I went to Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute yesterday with my two boys, my brother and his two girls. It was a once-a-year family outing that I’ll cherish forever. Why am I telling you this? Because of lunch. After an hour or so of exhibits, we decided to break for food. Not atypical for summer outings, whether it’s a museum or walk around the mall, soon enough, the troops start to get hungry. And, no doubt, like me, you’ve experienced the conundrum of selecting the best food options with limited choices. It happens anytime you’re not near your own fridge.
Archive for July 2011
Firing up the grill this summer? Push those hot dogs and burgers aside and make room for sweet and satisfying fruit. Grilled fruit makes for a delicious summer snack, dessert, side dish or even as a topping for meat or fish. Grilling fruits causes the natural sugars to caramelize, which spotlights their sweetness and adds a deep, smoky flavor. Adding fruits to your barbecue repertoire is a great way to incorporate more good-for-you grub into your diet; here are the basics:
Are McDonald’s Happy Meals getting healthier? The fast food chain is making changes to the items in its kids’ meal as part of a long-term menu evolution. The company hopes to improve nutrition choices and awareness—starting with the new Happy Meal. Read more
Summer is all about fruit-filled desserts. When faced with the choice of cobbler or pie, which would you choose? Read the pros and cons of each and YOU vote for the healthier winner.
Cobblers are a combo of fruit filling topped with a crust made of biscuit dough, traditional pie crust or a pour-on batter. Typically, the topping is made from milk, sugar, and flour. It’s easier to control the ingredients in the crust-topping of a cobbler than it is with pie; if you don’t want your cobbler too sweet, you can choose to cut down on the sugar. You can also use less of the topping, since it doesn’t have to cover the entire top of the cobbler.
There’s nothing wrong with sipping on a cocktail or two, but rising temperatures and summer festivities can tempt you to overdo it. When you combine lots of alcohol with sugary juices, sodas and other high-calorie mixers, it’s a recipe for a diet disaster. Make smart choices for those alcoholic bevvies – try our healthy swaps.
Instead of: Traditional margaritas
Choose: Lighter versions – try lower calorie mixes with tequila included (such as Jose Cuervo Authentic Light Margarita) or the Healthy Eats from-scratch recipe
The Payoff: Slash the calories by more than 50% Read more
We told you about popular vitamin supplements and now we’re covering minerals. Folks like to pop certain mineral pills when they can be easily obtained through food. Are these mineral supplements really worth the investment?
Many individuals mindlessly down vitamin and mineral supplements like candy. Many people don’t realize that supplements of any kind interact with various health conditions, medications, herbal supplements and even one another. Furthermore, taking megadoses (very large amounts) on a regular basis can be toxic to your body. That’s why it’s important to consult a physician or registered dietitian before choosing your supplement regimen.
Grilled eggplant is a summer favorite, but there are plenty of other ways to enjoy this scrumptious delight. Check out these fun eggplant facts (did you know it’s a fruit?) and healthy, delicious recipes.
When, Where, & What?
Eggplants (Solanum melongena, Solanaceae) are part of the nightshade family along with peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. They were originally named after eggplants found in Europe that resembled an egg in shape and color. Eggplants only became acceptable to eat in the U.S. about 50 years ago; prior to that, folks believed that eating it caused insanity, leprosy and cancer.
Eggplants grow on vines, similar to tomatoes, and can be found in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. They can be white, purple, black or green and vary in length. Their shape can be spherical, curved, or long and narrow. The most common eggplants have a deep purple skin with a teardrop shape and are about 8 to 10 inches long.
Eggplants have a spongy flesh, meaty texture, and slightly bitter taste (the skin is especially bitter). Female eggplants contain more seeds and are more bitter, while male eggplants contain less seeds and have a slightly sweeter flavor. To determine the sex of an eggplant, check the bottom: a female will have a deep indentation shaped like a dash while a male eggplant will have a shallow, round indentation.
The largest producers of eggplants in the U.S. include Florida, New Jersey and California. They’re also grown in Mexico, China, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and Japan. Popular varieties include Black Beauty, Rosa Bianca, Classic, Orient Express, Black Italian, Japanese, Lavender and Cloud 9. Eggplants are in peak season from July through October.
School may be out for summer, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t learn a thing or two. What better way to boost your brain power than by combining two of the most loved aspects of the season – barbecue and the ocean – than to grilling up some fresh fish? With its mind-boosting omega-3s, grilled fish will ensure that you clear your brain of the summer “fog,” and when done right, it will blow those boring hamburgers and hot dogs out of the water. So get ready for Grilling Fish 101.
My blog post is kinda different this time because I’m traveling with my kids and thought it would be fun to talk about “healthy eats” on the road. This week we’re flying, and if you’ve hit the air recently, you’ve experienced the food situation (or lack of it). On shorter flights, there’s often nothing more than a tiny bag of peanuts or pretzels. Longer flights offer a “snack cart” where you can purchase fresh and pre-packaged food. The cart has a few healthy options but if you’re sitting in the back and they run out mid-way through service, you’re stuck with what’s left (they seem to have an endless supply of chips and candy). When I travel with my boys, I don’t take any chances; I pack a bunch of munchies and keep my credit card handy for healthy, fresh food on board. Grabbing something at the airport is also an option, but you have to search for healthy fare and then deal with really long lines while dragging your luggage (my kids won’t stand still long enough for that). If you have more patience, opt for fresh sandwiches on whole grain bread. Get roast turkey, carved ham or grilled chicken and add lettuce and tomato. Go easy on mayo-based spreads; opt for grainy mustard instead. Fresh salads are great too, just watch out for high-fat dressings and those topped with loads of meat and cheese (share those with your travel partners). Fresh fruit, fruit smoothies and bulk nuts, seeds and trail mix are also terrific choices.
Don’t ask us why Junk Food Day is a national food holiday, but it is, and just because it is, doesn’t mean you can’t partake responsibly. Snack on your favorite “junk foods” today, minus the guilt. Stick to our list of Healthy Eats-approved recipes and you won’t miss out on this national celebration of nostalgic junk food.
Chips and Dip:
5-Layer Mexican Dip (pictured above)