Tag: healthy tips

Frozen Vegetables, Beyond the Boring Side Dish

by in Robin's Healthy Take, June 1, 2013

frozen beans
The ever-expanding frozen-foods section of the grocery store has no shortage of affordable vegetables and vegetable combinations. Sliced green beans, peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, spinach, peas, corn, soybeans/edamame, and vegetable medleys abound. Since most frozen vegetables are harvested at their nutritional peak, don’t relegate them to boring, steamed, side dishes. Some ideas to inspire you:

• Nestle into potato and cheese casseroles (like scalloped potatoes) before baking; add ham, chicken, turkey, or cooked shrimp to make a complete meal
• Add to egg and cheese frittatas, quiches and omelets
• Puree into hot and cold dips and serve with whole grain crackers and pita triangles
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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

Lactose Free vs Dairy Free

by in Uncategorized, May 19, 2013

milk
There are a variety of non-dairy “milks” and products ranging from “cheese” to “ice cream” to “yogurt” available at most mainstream supermarkets. Depending on your reasons for choosing them in place of conventional cow’s milk, you may need a refresher on the difference between dairy-free and lactose-free products.

Lactose-free milk and milk products are beneficial for people suffering from lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is very common, especially in adults. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, about 30 million Americans have some degree of lactose intolerance by the age of 20. Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk products. In order to digest lactose properly, the body produces an enzyme called lactase. In people with lactose intolerance, the body stops producing adequate amounts of lactase, causing symptoms such as bloating, gas, cramps, diarrhea and nausea. Individuals with lactose intolerance may find that they are able to eat small amounts of products that contain lactose without experiencing symptoms. Sometimes they may be able to tolerate products such as yogurt or goat’s milk more easily than cow’s milk. Lactase tablets are also available for lactose intolerant individuals to help them digest lactose.

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How to Save Money at the Grocery Store

by in Robin's Healthy Take, May 18, 2013

grocery shopping
Cost-conscious cooking is on everyone’s to-do list these days. Selecting healthy and affordable food might seem like a challenge, but nutritious and inexpensive are not mutually exclusive concepts. Follow these tips so you can enjoy delicious fare at a great price.

Before shopping:

• Use weekly grocery store ads to plan your weekly menu (do it on the weekend and make it a family affair)

• While reading the circulars, check for foods you buy regularly

• Get a coupon app for your smart phone and use that too (like coupons.com)

• Generate a shopping list for the week that you can stick to

• If your favorite store isn’t offering competitive prices, ask them to price match

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One Small Change: Want to Cook at Home More? Read This.

by in Healthy Tips, May 13, 2013

cutting vegetables
A common tip for eating healthier is to take cooking into your own hands. In theory it sounds good: when you control the ingredients, you control the nutrients and calories. Less butter and salt, more veggies and spices, etc. But when push comes to shove, we often end up staring at a recipe – and a big pile of spoiling ingredients in the fridge – while calling for take-out. If we only had the time, knowledge, energy and/or desire to cook! Here are three tips to make the process easier:

1. Pre-prep.

Cutting, dicing, slicing and chopping can take a lot of time. Save time on a busy weeknight by having all of the chopping done ahead of time: set aside a half-hour or so on a Sunday evening to slice and dice the vegetables you’ll need for the week. Then when you’re ready to snack or make a meal, half of the work will be done for you. Pre-cut, packaged vegetables cost a little more at the store, but you may find it worth the cost if it gets you cooking at home more. Buy a big bag of prewashed and cut lettuce so salad- making is a snap. Frozen veggies can be steamed or microwaved in minutes. Frozen fruit can be blended with yogurt or milk (and spinach!) for a quick five-minute morning smoothie, mixed into a bowl of whole grain cereal or scooped on top of some yogurt. You can pick up already marinated poultry, fish or meat from the supermarket and throw it on the grill or in the oven.

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Is It Healthy: Cooking Spray

by in Is It Healthy?, May 1, 2013

cooking spray
Can the key to healthy cooking be found in an aerosol can? There are pluses and minuses to using cooking spray.

Yes?
Using cooking spray as a replacement for oil and butter can help cut back the calories. Since butter and oil have 100 to 120 calories per tablespoon (respectively), switching to a spray can mean fewer calories (and grams of fat) in your cooking.

Many brands use actual oils (such as olive and canola) as the primary ingredient, others rely on other types of oil and artificial flavorings– check ingredient lists on your brand of choice.

