Butternut Carrot Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese

by in Healthy Recipes, April 19, 2015

 

Macaroni and cheese needs only three things to be great: creamy sauce, toothy noodles and melty cheese. But even though the math is simple, those few ingredients, especially when they come from a box, can quickly add up to over 800 milligrams of sodium per 1 cup serving, depending on brand. And depending on how many servings you actually eat. Read more

Are You Aware of These Health Hazards in Your Kitchen?

by in Food Safety, April 18, 2015

When you hear about an outbreak of foodborne illness, it usually involves a large food corporation or chain restaurant. But you may be just as likely — perhaps even more likely — to encounter food contamination in your own kitchen. “In general our food is very safe, but there are also things consumers can do help prevent problems,” says Jeannie Sneed, Ph.D., research professor at Kansas State University and author of a new study about how consumers’ food-handling habits can lead to food contamination.

Here, the biggest culprits in the kitchen — and what you can do to minimize the risk.

Your hands: Washing your hands, thoroughly and often, is the single best way to prevent the spread of contamination in your kitchen. “Don’t just do what I call the ‘splash and dash,’” says Sneed. “You need to wash with soap, rub [your hands] together and rinse.” And don’t forget about the faucet. “If you’ve prepared chicken and have the juice on your hands, first you touch the faucets with your contaminated hands,” says Randall Phebus, Ph.D., professor of food safety and defense, Kansas State University. “After you wash your hands, you want to wipe off the faucets with disinfectant.”

Cloth towels: In Sneed’s recent study, the kitchen towel was a hot spot for cross-contamination. Researchers witnessed people using a towel to wipe their hands without washing them, and then using the same towel again after washing them — which just recontaminates them. Using the same towel for dishes, hands and wiping countertops will also spread bacteria across surfaces. If you use cloth towels, keep one just for hands and one just for dishes, and wash them daily.

Sponges: “I know what grows in them, so sponges give me the creeps,” says Phebus. But he also admits to using them in his kitchen. His solution is to sanitize them daily in the microwave. Wet the sponge and put it in for 20 seconds to kill off harmful bacteria harbored inside.

Cutting boards: If you’re using the same board for chopping up meat and vegetables, you need to scrub it vigorously with warm, soapy water in between. Better yet, keep separate boards — one for meat, another for vegetables, fruit and bread. And when they get really scratched up, it’s time to replace them. “Deep cuts and grooves in the surface make it much harder to disinfect,” says Phebus.

Cell phones and tablets: Our electronic devices go everywhere — including the kitchen, where they can easily acquire bacteria or microorganisms from the food we’re handling. “And think of where else you take it, like the bathroom,” says Sneed. So if you take a break during cooking to check your phone, be sure to wash your hands before you return to prepping food.

Sally Wadyka is a Boulder, Colorado-based journalist who writes about nutrition, health and wellness.

Nutrition News: Dining Out Risks, When to Eat, and How Healthy is Your Snack Bar?

by in Food News, April 17, 2015

 Another Reason to Cook at Home

Most of us enjoy a nice meal in a restaurant now and then, but a new study has found a link between eating out and hypertension. Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore found that young adults (18 to 40 years old) who ate meals away from home had an elevated rate of prehypertension and hypertension. Even eating out one extra time, the researchers found, boosted the odds of prehypertension by 6 percent. The study, conducted via a survey of university students of Asian descent, underscores how important it is to be aware of the salt and calorie content of the foods you eat, according to the research team. Read more

Steel Cut Oats Are Trending

by in Healthy Recipes, April 17, 2015

Steel-cut oats are trending! According to fitness and nutrition app MyFitnessPal, members are eating steel-cut oats more than ever — tracking of the breakfast food is up 18.5 percent over last year. With a high fiber content, oatmeal can help prevent spikes in blood sugar, making it a great option for breakfast. But what about regular old rolled oats? They’re still good for you too! Steel-cut oats might be more satisfying, however, thanks to that high fiber content, which keeps you fuller longer and lets you eat a smaller portion and still feel satisfied. Additional data from MyFitnessPal shows that the average user breakfast of 265 calories contains about 14 grams of sugar, or 56 calories of sugar, which means that about 21 percent of people’s breakfast calories are coming from sugar. The World Health Organization recommends that less than 10 percent of total calorie intake be from added sugar. At just 2 grams of sugar per 1/2 cup, this makes steel-cut oats a great choice for your morning meal, instead of sugary cereal or instant oatmeal packs. Plus, this versatile grain is also great when you give it a savory spin by using it for risotto. Read more

Are Collards the New Kale?

by in Healthy Recipes, April 16, 2015

If 2014 was the year of the kale, then 2015 is the year of the collard. The leafy green vegetable has seen a big marketing push from Whole Foods — and for good reason. Collards actually beat kale when it comes to nutrients: They pack more calcium and iron than kale. Plus, they contain 5 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein per cup (cooked), compared with kale’s 3 and 2 grams, respectively.

So what can you do with collards? Happily, they’re just as versatile as kale. Try the hardy greens in these delicious dishes. Read more

Eating for Exercise: What, When, Why and How Much?

by in Fitness, April 16, 2015

Like a car, your body needs fuel — the right kind in the right amount — in order to work properly. “You can’t put 10 miles worth of gas in your car and expect to drive for 30 miles without breaking down,” reasons Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietitian, nutritionist, and certified strength and conditioning coach in New York City. “The same goes for your muscles.”

For that reason, Rumsey recommends not working out on a completely empty stomach. She suggests timing your exercise for three to four hours after a meal or within an hour of a small snack that provides some carbohydrate and protein (like half a banana with a teaspoon of peanut butter). And skip anything that’s too high in fat or fiber — both digest slowly, which can interfere with your workout. Read more

Cooked Versus Raw: Some Veggies Like the Heat

by in Healthy Tips, April 15, 2015

Talk to raw-food advocates and they’ll insist that food is most nutritious if it never hits temperatures above 116 degrees. However, the theory that vegetables are healthier raw isn’t always true. The nutrients in some vegetables — including the five mentioned below — become more bioavailable, or readily available for your body to absorb, once they’re cooked. Read more

6 Surprising Ways to Use Kefir

by in Healthy Tips, April 14, 2015

Pronounced “keh-FEAR”, this fermented milk drink is expanding in the yogurt aisle. It has vitamins A and D and calcium in amounts comparable to those in milk, making it a good way to help get your daily recommended servings of dairy. Kefir is brimming with gut-friendly bacteria, which help keep your intestines happy. It’s versatile in the kitchen and can be enjoyed in a variety of everyday recipes. Try it these seven ways. Read more

Healthiest Fast Food Breakfasts

by in Dining Out, April 13, 2015

With many Americans eating breakfast on-the-go, fast food joints have been increasing their offerings. You can now find healthy options at almost every menu. Here are five choices for fewer than 4oo calories each. Read more

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