“Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right”

Food by NickNguyen on Flickr
Photo Credit: Nick Nguyen (NickNguyen) on Flickr
Used unmodified under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

March is National Nutrition Month ®. This year’s theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” It focuses on “how to combine taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that follow the Dietary Guidelines recommendations” (Source: National Nutrition Month page on Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website).

In a January press release, Constance Brown-Riggs, a registered dietitian and Academy spokesperson, said that “there is a whole world of tasty and nutritious foods available today that are just waiting to be discovered. Adding more nutrition and pleasure to each meal is as easy as expanding the range of foods you choose.”

The Academy offers these tips for trying new tastes in healthy meals:

At the grocery store:

When shopping, make it a point to try one new fruit, vegetable or whole grain every week. “You can start small by picking a different type of apple, a different color potato or a new flavor of whole-grain rice until you are comfortable picking entirely new things that you’ve never tried or heard of before,” Brown-Riggs says.

Eating at restaurants:

The next time you and your family head out to eat, choose a restaurant that features ethnic foods from Asia, Europe or Africa. These restaurants often feature menus filled with healthy options that will be new to you. “You can also find a local restaurant that specializes in using seasonal ingredients. Frequently you will be able to order your favorite dish but with a new and exciting flavor twist,” Brown-Riggs says.

Cooking at home:

Add variety to your staple dishes by varying the ways you cook them. Grill or broil the chicken you typically bake. Mash the potatoes you typically roast. Steam the vegetables you typically sauté. And get to know your spice cabinet. “A pinch of this and a dash of that can add a fresh zest to an old favorite,” Brown-Riggs says.

(Quoted from the above press release)

Here are several places to get tasty, healthy recipes (with a sample recipe from each):

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Recipe Page
-(sample: Cucumber-Mint Raita)

USDA’s SNAP-Ed Connection Recipe Finder
-(sample: Asparagus with Gremolata Sauce)

American Heart Association Recipe Page
-(sample: Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Almond-Mocha Topping on Raspberry Sauce)

American Cancer Society Recipe Page
-(sample: Greek Chicken with Tomatoes, Peppers, Olives, Feta)

Which nutritious foods taste best to you? Leave a comment below.

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Leftover Turkey Recipes

Roasted Chicken Or Turkey / Photo Credit: FrameAngel via FreeDigitalPhotos.net / Leftover Turkey Recipes
Photo Credit: FrameAngel via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Leftover turkey is good for 4 days in the refrigerator. Here are recipes and tips to save money and reuse that leftover turkey (and other leftover foods) without getting food poisoning (also called food borne illness).

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Recipes for leftover turkey

(These are also good recipes to use already cooked or roasted chicken.)

Tips for using leftovers safely

Eating leftovers is a great way to save money and is better than letting the food go to waste, but be careful to prevent yourself from getting food poisoning:

  1. Keep your refrigerator below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius).
  2. Label leftovers with the date they were made, so that you can keep track of how long they’ve been in the fridge.
  3. Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius).
  4. Use an app like Is My Food Safe? (free for Apple and Android) or Leftovers ($0.99 in iTunes app store). These apps tell you how long food is good for, what temperatures they need reach when cooking and reheating, and information on food poisoning. Is My Food Safe also has a kitchen safety quiz and an Ask an Expert feature.

How long do leftovers last in the refrigerator?

This is a general list. Please use your common sense and best judgement – “When in doubt, throw it out!” If it doesn’t look, smell, or taste like it did when you put it in the fridge, it may be a good idea to throw it away.

  • Meat, poultry, seafood: 3-4 days
  • Soup, stew, chili: 3-4 days
  • Packaged lunch meat: 3-5 days after opening
  • Vegetable salad: 1-2 days
  • Cooked vegetables: 2-3 days
  • Pasta or potato salad: 3-5 days
  • Rice, pasta: 2-7 days
  • Stuffing: 1-2 days
  • Pie: 2-3 days

For more information, read…

Do your leftovers add up to a safe meal?
Refrigerator Calculator Printable from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (very conservative on some foods, for example: rice is only listed as 1-2 days)

Food Safety: Foodborne Germs and Illnesses
FAQ page from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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Diabetes-friendly Thanksgiving recipes and tips

Thanksgiving at the Trolls by floodllama, on Flickr
Photo Credit: “Thanksgiving at the Trolls” by Josh Wedin/floodllama, on Flickr
Used unmodified under the CC Attribution license

November is American Diabetes Month. It is also the month of Thanksgiving, which is known for food in abundance, especially food full of starchy carbohydrates.

What Thanksgiving foods have fewer carbohydrates? What recipes can be changed or substituted so people with diabetes don’t feel like they can only eat one bite of the rest of the family’s food?

