4 Reasons Fresh Foods Are Superior to Processed Foods

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, processed foods seem to reign supreme. Fast food and pre-packaged meals offer families more of what they often lack: time.

Unfortunately, while processed foods might give you a few extra minutes today, chronic use can result in less time later. Overly processed foods can lead to overeating, obesity, and chronic health conditions, which is why medical professionals encourage people to eat a diet of primarily fresh foods.

Fresh foods contribute to your overall health and well-being. They provide superior nutrition compared to processed foods and encourage healthy lifelong habits. According to nutritionists and other medical professionals, there are many reasons to eat fresh.

1. Fresh Foods Boost Immune Defenses

As the seasons change, winter gets closer, as does cold and flu season. While no foods can magically cure illnesses, consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can prevent infection or reduce the likelihood of sickness. Several studies suggest a healthy and balanced diet promotes good health and fortifies the immune system.

Obviously, your diet is not the only contributing factor to your level of infection risk. You will also want to maintain good hygiene and sleep practices.

2. Fresh Foods Teach Healthy Habits

Childhood obesity is a disturbing issue, and many studies suggest it is a dangerous trend that continues into adulthood. According to one study, two-year-old obese children are more likely to become obese adults. Obesity puts children at risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer as they age.

Most children can adopt healthy eating habits easily; parents only need to expose them to a healthier diet. By including plant-based foods with every meal, your child will learn its importance. Also, providing a balanced diet helps children develop a healthy relationship with food.

3. Fresh Foods Reduce Family Costs

A common argument for consuming a diet mainly comprising processed foods is cost. People assume fresh foods are more expensive, which is false in most instances. According to experts, fresh food is cheaper than processed foods with proper meal planning and effort.

The problem most people have is they attempt overly complex meals. Keep in mind that your dinners do not have to meet Michelin star restaurant standards. Using an affordable lean protein like chicken and a decent portion of fruits and vegetables is enough to make a satisfying and affordable meal at home.

4. Fresh Foods Taste Great

Clean eating is a palate awakening. Society is so used to overly salted, sugar-covered snacks that it's forgotten the delicacy of natural foods. Fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can offer a whirlwind of flavors, and the combinations are vast. If you are only willing to open up your palate to clean foods, the overwhelming available flavors might surprise you.

Fresh foods are more nutritious than most processed foods and present reduced health risks in the short and long term. While you might turn to fast food or other overly processed meals to save time, consider the potential risks of consuming such foods routinely. Fresh is best, especially where your health is concerned.

6 Foods for a Longer Life

Who doesn't want to live longer? One thing that sucks about being human is the relatively short lifespan. Thankfully, with medical advances, people are living longer than ever. You can even boost your longevity by eating the right foods. Nutritionists recommend six foods for a longer life.

1. Dark Leafy Greens

Eating dark leafy greens can slow cognitive decline. Dark leafy greens include:

  • Chard
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Collards

According to a study in the Neurology journal, researchers found that participants who ate about 1.5 servings of greens daily showed less cognitive decline than those who ate less. The findings suggested the difference between the participants was equivalent to 11 years in brain health.

2. Fruits

You cannot go wrong with fresh fruit. All varieties of fruit have anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and immune-supportive properties. Despite the nutritional benefits of all fruit, nutritionists and dieticians say berries are particularly advantageous because they are low in sugar, nutrient-rich, and high in fiber.

Studies show the blue-purple family of berries is especially important to immunity and brain and heart health. One study concluded that people aged 66 to 70 who drank concentrated blueberry juice daily showed improvements in memory and brain activity.

However, the benefits of fruit come from consuming clean fruit. Do not eat fruit covered in syrup or sugar; it negates the health benefits.

3. Nuts

Nuts are amazing and deserve their place on the list of life-preserving superfoods. As a dense source of nutrients, nuts support the metabolism and immune system, help balance gut health and reduce inflammation, promote heart and brain health, and act as a cancer preventative.

