Taste Test: Salsa

by in Taste Test, May 30, 2013

salsa
Grab your tortilla chips! I tasted some of the most popular brands of salsa just in time for your summer parties — find out how your favorite brand scored on our list.

The Criteria
Mild versions of jarred salsa were sampled and rated using a 5-point scale (5 being the highest). Specific attention was paid to flavor, texture and nutrition info, focusing on calories and sodium.

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Husband-Tested: Broiled Tilapia With Mustard-Chive Sauce

by in Healthy Recipes, May 29, 2013

Broiled Tilapia with Mustard Sauce

Trying new food is a hot-button topic at my dinner table. My husband claims to be an open-minded man when it comes to cuisine, but the reality is that new recipes are met with resistance. Especially if the word “healthy” is involved.

Eating healthy can be overwhelming if you dive in head-first. Instead of abruptly changing our eating patterns, I decided to phase healthy recipes into our traditional mix. I chose this Broiled Tilapia With Mustard -Chive Sauce as a first-attempt and stacked the deck in my favor by selecting a dish that had a lot of familiar, husband-approved ingredients in it. Plus, the mustard-chive sauce only called for things I keep in the pantry, which is great because buying a full container of something when a recipe calls for half a teaspoon drives me nuts.

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Win These Lunch Essentials!

by in Giveaway, May 29, 2013

Lunch Boxes
Packing a lunch for work doesn’t have to cramp your style: Get rid of that plain brown bag and upgrade to one of BUILT‘s reusable neoprene bags. The Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote keeps food hot (or cold) for up to four hours with an easy zip closure. When you’re done, just throw it in the washer for quick clean-up. Keep your sandwich at just the right temperature, too. Each Bento Sandwich Box includes a hard container that fits inside a neoprene sleeve to ensure your lunch looks and tastes as fresh as when it was packed.

You can buy your own BUILT Bento Sandwich Box and Getaway Lunch Tote or enter in the comments for a chance to win a set. Just let us know, in the comments, your favorite dish to pack for lunch. The contest starts at 10:00 a.m. EST today, and ends on Friday, May 31 at 5 p.m. EST.

We’re giving away one BUILT Bento Sandwich Box and Getaway Lunch Tote to one randomly-selected commenter. 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 May 29 and 5 p.m. EST on May 31, 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: $41. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a Food Network, 9721 Sherrill Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37932.

So tell us, what’s your favorite dish to pack for lunch?

5 Reasons to Eat Breakfast

by in Healthy Tips, May 28, 2013

chocolate oatmeal
A recent survey found that 31 million people—about 1 in 10 Americans – skip breakfast every day. But there’s no need to go all out with an over-the-top breakfast spread. All you need is a few quick and easy healthy choices to take full advantage of the benefits. If you’re STILL not a breakfast believer, these 5 reasons will have you re-thinking your philosophy.

#1: Quick Fix of Essential Nutrients
Wake up and give your body and quick boost of many much needed nutrients. Easy-to-prepare foods can give you a terrific nutritional bang for your buck. Milk and dairy products have you taking in 9 essential nutrients in one shot plus they can help you meet your recommended 3 servings of dairy for the day. Fruits are brimming with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (plant compounds that help prevent and fight disease). And starting the day off with whole grains can help meet the Dietary Guidelines recommendation to make half your daily grains whole.

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Ahi Tuna Done Right

by in Robin's Healthy Take, May 27, 2013

seared tuna
If you eat seared tuna exclusively when dining out because the thought of making it at home intimidates you, fear no more. Searing fish is a very simple process. Actually, the most important aspect is the quality of the fish. Start with the best and the fish does the rest. Ahi tuna, also known as yellow-fin, is moist, supple and best served when lightly seared on the outside, leaving the inside tender and downright raw in the middle. Because the fish should be raw, not rare, you must start with the very best, sushi-grade ahi. If you can’t find high-quality ahi, save this recipe for another day. As for nutrients, tuna is widely known to be rich in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent inflammation, regulate blood pressure and protect against cardiovascular disease.

