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Submitted by on February 3, 2011 – 8:16 PMNo Comment

On Sunday, February 6th, as you sit down to watch the Super Bowl with family and friends, here is a list of foods and their nutritional benefits that have been published for their effects on increased health. They have been deemed “SUPER FOODS” (most of which are found in gameday foods) and with great reason.  When contemplating your game day menu, try seeking out recipes that incorporate these ingredients. Be creative and pair some of them together to create healthy, colorful and tasty game day treats.    These can be a nice compliment to offset some of the otherwise  “less than healthy” indulgences. J

Nuts and Seeds contain all the important nutrients needed for human growth. They are excellent sources of protein and the essential unsaturated fatty acids.   They are natural sources of lecithin, most of the B-complex vitamins and vitamin E, which are perhaps the most important elements for the preservation of health and prevention of premature aging. They are high in protein, fat (the good kind) and carbohydrates. They are rich in many minerals such as potassium, sodium, calcium and phosphorus , sulphur .  They are high in B vitamins, vitamin F, Vitamin A and C.   Overall nuts and seeds are extremely high in protein and essential fatty acids (which are utilized are carbohydrates for energy). Obvious uses:  trail mixes, sprinkled on salads, roasted, etc.

Avocados possess the following nutrients Vitamin A, C, E, K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Niacin; B6, Folate, Panothenic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium and Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium, AND Unsaturated Fats (which are utilized as energy). Avocados helps produce energy and are good for muscle contraction and relaxation.  They have been found to be helpful in lowering cholesterol levels,. The antioxidant properties in avocados help in slowing down the aging process. Glutathione, present in avocados, acts as an antioxidant and helps neutralize free radicals that can cause cell damage.   Since an avocado is rich in monounsaturated fats, it helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and boost HDL (good) cholesterol. The potassium in avocados helps keep body’s electrolytes in balance. The presence of folate in avocados promotes healthy cell and tissue development.   The presence of Lutein in an avocado makes it act as a protection against macular degeneration and eye diseases like cataract.   Sounds perfect if you ask me! Obvious uses: Guacamole, sliced on salads and soups…even burgers!

Pomegranate: contains potassium, more antioxidants compared to other juices and even wine, vitamin B and Vitamin C, great source of fiber, helps prevent heart disease, keeps your immune system healthy and prevents buildup of material in your arteries. Obvious Uses:  Juices and martinis, soup cups with crème fresh!

Pumpkin : is high in beta carotene and fiber.  Beta Carotene has been proven to lower the risk of certain cancers and fiber helps keep the digestive track healthy and help the body feel satiated.  Obvious uses:  Soups, pumpkin pizza,  pies, side dishes, seeds in trail mix or salads or yogurt.

Oranges: are rich in calcium and have been associated with protection and maintenance of the health of bones.  Alike our friends pumpkin and carrot, they are also high in beta-carotene. Oranges, being rich in Vitamins B6, help support the production of hemoglobin in the body. Regular consumption of orange juice can significantly increase HDL levels and improve the LDL-HDL ratio of a person. The folic acid present in oranges helps in proper brain development.  The high content of potassium in oranges helps maintain electrolyte balance in the cells and also aids the maintenance of a healthy cardiovascular system. Obvious uses:  juice, sliced on pizza, salads,  fruit salads, orange slices can be baked over fish for a fresh citrus flavor.

Broccoli:  contains Vitamins B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6, B9 (Folate), Vitamin C and A.   When it comes to minerals, broccoli contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. These vitamins and minerals aren’t just found in tiny trace amounts either. An ounce of broccoli contains more Vitamin C than many citrus fruits. And has more calcium than an entire glass of milk.  And it’s an even richer source of fiber than whole wheat bread. Obvious Uses:  raw in a vegetable tray, as a soup, as a side dish, etc.

Spinach: Spinach is very rich in Vitamin A, which makes it beneficial for weak eyes. Any kind of strain on the eyes is reduced to a great extent and the eye muscles are made stronger. The thickening and hardening of arteries is prevented due to substances like choline and inositol, which are present in significant amounts to make sure the blood arteries remain healthy. Diabetics can particularly benefit from spinach since it is known that eating spinach regularly can stabilize blood sugar and prevent it from fluctuating often. A particular substance known as flavonoid is present in spinach which is a powerful anti-oxidant and also has anti-cancer agents. Spinach is known to be an anti-aging vegetable and reverses age related breakdowns, making you youthful and fresh. It also has a good amount of Vitamin K which helps in the clotting of blood in case of injuries. Obvious uses:  veggie sandwich, omlettes, pizza, pasta sauces, dips, etc.

Whole Grains: Whole grains include grains like wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, rye – when these foods are eaten in their “whole” form . Whole grains even include popcorn.  Moreover, whole grains have some valuable antioxidants not found in fruits and vegetables, as well as B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber.  The medical evidence is clear that whole grains reduce risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Few foods can offer such diverse benefits.  People who eat whole grains regularly have a lower risk of obesity, as measured by their body mass index and waist-to-hip ratios. They also have lower cholesterol levels. Obvious uses: breads, snacks, trail mixes, pastas, etc.

Yogurt: Yogurt due to the live active cultures, probiotics, may decrease the risk of breast cancer And there’s very strong evidence it can reduce problems associated with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory digestive tract disorders. Obvious uses:   dips, soups, shakes, sauces with fruit, etc.

Green Tea: Most any tea is pretty healthy but green tea is the super food star. While all teas have antioxidants, green tea has the antioxidant ECGC. ECGC has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer and possibly aid in lowering cholesterol  and as a fat metabolizer. Replace sugary soda with green tea. If the grassy flavor is an issue, try steeping a bag of green tea with a favorite flavored bag of herbal tea. Obvious uses:  martinis!

Chocolate. Chocolate is filled with heart healthy antioxidants. Just make sure the chocolate you eat contains at least sixty percent pure cacao, on the dark side. Eat a square or two of chocolate after a meal as dessert. It does not take much chocolate to reap the health benefits. Obvious uses:  syrups, sauces, chili (trust me on this), desserts,  mole sauce for chicken, etc.

Beans.: are filled with fiber, protein and are lowfat. Studies have shown that eating beans regularly can lower risk of heart disease. Pair beans with whole grains like whole wheat, brown rice, or barley to make a complete protein. Obvious uses:  add beans to soups, salads, tacos, chili and dips.

Salmon: The healthy factor in fish is omega-3 fatty acids, and specifically two types known as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).  Fatty fish not only plays a vital role in the health of the membrane of every cell but specifcally can help prevent heart disease, stroke, hypertension, depression, joint pain, and a number of illnesses linked to inflammation, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It may even offer some protection against Alzheimer’s disease. Obvious uses:  Use salmon in pasta, salmon cakes, or on it’s own cold or hot and of course sushi!

Tomato: The powerhouse nutrient is lycopene, which is protects against prostate cancer helps woman fight heart disease. Juices, drinks, sauces, ketchup, gravy, raw, omlettes, pizza, etc.

Berries: protect your body with powerful anti-cancer nutrients which promote cell repair. Berries are also high in vitamin C and folic acid, which is essential for all women in their childbearing years. And they offer powerful anti-oxidant protection, which not only protects the heart but also may protect against skin aging, from the inside out.” Cranberries may help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections in women, while the nutrient, lutein found in all the berries, can help protect vision. Obvious uses:  fruit salad, green salad, smoothies, over ice cream, etc.

So go ahead and enjoy the Super Bowl and these super foods, alone or in combinations.  Following a well balanced diet is a super way to ensure a healthy life.     Have fun, eat well and may your favorite team win!

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