Tag Archives: Healthy Food

Kale

10 Ways To Include Kale and Swiss Chard In Your Diet

You may be wondering why, if veggies like Swiss chard and kale have been around forever, why haven’t you heard much about them until recently? Well, the sad truth is that there was a time in history when these greens were considered the “ugly ducklings” of the vegetable family. While their better tasting relatives, like spinach and broccoli, were enjoying the limelight, kale and chard were consigned to a lesser position, largely ignored, until one day, their superfood powers were revealed.

Suddenly, they became all the rage. No one could consume these darlings quickly or often enough, and more and more new and innovative ways were found to incorporate them into meals and snacks. If you are among those who are see in kale and Swiss chard in a new light, here are ten ways you can give these veggies their proper due.

Veggie Soups
Healthy comfort food? Why not? Chop or puree some kale and Swiss chard into your next soup recipe.

kale chips

Kale Chips
Just remove the stem and center ribs and tear leaves into chip size pieces. Toss them with a little olive oil and sprinkle with herbs, salt or cumin. Bake at 300 until crisp.

Smoothies
Smoothies and green protein juices can be great sources for packing in nutrients. Add one or two handfuls of kale, Swiss chard, or spinach to your morning or afternoon concoction. However, you may want to keep in mind that juices do not provide the same fiber benefits as eating greens and drinking smoothies do, as juices tend to have high sugar content due to other added vegetables.

Green Veggies With Eggs
Not to be confused with green eggs and ham, green veggies can make a great addition to an egg scramble or frittata.

Green powder

Green Powders
Green powders contain a large variety of concentrated green veggies, and usually include plant algae like chlorella and spirulina. Look for organic green powders at health food stores and make sure to take into account what type of sweetener and how much sugar the powder contains. Try to keep sugar levels under five grams per serving.

Baked Goods
Fool your family, fool yourself. Puree some Swiss chard or kale into your muffins or brownies. According to Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, “You won’t even feel like you’re eating vegetables.”

Pasta
Cheryl Forbero, RD suggests foregoing the basil or pesto on your pasta for some heartier greens. You can even work them into your lasagna or pesto recipe, says Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD.

kale pizza

Pizza
Kale pizza anyone? Why not? After you finish heaping on the mozzarella, how about heaping on the greens? Drizzle with oil and vinegar and mangia!

Beans
Add texture and color to your bean dish with a few cups of chopped Swiss chard or kale. Just add it along with the garlic, onions and seasoning.

Stir-Fry
If your sautéing some beef, chicken or tofu, stir in some carrot, red pepper and Swiss chard stems. Then, remove from heat and stir in the leaves for a healthy and delicious stir fry.

How are you adding kale and Swiss chard to your diet? Let us know how your keeping healthy!

Food sources

As the Temps Rise, So Does Your Need for Vitamin D

Poor Vitamin D! It was a perfectly respectable vitamin until the Urban Dictionary perverted it into a sexual euphemism. Now one can barely mention the vitamin without the occasional titter from those familiar with what it means to “put the D in someone.” In fact, even Marks and Spencer has come under fire for their claims of “Putting the D In Bread,” sparking a social media frenzy by those who can’t keep their minds out of the proverbial gutter.

The more mature among us will know vitamin D as a valuable nutrient for managing calcium in the blood, and assisting with intercellular communication. You may also know that this vitamin is primarily derived from the sun. However, if the sun is not an option, due to inclement weather, or simply lack of exposure, there are some foods that may be more consistent options.

Tuna Fish
Canned tuna is probably the cheapest and most accessible source of seafood, and a 3 oz. contains 236 IU of vitamin D: more than half the daily requirement. Sandwich or salad, tuna’s got the D.

Eggnog

Eggnog
There is no wrong time for eggnog. One glass contains 25% of the RDA of vitamin D, thanks to its large egg content. However, you may want to keep the consumption down to a minimum to avoid a sugar overload.

Fortified Dairy
Although most dairy does not contain significant amounts of vitamin D, the federal government began to fortify milk in the 1930’s due to a widespread deficiency in the nutrient. A single cup of fortified milk will get you 34% of the recommended daily value, while a 6-ounce container of fortified yogurt will give you one fifth of the RDA.

Mackerel
If you’re looking to pick up some Vitamin D, mackerel is quite the catch. Not only does one four ounce portion contain an entire day’s worth of vitamin-D requirement, it also has lower levels of mercury and is at less of a risk of overfishing than other fish with a similar nutritional profile. Mackerel is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and protein. Catch it if you can!

Portobello mushroom

Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushroom crops are exposed to additional lighting that boosts the amount of vitamin D by a whopping 3,000 percent. The increase of vitamin D intake due to lighting has also been shown to be a cost-effective way of lowering depression.

