August 2018

Healthy Packable Lunches

by Michelle on August 29, 2018

With school back in session everyone seems to be in the frame of mind to try taking a packed lunch to either work or school…and making healthy ones isn’t always easy.  Here are some references that might help you get started making healthy packable lunches so the temptation of a quick take-out lunch is less appealing:

https://tasty.co/article/michelleno/easy-healthy-lunch-ideas-to-bring-to-work-school

https://www.theleangreenbean.com/50-packable-lunch-ideas/

https://www.bustle.com/articles/131965-16-healthy-lunches-to-bring-to-work-in-2016

https://communitytable.parade.com/562221/jessicawellington/15-delicious-healthy-packable-lunches-that-will-fill-you-up/

https://www.eatthis.com/low-calorie-lunch/

http://www.eatingwell.com/article/290606/the-best-lunch-foods-for-weight-loss/

https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/meal-ideas/10-quick-and-healthy-brown-bag-lunches

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/a19990069/lunches-for-weight-loss/

https://www.menshealth.com/weight-loss/g19532954/easy-lunches-for-weight-loss/

https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/lunch/lose-weight-lunches/

With a little bit of forethought and preparation you can bring along a healthy and satisfying lunch to enjoy on the go.

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Eating healthy isn’t always easy…but it is possible.  But what do you do with those favorite recipes that you love so much which aren’t exactly healthy?  Here are hopefully some suggestions and substitutions that can lighten up meals while still keeping the flavor you love:

  1. Reduce the amount of…

FAT – For baked goods, use half the butter, shortening or oil and replace the other half with unsweetened applesauce, mashed banana or prune puree. You can also use commercially prepared fruit-based fat substitutes found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.

SUGAR – Reduce the amount of sugar by one-third to one-half. Instead, add spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg, or flavorings such as vanilla extract or almond flavoring to boost sweetness.

SALT – For most main dishes, salads, soups and other foods, you can reduce the salt by half or even eliminate it. You can reduce salt by half in baked goods that don’t require yeast too. For foods that require yeast, you may need to experiment: Some salt may be necessary for leavening to keep baked goods from being too dense or flat.

  1. Make healthy substitutions: Healthy substitutions not only reduce the amount of fat, calories and salt in your recipes but also can boost the nutritional content.

Pasta – Use whole-wheat pasta instead of enriched pasta. You’ll triple the fiber and reduce the number of calories.

Milk – Prepare a dessert with fat-free milk instead of whole milk to save 66 calories and almost 8 grams of fat per cup.

Meat – When making casseroles, scale back on meat, poultry or fish and increase the amount of vegetables. You’ll save on calories and fat while gaining more vitamins, minerals and fiber.

  1. Cut back on some ingredients: In some recipes, you can eliminate an ingredient altogether or scale back the amount you use.

Toppings – Eliminate items you generally add out of habit or for appearance, such as frosting, coconut or whipped-cream toppings, which are all high in fat and calories.

Condiments – Cut condiments, such as pickles, olives, butter, mayonnaise, syrup, jelly and mustard, which can contain a lot of salt, sugar, fat and calories. Use low-sodium soy sauce in a smaller amount than a recipe calls for to decrease the amount of sodium.

Cheese – If a recipe calls for 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, use 1/2 cup instead.

  1. Change cooking and prep techniques: Here are several healthy cooking techniques that can capture the flavor and nutrients of a well-loved recipe without adding excessive amounts of fat, oil or salt. Try these preparation techniques for healthy recipes.

Cooking method – Healthy cooking techniques include braising, broiling, grilling, poaching, sautéing and steaming.

Basting liquid – If the directions say to baste the meat or vegetables in oil or drippings, use a small amount of wine, fruit juice, vegetable juice or fat-free vegetable broth instead.

Nonstick cookware – Using nonstick pans or spraying pans with nonstick spray will further reduce the amount of fat and calories added to your meals.

  1. Slow down when eating & downsize portions: No matter how much you reduce, switch or omit ingredients, some recipes may still be high in sugar, fat or salt. You can help your diet by not rushing through meals and cutting back on the portion size too.

Slow down – Eat your meals more slowly to give your body a chance to register the fact that you’re filling up. Put your fork down between bites if necessary. You’ll eat less in the long run.

Check portion sizes – Many portions today are so large you may not realize what a true portion or serving is. Train yourself by using smaller plates, spoons and cups. And learn to use common visual cues to understand servings — one serving of whole-grain cooked pasta is about the same size as a hockey puck, for instance.

Try some of these recipe “tweaks” and see how you like them.  It’s a really easy way to turn a delicious but not-so-healthy dish into something that still tastes great but is better for you!

Happy Eating!

 

 

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Light Summertime Eating

by Michelle on August 15, 2018

When the weather is warm it’s natural to crave something on the lighter side to eat.  Items that are heavy meals (lasagna, meatloaf, etc.) aren’t usually what people gravitate towards in summer months. In fact, eating lighter fare in warmer weather is actually beneficial…but how?

