Each of these soup recipes — cauliflower, broccoli and sweet potato — uses the same simple method and can easily be made in less than 20 minutes. The soups can utilize whatever seasonal vegetables are on hand and be built upon endlessly, just by adding different herbs and spices or by stirring greens in at the end, before or after the soup is blended.
Virtual Food Fights
Google’s new-ish nutrition comparison tool got a soak in the spotlight this week. The idea’s rather nifty: Type “compare” followed by, oh, “bacon and kale,” and let the search engine work its magic. Drawing on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database, the search tool presents everything from fat and calorie to vitamin and mineral content. Be forewarned: Because Google’s algorithm is always set up to send you results it thinks will be relevant, you’ll also get plenty of mouthwatering recipes and images of your foods together (bacon and kale salad, for instance).
Before you hit the salad bar, see how some popular ingredients compare.
Italian Dressing vs. Balsamic Vinaigrette
WINNER: Balsamic vinaigrette. Balsamic vinaigrette can contain a third fewer calories and grams of fat than Italian dressing. Bottled versions of both are often made with additives and preservatives, so mix your own: Combine three parts olive oil with one part balsamic vinegar and a little salt and pepper.
Spinach vs. Spring Mix
WINNER: Spinach. It’s a close call — both are super low in calories and packed with nutrients. Spinach contains slightly more phytonutrients, antioxidants, B vitamins, potassium, calcium and iron. Spring mix usually contains spinach, but it’s bulked up with lighter lettuces like frisee that don’t offer much in terms of nutrition.
Cheddar vs. Feta
WINNER: Feta. Cheddar has 32 percent more protein and 49 percent less sodium than feta. But feta has fewer calories and grams of fat (total and saturated) than cheddar and because it’s so creamy and flavorful, a little goes a long way.
Grilled Chicken Breast vs. Diced Turkey
WINNER: Grilled chicken breast. Sodium is the big issue here: Diced turkey is more likely to be processed and loaded with sodium — up to 16 times the amount in store-bought or restaurant-cooked chicken breasts. Also, chicken breast is white meat, while diced turkey can contain a mix of light and fattier dark meat.
Croutons vs. Tortilla Strips
WINNER: Croutons. Croutons are usually much lower in fat because they’re sauteed or baked rather than deep-fried like tortilla strips. The exception? If you see croutons labeled “cheesy” (as opposed to plain), beware: The added cheese makes them almost as fatty as tortilla strips.
Food Network Magazine’s expert Jaclyn London is a registered dietitian in New York City.
“The idea that farm to table is revolutionary is funny to me because it is something I grew up with,” says Michael Psilakis. “I remember my mom pulling up tomatoes from our garden and slicing them and serving them with sliced onions that she had chilled in ice water. She’d serve me this as a snack so I could go and cut the grass or play baseball,” he says. With an upbringing full of such offerings, it is easy to understand why Psilakis, a first generation Greek-American who was raised in Queens, New York, has distinguished himself as an early proponent of the Mediterranean diet.
Make this tasty breakfast porridge when you need a change from the usual oatmeal routine. Creamy and warming with fragrant spices, this is the perfect dish to liven up any morning. Coconut milk adds a welcome richness to the steel-cut oats and the saffron and vanilla bean contribute an exotic twist. Sweetened by apricots and a touch of honey, this is a breakfast fit for the gods.
For more than 30 years — starting with his first professional job at Le Cirque in 1982 — chef Geoffrey Zakarian has been cooking some of New York City’s finest food. He presides over the Modern American cuisine at The Lambs Club and The National, both in New York City, in addition to being a regular judge on Chopped and a co-host of The Kitchen. In 2011, he won the title of Iron Chef on the The Next Iron Chef. Here, he tackles some questions about his healthy eating habits.
What health food trend do you wish would go away?
Low-fat and fat-free. It robs the food of its flavor and richness. Just the eat the real thing, but eat less of it. I also hate the word “trend” when it comes to eating because health should be a daily lifestyle.
What must-have items are always in your kitchen?
Coconut water, Emmi yogurt, lots of mangoes and berries and canned Spanish tuna in olive oil. I use the tuna in salads and warm pasta dishes.
Here’s your guide to healthiest ground meat picks.
High in protein and iron, beef is arguably the most popular choice. Ninety-seven percent lean may appear to be the best choice, but cutting all of the fat will also slash too much of the flavor. Ninety percent lean offers a nice balance, providing good flavor without going overboard on calories. A 3-ounce cooked portion (about the size of a smartphone) contains 180 calories, 3 grams saturated fat, 21 grams of protein and 12 percent of the daily requirement for iron.
Quinoa is fast-cooking, versatile and protein-packed. Keep a pot of the cooked grains on hand (using the basic recipe below), and these meals will come together in 10 minutes for a nutrient-rich breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Get Me a Spatula, Stat!
Last weekend,the Napa Valley branch of the Culinary Institute of America hosted hundreds of physicians for a medical meeting involving kitchen aprons, not lab coats. The draw was the Healthy Kitchens/Healthy Lives conference, co-sponsored by the Harvard School of Public Health and part of a quickly growing trend of culinary-medical cross-pollination. Come May, for example, Tulane University will debut the country’s first teaching kitchen affiliated with a medical school. In New York, meanwhile, celebrity chefs David Bouley and Seamus Mullen have been working with doctors Mark Hyman and Frank Lipman, respectively, to develop menu items and eating philosophies representing a drool-worthy intersection of pantry and pharmacy. (Wild mushrooms with white truffle, sweet garlic, grilled toro and coconut foam, anyone?) Fueling the trend is some pretty delicious research: In one recent study of a nonprofit program, patients whose doctors wrote them “prescriptions” to redeem at local farmers markets saw their BMI drop by an average of 37.8% in a single year.