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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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.
Oh, what to do when, at 11:30 p.m., in both a famished and weary state, you return to your hotel and discover that ordering a black bean burger via room service will take 45 minutes? One glance at the won’t-save-you-either minibar reveals nothing more redeemable than a $10 container of Pringles. A vending machine, of course, would instantly sate those late-night cravings. But do you really want your impromptu dinner to be comprised of a decidedly bad-for-you bag of chocolate chip cookies?
Instant smartphone gratification leads to updating Facebook statuses, sliding through potential Tinder dates and curating Pandora playlists. Entertainment options aside, your iPhone or Android can also be a solid resource for eating better. In fact, a Gallup study says 19% of adult participants regularly use at least one mobile application that supports healthy living, while about 50% of those who use smartphones have at least one such app. The study says calorie-counting tools, health recipes and food/exercise diaries are the most commonly used apps. You can get in on it too. Learn how many calories are in a slice of multigrain bread via Fooducate, skip the cross-country Big Mac for a nearby brown rice bowl discovered on Food Tripping and find out where to gorge on sustainable sushi from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. Embracing a healthy — and delicious — lifestyle has never been easier, especially with the help of these seven new empowering apps.
Those of us who are addicted to coffee (put down that third cup of joe and raise your hand) would probably love to think all that java consumption is good for us in ways beyond just waking us up. Well, guess what? A new study has found that drinking coffee – both caffeinated and decaf – may be beneficial for your liver, helping to protect it.
How healthy is your favorite cereal, bread, frozen pizza or go-to snack? And how does it compare with other brands crowding the supermarket shelves? Trying to figure that out can be daunting, but it just got a little less so. The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy organization that has helped consumers parse everything from farm subsidies to cosmetics and cleaning-product toxicity, has just released a database of ratings, Food Scores: Rate Your Plate, for more than 80,000 commonly sold grocery items, aimed at helping shoppers make “healthier, greener and cleaner food choices.”
In addition to its natural caramely sweetness, there’s one more reason to pour on the maple syrup: it’s actually good for you. Yes, pure maple syrup is not only high in antioxidants, but every spoonful offers nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium. According to Helen Thomas of the New York State Maple Association, maple syrup has a higher concentration of minerals and antioxidants, yet fewer calories than honey.
There’s nothing new about fermenting food. In fact, it may be one of the oldest food preparation techniques around. Long before we were sipping pricy Kombuchas at the local café, our ancestors were using this process as a means of keeping their food from spoiling in age without refrigeration. “Fermentation was one of the earliest forms of food preservation,” says Kathie Swift, RDN, author of The Swift Diet (Hudson Street Press, 2014). “Traditional cultures were intentionally fermenting fruits, vegetables and grains well over 10,000 years ago, but they lost popularity when modern conveniences came into use.”
Lately, despite our ability to preserve and refrigerate food, fermentation is all the rage again. So what exactly are fermented foods (and beverages)? And why should we make a point of including them in our diets? We asked Swift — a huge fan of fermenting — for some answers.
In this week’s news: Gluten-free diets spark a grain of concern; slow and steady may not win the weight-loss race; and that regrettably fattening lunch may have been your brain’s fault.