Patriotic Cheesecake Parfaits

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, July 3, 2016

Take all the great, rich flavor of cheesecake, layer it with summer’s best berries, then add a little crunch and a touch of chocolate, and you have what may just be the perfect summer dessert. Best of all, a great big, celebratory serving of this parfait clocks in at less than 400 calories. (This recipe can also be made to serve six instead of four. Just use smaller glasses and divvy the recipe up into six parfaits with less than 250 calories each. We pinky-swear it won’t feel skimpy!)

In honor of Old Glory, this version is red, white and blue, but you can certainly toss in other fruit as well. Each fruit layer may be made with a combination of fruits, or you can alternate to create red and blue stripes. The crumb layer may be made several days ahead and stored in a closed container at room temperature; the cheesecake layer may be made a day or two ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. Wait until just a couple of hours before serving to assemble the parfait, to ensure the crumb layer stays crunchy.

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Corn and Cantaloupe Salad

by in Healthy Recipes, July 2, 2016

It’s that time of year when refreshing summer produce is in full swing, the perfect accompaniment to hot and sunshine-filled days. For evenings when you don’t want to spend a lot of time at a hot stove, try this unique corn and cantaloupe salad instead. It’s the perfect balance of salty and sweet, and it’s a great go-to for potlucks or lunches; you can even serve it as a side dish with whatever you’re taking off the grill.

Cantaloupe is one of my favorite summer fruits, though it can be tricky to pick a ripe one from the market. Because the melon is the star of this dish, its quality and taste will change the overall outcome. The best way to pick a cantaloupe is to smell the round section where the vine was attached; it should have a sweet, slightly musky scent. A ripe cantaloupe will be orange or golden in color and feel heavy for its size. Avoid melons with too much green or white color.

This recipe calls for barely cooking the corn to eliminate some of the rawness, but if you can get your hands on really fresh, sweet corn, feel free to forgo the cooking process altogether and add the raw kernels right to the salad. The briny feta cheese perfectly balances the juicy cantaloupe and sweet corn kernels, though Gorgonzola or blue cheese can be used instead. Read more

Gluten-Free Fourth of July Feast

by in Healthy Recipes, July 1, 2016

Kick off this Fourth of July weekend with a feast of lightened-up, gluten-free versions of American classics. We’ve swapped in a creamy cashew ranch dressing for heavy mayo in our veggie-packed macaroni salad. Want super-crispy fried chicken? Go ahead and let your oven do all the work for you instead of frying it in oil. Bonus: you’ll be rewarded with less cleanup, too!

Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken
Serves 6

Ingredients:
Canola oil, for greasing
2 cups unsweetened corn flakes
6 tablespoons raw almonds
6 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk
1 cup gluten-free flour, for dredging
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken tenders

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and lightly grease a baking sheet with oil. Using a food processor, pulse together the corn flakes, almonds, sesame seeds, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, dried thyme, pepper, cumin and salt until coarsely chopped; transfer to a shallow bowl.

In a second shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Place the flour in a third shallow bowl. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess, then in the egg mixture and the corn flake mixture; place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Bake until golden and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Per serving: Calories 346; Fat 12.2 g (Saturated 1.7 g); Cholesterol 158 mg; Sodium 532 mg; Carbohydrate 25.9 g; Fiber 2.2 g; Sugars 1.4 g; Protein 33.2 g Read more

Nutrition News: Workday Walking, Gut Speed, Meal Timing

by in Food News, July 1, 2016

Optimal meal timing? The jury is out.

We know what we eat is important, but does it matter when we eat it? A new research review has concluded that national dietary guidelines ought to provide us with stronger recommendations about optimal meal timing. “Whilst we have a much better understanding today of what we should be eating, we are still left with the question as to which meal should provide us with the most energy. Although the evidence suggests that eating more calories later in the evening is associated with obesity, we are still far from understanding whether our energy intake should be distributed equally across the day or whether breakfast should contribute the greatest proportion of energy, followed by lunch and dinner,” Dr. Gerda Pot, who was involved with the study at the King’s College London, said in a release. “There seems to be some truth in the saying ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper,’ however, this warrants further investigation.” Read more

6 Lighter Alternatives to Classic Slow-Cooked Barbecue

by in Healthy Recipes, June 30, 2016

Here at Food Network, we’re already swooning in anticipation of July 4th cookout fare — a meeting of spicy, sweet, smoky and zesty flavors swirling together on one picnic plate. If you’ve already gotten a head start planning your menu, you’ve likely encountered a ton of “barbecue” recipes during your search. But before you go any further, we think it’s time to clear up some confusion: What is barbecue? And how does it differ from grilling?

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Picnic Salads, Lightened Up

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Healthy Recipes, June 29, 2016

Side salads are the opportunity to add lots of veggies, fruits and whole grains to your barbecue fare. However, many traditional side salads are drowning in mayo or oily dressings. Below are quick tricks to lighten up your favorite picnic salads, along with recipes you can try.

