Substituting low-calorie sweeteners for sugar in your recipes can greatly reduce the number of calories. Here’s how to choose the right sweetener for the food or beverage you’re making.
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You don’t have to skip parties just because you have diabetes. Learn how to navigate high-calorie party foods without ruining your diet.
New England chowder is loaded with heavy cream and butter. But our tasty and nutritious twist on this traditional seafood dish loses much of the fat without sacrificing chowder's creamy texture.
This summer, I have been spoiled with an abundance of beautiful, farm-fresh produce. As members of a Community Supported Agriculture group, every week I have received more vegetables than I've often known what to do with. That's a good thing!
To celebrate the season's bounty, I created this nutrient-rich summer soup, brimming with immune-boosting vitamin A (something my kids sure need now that they are back in school), fiber and flavor.
Makes 6 servings; serving size equals 1 cup
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red onion cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper, optional
One 32-ounce carton all-natural vegetable broth (4 cups)
2 cups carrot juice
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small 10-ounce sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, pepper, paprika, and cayenne as desired (remember, just a pinch), and cook an additional 1 minute.
2. Stir in the broth, carrot juice, carrots, and sweet potato. Cover, raise the heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the lime juice.
3. Let the soup cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and puree in batches until very smooth and creamy. You can also use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish (see tip below).
Garnish Idea: Toast up thin slices of French bread, and spread a thin layer of soft goat cheese on top. Place on soup, sprinkle with chives, and drizzle with a bit of honey as desired.
150 calories, 5g fat (0.5g saturated), 410mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 3g protein, 590% vitamin A, 30% vitamin C
Canned soups are convenient, but most are loaded with sodium. This tasty black bean soup recipe is a quick, low-salt alternative.
Our chicken Parmesan recipe retains all that cheesy goodness but without all the extra fat and calories of this traditional dish.
You may have heard of the South American food quinoa. But what do you do with it? Here's a delicious idea from registered dietitian Liz Weiss.
Most store-bought chicken salad is made with lots of mayonnaise. But our recipe loses much of the mayo but not the great taste.
These sweet potato fries are a healthy, nutritious alternative to traditional fat-laden fries – and they taste great.
Spice up your lunch with this tasty, low-fat chicken Caesar wrap.
Most brownies recipes are heavy on fat and calories. But these fudgy brownies will satisfy your sweet tooth without buttering you up!
Most muffins are made with white flour, sugar, butter and not much more. But these banana chocolate chip muffins are chock full of nutrients and fiber to get your morning started right.
Makes 4 Servings
These pizzas are more of a concept than an actual recipe. Anything goes in terms of the sautéed veggies you choose to use. I like onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and baby spinach, but depending on your taste buds, you could also add olives, eggplant, broccoli, diced butternut squash and tomatoes. For a non-vegetarian option, use cooked chicken sausage or grilled shrimp. As for amounts, it's entirely up to you and your family--just avoid piling on the cheese.
4 large whole grain pita rounds
One 5- or 6-ounce bag baby spinach, sautéed
8 ounce mushrooms, coarsely chopped and sautéed
1 Vidalia onion, sliced into thin half-moons and sautéed
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice and sautéed
Shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Crumbled Feta cheese
Extra virgin olive oil for sautéing
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Arrange the pita rounds on one large baking sheet.
2. Spread pasta sauce or basil pesto (or both) on each pita and then top with your choice of vegetables and cheese.
3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese melts and is lightly browned
It's hard to think of spring without green--from lawns sprouting soft new grass to body-conscious diners going green (think salads) to reach their summer bathing suit weights.
And since March is National Nutrition Month, the focus of which is adding colorful foods to your diet, I've got lots of inspiration to go green right now. Even my kitchen's painted two kinds of green. Anyone who has flipped through a color wheel when choosing the right shade to paint a wall knows that there's more than one tint. The same goes for the many shades of green in the food world and the nutrition each hue holds within.
