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Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

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 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.

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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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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