Tag Archives: infographics

Vitamin Angels: what could you do with 25 cents?


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Cooking Wine 101

Cooking Wine 101 at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet thismamacooks.com

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The Skinny on Aspartame

The Skinny on Aspartame

As a Diet Coke Ambassador, I was sent this infographic on aspartame to share with my readers. I urge you to take time to look up some of the references at the bottom of the graphic and read some of the studies out there. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you and your family’s health and wellness. I hope I can give you some food for thought.

Support the Salad Bar Nation initiative to bring 2013 salad bars to schools

Salad Bar Nation raising funds for salad bars in schools

The Salad Bar Nation initiative by the Whole Kids Foundation is committed to improving the nation’s health by challenging Americans of all ages to eat a salad every day. A great idea in my opinion, because we all need more leafy greens and vegetables in our diets! They’re also utilizing text-to-give and online fundraising with the hopes of raising $5 million to fund 2,013 salad bars in schools across the country 2013. That’s is why I’m sharing the the infographic below, so you have some quick stats about Salad Bar Nation and the benefits of salad bars in schools.

In addition, to inspire you to eat more salads, the campaign’s website, SaladBarNation.org, is featuring a new salad each week along with simple healthy salad tips, so check it out! This week’s salad is the Mediterranean Crunch Salad – yummy!

How many calories can you burn in 10 minutes?

How many calories can you burn in 10 minutes?

What you need to know about RSV #RSVProtection

RSV Infographic

With the flu and norovirus tummy bug going around like gangbusters, I hope you’re reminding your family members to wash their hands frequently and to use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available. It’s also a good idea to frequently wipe down kitchen surfaces with bleach or disinfecting spray or wipes to help prevent the spread of germs.

However, November through March is also RSV season.  RSV usually causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in children, but in some babies it results in a serious respiratory infection. Those most at risk for severe RSV include premature infants, as their lungs aren’t fully developed and they have fewer infection-fighting antibodies than full-term babies. As a mom of two preemies, I was always on the lookout for RSV. Luckily, Lucie and Nathan never got it.

Daycare and RSV

If you’re a parent of a high-risk baby, you may want to consider alternative child care options, such as nannies or in-home daycare centers, where exposure to dangerous germs can be minimized. However, RSV doesn’t just affect babies who are in daycare. The two girls I know of who were hospitalized this winter with RSV and needed oxygen were two- and four-years-old and had stay-at-home caregivers.

RSV symptoms and prevention

Since you never know where your child will be exposed to RSV, it’s best to be on the lookout for symptoms of severe RSV infection:

  • Coughing or wheezing that does not stop
  • Fast or troubled breathing
  • Spread-out nostrils and/or a caved-in chest when trying to breathe
  • Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
  • Fever (especially if it is over 100.4°F in infants under 3 months of age)
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Difficulty feeding

Parents should contact a medical professional immediately upon signs of these symptoms.

Since there’s also no treatment for RSV, it’s important for parents and caregivers to take preventive steps to help protect the children in their care like frequent washing of hands, toys, and bedding. Those at risk should also avoid crowds, people who are sick, and cigarette smoke.

Visit RSVProtection.com and follow #RSVProtection on Twitter for more information.

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Top Food Blogs to Follow in 2013 #infographic

kitchen tools

In case you're wondering, This Mama Cooks! On a Diet is number 31. There are some terrific food blogs on the list – and some new to me – so check ‘em out!

Top 100 food blogs to follow

Americans consume 130 pounds of sugar each year

Nursing Your Sweet Tooth

Updating nutrition standards on snack foods and beverages

Sizing up snack foods sold in many schoolsAs parents, we try to get our kids to eat healthy food at home and when we’re out with them. However, so many kids do not have nutritious foods available at school. The majority of our nation’s secondary schools don’t sell fruits and vegetables in school stores, snack bars, or vending machines, according to a report from the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a joint initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“Research shows that the consumption of 110 to 165 calories above recommended amounts per day—roughly the difference between an apple and a bag of chips—may be responsible for rising rates of childhood obesity,” said Jessica Donze Black, director of the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project. “Because many students consume as many as half of their daily calories at school, what children eat during the school day is a critical issue if we want to reverse obesity rates.”

