By Lisa Dingman
You may know me as a fun, health inspiring columnist, but I would like to share with you the dark side of some of America’s common food selections so that you might have peace of mind. I have picked the two most popular patriotic snacks and will help you make them healthier for your family.
Patriotic JellO Cups
What kid doesn’t love the jiggly, colorful snack, jello? This fun treat comes in a variety of colors and flavors that can be sliced however you desire. But it has some hidden dangers.
Artificial colors: According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), food dyes may cause learning impairment and hyperactivity in children and are still under speculation of being a cancer-causing agent in humans. Children start to show signs of overdose from these neurotoxic chemicals when they consume around 35 mg a day. One cup of orange jello contains 24.4 mg of synthetic colors.
Artificial sweeteners and flavors: These are used to replace the sweetness that was lost in products that strut the label “sugar free.” These not-so-sweet sweeteners—which are banned from consumption in other countries, mind you—are manufactured in a lab and made with chemicals derived from petroleum.
Alternatives: Make your own jello by using unflavored gelatin and your favorite natural fruit juice. If you need to boost the sweetness add in a tablespoon of natural honey or real fruit pieces.
Fruit and Veggie Trays
A fruit and vegetable tray is a great item to bring to a party. It is packed with health benefits, however, there are a couple of things you can do to improve this dish and make it even healthier.
Do not remove the skin: By stripping the skin, you are taking the high fiber content out of the food and solely ingesting sugar—in the case of fruit—giving you a false sense of long-lasting energy and a rapid spike of blood sugar and insulin levels. Juicing has recently taken the forefront of the health food craze. Although it is a great source of vitamins and minerals, you are removing all of the fiber—an important part of your nutritional needs. Fiber aids in controlling blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, and helping to prevent constipation.
Wash your fruits and veggies before eating them: Doing so will clear off human handling, dirt, and most pesticides.
Celebrating freedom includes choosing what we believe is best for ourselves and our families. Stand strong in the choices you make for their health and let freedom bring health to your family.
Lisa Dingeman is a devoted wife and the proud mother of two boys. She is a personal trainer at Family Wellness in Mandan and also participates in fitness competions. Lisa has devoted her life to faith, family, and wellness.