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Fire up the grill for these healthy cookout ideas


Summertime means cookout time, but just because it comes from the grill doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy! We have ideas for keeping your summer diet healthy for your heart and your waistline—all it takes is thinking a little differently about the standard grilled menu.

Go fishin’
Forgo the traditional beef griller for fish! Oily fish, like tuna and salmon, are full of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. You could form patties or treat a fillet with lemon juice, and add your favorite herbs and spices for even more flavor. Keep in mind fish cooks fast, so you want to be attentive while you are grilling it.

Slim down your burger
If you can’t go without your red meat, use lean or extra lean beef and drain or pat off the excess fat after you’ve grilled it. Did you know that the recommended serving size for a hamburger patty is three ounces? A three ounce burger is the roughly the size of the palm of your hand. Keep your patties on the slim side, or add in finely chopped vegetables like peppers or onions to make a thick burger that’s heavy on nutrients.

Think green
Take the mixed veggie-burger one step further by grilling vegetables instead of meat. Kabobs are an easy way to grill up a variety of veggies, and they’re easy to handle, too. Fill a skewer with veggies like mushrooms, peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini or yellow squash—anything with some “flesh” to it should work well. Lightly spray the skewered veggies with olive oil and place them on the grill. For the most flavor you’ll want to keep flipping occasionally, until they are slightly blackened. You can also grill corn on the cob right in its husk; place on the grill for about 30 minutes, rotating occasionally. Let it cool for about five minutes after removing it from the grill, and before you peel the husk off. Continue Reading »

Are you really eating healthy?


I received a survey in the mail last week. You see, back in 2009 I enrolled in a cancer prevention study and have received lengthy surveys every few years or so. It is a very thorough survey that includes hundreds of questions and takes several days to fill out. The survey inquires about every aspect of health and lifestyle: information about immunizations; diet; hours spent sitting, sleeping or moving; medications taken; caffeine consumption and more.

Except for a few minor, non-life threatening ailments, I consider myself a pretty healthy person and my doctor gave me a clean bill of health during my annual wellness/preventive visit (don’t forget to schedule yours!). I was confident that my answers to the survey questions would be a no-brainer. Overall, boy, was I surprised, especially when it came to the diet section.

The survey listed every kind of fruit and vegetable and asked the respondent to indicate frequency of consumption. I thought I was a good fruit and vegetable eater, but there are some foods that I don’t eat that often for various reasons. So my consumption of kale, which I tend to eat frequently in the summer, but not as much in the winter, actually results in a low monthly average consumption overall. Likewise, cantaloupes and other melons are eaten only seasonally, so their consumption average was low. Continue Reading »

Healthy foods for Cinco de Mayo

Healthy foods for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo (May 5) is often mistaken as a celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day. September 16, however, is Mexico’s Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla, an important victory in Mexican history.

Due to civil unrest and economic hardships during the 1800s, Mexico announced that it would be delaying the payment of all foreign debt. After some negotiations, Britain and Spain withdrew their naval forces from the area but France decided to take advantage of the volatile circumstances and fight for domination of the territory. A much-favored French army went against a poorly prepared and outnumbered Mexican army. The outcome was not what most expected: the Mexican army defeated the French army in Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Today, this victory is celebrated in Mexico and the United States and is often highlighted with Mexican food and music. Guacamole, tacos, burritos and many other foods are incorporated into the celebrations.

Here are some tips to make this Cinco de Mayo a healthy one!

• Mexican cuisine is colorful, so have fun using different colored veggies to make a veggie tray with the colors of the Mexican flag—red, white and green. Try arranging red cherry tomatoes on one side of a rectangular tray. For white, arrange cauliflower, peeled cucumber slices or a rectangular dipping dish filled with Greek yogurt dip. Finish off with a green strip of broccoli, avocados or green peppers.
• You can also make a fruit tray using watermelon, raspberries or strawberries for red, vanilla yogurt for white and kiwi or green grapes for the green.
• Another idea is all about dips. You can serve a tomato salsa for red next to a Greek yogurt-based dip for white, followed by a green tomatillo-based dip, a green pesto-based dip or guacamole to represent the green stripe.
• Impress your guests with a layered Mexican dish. Simply arrange layers of black beans, sour cream (or better yet, Greek yogurt) avocados, shredded cheese, refried beans and tomatoes in a dish.
• If serving tacos, use whole wheat or corn tacos.
• Make different types of salsa and serve with corn-toasted tortillas.
• Offer something different and try a Mexican-style soup for your guests.

This Cinco de Mayo, celebrate a bit of Mexican history with some healthy offerings. Please remember to celebrate responsibly!

10 non-meat foods that are protein-rich

Whether you eat meat or not, protein is a vital part of our diets. Below are just a few of the foods that will help you reach your protein intake for the day.


Change of the cholesterol tune?


For years we have been cautioned about consuming cholesterol-containing foods as a way to control our blood cholesterol levels. Perhaps that is why a collective gasp was heard when the 2015 Dietary Advisory Committee Scientific Report recently proposed lifting dietary cholesterol-limiting recommendations.

The Dietary Advisory Committee is made up of health experts who are charged with researching scientific and medical literature and making recommendations that guide dietary health practices. They make suggestions that other organizations review; organizations such as the United States Department of Agriculture or the United States Department of Health and Human Services, which jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years. The last published set of Dietary Guidelines was in 2010 and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines will be published later this year. The guidelines are just that, a highly referenced nutrition guide for not only nutrition professionals, but also the general public.

The current dietary guidelines advise Americans to limit dietary cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams per day. For egg lovers this poses a challenge, with the average egg taking up most of this allowance. So why the change in recommendations by the Dietary Advisory Committee? Continue Reading »

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