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Posts Tagged ‘health’

Health Reasons to Love Pomegranates

Move over, blueberries, pomegranates are the new superfood in town. Pomegranates (mainly in the form of pomegranate juice) have gotten some buzz for a while — and with good reason. Pomegranate juice is a powerful source of antioxidants linked to lowered cholesterol and a slower growth of prostate cancer. But I’m a big fan of the whole fruit, which adds beautiful ruby gems to whatever dish you choose and offers a host of health benefits.

First, you might be wondering how to actually get those jewel-colored seeds — which are technically called arils — out of the pomegranate. It’s simpler than it seems. Just thwack the skin side of the pomegranate several times with a wooden spoon so the seeds fall into a ball. (Alternately, you can cut the pomegranate in sections and pull the clumped-together arils into a bowl of water — the arils will sink to the bottom and the white membrane will float to the top.)

Now for the additional nutrition info. Half a cup of arils (a little less than a third of a pomegranate) has 72 calories and 3 grams of fiber. It’s also a good source of vitamins C and K, plus has a smattering of other vitamins and minerals. Arils also take a while to eat, as the crunchy seeds within the tart, juicy arils slow down your pace. But perhaps a pomegranate’s most-notable feature is that it’s a powerful source of antioxidants, signified by its vibrant color.

My favorite, and simple, way to eat pomegranate seeds is to scatter them over a bowl of honey Greek yogurt, but they’re also a great addition to other recipes. Here are some to try:

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Healthy Gifts to Give

Though a box of chocolates or batch of cookies might be welcome presents for many a giftee, I prefer to offer my loved ones a respite from sugary treats. All of the following ideas are food-focused, yet healthy. What good-for-you gift ideas are you planning on this year?

Quick and Easy Store-Bought Gifts
Special oils and vinegars: Everyone has olive oil and balsamic in their pantries, but less often do people splurge on avocado oil or walnut oil — or Champagne vinegar. These can make a flavorful addition to salads and other dishes.

A lemon press and zester: Does your giftee love lemons? A microplane zester is a must-have in any kitchen, and metal lemon presses make juicing lemons easy.

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How to Burn Calories Without Even Trying

The holidays can be stressful enough without adding the burden of trying to lose weight. But if you know you’re going to want to whip yourself into shape come January, you can at least help yourself out by not putting on any new pounds during the holiday season. While that may seem like a tall order, you might already be doing more than you think. A lot of everyday activities help boost your calorie burn. See how much you can burn without even trying:

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Thanksgiving Strategy for Healthy Eating

In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year’s feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we’re bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love cooking and I love planning the perfect feast for my family to share, especially since I became a nutritionist and started getting paid to think about food ALL. THE. TIME. I’ve given a lot of thought to how to design the perfect Thanksgiving dinner (and weekend) so that it’s a meal you feel good about. So if you love Thanksgiving, but don’t love feeling overly stuffed, follow these eight tips:

1. Treat Thanksgiving dinner like the meal that it is — a feast. Thanksgiving dinner is not just a dinner that’s accompanied by breakfast, lunch and other snacks. The Thanksgiving meal is more like linner or dunch. It’s two meals rolled into one, which means you need to be really abstemious with the other stuff you put into your body. See rule 2.

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The Health Benefits of 7 Spices

 

While fresh herbs help flavor dishes all summer long, dried herbs and spices transform cold-weather dishes. If you’re new to cooking, or just starting to stock your pantry, knowing which herbs and spices you need on hand can be tricky. After all, herbs and spices can get pricey. Here are some must-haves, based on usefulness and health benefits.

Oregano: This fragrant herb lends its distinct flavor to Mexican, Greek and Italian cooking. On the health front, test-tube studies have found that key oils in oregano fight harmful bacteria.

Cinnamon: This warm winter spice is a quintessential flavoring in apple pie, but it’s not just for desserts. I add it to ground coffee before brewing and use a pinch in black bean chili. Cinnamon is ridiculously high in manganese, which helps you absorb  other vitamins and minerals, contributes to bone health, and also has some calcium and iron.

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Best Foods for Your Brain

Whether you’re cramming for midterms, or just trying to buckle down and focus on your work, it’s important to keep your brain sharp. Good nutrition is valuable for many parts of your health, and brain health is no exception. Find out 6  foods to eat to keep your brain focused and healthy:

Dark leafy greens: Veggies are a big category of brain foods. It’s important to get a variety in your diet, but for an extra brain boost, make sure to eat plenty of dark leafy greens (e.g., spinach, kale, collards and mustard greens). Try this Massaged Kale Salad to fuel your brain.

