5 Ways to Wow with Watermelon

by in Healthy Recipes, In Season, August 15, 2013

watermelon gazpacho
Got an endless supply of this quintessential summer fruit? Here are some refreshing new ways to use it up.

#1: Make Real Sorbet
Most watermelon sorbets have no actual watermelon in sight! The real deal couldn’t be easier to make.

Recipe: Tropical Watermelon Sorbet

#2: Add to Salsa
Add a fresh and juicy crunch to a savory salsa and serve with fish or chicken.

Recipe: Fish Tacos with Watermelon Salsa

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4 Steps to Healthier Zucchini Bread

by in Healthy Recipes, August 14, 2013

zucchini bread

What’s the secret to trimmed-down zucchini bread? This recipe from Food Network Kitchens features several smart tweaks to create a lighter loaf:

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Win This Water Bottle!

by in Giveaway, August 14, 2013

Tervis Water Bottle

Just because summer is winding down doesn’t mean your workout plan should do the same. Whether you like to run, are an avid CrossFit junkie or a yoga buff, staying hydrated during workouts is important. Tervis‘ 24 oz. water bottles come in dozens of different stylish designs, are dishwasher-safe and are made in the United States. The double-insulated walls keep drinks cold (research has shown that people will drink more water, and enjoy it, when it’s cold). And the company’s unconditional lifetime guarantee is a bonus.

You can buy your own Tervis water bottle or enter in the comments for a chance to win one. Just let us know, in the comments, your favorite way to get moving. The contest starts at 10:00 a.m. EST today, and ends on Friday, August 16 at 5 p.m. EST.

We’re giving away one Tervis water bottle each to five 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 August 14 and 5 p.m. EST on August 16, 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: $20. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a Food Network, 9721 Sherrill Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37932.

So tell us, what’s your favorite way to get moving?

Fish Sticks: A Healthier Catch

by in Robin's Healthy Take, August 13, 2013

fish sticks

Although fish sticks can be a great way to introduce kids (and other picky eaters) to seafood, they’re basically breaded, fried, bland-tasting finger food. Yes, the omega-3 fatty acids are a terrific addition to the meal, but the 17 grams of fat per serving (3.5 ounces) isn’t. Instead of raiding the freezer, whip up a healthier version in a snap.

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One Small Change: A Powerhouse Pairing

by in Healthy Tips, August 13, 2013

eggplant and tofu
Imagine some classic food pairings: wine and cheese, fruit and nuts, steak and potatoes … iron and vitamin C? For a variety of people, including vegans and endurance athletes, getting enough iron can be a challenge. Even minor levels of iron deficiency can lead to impaired endurance, as well as fatigue, loss of concentration and decreased immune function. While animal-based sources of iron (red meat, poultry, egg yolks and shellfish) tend to be better absorbed than plant-based sources (dark leafy greens, beans, lentils, tofu, some grains and even spices), there are other factors that can improve or inhibit iron absorption.

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Tips for Homemade Dressings

by in Robin's Healthy Take, August 12, 2013

grilled chicken salad with gazpacho dressing

It’s easy to make salad dressings that are full of flavor, not calories. Here are some tricks for homemade versions.

1. Add citrus juice, citrus zest and fresh herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro, chives, oregano, or thyme) for a burst of flavor and color.

2. Replace all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil in a recipe with reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth.

3. Use a blender: The ingredients come together faster and easier. (Try Food Network Magazine’s Grilled Chicken Salad with Gazpacho Dressing, above.)

4. For variety, use cider vinegar, sherry vinegar or white balsamic vinegar.

5. Add chopped shallots for nuance that’s more subtle than garlic or onion.

6. Bind ingredients together with 1 to 2 tablespoons honey mustard, Dijon mustard or grainy mustard.

7. Use reduced-fat sour cream for creamier dressings, as in this blue-cheese version from Food Network Magazine.

Eggs: Myths vs. Facts

by in Healthy Tips, August 12, 2013

eggs

There are so many misconceptions swirling around eggs. I hear egg chatter in crowded elevators or at dinner parties—folks so proud about tossing that golden yolk. The next time you find yourself in the midst of an egg conversation, pipe in with these egg-cellent facts.

Myth: Always toss the yolks (it’s egg white omelets or nothing!).
Fact: To get the scoop on this longtime myth, I spoke with dietitian Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and consultant for Eggland’s Best. Ward says, “It is the fat and cholesterol that scares people most about egg yolks, but I think most folks would be surprised to learn that most of the fat in eggs is unsaturated, or the heart-healthy kind. In addition, eggs are surprisingly low in saturated fat. As you know, saturated fat raises blood cholesterol levels with more force than does cholesterol.”

In addition, “egg yolks have nearly half the protein of an entire egg, plus all the vitamins and minerals and omega 3s, ” Ward says. “Eggs pack in good nutrition for about 70 calories each.”

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10+ Ways to Cook with Sesame Seeds

by in Uncategorized, August 11, 2013

sesame rice

Although small, sesame seeds are packed with nutrients such as healthy fats, protein, calcium, antioxidants and dietary fiber. The primary fats in the seeds are monounsaturated fatty acids called oleic acid. Oleic acid has been shown to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase the HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

The seeds — which are available in a range of colors, including white, black, red and yellow — are sources of essential minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium and copper. Did you know that ¼ cup of sesame seeds has more calcium (350mg) than an 8-ounce cup of milk (300mg)?

The nutrients in sesame seeds are better absorbed if they are pulverized, but eating them whole is by no means unhealthy.

Here are some simple ways to incorporate sesame seeds into your diet:

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Smarter Candy Picks?

by in Robin's Healthy Take, August 10, 2013

chocolates
Call me crazy, but I start thinking about Halloween in August. Not the costumes, the candy. I’m a self-professed candy junkie, and it turns out, I’m not alone. The good news is, some candy choices are a little better than others.

Chocolate
For chocolate lovers, the darker the better (and the higher the percentage of cacao, the better). Dark chocolate has less sugar, is often dairy-free, and is rich in antioxidants that may reduce blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Add a few nuts, and you get an extra boost of protein; a few raisins, and you ramp up fiber and antioxidants. Add a little mint, and you have a refreshing treat with little fat. When choosing milk-chocolate varieties, opt for fillings that are light and airy over those that are thick and dense.

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9 Surprising Smoothie Add-Ins

by in Healthy Recipes, August 9, 2013

green smoothies

Beyond the usual fruits, juices or milk, a variety of ingredients can be blended into a smoothie. At breakfast, I try and surprise my kids with new smoothie flavors and play the “guess what’s in it” game. We end up having fun each time.

Here are nine additions worth giving a try.

#1: Oats
Made without using a blender, this smoothie combines cooked old-fashioned oats with milk, sugar and vanilla extract. It’s one technique you can use when adding oatmeal to your smoothie.

Recipe: Old Fashioned Avena Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

#2: Spinach
In Melissa D’Arabian’s Green Morning Smoothie, uncooked oats are blended with vanilla almond milk to rehydrate them. The peaches and bananas add sweetness, while nutrient-packed spinach adds the gorgeous green hue.

Recipe: Green Morning Smoothie (above)

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