Posts Tagged ‘healthy diet’

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.
  • Consuming plums on a regular basis will help prevent macular degeneration and other eye infections.
  • Researchers have also found that plums contain anti-cancer agents that prevent the growth of cancerous cells and tumors.

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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.

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)

 

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: 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

Spotlight on: Cranberries

  • Cranberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and also an excellent source of fiber.
  • Cranberries alone can be particularly tart, but in a sauce, juice, or as an ingredient in cakes, stuffing or casseroles, this fruit becomes tastier.
  • When shopping for cranberries, choose cranberries that are shiny and not shriveled.
  • A deep red or almost brown color actually signals freshness. A good cranberry should be hard.
  • Cranberries will keep up to two weeks in a refrigerator.

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Recipe: Holiday Cranberry Sauce

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 whole allspice berries
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups white sugar

Place fresh cranberries and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Wrap cloves, allspice berries and cinnamon sticks in a spice bag. Place in the water with cranberries. Cook until cranberries begin to burst, about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking 5 minutes, or until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Discard spice bag. Chill in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight, before serving.

Recipe:  Cranchick Salad 

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  •  1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 8 leaves spinach – rinsed, stemmed, and dried

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, stir together the celery, walnuts, cranberries, onion, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Add cooled chicken, and stir until well combined. Cover and chill about 6 hours and serve on top of spinach leaves, if desired.

What do you know about High Fructose Corn Syrup?

It seems that one of the most asked questions these days is high fructose corn syrup worse for you than regular sugar.  Well, according to studies, last year alone Americans consumed 27 pounds of high fructose corn syrup, after all it can be found nearly everywhere including the fruit on the bottom of your yogurt and in many whole wheat breads.

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While that number is down from the 37.5 pounds consumed per person back in 1999, it seems that most Americans are filling in those remaining calories and pounds by adding in good old fashioned sugar.

Normal table sugar is made up of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose.  But since fructose is sweeter than glucose many manufacturers increased the ratio, to inexpensively hook their consumers.  High fructose corn syrup contains 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose.

Because it is sweeter, people who eat foods high in high fructose corn syrup it may cause overeating and weight gain.  Studies have also shown that high fructose corn syrup may also contain varying amounts of mercury.

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy stated that “mercury was present in nearly a third of 55 popular brand name food and beverages in which high fructose corn syrup was the first or second ingredient on the label.”

It is important to be a good label reader and avoid foods that list high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient on the label. Even if an item is marked “natural” or in the health food aisle, it still can contain high fructose corn syrup as a main ingredient.

Even though table sugar isn’t as bad for you as high fructose corn syrup, it can still wreak havoc on your diet and weight loss goals.  Indulge in sugary items as a treat or only on special occasions, instead of at every meal.

Spotlight on Salmon

  • Besides being an excellent source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, salmon is also full of high-quality proteins and low in saturated fat.
  • Salmon has nearly a third of the saturated fat of lean ground beef and 50 percent less saturated fat than chicken, making it one of the healthiest items that you could eat.
  • Salmon is also low in calories. One serving contains approximately 183 calories, making it one of the lowest in calories among other fish.

 

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Recipe: Smoked Salmon Dip

 

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. smoked salmon, minced

Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudités or crackers.

 

Recipe: Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon

  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into four portions
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Whisk scallion, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and ginger in a medium bowl until the honey is dissolved. Place salmon in a sealable plastic bag, add 3 tablespoons of the sauce and refrigerate; let marinate for 15 minutes. Reserve the remaining sauce.Preheat broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Transfer the salmon to the pan, skinned-side down. (Discard the marinade.) Broil the salmon 4 to 6 inches from the heat source until cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with the reserved sauce and garnish with sesame seeds.

Spotlight on: Spinach

Eating Healthy

  • 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.
  • Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, folate and magnesium.

spinach

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.

Non-Dairy Foods that Build Bone Strength

Food for Thought

Many people are lactose intolerant, or just don’t do dairy, but that doesn’t mean they are doomed to have brittle bones.  There are plenty of non-dairy foods that are chalk full of calcium and great for building bone strength.

We all know that calcium builds strong bones, but it also ensures that your muscles, nerves and cells all work properly.  As adults, we need approximately 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day – or the equivalent of more than three 8 oz. glasses of milk a day.  But if you don’t do dairy, you are still able to get your daily dose of calcium with these calcium-rich foods.

build bones

Broccoli has a calcium content of 86 milligrams in just two cups of raw broccoli.  It also contains nearly twice the vitamin C than an orange.

Collard greens contain 268 milligrams of calcium per one cup cooked.  It is also loaded with three days worth of vitamin A.

Sardines have a calcium content of 351 milligrams in a 3.75 oz. can.  While some people may fear sardines simply on looks alone, they are really quite tasty and are an amazing source of vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Canned salmon contains 232 milligrams of calcium in just a half of a can.  It also contains 38 grams of “belly-flattening” protein.

White beans have a calcium content of 63 milligrams in ½ cup cooked.  They are also very rich in fiber, protein, potassium and iron.

Tofu contains 434 milligrams of calcium in just a half of a cup.  It is typically a vegetarian’s source of protein and takes on the taste of whatever it is cooked with.

Edamame contains 98 milligrams of calcium in one cup cooked.  It is also one of the few non-animal foods that is a complete protein – meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. And 8 grams of fiber per serving isn’t too shabby, either.