Category Archives: Tips for healthy eating

Apple Chutney

apples-2

This simple recipe only has five ingredients and can be used multiple ways. Whether you are making dinner, need a good sandwich spread, or just need something nice to bring to a holiday party, this recipe will work! Oh and the best part….it’s healthy.

Here’s a list of ideas for getting the most out of your Apple Chutney:

  • Serve with pork, chicken, or salmon for a simple and festive dinner
  • Serve as an addition to a cheese and meat platter
  • Puree it and use it as a glaze on a winter squash (think hard outer shells – butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash)
  • Make a sweet dip by adding it to Greek yogurt
  • Add it to a sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar (white, or apple cider)
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • ¼-½ teaspoon ground ginger

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan.
  2. Bring to boil, and then reduce heat to low simmer, and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding 1 tablespoon of water as needed.
  3. Partially mash with fork when cooking is complete.

 

 

Spring Gardening

vegetables-790022_1280Spring has sprung and now is a great time to start thinking about all of the healthy fruits and veggies that are now in season! If you enjoy gardening, now is a good time to start planting some of your favorite foods, while also getting some exercise and enjoying the outdoors.

What are the benefits of purchasing fruits and vegetables that are in season?

  1. You’ll save money! Fruits and vegetables that are in season are less expensive. The farmers have a higher supply of these foods so they are able to sell them at a cheaper price.
  2. Eating seasonally supports the economy. When we buy in season produce, we typically are buying foods that were locally grown – this is good for the economy, environment and your wallet!
  3. Adds variety to your diet. Eating foods that are in season will help you to consume a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, each providing different nutrients.

Why should I start gardening?

  1. You’ll save money! The packets of seeds at the grocery store are very inexpensive. If you properly care for your garden, you can grow an abundance of fruits and veggies.
  2. Your produce will be cleaner. Conventional produce at the grocery store is sprayed with pesticides to ensure crop growth. If you are growing your own foods, you have the opportunity to grow food free of pesticides.
  3. Enjoy garden-fresh, nutrient-dense foods. If you are growing your own foods, the foods can be enjoyed at their peak ripeness, which is when they will provide the most nutrients.
  4. Burn calories! According to the Centers for Disease Control, gardening is considered “moderate cardiovascular exercise.” Gardening 30 to 45 minutes per day can burn around 150 to 300 calories.
  5. Feel a sense of accomplishment. Eating foods that you grew yourself should make you feel proud!

Where can I find good resources to get started gardening?

Here are a few of my favorite gardening resources – they are specific to Georgia so if you live in a different geographical region, be sure to look for gardening resources specific to your area:

If you don’t have a green thumb, that’s okay! You can still be aware of the different fruits and vegetables that are in season and make an effort to purchase these items weekly.

Fruits and vegetables in season during March, April, and May
Apricots Chives Mango Red leaf lettuce
Artichokes Collard greens Manoa lettuce Rhubarb
Asparagus Corn Morel mushrooms Snow peas
Barbados cherries Fava beans Mustard greens Sorrel
Belgian endive Fennel Oranges Spinach
Bitter melon Fiddlehead ferns Pea pods Spring baby lettuce
Broccoli Green beans Peas Strawberries
Butter lettuce Honeydew Pineapple Swiss chard
Cactus Jackfruit Purple asparagus Vidalea onions
Chayote squash Limes Radicchio Watercress
Cherimoya Lychee Ramps White asparagus

 

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Here’s something to celebrate, research has shown that including chocolate in your diet can provide health benefits!

This blog will explain the health benefits of chocolate and guide you in picking out the best chocolate for health benefits. The quality and quantity of the chocolate you choose to consume are of utmost importance.

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Here are a few reasons to feel good about adding a little chocolate to your diet:

Chocolate1. Cocoa may help reduce blood pressure. The main ingredient in dark chocolate is cocoa which contains flavonoids that can help improve blood flow to the brain and heart and decrease the risk of a blood clot. By helping to relax blood vessels, dark chocolate in moderation can help to lower blood pressure.

2. Flavonoids in chocolate may help cells resist damage. Dark chocolate contains epicatechins which are a type of flavonoid that increases antioxidant activity, protecting cells from damage and resisting LDL or “bad cholesterol” oxidation.

