How to Reward Kids (The Healthy Way!)

by in Healthy Tips, July 11, 2013

gold star
My youngest goes gaga for store-bought donuts–but I steer clear of my temptation to reward her with sweets. Food should never be used as a reward (or punishment). Children need to appreciate food as a means of nourishment and enjoyment.

If you think rewarding kids with food isn’t a big deal, think again. It can lead to all types of unhealthy actions and behaviors:

Encourage unhealthy eats: Using sweets or non-nutritious foods as rewards sends the message that these types of foods are more valuable than other foods.

Empty calories: Foods served to your kids should contribute to their growth and development. But oftentimes foods used to reward kids aren’t carrots, watermelon and broccoli but fat- and sugar-laden processed foods.

Read more

16 More Reasons to Heart Greek Yogurt

by in Robin's Healthy Take, July 11, 2013

Greek yogurt
Yes, Greek yogurt makes an awesome breakfast, a fabulous snack and a protein-packed dessert. But don’t relegate it to just those uses: This yogurt is capable of so much more!

First, the nutritional stats: When compared to most regular yogurt, Greek yogurt has 2 times the amount of protein. In fact, 1 cup has as much protein as 3 ounces of chicken. It’s also rich in calcium (important for strong bones and teeth and a healthy heart and nervous system). Lastly, Greek yogurt is rich in probiotics, which improve digestive health by maintaining levels of “good” bacteria in the gut (make sure the label says “active cultures”).

Because 1 cup of fat-free Greek yogurt has just 120 calories and 0 grams of fat, it offers an excellent way to slim down recipes while adding tang. Even whole-milk Greek yogurt has just 190 calories and 9 grams of fat per cup (compare that to 1 cup of regular sour cream with 492 calories and 48 grams of fat).

Here are 16 healthy ways to make the most of it.

Read more

5 Smart Ways to Stop Yo-Yo Dieting

by in Diets & Weight Loss, July 10, 2013

yo-yo
Are you a self-imposed victim of the on-again, off-again diet? If you’re ready to get real about losing weight, read on.

# 1 Think Long Haul
Your state of mind plays a huge role in weight loss success. Instead of crash dieting by starving yourself, commit to making long-term diet and exercise changes that you can actually stand to stick to from here on out. The weight loss might be a little slower but that means you’ll have a better chance of keeping it off.

#2 Include, Don’t Exclude
Instead of cutting out major food groups, a move that can lead to nutrient deficiencies, allow yourself to eat all of the foods you enjoy, even if that means splurging sensibly from time to time. Allowing yourself a little freedom will keep you on the right path.

Read more

The Benefits of Berries

by in Healthy Tips, July 10, 2013

mixed berries
Fresh berries are now in season, and I couldn’t be happier. Not only are these babies unbelievably delicious, they’re also brimming with health benefits. Here’s the lowdown on four favorites: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

Strawberries
One cup of strawberries (about 8 berries) has 50 calories, 3 grams of fiber and more vitamin C than a medium orange. They’re also an excellent source of fiber, folate and potassium. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ranked strawberries third out of more than 1,000 antioxidant-rich foods. Strawberries also contain anthocyanins, which may help protect the nervous system and blood vessels.

Studies have shown that strawberries can help protect against several types of cancer, including breast, colon and leukemia. Research has also found that strawberries help decrease inflammation and control type 2 diabetes. In addition, one study found that eating 8 strawberries a day for 8 weeks helped lower homocysteine levels, a leading risk factor for heart disease.

Read more

Vegetarians: Myths vs. Facts

by in Healthy Tips, July 9, 2013

carrots
Vegetarians are often seriously misunderstood. It’s time to debunk some of the most common vegetarian myths!

Myth: Vegetarians don’t get enough protein
Fact: It’s actually pretty easy for vegetarians to meet their needs for protein, even if they choose not to eat eggs and dairy products. Thanks to plant-based proteins like tofu, beans, lentils and what’s found in whole-grains breads and cereals, getting enough protein can be deliciously simple.

