Tag Archives: cooking

August is Family Fun Month

August is Family Fun month! There are so many options for families to really enjoy each other. Fortunately, there are lots of options beyond watching TV and playing video games together. Here are some great tips on having fun and staying healthy as a family.

Exercise as a Family

A family that exercises together, has a blast together! Here are some great ideas to keep moving as a family.

Commit to Fit for a Fun and Motivating Challenge
August 1st is the final day to sign up for the “Commit to Fit” challenge. Sign the whole family up and earn the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award together- a great way to track and learn new ways to get moving.

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Are Raw Foods Really Healthier? The Nutrition of Raw vs. Cooked

Raw vs. cooked tomatoes and aspargus Raw food diets are getting a lot of attention lately, both on this blog and in the wider health community. The raw diet tied for the second best diet for weight loss in U.S. News‘ assessment, and raw cleanses are a hot trend this summer.

Supporters of the raw diet believe that raw fruits, vegetables and in some cases meat and dairy are the richest sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other nutrients. While a plant-based raw diet is certainly very healthy, cooking some plants actually increases some nutrients and can also make nutrients more bio-available.

Once you start to look at the question of raw vs. cooked foods, it immediately becomes a complex matter. Nutrition science has become quite sophisticated, yet there’s still only a limited amount of research available on the subject. Some nutrients may be lost during the cooking process yet others are enriched by cooking and exposure to heat. Yet, there are still many gray areas when it comes to the importance of many vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals. Below are some of the facts that we do have about raw vs. cooked foods, organized by nutrient.

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How to Safely Handle and Grill Chicken

Whether you’re a grill aficionado or you only pull out your miniature Weber for special occasions, it’s important to eat plenty of protein as part of a balanced diet.  While most nutrition experts recommend eating lean meats, tofu, beans and quinoa, we often neglect those during the summertime in favor of grilled steaks, hot dogs and hamburgers.

Chicken is an easy alternative to red meat, which often has a lot of artery-clogging saturated fat. Chicken is versatile, grill-friendly and inexpensive, but when not handled or cooked properly, poultry can be a source of dangerous food borne illness.

Here are some important poultry-handling principles to follow this summer to ensure that all of your meals are safe and delicious.

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Maintaining Weight Loss Through Life’s Struggles

Cynthia Crowsen writes at It All Changes about living life on the roller coaster of life. She has lost over 100 pounds in a variety of ways but more importantly found her love for life. She hates changes but they keep coming so she’s jumped on to enjoy the ride.

It took me 3 years to lose 115 pounds and reach a happy weight where I felt comfortable. Then life happened. I had back surgery along with several other injuries, stomach and major allergy issues and some depression when my beloved Grandmother died. Life threw me a curve ball and suddenly maintaining this weight loss didn’t seem possible.

I won’t say I maintained my entire 100+ pound weight loss over the last 5 years but I maintained most. More importantly, I maintained the healthy habits I’d gained while losing the weight. The habits prevented gaining back all the weight I’d lost and a few extra pounds.

I used these 5 tips to minimize my weight gain while maximizing my health through difficult times. Now I’m using them to get back to my happy weight.

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Top Chef Contestant Marisa Churchill Introduces Sweet and Skinny Dessert Cookbook

Sweet and Skinny Book CoverMost people would like to enjoy dessert without the guilt of consuming lots of fat and sugar. That’s why chef Marisa Churchill’s new cookbook, Sweet & Skinny: 100 Recipes for Enjoying Life’s Sweeter Site Without Tipping the Scale, is sure to have wide appeal. You may know Marisa from season two of Top Chef, in which her low-fat chocolate cake was a big hit. Last week, I caught up with Marisa to talk about Sweet & Skinny, and to try some of her low-cal creations.

In addition to baking tips and calorie-cutting suggestions at the beginning of the book, Sweet & Skinny features five chapters of desserts: Desserts In A Hurry, Sweet Treats, Sinner Party Showstoppers, Holiday Favorites and American Classics. “I knew that in Sweet & Skinny I wanted to have American classics, because we all love things like chocolate chip cookies and whoopie pies,” said Marisa of choosing recipes to include. She started by picking the desserts she loves to eat. “I hate when you see these low-fat dessert books and they’re full of fruit desserts or meringues. That’s fine, but who wants to eat meringue all the time? You want to have variety.”