One study of over 7,000 adults 55 to 80 years old and at high risk of heart disease showed that eating nuts can reduce mortality. According to researchers, the participants who ate three or more one-ounce servings of nuts per week showed a 39% lower mortality risk than non-nut eaters.

4. Whole Grains

Whole grains can reduce the risk of early death. The best whole grain options include:

  • Oatmeal
  • Bran
  • Brown rice
  • Couscous
  • Popcorn
  • Quinoa

According to a review of published studies, four servings of whole grains daily led to a lower risk of death than one serving or less over the 40-year study period. The researchers suggested the health benefits of whole grains stem from the foods' high fiber content. A high-fiber diet can lower cholesterol production in the body.

5. Legumes

The legume family — peas, beans, and lentils — is low in fat and high in folate, protein, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Also, studies suggest beans can reduce the risks of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

6. Green Tea

Researchers link green tea to reduced diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's, cancer, and heart disease risks. During one study of more than 40,000 participants, adults who drank five cups or more of green tea per day were 26% less likely to die during the study than those drinking one cup.

Green tea is likely beneficial because it is nutrient-dense and antioxidant-rich, which can benefit telomeres. Telomeres protect DNA and naturally shorten with age, but green tea can prevent some shortening.

If you want to improve your odds of a longer life, focus on your health. Add the above six foods to your diet and possibly add years to your life.

These Chemicals in Your Hand Lotion Can Be Harmful

Hand lotion is one of the most benign products out there, right? That’s what I thought, too. Imagine my surprise when I discovered there are some pretty shady ingredients lurking in my favorite scented lotions. Those ingredients could be responsible for everything from my frequent headaches to my imbalanced hormones. There’s even such a thing as hand lotion poisoning! Who knew?

It’s pretty hard to believe your hand lotion could be causing you health issues, right? Since I don’t want you to just take my word for it, let’s dive into some of the harmful chemicals commonly found in different brands of hand lotion.

Dimethicone

Dimethicone is a silicone-based polymer. It’s one of the most common ingredients found in lotions because it helps to condition the skin. There is a lot of controversy over this ingredient because it is known to be a hazardous ingredient if it is consumed.

Well, people don’t eat lotion, so what’s the big deal? Even though we don’t ingest the dimethicone in hand lotions, this ingredient can still enter our body through our skin. Our skin is highly porous and although it is designed to keep unwanted bacteria and other harmful foreign objects out of our bodies, much of the products we put onto our skin ends up being absorbed by our bodies.

Dimethicone can also disrupt the healthy turnover of skin cells and lead to trapped debris in the pores. These issues can cause dead skin buildup and ingrown hairs. That doesn’t sound very fun to me!

Mineral Oil

Minerals are good for our bodies, but mineral oil is another story. Research shows that mineral oil may be damaging to hormone balance. It can also cause a film on the skin that interferes with the body’s ability to produce vitamin D during sun exposure. Mineral oil can also clog your pores and cause acne and skin irritation.

Paraffins

Paraffin oil is often seen in the ingredients list of various skincare products. Paraffin oil is tasteless, colorless and insoluble in water. It can be more toxic than gasoline, especially if ingested. Accidental inhalation of paraffin oil can cause shortness of breath and coughing. Prolonged exposure to the oil on the skin can lead to contact dermatitis and skin irritation. Not to mention the fact that paraffin oil is highly flammable! All of these drawbacks make paraffin oil an unsuitable ingredient for hand lotion.

Parabens

Parabens are man-made preservatives often used in cosmetic products to help the formulas have a more stable shelf life. The problem with parabens is that they have been shown to negatively impact hormone function. When your hormones are out of balance, you’re more likely to experience changes in your immune and thyroid function. You may also notice weight and mood changes due to hormone imbalances.

The risk of infertility, obesity and allergies may be higher in people who are regularly exposed to parabens. For these reasons and more, it’s best to avoid hand lotions that include parabens in the ingredients list.