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How to Avoid the Temptation of Halloween Candy

On Log On & Eat with Eden Grinshpan, Eden travels the country to meet the most outrageous and original food bloggers and social media stars who invite her to devour their favorite dishes. We connected with them to pick their brains and score some exclusive advice and tips.

Mmmm. Sugar.

According to experts, sweet is the first taste that humans prefer from birth. But it’s also extremely addictive. In fact, one study found that sugar is more addictive than cocaine.

Unfortunately, eating too much candy and sugar can result in weight gain, metabolic disorders (a precursor to diabetes) and even some forms of cancer. In other words, it’s not good — and most of us are getting way more sugar than the recommended daily limit.

Breaking a sugar habit isn’t easy. But it’s possible. And these tips will help:

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How Bad Are Pumpkin Lattes for You Really?

This will be my last post in the name of pumpkin mania. Really. But before I continue writing about other good-for-you (and not-so-good-for-you) foods, I had to answer the burning question: How bad are pumpkin lattes for you really? I mean, they’re becoming as big of a symbol of fall as apple pie. So how do they rank nutritionally?

The Good
The base of the pumpkin latte — espresso and milk, better known as a latte — is arguably not bad for you. Coffee in moderation has some health benefits. And milk has benefits, too, especially if you’re going for low-fat or nonfat (it delivers protein, calcium and some other vitamins).

The Bad
Unfortunately, the thing that makes a pumpkin latte pumpkin-y is syrup. One variety of syrup that I looked at is made from condensed milk (pre-sweetened milk), two kinds of sugar (sugar and high-fructose corn syrup) and caramel coloring (which is linked to an increased cancer risk). A couple pumps of the stuff will add 106 calories and 24 grams of sugar (which is equivalent to 2 tablespoons of sugar!) to your latte.

The Verdict
It’s clear that the pumpkin latte is no health drink. But what really determines whether it takes a toll on your health and waistline is how big and how often your order it.

Size really does matter when it comes to sweetened beverages. Whether you choose skim or whole milk also makes a difference. A totally reasonable 8-ounce pumpkin latte with skim milk has 130 calories and 24 grams of sugar — some of which is from the natural sugars in milk. While a 12-ounce beverage usually clocks in at less than 200 calories (100 for milk, 100 for sugar), go up in size and you’ll start to see those numbers rise. A 16-ounce drink with whole milk has about 440 calories and 66 grams of sugar (that’s 5 tablespoons of sugar!). One more tip adds 60 calories, which might not seem like much, but it all adds up.

The second factor is frequency. Treat a pumpkin latte like dessert — a treat to have and enjoy once in a while — rather than make it your everyday coffee order (even if it’s just every day in the fall). Or you can take my route: Order your plain latte and celebrate pumpkin season with one of these healthy pumpkin recipes.

Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian and nutrition coach who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at kerriannjennings.com or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.

What is the Best Milk Alternative?

Alternative milks seem to be wildly popular these days. First soymilk then almond milk swept the nation. Now hemp and coconut milks are demanding their place in the sun. But are they all created equal? Which kind is best?

It really depends on what you’re looking for in a milk or alternative milk (I’ll lay out the nutritional highlights of cow’s milk below so you know what to look for when evaluating milk alternatives). Note that there can be a lot of variation between brands, even for the same “type” of milk. Most kinds of milk also come sweetened or unsweetened. For this comparison, I looked at unsweetened versions of the different milks. Make sure to read the labels carefully.

(All information per 1 cup)

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Health Benefits of Apples

From September through May, apples are the staple fruit that I eat. They’re in season now and then are stored throughout the winter, making them one of the only local fresh fruits I can get in the Northeast.

While they may not seem like nutritional superstars compared to flashier fruits like blueberries and oranges, apples actually deliver a lot of health benefits, making them a fruit that should be in your regular diet too.

1) They’re a good source of fiber: Fiber is great for your overall health — it helps keep your blood sugar steady, your colon healthy and your cholesterol levels low. You need 25 grams a day of the stuff if you’re a woman, 38 if you’re a man. A single medium (3 inch) apple delivers 4 grams, half of which comes from the peel, so keep it on!

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