Read More and Find Out How to Win!

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Weight Watchers’ Cooking with Kids Series Helps Families Bond in the Kitchen

Every parent knows how important it is to teach their kids to eat right and lead healthy lives, but it isn’t always easy. Recently, Weight Watchers launched its first-ever online “Cooking With Kids” video series, which brings to life teachable moments to help kids value fresh and healthy foods to instill good eating habits at an early age.

“When most people think of ‘kid food’ they think of pizza, chicken fingers and French fries, ” said Theresa DiMasi, Editor-in-Chief of WeightWatchers.com. “One of our goals is to show our readers that there is no such thing as ‘kid food.’ We want to introduce kids to wholesome, natural foods.”

With the help of renowned chef Lidia Bastianich and chocolatier Jacques Torres, Weight Watchers has produced a series of videos featuring real kids who go behind-the-scenes to learn the art of selecting fresh foods at the market and preparing them in nutritious, tasty foods.  From homemade pasta to roasting cocoa beans for chocolate, kids get hands-on experience and learn the value of healthful eating.

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Low Cost Casseroles from Prevention on Today

the today show logoTune in to the Today show on April 12, 2011 for some great casserole recipes from Prevention magazine. Chef Ariane Duarte will show you three low-cost yet healthy casseroles, which are not only an easy dinner but also make for delicious leftovers. Duarte will demonstrate a four-cheese macaroni bake that only has 300 calories per serving and a curried chicken broccoli casserole that will spice up any meal. Lastly, she’ll also show off another easy casserole variation with creamy spinach. All of the recipes demonstrated on the show can be found on Prevention’s website.

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Google Launches New Recipe Finder

Google Recipe ViewYesterday, Google launched a new search feature that allows you to search for healthy recipes with ease. On the left hand bar, the new “recipe” feature will return only the results that are recipes.

What’s even better is that you can filter these searches by cook times, calories and even to include or exclude certain ingredients. Of course, you put even more qualifications into the normal search bar, from diet program to celebrity chief.

I have a friend who suffers from celiac disease with a birthday coming up. I started searching for gluten-free cupcake recipes. While a regular Google search would send me many results of where to buy cupcakes, hitting the “recipe” tab allows me find several thousand recipes without adding an extra word to my search.

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6 Healthiest Spices

Different types of spiceWestern medicine is starting to pay attention to traditional healing herbs. “We’re now starting to see a scientific basis for why people have been using spices medicinally for thousands of years,” says Bharat Aggarwal, Ph.D., professor at the University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center. Although it’s difficult to say that spices can cure disease, they can be beneficial when fighting a variety of health conditions, from Alzheimer’s disease and cancer to the common cold.

Here are six of the healthiest spices from around the world, gathered by Eating Well.

1. Sage
Try it in: Turkey Tomato Soup

Sage may help preserve memory, a fitting benefit for its name. Some research suggests that it can help regulate enzymes in the brain to prevent the deterioration of acetylcholine, improving symptoms that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Herbalists also recommend sipping on hot sage tea to sooth sore throats and upset stomachs.

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Even Busy Moms Can Make Homemade Baby Food [VIDEO]

Before my daughter was born I decided to make my own baby food. Several friends had done so and raved about the cost savings, ease and enjoyment. That, coupled with my plans being justified after reading My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus, inspired me to put a new blender and food processor on my registry. The gift was fulfilled and last month I put it to use for the first time, as my now five-month-old daughter was ready for solids. Solids in the form of pureed, liquified vegetables.

I’m certainly not on a high horse about it, as I’ve unfortunately been accused. Instead, I’m sharing my experience with it because I’m shocked at how easy, affordable and fun it is. Plus, it’s a really healthy option to feed my daughter and expose her as young as possible to fresh foods (and my love of cooking!). Processed, jarred baby foods can mask the true flavor, smell and color of fruits and vegetables. Plus, the pre-made baby foods at the store come in a limited variety and cost, in some cases, more than a dollar a jar (or, a dollar per feeding). I haven’t found zucchini or pumpkin at the store, but my daughter has enjoyed both of those varieties at home.

Watch the video below as I describe my first batch of zucchini, carrots and squash. It’s a six-week supply of food that I paid $7.50 for, and spent two hours preparing. (more…)