March 29, 2012
Nutrient News: Vitamin C
Vitamin C is helpful for our immune system. It rebuilds collagen and works internally to help build flexible tissues and blood vessels inside the body. It works from the inside of the body to the outside by helping to repair skin damage. Vitamin C counteracts the negative effects of stress hormones within the body, so it is a champion in stress reduction. This natural wonder-vitamin also is an antioxidant.
Maximizing vitamin C: This water-soluble vitamin passes through the body quickly. That's why it's important to add this vitamin to the body daily. The easiest way to put vitamin C into your diet is by eating foods that are naturally vitamin C rich. This is especially true if you live a stressful life: Your body is burning through lots of vitamin C, and most Americans just don't get enough of this important supplement to support daily life.
High food sources of vitamin C: Oranges, tomatoes, sweet red and green bell peppers, kiwi fruit, guava fruit, grapefruit, strawberries, brussel sprouts and cantaloupe.
Preparation tips to maximize vitamin C: The vitamin easily is damaged by exposure to oxygen, heat and light. So eat vitamin C-rich foods raw and prepare them just before eating. If you are not able to do this, seal and store in an airtight container to preserve the vitamin content.
How often should I eat these types of foods: Try to get some vitamin C at every meal of the day. This will give the body regular supply so it can utilize the vitamin when needed. The body requires regular daily doses of vitamin C to fight infection and recover stress more rapidly.
Vitamin C Salad
This recipe is a great source of vitamin C. It is good for 10 servings, so not only is it rich in vitamins and antioxidants, but it is a bargain. Most of the ingredients are available fresh and locally at the Salem Farmers Market.
Ingredients for the salad
6 ounces of fresh organic spring mix
½ cup fresh grated carrots
8 slices of cucumber, halved
6 grape tomatoes, halved
1 whole medium green bell pepper, julienned
1 whole medium yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 whole fresh orange, sliced
1 whole organic local apple, cored and sliced
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup walnuts, shelled and halved
Ingredients for the Fresh Berry Vinaigrette
¼ tablespoon berry juice (see instructions below)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1. First puree ½ cup fresh, ripe berries in a blender until smooth. Strain out the seeds and pulp using cheesecloth and a small mesh strainer.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients.
3. Add 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard if you want the dressing to emulsify. Whisk together or use a blender for a more uniform product.
4. Toss prepared salad ingredients and dressing together to lightly coat the produce or serve the dressing on the side.
Nutrition facts: 195 calories per serving. 38 percent of daily vitamin C.
March 26, 2012
How to Eat Smart After Dark
Forget the common myth: nighttime eating isn't a diet downfall in itself. In general, eating after 7 or 8 p.m. isn't really a problem unless you've already eaten too much during the day.
If you're trying to lose weight, focus on how much you eat all day, not when you eat. Don't worry if you've eaten healthfully before and need to have dinner after 7.
If you've eaten a lot already, however, have a smaller dinner or snack so you don't blow your calorie budget for the day. Pigging out on fatty, salty or sugary foods isn't good any time of day.
If you have frequent heartburn, keep your evening meal small and low in fat. Fat relaxes the valve that blocks painful stomach acid from getting into your esophagus. Having big, heavy meals shortly before you lie down to sleep - when gravity also works against you - is a common recipe for discomfort.
If you have trouble falling asleep, have a small, carbohydrate-rich snack such as a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal, fruit or air-popped popcorn. Carbohydrates help the body make tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes deep sleep. Another option is tart dried cherries, which contain a hormone called melatonin that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Note: Avoid alcohol, which can disrupt sleep.
If you need to stay awake or alert, steer away from carbohydrates and focus on healthy proteins such as lean meat, chicken or fish instead.
If you just worked out, make sure your meal has a combination of protein and healthy carbohydrates for muscle growth and recovery. Two examples: spaghetti and mini meatballs or grilled chicken over mashed sweet potatoes.
