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Peanut Butter Cup Chia Pudding

While chia pudding may be a little too slimy on its own, when it’s blended with creamy peanut butter and cocoa powder, it tastes just like dessert. And we are all about dessert, especially when it's first thing in the morning. If you really can’t stand the texture, throw the pudding in the blender after it’s gelled—it’ll smooth out quite a bit. You’re welcome! Peanut Butter Cup Chia Pudding Recipe by: Rebecca Firkser Makes: 1 serving Ready in: 5 minutes, plus overnight soak INGREDIENTS 1 teaspoon peanut butter 3/4 cup milk (regular or nondairy) 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 1 teaspoon maple syrup Pinch Kosher salt 1/4 cup chia seeds Chopped peanuts DIRECTIONS 1. Melt the peanut butter slightly in a saucepan on the stove over low heat or in the microwave on medium for about 10 seconds. 2. Whisk in the milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup, salt, and chia seeds until fully combined. 3. Pour into a heatproof jar or mug and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator. 4. Let pudding set overnight in the fridge, then serve with chopped peanuts and extra maple syrup.

The 5 Best Things About Being in Your 30s (That No One Ever Tells You)

While perusing Facebook recently, I stumbled upon an article that popped up on my feed at just the right moment (don’t you love when that happens?). It was titled, “People Aren’t Happiest Until They Reach 33.” Well, well, well. I turn 33 in less than three months! I took it as a positive sign of more good things to come. My 30s have been solid so far, despite the fact that I actually have to work out regularly and my hangovers are really real. But overall, I feel the benefits of what that study stated: “By this age, innocence has been lost, but our sense of reality is mixed with a strong sense of hope, a can-do spirit, and a healthy belief in our own talents and abilities.” That’s exactly how I feel. I’m certainly less naive than I was in my 20s (“Everyone is trustworthy!” “Employers are loyal to employees!” “Your ‘friends’ always want the best for you!”), and I'm even more resolute than ever in my ability to somehow always figure things out. Turning 30 can be scary for some people. In life coaching, it’s called the period when we abandon the “novice adulthood” of our 20s. But take it from me: Your 30s aren't all that bad. In fact, here are five reasons why it's a decade to get excited about and embrace when it arrives. 1. Less Personal Insecurity Zero f*cks, anyone?​ There's nothing like years of experience under your belt to help you stop caring so much about what other people think. When I was a teenager, my mom used to say, “I’m 60, darling. No one scares me.” Back then I would wish that I could somehow fast-forward to her mindset, but only time fully gets you there. The confidence that a few extra years gives you is worth anything you think you may be losing as you enter this transitional decade. 2. Knowing Who You Are Your 30s still vibrate with the energy and enthusiasm of youth, but you don’t follow the crowd as much. You know who you are in a different way. Your 30s still vibrate with the energy and enthusiasm of youth, but you don't follow the crowd as much. You know who you are in a different way. You’re clearer on what matters to you and what doesn’t. You don’t feel the same need to fit in—to go snowboarding, to stay in your current city, to get engaged because your friends are. It can then be a natural consequence that some friendships will fizzle out—and that’s OK! 3. Increased Income By age 30, you’ve had some real career experience. Hopefully your income has increased as you’ve built what Meg Jay in her popular TED talk, "Why 30 Is Not the New 20," describes as “identity capital.” Whether or not you give yourself credit, your 20s are a developmental sweet spot for your career. If you consider where you were at age 20 versus age 30, you might just want to take a step back and give yourself some applause. 4. Enough Experience to Make Better Choices There is nothing like past mistakes to help you make better decisions. If you worked your butt off for an employer and never took a single sick day (even with a fever) and still got laid off, you might ask yourself, “Will I take better care of myself the next time I'm sick?” You have to live through a few disappointments in order to be an informed, confident decision maker. 5. Time to Forge the Future You Want This is my favorite one right here. At age 30, I resigned from my corporate job to work for myself. But because of the above four reasons, I knew I could make it work. For me, it was the perfect time to make a big leap. I had a good blend of work experience to feel capable of going at it alone, and I still have time ahead of me to figure it all out. And that’s the kicker. In your 30s, you realize you will figure it out. Because by this gorgeous age, you’ve already figured a lot out, and so, despite what comes up, your healthy belief in your own abilities kicks in no matter what. You reach that quiet, calm, certain place where you know that everything will end up OK. I wouldn’t exchange that for my hangover-proof 20s for a second.

This is what football can do to a child's brain after just one season

The results of a new study may have some parents rethinking whether they allow their children to play football.

>> Watch the news report here

Three million children in the U.S. play in tackle football programs. While many doctors and scientists have taken a look at the impact of concussions, new research by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center studied the impact of less-serious blows to the head that are common during games.

The study included 25 players between the ages of 8 and 13 and was centered on a youth program in Winston-Salem, N.C. Each boy was outfitted with a helmet that measured the severity and frequency of head blows.

