All Posts In Healthy Tips

Start a Garden and Harvest the Health Benefits

by in Healthy Tips, March 17, 2017

As the weather begins to warm (March, you’re still planning to go out like a lamb, right?) and the first signs of spring tentatively peep out of the ground, many of us take our cue to start rooting around for our garden tools.

If you are not yet a gardener, why not make this spring the season you try out your green thumb? Even if you live in a city and have no yard at your disposal, you may be able to give it a whirl by finding a small plot in a community garden or even stashing a box on your windowsill. The rewards may include far more than whatever you manage to grow.

Studies have shown that gardening has all sorts of health benefits, from boosting your mood and improving your diet, to helping you stay fit and trim. So Healthy Eats reached out to Sharon Palmer, RD, a plant-based food and nutrition expert and the author of The Plant-Powered Diet, Plant-Powered for Life and The Plant-Powered Blog, to find out more.

 

How is tending a garden beneficial for your overall health? 

Gardening is good for your overall health in many ways. First of all, it is a form of physical activity that contributes to your overall physical fitness levels. Secondly, it can boost mood-enhancing hormones. Studies show that gardening can increase the release of serotonin, which has an anti-depressant effect, while decreasing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Thirdly, it can increase your exposure to health-promoting vitamin D levels we obtain from the sun. And fourthly, studies show that when you garden, you increase your consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables. Read more

Chefs Share Their Strategies for Staying Healthy

by in Healthy Tips, March 10, 2017

Long, laborious hours over a stove and tasting dishes on the fly don’t exactly breed nourishment, but chefs know that sticking to a few easy healthy food habits can punctuate a demanding, exhausting industry with much-needed moments of calm and clarity.

Opening a restaurant (a grueling, all-consuming affair) leaves little time for sleep, yet alone sport. But a rigorous schedule didn’t deter Derek Stevens, who just unveiled Union Standard in Pittsburgh, from keeping to his ultramarathon training and Brazilian jiu-jitsu sessions. The disciplined chef/owner also took care to whip up healing ginger-turmeric tea amid round-the-clock planning and construction. “Turmeric root is an obsession of mine,” he says. “It is both an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, which helps with any injuries I may have.”

Matt Jennings, chef/owner of Townsman in Boston, shed over 100 pounds after surgery and profound lifestyle transformations. Like Stevens, his non-alcoholic tipple of choice right now stars ginger, paired with organic apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest and maple syrup. “I steep all the ingredients together with a bay leaf and drink it hot, or chilled over crushed ice. The kick in the vinegar and ginger is reminiscent of a cocktail, yet the health properties of all the ingredients are amazing,” he explains. Avid swimmer Ruth Gresser, chef/owner of Pizzeria Paradiso in Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, VA, relishes turmeric as well, but when mixed with garlic and cayenne in warm lemon water. Just as her father does, she begins her day with this pungent elixir. “He has been doing this for years, and his mother lived to be 100,” she says.  Read more

6 Ways to Use Spring Herbs as Healthy Greens

by in Healthy Tips, In Season, March 9, 2017

Little flecks of green parsley make plates look pretty, but antioxidant-rich herbs are more than just a garnish. Using handfuls of herbs instead of pinches can pack more nutrition onto your plate. Basil contains the antioxidant beta-carotene and may decrease the immune response to allergens. Mint has phenolic compounds with strong antioxidant activity, along with vitamin A, folate and potassium.

Here are easy ways to use big bunches of basil, mint, parsley, arugula and other herbs as healthy leafy greens.

Make classic herb sauces from around the globe

Pureeing fistfuls of parsley, cilantro, garlic, and olive oil is the basic recipe for the classic Argentinian steak sauce chimichurri; try it on our Dry-Rubbed Flank Steak. An Indian chatni or chutney contains similar ingredients with the addition of fresh mint like in Curry Rubbed Swordfish Steaks with Fresh Green Herb Chutney. Italian Blanched Basil Pesto includes bunches of basil along with parsley, olive oil and cheese. Liberally drizzle any or all of these zesty green sauces over eggs, vegetables, or whole grains.