Perfumes

Perfumes are what make hand lotions fun, right? The problem is that perfumes are usually synthetic and lab-derived (which makes them more likely to cause skin irritation). Additionally, the regulations regarding what companies can put into their fragrances are very loose. Companies don’t have to list the individual ingredients in their fragrances, which means you could potentially be exposed to endocrine disruptions, carcinogens, respiratory irritants and more harmful ingredients without even knowing it.

To avoid exposing your body to any of the potentially harmful ingredients listed above, you need to be vigilant. Carefully check product labels on hand lotions and other cosmetic products to make sure they’re as free from harmful chemicals as possible.

Positive Affirmations: The Science and Benefits

Positive affirmations seem innocuous and fruitless to skeptics, yet people have been using positive phrases to challenge unhelpful or negative thoughts for decades. While the practice can seem odd to the newcomer, that doesn't indicate its ineffectiveness.

There is plenty of research to support the practice of daily affirmations to support mood and self-esteem. It all comes down to self-talk and the altering of negative subconscious patterns. In essence, positive affirmations are about replacing adversarial self-talk with more positive and adaptive narratives.

Reviewing the Science

Positive affirmations only work when developed into a habit. If you want to make lasting changes to your inner dialogue, confidence, and self-esteem, you need to alter your frame of mind, which takes time.

While affirmations require time, they do not require faith to work. The use of daily affirmations is rooted in sound, well-established, and supported psychological theory, specifically self-affirmation theory. The practice was the focus of several empirical studies. It has been proven time and time again that self-integrity is malleable and that how people perceive the world can affect their view of self.

In other words, by sculpting a more positive view through positive self-affirmations, people can maintain self-integrity regardless of outside influences. People, then, have the ability to determine their morale through the power of thought and perception.

Identity and the Self

How you view yourself is often the result of many outside influences, such as friends, family, employer, etc. However, while these people play a role in how you develop, what matters is how you internalize their input.

Affirmations remind people that what matters most is how they view themselves. While receiving feedback can alter beliefs and thinking, it should not detract from the person.

The routine practice of positive affirmations can help people realize the significance of self-reflection and self-talk. When you commit to seeing the best in you and surround yourself with positivity, you can experience significant benefits from affirmations.

Benefits of Daily Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations are not just words. When focused into a habit, they have a transformative effect that can alter health, performance, and productivity. According to the years of research, daily affirmations can provide several distinct advantages, including:

  • Decreased stress and anxiety
  • Improved resilience to criticism
  • Altered negative physical behavior
  • Improved academic performance

Outlook for Habitual Use

Despite the naysayers, positive and daily affirmations are tied to actual and proven results. With habitual use, positive affirmations can alter a person's way of thinking, encouraging an optimistic mindset. The change from a negative focus to optimism can also lead to fewer negative thoughts, also reducing the tendency to linger on negative experiences.

For those struggling with anxiety or other health conditions, affirmations can encourage resilience, allowing for action and improving confidence. Primarily, affirmations help create a broader sense of self, allowing people to manage social pressures more constructively.

Using positive affirmations is advantageous. While some skeptics might feel a little strange conversing with themselves in the mirror, they will likely notice a positive change with practice and commitment. Sometimes, to make ourselves feel better, we need to feel a little strange first.

Have you ever tried daily affirmations? If so, for how long, and did they work?

Carbonation and Gut Health

Over the past several years, research and studies provided insight into the gut-brain connection and the importance of gut health. A balanced microbiome can not only improve digestion and GI function, but it can also improve mental health and overall biological function.

Most people understand that water is the most beneficial beverage for their diet. The human body needs water to operate. Still, people like variety, and water is not the most diverse beverage on the planet. Many people turn to teas, coffee, and sodas for variety.

However, a new trend suggests drinking carbonated beverages for improved gut health. Some people even promote carbonated sodas. Is carbonation a solution for improved gut health, or is it only a fad and a pipe dream?

Carbonation and Gut Health

There are many benefits to drinking carbonated or sparkling water. According to some experts, carbonated water can improve digestion, swallowing, and feelings of fullness while reducing constipation.

