Nutrition News: Unhealthy Behavior, Evaporated Cane Juice and Vegan Diets

by in Food News, June 3, 2016

What’s in a name?

Sugar by any other name would still taste as sweet. “Evaporated cane juice” may sound a lot healthier than “sugar,” but the Food and Drug Administration has decided it’s really the same thing. The agency has just released guidelines advising food companies to avoid using the term “evaporated cane juice” on labels and instead use the term “sugar,” which it has concluded is more accurate. (The FDA says it’s OK to modify it — as in “organic cane sugar” — as long as the word “sugar” is somewhere in there, NPR’s The Salt reports.) Food blogger Marion Nestle hailed the decision, telling The Salt: “Sugar is sugar, no matter what it is called. Now the FDA needs to do this with all the other euphemisms.” Suh-weet! Read more

6 Ways to Never Tire of Grilled Chicken

by in Healthy Recipes, June 2, 2016

Summer’s celebratory tenor is best evinced by near-weekly cookout invitations. But as our social calendars fill out, so, too, could our hips. Nothing is more disruptive to a healthy eating regimen than encountering an ice cream sundae station or a heaping plate of barbecued spareribs weekend after weekend. Our solution? Lean, smoky, protein-packed grilled chicken. It’s easily our best bet when it comes to light summer dining. The only problem is that the humble grilled poultry tends to get, well … a little boring. In truth, it’s not the chicken’s fault. If your go-to preparation method involves throwing some chicken on the grill after a quick dunk in store-bought barbecue sauce, then it’s time to switch up your technique. All it takes is a flavorful sauce, glaze or rub to invigorate this simple dish. Here are six ideas to kick-start a season of healthy summer grilling.

Go Bold with Garnish
While traditional chicken cordon bleu is coated with eggs and breadcrumbs, and then fried, Bobby Flay grills the meat for a lighter dish that still gives you leeway to top it with salty prosciutto and melted Brie.

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Baked Chicken Fajita Naan Pizza

by in Healthy Recipes, June 1, 2016

Although I normally have a “game plan” when it comes to the specific meals I’ll be enjoying throughout the week, there are days when I come home from work and feel like going rogue. Whether or not you are a meal planner, having an arsenal of foolproof recipes you can effortlessly whip up in minutes is key to eating healthfully even on the busiest days. For me, flatbread pizza is one of them. It can be simple or elaborate, depending on what ingredients I have on hand, because running out to the grocery store is the last thing I want to do on a weeknight. Something tells me that I’m not alone in feeling this way. Starting with the crust, you can go minimal with just a drizzle of oil or some tomato sauce, pesto, BBQ sauce, hummus or whatever you’re craving at the moment. As for the toppings, the sky’s the limit. It’s a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet while cleaning out the fridge at the same time. Read more

Fattoush Salad with Grilled Chicken

by in Gluten-Free, Healthy Recipes, May 31, 2016

I’m a sucker for a pretty salad — like this Fattoush Salad with Grilled Chicken with a lemony, herb-flecked vinaigrette. Have you heard of fattoush before? If not, you’re in for a delicious treat!

The traditional fattoush salad, which originated in the Middle East, is a flavorful combination of fried or toasted pita bread mixed with fresh seasonal herbs and vegetables. Therein lies its versatility, as you can easily add your own spin of creativity with your favorite herbs, vegetables, bread and other healthy toppings.

Grilled chicken adds a boost of lean protein to my version, and for those of you like myself who can’t eat gluten, I’ve swapped the pita for gluten-free pizza crust. Mix in some crisp bell peppers and cucumbers tossed with arugula and fresh Italian parsley, and top it all off with creamy feta cheese and lemon-oregano vinaigrette for a delicious and nourishing one-bowl meal.

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Eddie Jackson’s Easy Summer Party Plan

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Grilling, May 30, 2016

Manning the grill at a summer party is a tough job: Flipping a bunch of burgers, shuffling space for veggies and (of course) running back to the kitchen because you forgot cheese can eat into your time with guests. To avoid this scenario, we suggest you take a page from Eddie Jackson’s grilling “playbook.” As a Food Network Star winner (not to mention former NFL player, food truck owner and personal trainer), Eddie aims to create recipes that are healthy and delicious — but he knows that ease is a key ingredient, too.

And Eddie’s grilling menu really is super-savvy. He chose a crowd-pleasing flank steak that can feed the whole party, roasted potatoes that don’t require much attention while they cook and a simple salad to round out the meal. Watch the entire thing come together in the video above, and you’ll instantly feel prepared to entertain friends all season long.

