4 Tips for Planning an Edible Garden

by in Healthy Tips, May 21, 2016

It’s the time of year when home gardeners begin to set a game plan for the season. Their excitement begins to build, as they know that what starts out as small seeds and plants will turn into a backyard bounty of edible goodness over the course of a few short months. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a horticulture newbie, use these tips to get off to a fruitful start.

 

  1. Find the right space.

The best place to start digging is one with lots of sunshine and plenty of soil. If you have a designated garden spot, try to rotate the main area every couple of years to help prevent depleting nutrients from the soil. If a new spot isn’t an option, plant items in different spots than the year before — tomatoes on the opposite side of the garden and so on. Also, consider using a combo of raised containers and in-ground beds so you don’t take up your entire lawn. If you live in a wooded area, consider how to set up protection from hungry squirrels, rabbits, deer and other four-legged friends. Read more

Nutrition News: Smoothies, Calorie Disclosure Rules, Diet and High School Sports

by in Food News, May 20, 2016

Smoothie operators

“Do I absorb more sugar and calories when I drink fruits and vegetables in a smoothie as opposed to just eating them whole?” The question was put to The New York Times’ Well blog this week, which consulted a dietitian representing the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and returned with an answer: Yes, “very likely.” Basically, the issue is one of “quantity,” the Times was told. You may well consume a lot in a short time when you drink a smoothie, without even realizing it. Plus, you may feel hungrier more quickly after you drink a smoothie than you would after eating whole fruit, because fiber, which slows down the sugar-to-blood-sugar conversion process, gets pulverized when the fruit is blended for smoothie consumption. And that’s just talking about smoothies you make at home, the Times notes. Store-bought smoothies often pack a big caloric punch along with added sugar, honey or other sweeteners — and may not even contain whole fruit at all.

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5 Pasta Salads You Won’t Regret

by in Healthy Recipes, May 19, 2016

Pasta salad is just as emblematic of the American cookout tradition as a juicy cheeseburger, whether you prefer yours with bow ties or macaroni, diced celery or bell pepper, or creamy mayonnaise or zesty vinaigrette. But what you might consider a modest serving could very well pack enough sugar and fat to knock you into a dreaded food coma for the rest of the day. If you’re eager to indulge in this classic summer side dish a whole lot more now that barbecue season is upon us, consider trying new ways to lighten up your go-to recipe. Reducing the mayo and cutting the sugar in the dressing — and loading up on wholesome, in-season vegetables — are excellent places to start.

American Macaroni Salad
Food Network Kitchen’s lighter take on macaroni salad has all the creaminess that’s expected, even though the recipe requires just half a cup of mayo. A little bit of sour cream is also mixed in, adding a tangy element — along with the cider vinegar — to this typically mild dish.

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New Potatoes with 5-Minute Mint Pesto

by in Healthy Recipes, May 18, 2016

New spring potatoes are deliciously in season now, but the shining star in this recipe is mint.

Even if you have a black thumb, you can grow this versatile herb. A small pot of mint on any sunny windowsill is almost impossible to kill. In fact, if you do happen to have a little plot of garden soil, do not plant mint; it will take over your garden like a weed. Always plant mint in a container.

Fresh mint is magic in the kitchen. You can:

  • Toss whole or torn leaves into salads
  • Pair it with peas for a classic combo; serve mixed into brown rice
  • Make Vietnamese noodles or a banh mi sandwich with fish sauce and mint
  • Flavor your water without added sugar or artificial sweeteners

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How Accurate Is Your Fitness Tracker?

by in Fitness, May 17, 2016

Wearable fitness trackers — including Fitbit and Jawbone devices — are wildly popular ways to keep a tally of all the daily activities you do. They count steps and calories, measure heart rate and, in some cases, monitor things like how much and how well you sleep. But before you live and die by those numbers on your device, you might want to consider something: How accurate is all that information anyway? Read more

Good or Bad: Rice Pudding

by in Is It Healthy?, May 16, 2016

This traditional dessert has been making a comeback on social media, but is it a good idea to eat this comfort food regularly? Find out if you want to get involved with the recent renaissance of this dessert.

Good

The sweet, rich and creamy mixture is downright delish. You’ve got to love that it’s made from simple ingredients like rice, milk, sugar and eggs. While this is a dessert, it does offer some nutritional benefits, including almost 10 grams of protein and 15 percent of the daily recommendation for bone-building calcium per cup. Read more

6 Fitness Tips For Long-Term Success

by in Fitness, May 15, 2016

Everyone wants to get in beach body shape for summer, but how about making changes to get fit and stay fit throughout the year? These six tips will help set you up for long-term success.

Avoid overshooting.

Know your limits, and be practical about how much you can and should exercise. It’s better to start conservatively and progress to more strenuous workouts than to start by overdoing it and risk getting burnt out or injured. If you currently exercise one or two days a week, bump it up to three. Eventually work up to five or six, and always include a day to rest. Read more

Order This, Not That: Red Lobster

by in Dining Out, May 14, 2016

This chain has been around for as long as I can remember, and it’s still frequented by loyal customers. Find out what you should be ordering the next time you hit up your local Red Lobster.

Appetizers

Order: Signature Shrimp Cocktail (pictured at top)

Shrimp is a very lean protein, and it is pretty low in calories too. It’s a great way to add protein to your diet without saturating it with fat and calories. The sodium is undoubtedly high in this dish, but if you cut back on the sauce, you can cut out much of the sodium.

Per dish: Calories 130; Fat 0 g (Saturated 0 g); Sodium 1,070 mg; Carbohydrate 11 g; Protein 21 g Read more

Nutrition News: Healthiest Veggie-Cooking Methods, Pregnancy Obesity Risks, Silk For Fresh Fruit

by in Food News, May 13, 2016

Healthier veggie prep

We all know vegetables are healthy, but some ways of preparing them are healthier than others. In general, cooked beats raw, CNN reports, noting, “Studies show the process of cooking actually breaks down tough outer layers and cellular structure of many vegetables, making it easier for your body to absorb their nutrients.” And while the ideal method may differ slightly for different vegetables, the news site reports, as a rule of thumb it’s often best to steam (don’t boil) or microwave your veggies and “keep cooking time, temperature and the amount of liquid to a minimum.” Then throw in a wee bit of olive oil and you’re good to go. Read more

7 of the Quickest — and Healthiest — Side Dishes Ever

by in Healthy Recipes, In Season, May 12, 2016

Here’s the predicament: You’re having guests over for dinner tonight, and while you’re at the grocery store gathering ingredients for your carefully thought-out dessert and entree, you realize you completely forgot to plan a side dish. Don’t panic — we’ve all been there. When you’re short on time, it’s wise to avoid slow-cooking grains and zero in on the produce aisle instead. Spring peas, asparagus, edamame and fresh salad greens are just a few of the season’s lifesaving ingredients, each one quickly and easily transformed from its raw state into a flavorsome, complementary side. Here are seven of our easiest and lightest spring sides that are ready in 20 minutes or less. Tuck these ideas away in your recipe arsenal to consult the next time you’re hosting — no one will know the dish was an afterthought.

Green Salad with Strawberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Time: 5 minutes
Rachael Ray’s simple five-minute salad embraces the flavors of spring with fresh greens, strawberries and a sweet-tart vinaigrette.

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