5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

by in 5-Ingredient Recipes, September 14, 2016

For the past decade, I’ve been getting by with a $25 smallish slow cooker that I purchased from the grocery store. Recently I relocated, leaving my kitchen gadgets — including said slow cooker — behind, “forcing” me to buy a new one. Now I am thrilled to be sporting a slow cooker fit with a cook setting that automatically switches to warming mode after the cooking time has elapsed. Game changer. That was $49 well spent.

With fall comes peak sweet potato season. This dish highlights the savory side of this root vegetable, brimming with loads of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, plus potassium and vitamin C. I opt for orange-fleshed taters because, to me, the presentation of a white sweet potato just doesn’t have the same panache.

I prefer to use chicken thighs with the bone in (skin removed, of course) in slow-cooked dishes because the result is juicy, tender pieces of meat. The natural gelatin from within the bones lends itself to a simplified bone broth — so good you’ll be sipping it from a spoon.

Toss these simple ingredients into the slow cooker and be on your way. Just a few hours later, return to your kitchen filled with a warm, mouthwatering aroma. Read more

Are You Vegan Curious?

by in Cookbooks, September 13, 2016

In her new book, The Book of Veganish (Pam Krauss Books/Avery, 2016), Kathy Freston shares her own journey from omnivore to vegan — including many stops along the way. “I’d always been an animal lover, and one day after seeing a pamphlet depicting animals being led to slaughter, I realized that I wanted to be someone who loved animals, not ate them,” she recalls. That was 12 years ago, but she didn’t go cold turkey on burgers, ice cream, cheese and eggs. Instead, she gradually started leaning toward a more plant-based diet. “I didn’t give up anything until I’d found an alternative I liked as much or more, so it never felt like I was depriving myself,” she says.

So what exactly does it mean to be “veganish?”
Kathy Freston: I’m all about the -ish. I get upset with the ‘vegan police’ who insist on purity and a strict regime. Too many people will reject that message because it’s just too hard. It’s OK to give yourself a little wiggle room as you investigate plant-based eating and move away from eating animals. But it should be a joyful process done in your own way at your own pace. ‘Veganish’ is about individual choice and not putting too much pressure on yourself to do it perfectly.

What do you suggest as a starting point for someone who wants to be veganish but doesn’t really know where to begin?
KF: When I started eating this way, I didn’t have the benefit of social media to help me out. Now, the best thing you can do is check out Instagram, type in #VeganFood or #VeganRecipes and you’ll get tons of amazing ideas. It’s really inspiring. And once you see all of the options, it doesn’t feel so daunting to eat this way. Read more

DIY Freezer Meals

by in Healthy Recipes, September 12, 2016

Are you facing back-to-school season, long days at the office or just uncertainty about what to make for dinner ? We’ve turned classic frozen dinners that you’d find at your local supermarket into easy, healthy options. Stock these satisfying suppers in your freezer and the answer will be faster than takeout — and more paycheck friendly too.

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Pre- and Post-Game Fuel for Kids

by in Fitness, Food and Nutrition Experts, September 10, 2016

Stumped by the question of what to serve hungry young athletes before and after practices and games? Check out our hit list of energy-boosting, muscle-building, lip-smacking grub that will give them the nutrition their bodies need to stay at the top of their games.

Sports Nutrition Crash Course
Young athletes don’t have the same nutritional needs as elite athletes, but they do need the proper fuel to perform their best. Kids participating in middle school and high school sports often run to their games right after a day of classes, long after lunchtime, leaving them low on energy and pressed for time. For this reason breakfast is a must, lunch can’t be skipped, and a snack leading up to an afternoon sporting event is a really good idea. Before exercising, easily digestible carbs are the best types of snacks – no one needs a bellyache on the field or court. Post-exercise eating is all about recovery of energy stores and repair of tired and worn-out muscles. Here the goal is to replenish with protein, carbs and fluid. Read more

Nutrition News: B-12 for the Brain, Commuter Weight Gain, Cooking Methods and Diabetes Risk

by in Food News, September 9, 2016


Is Your Commute Making You Fat?
A new study of British commuters conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health has found that those with long, “non-active” work commutes — passive rides in trains, buses or cars – may suffer consequences including heightened stress, blood pressure and BMI and decreased time for healthy activities, such as cooking nutritious meals, exercising and getting adequate sleep. Almost 38 percent of those polled said their long commute meant they had less time to make healthy meals at home, and 29 percent said their commute compelled them to eat more fast food. Noting that the survey found, too, that workers were consuming an extra 767 calories per week due to their long commutes, Health.com suggests eating a healthy breakfast (prepared ahead of time, if necessary) before leaving the house. Read more

7 Back-to-School Dishes That Kids Can Help Make

by in Uncategorized, September 8, 2016

In the throes of back-to-school chaos, assembling even the most-basic dishes can feel like a chore. That’s why the chefs in Food Network Kitchen have been busy dreaming up light, wholesome alternatives to the prepackaged meals we tend to fall back on during the busy transition from summer to fall. Most importantly, they’re easy enough for kids to help prepare — and enticing enough for them to want to eat.

