All the Healthy Ways to Be Sweet on Summer Produce

by in Healthy Recipes, August 10, 2014

berry cheesecake tart
Don’t forget about dessert. These recipes — putting summer fruits front and center — give you just the excuse you’ve been waiting for.

Black and Blue Cheesecake Tart
Blackberries and blueberries co-star in this luscious cheesecake. With all of the antioxidants going on here, you’ll be fighting free radicals while simultaneously poking your fork into a graham-cracker crust.

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A Bright Pickled Relish with a Low-Sodium Spin

by in Scaling Back on Sodium, August 9, 2014

pickled celery relish

Let’s talk a little about low-sodium pickles. It turns out that a lot of what our taste buds (and our hot dogs) expect is not just the salty lick of the brine, but the tangy kick of the acid. Which means, with the right ingredients and strong spices, you can make a low-sodium pickle (or relish!) that meets palate approval.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, August 8, 2014

frosting
In this week’s news: School bake-sale restrictions spark a tempest in a muffin tin; homemade yogurt is whey better than the store-bought kind; and veganism gets a high-profile new cheerleader.

Bake-Sale Ban: Half-Baked?
Ah, the beauty of the school bake sale: Hoovering homemade cookies somehow seems virtuous when the money is going to a good cause. (“It’s all for the kids!”) What to make, then, of reports that federal restrictions aiming to curb childhood obesity have led to a “ban” on treat-peddling school fundraisers? “In dozens of states, bake sales must adhere to nutrition requirements that could replace cupcakes and brownies with fruit cups and granola bars,” the Wall Street Journal warned. The Washington Post, however, was quick to point out that the states, not the federal government, will dictate the number of nutritionally questionable bake sales schools can have. Georgia, for instance, will allow 30 bake sales per year per school — which comes to 75,000 cupcake sprees state-wide annually.

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7 Ways to Free Corn from the Cob

by in Healthy Recipes, August 7, 2014

confetti corn
Lend us your ears! Nothing beats fresh corn on the cob in the summer — but sometimes those sweet, crunchy kernels just yearn to bust out.

Confetti Corn
This colorful dish makes a bright side and comes together in not a ton of time. The fresh corn gets sauteed with red onion and orange bell pepper and, just before it’s served, a pop of fresh basil (or other green herb) delivers an added burst of color and flavor.

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The Chef’s Take: Chilled Strawberry and Date Oatmeal from Josh Feathers

by in Chefs and Restaurants, August 6, 2014

strawberry oatmeal

“Nutrition was always something I was interested in,” says Josh Feathers, corporate chef at Blackberry Farm, the acclaimed Tennessee hotel and restaurant in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. A veteran of the Navy, where he was an admiral’s cook for seven years, Feathers was in fantastic shape when he joined Blackberry Farm in 2000. But as time went by, things changed. “I spent more and more time than ever in the kitchen and middle age started creeping up on me,” he recalls. “I looked at myself and said, ‘’Wow, I need to lose about 30 pounds.’” By focusing on portion control and adding a regimen of running and weigh- training at the gym, Feathers shed the weight in six months.

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Update: FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Regulation Takes Effect

by in Food News, Gluten-Free, August 5, 2014

gluten-free cupcakes
One year ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled a plan to set guidelines for packaged foods claiming to be free of gluten. The FDA regulations, which are voluntary, take effect today and stipulate that any packaged food labeled “gluten-free” must contain no more than 20 parts per million of gluten.

While companies cannot be forced outright to disclose whether a product contains gluten or not, the standard could help establish a uniform definition of “gluten-free” for consumers and also help hold accountable those food manufacturers that promote their products as gluten-free.

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Smoothie of the Month: Apricot with Oats and Yogurt

by in Amy's Whole Food Cooking, August 5, 2014

apricot smoothie
When apricots are ripe and at their peak, they have an irresistible tart, tangy and almost floral flavor. And because the flesh of an apricot is quite thick, the fruit makes a great addition to smoothies, requiring little more to achieve a velvety consistency.

To make this particular smoothie substantial enough for breakfast, I also like to add in oats and yogurt. Rolled oats may seem like an odd ingredient to use in smoothies, but when soaked and blended, they deliver creamy texture and earthy flavor — plus added fiber. The result is a smoothie that will keep you going until lunch.

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How High is “High-Fiber”? (Nutrition Buzzwords, Demystified)

by in Label Decoder, August 4, 2014

cereal
Ever wondered what that “high-fiber” cereal is actually providing in the way of fiber? (And is it less impressive than the box labeled “fiber-rich”?) Or ever considered how many calories are in a “low-calorie” sports drink?

In order for a food company to splash words like “high in fiber” across its packaging, the product must adhere to specific guidelines established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA also regulates claims at the other end of the spectrum: Foods that boast being “low in” or “free” of something (such as sodium), must also meet requirements. Here’s a cheat sheet of what’s behind the buzzwords.

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How to Make Deliciously Crunchy Faux-Fried Chicken

by in Healthy Recipes, August 3, 2014

oven-fried chicken
As much as we’d all love to dive into a bucket of glistening fried chicken on the regular, we know that eating the bird in other forms is generally a healthier bet. But not all hope is lost: With the right recipe, baking can elicit the same desirable crunch as the deep fryer. Here are four.

Oven Fried Chicken (above)
Marinate a mess of chicken legs and thighs in an uplifting blend of lemon zest, milk, sugar, cayenne, rosemary and garlic cloves. When the pieces are nice and chilled from a two-hour refrigerator session, shroud them in a mix of baked whole-wheat breadcrumbs and yellow cornmeal. Then, for a savory finish, get some Parmesan and chopped rosemary up in there.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, August 2, 2014

roasted kale
In this week’s news: Nouveau fast-food franchises flaunt their healthy sides; coconut water claims get a reality check; rumors of kale’s demise turn out to be greatly exaggerated — and more.

Want That Salad Super-Sized?
Watch out Chipotle, a bevy of smaller fast food chains with a healthy bent may soon be nipping at your heels. Tender Greens, LYFE Kitchen, SweetGreen and Native Foods are all among this new crop of health-conscious regional restaurant franchises luring customers with words like “grass-fed,” “seasonal,’ “sustainable” and “organic.” All are reportedly flourishing, so much so that they’ve already garnered a nickname: “farm-to-counter” eateries. The vegan chain Veggie Grill, for example, hit No. 7 on Restaurant Business magazine’s yearly list of the fastest-growing small chains, while Tender Greens (which took in over $40 million in revenue from only 12 stores) came close behind, at No. 10. Also among those to watch may be LYFE (acronym for Love Your Food Every Day) Kitchen, founded by two former McDonald’s bigwigs. Each restaurant grows herbs, uses china instead of plastic and holds its entrees to a 600 calorie maximum.

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