Nutrition News: Whole Grains, Diet and Metabolism, Sleep and Weight

by in Food News, June 17, 2016

The whole truth about whole grains

We know whole grains are good for us, but do they have the same health benefits if they are ground up and used, say, as an ingredient in smoothies or flour in cereals? The New York Times’ Well blog has taken that question to nutrition experts and the answer is, basically, yes. “Whole” grains, in which the bran, the germ and the endosperm are all left intact (as opposed to “refined” grains, where the bran and the germ are stripped away), are beneficial either way. Some grains lose a bit of their fiber when ground, but taste better that way, the experts say, whereas others, like flax seed, are more nutritious when ground, because the body can absorb them better. The most-important thing, dietitian Maria Elena Rodriguez tells the Times, is to make sure products have three or more grams of fiber per serving and are marked “whole grains.” Read more

Apricots with Honey-Ginger Ricotta and Pistachios

by in 5-Ingredient Recipes, Healthy Recipes, June 17, 2016

Is there anything better than an apricot, peach or nectarine freshly plucked from the tree? Those sweet juices dribbling down your chin as you nosh on a delicious piece (or two or three …) of sun-ripened summer fruit? Perhaps not.

But, then again, maybe I can convince you to try these Apricots with Honey-Ginger Ricotta and Pistachio Nuts, for a healthy yet luscious summer dessert. Rich in beta carotene and vitamin C, to help keep your skin healthy and get your glow on, fresh apricots are one of Mother Nature’s favorite summer treats.

There’s no denying their fresh-picked appeal, but this elegantly easy recipe featuring apricot halves stuffed with honey ginger ricotta and topped off with crunchy pistachio nuts will impress your friends and family when served as a simple summer dessert. Or, do what I did, and keep them all for yourself! Read more

8 Zucchini Recipes That Won’t Squash Your Summer Health Goals

by in Healthy Recipes, June 16, 2016

The thing we love most about zucchini is that it refuses to be labeled. In a culinary context, this firm summer squash is treated as a vegetable, often prepared as a savory main or side dish. But botanically, zucchini is classified as a fruit — and more specifically as a type of berry — which perhaps explains why you’ll find this fiber-packed jack-of-all-trades in sweet breads and pastries too. Few other vegetables can boast the same level of versatility. Luckily, the prime season is long — it begins in June and peaks in late August, so be sure to fit in several trips to the farmers market before summer is over. Whether it’s lightly seasoned and grilled until smoky or grated into fine shreds to be hidden in baked goods, there’s no meal this light summer squash can’t conquer. See for yourself with these 8 in-season zucchini recipes for casserole, zucchini bread and more.

Skillet Eggs with Squash
Break out your skillet for this crowd-pleasing one-pot dish, where baked eggs sit atop grated summer squash and zucchini, with a healthy dose of spicy pepper Jack cheese, nutmeg and scallions.

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Lightened-Up Inside-Out Bacon Cheddar Burger

by in Grilling, Healthy Recipes, June 16, 2016

Ah, the juicy burgers of summer cookouts! They taste so good — but are so often huge fat and calorie bombs. The sad truth is that most homemade burgers have well over 800 calories. But it is possible to pack all that savory meaty flavor, oozing melting cheese, and yes, even bacon into a big, satisfying burger without blowing your dietary allotment for the entire day.

A typical homemade 6-ounce burger alone can easily pack 450 calories — and the bun, cheese and bacon will add another 400. And that’s without any sauce or mayo.

So we reconstructed the burger to pack in all that great decadent flavor with about half the calories and saturated fat.

Lightened-up burger tips:

  • Use 93% lean ground beef. This is the optimal point, at which the meat won’t dry out but is reasonably lean.
  • Swap regular mayo for a canola-based version to save 50 calories and 6 grams of fat per tablespoon.
  • Toss reduced-fat cheese with chopped bacon to get more smoky bacon flavor in every bite.
  • Think small when it comes to the bun: A smaller bun not only equals fewer calories but also makes your burger seem that much bigger!

