Paying attention at the grocery store can make the difference between success and failure on a diet. But you might find it a little difficult to parse all of the information on the nutrition label. Here’s a quick rundown on how to get the information you need off of the label.
The most important thing to look at on the nutrition label is the portion size. This may not be the amount of food that you’re typically eating! Portion sizes are one of the biggest ways food manufacturers trick you into consuming too much sugar, fat and sodium.
The next thing to pay attention to is the proportion of calories from fat to total calories. Obviously, the lower a ratio you find here, the better. Some foods do have heart-healthy fats, such as fish or nuts, so this isn’t always a bad thing, but it’s important to keep in mind.
Nutrition labels typically also list the vitamins and minerals present in the package. The most important of these are vitamins A, C, calcium, and iron. These are the ones that the FDA claims Americans need to eat more of.
Of course, the absolute best way to eat healthy is by buying food that doesn’t have a nutrition label on it. Fresh fruits and vegetables don’t even need a label and are much better for you than anything processed.
Not many people think of pumpkins as food — they use them for Jack-o-Lanterns at Halloween and table decorations on Thanksgiving. But this versatile squash is actually a wonder in the kitchen, and it also packed with nutrients! Here are some recipe ideas.
- Pureed pumpkin makes a great substitute for zucchini or carrots in breads and muffins. its hearty sweetness adds a lot to the flavor and a wonderful color. It's best to use a cheese grater to roughly grate the flesh before you mix it into the batter.
- Pumpkin seeds are actually very high in vital nutrients and make a delicious and healthy snack. Known as “pepitas” when roasted, it’s very easy to make them yourself. Separate the seeds from the pulp, wash them, and dry them well. Then season the seeds with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them at 400 degrees until they become fragrant and shine.
- Pumpkin also works really well as a base for Mexican soups and sauces. Roast and puree the meat before seasoning it with garlic, jalapeno, salt, and pepper. It’s wonderful over enchiladas or served with spicy chorizo sausage.
- If you're a coffee fan, you've likely tried a seasonal pumpkin spice lattes. To make this treat at home, use two teaspoons of pumpkin puree, lightly sweetened, along with vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice. Add this mixture to any hot beverage for a warm, comforting autumn flavor.
Your heart is the largest and most important muscle in your body, and when it goes the whole shebang comes crashing down. Preventative care is vital in keeping your heart working optimally. Here are five quick tips to get you on your way to heart health.
Get regular exercise
Even in short doses, aerobic exercise is very important to your health. If you don’t have time to go to the gym, try working out during the day by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking at the far corner of the lot.
Tobacco is one of the most preventable causes of heart disease, and both primary and secondhand smoke can be incredibly damaging. Thankfully, your heart can repair itself quickly – after a decade of not smoking, your heart will be as healthy as someone who has never smoked.
Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet
Although salt is delicious, it also works to raise your blood pressure, which makes your heart have to work harder to pump blood. Use herbs instead of salt.
Get more sleep
Multiple studies have found that people who sleep until they’re rested have fewer heart conditions than people who don’t. Sleep more than seven hours a night and try to avoid caffeine after noon.
Have a drink of wine
The latest science indicates that a glass of wine a day increases HDL cholesterol levels, which can help reduce heart disease risks. Don’t drink too much, as that can have negative effects.
If you’re tired of your dinner options, why not explore the world of spices a little bit? These flavorings may seem unusual if you’ve never sampled them, but they’re easy to use and can radically change the flavor of your ingredients. Here are some favorites.
Asafoetida is often used in Indian cuisine as a digestive aid or condiment. It’s made from the dried sap from the root of a plant. When raw, it smells kind of funky, but when cooked it adds a strong, subtle flavor kind of like leeks.
Lemon basil is common in Indonesian cuisine. Use the leaves like you would use ordinary European basil, but enjoy the added citrus bite that it brings to your dishes. It also has a wonderful aroma that makes it great for a garnish.
Galangal is used often in Thai cooking. Somewhat similar to the ginger root, galangal packs a powerful, spicy punch. You can slice it and simmer it or grind it into a paste for curries. It also has powerful antioxidant properties.
Perilla, also known as shiso, is a popular herb in Japanese cooking. The spiny leaves somewhat resemble stinging nettles, but they have a strong flavor somewhat like fennel mixed with mint. They make a great addition to salads.