Unfortunately, carbonated beverages can also result in bloating and belching. The drinks are made from dissolved carbon dioxide. The compound expands to a gas when it reaches the warm temperatures of the stomach and GI tract. The stomach expands to accommodate the gas, and belching occurs to release it.

Soda and Gut Health

There are many rumors about how soda can improve gut health or ease stomach ailments, but there is little truth to the speculation. Some studies suggest that drinking carbonated soda, such as Sprite, can help with digestion because of PH values.

In truth, carbonated sodas might cause indigestion and promote acid reflux. According to experts, carbonation leads to gastric distention, resulting in more pressure on the esophageal sphincter. Therefore, people who deal with acid reflux or heartburn should stay away from soda and other carbonated beverages.

Drinks That Promote Gut Health

If you are going to drink carbonated beverages, stick to water. If you are looking for beverages to support your overall gut health, consider one of the following:

  • Kombucha
  • Peppermint tea
  • Ginger tea
  • Fennel tea
  • Lemongrass tea
  • Coffee

The above beverages all offer more benefits than sodas. Soda is a sugar-sweetened drink, and it can result in increased risks of heart disease, metabolic disorders, and tooth decay.

Water Is the Superior Beverages

If you are looking for the most beneficial beverage, it is water, hands down. Water is free of any additives and chemicals or potentially damaging compounds.

Carbonated water can also provide benefits for digestion and diet. However, you must also be aware that carbonation can result in an upset stomach, bloating, and unwanted gas.

As for beverages that contribute to gut health, Kombucha — a fermented drink — is likely the most beneficial. However, you will also want to limit your intake of the drink.

Carbonation is not some magical potion that will heal an unhealthy or unbalanced gut microbiome. The carbonation can increase feelings of fullness and prevent constipation, but that does not mean it will improve gut health. As usual, the only way to promote health is with a healthy diet and exercise.

The Role of Oral Hygiene in Your Overall Health

Oral hygiene is vital to your overall health and well-being. While you might not see the connection immediately, there is a direct link between oral health and health in general. Unfortunately, many Americans do not take adequate care of their teeth and gums. Nearly 30% of Americans have untreated tooth decay, and over 92% of the population between 20 and 64 have cavities.

Like other areas of the body, the mouth contains countless bacteria, most of which are harmless. However, as the mouth serves as the entry point to the digestive and respiratory tracts, harmful bacteria, despite being few, can cause disease or illness.

Adopting good oral habits, then, has health benefits beyond the teeth and gums. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental appointments can reduce the number of harmful bacteria and resolve or treat dental issues before they evolve into decay and disease. While the relationship between oral hygiene and health seems strange, it is real and well-established.

How Inadequate Oral Hygiene Contributes to Health Concerns

When a person adopts good oral hygiene practices, the body's natural defenses are usually enough to combat any harmful bacteria that make it into the respiratory and digestive systems. Unfortunately, when a person does not use proper oral hygiene, harmful bacteria in the mouth can reach such levels as to lead to infection, tooth decay, or gum disease.

Also, some medicines can reduce the flow of saliva. Saliva plays a vital role in washing away food and neutralizing acids produced by bacteria. When saliva production is normal, it protects against the multiplication of harmful microbes, reducing the risks of illness and disease. Medications that may lead to reduced saliva or dry mouth include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Antidepressants
  • Diuretics
  • Painkillers

Finally, studies suggest inflammation caused by periodontitis and oral bacteria can contribute to some diseases. Also, certain conditions can lower the body's resistance to infection, such as diabetes.

How Certain Conditions Link To Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene can lead to minor and temporary illnesses and infections, but it can also contribute to diseases and long-term conditions. For example, studies link poor oral health to heart diseases like endocarditis.

Endocarditis is an infection of the endocardium — the inner lining of the heart valves and chambers. The condition usually occurs when bacteria from another location in the body spreads through the bloodstream, attaching to areas in the heart. Bacteria from the mouth can access the bloodstream and transfer to the heart.

