Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

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

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Carrots

  • The beta-carotene in carrots is an antioxidant combating the free radicals that contribute to conditions like cancer, heart disease, and a few other conditions.
  • Cooking carrots actually raises the nutritional benefits of this great vegetable. By cooking them you free the beta-carotene from the fiber, thereby allowing your body to better absorb the beta-carotene.
  • If you eat just a half cup of carrots each day you will get more than the recommended dosage of beta-carotene in your diet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Banana Zucchini Carrot Bread

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 extra large egg

1 cup sugar

3 medium bananas

1 cup chopped zucchini

½ cup grated carrots

1/3 cup butter

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 dash salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter and pour into large bowl.  Add bananas and mash.  Add grated zucchini and shredded carrots.  Mix well.

Add sugar, vanilla and beaten egg.  Sprinkle in baking soda and salt, and mix.  Add flour and mix well.  Pour in 4×8 loaf pan to two large muffin pans.  (Yields one loaf or 12 large muffins.)

Bake loaf for 60 to 75 minutes.  Bake muffins for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

Let cool and serve.

Recipe: Creamy Carrot with Curry Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ pounds peeled carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 large onion, diced

1 tablespoon butter

1 pinch salt

3 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced

2 tablespoons curry powder

3 cups chicken broth

1 ½ cups half-and-half (or whole milk)

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Garnish: Chopped pistachios

Heat oil in sauté pan until shimmering.  Add carrots, then onion, sauté until golden brown (about 7 minutes).  Reduce heat and add butter, sugar, and garlic; continue cooking about 10 minutes longer. Add curry and sauté a minute longer. Add broth and simmer.  Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are soft, about 10 minutes.  Using a blender, puree in a blender for about a minute.  Return to pot and add enough half and half so the mixture is soup-like, yet thick enough to float the pistachio garnish.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

Oil 101: Choosing the Best Oil for Your Colon

In a recent animal study, it was found that diets that included canola oil rather than corn oil had less of a chance of growing colon tumors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the reasons that gives canola the edge is the high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, where corn oil is higher in omega-6 fatty acids.  In the animals tested, researchers charted the size and number of colon tumors and tested their blood for its fatty acid amount.  When comparing animals whose diets contained corn oil verses canola oil, the animals whose diet included canola oil had fewer tumors and much smaller tumors on average.

While researchers will next attempt this same study on humans, researchers and nutritionists alike agree that only good can come from including more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.

Spotlight on: Watermelon

  • Watermelons are made up of 90% water.
  • Watermelons are chock full of a considerable amount of vitamins A and C.
  • They contain thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate and niacin in small amounts.
  • They are a great source of potassium, and also contain magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and iron in trace amounts.
  • Watermelons are also very low in calories, free of fats and cholesterol and are rich in carotenoids.

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Recipe: Grilled Scallop and Watermelon Kebabs

  • 12 sea scallops
  • 4 cups boiling vegetable or chicken broth
  • 24- 1”x1” watermelon cubes
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger

Cut the scallops into halves across the diameter to create half-moon shapes.  Place them in a heatproof casserole dish in a single layer.  Pour the boiling clear broth over the scallops and let them poach for 5 minutes.  Drain and cool the scallops.  On each skewer alternate one half-moon scallop, then two watermelon cubes, then one half-moon scallop.  Mix together the remaining ingredients and brush the kebabs as they are grilled over a medium-hot grill for 90 seconds per side, turning only once.  Serve warm.

Recipe: Cajun Chicken with Watermelon Mint Salsa

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets

Mix together the spices.  Coat the chicken cutlets with the spice mixture.  Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat and place chicken in pan.  Blacken on both sides and sauté just until cooked through.  Top with Watermelon Mint Salsa and serve immediately.

Watermelon Mint Salsa

  • 2 cups chopped seedless watermelon
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup diced seeded tomato
  • Minced seeded jalapeno to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
  • ½ cup chopped fresh scallion

Toss ingredients together, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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 Turkey

Eating Healthy

  • One good thing about the nutritional value of turkey is that it is very low in fat and high in protein.
  • It is also a good source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins.
  • Turkey is also naturally low in sodium. It typically contains less than 25 milligrams (mg) of sodium per ounce on average.
  • The meat fiber in turkey is easier to digest than other types of meat, so that makes turkey a good choice for individuals that have digestion problems.

turkey

Recipe: Turkey Chili

  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 (35 oz.) cans stewed tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans kidney beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¾ cup chicken or turkey stock
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more if desired to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 to 4 cups shredded, cooked turkey meat
  • Sugar
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onion, sour cream for optional garnishes

In a large, 8-quart thick bottom pot, cook the onion and green pepper over medium heat, stirring until golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, for a minute or two more.  Add a bit more olive oil if needed.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, beans, oregano, salt, pepper and cooked turkey meat.  Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low.  Simmer, uncovered for an hour.

