With so many hip grains like quinoa and millet on the market it is easy to forget about options like wild rice. This nutty, fiber and nutrient-rich grain is not only good for you but when mixed with long grain brown rice it’s an inexpensive, whole-grain option. The chewy rice lends nicely to the dense, chewy dried fruits and when paired with the crunch of nuts and seeds this salad is very inviting.
It’s no secret that nuts and seeds are good for us. Packed with anti-inflammatory fats, protein and nutrients galore, nuts and seeds make a great addition to a healthy daily diet. The problem is, snacking on a handful of nuts everyday or adding a tablespoon of flax to your smoothie can get old really fast. Here are a few easy ways to make nuts and seeds a part of your every without the boredom of that bowlful of almonds on your desk.
Replace Eggs: Use 1 tablespoon finely ground chia seeds or flax seeds (grind them dry in a blender, food processor or coffee grinder) with 3 tablespoons of water. This ratio will replace one egg.
Thicken Soups and Stews: Add a couple tablespoons of ground or whole chia seeds to a hot soup or stew until you reach your desired thickness. Wait 10-15 minutes for chia to thicken to full capacity.
Choosing the Right Can
Both water and oil-packed tuna can be used create a healthy recipe. At the market, the most common water-packed varieties are albacore and chunk light. Albacore comes from a larger species and has a milder flavor, while chunk light comes from a smaller fish and tends to have a stronger flavor. Three ounces of tuna canned in water has around 100 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 22 grams of protein.
Oil-packed varieties have more calories and fat than water-packed tuna, and the price is usually higher than water-packed. Three ounces has about 170 calories, 7 grams of fat and 25 grams of protein. Splurge on oil-packed on a special occasion and drain to help remove some of the fat.
Tuna is even more convenient than ever — you don’t even need can opener to enjoy it; you can now find tuna in pouches. The pouches are available in the same oil and water-packed varieties with similar nutritional content to canned. Some companies like Starkist also pack their tuna in extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil and have low-sodium options available.
Chia seeds, the small crunchy seeds originally made famous by the Chia Pet are full of protein, fiber, calcium, iron and potassium. Use them to make a creamy, tapioca-like pudding or add crunch to a spring salad. Add a spoonful of seeds to a smoothie or mix them in with granola.
You can buy your own Health Warrior Chia Seeds or enter in the comments for a chance to win some. Just let us know, in the comments, how you incorporate chia seeds in to your diet. The contest starts at 10:00 a.m. EST today, and ends on Friday, April 12 at 5 p.m. EST.
We’re giving away one bag of Health Warrior Chia Seeds to two randomly-selected commenters. 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 April 10 and 5 p.m. EST on April 12, 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: $12.99. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a Food Network, 9721 Sherrill Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37932.
So tell us, how do you incorporate chia seeds in to your diet?
A staggering study out of the University of California revealed that if Americans dramatically cut their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, up to 1.2 million deaths could be prevented over the next 10 years, deaths largely caused by heart disease or stroke. Despite the American Heart Association’s recommendation that healthy people get 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day, with an upper limit of 2,300 mg (about 1 teaspoon), the average American eats close to 3,600 mg, largely through processed food. Reducing salt intake is important for everyone, not just the small subset of people who are salt sensitive.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Relinquish Processed Foods
Yes, we all rely on processed foods at times. But considering that one slice of wheat bread can have up to 200 mg of sodium, imagine what’s lurking in a prepared meal or side dish. Read labels and opt for lower sodium dishes whenever possible.
2. Become Condiment Savvy
Always embellish your sandwiches and salads yourself so can control the amount of salt and the amount of condiments you use. Vinegar is virtually salt-free (2 mg per 2 teaspoons) while mustard, relish, mayonnaise and ketchup can have up to 100 mg per teaspoon.