Research also suggests a link between oral bacteria and other health crises. While the link is not clear, researchers note that stroke, clogged arteries, and heart disease seem connected to infections and inflammation caused by oral bacteria in some cases.

Also, poor oral health can cause pneumonia and pregnancy and birth complications, such as low birth weight. Oral hygiene can also play a role in the management of certain conditions, like diabetes.

Oral hygiene is a crucial aspect of your overall health. Maintaining good oral habits, such as brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist, can reduce the risks of bacterial infections and disease development. If you have any questions about proper oral care, contact your local dental practice.

Free Radicals: What Are They and How Do You Fight Them

Oxygen is vital to human survival, down to the body's smallest cell. However, not all oxygen is life-sustaining. Some oxygen is toxic, causing significant cellular injury. The injuries relate to the aging process.

There are tiny cellular structures inside the body called mitochondria. Researchers often refer to mitochondria as the body's power plants, burning oxygen, fat, and sugar to produce energy. The mitochondria also produce water by combining oxygen and hydrogen, but things can go wrong during the process. During the water-producing process, the mitochondria sometimes produce free radicals, a toxic oxygen pollutant.

What Is a Free Radical?

A free radical is an oxygen atom with only one electron. While the lack of an electron might not seem like a big deal on the surface, it causes the affected atom to act in a parasitic manner, stealing an electron from the nearest source. Removing an electron from another molecule creates a volatile chemical chain reaction called oxidation.

Oxidation is most visible when looking at the rust on a steel pipe or the browning of an apple when left in the air. In simple terms, oxidation speeds up the aging process, which seems bad on the surface.

Despite resulting in premature aging, oxidation is not always problematic. The body's white blood cells will release free radicals to kill bacteria. The actual issue with free radicals is when the body cannot contain or control them.

Risks of Free Radicals and Their Effect on Aging

If uncontrolled, free radicals will cause damage to cell membranes, proteins, and DNA. Mitochondria are the primary sites for free radical production and oxidative damage. The damage around the mitochondria causes the production of less energy and the generation of more free radicals, resulting in a continuous and brutal cycle.

As the damage continues, cells malfunction, leading to premature aging. According to research, free radicals and oxidative damage can contribute to malignancy, muscle diseases, cataracts, cardiovascular disease, deafness, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and aging.

While the body can produce free radicals, people also encounter them in their environment. Some ways you might experience the molecules include:

  • Manufacturing pollutants
  • Cigarette smoke
  • The sun

Reducing the Effects of Free Radicals

Over years of evolution, the body developed chemical processes to help fight and control free radicals. Primarily, the body uses nutrients, such as vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, and other cellular enzymes to combat the intrusive and abnormal oxygen atoms.

Also, you can help reduce the body's ability to produce free radicals by focusing on your caloric intake. However, the efficacy of caloric restriction depends on individual needs, so always consult a doctor before making significant changes.

Exercise and diet are the most effective tools you have to fight free radicals. However, if you are sedentary, do not rush into strenuous physical activity. Intense exercise can lead to an increase in free radical production. Build an exercise habit and program slowly. Give your body time to adapt to the change.

As for nutrition and diet, focus on lean proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, talk to a nutritionist or your primary care physician about your specific nutritional needs.

Free radicals can lead to premature aging. Exposure to free radicals is both biological and environmental. Exercise and diet are the best weapons you have to stave off aging and cell damage.

Wearable Weights: Should You Include Them in Your Workouts

Fitness and exercise are two frequent resolutions people make with themselves. However, fitting the gym into your busy schedule is often a challenge, which is why many people suggest workouts that feel less like workouts and more like having fun, so you feel motivated to do them. Cycling and swimming are two of the most popular forms of fun fitness. You can also opt for incognito fitness or exercise with wearable weights.

4 Benefits of Using Wearable Weights

Wearable weights allow for low-key workouts. They can also add to the complexity of a typical routine. For instance, a weighted vest can add a level of resistance to your aerobic activity. You may want to try wearable weights for four reasons or benefits.

