5 Food Safety Rules You’re Breaking (Without Knowing It)

by in Food Safety, August 1, 2013

cutting board

Skipping out on simple food safety rules may have bigger consequences than you think. Beyond resulting in a belly ache, it can have more serious outcomes for those with weaker immune systems, like young kids, pregnant women and older adults. Here are 5 food safety guidelines that most people forgo because they are busy, forget or just don’t know any better.

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Panini Party

by in Robin's Healthy Take, August 1, 2013

panini

Did you know that August is National Sandwich Month and National Panini Month?

I’m thrilled that America has embraced panini. They’re not the only sandwiches we’re eating (burgers are still up there), but we’ve grown to love them enough to keep them on the culinary map for a while. The possibilities for these pressed, toasted sandwiches are endless, but creative fillings can turn the simple dish into a sensational meal.

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Protein-Enhanced Foods: The Good, Bad and Ugly

by in Healthy Tips, July 31, 2013

whey protein
It seems like everywhere I turn, new and “improved” high protein-versions of seemingly healthy foods are being advertised. How do they boost the protein content? And are they really a good-for-you choice? So I did some digging, and it turns out, it depends!

Cereals
The addition of soy protein isolate will virtually double the amount of protein per serving but this doesn’t automatically make these cereals health food. Many of these breakfast cereals are still drenched in sugar. Read labels carefully and look for ones made with whole grains.

Top Pick: Nature Valley Protein Crunchy Granola

Flavored Waters
Protein-fortified waters may be the silliest choice out there. Water is water, no protein in sight. The blends are typically a mix of sweeteners (real and artificial) and colors, plus some whey protein isolate. These high-protein options will supply a few grams of protein per serving but they shouldn’t be used as a replacement for good old H2O.

Top Pick: Homemade Flavored Water

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Win These Portion-Control Plates!

by in Giveaway, July 31, 2013

portion control plates

Everything in moderation: You’ve heard the motto before, but how often do you still pile your plate sky-high? Take the guesswork out of portioned eating with the Slim & Sage plate. The easy-to-understand design makes it easy to eat sensibly without feeling like you’re depriving yourself. The 9-inch porcelain plate is simply designed: one-fourth of the plate for lean protein, one-fourth of the plate for whole grains and one-half of the plate for vegetables. Plus, the discreet design is perfect for both casual eating and everyday entertaining.

You can buy your own set of four Slim & Sage plates or enter in the comments for a chance to win one. Just let us know, in the comments, how you control portions. The contest starts at 10:00 a.m. EST today, and ends on Friday, August 2 at 5 p.m. EST.

We’re giving away one set of Slim & Sage plates to one randomly-selected commenter. You must include your email address in the “Email” field when submitting your comment so we can communicate with you if you’re a winner.

You may only comment once to be considered and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S. states, D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 to win. For the first day of the giveaway, all entries (answers) must be entered between 10:00 a.m. EST on July 31 and 5 p.m. EST on August 2, 2013. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of each prize: $99. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a Food Network, 9721 Sherrill Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37932.

So tell us, how do you control portions?

Diet 101: The Fast Diet

by in Diets & Weight Loss, July 30, 2013

cottage cheese

This diet became all the rage after it aired on the BBC during the 2012 London Olympics, and The Fast Diet book has become a best-seller. But is frequent fasting the healthiest way to lose weight, stay healthy and live longer?

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The Health Powers of Poppy Seeds (Who Knew?)

by in Uncategorized, July 30, 2013

poppy seeds
Most often associated with bagels and breads, poppy seeds tend to be forgotten among the other seeds we use when cooking. But not only do poppy seeds add great flavor and crunch to foods, they also provide some respectable health benefits.

1. One teaspoon of poppy seeds has enough calcium and phosphorus to meet 4% of your daily needs. These minerals work together to build strong bones. (Because our bones are constantly replacing old or injured bone with new bone, adults need a consistent supply of these minerals.)

2. Poppy seeds also provide the body with 2% to 4% of the daily needs for iron in one teaspoon. Iron is important for carrying oxygen throughout the body and helps us have a healthy immune system.

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How Often Should You Eat?

by in Diets & Weight Loss, July 29, 2013

clock
Many experts recommend eating small meals frequently throughout the day. However, a new school of thought has emerged that recommends eating larger, less frequent meals. So how often should you be eating?

Eating Smaller, Frequent Meals
The Theory: Nutrition experts tend to recommend eating 3 balanced meals (350 to 600 calories each) and 1 to 3 snacks per day (between 150 and 200 calories each). The calories for each meal and snack depend on a variety of factors including, height, weight, age, gender and activity level. The philosophy is to make sure you don’t go longer than 5 hours or so without eating. After going without food for a prolonged period of time, folks tend to become ravenous and their decision-making skills plummet. They end up choosing any food they can find, including fast food or high-calorie treats.

Pros: Having a small, healthy snack between meals (like cut veggies and hummus or half a PB&J on whole-wheat bread) can curb hunger until the next meal and enable people to make sensible food choices.

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10 Fun Ways to Enjoy Coconut Water

by in Healthy Recipes, July 29, 2013

coconut water
Chilled coconut water is a tasty beverage (and keeps gaining popularity), but I’ve been coming up with all kinds of ways to use it.

  1. Try this Crazy Coconut Lemonade.
  2. Make frozen treats! Add to ice pops or fro-yo.
  3. Cozy up with Slow-Cooker Coconut Brown Rice Pudding.
  4. How about a cool spin on ceviche?
  5. Whisk with lime juice, honey and pinch of salt for a light and refreshing salad dressing.
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The Veggie Table: A Vegetarian Pregnancy

by in The Veggie Table, July 28, 2013

egg yolk
On April 16th 2013, I gave birth to a healthy, happy, seven pound, two ounce baby boy named Zachary. Throughout my pregnancy, one of the most popular questions I got was, “Are you still going to be vegetarian?” I also heard a lot of, “Are you craving meat now?” and “If you crave meat, will you eat it?”

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Smoky Grilled Chicken with Yellow Tomatoes

by in Robin's Healthy Take, July 28, 2013

mesquite chicken
As tomato season picks up, you may be seeing more options out there, like the sweet yellow ones I serve with this smoky mesquite chicken. The technique behind the simple tomato side dish is macerating — a fun and super-cool way to jazz up a recipe. Macerating is similar to marinating, but the term is traditionally used when talking about fruits and vegetables. As fruits and/or veggies soak in acidic ingredients like vinegar, citrus juice, wine or liqueur, they absorb the liquid, soften, and develop a more intense flavor. For the best results, once you combine the fruits/vegetables and their soaking liquid, let them “brew” for at least 30 minutes to develop full flavor.

In this recipe, I partnered the tomatoes with tangy white balsamic vinegar (I used raspberry-seasoned white balsamic vinegar – YUM!). I also added a little sugar (not uncommon) to draw moisture out of the tomatoes and create a syrup. The result is a sweet and flavorful embellishment for grilled chicken. You can also serve the tomatoes with fish, shellfish, pork, and steak.

Mesquite Grilled Chicken with Macerated Yellow Tomatoes

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