Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Spotlight on: Tomatoes

  • Besides containing 40 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, it also contains 15 percent of your daily value of vitamin A, 8 percent of your daily value of potassium, and 7 percent of your recommended dietary allowance of iron for women and 10 percent for men.
  • Lycopene, what gives tomatoes their red pigment, acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells in the body.
  • Studies show that men who at least eat 10 servings of tomatoes a week can reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer by a whopping 45 percent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Tomato Casserole with Sweet Onions

6 medium tomatoes, peeled, cored and cut into wedges

1 large Vidalia onion or other sweet onion

1 teaspoon fresh dill, or scant ½ teaspoon dried dillweed

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or scant ½ teaspoon dried leaf thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Place peeled tomato wedges on paper towels to drain.  Peel onions and slice into ¼-inch rings.  In separate bowl combine dill, thyme, salt, pepper and bread crumbs.  Layer half of the tomatoes and onions in a lightly buttered baking dish and top with half of the minced garlic.  Sprinkle with half of the bread crumb and seasoning mixture, half of mozzarella cheese, and drizzle with half olive oil.  Repeat layers.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until bubbly.

Recipe: Corn and Black Bean Salsa

3 to 4 small ears of corn

1 can (15 to 16 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1 large tomato, seeds removed, diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

¼ cup minced red onion

2 to 3 tablespoons finely minced jalapeno or poblano pepper

Juice of one lime, about 3 tablespoons

3 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro

Dash salt and pepper, to taste

Grill or broil corn to char slightly; let cool.

Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Cut corn from cobs and add to the mixture.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving time.

Great alternative to sauces, and is especially tasty on grilled fish, chicken or pork!

Avoid Packing on the Pounds while on Vacation

Sure everyone loves vacation, but no one loves coming back from vacation and stepping on the scale. Instead follow these steps to avoid putting on those extra pounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Book a hotel or condo with a kitchen, a mini-kitchen, or at least a small refrigerator.  If you have a kitchen in your place you will be prone to eat a few meals in your place, which will be healthier than consistently eating out during your entire vacation.  You can always choose to eat your breakfast and lunch in your room, then have your dinner out so that you can still enjoy some delicious vacation food.
  • Do some research about the restaurants and food options in the area where you are vacationing.  If you know what restaurants and resorts offer healthier choices than others, then you can plan your meals out and not just choose the closest (and sometimes unhealthier) place when it is time to eat.
  • Pack some resistance bands in your suitcase for some easy exercises on the go.  You can easily find some great resistance band workouts online and do them in the privacy of your room.
  • Change up your playlist.  If you are working out while on vacation, choose an entirely different playlist or a different audio book to switch things up while you are away from your normal routine.  This way you can still relax like you are on vacation, but still get in your workout… even if the only different thing is what’s coming through your headphones.
  • Don’t forget your sneakers… and you can do so by wearing them when you travel.  Most people who don’t exercise on vacation say it’s because they forgot to pack their tennis shoes.  If you are wearing your tennis shoes when you leave your house then you can’t use that as an excuse.
  • Work out first thing in the morning.  One reason is that if you get up early and workout the rest of the day you are free to do whatever you please.  Another reason is that you won’t affect anyone else’s schedule that may be on vacation with you if you get up first thing and get your daily workout in.  You don’t have to try and fit in a full workout. Even 20 minutes of jogging, walking or doing yoga is better than doing nothing.

Spotlight on: Mangoes

  • Mangoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and they are also an excellent way to replenish potassium lost through exercise or for those who are constantly “on the go.”
  • An average-sized mango can even contain up to 40 percent of your daily fiber requirement, thereby being a great way to curb constipation and irregularity.
  • Mangoes can also help to prevent certain types of cancer and help to lower blood cholesterol levels, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Mango Pork 

  • 2 medium ripe mangoes
  • 1 pork tenderloin, about ¾ pound
  • Cooking spray or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot pepper sauce
  • Put pulp of one mango in food processor or blender.