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Gardening For Beginners

by in Uncategorized, May 26, 2013

gardening
Looking to save money, eat clean, and do something good for the environment? You can do it all by just getting your hands dirty – and it all starts in your own backyard.

Getting Started
It’s easy to get intimidated if you’re a gardening neophyte, but there’s really nothing to fear. Scout out a sunny spot in the yard and make sure there’s a water source in the vicinity.

Visit your local garden center for pots, potting mix, seeds or starter plants, and a few pots, plus a shovel and watering can.

It’s time to plant once you know there’s no longer a risk of overnight frost. In the northeast where I live, that’s around mid-May.

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27 Healthy Picnic Recipes

by in Grilling, Healthy Recipes, May 25, 2013

macaroni salad
Hosting a picnic or hitting up the neighborhood party circuit? Keep things light and healthy by making one (or a few) of these healthy and delicious recipes.

Drinks
Blueberry Lemonade
Raspberry Iced Tea Punch
Lemon Sorbet Punch
Iced Tea With Grenadine

Munchies
Pear and Pistachio Guacamole
Grilled Corn Salsa
Tomatillo Salsa
Spiced Pita Chips
Avocado-Feta Dip
Tomato, Watermelon and Basil Skewers

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Prep Ahead for Easy Weeknight Cooking

by in Robin's Healthy Take, May 25, 2013

cutting vegetables
A little advance prep on the weekend will make mealtime a breeze during the week. Tips to get you ready:

• Pre-cook pasta and rice on the weekend and store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator (no oil necessary). When ready to prepare the meal, reheat the pasta in your favorite sauce (and add vegetables and cooked meat, chicken or fish) and stir-fry rice with soy sauce, mixed vegetables, nuts, tofu, meat, chicken or shrimp.

• Marinate chicken, steak and pork loin chops in low-fat salad dressing for up to 48 hours (use a zip-top bag for easy clean up). Grill or roast when ready to prepare the meal. Read more

Blogger Spotlight: Jennifer Vagios

by in Blogger Spotlight, May 24, 2013

As a certified yoga instructor and registered dietician with a Master’s in Nutrition from Columbia University, Jennifer Vagios is a yoga guru and health fanatic. Teaching yoga and working with individuals to design personalized, healthy eating plans, she’s on a mission to inspire others to embrace a healthy lifestyle. On her blog, she shares easy-to-make recipes while explaining their nutritional benefits and where to buy ingredients. Her motto is, “Ditch the Diets, Eat a Veggie. Do Yoga & Sometimes eat a Cupcake.”

You refer to yourself as a “yonut.” What does this mean exactly?

One day, while obviously really busy (insert laugh), I think I was staring at the words Yoga and Nutrition. That bored me, and who wants boring? Somehow the letters YO and NUT popped out of those two words, and it immediately clicked. I thought of a donut, then I thought of a new snack. Then I had visions of YONUT items like mugs, t-shirts, etc. That was all it took.

I also liked the fact that people aren’t sure what it is at first but the second they “get it” and perhaps get my sense of humor, it usually makes someone laugh, and I love to make people laugh.

In brief: YO represents me as a yogi/yoga teacher and NUT represents me as nutritionist/dietitian. I’m enthusiastic about both and sometimes feel like a nut, I embrace that nutty side of my personality.

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Should You Follow an Acid-Alkaline Diet?

by in Diets & Weight Loss, May 24, 2013

acid-alkaline diet
Should you follow an acid-alkaline diet? This question was the hot topic at the last cocktail party I attended. The answer, however, isn’t as straightforward as it’s made out to be.

What’s the pH Diet?
The theory behind this plan is that if you consume loads of acid-producing foods it will lead to a metabolic imbalance. The body will try very hard to regain its equilibrium, making you sick in the process.

The diet claims that if you eat more alkaline and less acid-forming foods, it will help reduce inflammation and increase your resistance to disease.

According to the diet, you should be eating 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid-forming foods. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association determined how different foods affect the urine’s acidity. The results found that the most acid-forming foods included poultry, fish, dairy products, meat, caffeine, sugar and salt. Grains were found to be slightly acid forming. The most alkaline-forming foods were fruits and vegetables.

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