Smoked Whitefish
Kosher deli connoisseurs will know this fish as a great accompaniment to bagels, but they may not know that half a cup of this brunch staple contains enough vitamin D to get you through your day, It is also naturally low in calories and fat, and rich in vitamin D, protein, and B vitamins.

Soy Milk
You may be drinking soy milk to address issues of lactose intolerance, but if its fortified, you are also getting a daily dose of D. Most brands contain about one-quarter of the daily requirement.

Orange juice

Fortified Orange Juice
You may know orange juice to be a valuable source of vitamin C, but with fortification it can also be a significant source of vitamin D, with one cup exceeding a quarter of the daily recommended intake.

How are you getting your D? Let us know! We love to hear it, especially the dirty stuff!

Add Cabbage Juice To Your Healthy Drink List

Some may say that the popularity of home juicers and food processors have brought out a bit of the mad scientist in us. Increasingly, the question seems to be not what you can put into these new contraptions, but what you can’t. Indeed, something in these new kitchen innovations have awakened our inner eighth grader, leaving very little off limits. Among the more eyebrow-raising to meet their fates in the juicer: cereal grasses, cucumbers, celery, potatoes and now, a new addition to the list; cabbage.

Cabbage

Cabbages
Why cabbages, you might ask? They don’t seem to be too high on anyone’s favorite food list, and even smell a little funny, but it turns out, cabbages can do the body a surprising amount of good.

Cabbage is low in saturated fats and cholesterol and is also rich in vitamins such as B6, C, K, and folate. It also has a high fiber content and contains protein, calcium, phosphorous, and omega -6 fatty acids. However, it is not the nutritional content of cabbage that makes it so impressive, rather it is the health benefits.

Health Benefits of Cabbage

Fights Cancer
Cabbage juice contains isocyanate, known for its ability to prevent great, stomach, prostate, lung and colon cancer. It also contains sulforaphane, which blocks carcinogens. For these reasons, it is often prescribed to patients recovering from cancer.

Controls Ulcers
In addition to having cancer-fighting properties, cabbage juice is also effective in controlling peptic ulcers. The juice of the cruciferous veggie contains glutamine, which is a type of amino acid associated with the promotion of cellular growth it the stomach, and may aid in helping peptic ulcers to repair itself.

Cabbage juice

Weight Control
Because cabbage juice is beneficial to the digestive system, it is known to aid in weight loss, converting sugar and carbs into energy, rather than fat.

Heart Disease
Cabbage contains omega -6 fatty acids. Although once believed to block arteries, the American Heart Association has now found Omega-6s to be heart healthy and recommends that individuals get 5-10% go their daily calorie intake from these fatty acids.

Fights Anemia
Anemia is characterized by a decrease in red blood cells in the bloodstream, resulting in feelings of fatigue and exhaustion. The folic acid in cabbage juice has been shown to help generate new red blood cells vital to anemia sufferers. Cabbage is also rich in Vitamin C, which assists in the body’s absorption of iron.

Skin Care
Cabbages are rich in phytochemicals, like alpha and beta-carotene and contain the retinol equivalent of vitamin A. The antioxidant properties in these nutrients cam destroy free radicals that damage skin cells and age skin and are probably a better source of skincare than many products available on the market today.

Let us know if you’ve tried cabbage juice? What do you think? Is it the next must have smoothie ingredient?

Favorite Comfort Soup Recipes

Soup is the ultimate comfort nosh, having nostalgic and sentimental value across all cultures. Comfort foods are known to increase positive emotions and relieve negative psychological effects. Here are some comfort soup recipes to keep you feeling positive this holiday season.

Clam seafood soup
Grandma’s Seafood Chowder Recipe 

1. Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a 6 qt. stack pot over medium high heat. Add one lb of sliced mushrooms, cook and stir 8-10 minutes until tender, Remove from pot.

2. In the same pot, heat 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Stir in 1/3 cup all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper until smooth; whisk in 4 cups of half and half cream and 1- 1/2 cups 2% milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until thick.

3. Stir in one pound haddock fillets with the skin removed cut into 1″ pieces, 1 pound peeled uncooked medium shrimp, 2 cups frozen peas and sautéed mushrooms. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until fish begins to flake and shrimp turns pink. Add cup 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1 pound lump crab meat and a jar of diced pimientos. Stir until cheese in melted. Sprinkle serving with paprika. Yield: 10 servings (3 1/4 quarts.)

Creamy Tomato Soup Recipe 

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 1 chopped medium onion and cook about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 12 large chopped tomatoes and cook for five more minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, 4 sprigs fresh thyme and 1 piece parmesan rind (optional.) Cook for 25 minutes.

2. Discard the thyme sprigs and Parmesan rind. Puree the soup in a food processor until smooth, Strain through a fine sieve over a cleaned saucepan. Stir in 1/4 cup 35% cream and 2 tablespoons butter.

3. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with grated parmesan and fresh chives. Enjoy!

 Italian Sausage Soup

Italian Sausage Soup Recipe 

1. Brown 1 pound Italian Sausage with one clove minced garlic in a stockpot or Dutch oven. Stir in 2 14-oz cans of beef broth, 1 14.5 oz can of Italian- style tomatoes, and 1 cup sliced carrots. Season with !/4 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Stir in 1 14.5 oz can great Northern beans, undrained, and 2 small zucchini, cubed. Cover, and simmer another 15 minutes or until zucchini is tender.

3. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of spinach, packed, rinsed and torn. Replace lid and allow the heat from the soup to cook the spinach leaves. The soup will be ready to serve after 5 minutes.

Remember, if this sounds like too much work, you can always call on Marti and Scott at “Spoonful of Comfort!” Let us know your favorite comfort soups and how you like to make them! We love to hear from you!

Enjoy A Daily Serving Of Almonds

Woman eating almonds
Let’s face it. There are a lot of nuts out there. There’s the peanut, the pistachio, the macadamia, the pine nut, the cashew; the list goes on. But perhaps the most ambitious member of the nut family is the almond. Since 2005, almonds have been taking America by storm, growing in demand by more than 220%. As of today, the average American consumes over two pounds of almonds per year. And why shouldn’t the almond get its due? We owe a lot to the almond! Without the almond, there would be no Hershey’s with Almonds, Snickers with Almonds, almond milk, Rocky Road Ice Cream, and perhaps, most devastatingly, Almond Joy! So what is behind the Almond Seduction of America? Let’s investigate!

1.  Almonds prevent heart disease
Almonds contain mono saturated fatty acid, or MUFA, as well as antioxidants. The presence of flavanoids in the skin of the nut, works along with Vitamin E to decrease inflammation and improve the function of your arteries.

Almonds also pack in the nutrients when it comes to keeping the heart health. They contain, copper, manganese, calcium, potassium and magnesium and helps to lower “bad cholesterol.”

2. Almonds are good for your brain
That’s why people who eat almonds are so smart! Almonds are unique in that they contain L-carnitine and riboflavin, nutrients which are known for their abilities to accelerate neurological activity and decrease cognitive decline. The elderly are advised to eat almonds regularly because of the association between nuts and the reduction in brain disorders, like Alzheimer’s Disease.

3. Almonds are good for your skin
Almonds contain loads of Vitamin E and antioxidants that reduce the signs of aging.The concentration of nutrients like catechin, flavonol antioxidants, and epicatechin fights skin cancer and reverses damage and stress from pollution, an unhealthy diet, and exposure to UV light. The healthy fat content in almonds also improves circulation, helps to hydrate skin and heal wounds.

4. Almonds Keep Blood Sugar Level Down
Remember those MUFAs we were talking about? Well, they do more than prevent heart disease. They also slow down the rate of sugar entering the blood stream and control insulin resistance. Almonds also help to decrease risks associated with diabetes, like oxidative stress, obesity and inflammation.

5. Almonds Help You Lose Weight
Almonds got a bad rap for a while because of their high fat and calorie content, but then scientists found out it was mono saturated fat and, now its all good! Besides healthy fats, almonds also contain dietary fiber which keeps you full and prevents the temptation to overeat and over snack.

According to the Nurse’s Health study, these nuts also support an active metabolism and according to a 2003 article in the International Journal of Obesity, women who consumed almonds experienced more weight reduction then those who did not.

If your an almond lover, let us know what you do with your nuts! We always appreciate your comments, advice, and suggestions.

Energy Boosting Pre-Workout Snacks

Maybe you have heard some strange things about the athletes’ eating habits at this year’s Rio Olympics. You may have heard that the only MacDonald’s in the Olympic Village is doing unprecedented business with sales of fries, Big Macs and McNuggets going through the roof. Perhaps you’ve gotten wind of Australia’s badminton Olympian, Sawan Serasinghe, whose late night binge included over twenty items, causing Mickey D’s to put a 20 item limit on all orders. Or maybe you’ve heard about Ryan Lochte’s Friday night 8,000 calorie habit replete with wings, pizza and soda.

Well, while this may seem like a ton of fun, you should know that these athletes require a whole lot more calories than the average person, and that, if you ate only a quarter of what they did, you would probably be morbidly obese. So before you start downing those super sized -meals, here are some more realistic choices.

1. Honey
Recent research shows that carbs that blend fructose with glucose may be better than straight glucose for increasing energy. Although sports drinks may satisfy this description, honey has the perfect fructose- sugar balance with the added benefits of antioxidants. The darker the color of the honey, the better it will be in fighting disease.