From dark green kale to golden green avocado to light green celery, Dr. David Heber, author of What Color is Your Diet?, says green fruits and vegetables are important because they promote healthy vision and reduce cancer risk.
Here's a breakdown of the green foods you should add to your plate:
These foods are rich sources of plant nutrients called carotenoids including the compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, which contribute to eye health and reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Examples: Spinach and other greens, green peas and avocados.
These foods contain the healthy compounds sulforaphane, isothiocyanate and indoles, which Heber says break down cancer-causing chemicals.
Examples: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Bok Choy and kale.
These foods contain flavonoids that protect cell membranes.
Examples: Spring onions, celery, pears, endive, and chives.
When to Avoid Green
Never eat potatoes that are green below the skin. This green color indicates the presence of a bitter tasting toxin called solanine which is toxic even in small amounts and can cause nausea and headaches. Solanine, which is naturally in potatoes as the plant's defense against insects, increases in concentration when potatoes are stored in warm temperatures or exposed to light.
How Green is Your Menu?
The menu at Glenn's Kitchen, an Atlanta restaurant, teems with green--from fried green tomatoes to its Kitchen Sink Salad which tosses in chopped greens, celery, cucumbers, artichoke hearts and green peppers to its Farmer's Market Pasta with spinach and artichoke hearts. You can even order the green-themed Glenntini, which is made with cucumber-infused vodka, fresh mint and lime juice.
Here's the Glenn's Kitchen recipe for its Kitchen Sink Salad:
2 oz. Mixed greens, chopped
2 oz. Head lettuce, chopped
1 oz. Roasted shallot vinaigrette
1 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded
5 Cucumber slices, halved
1 oz. Carrot, julienne
1 oz. Grape tomato, halved
1 oz. Red onion, julienne
1 oz. Vidalia onion, julienne
1 oz. Celery, diced
1 oz. Corn kernels, roasted
1 oz. Red pepper, diced
1/8 Artichoke heart, cut into 6 pieces
Mix all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette
16 oz. champagne vinegar
32 oz. extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp. Dijon mustard
12 shallots, roasted and chopped
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme, chopped
4 oz. honey
Puree all ingredients together with a hand blender except oil. Slowly emulsify with oil.
12 shallots, peeled, stem removed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. rosemary, chopped
1 tsp. thyme, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss shallots with olive oil and herbs. Place on a half sheet pan stem side up, leaving 1-inch between each onion. Place pan in oven and roast for about 20 minutes, or until well caramelized and soft. Remove from oven and season with salt and pepper. Cool immediately.
Servings: 4 (About 4 ounces)
Here's a simple, tasty fish dish that has become a favorite in our household. Wild caught Pacific flounder is a good source of healthy omega-3 fats and is considered a good alternative by Seafood Watch.
Artichokes are loaded with potassium, which is essential for the proper function of our cells, tissues and organs. They're also a good source of vitamin C, folate and magnesium. And artichokes are a great source of fiber. One medium artichoke has 10.3 grams of fiber, more than a cup full of prunes!
1 Garlic chopped
2 Flounder filets (about 16 ounces)
1 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup pitted black olives
1 9-oz package frozen artichokes*
1/2 Cup Feta
2 Cups cooked barley
Orange slices for garnish
1. Over medium-low heat, sauté garlic in oil.
2. Add filets, sprinkle with salt and balsamic vinegar. Cook for three minutes. Flip fillets and add olives and artichoke hearts. Cook for five more minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Add feta. Serve on barley with a slice of orange.
* Canned artichokes maybe easier for you to find, but avoid seasoned artichokes because they can be high in sodium.
Nutrition: 329 calories, 11g fat (4g saturated, 5g monounsaturated fat, 2g polyunsaturated fat), 72mg cholesterol, 30g carbohydrates, 457mg sodium, 28g protein, 6g fiber, 2mg iron
You might associate fresh fruit with summer, but when it comes to citrus fruits like oranges and tangerines, the best time to get them is winter. This is especially true of Florida grapefruit, which are at the peak of availability in February.
