How to Use All That End-of-Summer Produce

by in Healthy Recipes, August 21, 2016

At this point in the season you might feel like you’re drowning in fruits and veggies. Don’t let all that summer produce go to waste. Here are some delicious and healthy ways to hold on to the goodness a bit longer.

Baked Goods
Bake an abundance of produce into muffins, cakes, pies cobblers, crisps and even cookies. User-friendly options include seasonal berries, chopped stone fruit and shredded summer squash and carrots. Herbs, onions, spinach kale and other savory items can be incorporated into breads, biscuits and pizza crusts as well.
Recipe to Try: Blueberry Whole-Wheat Muffins

Salads and Slaws
Get some extra mileage out of cabbage, kale, beet greens, kohlrabi and broccoli (stems and all). Shred or spiralize them, then give them a quick toss in a flavorful dressing. You can pack a whole bunch of nutrition into a side salad like this.
Recipe to Try: Cabbage-Kohlrabi Slaw

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5 Strategies for Back-to-School Prep

by in Healthy Tips, August 20, 2016

Parents, you’ve made it through summer, and back-to-school season is upon us. Whether you’re shedding a tear or jumping for joy, it’s time to get organized for the unavoidable craziness of packing lunches and busy weeknight dinners. Here are five sanity-saving tips to kick off back-to-school on the right foot.

Make a Game Plan
Take a few minutes each week to chart out lunches and dinners. Let the kids take part in the brainstorming, to make it a family affair. Taking the guesswork out of each day will help the week run more smoothly.

Gear Up
Dig out those lunchboxes, bento containers and ice packs. If they’re scrappy and beat-up, consider investing in new ones — lunch vessels should be clean and functional. Bentology and EasyLunchBoxes have many fun and convenient options.

Batch Ahead
Set aside some time to make a few family-friendly meals for the freezer. Falling back on home-cooked dishes like lasagna and chili when pressed for time can turn a hectic weeknight into prime family time. And don’t forget about breakfast! Batches of muffins, granola bars and egg cups are terrific make-ahead recipes. Read more

Nutrition News: Planning Ahead for Health, Salt and Kids, and Reducing Ingredients

by in Food News, August 19, 2016

Grocery ShoppingDepartment of Advance Planning

Spontaneity has its charms, but if you want to make better food choices, you may want to plan ahead. When people experienced a delay between the time they ordered their food and the time they intended to eat it, they consistently made healthier, lower-calorie choices. And they generally weren’t even aware they were doing so, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have found. Eric M. VanEpps, who led the research, said it’s not just that people are less hungry when they order in advance and therefore order less; it’s also due to their “bias toward the present,” he said. “If a decision is going to be implemented immediately, we just care about the immediate consequences, and we discount the long-term costs and benefits,” he told The New York Times. “In the case of food, we care about what’s happening right now — like how tasty it is — but discount the long-term costs of an unhealthy meal.” However, when you order a meal ahead of time, he said, “you’re more evenly weighing the short-term and the long-term costs and benefits. You still care about the taste, but you’re more able to exert self control.”

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Healthy Hiking Snacks

by in Fitness, Healthy Tips, August 16, 2016

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS). To celebrate, take a hike on your favorite trail, or go to the NPS website to find a park near you, and take one of these healthy snacks along to fuel your journey.

Before You Head Out
Once you select a trail, do some research — especially if you’re planning on a full-day hike. Call the campsite, or research online where you can access water near the trail. Longer hikes may require you to bring water purification tablets, in case you come across a stream or natural source of water, which may contain harmful bacteria or parasites.
For shorter hikes, a Swell bottle can help keep your beverage of choice cold. Read more

Grilled Peach and Tomato Salsa

by in Grilling, Healthy Recipes, August 15, 2016

This no-fuss fruit salsa is the essence of summer. Charred, ripe peaches and fragrant tomatoes are tossed with garlic, fresh lime juice, cilantro and jalapeno peppers (for a little heat). It’s a slightly smoky, refreshing salsa that’s miles away from any canned version.

I love the sweet and acidic combination of peaches and tomatoes. They’re both a little juicy, a little tart and perfect for topping just about everything that comes off of your grill this summer. Try this salsa as is, with grilled chicken and fish, or use it to top my personal favorite: slabs of grilled halloumi. With the texture of mozzarella and the flavor of feta, halloumi is my favorite unexpected pairing for most dishes highlighting summer produce. Layer fresh salad greens, slices of halloumi, and a generous serving of this grilled peach and tomato salsa on top. Serve with grilled baguette slices for an unexpected fresh appetizer or side dish.