Salt to taste.  Add 1 to 3 tablespoons of sugar to take the edge off the acidity of the tomatoes, if desired.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onion or sour cream.  Serve alone, over rice or with corn bread.

Slimming Foods for Fall

Fall can be time for festivals, pumpkin patches, get togethers, football games and many more events where food plays a huge role in the activities of the day.  If you are like most people you want to watch what you eat during the fall season, as you know that the holidays are just around the corner – which means more overeating!

But, even though fall is synonymous with fattening foods there are some fall food items that can actually help you to slim down.

slimming foods

One of these foods is the apple.  Apples are low in calories and high in fiber (95 calories and 4 grams of fiber per medium fruit) and are great tasting!  In a recent study, dried apples have been found to help people lose weight and lower their cholesterol.

Another great fall slimming food is the squash (and who doesn’t love squash from butternut to acorn?)  Just one cup of cooked squash packs 214 percent of the recommended daily value for vitamin A and a third of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C.  Squash are also only 80 calories per cup –compared to its more fattening fall friend the sweet potato at 180 calories per cup.

A good way to add squash to your existing soups and stews is to puree the squash, so you are adding texture and creaminess to your food, without adding all of the extra calories.

Broccoli is another great fall slimming food – a cup of broccoli is just 31 calories and 2.4 grams of fiber.  Plus experts say that when you add fresh vegetables to any food you tend to eat fewer calories so you can add broccoli to virtually any meal to decrease your caloric intake.

Lastly, there is kale.  These days dark, leafy vegetables like kale are the go-to when you are talking about healthy foods.  Kale is packed with vitamin A, loads of fiber and isothiocyanates that help your body to detoxify.

Back to Lunch – Tips for Children’s Healthy Eating

Grocery stores are filled with nutritious choices nowadays and by enlisting the help of your child when shopping for their lunch foods, he or she can learn how to make the best choices as they grow up and create meals of their own.

back to lunch

Be sure to check out the following areas of your supermarket and your child’s lunch will not only be filled with great tasting foods, but it will also create a healthy lunch.

  • The Produce Section: The produce section is always a good place to start when it comes to a healthy lunch. Choosing fruits and vegetables that your child enjoys and even some they may have never tried is a great idea and is always a good place to find those important vitamins and minerals that every child needs.
  •  The Drink Aisle:  While many children would love to enjoy a sugary soft drink with their lunch, a better option is a 100 percent juice instead.  Be a label reader and avoid juices with high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and artificial flavors.
  • The Dairy Section: The dairy section is also an area where you can find some great foods.  Try low-fat dairy options, like cottage cheese, string cheese and yogurt.
  • The Snack Food Aisle: Many parents would avoid this aisle completely, but there are still some great lunch items that can be found in the snack food aisle. Be on the lookout for baked and not fried snacks, avoid trans fats, choose whole-wheat over non-whole grain snacks, grab some all natural granola bars that offer whole grains, nuts and pieces of fruit all in one snack.

A Banana a Day Keeps the Doctor Away… Especially for Women

In the news…

banana

Everyone has heard that an apple a day can keep the doctor away, but if you are a woman over the age of 50 then you should be having a banana or two along with that apple.

Recent studies show that woman over the age of 50 who ate foods high in potassium were 12 percent less likely to suffer from a stroke in general and 16 percent less likely to suffer from a stroke caused by a blood clot, or an ischemic stroke.

Lastly the study showed that women were 10 percent less likely to die, from any cause, than those who ate low amounts of food containing potassium.

Another interesting finding from the study was that the correlation between potassium intake and stroke prevention was highest amongst women who did not have high blood pressure.  Therefore, nutritionalists suggest that women should increase their potassium intake before high blood pressure has the chance to develop.

For women who aren’t big fans of bananas, never fear.  You can get twice as much potassium in a serving of spinach, than you get in one banana. Become a label reader as many foods contain potassium that you may not know about.

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.