While many public schools implemented healthier meals this fall under the USDA’s revised meal standards, the regulations didn’t cover snack foods and beverages, making them the next frontier in ensuring students have access to healthy options in school. Luckily, the USDA is posed to issue policies requiring that foods and beverages sold outside of the federal school meals program meet minimum nutrition standards – sooner than later I hope!

How to pack a superbug-free lunch box #infographic


Do you Just Say No to Drugs…in your children’s lunchbox? This infographic shows you how to avoid meat raised with antibiotics and the Superbugs that can result.

Just a few more reasons why you shouldn’t smoke

smokingMy husband and I are constantly discussing smoking with our kids and why they shouldn’t do it. It becomes challenging when we have friends over who do smoke, so it’s helpful to give the kids the basic facts. That’s why this terrific infographic could be helpful the next time with your kids about smoking.

The infographic covers scary statistics like 20 times more people are killed by cigarettes than are murdered in the US. Also, if the breakdown of what actually is in cigarettes – like ammonia, butane and rocket fuel – doesn’t turn  your kids off, I don’t know what would.

One thing that it doesn’t cover is that smoking makes you look much older than you are, because it damages your skin. That’s great, I guess, when you’re 16 and want to look 26. But it’s horrible when you’re 45 and look 60.

How do you talk with your children about the dangers of cigarette smoking?

What parts of your body are most susceptible to skin cancer?


According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States since one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. If you live to age 65, you’ll have a 40-50% chance of developing skin cancer at least once.

Since about 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, I thought I’d share this infographic from Vitals  about what  parts of your body are most susceptible to skin cancer.

How do you protect your skin from the sun?

How to save money at the grocery store #infographic

moneyHere are some tips fro All You! magazine magazine to help you save money by avoiding spending traps at the grocery store. However, check out the comments about boneless chicken on the All You! page where the Save Money on Groceries infographic originally appeared. I’m going to agree with some of the posters that buying boneless chicken on sale is probably a good deal – unless you make stock from chicken bones, that is!

I’ve also heard from friends who are dog owners that giving your dog RAW chicken bones is OK. However, cooked chicken bones will splinter, so that’s a big no-no.

How do you save at the grocery store? 

Save Money on Groceries: Avoid Spending Traps at the Store

[Source: Daily Savings from All You]

Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate links. A commission may be earned from a referred sale to their website.

Having a nice smile makes a good first impression #InvisalignMAB

Invisalign Smile Study Infographic

I’m excited to announce that I’m done with my initial Invisalign treatment – all 19 aligner trays – just in time for our move to Georgia! I’m wearing a retainer at night, which is comfortable and easy to manage. However, I’m bummed that I will have to continue treatment after my move as two of my bottom teeth are still crooked. Ironically, these were always the teeth that I hated most. (You can see a picture of them here. They’re the crooked teeth on the right side of the picture about midway down the post.)

It’s not because Invisalign didn’t work, because it did. My other teeth are gorgeous, straighter and better aligned than after I got my  braces off when I was in high school. It’s just that there refinements need to made, as Dr. Goings told me could happen. This is where the art comes in after the science.

On a positive note, it does give me an opportunity to check out a new Invisalign orthodontist in Georgia before both my kids need to go through treatment. Otherwise, I’m a bit disappointed because I had wanted my smile to be perfect as possible since first impressions are everything and I’ll be meeting many new people soon.

First impressions are everything

A recent perception study conducted by Kelton for Invisalign, proves that your smile is a catalyst for assumptions regarding success, popularity, intelligence, and general health.

“Whether we like it or not, we are often judged by our appearance,” said Dr. Michelle Callahan, renowned TV host, relationship expert, coach, and development psychologist. “The results of this Smile Survey prove what I've always believed, which is the importance of an attractive, healthy smile, whether you're socializing and networking face-to-face or virtually.  Your smile has more of an effect on what others perceive about you than you think.”

I know I often notice how nice people’s teeth are and make snap judgments based on how they look. For example, I have a friend (let’s call her Kay) who has awful teeth but a lovely home, fancy car, designer purses and takes her family on expensive vacations. I often wonder why Kay doesn’t put “her money where her mouth is” and get her teeth straightened.

I also have several friends who have gone through conventional braces later in life because they’re ashamed of how crooked their teeth were. They put up with the dorky look of silver bars and wires just to have nice teeth. Too bad they didn’t know about Invisalign and how most people don’t even notice you’re wearing aligners!

