Health experts keep telling us to eat the rainbow, but according to one recent report, we should be eating more pale produce: Mushrooms, parsnips, onions, cauliflower and potatoes are surprisingly rich in fiber, magnesium and other nutrients. “A potato actually has more potassium than a banana,” says the paper’s author, Purdue University professor Connie Weaver. Another plus: Potatoes provide one of the best nutritional values per penny in the produce aisle—assuming, of course, that you don’t undo all of the good with a deep fryer.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
Before you stop for your morning joe, find out how some coffee shop favorites compare.
Latte vs Cappuccino
WINNER: Cappuccino. They deliver the same caffeine jolt (75 milligrams per 12-ounce cup), but a latte has almost double the calories and fat of a cappuccino. The difference is in how they’re made: Lattes are almost entirely milk, while cappuccinos have equal parts milk and steamed foam.
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Pay attention when you hit those touristy candy shops this summer: Some treats are better than others.
Red Licorice vs. Black Licorice
WINNER: Red licorice. Many people assume that black licorice root can alleviate health issues. This hasn’t been proven, but eating large quantities of black licorice may be dangerous to people 40 and older because a compound in it has been linked to heart problems, according to the FDA.
Boardwalk Fudge vs. Boardwalk Taffy
WINNER: Boardwalk taffy. A 1-inch square of chocolate fudge has more than double the fat of the equivalent amount of taffy (about seven pieces). Plus, fudge is higher in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol in the bloodstream and lead to heart problems.
Classic Gummies vs. Sour Gummies
WINNER: Classic gummies. The calorie and sugar counts are almost identical, but studies suggest that sour candy erodes tooth enamel more than other types because it’s more acidic. And because gummies stick to your teeth longer than other sweets, sour ones pose a greater risk of dental damage.
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Food Network Magazine compared some fiesta favorites — did your Mexican-food favorites come out on top?
Red Sangria vs. White Sangria
WINNER: Red sangria. Red wine is loaded with resveratrol, a compound in the skin of grapes that is thought to be good for the heart. White wine has none of this, plus many white sangria recipes call for fruit juice and sweet liquors, so they typically end up with higher sugar counts.
Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips vs. Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
WINNER: It’s a draw. Blue corn chips are often labeled as all natural, so people assume they’re the better choice. But the FDA doesn’t regulate the use of that term. In fact, the two varieties have the same number of calories and grams of fat. And because most of the sodium is added, the health factor depends more on the brand than on the color.
Cotija Cheese vs. Mexican Cheese Blend
WINNER: Mexican cheese blend. Ounce for ounce, these taco toppings have the same number of calories (about 100) and similar levels of fat and protein. But cotija cheese has three times as much sodium, giving Mexican cheese blend the edge.
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The March issue of Food Network Magazine is the cheese issue. While working on the issue, I found that you don’t need a ton of cheese to add big flavor; stretching out your cheese means fewer calories, and it’s cost effective, too. Use these tips in your everyday cooking:
A little goes a long way. When using strong cheeses like the blue cheese in this month’s Turkey Cobb Salad on page 96, remember that sometimes just a sprinkle is enough. We used only 1/4 cup (about 1 tablespoon per person)—that equals just 30 calories.
Reserve your rind. We added a piece of Parmesan rind to the broth for our light Risotto With Yogurt and Peas on page 150 (pictured above). This old-school cooking trick is something grandmothers have been doing for years—it’s a cost-saving way to add richness and depth.
Put your peeler to use. Try using it to create the shaved cheddar cheese on our Cheddar and Peanut Butter Bites on page 146. Peeling is a great way to ensure thin pieces of cheese; they’re just as satisfying as any hunk.
Food Network Magazine staged a holiday face-off and asked a registered dietitian to name the better choices. Before you bake your holiday faves, see how these staples stack up.
Bleached Flour vs. Unbleached Flour
WINNER: It’s a draw. The less processed version isn’t always the better pick: Unbleached and bleached flour have identical calorie, fiber and protein counts. The FDA regulates the ingredients used to whiten flour, so they’re only added in safe amounts. But if you’re worried about eating something with the word “bleach” on the label anyway, go the unbleached route.