Traditional pesto is a vibrant blend of basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan or Romano cheese and olive oil. The term “pesto” comes from the Italian word pestare, which means to pound or crush (you might be familiar with the mortar and pestle, the tools often used in the preparation of pesto). Pesto has countless applications in cooking – it can be tossed with warm pasta or gnocchi, swirled into mashed potatoes, added to steamed vegetables, and spooned onto toasted bread (bruschetta). You’ll never run out of ideas and it’s a quick cook’s best friend. Keep basil pesto in your refrigerator-arsenal for last minute meal solutions. Read more
There’s no doubt vegetables have lots of good nutrition to offer, but how you purchase, store, and prepare them can dramatically affect their value. Here’s what you need to know when cooking up your favorite veggies.
Farm to Table
As soon as vegetables are picked, their nutrient clock beings to tick away. The more time it spends off the plant, the more vitamins will be lost.
For this reason, seeking out local produce when possible is never a bad idea — the less time it takes for the veggies to get to your plate, the more nutrients they’ll retain. Support local agriculture in your community or get your hands dirty by planting some of your own herbs and vegetables – you can’t get more local than that.
Once you get those fresh vegetables home, minimize additional nutrient loss by eating them right away or storing in the refrigerator or freezer. Cold temperatures will limit the degradation of vitamins so use the vegetable drawer in your fridge (where humidity is higher) and store in an air-tight bag or container. Avoid trimming and chopping prior to storage too, this will limit surface area and help lock more of the vitamins inside.
Clean eating has been around since the 1960s but has been gaining popularity recently. Registered dietitian Michelle Dudash author of Clean Eating for Busy Families explains how simple it is to follow.
Q. Could you explain what clean eating is?
Clean eating is the lifestyle of enjoying foods in their most natural and least processed state, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts and seeds, lowfat dairy and expeller-pressed oils. For example, instead of eating white bread, seek out sprouted wheat bread, which is a true whole grain. Also, if you can’t pronounce an ingredient on the label, you probably shouldn’t eat it. Instead of components that sound like things from lab experiments, opt for foods with ingredients found in home kitchens. Clean eating to me also means opting for in-season foods—not just produce, but seafood, too—whenever possible.
Q. So many foods marketed to kids are processed — how can you eliminate or minimize processed foods, and how can you tell which packaged foods are clean?
Unfortunately, many foods marketed to kids can be deceiving. You must look past the healthy images on the front of the package and go straight to the ingredient label on the back. If you see sugar in any form (yes, even evaporated cane juice and brown rice syrup) as the first ingredient, put it down. If it’s a grain product like a bar or cereal, whole grains like oats or brown rice should be listed first. If you see more than a few ingredients you can’t pronounce, it’s probably been manipulated and is highly processed. Despite the widespread availability of processed kids’ snacks, remember, kids still love fruits and vegetables or whole-grain crackers paired with dip.
This is the question I posed to a group of my colleagues – registered dietitians and nutritionists – in the trenches coaching and counseling people in the science, and art, of eating better. So many experts responded with great tips, that I sorted the feedback into categories. In addition to the tips below, you can find additional tips in Change a Habit, Change Your Life, Part 1.
Adjust your portion sizes so you’re satisfied, not stuffed
• “To shrink your waist, shrink your plate! You’ll trick your brain into feeling more satisfied by the generous-looking portions. And if you go back for seconds, your overall portion may still offer fewer calories than if you had served your meal on an oversized platter.” – Jessica Corwin, RD, MPH
• Use smaller plates, bowls, silverware and glasses. Studies show you’ll eat less and you can clean your plate without the guilt. — Multiple experts
• “Gradually get used to being a little hungry between meals. Don’t deprive but eat 10 to 20% less (this may be two less bites at a meal, a half portion less of a side dish or one less piece of bread).” – Roseanne Rust, MS, RD, LDN
• “Eat with your stomach and not your wallet. Just because you paid for something — it doesn’t mean you have to finish it (or you’ll ‘pay for it’ in other ways!)” — Bonnie Taub Dix, MA, RD, CDN
We’ve all heard of the health benefits of quinoa but I love it because it is so easy to prepare. Like rice, you combine 1 part quinoa with 2 parts cooking liquid, boil, cover, simmer for 10-12 minutes and it’s done. Quinoa is naturally nutty and delicious but I love adding spices to the cooking liquid for even more flavor and nutrition. A mix of curry, cumin, mustard, herbs, seeds and beans makes this recipe a nutrient-packed side dish or meal in itself.