1. Weight Loss

The use of wrist and ankle weights requires the use of more energy during physical activity. Using more energy during a workout equates to burning more calories and greater weight loss.

Also, wearable weights will help build more muscles. Muscle burns calories even when the body is at rest. Muscle also burns more calories than other tissues.

2. Muscle Building

Wearable weights create more resistance during workouts, which means you will build more muscle mass with consistent use. The beauty of wearable weights is that they do not interfere with normal movement, meaning you can easily incorporate them into daily activities. For example, it is nothing to put on a pair of ankle weights before going out for an evening walk.

3. Endurance or Stamina

The American Council on Exercise claims that wrist weights can increase your heart rate and raise oxygen consumption. The increases can eventually improve your stamina or endurance during aerobic exercises. However, ACE does not recommend using weights over three pounds because the strain on the shoulders, back, and other body parts can cause discomfort.

4. Workout Challenge

Many people add wearable weights to their regular workouts to increase the challenge. Some people will add weights to improve specific things, like balance, flexibility, movement, etc. Whatever the reasons, wearable weights add a level of complexity to a standard exercise, allowing people to achieve new and motivating results.

Types of Wearable Weights

There are three primary types of wearable weights: ankle weights, wrist weights, and weighted vests. Ankle weights were popular, but many people find they hinder athletic performance. For example, the weights may interfere with a runner's stride, increasing the risks of injury.

Wrist weights are still popular because they provide the same level of resistance as ankle weights without the risks. However, some people get carried away with the weights, increasing the weight to more than three pounds, which is potentially dangerous.

A weighted vest is the best option if you want something heavier than a few pounds. The vest option uses the whole torso to support the extra weight, evenly distributing it to reduce the risk of injury.

You do not need wearable weights to lose weight or gain muscle. That said, the weights are a helpful tool. If you are looking for ways to add resistance to your workout or increase the difficulty of some standard exercise, wearable weights might be your solution. Before adding the weights, you may want to consult your doctor to figure out if the weights are a healthy option for you.

3 Reasons to Return To Using Dry Soap

Dry soap is the traditional shower soap. It comes in bar form and helps dissolve dirt on your skin's surface, allowing you to rinse it away. Still, people have migrated toward liquid soaps in recent years. Is that the best choice?

Reasons To Choose Dry Soap Over Liquid Soap

There are many reasons to choose a body wash or liquid soap for your shower time. For example, liquid soaps are often better for dry skin or gentler for sensitive skin types and conditions. However, despite the advantages of liquid soaps over dry soaps in specific situations, dry soap or bar soap, as it is more commonly referred to, also has benefits over liquid varieties.

1. Bar Soap Is Better for the Environment

Bar soaps create less waste than liquid soaps in production and distribution. Manufacturers typically package bar soap in an eco-friendly, recyclable container. Other than the box, there is no additional waste.

Not only do liquid soaps come in plastic containers, which are worse for the environment, but the soaps may also contain harmful ingredients. Some body washes use microbeads, which have a negative impact on the environment. The problem is so significant that some governments ban the ingredients completely.

2. Bar Soap Contains Fewer Ingredients and Allergens

While some bar soaps can contain many ingredients, most will have fewer than liquid soaps. Liquid options often require preservatives to make them shelf stable, but bar soaps do not, meaning they are usually paraben-free. Also, it is easier for manufacturers to make dry soaps with herbal or all-natural ingredients, meaning soaps can be hypoallergenic.

3. Bar Soap Is Antibacterial

Many people fear bar soaps might contain more harmful bacteria than other soaps because they sit out. Despite the concerns, many studies prove that bar soap presents a limited risk of bacterial contamination. However, experts still recommend people not share their dry soap with anyone else, including members of their household.

Focus On Ingredients

Regardless of the soap you choose for bathing, you should review the ingredients. While all soaps must adhere to regulatory guidelines, there are some ingredients that are OK for soap-making that you might still want to avoid. Also, there are ingredients you want to see on the label of whatever soap you buy.