Woman drinking chocolate milk

2. Chocolate milk
According to a 2006 study, chocolate milk is the new sports drink! In a study funded by the dairy industry , nine cyclists rode their bikes to the point of exhaustion, rested for a four hour period and then resumed biking. During the period in which they rested, they were given either Gatorade, an electrolyte replacement drink, Endurox, a carbohydrate replacement drink, or low fat chocolate milk. Results showed that the cyclists who drank the chocolate milk could bike about 50 % longer than those who consumed the sports drink. Ovaltine, anyone?

3. Yogurt
Exercise can also affect your immune system and athletes sometimes display greater susceptibility to infections of the upper respiratory tract, Probiotics, found in yogurt, may reduce the likelihood of contracting these infections. According to a 2008 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, endurance athletes who took daily probiotic capsules demonstrated greater activity of immune enhancing T-cells, cutting the likelihood of experiencing such infections by half. Probiotics can also soothe a nervous stomach, while providing a mix of proteins and carbs, great for just before a big race.

Eating Fruit
4. Fruit with A Mozzarella Stick
Who doesn’t love a good mozzarella? According to personal trainer and certified nutritionist, Mary Jane Detroyer, your body need carbohydrates, rather than protein, to perform physical activity. “You need to have something that’s going to get into the bloodstream and stay there throughout the workout. So you wouldn’t want to have a lot of fat or too much protein or too much fiber because those things slow the way the food is absorbed. She recommends fruit, “it doesn’t matter what kind of fruit it is. And you could have a few nuts with that.”

5. Crackers with a little hummus or hummus with veggies and an apple
Detroyer suggests a quarter cup of hummus, which she recommends because the beans in it offer fiber. “It’s going to give you some energy that will stick throughout the workout. Carbs form the veggies and fruit will contribute to the boost.”

And you? Do you subscribe to the healthy pre-exercise snacks or do you swear by the energy of the Big Mac? Let us know what works best for you and if you have some great advice about foods that give you energy, we’d love to add them to our list.

Foods That Protect Your Skin From the Sun

We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat” and here’s another reason to believe that’s true. Did you know that by eating certain plant compounds, you could gain some of the same sun protection for your skin that plants themselves use? Of course, that’s not a license to go lay out in midday sun all summer without protection, but the following foods may increase your skin’s ability to ward off damage from the sun.

Berries in a basket

Berries
It’s not hard to find a reason to eat berries, but add them to the list of foods that can protect your skin from the sun. These fruits are full of vitamin C, a well-known antioxidant, which boosts collagen production in the skin.

Citrus
One medium orange not only contains about 75 percent of the RDI of vitamin C, but it also contains the skin-protecting pigment beta-carotene, which a study published by Molecular Biotechnology showed decreased skin’s sensitivity to UV rays.

Carrot juice and carrots

Carrots
The same pigment that gives the carrot its protection from the sun may also keep your skin from getting blistered. Besides being rich in beta-carotene, carrots also taste delicious dipped in hummus or mixed into homemade coleslaw.

Leafy Greens
Rich in both Vitamin C and carotenoids, leafy greens, such as leaf lettuce and spinach, protect your skin with an antioxidant double whammy! P.S. The darker the greens, the better!

Almonds

Almonds
Not only does the vitamin E in almonds help prevent and reduce the severity of sunburn, but combined with vitamin C-rich foods, the protection offered from both foods is maximized. Try tossing some almonds and strawberries into a salad for a delicious and skin-loving combo.

Cantaloupe
A summer staple, cantaloupe protects your skin by helping you stay hydrated and giving you a dose of lycopene, another naturally occurring plant pigment. Research done by the Journal of British Dermatology shows lycopene may decrease skin’s sensitivity to UV rays. Bonus: you guessed it; cantaloupe is a vitamin C powerhouse!

Bell peppers

Bell Peppers
Rich in both vitamin C and carotenoids, bell peppers are an easy-to-use food in your healthy skin diet.

Tomato Paste
Tomatoes are another lycopene-rich food but according to a 2011 study from the British Journal of Dermatology, the bioavailability of the carotenoid may be greater in processed tomato products. Try using tomato paste as a base for soups or in a sauce.

green tea

Green Tea
A 2010 review in the Archives of Dermatology suggests that a diet rich in polyphenols can defend skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. One to two cups a day of this light-tasting tea can help you take advantage of its skin-protecting

Flaxseed
Like almonds, flaxseed is full of vitamin E. Take advantage of the C & E combo by mixing some ground flaxseed into a smoothie with some kale and blueberries.

It’s important to remember that while adding these foods to your diet may prevent burns or lessen the intensity of damage done by the sun, you should always take proper caution when being outdoors for an extended period of time. Along with eating these foods, you can avoid the sun altogether during peak hours (from around 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), wear protective clothing when you will be in direct sunlight, and wear sunscreen daily.