Most people associate grapefruit with diets, and with good reason--it's lower in calories than other fruit. One-half of a medium grapefruit contains only 60 calories. With fewer than 100 calories per 8-ounce serving, grapefruit juice contains fewer calories than similar servings of 100 percent fruit juices.
But even if you're not counting calories, the grapefruit offers a winter boost of helpful nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and folic acid.
Grapefruit is delicious all by itself, but you can also add grapefruit to salsas (see recipe below) and use its juice instead of vinegar in salad dressings.
"I love grapefruit," says Anne Quatrano, executive chef and co-owner of several Atlanta restaurants. Grapefruit finds its way into just about every course on her menus when it's in season. "We are roasting grapefruit to caramelize and extract the flavors and use it as a component for a foie gras dish. I love the way it cuts the richness of lobster to make it even better.
You can also turn grapefruit into a healthy, sweet dessert: Cut juicy pink grapefruit in half and run under the broiler for a few minutes to caramelize the natural sugars inside.
Grapefruit even pairs nicely with an unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay, says Janet Trefethen, a California winemaker. "The bright acidity and citrus character of the wine would play beautifully with the dish and I think they would complement each other. Yum, I'd like a bite please."
One health note: Certain compounds in grapefruit can interfere with the way some medications are metabolized including statin drugs and calcium channel blockers. So check with your physician or pharmacist to be sure.Serves 6
This salsa is great with whole grain tortilla chips or served over grilled fish or chicken.
3 Pink or Ruby Red grapefruit
1/4 Cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp.brown sugar
1/2 Tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. crystallized ginger, finely minced
1 Small jalapeno pepper, core and ribs removed, finely diced
1/4 Cup red onion, 1/4-inch dice
1/2 Cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, 1/4-inch dice (1 small cucumber)
1 Medium ripe avocado, peeled, 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, very thinly sliced
1. Supreme grapefruit over bowl to catch juices and cut into 1/2 inch dice; set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk lime juice, brown sugar, salt, ginger and pepper until sugar is dissolved.
3. Dice the onion and soak in ice water to crisp and remove acidity. While onion is soaking, cut cucumber, avocado, and mint and stir into the lime mixture.
4. Drain the red onion and add to the grapefruit, pour the lime mixture in and gently toss. Cover and chill. Serve cold.
Grits aren't just a Southern breakfast food anymore. This healthy dish is perfect for dinner, lunch or breakfast.
Shrimp are a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fats and asparagus is an excellent source of folacin, a B vitamin which helps in the duplication of cells for growth and repair of the body.
1 cup grits
4 cups water
1 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp canola oil
one bunch asparagus, chopped
1 clove garlic thinly sliced
1/2 pound shrimp, shelled
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
Pepper to taste
1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a glass casserole dish with cooking spray.
2. Bring water, canola oil and sea salt to boil. Add grits and cayenne and reduce heat to medium. Stir constantly. As water simmers off, add cheese and continue stirring until it blends with grits.
3. Pour grits into casserole dish and put into oven for 50 minutes.
4. While grits bake, heat oil over medium heat. Add asparagus and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add cumin, pepper and shrimp. Cook shrimp until pink on both sides.
Calories 346, total fat 12g, (saturated 3g, mono 6g, poly 3g), cholesterol 98mg, carbohydrates 38g, calcium 169, sodium 255mg, protein 21g, fiber 4g, iron 5mg
Brighten up your winter with the combination of colors and tastes in this seasonal dish. The vibrant orange and yellow color of butternut squash and its sweet, nutty taste are a perfect complement to spinach. Plus, butternut squash is a great source of vitamin A and C.
1 Butternut squash (about 4 cups)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp rosemary
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Cup red onion thinly sliced
2 Cups spinach
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette
1/2 cup pecans
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Peal and cut butternut squash into 1/2-inch cubes. In a large bowl toss with olive oil, sea salt and rosemary.
3. Transfer to a roasting pan and cook for about 30 minutes or until softened.
4. Sauté red onions in olive oil over medium heat. When soft, add spinach and balsamic vinaigrette and cook until spinach is wilted.
