All Posts By Dana Angelo White

DIY Healthy Halloween Treats

by in Halloween, Healthy Holidays, October 26, 2016

If you’re spooked by the overwhelming amount of highly processed junk coming into your house this time of year, try making some of your own treats. While these are certainly sugary confections, you control the quality of the ingredients and the amount of sugar, which helps make things a little less scary. Here are two no-fail recipes that the kids can help create.

Festive Dark Chocolate Lollipops
Makes 12 lollipops

You can use premade lollipop molds, but it’s even more fun to pour chocolate pops freeform. These impressive treats literally take only minutes to make! Get the kids in the kitchen to help decorate.

5 ounces dark chocolate
Halloween sprinkles and other edible decor

Line a sheet pan with a nonstick baking mat and arrange lollipop sticks in a row about 6 inches apart. Melt chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. Pour a heaping tablespoon of melted chocolate over the top quarter portion of each lollipop stick. Decorate as desired and allow to set for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy immediately or wrap in plastic and use within 3 days.

Per serving (1 piece): Calories 63; Fat 4 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 1 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Carbohydrate 8 g; Fiber 1 g; Sugars 6 g; Protein 1 g Read more

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Spice

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, October 22, 2016

Buried beneath the deluge of lattes, limited-edition snack foods and baked goods, the spice blend known as “pumpkin spice” has a nutritious foundation. And while it’s wise — for the sake of your waistline — to back off on the pumpkin spice Frappuccinos, ‘tis the season to take advantage of the health benefits of this ever-popular fall flavor combination.

Health Benefits
Different pumpkin spice blends may have variations, but the core blend usually includes ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. Here are the health benefits of each.

Rich in cell-protecting antioxidants and unmistakable warmth, cinnamon is the star ingredient of pumpkin spice. There is also some research to support that cinnamon may help diabetics better control blood sugar.

Another warm fall spice, nutmeg boasts small amounts of fiber, numerous B vitamins and minerals. Read more

The New World of Yogurt

by in Food News, Trends, October 18, 2016

You’ve probably noticed that the dairy section at your local grocery store is brimming with more choices than ever before, especially when it comes to the yogurt aisle. There have never been so many ways to enjoy this cultured dairy product, including drinks that allow you to sip them when you’re on the go and savory formulas showcasing in-season produce. Here’s a tour of the new and delicious world of yogurt.

Similar to dips, there’s a new craze surrounding cups of savory yogurts that can be eaten as a snack. Instead of fruit and sweeteners, these yogurts are adorned with an array of veggies, herbs and spices. Blue Hill Yogurt (pictured above) in New York has pioneered this savory sensation, offering flavors like Tomato, Beet, Butternut Squash and Parsnip.

More and more brands are offering bottles of less spoonable yogurt for on-the-go enjoyment. New York state-based Ronnybrook makes a drinkable yogurt without the use of stabilizers or emulsifiers and offers a variety of flavors, including Blackberry, Mango and Low-Fat Honey Vanilla.

Skyr is an incredibly thick and creamy cultured dairy product made in traditional Icelandic fashion. Like the more familiar Greek yogurt, Skyr is strained, yielding a lower water content, but it tastes less tangy than its counterpart from Greece. One of the most-popular brands on the scene is Siggi’s, which is high in protein and is made with less added sugar than many other sweetened yogurts. Read more

Market Watch: Kabocha Squash

by in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, October 11, 2016

This lesser-known variety of winter squash is having its heyday at local farmers markets right now. Don’t be intimidated by its dark and rough exterior; inside is a gourd full of goodness.

Kabocha Facts
A Japanese variety of squash, kabocha resembles a squatty, dark green pumpkin. Its outer skin is rough and bumpy, but inside hides a vibrant pale-orange flesh that tastes like a cross between a sweet potato and a pumpkin. Kabocha also delivers in the nutrition department, offering plentiful amounts of vitamins A and C, folate, potassium and fiber.

What to Do with Kabocha Squash
Much like pumpkin and butternut squash, kabocha can go in a wide variety of culinary directions. As with many winter squashes, the biggest challenge is dealing with the tough outer skin. Peeling it won’t be easy, so it’s better to cut it open, remove the seeds, and peel away the skin after boiling or roasting — you can also make it in a slow cooker.

Once mashed or pureed, the squash yields an incredibly light, silky and flavorful flesh that permeates your senses with the smell and taste of fall. Use it as a main ingredient for soups and sauces. You can enhance its flavor with earthy accoutrements like sage, cardamom and cinnamon or take things in a completely different direction with citrus and coconut milk. Kabocha’s natural sweetness and creamy texture also work nicely in muffins, breads, pie, panna cotta and ice cream. Read more

Kombucha: Good or Bad?

by in Is It Healthy?, October 2, 2016

With the exploding popularity of fermented foods, it’s likely that kombucha has ended up on your radar or even in your fridge. But is this drinkable fermented tea worthwhile?

The Good
A concoction of tea, sugar, fruit juice, bacteria and yeast are combined to create a pungent and slightly fizzy beverage. Homemade and store-bought versions require a jelly-like substance known as the “mother” or “scoby,” which introduces bacteria and yeast into the flavored liquid that’s then allowed to ferment. This drink is often touted for its tummy-pleasing probiotics plus numerous B vitamins. Some blends also include additional fiber and Omega-3 fats from add-ins like chia seeds, greens, herbs and algae.

