Jul 21 2014

How To Prepare Your Fruits And Vegetables

Healthy_Foods_Nutrition_018Eating the right food is key to a healthy lifestyle but even more important is handling food the right way before you start to cook. Nearly 48 million people a year get sick from food contamination according to federal health officials. While most people know how to handle meat they might not know how to prepare fruits and vegetables properly. Following are some essential tips to keep healthy while eating your fruits and veggies!

  • Wash your utensils, counters and dishes that you will use to prepare food.
  • Wash your hands with soap before and after handling any food.
  • Don’t use soap on your fruits and vegetables.
  • Cut away any damaged areas on your fruit or vegetables.
  • Wash and gently scrub your produce under running water before peeling.
  • Leafy vegetables can be pulled apart with outer leaves discarded and soaked in water for a few minutes before being gently dried.
  • If food is labeled as “washed” when you buy it you don’t need to rewash it before eating.
  • If you don’t intend to cook your produce right away keep it in the refrigerator.

The benefits of eating more fruit and vegetables is widely known. Now you know how to handle and prepare produce you’ll have no excuse for not adding more of them to your daily diet.

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Jul 14 2014

Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes

kasha with vegIt’s hot, hot, hot outside and nobody feels like turning on their oven or cooking over a hot stove for hours everyday. The best way to cook healthy meals while keeping the kitchen cool is by using your slow cooker (crockpot). I’ve already said I love my slow cooker and these recipes from around the web make me love it even more!

{Slow Cooker} Overnight Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal

Crock Pot 3 Bean Turkey Chili

Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Slow Cooker Ground Beef and Zucchini Stuffed Peppers

Slow Cooker Roasted Corn Chowder

Slow Cooker Pot Roast and Potatoes

Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Stew Recipe

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili

Weight Watchers Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes recipe

Quick, Easy, and Healthy White Chicken Enchilada Soup

Wine & Tomato Braised Chicken

Pulled Pork with Caramelized Onions

Cheeseburger Mac Attack

Tex-Mex Chicken Stew

Pasta with Eggplant Sauce

Slow-Cooker Stout and Chicken Stew

Slow-Cooked Brisket in Onion Gravy

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Jul 07 2014

Is A Gluten-Free Diet Healthy?

A Fox News article “Is your gluten-free diet actually healthy?” by Jacqueline Silvestri Banks questions the current diet craze that is sweeping the nation.  With sales of gluten-free foods and beverages growing to over $6 billion by 2017 it is important to ask if eating gluten-free is any healthier than a normal diet.

To read more click here.  If you are on a gluten-free diet check out our new site GF Lifestyle Learning.

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Jul 03 2014

Fruit Salad Recipes

Fruit salad is a favorite at summertime barbeques or picnics and we can never get enough.  You may think that cleaning, dicing and throwing a bunch of fruit into a bowl qualifies as fruit salad and it does but you can get much more fancy than that.

Listed below are some fantastic recipes that help you create a stand-out fruit salad for your next meal or event!

Juicy Fruit Salad

Mango Cashew Salad

Tropical Fruit Salad With Honey and Lime

Fresh Fruit and Mint Salad

Ginger-and-Lemon Fruit Salad

Pretty, Yummy Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad with Ginger Syrup

Secret Fruit Salad

Mojito Fruit Salad (Non-Alcoholic)

Red, White and Blue Fruit Salad

Marshmallow and Fruit Salad

Couscous & Fruit Salad

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Jun 27 2014

Experiences with Catered Events and Gluten-Free Options

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) needs input from those living with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’)!  Please fill out this survey to tell us about your experience with attending catered events.  We’ll be using your responses in a presentation at an upcoming conference focused on educating those in the catering industry on the importance of safe gluten-free food preparation for our community.

If you would like to take the survey click here!

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May 24 2014

Fruit Salsa for Summer!

