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Healthy Holiday Foods

ChestnutsBetween all the cookies and cocktails, it can seem like holiday food is out to get you (or at least your waistline). But let’s take a moment to celebrate all of the festive ingredients and dishes that are actually good for you.

Nuts
Break out the nutcracker and get cracking on some fresh, whole almonds, walnuts, filberts and other nuts. They’re a great source of protein, healthy fats, fiber and some vitamins and minerals. Plus, if you take time to shell them you’ll be less likely to overdo it on these calorie-rich snacks.

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Quick Dorm-Room Meals

CerealAdjusting to dorm life from the comforts of home (and a fully stocked and equipped kitchen) can be a rough transition for college-aged foodies. But with just a few tools and a basic pantry, you can whip up satisfying meals for any time of the day or night.

Breakfasts
This whole-grain hot cereal (pictured above) uses bulgur and barley with oats to make an extra hearty and nutritious breakfast. Think about mixing a bigger batch of the cereal so it’s ready to use in an instant. For a cold alternative, mix a whole-grain, low-sugar dry cereal (Cheerios and Bran Flakes are two classic, good choices) with plain yogurt, fresh or dried fruit, a handful of nuts and a splash of lowfat milk. It will keep you fueled for hours.

If you’re in a hurry, try instant oatmeal cooked with lowfat milk and topped with peanut butter and banana, or top rye crisp crackers with mashed avocado and hard-boiled egg slices.

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Healthier Summer Sips

Cold drinks help slake your thirst on hot summer days, but some go-to summer sips (We’re looking at you, lemonade and soda) are loaded with sugar. Instead, fill your glass with these healthier, lower-sugar coolers:

Iced fruit tea or mint tea: Choosing a fruit or herbal tea gives natural sweetness without added calories. This lightly sweetened mint iced tea recipe is a great one to try. This recipe for hibiscus tea uses a scant two tablespoons of sugar in the whole batch, relying on cinnamon and orange slices for extra flavor.

Fruit spritzers: Use a couple ounces of your favorite fruit juice — tart cherry or orange juice would be a good place to start — and then fill the glass with seltzer for a bubbly, lightly sweetened soda alternative. This ginger-berry spritzer is another take.

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The Joy of Pickling

If you haven’t started pickling yet, it’s time to hop on the hipster bandwagon and get out the mason jars. Sure, it involves turning on the stove during the summer, but the payoff — both in flavor and health benefits — is worth it.

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Health Reasons to Eat Cherries

Around the country, cherry trees are bearing fruit. From bright red sours to blushing Rainiers and crimson Bings, cherries are a short-season treat that are a boon to your tastebuds and your health.

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Dinner Rush! Grilled Ratatouille w/ Tomato Vinaigrette

They always say we should eat more vegetables. And whether “they” are doctors, nutritionists or the infamous veggie marketing people from Portlandia (apparently celery is the new thing), making an all-vegetable dinner that’s both delicious and good for you isn’t too hard at this time of year.

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Grilling Smackdown: Best Choices for Your Next Cookout

It’s about time to kick off the unofficial start of summer with a Memorial Day cookout! And what better way to celebrate than with a nutritional smack down? Here’s a look at your favorite cookout foods with an answer to the burning question: which is healthier?

Burger vs. Hot Dog
Meat brings up lots of questions, such as where it’s from, how it was raised or how it was processed. For the sake of this smack down,  let’s assume that you’re choosing between the best possible options: a lean, local, grass-fed beef burger or a nitrate-free 100% beef hot dog. Lean burgers offer good amounts of B vitamins, zinc and protein (20 g). Keep in mind portion size: a burger should be made from 1/4 pound of ground beef. That’ll keep calories in check (178). Hot dogs are slightly lower in calories, compared to a quarter-pound burger, but not by much (169 calories in a typical dog). They also have way more sodium, while offering fewer vitamins and minerals. So unless they are your main reason for being in the summertime, stick to the beef burger. Better yet? Go for grilled salmon or a veggie burger.

The Winner: Burgers

Get our Top Burger Recipes

Potato Salad vs. Macaroni Salad

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How to Get all the Fiber You Need Each Day

Fiber’s not the sexiest nutrient, conjuring images, as it does, of Metamucil and heavy bran muffins. But there are plenty of exciting ways to get fiber in your diet, and good reasons to do so. It’s filling, it lowers your risk of heart disease and certain cancers, and it helps keep you regular — sexy, no?

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Tips and Tricks for a Satisfying Dinner Salad

Salads can be an easy, healthy choice for dinner, as they simply require some basic chopping and mixing (easy) of a heap of vegetables (healthy). The best way to get enough heft from a dinner salad is obvious: Add protein. But when you want a vegetarian dinner salad, it gets a little trickier. Here are the top secrets for making a satisfying salad:

1. Start with hearty greens. Kale, broccoli rabe and spinach are nutrient-packed and substantial alternatives to lettuce. Massaging tougher greens with oil and lemon juice breaks down the thick fibers, making them a manageable base for any toppings.

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Light and Easy Easter Brunch Ideas

Easter brunch is the perfect excuse to celebrate your favorite spring foods. Eggs, asparagus, strawberries, peas and ham are all invited to the ultimate spring feast! For a mix-and-match Easter brunch that’s light, easy and luscious, just choose a dish from each category. Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just a few, here are some dishes that will be perfect for this Sunday.

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