Slice and dice up spicy salsas

The addition of tomatoes, mangos or avocados to the classic herb sauce makes for a colorful salsa. Cilantro combines with garlic, avocado and tomatillos in our recipe for Avocado Salsa Verde. When making pureed-style salsas, add another couple handful of herbs for extra nutrition, and to use up bits of herbs that may otherwise become food waste. Even a chunk-style Mango Salsa is delicious when the amount of fresh herbs is doubled. Read more

Cooking in Parchment Paper

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, March 3, 2017

Looking for a portion-controlled, mouthwatering meal that takes seconds to clean up? Try cooking in parchment paper, or as the French say it, “en papillote.” Although most French techniques have a bad reputation for being unhealthy (hello butter and salt!), cooking in parchment can be a light and flavorful, quick and simple way to cook. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Why cook in parchment?

When you cook ingredients like fish, meat, veggies and herbs in a parchment paper packet, you’re steaming the ingredients inside using their own moisture — no added fat required. Plus, there’s no need to dirty pans, so cleanup is as simple as tossing the paper in the trash.

The process

The French term for this cooking method comes from papillon, the French word for butterfly, since the paper resembles delicate butterfly wings when cut into a heart shape. You then layer ingredients on one side of the paper, fold the other side overtop, and crimp the edges to seal. (To get a visual on how to cook in parchment paper, check out this how-to.) Read more

8 Healthy Meal Hacks to Steal from Dietitians

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Healthy Tips, February 24, 2017


I love a nutritious meal, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m all about the shortcuts that make healthy cooking easy and fast! I was curious about what hacks my dietitian colleagues use in the kitchen, so I asked them for their best:

 

Heat hacks

  • Turn your rice cooker into a workhorse. “Like steel-cut oatmeal, but don’t like waiting 40 minutes?” asks Maggie Moon, MS, RDN, author of The MIND Diet. “Add oats and water according to package directions, and use the porridge setting on your rice cooker. Do it at night, and you’ll have perfect steel-cut oats in the morning. Rice cookers can also steam vegetables, cook fish in 15 minutes, or even slow-cook chicken or pork—just add broth and aromatics.”
  • Cook extra portions. “Make extra servings of food that you can repurpose,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It. 
    “Tonight’s grilled salmon for dinner can become tomorrow’s salmon over salad for lunch. Or just mash the salmon along with chopped veggies, egg, spices, and breadcrumbs. Then shape into salmon patties, and you’ll have a great dish for Sunday brunch!”

Read more

5 Apps That Will Help You Eat Healthy

by in Food News, Healthy Tips, February 15, 2017

There are so many nutrition and fitness apps hitting the market that you just don’t know which to try. I set out to find some apps that may not be on your radar and are worthy of space on your smartphone.

 

HealthyOut

Cost: Free

There are now more options than ever for healthy eating when dining out. This app helps you find the best dishes at both chain and non-chain restaurants. Categories include heart healthy, high protein, lactose free, low calorie, low fat, vegetarian, vegan, and more. It’s a quick and easy way to sift through long menus to find choices that are better for you.

 

Food Intolerances

Cost: $5.99

If you have strict dietary intolerances or allergies, this app may be right for you. Those who have conditions like histamine intolerance, fructose malabsorption, sorbitol intolerance, gluten sensitivity or low FODMAP diet will likely find it a helpful tool. The database of hundreds of foods tells you if the food is allowable with the food sensitivity. A con of the app is that it categorizes all processed foods the same, such as a regular tomato sauce verses one that was created specifically to be low FODMAP-friendly. Read more

6 Healthy Breakfast Foods for Under $4

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Healthy Tips, February 7, 2017

Breakfast is the first opportunity during the day to nourish your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to keep you healthy. Instead of grabbing for the massive carb-filled muffin at the corner store or skimping on breakfast altogether, opt for these 6 good-for-you breakfast foods instead.

 

Oatmeal Cups

Whip up a healthy whole grain breakfast in a flash by just adding boiling water. If you’re racing to work, don’t forget to pack a spoon.