Body temperature stays low:  The body works harder to digest heavy, hearty meals so keeping things lighter (chilled soups, smoothies, etc.) helps you stay cool.

You’ll be well hydrated:  Fresh, raw fruits and veggies naturally contain more water so eating light produce will naturally keep you hydrated.  Try snacking on cucumber, jicama, or even frozen grapes.

It can help control weight gain: Eating light makes it easier to feel “light” which hopefully prompts you to get out and be more active.  Developing a habit of eating light and HEALTHY options can go a long way in not overdoing things when on vacation during the summer or even at home in general.

Your cravings will diminish:  Serotonin, responsible for a balanced mood, is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight…but carbohydrates can produce the same effect.  If you can get outdoors more often in warm weather then the sunlight can boost your mood instead of the heavy, unhealthy carbs that you might normally crave.

Here are some great websites with light summer recipes that can help you get started:

  1. https://www.cookinglight.com/food/quick-healthy/quick-easy-summer-recipes
  2. https://www.yellowblissroad.com/27-light-and-fresh-summer-meals/
  3. https://cookieandkate.com/2016/18-light-summer-dinner-recipes/
  4. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipes/630/everyday-cooking/seasonal/summer/
  5. https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/packages/best-summer-and-grilling-recipes/healthy-summer-recipes/photos/light-summer-dinner-recipes

Cooking “light” doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor.  Eating a meal that doesn’t weigh you down not only has health benefits but might also open your eyes (and taste buds) to things that could soon become new favorites year-round!  Happy eating!

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Summer “Mocktails”

by Michelle on August 8, 2018

It’s not really easy any time of year to find recipes for non-alcoholic drinks that taste delicious…and Summer time is no exception.  With fruity drinks taking center stage in warmer weather sometimes taking out the alcohol just leaves you with juice and a tiny umbrella!  Well, it doesn’t have to be that way…not with these options:

 

Cucumber-Mint Limeade

http://www.intheraw.com/using-itr/recipes/cucumber-mint-limeade/

 

 

 Black Cherry Basil Mocktail

https://www.wickedspatula.com/black-cherry-basil-mocktail/

 

Copa Verde Mocktail

http://themerrythought.com/recipes/copa-verde-mocktail/

 

Ginger Beer Mojito

https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/GINGER-BEER-MOJITO-RECIPE/

 

Strawberry Orange Mango Kombucha Mocktail

https://www.theroastedroot.net/strawberry-orange-mango-kombucha-mocktails/

 

Watermelon Lime Mocktail

http://www.eatyourselfskinny.com/watermelon-lime-mocktail/

 

Pineapple-Mango Agua Fresca

http://www.intheraw.com/using-itr/recipes/pineapple-mango-agua-fresca/?ref=search&product=stevia-in-the-raw&dish_type=beverages&page=1

 

Non-Alcoholic Sangria

https://simpleveganblog.com/non-alcoholic-sangria/

 

Pina Colada

https://houseofyumm.com/pina-colada/

 

Grilled Pineapple Lime Mocktail

http://themerrythought.com/recipes/mocktail-monday-grilled-pineapple-lime-mocktail/

 

Of course you can always opt for flavorful beverages with alcohol as well…and here is a site with some tasty cocktails that utilize herbs for an abundance of flavor:

https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-drinks/10-tasty-herb-cocktails

Cool down with these flavorful mocktails or cocktails…whichever you prefer…and ENJOY!

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Summer Cocktails

by Michelle on August 1, 2018

With the warm weather here to stay for a while it’s nice to try some low calorie summer cocktails to stay cool.  Here are 8 low calorie cocktail recipes you might want to try:

  1. Pinot Grigio Melon Ball Spritzer
  2. Watermelon Mojito
  3. Skinny Sangria
  4. Mango Margarita
  5. Lemon ‘N’ Lime Cocktail
  6. Strawberry Margarita
  7. Pina Colada
  8. White Wine Sangria

You can see all of the ingredients and instructions for these drinks by clicking on this link:  https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/recipes/8-low-calorie-summer-cocktail-recipes-must-try-3-amazing/

Here are a few things to remember if you want to try and “lighten up” one of your favorite cocktails or even come up with a unique drink yourself:

  1. Use a no calorie sweetener (Stevia, etc.) instead of sugar or simple syrup
  2. Squeeze in real fruits for flavor
  3. Use no calories sodas or even flavored sparkling water instead of regular soda
  4. Try coconut water for additional flavor with many health benefits
  5. Make your own drink mixes with items like green tea, mint, lemon, etc.
  6. Garnish with fruit and fresh herbs

For wine lovers replace ½ a glass of white wine with club soda and a splash of citrus juice for a refreshing, bubbly cocktail that’s fewer calories.  You can also try infused alcohol like flavored vodka to save on the calories of sugary mixes yet still impart flavor.

Save a lot of calories for the delicious food that’s all around in summer by trying some of these techniques so you can still enjoy a cocktail while not going over on your calorie budget.

Cheers!

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