Of course, Eddie’s armed with “playbooks” for many other occasions, too — check out his healthy habits plan and game-day party menu for even more inspiration.

How Local Can You Get? Bread  

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, May 29, 2016

Despite their unavoidable convenience factor, commercially baked breads often fall short when it comes to flavor and nutrition. Now that I’ve been sourcing local baked goods, I’ve all but given up on the grocery store bread aisle. Here are some tips to bring more local breads into your kitchen; you’ll support local businesses and get more nutritious options at the same time.

Homemade
Making your own bread isn’t really as difficult as it is time consuming. Budgeting time for the dough to rise (and then rise a second time) does take some getting used to, but the payoff is having complete control over the ingredients. A homemade recipe gives you the ability to lower the sodium and sugar content, while increasing the whole grains. From whole wheat to rye, sourdough to gluten-free breads — bakers’ catalogs offer a wide variety of ingredients and equipment to help bring out your inner baker. Instead of relying on only traditional yeast-leavened breads, add recipes for quick breads and pizza dough to your repertoire as well. Read more

Farmers’ Market Finds: Scapes and Rabes, Beyond Broccoli and Garlic

by in Farmers' Market Finds, May 28, 2016

If you haunt your farmers market looking for signs of spring, you’re probably familiar with garlic scapes and broccoli rabe…they’re some of the first greens you’ll find. But scapes and rabe come in more varieties than garlic and broccoli. Here’s the skinny on what they are and what other varieties to look for.

 

What Are Scapes?

These shoots are one of the first edible greens to crop up in spring. Scapes are simply flower stalks that grow out of the bulbs of garlic, onions and leeks. At the top of each is a bulb that will flower if left unplucked. For eating, though, scapes are picked when the green stalk is sturdy and the bulb is still a bulb. Scapes taste like the alliums they grow from, and you can use them in places you would use chopped onion.

 

How to Use Scapes

To cook scapes, remove the bulbs and use the stalks. Chop them finely and saute to soften. Add them to omelets or quiche, blitz them into a pesto or preserve them by pickling. Read more

Nutrition News: Late Family Dinners, Healthy Lifestyle and Cancer, Divorced Men’s Diets

by in Food News, May 27, 2016

Late family dinners

Parents who are perpetually running behind schedule with the family dinner probably have a lot on their plates, but one thing they can worry less about is dooming their kids to obesity just because the evening meal is served late. While previous research has indicated that meal timing could boost the risk of being overweight or obese for children, a new U.K. study examining data from more than 1,600 kids, ages 4 to 18, found that the risk of being overweight or obese was no higher among kids who ate between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. than it was among those served supper earlier in the day. Study author Gerda Pot, a visiting lecturer at King’s College London, told HealthDay News that she and her colleagues had “expected to find an association between eating later and being more likely to be overweight” and so found the study results “surprising.” Read more

Healthy Block Party Bites

by in Food Safety, May 27, 2016

Many neighborhoods celebrate the warm weather by throwing block parties. Filled with tons of food, including burgers, hot dogs, steak, side salads, beverages and desserts, block parties make it tough to stick to a healthy eating plan. And with all that food and all those hungry hands, there’s also a chance of a food safety snafu. Before heading out to your local block party, keep these tips in mind — and share them with the neighborhood!

Healthy Options

You can usually find some healthy bites at a block party if you go simple. Grilled corn on the cob (without gobs of butter), grilled chicken and watermelon can make a healthful, well-balanced meal. Oftentimes, however, you can’t help but take multiple servings of the broccoli salad laden with mayo — or try one of every protein cooked on the grill. Let’s also not forget about tossing back a few (or more!) beers, plus dessert. Don’t worry. You can tote along some of these healthy bites to your next block party to make things a little bit healthier: Read more

6 Veggie-Packed Sides for a Lighter Memorial Day Feast

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, May 26, 2016

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, and if you’re planning a picnic or cookout, it’s time to divide and conquer. In other words, touch base with friends and family soon to make sure you don’t end up with multiple renditions of coleslaw and potato salad crowding your spread. Sure, they’re classics, but mayonnaise-heavy dishes never seem to hold their shape in the heat — and they make for some pretty soggy leftovers the next day. If you’re delegated to bringing a side, you can ensure your dish stays fresh outdoors by deviating from tradition in favor of these lightly dressed salads packed with in-season produce.

Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella
This hearty panzanella is great alongside smoky grilled chicken. Check your pantry and freezer for the necessary ingredients before heading to the store; you may already have everything that you need, like frozen artichokes, black olives and whole-wheat bread. Toss it all together with some fresh tomato and basil from your garden.

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