Posts Tagged ‘eating healthy’

Healthy Picnic Food 101

It’s getting warmer and it’s almost time for picnics, barbecues, and outdoor parties! But just because you aren’t choosing all of your meals, that doesn’t mean that you have to pack on the pounds this summer. Keep these tips in mind at your next picnic:

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• Choose lean ground meat when making burgers. You should also try low-fat hot dogs, sausages and bratwurst and other grilled favorites.
• Seafood and chicken are great grilled foods and are both still healthy picnic options.
• Don’t forget your greens and mix in a salad to your picnic or party menu.
• Remember your veggies as they are also great on the grill and in side dishes, especially summer time veggies like squash and zucchini.
• Instead of chocolate desserts, think fruity desserts instead, and take advantage of a season when fruits are plenty.

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.

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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 to 45 seconds, or until mixture boils. 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.

 

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 a 9-in. by 13-in.baking dish for lasagna. Prepare lasagna noodles as directed on the package, then rinse and drain. 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. Sprinkle the reserved Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set for 10-12 minutes.

Spring Eating 101: Get the Freshest Produce

Before hitting the grocery store or produce stands this season, check out what fruits and veggies you should be getting:

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  • 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)

 

Foods that are Making you Sick

Every year, more than 9 million people come down with a food borne illness and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) it is more than likely the foods that you are eating every day that are making you sick and not something out of the ordinary.

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While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working hard to enforce higher safety standards on farms, they have linked many of these illnesses to three major areas.

Here are some examples of foods that may in fact be making you sick.

Green leafy vegetables – various strains of E.Coli have been found on green leafy vegetables and according to the CDC study resulted in the highest percentage of illness.

Poultry – diseases in poultry killed the highest number of people in the CDC study, with listeria being the cause.

Dairy – 14 percent of all food borne illnesses were the result of contaminated dairy products, including ice cream and cheese.

Benefits of Acai Berries

The acai berry represents a new trend in weight loss efforts, but its pound-dropping effectiveness may be questionable.

Although some claim that drinking the berry juice can stimulate weight loss, few studies can actually justify this theory according to www.webmd.com.

Although the acai berry may not actually help you lose weight, it is beneficial to you.  Like other berries in the same family, the acai berry has many antioxidants and is a good part of any diet.

Any fruit with high antioxidant content can help prevent heart disease and cancer.

Those with allergies to pollen, however, should be cautious.  Some allergy sufferers have been sensitive to this berry and should avoid it.

In conclusion, should you incorporate the acai berry into your diet?  Of course!  It has a place there, just like all fruits.

Should you base your weight loss regimen solely on this fruit?  Probably not.

Spotlight on: Dates

  • The history of date eating can be traced back to almost 6000 B.C.
  • There are various forms and kinds of dates, and the ways to eat dates are endless.
  • The fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals essential for daily intake, and is linked to preventing abdominal cancer, constipation, heart problems and even sexual problems.
  • The date also is ideal for daily intake because it helps digest food and prevent overeating.

 

Recipe: Date and Banana Cookies 

  • 3 oz. dried dates
  • 3 oz. walnuts, finely chopped
  • 3 medium bananas, mashed
  • 6 oz. oats
  • ¼ pint liver or sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix everything together really well and put tablespoons of the mixture onto an oiled baking sheet.

Flatten them down a bit and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden.

 

 

Recipe:  Date and Egg Breakfast 

  • 3 Tbsp corn oil
  • 1 medium (1/2 cup) onion, chopped
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Heat oil in skillet and stir-fry onions until golden. Add dates, pepper and stir-fry over low heat for 3 minutes.

 

Make four depressions in date/onion mixture and add one whole egg to each depression. Sprinkle with salt and fry for 3 minutes to cook eggs.

Serve warm.

Reduce the Signs of Aging With What You Eat

Aging is a difficult thing… and it can be tough on your body.  Even when you make the appropriate food choices and exercise, it still may feel like you aren’t doing enough to reverse the physical signs of aging.

Because there is no “Fountain of Youth” we offer you these foods that contain vitamins and nutrients that contain anti-aging properties. Add some of these foods to your daily diet and see what difference they make for you…

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Flaxseed – full of DNA-boosting omega 3s, zinc and selenium

Spinach – contains antioxidants Vitamin A and C

Grapes – antioxidant polyphenols, resveratrol, aids in cell repair

Red snapper – high in omega 3 fats that reduce oxidative damage to cells

Yams – excellent source of antioxidants Vitamin A and C that can reduce oxidative stress on cells

Almonds – high in antioxidant Vitamin E and a great source of zinc and iron

Oysters – contains the antioxidant selenium as well as DNA-boosters Vitamin D and zinc

Canola Oil – contains Omega 3 fats as well as antioxidant Vitamin E

Collard Greens – great source of Vitamin A, folate and fiber, which are all linked to longer DNA strands

Dark Chocolate – contains the antioxidant resveratrol that is thought to fight aging cells

Chia seeds – whole grain high in Omega 3 fats, minerals and calcium

Bell peppers – antioxidant beta carotene and Vitamin C help in DNA repair

Cuckoo for Coconut Water

You have seen people drinking it on the subway, in the elevator, at the gym and maybe even in those posh cafés and grills, but what’s the big deal about coconut water?

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Well, that’s easy, coconut water is incredibly healthy and one of the best drinks to hydrate the body.  And besides aiding in digestion and helping to remove harmful toxins from your body, coconuts have anti-viral, anti-microbial, AND anti-fungal properties that can help cure disease!

Coconut water is low in carbohydrates, low in sugars and is 99 % fat free.  Many nutritionists are calling coconut water the “sports energy drink” of today’s day and age because it is naturally good for you and full of the vitamins we need to ward off fatigue.

How about these little known facts about coconut water…

  • Coconut water is much healthier than orange juice because it has much fewer calories.
  • Coconut water is more nutritious than whole milk because it has less fat and no cholesterol.
  • Coconut water is better than processed baby milk because it contains lauric acid, which is present in mother’s milk.
  • Coconut water is a universal donor and is identical to human blood plasma.
  • Coconut water is naturally sterile.
  • Coconut water is a naturally isotonic beverage; the same level that we have in our blood.
  • Coconut water has saved lives in Third World Countries through Coconut IV.

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.

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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.

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

Detoxify your Food

Because our foods are becoming laced with synthetic ingredients more and more, take this advice when attempting to detoxify your foods and reduce your exposure to these unwanted ingredients.

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Clean Your Produce:  Before eating or cooking with any fruits or vegetables be sure to wash them very well.  Washing your fruits and veggies eliminates the chemicals and pathogens from your food’s surface and help to eliminate any harmful ingredients.

Watch Your Animal Fat Intake:  Do you know what’s in your animal fats?  They are loaded with synthetic hormones, antibiotics, organochlorine chemicals, and other harmful pesticides. Look for low-fat options when buying your foods and be sure to trim all of the fat off of poultry and meats when you buy them.

To eliminate these chemicals in their products, in the mean time you can avoid these chemicals by choosing frozen, fresh or dried foods.

Think Organic:  According to a study done by the Environmental Working Group, your pesticide exposure can be eliminated by 90 percent by avoiding the most contaminated conventionally grown produce including: peaches, apples, bell peppers, nectarines, celery, cherries, lettuce, strawberries, grapes, carrots and pears. 

Choose Whole Foods:  Whole foods are not processed, therefore they have their own natural ingredients.  Choose whole grains and look for food items that say “whole” on them … but be sure to check the labels, just to be sure.

Safer Seafood:  We are exposed to a number of chemicals when we eat seafood, particularly.