Can’t Take More Steps Each Day? Then Take Faster Ones

by in Fitness, November 27, 2016

An entire industry of fitness-tracking devices has sprung up to support the expert-recommended goal of taking 10,000 steps daily. And while that’s a great amount to shoot for, a new study has shown that if you can’t get in quite that many steps a day, there are other ways to reap the same health benefits. The study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, shows that if you (like the average American) can get in only 5,000 to 7,000 steps daily, the trick is to pick up the pace for about half of them.

Walking at a brisk pace (which the researchers defined as 100 or more steps per minute) should be your goal for at least 30 minutes a day, in order to reduce a variety of cardiometabolic risk factors. The other key finding was that no matter how many steps you get in daily, it pays to try to reduce the amount of time you spend not moving at all.

Need help achieving those goals? Here are some tips from Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietitian and certified strength and conditioning specialist, to get you moving. Read more

Kitchen Trend: Instant Pot

by in Product Reviews, November 26, 2016

Your grandma’s pressure cooker is getting a reboot. The Instant Pot has helped make the electric pressure cooker trendy, but in a safer and more user-friendly way. Find out all there is to know about this old-school cooking tool.

Pressure Cooking 101

A pressure cooker is essentially a chamber of steam that quickly heats to a high temperature, rapidly cooking food within a moist environment. While there is a bit of a learning curve when using a pressure cooker, it is fairly simple to operate. Newer models have sophisticated dials and built-in safety mechanisms to help avoid the feared explosion of piping-hot food all over the kitchen.

Cooking via this speedy method offers not only culinary convenience but also better nutrition, because the high heat and fast cooking allow food to retain nutrients. Pressure cookers also do their part for the environment, offering up to a 70 percent energy saving compared with slower cooking techniques.

 The Instant Pot

At the forefront of the pressure cooker revolution is the Instant Pot. Created by a Canadian company, this updated version of the classic machine offers an all-in-one system that allows for pressure cooking, as well as slow cooking, rice cooking, sauteing, steaming and yogurt making.  Read more

Are You Eating the Right Omegas? Most Americans Aren’t 

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, November 25, 2016

We hear a lot about the importance of getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids in our diets — and with good reason. They’re heart-healthy fats that help decrease inflammation, plus they’re important for brain development and function. The other Omega fatty acids — the Omega-6 oils — are also considered “essential fatty acids” that are needed for several body processes. But some of them can also cause inflammation when eaten in excess. So while we do need adequate amounts of both in our diets, most of us are getting way too much Omega-6 and way too little Omega-3.

“In the standard American diet, people are getting about a 20-to-one ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3,” says Chris D’Adamo, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology and public health, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “Ideally, that ratio should be more like three-to-one.” The trouble is that Omega-6 fatty acids have become ubiquitous in our food supply in a way that they were not several decades ago. They are found in vegetable oils — like corn, sunflower, safflower and soybean — that are a staple ingredient in so many refined, processed and packaged foods. And when modern agricultural methods meant a shift from livestock that grazed on Omega-3-rich grasses to livestock that was fed Omega-6-packed grains, the balance in our diets shifted even more. Read more

Scalloped Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Mushrooms

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, Thanksgiving, November 24, 2016

Layer after layer of warm cheesy potatoes — it’s pretty much a classic definition for comfort food. Here, buttery yellow-skinned potatoes and thickly sliced mushrooms are drenched in a 10-minute cream sauce and sprinkled with rich blue cheese.

In past decades, scalloped potatoes were on the dinner rotation with other casseroles. But these Scalloped Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Mushrooms have been updated for modern tastes, and they feature a few tricks that make them lighter than the cream-drenched “covered dishes” of the past. Here’s what I stirred up:

Yukon Gold Potatoes
These thin-skinned potatoes taste buttery even without the addition of any dairy. Leaving the skins on ups the flavor and nutrition.

Blue Cheese
Your grandma probably didn’t add blue cheese to her hot dish; using this umami-rich cheese packs intense flavor throughout the recipe, with the use of only a half-cup of cheese.

Baby Bella Mushrooms
Also known as “cremini,” these meaty mushrooms are sliced thick to give them solid structure, making the scalloped potatoes hearty enough to serve as a meatless meal. Also, mushrooms contain vitamin D, which may help improve your mood as daytime sunshine becomes sparse. Read more

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