5. Top spinach with butternut squash and pecans.
188 calories, 17g fat (2g saturated, 10g monounsaturated, 4g polyunsaturated), 0g cholesterol, 51mg calcium, 199mg sodium, 10g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 2g protein, 3g fiber, 1g iron
Makes 6 side dish servings or 4 main dish
Once called "the gold of the Incas" and believed to increase the stamina of their warriors, quinoa (keen-wah) is an ancient "grain" fairly new to the U.S. market. Quinoa is ideal for vegetarians and omnivores alike because it's a complete protein--it contains all 9 essential amino acids.
It's also a good source of fiber, magnesium (reduces heart disease risk and helps ward off migraines), manganese (good for bone health), and iron. Quinoa is gluten free, so if you're following a gluten-free diet, this is the food for you!
1 cup quinoa (cooked with all-natural vegetable broth as suggested on package *)
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (cut into 1/4-inch dice)
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/3 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped (7 to 8 apricots)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, optional
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Freshly ground black pepper
*The amount of broth needed will depend on your quinoa product. Read package directions for the suggested amount of liquid (it may range from 1 1/4 cups to the more likely 2 cups liquid per 1 cup quinoa). The cooking time may also vary depending on the brand you select. As a rule of thumb, the suggested time will range from 10 to 15 minutes with an instruction to let stand 5 to 10 minutes until the quinoa fully absorbs all the liquid. When fully cooked, the quinoa will "sprout."
1. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse very well several times in cold water. Drain well and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, for the time suggested on the package. Turn off the heat and let quinoa remain in the covered saucepan until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy, 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Transfer quinoa to a salad bowl and fluff slightly with a fork every few minutes until the grains cool.
4. Gently stir in the bell pepper, almonds, apricots, scallions as desired, salt, cumin, and coriander until well combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and honey. Stir into the quinoa mixture until the grains are well coated. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
200 calories, 7g fat (0.5g saturated), 210mg sodium, 30g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 6g protein, 15% vitamin A, 30% vitamin C, 15% iron
One of the best--and worst--parts of holidays are the desserts. I love a slice of pecan pie or an apple crisp topped with vanilla ice cream. Unfortunately, most holiday desserts are loaded with saturated fat and sugar.
But holiday desserts don't have to be dietary disasters. For a simple dessert, we like to take raspberries, blueberries and walnuts and mix them with whipped cream. Sugar free whipped heavy cream has as few as 20 calories a serving and only 2 grams of fat. We also whip vanilla flavored Greek yogurt with melted dark chocolate, nuts and strawberries for another low-fat, low-cal treat.
Here are some other tasty holiday dessert recipes that won't stuff you with extra fat and sugar:
Servings: 10; about 1 cup
This Texas-inspired chili recipe is loaded with fiber and nutrients. The spinach blends well and adds more vitamins and minerals. You can make this chili vegetarian by leaving out the beef or substituting tofu crumbles.
Editor's Note: Salsa, canned beans and canned tomatoes can have a lot of added salt. We use dried beans in this recipe, but you can also buy low-sodium canned beans (1 16 oz. can equals about 1 cup dried) to speed up the process.
1 minced garlic clove
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 tbsp canola oil
4 cups of chopped spinach
1 lb. lean beef stew meat
1 cup dried navy beans
1 cup dried black beans
1 cup dried kidney beans
2 16-oz cans of low-sodium chopped tomatoes
1 16-oz jar of chunky low-sodium salsa (like Newman's Own)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 16-oz bottle of dark beer
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cover beans with water and soak overnight. Discard water and rinse beans.
2. In a large, heavy pot, sauté onion, garlic and spinach in canola oil over medium heat. When onion is translucent and spinach is wilted, add stew meat and brown.