The Bad
A potential downside of these drinks is the wide range of nutritional variation. Depending on the ingredients, calories can range from 60 to 160 per (16 fluid ounce) bottle. The fermenting process also creates a small amount of alcohol. Though they are desirable for their probiotic content, these beneficial bacteria are destroyed by pasteurization. Unpasteurized or “raw” varieties are available but could pose a food safety risk, as potentially harmful bacteria could grow in the liquid. For this reason, folks with weaker immune systems, including young children, elderly people and pregnant women, should steer clear. Read more

Have You Tried: Coffee Flour?

by in Food News, Trends, September 21, 2016

The hottest new trend in coffee couldn’t be farther from a cup of joe. It’s overflowing with nutrients, is gluten-free and helps to reduce food waste. Should you get your hands on some coffee flour?

What Is Coffee Flour?
Coffee flour is derived from the byproducts of coffee production. Coffee beans are encased within a small fruit. Once the beans are removed, the remaining fruit is typically discarded as waste. But now, this fruit pulp is getting salvaged, dried and ground into flour. Recommended uses include baking as well as incorporation into soups, sauces and beverages.

Coffee flour does not possess a strong coffee flavor but does have similarly deep and earthy characteristics. There is a floral undertone that resembles tea more than coffee. It also has a little bit of caffeine; according to Marx Pantry, each tablespoon of coffee flour contains roughly the same amount of caffeine as a third a cup of black coffee (they sell coffee flour for $9/pound).

Healthy Attributes
A small amount of coffee flour contains a huge amount of nutrients. One tablespoon holds almost 10 percent of the daily recommended amount of potassium and nearly 13 percent of daily iron. This plant-based flour is also gluten-free and an excellent source of fiber. Similar to coffee, coffee flour is also rich in cell-protecting antioxidants. Read more

Pre- and Post-Game Fuel for Kids

by in Fitness, Food and Nutrition Experts, September 10, 2016

Stumped by the question of what to serve hungry young athletes before and after practices and games? Check out our hit list of energy-boosting, muscle-building, lip-smacking grub that will give them the nutrition their bodies need to stay at the top of their games.

Sports Nutrition Crash Course
Young athletes don’t have the same nutritional needs as elite athletes, but they do need the proper fuel to perform their best. Kids participating in middle school and high school sports often run to their games right after a day of classes, long after lunchtime, leaving them low on energy and pressed for time. For this reason breakfast is a must, lunch can’t be skipped, and a snack leading up to an afternoon sporting event is a really good idea. Before exercising, easily digestible carbs are the best types of snacks – no one needs a bellyache on the field or court. Post-exercise eating is all about recovery of energy stores and repair of tired and worn-out muscles. Here the goal is to replenish with protein, carbs and fluid. Read more

Food Fight: French Fries vs. Sweet Potato Fries

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, September 5, 2016

French fries aren’t generally considered health food, but there are many options to consider. Are you baking them, frying them or getting them at the drive-thru? Is it a healthier move to order the sweet spuds when they appear on the menu? Here are the real differences between traditional french fries and those made from sweet potatoes.

French Fries
Potatoes have a bad reputation, but they’re actually filled with good-for-you nutrients, including fiber and potassium. The calorie count is also relatively low, coming in at about 170 calories for a whole potato. Armed with this knowledge, you can easily see how a sliced and roasted spud with a drizzle of olive oil can be a healthy side dish.

If you hit up the freezer section for a bag of fries, every 3-ounce portion (about 12 pieces) contains 120 calories, 5 grams of fat and 300 milligrams of sodium — but who eats only 12? Fast-food fries can get you into even more trouble, with a medium-sized order averaging 400 calories and 17 grams of fat. Sodium levels can range from 300 to more than 1,200 milligrams, depending on how those fries are seasoned. Read more

Creative No-Cook Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, August 22, 2016

Beat the heat and spend less time in the kitchen with these healthy and inspired no-cook dishes.

Layered Squash
Try this out-of-the-box summer squash recipe to wow guests, or enjoy it as a simple weeknight dinner.
Recipe to Try: Summer Squash Carpaccio (pictured above) Read more

How to Use All That End-of-Summer Produce

by in Healthy Recipes, August 21, 2016

At this point in the season you might feel like you’re drowning in fruits and veggies. Don’t let all that summer produce go to waste. Here are some delicious and healthy ways to hold on to the goodness a bit longer.

Baked Goods
Bake an abundance of produce into muffins, cakes, pies cobblers, crisps and even cookies. User-friendly options include seasonal berries, chopped stone fruit and shredded summer squash and carrots. Herbs, onions, spinach kale and other savory items can be incorporated into breads, biscuits and pizza crusts as well.
Recipe to Try: Blueberry Whole-Wheat Muffins

Salads and Slaws
Get some extra mileage out of cabbage, kale, beet greens, kohlrabi and broccoli (stems and all). Shred or spiralize them, then give them a quick toss in a flavorful dressing. You can pack a whole bunch of nutrition into a side salad like this.
Recipe to Try: Cabbage-Kohlrabi Slaw

Read more