All Posts In Healthy Tips

7 Summer Foods That Sound Healthier Than They Are

by in Healthy Tips, July 26, 2013

beer
The hot weather brings with it a bounty of delicious, seasonal foods that may seem healthy but are anything but. Be in-the-know and avoid some of these health-halo booby traps.

#1: Light Beer
I love kicking back with a light beer on a hot summer day. But if you’re guzzling 4 or 5 beers—the calories will quickly overflow. If you want to booze it up, the USDA’s recommendations are 1 beer per day for women and two for men. (And no, you can’t save all your drinks for a Saturday night.)

#2: Fro-Yo
Although they may start out at a reasonable amount of calories (about 100 to 140 per half cup), many people eat WAY more. And when you add toppers like crushed cookies, syrups and other goodies, you sabotage a perfectly calorie-friendly treat. Keep a mindful watch on portions (especially from fro-yo machines) and go light on the toppings.

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One Small Change: Healthy Swaps for Three Common Cravings

by in Healthy Tips, July 15, 2013

water
What makes junk food so appealing? Emotional eating aside, it often comes down to two things: taste (sweet, salty) and texture (creamy, fizzy, crunchy). In my humble opinion, if we can mimic those qualities in healthier options, then upgrading eating habits becomes an easier task. So let’s tackle three commonly craved foods: soda, chips, and mayonnaise.

The Craving:

Soda  A “refreshing” couple hundred of calories will spike your blood sugar and provide no nutrients. So what keeps us drawn to soda? It’s usually the fizz factor and the sweet taste. Consider which aspects of soda attract you to it, and then find the right substitute.

The Healthy Swaps:

Seltzer or Sparkling Water If you like the fizz, carbonated beverages can serve as a great substitute. Naturally flavored versions are available if you want a taste of orange, berry, lemon-lime and more.

Flavored Water  If you prefer getting some taste with your fluids but don’t want the fizz, you can easily add some flavor to your water. You can use lemon or lime (fresh or from the squeeze bottle), or a splash of your favorite juice for a little sweetness. You can even use a splash of juice with seltzer too.

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How to Reward Kids (The Healthy Way!)

by in Healthy Tips, July 11, 2013

gold star
My youngest goes gaga for store-bought donuts–but I steer clear of my temptation to reward her with sweets. Food should never be used as a reward (or punishment). Children need to appreciate food as a means of nourishment and enjoyment.

If you think rewarding kids with food isn’t a big deal, think again. It can lead to all types of unhealthy actions and behaviors:

Encourage unhealthy eats: Using sweets or non-nutritious foods as rewards sends the message that these types of foods are more valuable than other foods.

Empty calories: Foods served to your kids should contribute to their growth and development. But oftentimes foods used to reward kids aren’t carrots, watermelon and broccoli but fat- and sugar-laden processed foods.

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The Benefits of Berries

by in Healthy Tips, July 10, 2013

mixed berries
Fresh berries are now in season, and I couldn’t be happier. Not only are these babies unbelievably delicious, they’re also brimming with health benefits. Here’s the lowdown on four favorites: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

Strawberries
One cup of strawberries (about 8 berries) has 50 calories, 3 grams of fiber and more vitamin C than a medium orange. They’re also an excellent source of fiber, folate and potassium. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ranked strawberries third out of more than 1,000 antioxidant-rich foods. Strawberries also contain anthocyanins, which may help protect the nervous system and blood vessels.

Studies have shown that strawberries can help protect against several types of cancer, including breast, colon and leukemia. Research has also found that strawberries help decrease inflammation and control type 2 diabetes. In addition, one study found that eating 8 strawberries a day for 8 weeks helped lower homocysteine levels, a leading risk factor for heart disease.

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Vegetarians: Myths vs. Facts

by in Healthy Tips, July 9, 2013

carrots
Vegetarians are often seriously misunderstood. It’s time to debunk some of the most common vegetarian myths!