3. Add beans, tomatoes, salsa and chili powder to pot. Stir, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add beer, salt and pepper and let simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
291 calories, 5g total fat, (1 g Sat Fat, 3g monounsaturated fat), 45mg cholesterol, 35g carbohydrate, 101mg calcium, 390mg sodium, 24g protein, 11g fiber, 5mg iron
Getting stuffed on a big, greasy burger has never been easier. Big burgers are everywhereand by big, I mean gargantuan-sized creations of beef and bun bursting with layers of fatty patties, bacon, cheese and all the trimmings. What's a nutrition-minded burger lover to do?
Happily there's a middle ground. "You don't need a half pound of beef," says registered dietitian Betsy Hornick, co-author of the Healthy Beef Cookbook. "Three to four ounces should be your goal."
Restaurant menus often list the uncooked weight: A half-pound burger is 6 ounces cooked, and a quarter-pound burger is 3 ounces cooked weight.
Beef gets a bad rap because it's high in cholesterol and saturated fat. If you're building your own burger, you can reduce the amount of both by choosing leaner beef. A 3-ounce burger made from 85 percent lean beef has around 13 g of total fat, 5 g of saturated fat. (For a 2,000-calorie diet, the American Heart Association recommends you consume only 16 g of saturated fat a day.
But the nutrition news isn't all bad for hamburgers. Beef can be a great source of protein as well as important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, iron, zinc, selenium, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorous and choline, Hornick says.
And even the type of saturated fat in beefcalled stearic acidmay not affect blood cholesterol, according to recent research. "We've learned that stearic acid has more a neutral effect on cholesterol," she says.
Here's some other ways to make your burger healthier:
Cook burgers on a grill instead of a griddle.
An open grill allows excess fat to drip off. "I recommend that half-inch thick patties be grilled over medium hot coals for 11 to 13 minutes to medium doneness until no longer pink in the center and juices show no pink color," Hornick says. "Turn just once so the burgers stay juicy."
Choose a healthier bun.
More restaurants are offering whole grain burger buns which are higher in fiber and add a few more nutrients. "Avoid burgers on croissants or huge overpowering buns. New, thinner sandwich bread-style burger buns and pita bread can be a good lower calorie choice, too."
Be choosey about cheese.
Each slice of cheese adds about 100 calories. If you must have cheese, Hornick suggests using a small amount of highly flavored cheeses such as aged cheddar, pepper jack or blue cheese crumbles.
Watch the extras.
Loading on the bacon, pork belly, fried eggs, pancetta, mayo and mayo-based sauces can add hundred of extra caloriesand lots of fatto a burger.
Mustards are marvelous with beef and very low in calories. Mushrooms and onions add great flavor to beef, but ask for them grilled instead of sautéed in butter. If you're making them at home, cook them in heart-healthy olive oil.
Ask to 'super size' the lettuce, tomato, raw onion, pickle and other fresh veggie garnish on your burger to boost nutrient content, add crunch, flavor with very few calories.
Hornick says the burger is a tasty vehicle for getting folks to eat more vegetables, "How about sliced zucchini or eggplant on your burger? Grilled vegetables are awesome on burgers or served on the side."
Travel the world.
Burgers may be an American comfort food, but more restaurant menus are offering an international take with Mexican, Italian, Greek and Asian flavor ideas. "It opens peoples imagination with all of these different toppings and sauces and there's a lot of great ones such as a Mediterranean burger with hummus," Hornick says.
"I like the Indian inspired cucumber and yogurt raita on a grilled burger or you can go tropical with grilled pineapple or a mango and black bean salsa on burgers."
Related Links:How to raise your good cholesterol
Most cheese dipping sauces may seem innocent enough, but underneath they contain lots of butter and heavy, rich cheeses. Registered dietitian Liz Weiss cuts down the fat with this twist on a party dip favorite.
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Want to get more heart-healthy fish into your children’s diets? This almond-encrusted tilapia recipe is kid-friendly and a healthy alternative to frozen fish sticks.
Want to make this at home? Download this recipe now. (PDF)
Two great snacks at the same time? Registered Dietitian Liz Weiss combines pizza and buffalo chicken for this unique, tasty treat.
Want to make this at home? Download this recipe now. (PDF)