March 22, 2012
Tempeh and Broccolini Stir-Fry
1/2 pound Broccolini
6 tablespoons chopped green onions, divided
4 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
5 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 (8-ounce) package organic tempeh, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup diagonally cut snow peas
2 2/3 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice
3 tablespoons chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
1. Cook Broccolini in boiling water for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and plunge Broccolini into ice water; drain. Squeeze dry. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
2. Combine 3 tablespoons green onions and the next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) in a bowl.
3. Heat a large, heavy skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add tempeh; stir-fry for 5 minutes or until golden brown on all sides. Remove tempeh from pan; keep warm. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add Broccolini and snow peas; stir-fry 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tempeh and vinegar mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Divide rice evenly among 4 bowls; top with tempeh mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons green onions and peanuts.
Amount per serving (serves 4)
Saturated fat: 2.3g
Monounsaturated fat: 7.3g
Polyunsaturated fat: 5.1g
March 19, 2012
Baked Mozzarella Bites
1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3 (1-ounce) sticks part-skim mozzarella string cheese
3 tablespoons egg substitute
1/4 cup lower-sodium marinara sauce
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup panko to pan, and cook for 2 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and place the panko in a shallow dish.
3. Cut mozzarella sticks into 1-inch pieces. Working with one piece at a time, dip cheese in egg substitute; dredge in panko. Place cheese on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 3 minutes or until the cheese is softened and thoroughly heated.
4. Pour the marinara sauce into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring after 30 seconds. Serve with mozzarella pieces.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 mozzarella bites and 1 tablespoon sauce)
Amount per serving
Saturated fat: 2.8g
Monounsaturated fat: 1.3g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.3g
March 16, 2012
Go GREEN This St. Patrick's Day
Kale Chips - Instead of grabbing for those greasy potato chips, opt for vitamin K infused Kale Chips for a healthy take on your favorite snack. Toss 1 bunch of kale leaves (wash, dry, strip them from their stems and tear into bite-sized pieces) with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the edges begin to brown. The crunchy goodness of this snack will make you forget all about those "other" chips.
Avocados - These green super foods are rich in monounsaturated (heart-smart) fats and provide 2 grams of fiber per serving. Slice one up and add to sandwiches, salads or make guacamole. With their rich creamy texture, they'll pair nicely with a wide variety of foods.
Cucumbers, Arugula and Pistachios - St. Patrick's day can be full of such "heavy" foods like corn beef and potatoes. Take a lighter approach to your green day snacking by serving a cucumber and arugula salad topped with pistachios and drizzled with light vinaigrette.
Asparagus - Try this elegant side dish. Toss roasted asparagus with crumbled reduced-fat blue-cheese and crushed walnuts. Asparagus is a nutrition powerhouse. One 5-ounce serving contains only 20 calories, but provides an excellent source of vitamin A, important for eye, skin and immune health and Vitamin K which supports bone health.
Green Apples, Grapes and Kiwi - Branch out from the traditional fruit bowl and combine these sour and sweet fruits together. Each of the fruits provides good amounts of fiber and antioxidants - plus they make a great presentation for a green day!
Drink and Dip the Green! Add a fun green hue to your sparkling water, light beer, dips and dressings. Just add a few drops of food coloring to your drinks or dips to change an everyday item to a St Patty's Day special.
March 15, 2012
Produce - Fresh or Frozen?
It is the beginning of National Nutrition Month, and the focus on health eating reflects the new MyPlate from the USDA.
For sure, the nutrition experts will agree that filling half of one's plate with fruits and vegetables seems like a no-brainer. The challenge for many people is if it's not fresh and organic, should you eat it?
Research conducted by UC Davis, published in the Journal of Science and Agriculture found there may be more loss of nutrients in fresh produce, whereas freezing and canning may preserve nutrient value.
Waste Not Want Not
Often consumers complain that fresh produce can be too expensive, and in some instances, it may be - especially when purchasing a fruit or vegetable that is not in season in one's region. However, it becomes costly when it merely rots in the crisper drawer and ends up in the garbage. Packed produce also ensures 100 percent edible parts of the plants - no waste.
