice ever!

Written by: Roberta Perry, President of Scrubz Body Scrub, Inc.


About the Author

After years of being totally selfless and taking care of everyone else’s needs, Roberta’s skin was peeling, dry, itchy and irritated. In 2005, she decided to create her own skin care product and headed for the kitchen. She played the “mad chemist” role, mixing different combinations of botanical oils and came up with a formula she loved. However, it was not until she did extensive research, that she realized how lucky she was with the recipe she had created. Natures oils are incredible for skin. She brought in her sister and together they started Scrubz™ in 2006. She has been published and quoted in blogs, beauty magazines and articles. She is a proud member of Indie Beauty/Indie Business, American Made Matters, Independent We Stand, Bethpage Chamber of Commerce, and the Bethpage Kiwanis Club.

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8 Tips For Serving Healthier Party Treats

Watermelon-and-Tomato-Salad-150x150Kids go to a lot of parties and most of the time the most common treats that are served are not as healthy as they should be. Are you planning a party for your child? Here are some great tips we found on that will help you serve some healthier snacks.

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Raising Healthy Kids

breakfast4006019a853fb015427554368In honor of September being Fruits & Veggies – Matter More Month, here is an article that details just how important the health of our children truly is.

The Problem

It is commonplace for me to see the parents that I coach working hard to feed themselves a nutrient dense diet flush with fresh veggies – their kids are an entirely different story. More often I see kids provided with a steady diet of macaroni and cheese, frozen chicken nuggets, dehydrated fruit snacks, hot dogs, sugary drinks, and fast food. The marketing propaganda for these foods may be tempting, but the fact is that they are not providing anywhere near the necessary daily nutrients to keep kids brains and bodies functioning properly.

Here are a few unsettling and sad facts about the state of American kids’ health from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.
  • In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

Keep in mind that obese and overweight children become obese and overweight adults. With the high percentage of overweight kids growing larger each day, they will face deadly health problems earlier in life including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer.

The cost of all this excess weight is staggering! America is facing in excess of $3 billion per year in direct medical costs for overweight kids. Since overweight and obese adults incur an estimated $1,429 more in medical expenses than the normal-weight peers, healthcare costs would be expected to rise dramatically. If nothing is done to tackle this crisis, 43% of US adults will be obese by 2018, costing the nation an estimated $344 billion in medical-related expenses.

The Solution

The good news is that the solution is at our fingertips and can be found in our kitchens. Cooking at home gives us the opportunity to provide our children with fresh nutrient dense meals and snacks. Plus, the kitchen is a terrific laboratory for nutrition education and a place to set healthy eating habits to last kids their lifetime.

Some tips to get kids to eat their veggies:

Super Smoothies

Sneak in the spinach with those blueberries and strawberries – the kids will never know! Add ground flax for protein, raw coconut water for hydration, and a teaspoon of raw organic coconut for a healthy source of fat to boost their brain function. They’ll love their super smoothies!

Make them your Sous Chef

Children who help to prepare food are motivated to eat it themselves. Start simply, teaching them to peel carrots and cucumbers; or measure out the ingredients you need for a particular recipe ahead of time and let them be in charge of adding each one during the cooking process.

Have Fun

Try new things and most important, HAVE FUN! Buy a spiral vegetable slicer and start making raw zucchini pasta or baked sweet potato curly fries. They will love it!

Help them to GROW

A vegetable garden can be simple or elaborate; regardless of its size this is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to spend time together and teach your kids about eating whole foods.

Toss out the packaged and processed foods and get back to basics in the kitchen. When children eat whole foods they have boundless energy, a twinkle in their eye, and strong healthy bodies. As an added bonus – when kids eat healthy they become more well behaved, easier to handle, more joyful, have less melt-downs, are more focused, and sleep better.

See more at:

Written by: Margaret Lively, Founder & Certified Nutrition Coach, Decades of Health

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Sneaking in the Produce

Boy with green smoothie flexing musclesMy kids love fruit. I love fruit. My wife loves fruit. But, here’s the weird thing I have learned as a grade school teacher for the past eighteen years… not everyone loves fruit. And, lots of kids (adults, too, for that matter) aren’t too keen on veggies.

The thing is, I like to think of myself as a healthy eater, a good parent, and a rather good dancer (mostly late 80’s/early 90’s hip-hop). So, I know the importance of making sure my daughters both eat their fair share of produce. When they were young, we called blueberries “power buttons” (you know, what with all the oxidants and everything) and the girls literally ate it up.

But our problem was not so much fruit. We had vegetable issues in our home. The girls would eat carrots on occasion. One liked tomatoes (technically a fruit, though), and the other was a red pepper eater. That was it. No spinach, no onions, no broccoli, no cauliflower. Beets are out of the question. Turnips and celery… no go!

So, we have found over the years a few tricks to get the produce back into their diets. The first is the “smoothie sneak.” Because my girls love fruit, they also love fruit smoothies. So, with the frozen pineapple, bananas and strawberries we throw into the blender, I also sneak in some raw spinach and carrots. The spinach has virtual no flavor in the drink, and the carrots’ sweetness adds to the mix. They never know what hits them.

Our second secret is the “sneaky pasta sauce.” My wife makes her own pasta sauce, and when she does she throws spinach, broccoli, carrots, and onions into the food processor. These little guys become undetected when thrown on some noodles with a few turkey meatballs.

And, finally, not so much tricky, but a way to get the girls to consume more of the green stuff, we make kale chips in the oven. There are many different recipes all over the internet, but we just go the simple route. Spray the leaves with some olive oil, sprinkle on a bit of sea salt, stick in the oven until crispy. The girls cannot get enough.

Nutritious food is important for our children’s good health, but food should be fun. When it’s not, now you have a few ways to make it so.

Written by: Leon Scott Baxter, America’s Relationship Guru


About the Author

Leon Scott Baxter is known as America’s Relationship Guru. He is the author of three books on love, romance and relationships, and is the founder of Baxter is also the father of two girls and has been a grade school teacher since 1997. His latest book is about raising happy, successful children. Join him at His favorite foods are kale chips, fruit smoothies and his wife’s pasta.

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Teach Your Teen To Make Good Food Choices

Young group of friends hanging out in the cityAs a high school track and cross-country coach, I interact with 50-60 teenagers almost every day. The food I catch these teens eating is usually an energy bar specially formulated for athletes, and most of the time they’re drinking water.

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