Read more

5-Ingredient Strawberry and Black Quinoa Salad

by in 5-Ingredient Recipes, June 15, 2016

No doubt you’re familiar with white quinoa, which has become a healthy pantry staple in recent years. But you might be pleasantly surprised by the fun, pop-y texture and striking color of the black variety. Black quinoa also has an earthier taste, and works well in cold salads, since rather than clumping together, each seed of black quinoa can boldly hold its own. Even more important, black quinoa contains more than twice as much iron as white quinoa.

While quinoa is fine and dandy cooked in water, if you have some broth on hand, by all means cook the quinoa in broth for added flavor. And if the bottom of the rotisserie-chicken container has gathered juices, toss those in, too. This liquid gold equates to added depth of flavor in the finished dish.

Strawberries are gorgeous, sweet, juicy and fragrant during their peak season of summer, baring their fully red “shoulders” all the way up to the leaves — an indicator of truly ripe and delicious strawberries. The berries’ flavor is more pronounced at room temperature, so don’t be afraid to let them sit on the counter for a bit before you mix them into the salad. Read more

Market Watch: Fennel

by in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, June 14, 2016

If you don’t think you’re a fan of fennel, it’s the perfect time of year to give this remarkable veggie another chance. Head to the farmers market and pick up these sweet and delicate young bulbs while the getting’s good.

 

Fennel Facts

These edible bulbs of fennel are referred to as the “Florence” or “finocchio” variety. Don’t be turned off by the anise descriptor often attached to this member of the carrot family. Fennel’s licorice essence is extremely subtle and becomes even more subdued when cooked.

Fennel also contains plentiful amounts of vitamins and minerals, including A, C, folate, calcium and potassium. One cup has fewer than 30 calories but 3 grams of hunger-fighting fiber. Read more

Healthy Kids’ Snacks for Summer

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, June 13, 2016

If you think all kids are looking to devour only junk food, think again! A National Mango Board snacking study, conducted in September 2015, surveyed 501 U.S. parents with children between the ages of 3 and 11, using Research Now’s online consumer panel; the results showed that 41 percent of children ask for fresh fruit more frequently than other snacks. So the next time your little one requests a snack, choose one of these healthy options.

Snack Versus Treat
Snacks are mini meals that should be provided if there is a long stretch of time between meals (about five hours). Snacks are a perfect opportunity for your child to take in the nutrients they need to help them grow and develop, including iron, protein, calcium and vitamin D. Treats, on the other hand, are non-nutritious foods — such as cookies and chips — that do not provide nutrients and should be consumed only once in a while. Read more

Are Bright Restaurants Healthier?

by in Food News, June 11, 2016

You’re probably already aware that eating off extra-large plates can translate into consuming extra-large portions and that watching TV during a meal may distract you enough to make you overeat. The latest research on restaurant ambience examined how bright versus dim lighting affected diners’ food choices.

The study had several different prongs. The first involved a survey of 160 patrons at casual chain restaurants. Those sitting in brightly lit rooms were 16 to 24 percent more likely to order healthy foods (such as grilled fish or chicken and vegetables), while those in rooms where the lights were dimmer were more likely to order unhealthy items (like fried food or dessert). Plus, those eating in darker dining rooms ordered 39 percent more calories. Read more

Shortcuts to Getting More Greens

by in Healthy Tips, June 11, 2016

The latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans found that 90 percent of the U.S. population fails to get the recommended daily amount of vegetables. Based on these statistics, most of us (including me!) could use a little help taking in more — especially those nutrient-packed greens. Here are eight ways to quickly pack more greens into your day. Read more

Nutrition News: Good Fats, Sugar Addiction, Running Mistakes

by in Food News, June 10, 2016

Embrace good fats

Is it finally time to stop fearing all fats? The low-fat trend — already under fire — just took another hit from science. Researchers in Spain have concluded that all fats are not created equal – and that some will not lead to significant weight gain, regardless of calorie content. The study tracked 7,447 middle-aged men and women over five years and found that those who were put on a Mediterranean diet — with lots of fresh fruits, veggies and lean proteins, as well as olive oil and nuts — without calorie restrictions lost a bit more weight than those who were assigned a low-fat diet with no restrictions in their caloric intake. Read more