Hanukkah Un-fried

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 17, 2016

Greasy latkes and jelly-filled doughnuts top the list of traditional foods eaten during the festival of lights. But after you’ve eaten these fried goodies for eight straight days, it starts to take a toll on your waistline. Instead, you can enjoy these traditional Hanukkah foods without all that oil-frying.

Latkes

Also known as potato pancakes, these babies can be baked instead of fried. They can also be pan-fried in a few tablespoons of oil to give them crispiness, and then finished in the oven. Or, shake things up by using sweet potatoes or a combo of shredded parsnips, carrots or zucchini and potatoes. Here are two latke recipes to try, plus a few homemade applesauce recipes for dunking: Read more

Gingerbread, 3 Ways

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 16, 2016

What makes gingerbread … gingerbread? Typically, anything baked with the flavors of ginger, cinnamon and molasses. This year, we’re spicing things up with a double-ginger cookie that will help make your holidays complete, plus pancake and hot chocolate recipes that showcase this timeless trio of flavors.

Gingerbread Pancakes
Yield: 20 (3-inch) pancakes

2 cups store-bought or homemade gluten-free pancake mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup brewed coffee, plus 1 tablespoon, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for greasing
1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses
Maple syrup, for serving
In a large bowl, whisk together the pancake mix, baking soda, sugar, cocoa powder, ginger and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, coffee, oil and molasses; add to the pancake mix mixture and stir until just combined.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Using a paper towel, lightly grease with oil. Pour the batter about 1/4 cup at a time into the pan and cook until the pancakes are golden and set, about 2 minutes on each side. Serve with maple syrup.

Per serving: Calories 230.6; Fat 7.2 g (Saturated 1.2 g); Cholesterol 67.1 mg; Sodium 548.9 mg; Carbohydrate 34.6 g; Fiber 2.5 g; Sugars 9.0 g; Protein 6.5 g Read more

Save Room for Dessert with These Slimmed-Down Holiday Sides

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 15, 2016

A holiday meal is a true marathon, with one mouthwatering dish after the next — and you won’t want to miss a single one. This year, avoid the mistake of overexerting yourself in the earlier rounds so that you’re out of the running by the time that luscious fruit pie or chocolate cake hits the table. Read more

Healthy Hanukkah Appetizers and Desserts

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 14, 2016

The Jewish festival of lights is filled with potato pancakes, jelly doughnuts and chocolate. Instead of making it a holiday celebration of calories, offer a variety of eye-appealing, delicious foods that friends and family will enjoy —including a lighter take on the traditional doughnut. Read more

Middle Eastern Spiced Quinoa Salad with Eggplant and Pomegranate

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 13, 2016


When I think of delicious Middle Eastern food, I think of the Israeli-born British chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Ottolenghi captured my heart and taste buds years ago with that gorgeous photo of roasted eggplant with buttermilk and pomegranate on the cover of Plenty, and now my kitchen shelves are lined with his cookbooks. That eggplant dish was the first recipe of his I made, and it was the first time I’d ever used za’atar spice.

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice made up of dried thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, sumac and salt. Deliciously nutty, it’s perfect sprinkled on roasted vegetables and meats or on yogurt or olive oil as a dip for pita.

Inspired by Ottolenghi and the upcoming holidays, I decided to make a Middle Eastern spiced quinoa salad, complete with eggplant, pomegranate and pistachios, topped with a lemony za’atar vinaigrette. This dish is vegan friendly and gluten-free to accommodate all your holiday guests. Looking for a creamy, salty component to round out the dish? Add some crumbled feta cheese on top for a vegetarian version.

Your family and friends will appreciate this flavorful, lightened-up holiday side dish. Packed with plant-based protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants like vitamin C, this salad is brimming with nutrition and flavor. Plus, it’s easy to make the day before to save you time and sanity on the actual holiday. Read more

How to Survive the Season of Overindulgence

by in Fitness, Healthy Holidays, December 12, 2016

’Tis the season for overindulgence — holiday parties, family gatherings, piles of cookies and candy all over the office. And while it can be difficult (if not downright impossible) to avoid all those temptations, you can help offset some of the negative health effects of straying from your normal healthy diet. The secret weapon? Exercise.

A 2013 study found that just one week of eating 50 percent more calories than normal can impair insulin sensitivity. But that research was based on people who were sedentary. So researchers at the University of Michigan decided to test the same scenario — but this time using lean, active adults as subjects. “In conditions of excess food, there is more circulating fat interfering with the normal function of tissues that are not supposed to have fat (like muscles and the liver),” explains Alison C. Ludzki, first author on the study. But if you stay active, you may ameliorate some of that damage. Read more

The Chef’s Take: Chestnuts

by in Chefs and Restaurants, December 11, 2016

Nat King Cole first started crooning about chestnuts roasting on an open fire in the 1940s, and the nostalgic scent of these plump, shiny beauties wafting from street corners remains a comforting symbol amid the frenetic swirl of holiday shopping and shindigs December usually promises.