After going through what I thought was a most brutal winter here in the northeast, I am so ready for the start of summer!  Longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures are just the beginning.  The beautiful variety of colorful fruits and vegetables are what I most look forward to.

Several years back I discovered the simplicity of putting together fruits and vegetables in a way that gave them a character all their own…namely a fruit salsa.  These combinations not only make a great accompaniment to a meal (as in a meat served with salsa), I think they are excellent enough to stand on their own and eat as a “salad.”

A salsa is defined as “A spicy sauce of chopped, uncooked vegetables or fruit.”  To make a fruit salsa really stand out, you need a combination of colorful fruits, a complimentary vegetable, and a bit of spice to add interest and a touch of hotness.  I also like to add beans for added nutrition, and what could be more appropriate than incorporating black beans? My recipe for Caribbean Kiwi Salsa has all of these qualities and if you decide to try it, I think you will agree that this is a perfect way to get in those fruits and vegetables!

Caribbean Kiwi Salsa – Serve 4-6       

1 cup kiwi peeled and chopped

1 cup pineapple, chopped

½ cup peach or mango, chopped

½ cup cucumber, chopped

1/3 cup red onion, chopped

1 cup red bell pepper, chopped

½ cup black beans, cooked (or canned, drained & rinsed)

3 Tb. fresh cilantro, chopped

2 Tb. lime juice

½ tsp. chili powder

Dash cayenne pepper


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Apr 16 2014

Top Ten Foods To Purge During Spring Cleaning!

Every year we collect all of our cleaning supplies and set aside time to clean our home from top to bottom.  One place we frequently forget to clean is our kitchen pantry.  This year we decided to make our pantry healthier during spring cleaning.  Here are the top ten items we recommend you get rid of during your annual spring cleaning extravaganza.

  1. Get rid of bottled salad dressing and make your own with oil, vinegar and spices.
  2. Ditch the sugary cereals and replace with healthier high fiber versions.
  3. Replace the mayonnaise in your fridge with Greek yogurt.
  4. Ditch the prepared meals in boxes like Hamburger Helper and start using your slow cooker to make healthier versions.
  5. Don’t drink those sugary sodas.  Throw them out or give them away and replace with a pitcher of filtered water with lime, orange or lemon slices.
  6. Replace traditional pasta with whole grain versions that are healthier and even taste better!
  7. Throw away candy and pastries and replace with fresh fruit.
  8. Love those potato chips?  You’ll love baked vegetable chips and whole grain crackers much more!
  9. Get rid of regular chicken broth and replace it with the low-sodium version.
  10. Give away the packages of microwave popcorn you’ve been hoarding and replace with 100 calorie per pack versions.

Don’t forget to check the expiration date of the items you do keep in your pantry and fridge.  Throw out anything that has expired and replace with fresh versions.  If you have products that are fresh that you no longer want to eat consider donating them to the local food bank rather than throwing them out.

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Mar 28 2014

Twelve Clever Ways To Use Greek Yogurt

In my article “Greek Yogurt:  Worth The Price?” I discussed the differences between Greek Yogurt and regular yogurt.  In just about every comparison Greek yogurt wins although it is more expensive and generally has less calcium.  The many positive qualities of Greek yogurt has made it even more popular than ever.

Greek yogurt is incredibly versatile and given the health benefits it can be used in a variety of ways.  Listed below are our twelve  ways to use Greek yogurt.  yogurt

  1. Use it in place of 1/3 or 1/2 of the butter in recipes for baked items to cut down on calories without sacrificing moistness.
  1. Replace milk in smoothies with Greek yogurt to increase protein and thickness.
  1. Strain Greek yogurt and use it to replace the butter in frosting.
  1. Make your own sour cream by adding a bit of salt to Greek yogurt.
  1. Ramp up the protein in tuna and egg salad by including Greek yogurt instead of mayo.
  1. Use Greek yogurt instead of mayo in your deviled eggs.
  1. Make your own salad dressing by using Greek yogurt instead of mayo and sour cream.
  1. Top creamy soups with Green Yogurt instead of sour cream.
  1. Use instead of sour cream when topping tacos.
  1. Use seasoning with Greek yogurt as a marinade for meat and seafood.
  1. Make Tzatziki with Greek yogurt, sea salt, chopped cucumbers and dill.
  1. Make a low calorie cheese sauce by mixing Greek yogurt with shredded cheese.