Good Ingredients

There are several ingredients a quality soap should contain. Glycerin, a plant-based cleanser, helps moisturize your skin by sealing moisture into the skin barrier; it accomplishes this without stripping away natural oils.

Exfoliants are also necessary because they help remove dead skin cells and debris. Some quality exfoliants include oatmeal, black walnut shells, ground apricot pits, etc.

Finally, moisturizing oils are crucial to dry soap production. The most popular oils include coconut oil and sweet almond oil. Coconut butter and shea butter are also excellent moisturizing options.

Bad Ingredients

Avoid soaps with powerful antibacterial agents in them. The FDA banned Triclosan in 2016 because of adverse effects. However, if you buy imported soaps, they may still contain the antibacterial agent.

Soaps may also contain parabens and allergens. Parabens may contribute to specific health conditions. If a soap contains a "fragrance" or "perfume," be leery, especially if you have allergies.

Ultimately, the soap you use is a personal choice. However, dry soap, or bar soap, is an eco-friendly option.

My Favorite Healthy Simple Quiche Recipes (Kid Approved!)

A quiche is a delicious egg dish that combines crispy pastry crust, velvety eggs and irresistible ingredients such as meats, cheeses and veggies. It works perfectly for breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch or dinner, and you can switch up the fillings easily for extra flair. Here are two of my favorite (read: simple and fast) quiche recipes to enjoy as a family or to entertain company.

My Absolute Fave: Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Quiche

The caramelized onions in this quiche give it a touch of smoky sweetness. If your kids aren't big fans of mushrooms, you can go with spinach instead.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of breadstick dough
  • 3 egg whites, large
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 cup skim or 1% milk
  • 1 1/4 cups feta cheese
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms (button, shiitake, cremini, etc.)
  • 1 cup spinach, drained and dry (optional)
  • 2 cups frozen hash browns (diced potatoes), thawed
  • 3 cups onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbs chopped garlic (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Directions

  1. In a large nonstick frying pan, add olive oil. If using mushrooms, start by sautéing them for about 8 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Next, sauté onions, salt and sugar on medium heat. Keep cooking until almost caramelized, about 30 minutes. Stir periodically. Add garlic and potatoes near the end and cook for about five minutes.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the crust. Unroll the breadstick dough into strips on a flat surface. Starting with one strip, create a spiral pattern. Keep going by adding the next strip and pinching the ends together. You should have a large, even circle. You can roll out more if needed. After letting the dough rest for 10 minutes, add it to a pie plate with cooking spray.
  5. Add the sauteed onions, potatoes and mushrooms to the pie plate. Add spinach if using. Mix egg whites, eggs, milk and crumbled feta cheese, and pour over the other fillings.
  6. Bake quiche at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Place foil on crust to prevent burning after 50 minutes. Serve and enjoy! I usually wait about 10 minutes before serving, so the custard is firm.

The Crustless Recipe: Smoked Turkey Quiche

To me, what makes a quiche special is the crust, which is why I listed the other recipe first. That said, there are times when you're too busy to fuss with crust.

With this recipe, follow the same overall directions, but use different fillings: 3/4 cup smoked turkey ham, 3/4 cup Swiss cheese, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and 1 cup baby spinach.

To prevent sticking, coat the pie pan with cooking spray and add a layer of Swiss cheese (about 1/4 cup) before you add the other ingredients. This fast and phenomenal crustless quiche takes about an hour from prep to table. It's a favorite of kids, too.

The Secret to a Simple Yet Amazing Quiche

Some people feel a little intimidated by quiche. In reality, as long as you follow the recipe, you shouldn't run into any problems.

The secret to a fluffy, creamy quiche is to pay attention to the ratio of eggs to dairy in the mixture. Independently of the other ingredients, you always want in the vicinity of 1/2 cup dairy for every large egg you use.

If you're watching the calories, feel free to swap whole milk with 2% milk, half-and-half, or a mixture. What matters is the total amount of dairy versus egg amount. That way, your quiche stays silky smooth.