Simply baking the chestnuts (don’t forget to score each one and give them a good soak before opening that oven door) is a surefire way to please guests, as is folding them into stuffing or using them to dot a chocolate cake. But chestnuts are rather versatile, which means chefs around the country are also using chestnuts to lend a festive touch to their winter dishes.

For Greg Guevin, chef at Russell House Tavern in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it was boredom of “the grilled vegetable platter ubiquitous to restaurants, the generic default option that gets no love” that led to him reach for chestnuts. His imaginative lasagna (pictured above) shuns pasta noodles for sheets of shaved potato that are layered with a blend of roasted chestnuts and root vegetables like carrots and parsnips. “The sweetness of the chestnuts makes the dish,” he says. Guevin amplifies it with a deep cremini mushroom-garlic-thyme jus deglazed with red wine “that helps keep the lasagna light,” he says. He then sparingly covers the “pasta” with a pecorino Mornay sauce, essentially a cheesy bechamel. Read more

Adios, Garlic Breath!

by in Food News & Trends, December 10, 2016

Garlic isn’t only a tasty addition to stir-fries, salads and more. It’s also good for us: It may help lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure, and research shows that regular intake may help lower the risk of certain cancers, like endometrial and prostate cancers.

But all potential health benefits aside, garlic has one major drawback: It can cause garlic breath that lasts up to 24 hours! Thankfully, a recent preliminary study in the journal Food Chemistry found a potential way to help diminish this. A study participant first ate garlic, immediately followed by apple (raw, juiced or heated). Study authors then measured the participant’s levels of garlic volatiles (aka garlic breath) using a technique called spectrometry. The test was then repeated with lettuce (raw or heated), mint leaves (raw or juiced) and green tea.

Garlic breath significantly decreased after the participants ate raw apple, raw lettuce and raw mint leaves. Study authors believe this is due to specific components in the foods that help in the deodorizing process. Although the apple juice, mint juice, heated apple and heated lettuce were helpful in reducing bad breath, their impact wasn’t as great as that of the raw produce and herbs — and the green tea didn’t affect breath at all. Read more

5 Foods That Will Help You Age Gracefully 

by in Food & Nutrition Experts, December 9, 2016

While the fountain of youth isn’t actually a thing, what we eat can help slow down the aging process — or at least keep us feeling healthier and thinking sharper as we get older. Give these five foods a try.

Eat Eggs to Help Your Eyes
Cook up an omelet for breakfast, and you could help your eyes. The yolks contain nutrients that may help decrease your risk of age-related macular degeneration, as well as cataracts. “Unfortunately, eyesight is one of the first things to go as we age,” says Emily Kyle, M.S., RDN, owner of Emily Kyle Nutrition. “Thankfully, a diet rich in farm-fresh eggs can help combat the loss of vision through two powerful nutrients: lutein and zeaxanthin.” Additionally, the amino acids found in eggs help rebuild and repair tissues that may deteriorate as you get older.

Start Your Day with Raspberries to Help Mind Health
This fruit gets its red color from antioxidants, which may help slow down the aging process. “Short-term experimental studies have shown that berries improve cognition — perhaps because they’re high in flavonoids, especially the kind called anthocyanidins, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions,” explains Maggie Moon, M.S., RDN, author of The MIND Diet. In a Nurses’ Health Study, people eating a large amount of flavonoids, including anthocyanidins, saw a decrease in the cognitive aging process by an average of up to two and a half years. Add raspberries to a Greek yogurt parfait, along with slivered almonds and cinnamon. Read more

7 Light and Easy Holiday Cookies for Your Upcoming Swap

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 8, 2016

These festive sweets are ideal for a holiday cookie swap, and they make great hostess gifts too. If you’re having trouble deciding on just one recipe, go ahead and make them all — it’s totally doable, since each recipe requires just 20 minutes of prep or less. Keep a few for yourself, then bundle the rest in gift bags for your friends and family to enjoy. Holiday “shopping” doesn’t get much easier than that. The fact that they’re all on the lighter side? Consider it a bonus.

No-Bake Chewy Truffle Cookies
Embrace the opportunity to give your oven a rest. These chewy, no-bake truffles are loaded with sweet dried dates bound together by cocoa powder, reduced-fat peanut butter, and a little bit of butter and honey (instead of the traditional combination of milk and sugar).

Read more