When used in a nonstick pan, a light coating of spray can allow for grilled cheese, French toast and eggs that aren’t glued to the pan. Spray is also good option to help give oven-baked breadings a crispier crust. A neutral flavored spray (like canola oil) can also be used to grease baking dishes and cupcake pans.

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Healthy Cooking Method: Parchment Packet Cooking

by in Robin's Healthy Take, April 13, 2013

parchment packet cooking
In France they call it “en papillote”. In Italy, it’s “al cartoccio”. In America, we call it parchment cooking. What does it mean? Very simply, it’s a cooking technique that involves wrapping food, typically fish, chicken and/or vegetables in parchment paper. Once wrapped like an envelope, the “packet” is baked in the oven until the entire meal is moist, tender and cooked to perfection.

The technique may sound fancy in other languages, but it’s actually quite simple. Even better? It’s probably the least messy cooking method because it doesn’t involve any pots or pans. Nutritionally speaking, because all ingredients are assembled in a packet, very little (if any) fat is needed, making it a fantastic cooking technique for the Healthy Eats crowd. Read more

10 Ways to Cut Back on Salt

by in Healthy Tips, April 9, 2013

salt
A staggering study out of the University of California revealed that if Americans dramatically cut their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, up to 1.2 million deaths could be prevented over the next 10 years, deaths largely caused by heart disease or stroke. Despite the American Heart Association’s recommendation that healthy people get 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day, with an upper limit of 2,300 mg (about 1 teaspoon), the average American eats close to 3,600 mg, largely through processed food. Reducing salt intake is important for everyone, not just the small subset of people who are salt sensitive.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Relinquish Processed Foods
Yes, we all rely on processed foods at times. But considering that one slice of wheat bread can have up to 200 mg of sodium, imagine what’s lurking in a prepared meal or side dish. Read labels and opt for lower sodium dishes whenever possible.

2. Become Condiment Savvy
Always embellish your sandwiches and salads yourself so can control the amount of salt and the amount of condiments you use. Vinegar is virtually salt-free (2 mg per 2 teaspoons) while mustard, relish, mayonnaise and ketchup can have up to 100 mg per teaspoon.

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Ask the Experts: Change a Habit, Change Your Health, Part 2

by in Ask the Experts, April 6, 2013

food journal
“If you could recommend just one habit that someone should start doing to eat, and live, healthier, what would that habit be?”

This is the question I posed to a group of my colleagues – registered dietitians and nutritionists – in the trenches coaching and counseling people in the science, and art, of eating better. So many experts responded with great tips, that I sorted the feedback into categories. In addition to the tips below, you can find additional tips in Change a Habit, Change Your Life, Part 1.

Adjust your portion sizes so you’re satisfied, not stuffed

• “To shrink your waist, shrink your plate! You’ll trick your brain into feeling more satisfied by the generous-looking portions. And if you go back for seconds, your overall portion may still offer fewer calories than if you had served your meal on an oversized platter.” – Jessica Corwin, RD, MPH

• Use smaller plates, bowls, silverware and glasses. Studies show you’ll eat less and you can clean your plate without the guilt. — Multiple experts

• “Gradually get used to being a little hungry between meals. Don’t deprive but eat 10 to 20% less (this may be two less bites at a meal, a half portion less of a side dish or one less piece of bread).” – Roseanne Rust, MS, RD, LDN

• “Eat with your stomach and not your wallet. Just because you paid for something — it doesn’t mean you have to finish it (or you’ll ‘pay for it’ in other ways!)” — Bonnie Taub Dix, MA, RD, CDN

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Ask the Experts: Change a Habit, Change Your Health, Part 1

by in Ask the Experts, March 23, 2013

vegetables on scale
“If you could recommend just one habit that someone should start doing to eat, and live, healthier, what would that habit be?”

That’s the question I posed to a group of my colleagues – registered dietitians and nutritionists – in the trenches coaching and counseling people in the science, and art, of eating better. Rather than focusing on huge overhauls that may not be sustainable (i.e. no carbs, no gluten, no dairy, no alcohol, etc.), I wanted to look for keystone eating habit changes that could have a butterfly effect through the rest of your daily routine and get you the health and fitness results you want.

I was amazed — within 24 hours I had over 60 responses. As I began sorting through the feedback, I realized that many of the recommendations fell into a seven broader categories, which I’ll be summarizing and presenting in two posts.

Buckle up, here are the first four:

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