For Hanukkah, A Healthy, Delicious Family Feast

by in Healthy Holidays, December 18, 2014

The holiday of lights typically becomes a fried-food extravaganza. But this doesn’t have to happen in your house! Create a lighter (and just as delicious) menu with these holiday recipes.

The traditional Hanukkah dishes here are latkes and jelly-filled doughnuts; for the rest of the menu you have carte blanche. I like to serve a simple, balanced meal that includes creative versions of staple Hanukkah dishes. To keep things festive, our Hanukkah meal gets kicked off with mulled wine from Ina Garten. Cheers!

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The Chef’s Take: Marc Vidal’s Cumin-Roasted Carrots and Kale at Boqueria

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Dining Out, December 17, 2014


At Boqueria, one of New York City’s most-popular Spanish tapas joints, Chef Marc Vidal goes a long way to transport diners to Barcelona’s bustling and beautiful Boqueria market. He serves a menu of Spanish classics like patatas bravas, albondigas, croquetas and gambas alla ajillo. But he also loves to cook with the seasons. Every Friday morning, Vidal grabs a cup of coffee and heads to the Union Square Greenmarket where he and his team of chefs meet up to peruse the stalls for ingredients and brainstorm for the restaurant’s ever-changing Market Menu. “We just walk around and see what’s going  on,” says Vidal, whose parents were restaurateurs in Barcelona. “The market menu is the fun part for us. It’s our chance to be creative and work with the seasons.”

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Cheers! Here’s to Healthier Cocktails for the Holidays

by in Healthy Holidays, December 16, 2014

Cocktails
It’s holiday time, and chances are, cocktails are flowing. If you’re not careful, one festive drink can tip the scales at over 400 calories. If you choose to kick back over several, you’ll be gulping more than half your recommended calories for the day (not to mention the bad hangover)! There are ways to slim down your favorite holiday cocktails – here are simple tricks to do so.

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Dessert of the Month: Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

by in Amy's Whole Food Cooking, December 16, 2014

Chocolate Cookies
It’s that time of year again when there seem to be cookies everywhere one turns. Although it’s fun to participate in holiday baking traditions, it can wreak havoc on your healthy routine, as most of the cookies that surround us are loaded with white flour, sugar and bad-quality fats.

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For Hanukkah, Latkes Lightened (Yes, It’s Possible!)

by in Healthy Holidays, December 15, 2014

Happy Hanukkah
Latkes, the crispy fried potato pancakes served on Hanukkah (usually with sour cream or applesauce) are not exactly easy on the waistline. Eating them for the eight days of the holiday might not be the best idea. Instead, get creative with your and cook them in a healthier way. Here are three latke recipes to enjoy.

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FDA Says: Menu Calorie Counts are Headed Your Way

by in Food News, December 15, 2014

Restaurant Menu
You could try closing your eyes, but soon it will prove significantly more challenging to ignore the calories in the foods we order in chain restaurants — sit-down and fast-food eateries, as well as other retail food outlets — across the country.

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Countdown to New Year’s: No-Resolutions Resolution Week 5

by in Healthy Holidays, December 15, 2014

Grocery Shopping
We’re in the home stretch of our No-Resolutions Resolution plan. Have you followed our tips for smart snacking? Found a way to keep your exercise goals in check? Keep up the good work! This week, we’re tackling the grocery store. What to pick up and what to leave on the shelf!

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Wow Your Hosts with These Gorgeous (and delicious) DIY Healthy Holiday Gifts

by in Healthy Holidays, December 14, 2014

Vanilla ApricotsSure, you can head to your next holiday gathering with a nice bottle of wine or a tin of holiday cookies for your hostess. But what about something homemade that’s festive, delicious and healthy too? Here are seven recipes for goodies that will have you at the top of your hostess’s guest list for next season. Just add ribbon and you’re ready to ring in the holidays.

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Move Over, Strawberry, Now There’s a Tomato in Your Yogurt!

by in Food News, Trends, December 12, 2014

Sohha Yogurt
Tomato yogurt is a thing? You betcha. You may have noticed the yogurt aisle leaning more savory, with veggie-based yogurts, thick and tangy ethnic yogurts, and sheep’s milk yogurt taking up real estate in the dairy section. These yogurts offer essential protein and are loaded with calcium (good for those of us over 40). Another bonus: When you subtract the fruit, you’re not only looking at lower sugar content but endless ways to incorporate the creamy stuff into your dishes. From marinades to toppers, salads and spreads, savory yogurts are a great cooking shortcut, recipe substitute or snack. Here are three brands that are worth taking a closer look at.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, December 12, 2014

Vitamin D
In this week’s news: Study links living thinner with living longer; farmed salmon may be losing its Omega-3 bragging rights; and vitamin D is vital for body and mind.

Shed Pounds, Gain Years?

Put down the sugar cookie. Stop gnawing on the gingerbread house. Go easy on the holiday ham. Obesity can take as much as eight years off your life expectancy, a new study led by researchers at McGill University in Canada has found. What’s more, excess weight also increases the risk for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease at a younger age, potentially reducing healthy years of life by almost two decades. “The pattern is clear — the more an individual weighs and the younger their age, the greater the effect on their health,” lead author Dr. Steven Grover, a clinical epidemiologist and professor of medicine at McGill, concluded. “In terms of life expectancy, we feel being overweight is as bad as cigarette smoking.”

Farmed Salmon’s Omega-3 Slide

We all know salmon is a wonderful source of Omega-3 fatty acids and lower in mercury than many other fish in the sea. But while farmed salmon has been hailed for being especially high in Omega-3s, those levels are declining. Due to eco-efforts to reduce the amount of forage fish such as anchovy, sardines and menhaden (all high in Omega-3s) in salmons’ feed, Civil Eats reports, “A piece of farmed salmon today may contain as little as half the amount of Omega-3s than it did a decade ago.” However, the site notes, “Even if today’s farmed salmon carries far less Omega-3 fatty acids than it once did, it’s now on par with wild salmon, and still packs more than species like tilapia, lobster and catfish.” So, you know, there’s that.

A Very Important Vitamin

Here are two more reasons to make sure you get enough vitamin D. A British study suggests vitamin D supplements may reduce chronic obstructive pulmonary disease lung disease (e.g., bronchitis, emphysema) flare-ups by more than 40 percent in patients deficient in vitamin D. The supplement was also found to reduce the severity and duration of flare-ups in all COPD patients, even those who did not already have a vitamin D deficiency. Another study, conducted by researchers at University of Georgia, University of Pittsburgh and Queensland University of Technology in Australia, has linked vitamin D deficiency with seasonal affective disorder, perhaps due to its involvement in the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. “Vitamin D could have a regulative role in the development of SAD,” co-author Alan Stewart said. Fellow author Michael Kimlin noted that “there are strong indications that maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D are … important for good mental health.”

Amy Reiter also contributes to FN Dish.

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