Potato Salad

Pick up this classic summer side at your supermarket and each serving may contain more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat. Many homemade versions call for at least one cup of mayo — with 920 calories and 80 grams per cup. And although potatoes are filled with potassium and other good-for-you nutrients, cooked spuds still contain 65 calories per half-cup.

To lighten:
• Swap out some of the potatoes for nonstarchy veggies like parsnips or cauliflower.
• Bulk up the salad with tomatoes, celery, peas, carrots and bell peppers for a variety of vitamins and nutrients.
• Sub in a flavorful vinaigrette or pesto sauce for some of the mayo.

Recipes to try:
Pesto Potato Salad
Sweet Potato Salad
Quinoa and Purple Potato Salad Read more

Order This, Not That: Chick-fil-A

by in Dining Out, June 28, 2016

This super-popular chain opened in 1946 and has grown to become one of the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chains in the United States. Chick-fil-A currently has over 2,000 locations in 43 states, and its sales in 2015 exceeded $6 billion. However, before you think ordering fast-food chicken is healthier than other options, check out the calorie and sodium bombs you may be eating. Read more

Good or Bad: Whipped Topping

by in Is It Healthy?, June 27, 2016

Everyone gets excited about a fluffy pile of sugary whipped goodness, dolloped high atop a slice of pie or ice cream sundae. Store-bought whipped topping may seem like a healthy alternative to decadent whipped cream, but you might want to read this before you garnish your next dessert.

Good
Whipped toppings tend to come in lower on the calorie-and-fat scale than traditional whipped cream. Two tablespoons of frozen whipped topping contain 25 calories and 1.5 grams of fat, while canned whipped topping has about 20 calories and 1 gram of fat for the same two-tablespoon serving. You may be shocked to learn that the same two-tablespoon serving of whipped cream has 100 calories and 10 grams of fat. And seriously, who eats only two tablespoons of any of this stuff?! Premade whipped toppings offer convenience, as a sweet and creamy serving is a quick spoonful or spray away. Read more

Mango Turmeric Lassi Ice Pops

by in Healthy Recipes, June 26, 2016

It’s that time of year: The weather is getting warmer. The grills are being uncovered. The pools are being cleaned. And the ice pop molds are being dusted off.

Last year when I made my roasted peaches-and-cream ice pops, I raved about how my purchase of ice pop molds was a total game changer. This year I’ll spare you the soapbox, but I have to tell you how much I love this new ice-pop recipe.

I’m on a mango turmeric kick right now. I just made mango turmeric overnight oats, and I was on a mission to find another recipe to combine these two powerful flavors. Mango is sweet and juicy and beautifully contrasts with turmeric’s bitter, peppery flavor. Plus, they both impart a gorgeous, vibrant orange-yellow color that makes your food just pop!

And then there are the nutrition benefits of this win-win combo. Both mango and turmeric are high in antioxidants; specifically, mango is packed with antioxidant vitamins A and C. And that’s not all. Mangos contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals — talk about a superfruit!

Cool down this summer with this refreshing recipe for Mango Turmeric Lassi Ice Pops. Making ice pops at home is super quick and easy and allows you full control over the ingredients to make sure your family and friends are getting a nutritious treat. Read more

Smoky Two-Potato Salad

by in Healthy Recipes, June 25, 2016

Old-fashioned potato salad this is not. What it is is cool, creamy and way more colorful than the old standby — and it still goes great alongside burgers, brats and corn on the cob.

And it’s got a kick of spice, which, surprisingly, is exactly what you want in the hot summer. It’s no coincidence that the hot peppers that grow in hot and sunny climates are craved by people who live there. Hot, piquant flavors actually help cool the body and are healthy for lots of reasons:

  • Eating spicy foods helps produce endorphins in the brain; these “good mood” hormones help you feel more relaxed and, well, happy!
  • The heat of peppers is caused by a group of antioxidant phytochemicals — mainly capsaicin, which has powerful inflammation reducers.
  • Capsaicin also seems to help curb appetite and may help you feel fuller sooner.

Canned chipotle peppers are simply jalapeno peppers that have been smoked and stewed in a savory tomato sauce. So both the peppers and the sauce lend deep unami flavor from the cooked tomatoes along with smoke and bold heat. That’s why a recipe like this — which calls for only for 1 tablespoon of chopped chipotle pepper and 2 teaspoons of adobo sauce — can still pack a big flavor punch. (For ideas on what to do with leftover chipotles, see this tip.)

To cool the spicy heat on the tongue, this recipe includes creamy yogurt and nutrient-rich white potatoes and sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes and spice are an especially addictive combo — and a touch of honey is added to bring out the potatoes’ sweetness so it’s more of a match for the bold chipotle spice.

No, it’s not your grandmother’s potato salad, but it will still have friends coming back for seconds. Read more