How To Build A Healthy Salad

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, April 14, 2013

crab and avocado salad
From choosing the greens to pouring the dressing, building a healthy salad requires some thought. Selecting the ingredients carefully or you can end up with a 1,000+ calorie meal.

Work Your Way Up
Start from the bottom and work your way up to the dressing. First course of action: Select your greens. Good choices include romaine, spinach, or a combo of field greens. Keep in mind that iceberg lettuce contains fewer nutrients than darker greens, and build your salad on a plate or in a bowl — stay away from the calorie-laden crunchy taco shell.

The Veggies
Choose several colorful veggies to top your salad like tomatoes, carrots, radishes, cucumbers and bell peppers. More colors mean a wider variety of nutrients. This is a great opportunity to use leftover veggies that are lingering in the fridge—and a perfect way to minimize food waste.

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Healthy Cooking Method: Parchment Packet Cooking

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

parchment packet cooking
In France they call it “en papillote”. In Italy, it’s “al cartoccio”. In America, we call it parchment cooking. What does it mean? Very simply, it’s a cooking technique that involves wrapping food, typically fish, chicken and/or vegetables in parchment paper. Once wrapped like an envelope, the “packet” is baked in the oven until the entire meal is moist, tender and cooked to perfection.

The technique may sound fancy in other languages, but it’s actually quite simple. Even better? It’s probably the least messy cooking method because it doesn’t involve any pots or pans. Nutritionally speaking, because all ingredients are assembled in a packet, very little (if any) fat is needed, making it a fantastic cooking technique for the Healthy Eats crowd. Read more

Blogger Spotlight: Gina Harney of The Fitnessista

by in Blogger Spotlight, April 12, 2013
Gina Harney is a new mom, military wife, food enthusiast and certified fitness instructor. She focuses on eating lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and veggies but fully admits to her love of chocolate and wine too. With the motto “being fit is always in style,” Gina’s blog, The Fitnessista features workout tips and a wide range of easy and fun healthy recipes.
 
When did your passion for fitness begin?

I grew up dancing, but paired the high activity with often-unhealthy (but delicious!) food. In college, my eating habits took their toll and I started to experiment with different types of fitness to get to a healthy weight. I lost 40 lbs in college after embarking on a healthy lifestyle through walking (which eventually turned into running), strength training and cleaning up my diet.

What are your favorite pre- and post-workout snacks?

It depends on the time of day. If I can squeeze in an early workout, I’ll often have something small (1/2 a banana and almond butter) and the bulk of my breakfast afterwards, making sure to enjoy a balance of carbs and protein, with a little fat in there. I love egg burritos! If I teach or work out at night or during the day, I’ll have a protein-packed salad beforehand, and enjoy a couple of protein balls afterwards.

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Trail Mix-Wild Rice Salad

by in Healthy Recipes, April 12, 2013

rice salad
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.

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10 Everyday Uses for Nuts and Seeds

by in Healthy Tips, April 11, 2013

nuts and seeds
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.
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10 Healthy Canned-Tuna Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, April 10, 2013

tuna pasta
It’s one of the easiest proteins to keep on hand for a quick meal. Get the scoop on buying the best varieties, then get ready to cook these deliciously healthy canned-tuna recipes.

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.

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Win These Chia Seeds!

by in Giveaway, April 10, 2013

chia seeds

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?

10 Ways to Cut Back on Salt

by in Healthy Tips, April 9, 2013

salt
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.

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Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

by in Robin's Healthy Take, April 8, 2013

red pepper pesto
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

How to Prevent Vitamin Loss When Cooking Vegetables

by in Healthy Tips, April 8, 2013

asparagus
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.

Home Storage
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.

Get tips for the best way to freeze vegetables

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