Cut the other mango into small cubes.  Trim pork tenderloin and slice into 1-inch thick medallions.  Flatten slices lightly with hand.  Spray a skillet or medium saucepan with cooking spray or add a small amount of olive oil and heat on medium-high.  Brown pork for one minute on each side. Season each side with salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat and cook pork another five minutes to cook through.  Remove to plate and add mango to skillet or saucepan. Cook puree about, scraping up brown bits of pork, for about 30 seconds.  Add several drops of hot sauce and the mango cubes.  Toss cubes in puree while heating through.  Spoon sauce over pork and serve with pasta or hot cooked rice.

Recipe: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad 

  • ½ cup prepared or purchased honey mustard dressing
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 4 chicken breast halves without skin, boneless
  • 1 tablespoon Jamaican Jerk seasoning
  • 2 large fresh mangoes
  • 10 to 12 cups mixed greens

Stir together honey mustard dressing and lime zest.  Cover and chill dressing while preparing chicken.

Rinse chicken and pat dry; sprinkle with Jerk seasoning.  In a large skillet cook the seasoned chicken in hot oil over medium-high heat about 6 minutes on each side until browned and no longer pink.  Thinly slice each chicken breast.

Arrange warm chicken and mango atop greens on four plates; drizzle with the honey mustard dressing.

Belly Busting 101: Ditch these foods RIGHT NOW

Have you been battling the belly bulge for way too long and are ready to finally fight it off?  Well then you need to start by ditching these food and lifestyle choices and say goodbye to your belly once and for all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Eating out too often.  If you are eating out too often then you are definitely eating too many food items that are battered, breaded, fried and generally unhealthy for you.  You are also more than likely using far too much of condiments than you would if you were eating at home.
  • Drinking diet drinks.  It may be calorie-free, but studies show that people who drink diet sodas intake more calories in a day than those who don’t indulge in diet drinks.
  • Stress eating sugar.  Stress increases cortisol levels in the body, causing sugary and fatty cravings.
  • Smoking.  Smokers have a larger waist circumference than non-smokers. Plus smoking is all-around bad for you!

Spring Clean Your Diet

Now that the long, cold, endless winter is over it’s time to give up those comfort foods and trade them in for a spring cleaning of your diet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The good news is it is possible to rid your body of harmful toxins that you may have indulged in during the winter months, just by eating better and right this spring. These foods will help hydrate, refresh and detoxify your way into a healthier season and give you the energy you need to gear up for summer, too!

  • Berry green smoothie – Get started with a healthy smoothie blending together a cup of greens like spinach, kale and celery with a handful of fresh berries.  The greens contain chlorophyll that eliminates toxins that can contribute to liver damage and other illnesses.  The berries are packed with antioxidants and enzymes that fight free-radical damage, plus their sweetness combat the bitterness in the greens.
  • Curry powder – Popular in Indian foods,curry gets its yellow color from a compound called curcumin.  According to holistic medicine, curcumin is used to help aid with liver issues and digestive disorders.  And because curry powder is also an anti-inflammatory it also contributes to the production of glutathione, a liver-protecting antioxidant.  You can add curry powder as an accent to almost any food including eggs, chicken, and vegetables.
  • Cabbage – Made up of nearly 92 percent water, cabbage is a natural diuretic that will help your body get rid of excess fluids. It is also jam packed with glucosinolates, organic compounds that contain nitrogen and sulfur, that help to flush out unwanted toxins in the body.  Cabbage also is loaded with many essential vitamins like C, K, E and A, plus minerals, dietary fiber and folic acid.
  • Water – Always start your day with a big glass of water and stay hydrated all day long by carrying around with you a reusable water bottle.  Drinking water before a meal can help curb hunger and overeating, and you should definitely drink plenty of water before, during and after any workout.  The Mayo Clinic suggests shooting for at least 9 glasses of water each day to help flush out any toxins in your liver and kidneys.