Average cost: $1.99

 

Greek Yogurt

Instead of going sans breakfast, munch on nonfat Greek yogurt which provides twice the amount of protein compared to traditional yogurt. Protein also helps keep you satisfied so you can concentrate on your morning.

Average cost: $1.50 Read more

3 Immunity Boosters to Add to Meals

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Healthy Tips, February 2, 2017

Cold and flu season is tough, and you may need help to make it through unscathed. Whether you’re hunkered down on the couch with a case of the sniffles, or just trying to avoid any sick days, these easy ways to add immunity boosters to your meals may help keep you healthy.

Turmeric

Long part of Eastern medicine traditions, this spice contains a component called curcumin which can help decrease inflammation. This antioxidant may help soothe inflammation caused by symptoms like sore throat and stuffy nose. Spoonfuls of turmeric may also help shorten the length of a cold by bolstering the immune system.

If you can find fresh turmeric root (similar to ginger root) in a store’s produce department, snatch it up. As with most foods, the whole plant contains the most potent components, but the dry, powdered spice is a powerful alternative. Add turmeric to a wide variety of drinks and dishes: your morning mango smoothie, cinnamon oatmeal with raisins, chicken noodle soup or cooked greens will all benefit from the flavor of this vibrant orange spice. Roasted vegetables or orange vegetables pair perfectly with turmeric. It’s an ingredient in most curries and also adds warm, earthly flavors to eggs and fish.

Sardines

Yes, really. This sustainable fish packs loads of healthy omega-3 fats (1100-1600 mg per serving) into its small size. These EPA and DHA fats may help decrease inflammation during colds. Sardines also contain the nutrient selenium which is essential for immunity. And a single serving of sardines contains over 27% of the daily recommendation for vitamin D, another immunity booster. Read more

3 Easy Ways to Organize Your Kitchen

by in Healthy Tips, January 13, 2017

Those shiny new appliances you received as holiday gifts need spots in your kitchen, so it’s time to organize. Here are three tactics to get you started, without being overwhelmed by the task.

Declutter, then donate

Decluttering can be daunting, especially if your entire household’s stuff ends up in the kitchen. So focus on tossing out extras of the following items; you’ll be energized by the fact that you will have a couple of bags to donate in no time.

  • Matching dishes – Two plates, two bowls, two glasses for each family member. Use disposable when you need extra for a party.
  • Silverware – Again, two spoons, forks, and knives for everyone. They can wash dishes, right?
  • Reusable water bottles – Each family member needs only one. Done.
  • Kitchen utensils – Toss anything cracked. Nasty bacteria builds up in tattered spatulas. If it pains you to part with that cool doohickey from your dear neighbor, think how much joy someone else will have from finding it at the resale shop.
  • Plastic food containers – They should all have lids, and all fit neatly inside each other. Toss the misfits.
  • Pots and pans – You don’t need six sauté pans. Here’s the pots you do need and how to organize them.

Read more

Forget the Diet! Make These 7 Small Changes Instead

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Healthy Tips, January 6, 2017

Two of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight and get healthier. In order to achieve these goals, many folks jump on the fad diet bandwagon. But many of these diets require complete elimination of certain food groups, have you eating close to nothing or recommend a boatload of supplements that empty your wallet. Instead of looking for quick results that will probably not last long, make these small changes instead. Make these small changes for at least 6 months, and they can become lifelong healthy habits.

Measure Ingredients

Large portions are one way folks overconsume calories. This is especially true with certain high calorie foods, including nuts, salad dressing, oil, peanut butter, granola, rice, pasta and juice. Although all these foods can be part of a healthy weight loss plan, eating controlled portions will help keep calories in check.

Eat At Least 2 Whole Grains per Day

The 2015 dietary guidelines for Americans recommend getting half your grain intake from whole grains. If you’re not used to eating any whole grains, start with two serving per day. For example, make your sandwich with 100% whole wheat bread, or swap your pasta from traditional white to whole wheat. Read more

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