The positive affect of a beautiful smile

The perception study found that nearly one-third (29%) of Americans say the first aspect of someone's face they typically notice is his or her teeth, and 24% say this is also the facial aspect that they remember the most after meeting someone. That’s why getting your teeth straightened is an investment in your future or your child’s future. You see, Americans perceive those with straight teeth to be 45% more likely than those with crooked teeth to get a job when competing with someone who has a similar skill set and experience.  They are also seen as 58% more likely to be successful, as well as 58% more likely to be wealthy.

Also, when it comes to attracting a possible mate on a dating site, those with straight teeth are seen as 57% more likely than those with crooked teeth to get a date based on their picture alone.  Sure it’s superficial, but first impressions lead to first dates. In fact, nearly two in five (38%) Americans would consider not going on a second date with someone who has misaligned teeth!

There’s the trust factor, too. Nearly three in four (73%) Americans would be more likely to trust someone with a nice smile than someone with a good job, outfit, or car.

People also connect more positive descriptions with men and women who have straight teeth than those who have crooked teeth. Those with straight teeth are 21% more likely to be seen as happy, 47% more likely to be viewed as being healthy and 38% more likely to be perceived as smart.

All I want is a nice smile

Finally, the study showed that having an attractive smile is something important to many Americans as nearly three in five (57%) Americans would rather have a nice smile than clear skin. If you’re one of them, check out my how to pick an orthodontist post to find out how Invisalign might be right for you or your child.

Disclosure: I’m a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. I’m receiving complimentary treatment from Invisalign, but all opinions and experiences expressed are my own.

Results from the Ziploc Fresh Eating Survey-Denver vs. Boston {Win a FreshOver Goodie Bag} #freshover

FreshOver Infographic

As you know, I’ve teamed up with Ziploc to encourage Americans to eat more fresh. If you are a regular reader – you’ll notice, I’m already looking for ways to put a healthy spin on my family’s favorites. Earlier this year, Ziploc Brand partnered with best-selling author and TV personality Rachael Ray for the FreshOver Project, which includes the Ziploc Fresh Eating Survey – a city-by-city snapshot of food-related choices across America with insight into a metro area’s “freshness” ranking.

The Ziploc Fresh Eating Survey gives an interesting look into the most and least fresh cities across America. The top 10 “freshest cities” have residents who seek out and eat the freshest food options available, through farmer’s markets and gardening habits. The least fresh cities are where residents face obstacles to eating fresh, such as a high prevalence of fast food options and a lack of fresh food resources.

Do some of the cities surprise you, like Boston, D.C. and Minneapolis? Me, too! Plus, I was surprised not to see Denver in the top 20 let alone the top 10, so I did a little digging.


A closer look at the data

I wanted to compare one of the high ranking cities, Boston, with my closest metro area, Denver, which came in at No. 31. Considering that Colorado is one of the healthiest and “skinniest” states in the U.S.in my opinion, I was surprised it was so low in the freshness rankings.

Survey – What time of day are you most likely to make poor or unhealthy food choices?

Denver-Aurora, Colo.
Breakfast: 10.3 percent
Lunch: 20.7 percent
Afternoon: 25.9 percent
Dinner: 10.3 percent
Late night: 32.8 percent

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. – N.H.
Breakfast: 10.7 percent
Lunch: 12.5 percent
Afternoon: 33.9 percent
Dinner: 14.3 percent
Late night: 28.6 percent

Amount of Farmers markets, CSAs and fast food establishments per city

Denver-Aurora, Colo. – rate per 100,000
Farmers Markets: 1.20
CSAs: 0.73
Fast Food estab: 52.4

Denver-Aurora, Colo. – total number
Farmers Markets: 31
CSAs: 19
Fast Food estab: 1355

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. – N.H. – rate per 100,000
Farmers Markets: 2.35
CSAs: 2.15
Fast Food estab: 62.0

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. – N.H. – total number
Farmers Markets: 107
CSAs: 98
Fast Food estab: 2822

Survey – How often do you eat foods containing fresh fruits and vegetables?