As with most fresh salsas, this one will develop a better flavor the longer it sits. So don’t hesitate to make a big batch of this salsa for meals and snacks throughout the week. Read more

Market Watch: Tomatillos

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

One of the best things about going to the farmers market is you never know what you might find. I ran to my local market in the hopes of picking up some tomatoes, but instead I simply couldn’t resist these neon-green tomatillos. If you’re intimidated by this member of the nightshade family, don’t be; they are easy to cook with, and there are many ways to enjoy them.

Tomatillo Facts
Also known as a “jamberry,” the tomatillo is related to the gooseberry. Tucked behind a papery husk is a bright green fruit that resembles a petite tomato. Tomatillos are firm, shiny and slightly sticky to the touch. Remove the husk and wash before enjoying them cooked or raw. There’s plenty of nutrition packed into these beauties: One cup contains 42 calories, 1 gram of unsaturated fat and 2 grams of both protein and fiber. There’s also potassium, niacin, iron and more than 25 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.

What to Do with Tomatillos
Choose tomatillos with intact husks and firm skin. They will keep at room temperature for a day or so and should then be stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator drawer for up to one month. Use them to create salsa (aka salsa verde) and guacamole. Blend them with chiles, cucumber, fresh herbs and vodka for a marvelous spin on a classic brunch cocktail. Read more

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Thighs with Blue Cheese Slaw

by in Grilling, Healthy Recipes, August 13, 2016

We deconstructed — and then reconstructed! — all the great flavors of Buffalo chicken wings into this meal that’s much healthier but tastes just as satisfyingly decadent.

Here’s what we did:

• We packed more flavor into every bite by taking the skin off. Sure, that sounds counterintuitive, but with the skin off, the powerfully flavorful glaze permeates every juicy bite. We saved about 60 calories per thigh, and more than half the saturated fat.

• We got more cheese bang for our buck by crumbling strongly flavored blue cheese into small bits. Again, this ensures we get the flavor in every bite. The stronger the flavor of your cheese, the less you’ll need.

Here’s the real kicker to these Buffalo chicken thighs: No one ever need know they’re healthier, and it won’t occur to them to ask — because, yes, they taste that outrageously good. Read more

Q&A With Olympic Gold Medalist Summer Sanders

by in Fitness, August 12, 2016

If you’re like us, you’ve got a full-blown case of Olympic fever. That’s why we were so excited to talk to Olympic gold medalist Summer Sanders, who is now in Rio reporting on the latest news (just try to keep from crying when you watch her get emotional commenting on Simone Manuel’s historic gold medal.)

Sanders emerged from the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona as the most decorated U.S. swimmer and ever since, she’s been a valuable advocate for fitness and health issues. When we caught up with Sanders at the Partnership for a Healthier America’s “Building a Healthier America” Summit, we were thrilled at the chance to pick her Olympian brain about how she stays fit and inspired, eats well and gets her kids to eat healthy too.

Nutrition News: Diet Discrepancies, Curbing Cravings, Nutrition-Trained Doctors

by in Food News, August 12, 2016

Where our diets go wrong

When it comes to the healthfulness of Americans’ diets, something’s not adding up. Even though more than 80 percent of us don’t eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, many of us overdo it with refined grains and sugar, and 36 percent of us are obese, 75 percent of us claim our diets are healthy, NPR reports, citing a recent national poll it co-conducted. What gives? Experts tell NPR it could be a matter of portion size — that we’re overeating foods that are healthy when consumed in moderation. Another factor in the discrepancy might be that we’re eating foods — like sugar-loaded granola bars — that we think are healthy, perhaps because they are marketed to us that way, but that really are not so good for us.   Read more

How to Use Up a Batch of Fresh Tomatoes

by in Healthy Recipes, August 11, 2016

Save your canned tomatoes and jarred sauces for winter, when ripe-off-the-vine tomatoes are impossible to come by. Now that we’re in the height of summer, we’re taking every opportunity to consume this ruby-red fruit in its freshest forms, and preferably the same day we buy it (or shortly thereafter). Whether you get your tomatoes from the grocery store, the farmers market or your own garden, these healthy recipes will inspire you to use this essential summer ingredient in smooth soups, hearty salads and more. Here are just a few of our favorite applications.

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
If you can get your hands on some heirloom tomatoes — or better yet, if they’re growing in your garden — put them to use in Food Network Magazine’s easy summer appetizer. Each tomato is stuffed with a salty cube of feta cheese.

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