With a week left in the holiday season, we know entertaining family and friends is still on your to do list. Or maybe you just want to treat yourself to a little wholesome goodness. Either way, here is a sweet, simple, and healthier dessert that you can serve up after dinner or for a New Year’s Eve party.
Sweet Gluten Free Apple Crisp (Serves 2)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking dish (like a ramekin) with non-stick baking spray; set aside.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; gently toss to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
3. Bake for 20 minutes or until apples are tender.
4. Remove from oven; set aside for 5 minutes to cool before serving.
- Amie Valpone
Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP, Editor-in-Chief of TheHealthyApple.com is a Manhattan based Culinary Nutritionist, Personal Chef, Professional Recipe Developer, and Food Writer specializing in simple Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free ‘Clean’ recipes for the home cook. Visit Amie on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
For decades now, the food industry has created new chemicals to transform our food supply. Now, there are even “foods” that are made entirely from chemicals. There are five main reasons why chemicals are added to our foods:
Despite these advances in science, this type of manipulation can have a profound effect on our body in terms of possibly promoting disease rather than health. Many of the chemical additives, preservatives, and sweeteners have been linked to obesity, cancer, heart disease, and behavioral problems. While we all can appreciate the convenience of packaged and fast foods (we know, our lives are busy!), we should skip those with nasty toxic offenders.
Which Food Additives Should You Avoid?
1. Sodium Nitrite/Nitrate
Sodium nitrate (or sodium nitrite) is used as a preservative, coloring, and flavoring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, lunch meats, corned beef, smoked fish, and other processed meats. This ingredient has been found to form nitrosamines, some of which are human carcinogens—studies have shown an increased risk of rectal, esophageal, and gastric cancers and consumption of foods containing nitrates/nitrites. There is also a link between increased nitrates and Parkinson’s disease, Diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
2. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are commonly found in diet or sugar-free sodas, sugar-free gum, drink mixes, baking goods, table top sweeteners, cereal, breath mints, pudding, ice tea, chewable vitamins, and even toothpaste. Some of the documented effects of consuming artificial sweeteners are behavioral problems, hyperactivity, allergies, and possibly carcinogenic effects as well. The use of any artificial sweetener by children and pregnant women is not recommended, as the lasting effects are not well studied. Anyone with PKU (phenylketonuria—a problem of phenylalanine, an amino acid, metabolism) should not use aspartame (NutraSweet).
3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrées, lunch meats, seasonings, and many restaurant foods. MSG is known as an excitotoxin, a substance that overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. Studies show that regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects, which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity.
4. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) & Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
BHA and BHT are preservatives found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. This common preservative keeps foods from changing color, changing flavor, or becoming rancid. It has been shown to affect the nervous system, alter behavior, and has the potential to cause cancer.
5. Hydrogenated Fats/Trans Fats
Hydrogenated oils are used to enhance and extend the shelf life of food products. They are found in deep-fried fast foods and certain processed foods made with margarine or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fats are formed by a process called hydrogenation). Numerous studies show that trans fat increases LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol; increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, and strokes; and contributes to increased inflammation, diabetes, and other health problems. Keep in mind that a food label may state that a product contains “0” grams of trans fats, as the labeling law allows that when the product contains less than 0.49 grams per serving. Always read the ingredients to ensure that the product does not contain any hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil to limit trans fat intake.
And of course… Artificial Food Colorings (Read the 5 Ways to Avoid Risky Artificial Food Dyes)
Changing your shopping and eating routines isn’t something you can easily do overnight‑take it one step at a time. The first step is to become more aware about what you are currently eating. Then you can take steps to make the changes you desire.
Start with a few small changes that make a big difference. For example, shop a local farmers’ market. Pick one additive from the list above, and the next time you do your shopping make sure not to purchase any items that contain it…work your way down the list. The fresher your cart looks, the easier it will be!
Be Well, Be NutritionWise.
~ Nicole Meadow, MPN, RD of NutritionWise
This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of treatment or dietary changes, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.
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1. KEEP AN EYE ON THE KIDDOS. Holiday time is ripe with small objects strewn around the house. Decorations, wrapping paper, small toy parts, coins, and hard candy can easily be scooped up by a toddler and pose a choking hazard. Loose strands of lights, ribbons, and cords longer than 7” present a strangulation risk, while broken ornament shards can cut bare feet. Secure decorations so they are out of the reach of babies and young children, and keep an eye on them when enjoying the festive family room.
2. FIRE PROOF. Watch out for frayed wires, broken sockets, or loose connections on holiday lights. A couple of sparks on a dry tree and you could have an out of control fire before you know it—make sure to purchase a fresh tree with green, sturdy, and pliable needles and keep the stand filled with water. Hang decorations away from heat sources, such as fireplaces and heating vents. Don’t overload circuits. And while the warm glow looks pretty through the window, don’t leave candles burning in the house when you go to sleep (opt for candles that are not made from petroleum paraffin wax that emit toxic fumes and smoke).
3. COOK SMART. Entertaining at home or cooking with the kids? Ensure that lasting memories are made by keeping hot pots on the back burners of the stove to avoid accidental spills, scalding water, steam, and flames. Watch out for raw meat cross-contamination—wash hands and surfaces well before and after coming in contact with the food. Don’t be afraid to point guests to the living room so you can focus on cooking safely in the kitchen.
4. PLANT DANGER. It turns out all those pretty plants everyone decorates with for Christmas are poisonous if eaten. Mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, and Jerusalem cherry plants should be away from little ones and pets. For a poison emergency in the U.S., call 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers).
5. TOY SAFETY. It would seem if a store is selling a toy, then it’s safe. But that’s not always true. Sometimes toys have been recalled and stores may not be aware yet. If something seems loose or especially shoddy, investigate the latest toy recalls at the Consumer Product Safety Commission for the most recent updates.
6. PARTY PUNCH. Little kids and alcohol is not a combo that usually comes to mind. Believe it or not, alcohol poisoning is one of the leading reasons for children’s hospital visits over the holidays. With drinks that look kid-friendly, like spiked punch and Eggnog, little ones can easily mistake them as safe for consumption. And as curious eaters, kids often sample unattended and leftover alcoholic beverages sitting around the house during and after parties.
7. BUCKLE UP. Traveling for the holidays? Make sure all your car seats and boosters are installed properly. Even if it’s a short trip in a friend’s car, always buckle in the kids properly. Everyone is rushing around this time of year and it only takes a split second for an accident to occur.
8. STAY HEALTHY. Remind everyone to wash hands A LOT. The last thing you want is a winter cold going around your house. Don’t force kids to hug or kiss every visitor that walks in the door. Teach kids it’s best to cough or sneeze into their elbow not their hands. Well, a tissue would be best but we all know those aren’t always available.
9. SNOW WISE. It could be a white Christmas this year and, if so, that means fun in the snow. If the kids plan on sledding down a steep hill, have them wear helmets just like when they ride their bikes.
10. THE YEARLY TEST. It’s the perfect time of year to check and replace all the safety gadgets around your house like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and house alarms. Make sure everything has batteries and is working correctly. It’s a great habit to get into so you can take it off your list as you enter the New Year.
~ Jill Besnoy