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. – N.H.
Rarely: 5.3 percent
1-2 days weekly: 8.8 percent
3-4 days weekly: 10.5 percent
5-6 days weekly: 8.8 percent
Every day: 66.7 percent

Denver-Aurora, Colo.
Rarely: 3.4 percent
1-2 days weekly: 15.3 percent
3-4 days weekly: 11.9 percent
5-6 days weekly: 11.9 percent
Every day: 57.6 percent

Percent of residents with a garden

Denver-Aurora, Colo. – 21.1 percent

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. – N.H. – 26.8 percent

I’m looking for more ways to incorporate fresh ingredients into my family’s meals.

Denver-Aurora, Colo.
Strongly agree: 59.6 percent
Somewhat agree: 26.9 percent
Neither agree nor disagree: 9.6 percent
Somewhat disagree: 1.9 percent
Strongly disagree: 1.9 percent

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. – N.H.
Strongly agree: 56.6 percent
Somewhat agree: 34.0 percent
Neither agree nor disagree: 7.5 percent
Somewhat disagree: 0.0 percent
Strongly disagree: 1.9 percent

I feel like a good parent when my family eats fresh food

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. – N.H.
81.1 percent: Strongly agree
10.8 percent: Somewhat agree
8.1 percent: Neither agree nor disagree
0.0 percent: Somewhat disagree
0.0 percent: Strongly disagree

Denver-Aurora, Colo.
80.0 percent: Strongly agree
11.1 percent: Somewhat agree
6.7 percent: Neither agree nor disagree
0.0 percent: Somewhat disagree
2.2 percent: Strongly disagree

Some quick conclusions

In Ziploc’s analysis, the categories were assigned the following weights, indicating the relative importance of each category:

  • Greater weight – Fruit and vegetable servings and percent with a vegetable garden
  • Medium weight – Farmers markets
  • Lesser weight – Eats fresh fruits and vegetables, wants to use more fresh ingredients, presence of CSAs, and presence of fast food establishments

Boston’s and Denver’s numbers were fairly close except for How often do you eat foods containing fresh fruits and vegetables? According to the survey, Boston eats more vegetables. I guess all the tomatoes served in Boston’s North End and the potatoes in the clam chowder count for something, right? (I’m being sarcastic. Well, a little.)

Still, results would be very different if they used the Boulder/Denver metro area instead of Aurora/Denver. The results would have been “fresher” as we all know how vegetarian and vegan friendly Boulder, Colo. is. Boulderites love their community gardens, locally sourced food, farmer’s markets, organic produce, and healthy grocery stores, for sure!

Win a Ziploc FreshOver Goodie Bag (value $130)!

Ziploc Goodie Bag giveaway

Recently several of the FreshOver Insider 5 bloggers attended a FreshOver event in New York with Rachael Ray. (You can watch a video recap here.) I’m giving away another Ziploc prize pack complete with a cooking wok, garlic press and other cooking utensils, a bottle of Terra Medi Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a box of Ziploc Perfect Portions bags, a Ziploc VersaGlass container, and assorted other products in a Baggu bag.

How to enter to win a Ziploc FreshOver Event Good Bag (value $130):

Giveaway closed. Congrats to Kristen M.! 

  1. In the comments below, tell me your favorite way to make a meal fresh (adding vegetables or fruits, etc.).
  2. Sign up for This Mama Cooks! Review’s RSS feed for ONE additional entry.
  3. Sign up for my enewsletter for ONE additional entry.
  4. Spread the word about this giveaway by submitting a link to this post on Twitter for ONE additional entry. You must leave a link to your tweet in your comment so I can check.
  5. Follow @amnichols on Twitter for ONE additional entry.

If you have done any of these additional activities you MUST come back here and leave a comment telling me what you did. I will be checking!

Giveaway starts on May 10, 2012 at noon PST and ends on May 17, 2012 at 5 p.m. PST

Click here for the Ziploc Giveaway Official Rules

Disclosure: I have partnered with Ziploc® and am being compensated for my posts. However, my opinions on the product are my own.

Ever wonder how long you can store food before trashing it?


The one good thing about moving was finally clearing the old food out of the freezer and pantry. I had a lot of items that were way past their due dates and had to be tossed.

Here’s a handy spring cleaning and decluttering guide to how long food lasts.

 How long does food last? Here's what to keep... and what to toss.
[Source: Daily Savings from All You]