3. Chocolate contains compounds that may help to decrease inflammation. Another helpful flavonoid found in dark chocolate is resveratrol, which may help to keep inflammation down and protect cells from free radical damage.

Quantity and Quality

Not all chocolate is created equal. Benefits have been seen from eating 1 ounce of dark chocolate 2-3 times per week (that’s about 1/3 of a regular sized chocolate bar). Here are a few tips for choosing high quality dark chocolate: 

          1. The first ingredient listed should be cocoa liquor, cocoa mass, cocoa solids, cocoa, or chocolate
  • For health benefits, be sure to choose chocolate that says it is 70% cocoa or higher (otherwise you’re just eating candy!). The darker the chocolate (or higher percentage of cocoa) the more beneficial compounds you consume
  • Avoid chocolate with hydrogenated oils and artificial ingredients
  • Limit sugar and other add-ins that add calories but not a lot of nutrients

Pay attention the portion size and the ingredients list. Most of all, enjoy a piece of dark chocolate as part of a balanced diet you can feel good about!

Wondering how you are going to find a chocolate that mets the requirements listed above? Check out Chocolove . Remember, skip the added ingredients – we are going for a pure dark chocolate – 70% cocoa or higher. Several varieties of Chocolove are available at Whole Foods.

 

Holiday Eating Tips

The holidays are a great time to socialize with friends, family, and loved ones. We often spend the holidays gathered around food. For some, this plethora of food can derail healthy eating efforts. Use these tips to stay healthy during the holidays.

1.While you may be tempted to save all your calories during the day for that holiday party at night, that might not be the best idea. Studies have shown that consuming meals and snacks throughout the entire day will prevent overeating later in the day. Eating regular meals throughout the day will keep your hunger in check and can prevent overindulging at holiday parties.

2. Be mindful of your drinks. Consuming an excessive amount of alcohol may lead to excess calories from the drinks and uninhibited eating. Try counting your drinks to prevent mindless eating and drinking.

3.Listen to your hunger cues. It may be easy to go back for the third or fourth plate during buffet style dinners, but take time to stop and assess whether or not you are physically hungry. It takes 20-30 minutes to fully register that feeling of fullness. Take a break after plate one and see if you’re still feeling hungry before going for the next one.

4.If you are hosting a holiday party, don’t forget the fruits and vegetables. Get creative in the kitchen and spruce up these dishes up a bit. Instead of boiled carrots, roast them with some seasonings. Instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower for a nutrient dense alternative.

5.Eat dessert! Don’t deprive yourself the entire holiday. It’s a time of enjoyment and wonderful food. Just remember to practice portion control and savor every bite!

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!

Get the recipe at BettyCrocker.com !

 

 

 

Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Businesswoman Ready for Work with Husband In Kitchen.I know, you’ve heard a million times, and here’s one more: breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Unfortunately, for many people it seems to be the most difficult meal of the day.

Breakfast is so important, that it should be priority item on your to do list. Here’s why:

  • Eating breakfast refuels your body – let’s be honest – after 8-12 hours without a meal, your body needs to be refueled. This is important because your blood sugar levels are very low at this point. Glucose is the main energy source for the brain.
  • Eating breakfast can help you better manage your weight – research has shown that breakfast eaters are typically weigh LESS than breakfast skippers because of the jump start that breakfast gives metabolism.
  • Breakfast can make you happier and sharper. Studies have shown that breakfast skippers often feel tired, irritable, and restless in the morning. Additionally, breakfast eaters have better concentration and problem solving abilities.
  • Eating breakfast can make your kids smarter, too! Research has also shown that kids who eat breakfast perform better in school and score higher on tests.

 Here are some quick and healthy ideas for the time-crunched:

  • Whole-grain cereal with fruit and milk
  • Whole-grain cereal with a cup of yogurt
  • Toasted waffles topped with peanut butter
  • Instant oatmeal with milk and dried fruit
  • Piece of fruit and ½ glass of skim milk
  • String cheese and a glass of orange juice

Remember, breakfast does not have to be elaborate. Keep it simple and plan ahead to give you what you need to start your day.