Chicken is one of the most versatile proteins available to the home cook, and it can be prepared in so many different, delectable ways. In this article, we’ll share five of our favorite recipes that come out of the kitchen in a hurry without skimping on flavor.
Stuff a chicken breast with onions caramelized in a pan until they are golden brown and soft Fontina cheese. Bake in an pan until the meat is cooked through and deglaze the pan with white wine and rosemary to make a sauce. Serve over rice pilaf or quinoa.
Lemon chicken is a classic dish that never fails to impress. Marinate chunks of chicken in soy sauce for a little bit, then dredge it in a batter made from egg yolk and cornstarch. Quickly fry in a skillet and mix with a simple sauce created from lemon juice, water, sugar and a little more cornstarch. Serve over white rice.
Cut a chicken breast into rectangles and bread them with panko, the Japanese-style bread crumbs. Cover with Romano cheese and quickly fry them until the outside is crispy, then serve with a tangy marinara sauce for an upscale take on chicken fingers.
For a simple, hearty meal that will make you think of campfire days, make tinfoil “hobo bundles” with chicken and sturdy vegetables that roast well – try small tomatoes, green beans, and sliced potatoes. Put a little butter or olive oil inside, some fragrant herbs, seal them up and put them in the oven until everything cooks. Unwrap and serve.
For a light, healthy chicken dish, batter chicken cutlets in flour and quickly fry but do not cook through. Then sautee chunks of onion and ginger in the pan drippings. Add chicken broth and bring it to a simmer, then add the chicken and slices of pear for a unique and tasty meal.
The humble hamburger is a great go-to meal, especially when you don’t have a lot of time. But with a few simple ingredients, you can elevate the fast food staple into something truly special. Here are five ways to make your burger a little better.
Make a patty out of ground turkey and mix it with a little dill. Stuff the middle with a chunk of Brie cheese and grill until the meat is cooked and the cheese melts. Serve on a roll with pickles and lettuce.
Mix Chinese five-spice powder into your ground beef to give it a rich, complex flavor. Once the patty has cooked, glaze the top with a soy ginger sauce and serve with cilantro, cabbage and pickled carrots.
Make a Chicago-style hot dog burger by topping a traditional patty with sweet relish, chopped white onions and hot peppers. A little ketchup and mustard will bring this one over the top.
For a classic French bistro take on the hamburger, gently caramelize onions in a pan and ladle them generously over the cooked burger along with a slice of Gouda cheese and crisp, thick-cut bacon. Serve on a buttery brioche roll.
To give your burgers a special kick, mix in adobo seasoning, red onion and finely grated lime peels into your ground beef. Grill ears of corn until kernels are just cooked, strip the kernels off and mix them with queso fresco and a little bit of mayonnaise to top the burgers.
What we eat affects our physical and mental health. If you're looking for a snack, here are some choices that promote wellness for body and mind
It's true: dark chocolate is an emotionally and physically satisfying snack. The cocoa contains the antioxidant flavanol, which improves blood flow to the brain.
Whole wheat toast
While we might try to avoid them, good carbs like whole wheat can trigger the release of serotonin in the brain, which improves your mood! Stick with healthy whole grains and you have an uplifting snack.
Seafood contains selenium, which helps sharpen boost spirits. You only need a tiny amount of selenium each day, but failing to consume enough can lead to a decline in mood and brain power. Seafood also contains omega-3 fatty acids, another safeguard against depression.
Beans, greens, and lean proteins
Combine foods rich in folic acid (such as beans and greens) with foods rich in B12 (meat, poultry, fish, and dairy) for a 1-2 punch of nutrition that fights mood and nerve disorders. Try a spinach salad with salmon for starters.
Vitamin D fortified foods
Vitamin D naturally occurs in only a few foods, but it is essential to a positive mood and good nutrition. Luckily there are many products fortified with vitamin D like juices, cereal, and milk. Try to incorporate these into your diet daily.
There’s no denying that fish is one of the healthiest meats you can eat. Not only is it high in protein, but also essential fatty acids. One of the best fish to cook is salmon – it’s remarkably versatile in the number of things you can do with it. In this article, we’ll share five preparations that are guaranteed to be a hit.