Will Soda in Your City Soon Cost More?

by in Food News, November 23, 2016

Is it time for budget- and health-minded beverage buyers to switch to seltzer or stick to water? If you live in a growing number of U.S. cities, sucking down sodas and other sugary beverages will now cost you more, thanks to new taxes.

Here’s a rundown of cities and counties that have enacted soda taxes, starting with five that did so just this month:

Cook County, Ill.: The populous Illinois county that is home to Chicago will see a penny-per-ounce beverage tax — over and above the usual sales tax — added to the purchase of sweetened drinks such as soda, iced tea, lemonade and sports drinks, whether bottled, canned or from a fountain. The tax, which goes into effect July 1, was approved by the Cook County Board on Thursday, November 10, and is expected to raise $224 million in revenue per year.

San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, Calif.: Voters in these Bay Area municipalities overwhelmingly passed soda taxes on Tuesday, November 8, in an effort to lower rates of diabetes and obesity — and raise revenues. Read more

Pepper and Pie Thanksgiving Cocktail

by in Healthy Recipes, November 22, 2016

If you’re searching for a warm way to welcome your Thanksgiving guests on Thursday, look no further than an autumnal Pepper and Pie Cocktail from Watershed Distillery. On a recent culinary tour of Columbus, Ohio, I had the chance to sample the local spirit-maker’s small-batch bourbon, gin and vodka, as well as cocktails from Alex Chien, bar manager of the soon-to-open Watershed Kitchen & Bar. Everyone raved about Alex’s refreshing cocktail made with tomato water, grapefruit, tarragon and Watershed’s Four Peel Gin (which, in addition to the usual juniper, is made with four citrus peels: orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime).

I’ve been craving Chien’s creative craft cocktails ever since, so I asked him to share a drink recipe with Healthy Eats especially for Thanksgiving entertaining. His Pepper and Pie Cocktail harnesses fall’s best flavors — warming bourbon, apple cider, pumpkin puree, fresh apples and rosemary — in a single glass that drinks splendidly alongside holiday fare. It’s the perfect drink to greet guests with when they arrive for your Thanksgiving feast, or to make for yourself when you finally start the dishwasher and kick up your feet at the end of the night.

Pepper and Pie Cocktail
Yield: 1 serving
Recipe courtesy of Watershed Distillery Read more

5 Ways to Navigate Food Allergies During the Holidays

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Tips, November 21, 2016

Have you ever hosted a holiday feast and genuinely enjoyed the gathering as much as your guests did? It can be a reality — with a little help from your friends. During the holidays, many of the top food allergens — especially gluten, dairy, eggs and tree nuts — appear throughout the meal. This year, we’re turning the tables on guests and preparing them with these five easy tips to make this season’s holiday feast fun, and safe from allergies, for everyone.

1. Be prepared.
Avoid anxiety by giving the host a heads-up about any food allergies or intolerances the moment you receive the invitation. Ask if you can bring your favorite dish or dessert. It’s an opportunity to share not only the gift of food, but also your personal food memories and family traditions.

2. Be generous.
If you approach the gathering from a place of gratitude rather than just focusing on the food, your experience will shift. How often do you get the chance to be with those you love or meet charming new people? Think of everyone you get to spend time with, the laughter and the all-too-rare, real-life interactions. Invaluable. Read more

Healthy Sheet Pan Thanksgiving Dinner

by in Healthy Holidays, Thanksgiving, November 20, 2016

The words “quick,” “easy” and “Thanksgiving” typically don’t go together, but rules are being broken with this streamlined sheet-pan turkey dinner. It’s got all the elements of a typical Thanksgiving dinner, without the hours of prep and stovetop cooking. This dinner is just about the best thing to happen to hungry, time-starved cooks. Take a large baking sheet, add turkey, seasonings and vegetables, then roast until the meat is juicy and the vegetables are crispy and browned. Did I mention that cleanup takes less than two minutes? Throw away the sheet of parchment paper and place any leftovers in the fridge. Done and done.

If your meat section doesn’t have skin-on turkey breasts available, ask at the butcher. Most places that grind their turkey meat in-house use this type of cut to do so and should be able to supply you with a small breast portion. If you decide to use a breast that still contains the bone, you will likely need to increase the cooking time till done. Read more

Holiday Recipes for Even the Pickiest Lil’ Eaters

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, Thanksgiving, November 19, 2016

You are amped up for holiday meals, but your little ones might not be so thrilled. The fun and excitement of the holidays doesn’t always transfer to the dinner table, unless it’s covered in chocolate. Here are some kid-friendly, crowd-pleasing recipes to include in those sometimes controversial holiday menus.

 

Appetizers
Instead of fried junk, opt for sippable soups and veggiecentric snacks. Add a little kick of spice for the grownups and dial down the heat in a smaller batch for little ones. Even picky eaters tend to love briny olives and other finger foods.

Recipes to try:

Simple Chicken Soup

Citrus Marinated Olives

Parsnip Chips

Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Sauce Read more

3 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Desserts

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, November 18, 2016

Truth: Thanksgiving can be stressful—if you let the multicourse holiday feast rule you. We’re convinced the day will be better if you actually have time to enjoy your guests and your showstopping meal, including dessert. This year, we’re cooking up dessert at least one day ahead of the big day. No reason to wait to make these healthy-but-no-one-will-ever-know-it, rich desserts that’ll deliver sweet success.