People need to eat more fruits and vegetables - and if eating frozen or canned fruits and vegetables is an easier fit for their lifestyle, they should go for it.
Frozen and Canned
Clarence Birdseye is known as the founder of frozen food - and he learned from watching Eskimos fast freeze, which reduced damage to cell wall structures. While you might think of the brand for frozen vegetables, Clarence really got started freezing fish. The nice aspect of frozen foods is that they are often frozen within hours of being picked, near the fields where they are grown.
Unlike fresh produce, the calories and nutrition facts panel are on the bags, boxes or cans, for the consumer to read. Don't forget explicit cooking instructions. Winter isn't the only time to stock up on canned or frozen produce.
According to the Canned Food Alliance, reasons to keep canned food in your home or office are because they are "accessible, convenient, affordable and flavorful." Contrary to popular belief, canned and frozen foods do not require or need preservatives for food safety because of the manner in which they are packaged.
Dried and Freeze-Dried
Dried produce has been around for centuries - mostly seen in fruits - in the form of raisins, figs, dates and prunes. Sometimes they are found with sulfites and added sugar. Sundried tomatoes and dried mushrooms have also been a staple in many kitchens. In the last two decades, there has been an emergence of freeze dried produce. Traditional drying removes water, but still leaves the food "chewy," whereas freeze drying removes the moisture from a frozen state.
Nothing but the Fruit....
The advantages to freeze-drying are taste and nutrient profile to the original product, color, shape and the texture is often crunchy. Nothing needs to be added to preserve these foods, just keeping them stored in an air-tight container. Dried or freeze-dried products can be added to many recipes and reconstituted (somewhat) in water.
When it comes to getting your daily dose of fruits and veggies, convenience is as important as taste. When shopping on a budget, shelf life is key. Perhaps we'll see more dried and freeze- dried produce in vending machines. From a food safety perspective, you have many safe options - just eat it.
March 13, 2012
Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies
The following recipe decreases the amount of sugar used in a typical recipe. In many instances, you can reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe by about half without significantly affecting the taste and overall quality of the product. This recipe also replaces some of the butter with a heart-healthy oil -- you can use canola oil or substitute light olive oil -- and substitutes white flour for whole-wheat flour and whole-grain oats. Is the end product just as satisfying as a traditional chocolate chip cookie? Try it and find out!
WHOLE GRAIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray, or cover with parchment paper. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt. In a mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Add oil, sugars, egg and vanilla, and beat until creamy. With the mixer running, add the flour mixture and stir on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, for about 11 minutes or until firm around the edges and golden on top. Cool for 2 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
-- Adapted from The Essential EatingWell Cookbook (2004)
March 8, 2012
Get Your Plate In Shape
Each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association) encourages Americans to return to the basics of healthy eating. National Nutrition Month (NNM) celebrates the importance of a healthy lifestyle through sound eating habits and physical activity. This year's theme is "Get Your Plate in Shape." This theme supports the 2010 dietary guidelines for Americans and the USDA's new food icon, My Plate, which reminds everyone to be more mindful of the foods we eat.
5 Ways To "Get Your Plate in Shape"
1. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
Add color to your plate by choosing from different types of produce.
Choose fresh, frozen, or canned. Choose "reduced sodium" or "no salt added" for canned vegetables.
2. Make half your grains whole
Read the label. Check for 100 percent whole grain for breads, cereals, pastas, and crackers, and other grain products.
3. Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk These have the same amount of calcium as whole milk products, but less fat and calories.
4. Vary your protein
Choose between seafood, nuts, beans, lean beef, poultry, eggs, and more.
Aim to have fish two times per week as your main protein source.
5. Portion control
Be in control of portions by cooking meals at home more often than you eat out.
March 5, 2012
How to Spot a Fad Diet
Let's take a look at the 10 easy steps that will help you spot a fad diet.