Myth: Vegetarians don’t get enough protein
Fact: It’s actually pretty easy for vegetarians to meet their needs for protein, even if they choose not to eat eggs and dairy products. Thanks to plant-based proteins like tofu, beans, lentils and what’s found in whole-grains breads and cereals, getting enough protein can be deliciously simple.

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6 Healthy Pantry Must-Haves

by in Grocery Shopping, Healthy Tips, July 9, 2013

sambal oelek

Could your pantry use a healthy makeover? Use these six ingredients to infuse recipes with flavor.

1. Sambal Oelek
Quite possibly one of my favorite ingredients of all time, this blend of fresh ground chiles, salt and vinegar adds a flavorful heat to sauces, stir-fries and marinades. Mix with mayo, nonfat Greek yogurt and lemon juice for a sauce that tastes good on just about anything.

Recipe: Spicy Turkey and Green Bean Stir Fry

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How to Pick a Healthy Frozen Treat

by in Grocery Shopping, Healthy Tips, July 8, 2013

frozen treat
Nobody loves a good frozen treat more than I do, which is why it bugs me when I see store shelves overflowing with “diet” offerings that fool folks into thinking they’re better than good old ice cream. The next time you’ve got a hankering for a frozen treat, here are some useful tips.

Low-Fat Ice Cream
Light and low-fat ice creams make up for the removal of fat by adding thickeners like guar gum, locust bean gum and carrageenan (just to name a few). Since fat also provides flavor, some lightened varieties include more sugar to make up for it, which means the calories can wind up being similar to regular ice cream. More sugar, less fat, same calories – not exactly healthier. And don’t be fooled by the term slow churned; some brands may be using new technology to alter the consistency, while others may simply have more thickeners added in.

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Ask the Experts: Favorite Cooking Tools

by in Ask the Experts, July 7, 2013

lemon zester
We all have our favorite kitchen gadgets and tools. I was interested to see what tools nutrition experts favor so I polled some of the top experts from around the country; it was interesting to hear what they considered to be their most prized kitchen possession.

Plane Grater
This popular kitchen tool got two votes from the experts I asked. Lisa Eaton Wright, MS, RDN, LDN President and Media Spokesperson for the Illinois Dietetic Association said “A Microplane grater is one of the most time-saving, efficient kitchen tools out there! There are many uses for this tool, but I use mine to grate fresh garlic for sauces and vinaigrettes, for grating fresh ginger, for grating Parmesan cheese over soups and salads, for adding a chocolate garnish to my chocolate-drizzled angel food cake, for finely mincing hot peppers — like jalapenos that I add to guacamole — and of course my favorite use is grating lemons for all kinds of dishes to add flavor and zest, particularly to my homemade pesto sauce.”

Nutrition consultant and healthy food blogger Christy Wilson, RD also favors the Microplane grater. “I use it to zest limes, oranges, lemons and to finely grate fresh ginger or garlic. This infuses so much flavor into sauces, dressings and salads and the tool itself is small, easy to handle and affordable. I love it!”

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Cheese Basics

by in Healthy Tips, July 6, 2013

cheese
Cheese is one of my favorite foods, but when it comes to getting all the cheesy facts (and there’s a ton!), I turn to the professionals. I had the opportunity to chat with the owners of Sartori Cheese who gave me pretty interesting tips for buying, storing and even pairing cheese.

Q. What are 3 basic facts folks don’t usually know about cheese?

  1. Cheese is a great snack (in moderation)! One ounce of Parmesan has more protein than red meat, 33% of the recommended daily amount for calcium, and vitamins such as B12 and riboflavin, with 11% and 8%, respectively.
  2. With some cheeses, you may experience a slight crunchy feel.  That crunch is actually crystals called calcium lactate that forms as part of the aging process.   They can also appear as white spots on the cheese and are a sign of a well-aged cheese.
  3. Wisconsin is the only state in the United States that has a Master Cheese Maker Program. This is an advanced education program for experienced cheese makers. The three year program requires a minimum of 10 years as a licensed cheese maker prior to applying to the program.

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