Raisins vs Dried Cranberries
WINNER: Raisins. Raisins and dried cranberries have similar amounts of sugar, but all of the sugar in raisins comes from what’s naturally present in grapes, while more than half of the calories in dried cranberries can come from sweeteners that manufacturers add to make them taste less tart.
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Food Network Magazine staged a Thanksgiving face-off and asked a registered dietitian to name the better choices. Study up before the big meal: Here’s how some staples compare.
Apple Cider vs. Sparkling Cider
WINNER: Apple cider. Sparkling cider is usually sparkling apple juice, which doesn’t contain the same amount of fiber that unfiltered ciders do (the real stuff is a little cloudy). Plus, the spices that make cider so delicious, like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, give you an antioxidant boost.
Dark Meat vs. White Meat
WINNER: It’s a draw. White meat contains half the fat of drumsticks and thighs and fewer calories, but dark meat has more iron and twice as much zinc. And a new study suggests that the taurine in dark meat might help prevent heart disease.
Rolled Piecrust vs. Graham Cracker Piecrust
WINNER: Graham cracker piecrust. Recipes for rolled piecrusts typically call for a lot of butter and sometimes lard, so they are high in saturated fat. Graham cracker crusts are lower in fat and calories, and they contain some extra fiber.
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Food Network Magazine staged a breakfast face-off and asked a registered dietitian to name the better choices. The results might surprise you.
Cow’s Milk vs. Soy Milk
WINNER: Cow’s milk. To make soy milk taste better, many manufacturers add sugar (especially to flavored kinds). Plus, soy milk doesn’t naturally contain as much protein or calcium as cow’s milk. Soy milk can be a healthful alternative if it’s fortified and doesn’t have too much added sugar, but unless you’re lactose intolerant, just stick with 1 percent or skim milk.
Smooth Peanut Butter vs. Chunky Peanut Butter
WINNER: It’s a draw. The amount of salt, sugar and oil in peanut butter can vary by brand and even within each brand, but smooth and crunchy versions are the same nutritionally—one is just ground more than the other. The healthiest option: peanut butter without added sugar or salt.
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- Don't skip the game day wings you crave, just bake them instead of deep-drying.
It’s not exactly breaking news that deep-frying is one of the least healthy cooking techniques out there. You won’t find fried chicken wings, mozzarella sticks or French fries at the top of any healthy food lists. But they are tops on every football party menu. Wings, especially, are a must-have for game day, especially The Big Game. We’d never suggest you watch the biggest football game of the year without this favorite football snack, but we will recommend that you bake them instead of deep-frying them. You’ll get that same crispy, hot sauce-covered wing you crave, without the guilt (and without your house smelling like burnt oil).
The wing recipe featured in the latest issue of Food Network Magazine is a healthier twist on the classic bar snack; the wings are first cooked in seasoned chicken broth spiked with hot sauce so they’re extra juicy, then they’re baked in the oven until the skin is crisp and golden. Instead of high-fat blue cheese dressing, make your own blue cheese-yogurt dipping sauce to dip your wings and celery in.
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- Happy National Soup Month!
Celebrate National Soup Month by staying warm (and healthy!) with Food Network chefs’ best low-cal soups, from the latest issue of Food Network Magazine.
Guy’s carrot, ginger and potato soup (pictured above) has less than 200 calories per serving. Top with low-fat Greek yogurt and pine nuts for a creamy-crunchy combination.
Add a new soup to your go-to list. Full of chiles, peppers and shrimp, we guarantee you’ll love this Spicy Shrimp Broth from Marcela Valladolid.
Emeril’s take on the classic chicken soup has mint, lemon and red pepper flakes. Don’t forget the cayenne pepper for an extra kick.
Swiss chard, carrots, cannellini beans and spinach come together in Bobby’s hearty Minestrone With Parmigiano-Reggiano for a delicious dish that has less than 300 calories.
Ellie’s lightened-up New! New England Clam Chowder is anything but boring. Canadian bacon gives it subtle smoky tones, while hot sauce takes the flavor to a whole new level.
What’s your favorite soup?