Lighter Blueberry Pie

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, Healthy Recipes, July 16, 2016

Do you love a pie bursting with fresh berries, but wish you could cut back on all the fat and calories? Here’s how to create a homemade blueberry pie that doesn’t come with a side of diner’s remorse.

Tips for a Skinnier Pie
You can’t deny the healthy qualities of antioxidant-filled blueberries. They are low in calories and contain plenty of fiber. But once these low-cal berries are mixed up with sugar and sandwiched between two layers of flaky crust, the resulting pie can tip the scales at more than 450 calories and 20-plus grams of fat per slice. Add a few hundred more calories with dollops of whipped cream, or serve the pie a la mode, and it’s a real diet-buster.

You also want to consider the quality of the ingredients. Store-bought crusts are convenient, but the ingredients reveal trans fat galore and a list of preservatives. Homemade crusts call for a hefty amount of butter and shortening, often more than two sticks for one pie.

What’s a pie lover to do? Less fat, less sugar and more fruit are the keys to a skinnier pie. You certainly don’t need to skip the butter and sugar altogether (but forget the artificial sweeteners, please). Downsize the crust and make the fruit the star, such as in this recipe for a flavor-erupting Blueberry Crostata. Read more

Nutrition News: Kids and Vegetables, Losing Belly Fat, Probiotics and Weight Loss

by in Food News, July 15, 2016

This is a job for Veggie-Man!

As parents know, it can be tough to get kids to eat their greens. But a new study indicates that the methods marketers employ to sell junk food to kids can be used to compel them to eat fruits and vegetables. For the study, elementary-school kids were divvied into groups that either received no intervention, had banners featuring vegetable superheroes posted near their cafeteria salad bars, were shown (really rather cute) TV cartoons depicting those same veggie superhero characters, or were shown both the TV cartoons and the banners. The TV segments alone barely budged veggie consumption, but the banners increased it by 90.5 percent. And when kids were shown both the banners and the TV ads, their veggie intake shot up by 239.2 percent. “It’s possible to use marketing techniques to do some good things,” study author David R. Just, of Cornell University, told The New York Times. Read more

6 Slimmed-Down Desserts to Enjoy Without Turning on Your Oven

by in Healthy Recipes, July 14, 2016

Here at Food Network, we believe you should break a sweat during your workout, not in the kitchen. Next time you’re in the mood for a sweet reward, treat yourself to one of our lighter-than-usual desserts that mercifully don’t require an oven. From no-bake cookies to lemony icebox bars that set up in the refrigerator, here are a few of our best summertime sweets.

Healthy Banana Split Parfaits
Banana splits are an obvious choice for a summer dessert, because you won’t break a sweat while preparing them. For that reason, they’re ideal in our book. Although these are carefully portioned, Food Network Kitchen’s mini splits pack in all of the essentials: ice cream, bananas, walnuts, chocolate sauce and the crown jewel, a sweet cherry.

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Kung Pao Eggplant

by in Healthy Recipes, Vegan, July 13, 2016

Who doesn’t love a good Chinese takeout meal? The savory, umami flavors and bit of heat have us crawling back each and every time. But what if I told you that you could easily re-create Chinese takeout at home for a fraction of the calories and fat?

That’s right: Today I have a recipe that will be ready in less time than it takes to wait around for takeout. Enter Kung Pao Eggplant. Substituting eggplant for chicken, you add another serving of vegetables to the plate, not to mention additional nutrients like fiber. This version is vegetarian (and vegan!) friendly and can be made gluten-free by using tamari in place of soy sauce and arrowroot flour instead of cornstarch.

This recipe is bursting with flavor — it’s rich and savory with a hint of spice from the ginger and a kick of heat from the dried chiles. It’s so tasty that you can toss out the takeout menu stuck to your fridge for good. Read more

Supplement Savvy: Probiotics

by in Healthy Tips, July 12, 2016

Looking for better digestion in a bottle? Here are some important tips to keep in mind when shopping for probiotic supplements.

What Are Probiotics?
Everyone’s gut is populated with bacteria. Some of these microorganisms have the potential to be harmful, but many of them are beneficial and help protect the digestive tract. The benefits of these “bugs” extend beyond digestion, contributing to healthy skin, blood and immunity as well. Probiotics can be found in supplement form as well as naturally existing in cultured and fermented foods. Common food sources of probiotics include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and other fermented items. Probiotic supplements are most often available in capsule form but can also be found in liquid tinctures. More and more foods are being fortified with probiotics, including chocolate bars, beverages and breakfast cereals.

5 Tips for Buying Probiotics
The supplement industry remains poorly regulated, so it’s up to consumers to choose wisely. Since you can’t rely simply on what’s on the label, here are some tips.

