Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Make Your Own Seasoning Mixes

My girls are big snackers - they'll sit down to breakfast and lunch but want snacks in between.  From conversations with other friends, I know is is pretty typical toddler behavior.  Middle loves fruity stuff - we joke that her middle name is "fruit snack" - but if I give her a bowl or baggie of   cucumbers, apple slices, and baby carrots she's happy.  Big likes salty stuff - crackers, pretzels, Pirate's Booty.  Recently, they both were loving the cheddar flavored rice cakes (Quaker brand) until I looked at the ingredients and realized they had msg.  A little more exploring and I realized that so many "traditional" snacks and convenience foods contain msg still.  For example, I bought a bunch of "Suddenly Salad" box mixes when they were on sale (another thing my kids love) and they have msg too.  I started reading my packets of seasoning and sure enough, ranch dressing mix (I hate it but my kids love it so I was making my own with plain yogurt and a seasoning packet) and taco seasoning.

So what's the big deal about msg?  It can be linked to headaches (migraines in particular), irritable bowels, and nerve damage.  It's made from sugar beets and is used to enhance the flavoring of processed foods.  What is particularly alarming to me, is that it can make people crave and overeat certain snacks . . . are my kids craving cheddar rice cakes and eating too many because of the msg?

For more reading, here's a link to the JAMA article where it says msg are a possible source of migraine headaches:   JAMA article  And, a link to a article about how there is no FDA regulation of msg:  Article

This has prompted me to do two things: be more careful in my snack selection and make my own seasoning mixes.  It's easy and you can make a large batch at one time.  Here are two of my current favorite recipes:

Ranch Dressing Mix 

Taco Seasoning

The taco seasoning took me literally 2 minutes the other night when I was making tacos for dinner.  It was delicious and I have a whole little jar waiting for me the next time I need it.

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