You’ll have breakfast on the table in 20 minutes with Food Network Kitchen’s wholesome take on classic eggs-in-the-hole, which calls for a modest dose of Parmesan cheese and crumbled bacon, adding flavor and texture for few extra calories. Make the morning even easier on yourself by allowing the kids to butter the bread, cut out the center holes and crack the eggs.

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The Sustainability of Alaska Seafood

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Healthy Recipes, September 7, 2016

The 2015 dietary guidelines stress the importance of fish consumption, but there are still misconceptions swirling around about the seafood industry. What exactly is farm-to-table seafood, and is it sustainable? I had the opportunity to learn firsthand about the Alaska seafood industry by taking a sponsored tour of the breathtaking state and even getting on a fishing boat to catch my own fish.

About Alaska
They say everything is bigger in Texas, but it’s even bigger in Alaska! The state commands 34,000 miles of tidal shoreline. To give you some perspective, the Atlantic Coast (from Maine to Florida) is about 2,000 miles, whereas the Alaska Coast is about 5,500 miles. But there’s just about one person per square mile actually living in Alaska. (If you applied this population density to Manhattan, you would have about 37 people living on the entire island.)
And because of its exceptional fishing waters, the state produces more than half the nation’s wild seafood harvest by volume.

The Seafood
Alaska is known for its salmon, whitefish varieties (like halibut, cod and rockfish) and shellfish. There are five species of Alaskan salmon: king, sockeye, coho, keta and pink. Peak salmon harvesting is from June to September. Peak harvesting for whitefish (like halibut and cod) varies but is mostly between March and October, while shellfish are harvested more in the fall and winter months. Read more

Order This, Not That: Panda Express

by in Dining Out, September 6, 2016

This Chinese food chain has been around since 1983, when it first opened in a mall in Glendale, California. Chinese fast food isn’t known for being healthy, and Panda Express is no exception. However, the next time you order Chinese fast food, keep these better-for-you choices in mind.

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Food Fight: French Fries vs. Sweet Potato Fries

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, September 5, 2016

French fries aren’t generally considered health food, but there are many options to consider. Are you baking them, frying them or getting them at the drive-thru? Is it a healthier move to order the sweet spuds when they appear on the menu? Here are the real differences between traditional french fries and those made from sweet potatoes.

French Fries
Potatoes have a bad reputation, but they’re actually filled with good-for-you nutrients, including fiber and potassium. The calorie count is also relatively low, coming in at about 170 calories for a whole potato. Armed with this knowledge, you can easily see how a sliced and roasted spud with a drizzle of olive oil can be a healthy side dish.

If you hit up the freezer section for a bag of fries, every 3-ounce portion (about 12 pieces) contains 120 calories, 5 grams of fat and 300 milligrams of sodium — but who eats only 12? Fast-food fries can get you into even more trouble, with a medium-sized order averaging 400 calories and 17 grams of fat. Sodium levels can range from 300 to more than 1,200 milligrams, depending on how those fries are seasoned. Read more

Apple Oatmeal Breakfast Bread

by in Uncategorized, September 4, 2016

Many people know that a bowl of oatmeal is one healthy way to start the day. But why? There’s a lot of nutrition packed into that bowl of goodness, including whole-grain oats, spicy cinnamon and usually fruit and nuts on top. I set out to create a quick bread that had all the nourishment of a bowl of oatmeal — but that would be easy to slice and take with you. Here’s what I mixed up:

Oats — All dry oatmeal varieties, from quick oats to steel-cut oats, are whole grains. They are also full of fiber — soluble fiber, which has been shown to lower cholesterol when consumed in the amount of about two bowls of oatmeal per day.
Walnuts — These nuts have more of the essential plant-based Omega-3 fat AHA than any other nut. An ounce of walnuts also has 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.

Apples — In season now, apples are packed with the flavonol quercetin. This plant-derived antioxidant acts as an antihistamine and may protect against heart disease.

Cinnamon — This spice may help keep blood sugar levels in check in people with diabetes, although not every study has shown this.
Eggs — Yes, eggs. I always add an egg or two to a pot of oatmeal to make it extra creamy. In this bread, eggs are added to increase the protein and vitamin D content. If you’re not really a “morning person,” vitamin D may help improve your mood. One egg has nearly 10 percent of the daily value for vitamin D — and may help you put on a happy face at any time of day. Read more