A Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s will cost you some serious calories and fat. A 12-fluid ounce portion (the smallest size) has a whopping 530 calories and 15 grams of fat, not to mention all the highly-processed sweeteners and artificial colors. Try this fresher and lighter version instead. Bonus: you can make it all year long; the fast-food version is only available for a few weeks around St. Patrick’s Day.
A medium-sized baked sweet potato has 102 calories, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and no fat or cholesterol. It’s also rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene and contains a small amount of vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are also loaded with potassium and vitamin B6.
Baked, roasted, mashed, added to chili or pureed into soup – adding sweet potatoes to your meals can help you stay satisfied and provide you with a hefty dose of nutrients.
What is Grapeseed Oil?
Made from the same grapes used for wine making, grapeseed oil is extracted from the tiny inner seeds. Commonly imported from countries like France and Switzerland, this light and fresh oil is becoming more widely available in the United States.
Its clean and mild flavor makes it a better choice in dishes where you don’t want the flavor of the oil to compete with the other ingredients.
Grapeseed also has an extremely high smoke point, making it ideal for high cooking temps in cooking techniques like stir frying, sautéing, baking and frying,
This member of the parsley family has a pungent aroma and flavor, nutty and warm with a hint of anise. This ancient slivered, black seed is a common element in Austrian and German cooking.
Available in both whole and ground seeds, whole seeds have a potent flavor and aroma. If a recipe calls for ground seeds, grind up just before using for best results.
Everyone’s buzzing about cauliflower these days. It’s simple, tasty and apparently very trendy; we love that this cruciferous veggie is getting a chance to shine!
Low in calories (25 per cup) but high in nutrients (fiber and vitamins C, K and B6), cauliflower also boasts various antioxidants, including those that may help prevent certain types of cancer.
Cauliflower is unique because has the ability to morph into many different forms. When it’s mashed, pureed, roasted or boiled – the texture and flavor completely change.
White is the most widely available variety, but you may also be able to find green, purple and orange versions at your local famers’ market.
Forget about getting tipsy – that’s not the point here. Cooking with a little liquor can be a healthy and tasty way to add a splash of depth, flavor and excitement to your recipes.
Whether it’s beer, sake, rum or Cabernet, using alcoholic beverages in cooking can act as a flavor enhancer. It can also be used to tenderize meat in marinades or concentrate flavor when simmered down into sauces.
What’s even more fun about cooking with alcohol is how versatile it can be. Beer can make a moist bread or add killer flavor to a fish taco. Hard liquor like vodka or rum can jazz up pasta sauces or be the finishing touch in a glaze for grilled or roasted meats.
Back in 2009 we started reporting on this hot new food. Since then, these tiny, crunchy seeds have experienced a popularity explosion. It’s time to catch you up on how far chia has come.
One tablespoon of chia seeds has 55 calories, 2 grams protein and 6 grams of fiber, plus calcium, iron and potassium. They’re also gluten and cholesterol free.
According to the nutrition facts panels, the fat content of different brands of chia seeds varies from 3 to 9 grams per tablespoon. The type of fat found in these tiny seeds is mostly polyunsaturated, specifically the ALA omega-3 type – brands vary from 2,000 to 6,000 milligrams per serving.
Research indicates the ALA form of omega-3 needs to be converted to DHA and EPA forms in order to benefit heart health (something omega-3s are famous for). Some recent reports have indicated that milled chia seeds allow for better ALA conversion, though it’s still unclear if this makes chia better for heart health.
Even though it would make life easier at times, I only enjoy homemade versions of certain kitchen basics. I’ve tried brands of store-bought applesauce and chicken stock but I’m never pleased. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just better (and often healthier) to make them from scratch. I posed this same issue — what ingredients MUST you have homemade — to registered dietitians (RDs) across the country and got an overwhelming number of responses. A HUGE thanks to all the RDs that weighed in on this hot topic.
Homemade Must Have #1: Salad Dressing
This was far and away the biggest pet peeve among nutrition pros – nobody cares for all the extra sugar, salt and other processed ingredients swimming in bottled salad dressings.
Janet Helm, MS, RD, blogger at Nutrition Unplugged, author of The Food Lover’s Healthy Habits Cookbook speaks for many of us when she says:
“I just can’t bring myself to buy any bottled salad dressings. It’s just so easy to make your own vinaigrette, which will always taste better and fresher. Plus, you can control the ingredients when you make your own.”
Barbara Boyce, DHSc, RD, LDN gives her homemade dressing a kick:
“My favorite is a jalapeno ranch dressing with a lot less fat and salt than store-bought. My husband and I like ranch dressing with a zip to it, so I add jalapeno peppers to the mix.”
Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RD adjunct faculty member at Benedictine University opts for the simplest of dressings:
“I can’t stand 99% of the commercial bottled dressings or those served in restaurants. They tend to be sweetened and have a cloying “chemical” taste. No, thank you. My homemade saves money and tastes better. It’s a simple blend of extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and dried oregano.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, folks should be getting 150 minutes of physical activity each week, including both cardio and strength-training sessions. Cardiovascular exercise should be at a moderate intensity (no lollygagging), something like brisk walking or easy biking counts. If you really ramp up the intensity, the 150-minute recommendation shrinks to 75 minutes but you’d better be working it (examples include running, swimming laps or playing basketball). Two weekly sessions of resistance training (such as lifting weights or yoga) should work all major muscle groups.
Don’t have a large chunk of time to spare everyday? No need to throw in the towel – you can break it up into smaller increments. Even as little as 10 minutes at a time counts.
It really all comes down to intensity. If you’re a runner, hitting the pavement for 75 minutes a week comes out to 15 minutes per day, over 5 days. Walking 25 minutes each day for 6 days a week will also meet the requirements. As you continue to exercise, you’ll gain strength and endurance – making it easier to work harder. Visit the CDC Website for specific guidelines on increased activity.