Read more

6 Healthy Pantry Must-Haves

by in Grocery Shopping, Healthy Tips, July 9, 2013

sambal oelek

Could your pantry use a healthy makeover? Use these six ingredients to infuse recipes with flavor.

1. Sambal Oelek
Quite possibly one of my favorite ingredients of all time, this blend of fresh ground chiles, salt and vinegar adds a flavorful heat to sauces, stir-fries and marinades. Mix with mayo, nonfat Greek yogurt and lemon juice for a sauce that tastes good on just about anything.

Recipe: Spicy Turkey and Green Bean Stir Fry

Read more

How to Pick a Healthy Frozen Treat

by in Grocery Shopping, Healthy Tips, July 8, 2013

frozen treat
Nobody loves a good frozen treat more than I do, which is why it bugs me when I see store shelves overflowing with “diet” offerings that fool folks into thinking they’re better than good old ice cream. The next time you’ve got a hankering for a frozen treat, here are some useful tips.

Low-Fat Ice Cream
Light and low-fat ice creams make up for the removal of fat by adding thickeners like guar gum, locust bean gum and carrageenan (just to name a few). Since fat also provides flavor, some lightened varieties include more sugar to make up for it, which means the calories can wind up being similar to regular ice cream. More sugar, less fat, same calories – not exactly healthier. And don’t be fooled by the term slow churned; some brands may be using new technology to alter the consistency, while others may simply have more thickeners added in.

Read more

5-Ingredient Recipes: Pasta Salad, 3 Ways

by in 5-Ingredient Recipes, July 7, 2013

pasta salad
Pasta salads may appear harmless or even good for you, but large portions of pasta, heavy dressings and high fat add-ins can ruin this picnic staple. Fresh ingredients, lots of vegetables, and a little portion control can make all the difference — here are 3 classic salads, re-created pasta style, each made with 5 ingredients.

Caprese Pasta Salad
Serves: 8

6 cups cooked whole grain pasta
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
2/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette

Combine ingredients in a large bowl; toss well.

Nutrition Info Per Serving:
Serves: 8; Calories: 300; Total Fat: 13 grams; Saturated Fat: 4 grams; Total Carbohydrate:  32 grams; Sugars: 4 grams; Protein:  15 grams; Sodium: 214 milligrams; Cholesterol: 18 milligrams; Fiber: 3 grams

Read more

Ask the Experts: Favorite Cooking Tools

by in Ask the Experts, July 7, 2013

lemon zester
We all have our favorite kitchen gadgets and tools. I was interested to see what tools nutrition experts favor so I polled some of the top experts from around the country; it was interesting to hear what they considered to be their most prized kitchen possession.

Plane Grater
This popular kitchen tool got two votes from the experts I asked. Lisa Eaton Wright, MS, RDN, LDN President and Media Spokesperson for the Illinois Dietetic Association said “A Microplane grater is one of the most time-saving, efficient kitchen tools out there! There are many uses for this tool, but I use mine to grate fresh garlic for sauces and vinaigrettes, for grating fresh ginger, for grating Parmesan cheese over soups and salads, for adding a chocolate garnish to my chocolate-drizzled angel food cake, for finely mincing hot peppers — like jalapenos that I add to guacamole — and of course my favorite use is grating lemons for all kinds of dishes to add flavor and zest, particularly to my homemade pesto sauce.”

Nutrition consultant and healthy food blogger Christy Wilson, RD also favors the Microplane grater. “I use it to zest limes, oranges, lemons and to finely grate fresh ginger or garlic. This infuses so much flavor into sauces, dressings and salads and the tool itself is small, easy to handle and affordable. I love it!”

Read more

Gluten-Free Baked Onion Rings

by in Healthy Recipes, July 7, 2013

Forget fried onion rings and fire up your oven to make better-for-you, crispy baked onion rings instead. These Vidalia onion rings tossed with a combination of paprika, ground almonds, corn cereal and ground flax seeds before being baked to crispy perfection. I bet you’ve never had an onion ring quite like this one! There’s no bread or gluten in this recipe, so they’re not just healthy, they’re perfect for those who can’t eat gluten. Make these for a summer BBQ or a weeknight dinner at home.

Read more