Be cautious of magical claims and false promises. A diet that promises fast weight loss at an unrealistic pace should be researched well. If you see various health experts and your personal dietitian or gym trainer recommending it to you, then give it a look-see. But never fall into the trap of extreme diet recommendations. Never believe the personal testimonials of the diet plan as they can be highly manipulated. Diets that involve crash dieting and intense reduction in eating and drinking, should not be followed blindly.
Read between the lines for the promise of quick weight loss. We are in an age of instant coffee and instant news. Right from information on health to fast-food facts, everything is at our fingertips. However, weight loss plans, which guarantee quick loss in weeks rather than months, should not be considered as a healthy option. Also, never pay heed to the idea of total elimination. We believe that total elimination of one or more than one food groups, does not a healthy diet make. Total deprivation of a certain food group is never a good idea.
No diet should recommend skipping breakfast. Many diets seem to favour the idea of skipping breakfast, in order to skip most of the calories of the day, thus resulting in quick weight loss. But, do you know that skipping breakfast would mean unplanned snacking throughout the day, along with a ravenous appetite for lunch and dinner. Eating a protein and fiber rich breakfast, within 3 hours of waking up, will help you maintain a healthy weight.
Ditching dairy is unhealthy. Many dieters seem to blindly follow any diet, which recommends ditching milk, cheese, paneer and ice cream. These dieters tend to underestimate the importance of calcium in our diet. Calcium helps in making our bones strong, by keeping grave diseases like osteoporosis and regular fractures at bay. Analyse and evaluate your calcium and dairy intake as per your specific needs, preferences and allowances, but never give up on this food group as a whole. Those who are lactose intolerant must look into a steady source of calcium and other dairy benefits through substitutes.
Excessive consumption of low-fat food items isn't healthy. Here's the trick. Many diets may propagate low-fat eating, but they fail to demarcate or make the dieter understand the difference between low-fat and non-fat. Low-fat products are quite different from low-calorie products. Do you know if you pile your plate with whole wheat pasta made in low-cal mayo, you may end up consuming many more calories than by simply eating a smaller plate of whole wheat pasta made in butter and white cream mayo?
Cleansing diets and food substitute diets are not a healthy way to lose weight. Cleansing diets work through the laxative effect, where you tend to lose nutrients, without making up for the deprivation you have caused yourself. Therefore, they are not a permanent way to lose weight. Also, swapping meals for a certain amount of food item is not a very healthy way of eating.
Weighing yourself everyday is unnecessary. Please give serious second thoughts to any diet that advocates the idea of checking your weight on daily basis. Long-term weight loss or permanent loss of weight should be your ideal goal, rather than daily weigh-ins. You'll witness immense level of satisfaction once you get on the weighing scale after a week only to witness a pound or two's loss.
Always saying no to snacks is not the best way to lose weight. While we disagree with mindless snacking, not snacking at all is a wee bit dangerous. Thoughtful snacking on slices of carrots, apples, baked chips, lime juice, a piece of fruit, a glass of fresh fruit smoothie is never a bad thing. A diet, which suggests eating fewer meals with no room for snacks only encourage failure. Snacking wisely and timely helps in keeping your metabolism in good shape, maximizing your health by promoting weight loss.
One-time diets that guarantee permanent weight loss are scams. It is general knowledge that the only way to lose weight and maintain the lost weight is by following a healthy lifestyle - forever. On-going maintenance of healthy weight loss can be the only sure shot way of maintaining the lost weight. Also, never pay heed to diet plans that claim that you can 'eat whatever you want and still lose weight.' Overloading on high-calorie and high-fat foods, even though you are exercising for 2 hours daily will not result in healthy weight loss.
'The weight loss formula for everyone', 'Money back guarantee' and 'Doctor endorsed diet'- these weight loss claims are not true. Health is never a one-size fits all formula and the same applies to diets. A type of diet that might have resulted in quick weight loss for your friend, might not work for you. Right from your lifestyle habits to your exercise routine to your blood type, different diets have different impacts on different people.