Greek yogurt is incredibly versatile and there are lots of ways to use it.  If you like a creamy soup try this recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Soup by the folks at Chobani.

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Mar 11 2014

Lunchables For Adults? Say It’s Not So!

Healthy_Foods_Nutrition_018Despite what your mother told you snacking between meals is a good thing if your snacks are healthy.  Adding a couple of healthy snacks, preferably high in protein, can increase the likelihood that you will stick with your healthy diet.  The problem with snacking is that finding healthy, affordable and portable snacks is difficult.

Oscar Mayer has stepped in to fill the gap with their new Portable Protein Packs.  There are four versions:

  • The applewood smoked turkey breast version comes with reduced fat marbled Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses and dry roasted almonds.
  • The applewood smoked ham comes with reduced fat sharp Cheddar cheese and dry roasted almonds.
  • The rotisserie seasoned chicken breast comes with reduced fat Cheddar cheese and dry roasted peanuts.
  • The slow roasted turkey breast comes with reduced fat Cheddar cheese and dry roasted peanuts.

Each pack has thirteen grams of protein.  The most important word in “healthy snacks” is healthy but these packs have loads of ingredients that may not be good for you.  For example some packs included cultured dextrose, modified cornstarch, caramelized sugars and carrageenan.  The also may not fit into your budget.

Although these packs are very convenient you can spend a little more time creating your own healthy inexpensive snacks.  To get some ideas read my post “Do-It-Yourself Snack Options“.

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Feb 23 2014

Five Hidden Sources of Gluten

The gluten free diet has become very popular for many people.  Trendy products in supermarkets, and gluten free menu items can now be found everywhere.  Anyone who wants to follow a gluten free lifestyle now has the ability to find more than enough choices. But for people who must follow a gluten free regime for life because of a medical condition, gluten avoidance goes beyond merely choosing foods known to be gluten free.  One needs to be extra vigilant about avoiding all sources of gluten.   Unfortunately, gluten may be lurking in places that one would never imagine. Even meticulous attention to the finer details of gluten avoidance may not prevent  incidental exposure to gluten from other places.

Here’s  my list of hidden gluten sources which can cross contaminate safe and otherwise gluten free foods :


1. The toaster:  If your toaster was previously used for toasting wheat products, this is a source of gluten contamination.  It is impossible to clean out the inside of a toaster adequately.  Purchase a separate toaster that is used solely for the purpose of toasting gluten free breads or muffins.  Alternatively, if you have a toaster oven with a removable tray that can be thoroughly cleaned, you may use that to toast the gluten free bread.


2.  Flour sifters:  The mesh screen found in flour sifters or mesh strainers are difficult to clean.  For the gluten free kitchen, these items should be replaced.


3. Wooden cutting boards, spoons, spatulas:  Wood is porous and if used with wheat products previously, small particles of gluten remain in the wood, despite cleaning.


4.  Colanders are often used to drain pasta. The small holes in colanders are difficult to clean and get completely free of gluten.


5.  Peanut butter, jam, or mayonnaise are just a few examples of foods that are spread on bread.  Knives that come in contact with bread, then go back into a jar will contaminate the spread .  Purchase separate jars of each, then label “gluten free ” for the person who needs to avoid  gluten.

If you have been maintaining the gluten free diet for a while, yet still experience symptoms, dig a little deeper to see whether you are exposed to gluten from a “hidden” source.  In addition to the suggestions I’ve listed here, don’t forget to check your medicine cabinet, vitamin, and mineral supplements as well!

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