1) Look for additional ingredients.
Many supplements contain more than just probiotics, and consumers should be mindful of other ingredients in case of allergies and to avoid experiencing interactions with medications or taking in toxic doses of nutrients they are already getting enough of. Read more

Market Watch: Sweet Cherries

by in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, July 11, 2016

Few fruits taste as amazingly sweet and scrumptious as a freshly picked cherry. Head out to your local farmers market soon, as they are only available for a short time.

Cherry Facts

One cup of cherries contains 90 calories, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein. You will also find about 10 percent of the daily requirement for potassium, 16 percent for vitamin C and 3 percent for iron. Cherries are rich in antioxidants known as anthocyanins, powerful plant compounds that may help reduce the risk of heart cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.

What to Do with Cherries

Enjoy cherries as part of snacks, baked goods, beverages and frozen treats. Accompany them with flavors like almond or vanilla to enhance the natural essence of this magnificent fruit. Sweet preparations are most intuitive, but the tangy flavor also works well in savory applications like salsas and pan sauces.

When at the market, look for cherries that are deep red in color, firm and unblemished. Once you bring them home, store them in the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag. You can also freeze pitted cherries for up to six months. Use this step-by-step guide to learn how to easily pit fresh cherries. Read more

9 Foods Nutrition Experts Are Embarrassed to Have in Their Pantry

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, July 10, 2016

Even nutrition experts have foods they’re embarrassed about stashed in their pantry! I asked specialists around the country which secret foods they have in their house — you’ll be surprised at what they had to say.

Sugar-Sweetened Cereal
“[When I was] growing up my parents didn’t buy the high-sugar cereal, and I always wanted it. My best friend always had Fruity Pebbles at his house, and I loved going over there just to get to eat them. Now as an adult I still really like them and keep them in my pantry for late-night dessert. I always feel guilty buying them, but I absolutely love eating them.”

— Wesley Delbridge, R.D., Food & Nutrition Director for the Chandler Unified School District in Arizona

Boxed Muffin Mix
“Although I truly love baking mostly from scratch, every once in a while I’ll find a boxed bread or muffin mix at Trader Joe’s that I get excited about trying. I don’t use baking mixes very regularly, but with how quickly they come together, I completely understand the appeal!”

McKenzie Hall Jones, RDN, of Nourish RDs Read more

Slimmed-Down Summer Cocktails

by in Healthy Recipes, July 9, 2016

Too many summer celebrations can get your waistline into trouble, especially when most popular mixed drinks rack up more than 500 calories each. Imbibe smarter with these three lightened-up versions of popular cocktails, each coming in at less than 300 calories.

Frozen Daiquiri

Gooey, sugar-laden daiquiri mixes are full of added colors, flavors and high-fructose corn syrup. A half-cup of the mix alone contains almost 200 calories. This recipe uses the natural sweetness of fruit and gets a boost of flavor from coconut rum and coconut water.

Mango Daiquiri

Serves 1

1 cup frozen mango

1/2 banana (preferably frozen)

1 1/2 ounces coconut rum

1/2 cup coconut water

Place ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Calories: 267

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Nutrition News: FDA Cookie Dough Warning, Coffee Benefits, The Skinny on Pasta

by in Food News, July 8, 2016

Oh, no! No more dough?

Eating a furtive spoonful (or three) of raw cookie dough before you pop the baking sheet in the oven or letting your kids lick the bowl is one of life’s great pleasures, but alas, the killjoys at the FDA are strongly warning against it. “Eating raw dough or batter — whether it’s for bread, cookies, pizza or tortillas — could make you, and your kids, sick,” the FDA warned in a recent blog post, noting that the uncooked flour in the dough — no matter what brand it is — “can contain bacteria that cause disease.” Apparently there’s been an outbreak of a strain of E. coli linked to the flour in raw dough or batter. In fact, the FDA says, even letting kids play with raw dough or clay made with flour “could be a problem.” Sheesh. On the bright side: Less raw-cookie-dough sneaking means more actual cookies! Read more

5 Potato Salads for a Lighter Picnic

by in Healthy Recipes, July 7, 2016

We’re all familiar with old-fashioned potato salad, a simple mixture of boiled white potatoes, cut into wedges and tossed in a creamy-tangy dressing of full-fat mayonnaise and white vinegar. Perhaps you’ve encountered some diced celery, chopped onion and hard-boiled eggs tossed in for varied flavor and texture. While nobody can deny the comforting appeal of the classic recipe, there are countless ways to prepare this cookout staple without tossing your nutritional goals out the window. These five recipes come with some pretty appealing nutritional benefits — without sacrificing any of the flavor.

Creamy
Using light mayonnaise cuts down on fat without sacrificing any flavor in Food Network Kitchen’s Lighter Smoky New Potato Salad. Since this recipe requires no table sugar (which, unfortunately, you’ll find in many store-bought potato salads), lime juice and paprika come in to lend bright and smoky flavor, minus the nutritional costs of sweeteners.

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