“This is important, particularly for children, because their brains are undergoing such rapid change, particularly in the age category from maybe 9 to 18. And we just don’t know a lot of about it,” Dr. Chris Whitlow, a lead researcher, told NBC News.

Researchers say their findings indicated that even at this young age, the boys were receiving pretty hard hits.

The doctors then performed MRIs on the players and determined there were some changes in the brain’s white matter, the tissue that connects the gray matter of the brain.

“We have detected some changes in the white matter,” Whitlow said. “And the importance of those changes is that the more exposure you have to head impacts, the more change you have.”

Young players who did not have concussions were also found to have been impacted by repeated hits. Brain changes were found even after a single season of playing the sport.

>> Read more trending stories

So far, doctors are not cautioning parents against letting their children play football since there are still some unclear areas following the study. Doctors don’t know if these changes will continue as the boys play football. They also don’t know what long-term impact the repeated blows to the head will have on the players.

Still, some parents say the sport is worth the risk — for now — because of the joy it brings to their children. Football also encourages their kids to stay on top of their grades.

Kindra Ritzie-Worthy has two sons who play football. She says they take their footballs everywhere they go. One even sleeps with his ball.

“Worth the risk?” she told NBC. “I say absolutely.”

The study is published in the journal Radiology.

Weeks after giving birth, soccer star undergoes surgery to remove brain tumor

Former U.S. women’s soccer player Lauren Holiday is recovering after undergoing a successful surgery to remove a benign brain tumor Thursday at Duke University Hospital.

The 28-year-old is married to New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday. She was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor called meningioma during her pregnancy with their first daughter.

>> Read more trending stories

In late September, the couple welcomed baby Jrue Tyler. The baby’s original due date was mid-October, but doctors decided to induce labor early to expedite brain surgery, ESPN reports.

Jrue Holiday is currently away from the Pelicans indefinitely as he helps his wife through the recovery. His teammates and coach have been supportive of his decision to take some much-needed family time.

Doctors are confident that Lauren Holiday will make a full recovery, ABC News reports.

Happy Birthday to my best friend, my adventurer and my partner in life. So thankful for the day you were born. I love you. A photo posted by @laurenholiday12 on Jun 12, 2016 at 9:22am PDT

Mom of conjoined twins holds son alone for first time after separation surgery

Until this weekend, mom Nicole McDonald had never held her twin boys in the 13 months since their arrival. On Friday, she was finally able to hold her son, Jadon, following his separation from his brother, Anias.

"For over 13 months, I've dreamed of this moment... I wrapped my arms around him and rocked. One of the most profound moments of my life." #JadonAndAniasPosted by CNN on Monday, October 24, 2016

Jadon and Anias were born conjoined at the tops of their heads. Because of their condition, Nicole was never able to hold her sons.

>> Surgeons separate conjoined twins; family reunited after surgery

On Friday, she finally got that chance.

>> Boy opens eyes for first time since separated from twin brother

“For over 13 months, I’ve dreamed of this moment,” Nicole wrote on Facebook, according to CNN. “I looked down at Jadon’s angelic face and saw him in a way I’d never seen him before. He whimpered for almost the whole two hours I held him because he had just been extubated, had the area under his scalp washed out and had been weaned from the good pain meds.”

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Before the surgery, if Nicole wanted to comfort Jadon, she would have to wrap her body around him in his hospital bed. Now, she can hold him in her arms.

Nicole’s husband, Christian McDonald, wasn’t at the hospital at the time, but says he’s glad Nicole got the moment she had been dreaming of with Jadon.

>> Read more trending stories

She hasn’t been able to hold Anias yet, because his recovery process has been taking a bit longer, as doctors predicted.

Both boys are recovering well. Two weeks ago, they underwent a risky, 27-hour separation surgery at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. A GoFundMe page has raised more than $280,000 to help cover the family’s medical costs. If you would like to donate, click here.