Pumpkin Tiramisu with Gingersnap Crunch
Serves 16

4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups chilled dairy-free coconut or almond creamer
4 ounces mascarpone, at room temperature
One 7-ounce package ladyfinger cookies
1 1/2 cups freshly brewed espresso, at room temperature
Gingersnaps, coarsely crushed, for sprinkling

In a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat in the pumpkin, vanilla, pumpkin spice and salt until smooth, about 2 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the creamer until it holds soft peaks; gradually beat in the mascarpone and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the pumpkin mixture into the whipped mascarpone cream until just combined.
Submerge each ladyfinger into the cooled espresso and line the bottom of a 9-inch square glass baking pan. Spread half of pumpkin filling on top; sprinkle with gingersnap crumbs. Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers and pumpkin filling. Chill, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Make-Ahead Tip: You can make the tiramisu up to 2 days ahead of time; store in the refrigerator. To serve, sprinkle gingersnap crumbs over it.

Per serving: Calories 120.1; Fat 6.5 g (Saturated 2.9 g); Cholesterol 99.1 mg; Sodium 74.2 mg; Carbohydrate 13.8 g; Fiber 0.4 g; Sugars 4.0 g; Protein 2.65 g Read more

7 Lighter Takes on Essential Thanksgiving Sides

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, Thanksgiving, November 17, 2016

Is there anything more necessary than a generous scoop of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving? A slice of hot buttered cornbread is nice, too. Some would even say it’s the green bean casserole that really makes the meal special. Personal preferences aside, we can all agree that the sides are the best part of Thanksgiving — next to the smorgasbord of pie, of course. And since we only get to enjoy this celebratory feast one day each year, why not dig in to the indulgent dishes that are so representative of the holiday?

Then again, if you plan on having a lot of leftovers, you could be enjoying these dishes for a few days (or an entire week) after Thanksgiving has passed. That’s incentive to throw some healthier options into the mix. Here are the classic, comforting sides we all long for, with a few alterations to make each one less of a splurge. As it turns out, your healthiest Thanksgiving could be your most-traditional yet.

Mashed Potatoes (pictured above)
Food Network Kitchen prepares these Mock Mashed Potatoes using cauliflower in place of traditional Yukon Golds, which results in a creamy mash that will have everyone at the table fooled. Garlic and thyme add flavor depth while nonfat Greek yogurt and a little Parmesan bring in some dairy richness and tang.

Read more

Feeling Hangry? The Science Behind Gut Health and Mood

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, November 16, 2016

Gut health is a trending topic, but the ins and outs of the microbiome are still mysteries to many eaters. Research presented at the recent Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Boston helps explain how diet can affect brain function. 

Gut Health

Making smart dietary choices to promote a healthy environment in the intestines (or “gut”) involves boosting beneficial bacteria. Keeping your gut heavily populated with good bacteria allows for optimal nutrient absorption, immune function and reduced risk of disease; it may also help your mental health. Eating foods that motivate healthy bacteria to flourish (aka prebiotics) and good-for-you microorganisms (aka probiotics) will help ensure a happy and healthy microbiome.  Read more

A Nutritionist’s Tips for Eating Healthy While Traveling

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Healthy Tips, November 15, 2016

I’ve traveled a lot lately, and have even set a new personal record with over a dozen plane rides thus far this year. I’ve been in airports with lots of options, and in others with surprisingly few — and figured out what’s worth buying and what’s a must-pack snack. Plan ahead by using my tips to BYO and make smart on-the-fly buys.

Pack small liquid-y snacks. Creamy snacks like yogurt and applesauce count as liquids or gels when you’re going through security, so buy them in snack-size containers smaller than 3.4 ounces, or pack your own in leakproof containers.

Try it: GoGo Squeez Strawberry Yogurtz, Mott’s Snack & Go Natural Applesauce, 2-ounce OXO Good Grips Mini LockTop Container

Scout a healthy breakfast. Omelets and oatmeal are good go-tos. Many terminals have Starbucks, which offers an oatmeal with little added-sugar — that is, if you skip the brown sugar packet that comes with it (the dried cranberries and cherries are already sweetened with a little sugar). Mix in the packet of nuts, then add a sprinkle of cinnamon. If you prefer fresh fruit, swap the dried fruit for a side of blueberries or a banana. Read more

8 Healthy Food Trends to Look For in 2017

by in Food News, Trends, November 13, 2016

This year’s Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo took place in Boston, where I got a firsthand view of the latest foods that you’ll be seeing at your local market. Here’s the inside scoop on eight of these trends.

Pea Protein
The hottest trend in protein comes from pea powder. Bob’s Red Mill sells Pea Protein Powder to add to smoothies, shakes and baked goods. It contains 21 grams of protein per serving and is gluten-free. Earth Balance has also released a Protein Peanut Blend, which is a combo of peanuts and pea protein. It provides 180 calories and 9 grams of protein per 2 tablespoon serving.

Healthier Vending Machines
PepsiCo showcased its new innovative vending machine at the conference. Hello Goodness (pictured above) is a temperature-controlled vending machine that offers healthier on-the-go snack foods like Smartfood Delight Popcorn, Sabra Ready-to-Eat Hummus Cups and Quaker Real Medley Bars. On the machine is a touchscreen that allows customers to find product nutrition info, food and beverage pairing suggestions, and an Apple Pay option. Several thousand of these machines have been placed in select health care, recreational, transportation, governmental, workplace and educational facilities.

FODMAP Foods
The FODMAP diet trend, though created for those with irritable bowel syndrome, has grown in mainstream popularity. Fody is a company that has created FODMAP-approved products, including marinara sauce, salsa and BBQ sauce. Read more