Good News on the Gluten-Free Front

by in Food News, Gluten-Free, August 6, 2013

gluten-free cookies
Last week, the FDA issued concrete rules on what foods can qualify as officially gluten-free. Learn more about what this means for folks who need to avoid gluten, plus read up on some important tips.

Defining Gluten-Free
More than 3 million Americans suffer from celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that makes them unable to digest gluten. The only way to treat the disease is to exclude gluten from the diet or else risk damage to the digestive system as well as nutrient deficiencies and other serious medical problems.

The new FDA rule mandates that products labeled “gluten-free” must contain no more than 20 parts per million of gluten. While many companies have already set this limit for themselves, the FDA rule, which food manufacturers must comply with by this time next year, will help ensure that companies using the term are adhering to the standard.

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Nutrient to Know: Quercetin

by in Nutrients to Know, August 5, 2013

onions
This lesser-known nutrient is becoming more mainstream. Find out if quercetin is plentiful in your daily diet.

What is it?
Quercetin is classified as a bioflavinoid, a plant substance with important physiological qualities. It’s plentiful in a wide variety of foods but has become increasingly popular in supplement form. But buyer beware: Large doses from supplements may be unsafe and cause kidney damage.

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7 Surprising Things To Do With Tomatoes

by in Healthy Recipes, August 5, 2013

tomato and peach salad
Pretty soon, gardens and farmers’ markets will be overflowing with tomatoes. Don’t dare waste them! When they’re piling up and you’re sick of salads and sammies, turn to these fresh ideas.

# 1 Make Jam
This tangy, sweet and savory jam tastes good on just about everything. Add some cayenne pepper for an extra kick!

Recipe: Tomato Jam

# 2 Hit The Grill
Charred tomatoes take on a distinct smoky flavor that will liven up any summer meal. Place cherry tomatoes on skewers or cut larger ones in half, then drizzle with oil and grill until they’re just warm and juicy.

# 3 Pair With Peaches
It may sound bizarre, but peaches and tomatoes are a match made in taste-bud heaven.

Recipes: Tomato and Peach Soup and Tomato Peach Salad with Ricotta (above)

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Market Watch: Heirloom Eggplants

by in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, August 4, 2013

heirloom eggplant
Most passersby ooh and ahh over these fantastically gorgeous nightshade veggies and then pass on buying them because they have no idea what to do with them! I’m here to help.

You certainly won’t come across these gorgeous gnarly varieties of eggplant in your local large chain grocery store. White, striped and even pumpkin-shaped — these oddly-shaped eggplants are mild and sweet and can be enjoyed in any eggplant recipe. They work especially well for roasting, grilling and other recipes where a perfect round shape isn’t necessary.

These eggplants go by names like Rosa Bianca and Pandora Striped; ask farmers at the market which varieties they’re growing.

Recipes To Try:
Eggplant Salad
Eggplant Ricotta Bites
Roasted Eggplant Spread
Grilled Eggplant with Yogurt and Mint
Roasted Eggplant Salad (Baingan-Bharta)
Pork Tenderloin with Eggplant Relish

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

How to Make a French Fry Out of (Almost) Any Vegetable

by in Robin's Healthy Take, August 3, 2013

zucchini
When you think french fries, you think potatoes, right? But who made spuds the king of the fry? Turns out, lots of delicious vegetables make great finger food, and there’s no need to deep-fry!

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12 No-Cook Breakfasts

by in Healthy Recipes, No-Cook Choices, August 2, 2013

honeydew smoothie
In the sweltering days of summer, the last thing I want to do is cook anything over a hot stove. It’s the perfect time for those easy breakfasts where no heat is required.

Smoothies
It’s as simple as placing your ingredients in a blender and pushing a button. The only caveat is to watch portions so you don’t go overboard on calories.

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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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