Posted by Nicole McDonald on Monday, October 17, 2016

Your Good-Better-Best Guide to the Grocery

One of the best things about supermarkets can also be the most confusing: all the choices! When walking from aisle to aisle, it can be overwhelming to look at all the products in each section. Just think of all the choices when you’re looking at the entire wall of cereal or a large cooler packed with tiny yogurt cups! Trying to find the best item—especially when you're trying to eat healthier or watch your intake of calories, fat or sodium—is not always a walk in the park. Within each section of the grocery store, you'll find plenty of healthful foods that can help you reach your goals. But sometimes you have to make a food choice based on budget constraints, availability or taste preferences that isn't ideal. Not to worry. This "Good, Better, Best" guide will help you make the best possible choices on your next trip to the store. If you're new to eating healthy, start at the bottom and work your way up to the top of the lists over time. Even if all you can afford is in the "good" category, you're still doing pretty well. If you prefer the taste and texture of the "better" item to the "best" choice, that's OK, too. Or maybe you're facing a hotel breakfast buffet or trying to find something healthy to eat at a party and all you'll find is the "good" choice. No matter what your situation, you'll still be able to make the best possible choices by using this simple guide. MILK Good Better Best 2% milk 1% milk Skim milk It has 3 fewer grams of fat than whole milk, yet still offers calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and protein for your body. It's a useful stepping-stone as whole- and vitamin D-milk drinkers make the healthy transition to low-fat dairy. With a mere 2 grams of fat per cup, it slashes the fat found in 2% milk by more than half. This lower-fat version of milk still has 30% of the daily dose of calcium, as well as vitamin D. It's fat-free, yet provides about the same amount of calcium and protein as higher-fat options. This is the best choice, especially for heavy milk drinkers. Skim milk may take some getting used to because it’s thinner, but it has lower amount of saturated fat and your heart will love that. YOGURT Good Better Best Low-fat Low-fat + fortified Plain nonfat Greek Low-fat yogurt is made with skim or low-fat milk, which cuts calories and fat but still provides calcium and protein. Beware of added sugar (plain yogurt, flavored with fruit or topped with whole-grain cereal is your best bet). A great up-and-coming trend in the yogurt aisle is supplementing yogurts with vitamin D. There aren’t many food sources of vitamin D, which helps in immunity and cancer prevention, so this is a great way to get an extra dose. This plain, thick, smooth yogurt has 21 fewer grams of sugar and 60 fewer calories than it's fat-free, flavored counterparts but still leaves in a great amount of protein, calcium and vitamin D. Get our expert recommendations for the best yogurts. BREAD Good Better Best Whole grain 100% whole wheat Light 100% whole wheat Bread "made with whole grains" usually contains a mix of refined flour and whole grain flour. It has a lighter texture and taste than whole wheat, making it a good choice for people who are transitioning from white bread to 100% whole-wheat bread. While it's lower in fiber, it is usually enriched with vitamins and minerals. Bread made with 100% whole wheat doesn't contain any refined or enriched flour. It's less processed and higher in fiber than white bread and whole-grain breads. Make sure "whole wheat flour" is the first ingredient on the label or else it's an imposter! This combines 100% whole wheat with calorie control. Some of the whole-wheat varieties can pack up to 100 calories per slice. Light whole-wheat bread can help you cut up to 130 calories from your sandwich if you're watching your weight. Here's how to pick the best bread. CEREAL Good Better Best Cereal without marshmallows, bright colors or clusters Whole-grain cereal Whole-grain cereal that's low in sugar If you're going to eat cereal, avoid those made like desserts (with marshmallows, clusters, chocolate flavors and bright colors). Cereals that meet these criteria are enriched with vitamins and minerals (better than nothing), but they are highly processed, full of sugar--sometimes up to two tablespoons per serving--and seriously lacking in fiber. A cereal made with whole grains is a better choice, but don't believe anything you read on the front of the box. Look for whole grains to be the #1 ingredient on the nutrition label and make sure there is at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Kashi Cinnamon Harvest and Kashi Autumn Wheat are good options that contain 6 grams of fiber per serving. The best cereal is made from whole grains and very little sugar (5 or fewer grams per serving). Grape Nuts and Total are good examples. If you’re used to cereal with more sweetness, add fresh berries or sliced fruit to help you get your 5-a-day. Get SparkPeople's top cereal picks here. PASTA Good Better Best Durum wheat pasta Whole-wheat pasta Omega-3 enriched whole-wheat pasta Standard spaghetti noodles, made from durum wheat, aren't inherently unhealthy. They're slightly less processed than semolina pasta and contain some protein and plenty of carbohydrates for energy. But durum wheat flour is refined and stripped of important nutrients like fiber. Whole-wheat noodles contain more fiber and protein per serving, while providing energy-giving carbohydrates. Load them up with vegetables and low-fat tomato sauce for a nutritious meal. Get more nutrition per bite with whole-wheat noodles that are enriched with omega-3’s. Commonplace in most supermarkets, they provide all of the goodness of whole-wheat pasta with an added dose of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. DELI MEAT Good Better Best Chicken or turkey slices Low-sodium lean meats Whole cuts of meat (preferably homemade) Buying lean deli meat cuts like chicken or turkey is better than bologna, salami and processed meats, which are higher in fat and sodium and contain nitrates, which are believed to be carcinogenic. Low-sodium lean meats are better choices for your sandwiches. Look for a low-sodium version of your favorite lean lunch meat (such as turkey or chicken). Purchasing your own skinless chicken or turkey breast to grill or bake, then slice is the best way to go. It's lower in salt, less expensive, and won't contain any of the additives of processed or packaged meat slices--and you can cook it yourself to reduce the fat and calories, depending on your method. With all the options in the grocery store, it’s easy to find items to feel good about buying. But remember: Healthy eating isn't about perfection. All foods do have some merits and even if you can't eat ideally all the time, that's OK. By striving to make the best choices from what is available to you, you'll make a real difference in your health! This article has been reviewed and approved by SparkPeople resident expert Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietitian.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1460

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