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Posts Tagged ‘Kerri-Ann Jennings’

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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Healthiest Thanksgiving Sides

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.

When it comes to Thanksgiving, I’ve always been in it for the sides (and the pies … but that’s a topic for a different post). Turkey I can take or leave, but fall vegetables are among my favorites and there’s no better time to get a cornucopia of seasonal produce on your plate. Focusing on veggie (and fruit) sides has another important role. Nonstarchy/less starchy vegetables (like butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and green beans) tend to fill you up on fewer calories than starchy ones, like potatoes and sweet potatoes. One of my strategies for getting maximum flavor and enjoyment out of Thanksgiving without getting overly stuffed is to incorporate lots of nonstarchy vegetables into appetizers and side dishes and to take smaller portions of the starchy dishes (stuffing, I’m looking at you). If you want to try this strategy too, here are some good options to add to your Thanksgiving feast.

Veggie Starters
Rather than filling up right off the bat with nuts, crackers and cheese, start off with some nonstarchy vegetables. This acorn squash soup is a stunning starter that starts your meal off light. Alton Brown’s pumpkin soup is another good option.

Another way to go is with fresh crudites and a healthy dip. This cucumber and dill yogurt dip fits the bill. And this white bean dip gives you a healthy serving of fiber- and protein-rich beans to keep your appetite in check.

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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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Healthiest Halloween Treats

Not to spook you, but Halloween can be a diet and health disaster if you don’t keep your wits about you. The hallmark of the holiday is artificial dye- and sweetner-filled candy, and a lot of it. If you’d like to escape the season without a sugar high — and some extra pounds under your belt — stick to one or two fun-sized candies from the office bowl. Then, if you’re hosting a Halloween party or just want to have healthier treats around, consider these festive items:

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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.

Healthiest Pumpkin Recipes

Last week I told you why pumpkin mania is a boon to your health (find out the health benefits of pumpkin). Now we get to get down in the kitchen with America’s favorite squash. While it’s plenty easy to find pumpkin recipes that are doused in butter, sugar and cream, I wanted to highlight the health aspects of pumpkin with some of Cooking Channel’s healthiest pumpkin recipes. Here they are in no particular order:

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Health Benefits of Pumpkin

You carve them into jack-o’-lanterns, bake them into muffins and let them flavor your lattes. Yes, pumpkins are everyone’s favorite orange squash. And, drumroll, please: They’re good for you! (Except when it comes to the pumpkin spice lattes. There’s no real pumpkin in there — just sugar, and you know that’s not good.)

What exactly are pumpkins?
First things first; Pumpkins are a type of winter squash, a class of vegetables related to cucumbers and melons. You can bake or steam sliced or cubed pumpkin, or you can use unsalted canned pumpkin in recipes — an easy way to get this nutritious veggie into your diet.

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