Spotlight on: Plums

  • Plums, and their dried version known as prunes, are very high in phytonutrients, which function as an antioxidant and provide much benefit to the body.
  • Eating plums helps in the production and absorption of iron in the body, thereby leading to better blood circulation leading further to the growth of healthy tissues.
  • Because plums contain blood cleansing agents that help keep the blood pure, plums can help you reduce the risk of contracting heart disease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Chicken Breasts with Plum Salsa and Basmati Rice

  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ pound plums, pitted and chopped
  • ½ medium red onion, minced
  • 3 habanero peppers, seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Place water in medium saucepan and stir in rice. Bring to boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and fluff with fork.  In a bowl, mix the plums, peppers, onions, cilantro and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Season chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper.  Heat vegetable oil in skillet over medium-heat. Place chicken in oil and brown 1 minute per side.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 additional minutes per side.  Serve over rice with plum salsa.

Recipe: Fresh Summer Fruit Salad 

  • ½ cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
  • 15 seedless grapes, halved
  • ½ orange, sectioned
  • 10 fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 apple, cored and diced
  • 1 peach, sliced
  • 1 plum, pitted and sliced
  • 15 pitted Bing cherries
  • ¼ cup fresh blueberries

Bring water and sugar to boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the rhubarb, turn heat to low, cover and simmer until rhubarb is soft, 10 to 15 minutes.  Mash and chill in the refrigerator about one hour.   To serve, mix the grapes, orange, strawberries, apple, peach, plum, cherries, and blueberries with 2/3 cup of the rhubarb sauce.  Stir gently, but thoroughly to coat.  Refrigerate for at least two hours for all of the flavors to blend well.

Childhood Obesity 101: Monitoring Your Child’s Diet

Childhood obesity is constantly on the rise, so as parents we need to be sure that we are always monitoring our children’s fat intake.  In order to help your child maintain a healthy lifestyle, be sure to establish good eating habits like the following:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Children with a family history of cholesterol and heart disease should drink 2 percent milk.
  • After their 2nd birthday, all kids should drink 1 percent milk.
  • Serve your child lean meats and fish.
  • Limit your child’s cheese intake.
  • Limit fruit juice intake to 4 to 6 ounces per day.
  • Offer low-fat snacks like yogurt, pretzels or fresh fruit.
  • Prepare foods using low-fat methods like broiling, steaming or roasting.

Choosing the Right Spring Foods

Spring is here again and it’s time to take advantage of all of those great springtime fruits and vegetables. Here’s how to choose the best ones:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Apricots – slightly soft, not bruised
  • Artichoke – compact head, bright green color
  • Asparagus – closed and compact tips, bright green stalks
  • Avocado – should be a little “give” when squeezed
  • Carrots – crisp, healthy tops
  • Collard Greens – dark green, vibrant color
  • Mango – more orange/red than green
  • New Potatoes – last only a few days
  • Pineapple – sniff the bottom for sweet aroma, check for firmness
  • Rhubarb – check for bright, crisp stalks
  • Spinach – avoid dried out or yellow stems
  • Strawberries – pick fragrant, slightly soft ones
  • Sugar Snap/Snow Peas – bright green, should feel like they have a snap (not limp)

And while you are grabbing those great spring fruits and vegetables, it’s also time to get rid of some of those bad foods, too!

While they may be quick and easy, oftentimes processed foods are causing you more harm than good.  If you are looking to get healthy and lose some weight in the process then you must get rid of these processed foods.