The American Diabetes Association has a large list of free diabetes-friendly recipes for holidays and throughout the year. Another good sources of recipes is the USDA SNAP-Ed recipe finder (although these vary in carbohydrate content), and they even give information on cost (per recipe and per serving).  I’ve pulled out a few examples here, with carbohydrates (in grams per serving). You can go to each recipe to find the rest of the nutrition information.

What foods have carbohydrates?

In general, carbohydrates are found in sweets and desserts; grains and grain-based foods (pastas, rice, bread, crackers, etc); beans, peas, and legumes; milk and yogurt; and fruits. Carbohydrates are not bad. We need them to survive. However, eating too many can be harmful, especially for a person with diabetes. The amount of carbohydrates we should eat depends on what we are doing and our own bodies. A dietitian (or other members of your diabetes healthcare team) can help you figure out how many carbohydrates you should eat.

Other tips for a healthy Thanksgiving

In addition to new recipes, people with diabetes (and everyone at the table) can practice moderation and mindful eating to help reduce the amount of carbohydrates (and calories and fat, etc)  that they eat during the holidays.

Moderation means being aware of how much we eat, thinking about portion sizes, and eating slowly to allow our bodies to realize that we’re actually eating.

Mindful eating is being aware of and enjoying whatever we’re eating by thinking about how the food tastes, smells, and feels as we eat it.

It may also be helpful to eat a small snack an hour or two before you sit down for the Thanksgiving meal, to avoid excessive hunger and filling your plate with more food than you need. Snacks like cut vegetables, a small handful of nuts, or a piece of cheese are good choices.

One more tip to keep in mind: you can’t save up your carbohydrates and eat them all at once on Thanksgiving. Rollover minutes may work for cell phone plans, but there is no such thing as a rollover carbohydrates meal plan. You diabetes medical team should have told you an estimate of grams of carbohydrates per meal, or given you a number of carbohydrate exchanges per meal. Stick with this plan, even during Thanksgiving and other holiday meals.

If you need help figuring out how many carbohydrates you should eat each meal or want help with eating well with diabetes, including tips on portion sizes, meal planning, and eating out, you can use this Find a Registered Dietitian tool to find an RD near you.

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You may also want to read…

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Have a healthy Halloween (and still have fun)

“Pumpkin” by hin255 via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Halloween can be a time of fun parties and tasty treats, but it can also be a difficult time to maintain healthy behaviors. How do we protect the fun of Halloween without sacrificing our health?

Celebrate the good

Fitness: Halloween creates many opportunities for physical activity. Trick-or-treating (walking) and dancing at parties are two examples of physical activity that many enjoy. Many people also like participating in fun runs and marathons featuring prizes for the best costumes.

Food: In addition, pumpkins (and their seeds) are a great addition to the diet. They contain antioxidants, vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber.

Friends: Halloween provides plenty of chances to be social. Spending time with family and friends is also part of a healthy lifestyle, reducing stress and increasing self-worth (click to read more).

Make healthy tweaks

Making healthy choices doesn’t mean giving up all candy and passing out dental floss, as one dentist does in a funny TV commercial. You (and your children) can still enjoy candy and other treats in moderation.

Suggestions for candy

  • fruit snacks with 100% fruit juice
  • bite-size or mini candy bars
  • chocolate over sticky or hard candies (to reduce candy sticking to teeth)
  • wait until a few days before Halloween to buy your candy (so you aren’t tempted to eat them all yourself)
  • pick a number of candies you (or your children) will eat each day (to teach moderation)
  • eat a healthy snack before trick-or-treating or going to parties
  • donate (or participate in buyback programs) any extra or unwanted candy to organizations collecting for soldiers

Ideas in case you want to give treats other than candy (again, no dental floss)

  • stickers
  • pencils
  • temporary tattoos
  • bouncy balls
  • plastic spider rings
  • whistles

Party food recipes

Keep safety in mind

Make sure your Halloween costumes allow free movement and full range of sight to avoid tripping. Observe small children to make sure they don’t choke on small toys or candy, and have them sit down while they enjoy any treats. Clear pathways for trick-or-treaters and party guests, and keep decorations from becoming fire hazards by putting candles away from flammable decorations and in areas where they are not likely to be knocked over. Use designated drivers or call a cab for any party guest that may have had too much to drink (Click here to see one serving of alcohol).

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Heart-healthy grilling recipes

Meat on Barbecue
Photo Credit: artur84
(FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Summer wouldn’t feel like summer without grilling. We all have our favorite foods to throw on the grill, but if you’re in need of healthy grill recipes, or just want to try something new, here are some recipes from the American Heart Association that look really tasty. Click the links to see the recipe and pictures on the American Heart Association website.

Also, here are links to a few healthy grilling tips, including some on how to reduce exposure to grill carcinogens (cancer-causing substance):

Chicken

Fish

Shrimp

Steak

Veggies

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