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Fresh Fruit and Yogurt Popsicles

freshfruitpopsicle

If you are looking for a healthy and refreshing treat, look no more. These simple treats are nutritious and delicious.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups of fresh berries of your choice (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
½  banana
2 cups plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
¼ cup white sugar
8 small paper cups
8 Popsicle sticks

Preparation

Place berries, banana, yogurt and sugar in a blender. Blend until smooth. You can also use a mix of berries.

Fill paper cups ¾ full with the fruit and yogurt mixture. Cover the top with aluminum foil. Poke a Popsicle stick through the center of the foil of each cup.

Place the cup in the freezer for 5 hours. To serve, remove foil and peel off the paper cup. Continue Reading »

Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallot Soup

butternut squash soupBeing lactose intolerant I have to watch my consumption of dairy. As much as I like cream based soups, they don’t like me. So whenever I come across a smooth textured hearty soup that does not call for cream, I get a little excited.  This recipe caught my eye as it calls for an in-season ingredient (squash) and one of my other favorite ingredients, ginger.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large shallots, peeled and halved*
  • 1 (1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons (1-inch) slices fresh chives
  • Cracked black pepper (optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a roasting pan or jelly-roll pan; toss well. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Cool 10 minutes.
  3. Place half of squash mixture and half of broth in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture and broth. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Top with chives and pepper, if desired.

Yields six 2/3 cup servings.

Nutritional information per serving:
Calories:   112
Total fat:   2.5 grams
Saturated fat:   0.4 grams
Monounsaturated fat:   1.7 grams
Polyunsaturated fat:   0.3 grams
Protein:   3.3 grams
Carbohydrate:   22.4 grams
Fiber:   3.6 grams
Cholesterol:   0 mg
Sodium:   266 mg

*shallots: are similar to onions and garlic. They can be used like an onion, however grows in a bunch like garlic.  They have a milder taste than most onion

Recipe from: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/roasted-butternut-squash-shallot-soup-10000001854009/

The benefits of eating a healthy breakfast

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You’ve probably heard the saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” a million times. You may have heard other claims about breakfast in the media, from health experts and others. So is all this hype about breakfast true? Let’s review the facts.

Breakfast gives you energy to start the day. Breakfast helps regulate blood sugar levels by literally breaking the fast and providing your body with the fuel it needs to function properly throughout the day.

Breakfast improves diet quality. Research shows that people who skip breakfast are less likely to meet the recommended intakes for important nutrients like folic acid and calcium. Studies have demonstrated that if you start your day off with fruit, you are more likely to reach the daily recommended servings for it. Continue Reading »

Workplace Wellness Tip: Got Stress? Take a Walk!

Stress is one of the biggest threats to your employees’ health. Help decrease their stress by encouraging walking throughout the day! Walking breaks, even for 10 minutes once or twice a day, will help employees increase physical activity and clear their mind from the day’s stress. These short breaks will allow employees to return to their work station rejuvenated and ready to tackle the rest of the day’s tasks.Take it one step further by encouraging meetings on the go! Who says all meetings need to take place in a conference room? Boost your wellness culture by encouraging walk-and-talk meetings.

Delicious (and Healthy!) Football Snacks

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/globevisions/

Winter marks the season for building snowmen, having snowball fights and Super Bowl parties, where friends and family get together to cheer on their favorite team. Along with the cheering, there is a lot of eating. However, there are many ways to enjoy tasty and healthy snacks as we watch our team move the ball down the field.

 

Think healthy fats.
Consider an assortment of nuts served alongside dried fruit such as apricots, dried pineapple, raisins, cherries, etc. Throw in some dark chocolate dipped nuts, too.

Display a variety of olives on a platter. Consider Greek Kalamata olives, Green Spanish olives, garlic stuffed olives, red pepper stuffed olives and the sort.

Add color to your snacks by making guacamole, or try something new like a Mexican layer dip, which incorporates layers of black beans (or refried beans), shredded low-fat cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes with green chilis, Greek plain yogurt or low-fat sour cream, chopped avocado (or guacamole). Serve with whole grain tortilla chips.

 

Include fruit.
A fruit salad is not only nutritious, but also tasty and easy to make. Combine apples, pears, pomegranates, watermelon, cantaloupe, mandarin oranges, pineapple, kiwis, or whatever fruit you prefer for a wonderful and colorful sweet snack.

Make a fruit pizza. Use low-fat vanilla yogurt for the sauce and arrange pieces of fruit on top of it on a low-fat pie crust. Sprinkle with unsweetened coconut flakes and enjoy!

Fruit kabobs can be a great hit as well, with fruit such as pineapple and nectarines caramelizing quite nicely when grilled.

 

Don’t forget the veggies.
Place a variety of colorful veggies such as orange baby carrots, white cauliflower florets, and green celery sticks on a platter. Serve with hummus, a chickpea dip.

Bruschetta can be a wonderful addition to any party. Slice up some tomato slices and place on top of pieces of grilled French bread that has been rubbed with garlic and topped with some olive oil. Next place a thin slice of fresh mozzarella cheese. Top with a fresh basil leaf for a wonderful appetizer, Italian style. You can also make a tomato salad with chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic and basil, tossed in light vinaigrette and serve over grilled bread.

Salsa with whole grain tortilla chips is an all-time favorite.

Stuffed mushroom caps.

Kale crisps are unbelievably tasty. Simply remove the washed and dried kale leaves from their stem and tear into bite-size pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on parchment paper and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

 

Serve protein like a pro.
Serve an assortment of meatballs with a variety of sauces. Use lean ground beef, or white breast ground turkey. Combine with cooked rice or Panko bread crumbs and add spices. For Italian meatballs, use oregano and serve with a tomato-base sauce; for Asian style meatballs, use ginger and sesame seeds or green onions and serve with teriyaki or soy sauce. Experiment with different spices to make your own creation.

Sliders are quite popular and can be made very easily. Once again, consider using ground turkey or lean ground beef. Serve on whole wheat flat bread for an interesting change.

Consider mixing avocado with shredded chicken and sautéed onions for a variation on the classic chicken salad. The avocado adds healthy fat to this traditional salad and allows you to cut down on the amount of mayonnaise used. Serve with whole wheat pita bread.

 

Don’t forget the beverages.
Smoothies can be a great hit at any party. Simply mix yogurt, a little bit of juice and fruit such as mango, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, etc. for a healthy and refreshing drink. Kids will love this!

Have pitchers of fruit and vegetable infused water. Earlier in the day, wash and cut up lemon in slices and place in a pitcher full of water. Cover and let stand. You can also use cucumber slices. Do the same with orange slices.

Above all, remind your guests to drink responsibly if you plan to offer alcoholic drinks.

With some planning and creative thinking, you can enjoy delicious and healthy offerings at any Super Bowl party.

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

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