  • Flavored yogurt
  • Fat free potato chips
  • Diet soda
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Packaged egg whites
  • Bottled barbeque sauces
  • Bottled salad dressings
  • Sugar free candy bars
  • Multi-grain tortilla chips

Spotlight on: Spinach

  • Leafy, green vegetables, like spinach, provide more nutrients than any other food.
  • Researchers have found at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that have been known to act as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents, combating specific cancers like ovarian and prostate cancer.
  • The vitamin K in spinach provides 200% of the daily value in fresh spinach and nearly 1000% of the daily value in boiled spinach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Spinach Lasagna

2 egg whites
26 oz of prepared spaghetti sauce
24 oz of ricotta cheese
10 oz of Lasagna noodles, cooked
10 oz of frozen spinach, thawed and chopped, then squeezed dry
2 cups of mozzarella cheese, grated, reserve ½ cup
¾ cup of Parmesan cheese, grated and divided, reserve 2 tablespoons
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare lasagna noodles as directed on the package. Combine parmesan cheese, ricotta cheeses with the egg whites, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour ¼ cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out using a spatula. Cover the sauce with a single layer of lasagna noodles. Spread about half the cheese mixture over the noodles, and then cover with about half of the spinach and shredded mozzarella cheese. Finish this layer with half of the remaining spaghetti sauce. Add a second layer of noodles, topping with the remaining cheese mixture, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of noodles and remaining spaghetti sauce. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set for 10-12 minutes.

Recipe: Wilted Spinach Salad

10 to 12 ounces spinach, washed and torn into pieces

¼ cup minced red onion

5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced

2 hard-cooked eggs, 1 chopped and 1 sliced

2 to 4 slices bacon

1 to 1 ½ tablespoons bacon drippings

1 ½ tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons vinegar

1 tablespoon water

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes. Refrigerate, tightly covered. Fry or microwave bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside. In a small jar or measuring cup combine drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving. When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on high for 30-45 seconds. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hot dressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly. Top with sliced egg and crumbled bacon.

Keep those Arteries Healthy

Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading health concerns today. We may associate heart disease with aging but the mechanisms that bring this condition start during the peak of our years. Being young does not excuse us from indulging in unhealthy eating habits. It might seem that we are indestructible going about our daily activities but just like a thief, all these habits creep into our body eating its way into our body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stick to White Meat

Meat is an excellent source of protein and it should always be a part a healthy diet. But if you’re planning to consume meat everyday then sticking to white meat is an excellent way of keeping our arteries free from obstruction. Chicken meat is a good alternative to red or fatty meat. But before reaching out to that piece of chicken on the table make sure that you stay away from the skin. Chicken skin has the highest concentration of fat.

White meat refers to meat which is literally white   in color. Examples of white meat are those from chicken, fish, shrimps and even alligator meat. Red meat on the other hand refers to pork, beef, veal, mutton or those that are red in color.

Keep away from Sugary-drinks

Sodas and other sugary-drinks are known to cause diabetes but this has also been proven to be a cause of clogged arteries. Consumption of sodas could lead to weight gain, a tell-tale sign that heart disease might already be setting in. Sodas elevates blood pressure which could damage the arteries. Sugar content could also coat free flowing fats in the blood increasing the likelihood of these getting embedded in the arteries and clogging it up.

Eat More Veggies

Incorporating more vegetables into your every diet serves two purposes, it helps clear your body from impurities and inadvertently reduces your meat intake. Leafy vegetables in particular contain nitrates which are directly sourced from the soil. This is converted into nitric oxide and important ingredient for healthy blood circulation. It prevents the formation of plaques, resists blood coagulation all essential for the normal flow of blood. People who include leafy vegetables for example could lower their blood pressure by 11mmHg in a few hours.

Fish and Omega 3 rich foods

Fish has two factors going for it, it’s considered as white meat and is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Fish meat is leaner and contains none of the fat contained in animal or red meat. While the fat it contains which is Omega 3 works to clear the arteries.

A healthy diet is one that does not starve us from the things we love to eat. But one that promotes moderation and eating food in the right amounts. Most diets fail simply because people find them to stifling. Rather than encouraging people to stick to a healthy diet, it becomes a constant struggle for people each day.

Eating is one of the simplest joys of life. And denying ourselves of these simple joy makes life less interesting. Just remember to eat more healthy foods and keep everything to a minimum. The body has an excellent system for eliminating wastes that if left uncontrolled could clog our arteries. The problem is when our body finds itself overwhelmed and unable to eliminate artery-clogging deposits.