Healthy Weight Week

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Healthy Weight Week is Jan. 15 through Jan. 21. Do you know what your healthy weight is? For years our doctors and an occasional magazine article, based on data provided by the insurance industry, doled out that particular piece of information. With today’s boom in the health and diet business, you can get the information in a blink of an eye from the Internet, out of hundreds of books on the market, from gyms and weight loss programs.

Maintaining healthy weight is a several-step process.

Arguably the most difficult thing about losing weight isn’t losing the weight itself, but keeping it off once it’s been lost. Those who have struggled with their weight often admit their weight fluctuates regularly, illustrating the struggle that maintaining a healthy weight can present.

While every person is different, there are ways to keep weight off, and many of them are relatively minor. What these methods all have in common is the commitment level they require. Making a long-term commitment to each of the following changes cannot only help you lose weight, but keep that weight off as well.

• Closely monitor fat and sugar intake. Reduce consumption of foods high in fat and sugar, or substitute with reduced-calorie and reduced-fat foods and beverages. The fat in your diet should be limited to 30 percent or less of total calories each day.

• Get daily exercise. Exercise comes in many forms, and it’s best to determine what type of physical activity best suits each individual and each lifestyle. Initially, you should work your way up to regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging or swimming, since it is a key factor in achieving permanent weight loss and improving health. For maximum benefits, most health experts recommend exercising 30 minutes or more on most, and preferably all, days of the week.

• Be aware of your eating habits. Negative eating habits can include overindulging, eating when bored or looking to food for comfort. Many times people don’t even realize they are routinely treating food in these ways. Keeping a food diary, in which you write down when you eat, what you’re eating and why you’re eating is a good means to discovering just what your eating habits are and determining if they are healthy or not.

• Remember the value of balance when planning a diet. Mom, Dad and no doubt school teachers extolled the virtues of a balanced diet, and for good reason. Don’t forget the five food groups (milk, meat, fruit, vegetable, bread) when planning a diet. If you have a specialty diet, due to an existing condition (i.e., diabetes) or lifestyle (i.e., vegetarian), consult with a physician as to how to best balance your diet, as there will no doubt be certain foods that are off limits.

Make breakfast a part of every day

Start your day with a meal that helps give healthy eating a jump-start. You can create a versatile, fulfilling breakfast by adding almonds, in all their forms to your morning meal to help provide you with the energy you need.

Matthew Biancaniello, master mixologist at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Library Bar is known for his innovative cocktail creations and use of fresh ingredients. His creativity extends to healthful smoothies that help rev up your metabolism.

For an easy smoothie, Biancaniello suggests using almond butter or almond milk for a creamy base with a burst of flavor.

“One of my favorite smoothie recipes uses a combination of both almond butter and milk, along with fresh fruit, juices and seasonings for a unique blend that’s sure to get your day going,” says Biancaniello. “It takes no time at all to add and blend the ingredients, and the result is a satisfying drink that you can take with you on the go.”

Including a handful of almonds in your breakfast is one simple solution that not only packs a powerful nutritional punch, but also helps keep you satisfied throughout the morning. There are all kinds of ways almonds can help boost your breakfast:

• Toss a handful of whole natural almonds and fresh berries into your morning yogurt.

• Look for cereals containing crunchy sliced or slivered almonds.

• Top whole wheat toast with almond butter and sliced bananas, or spread almond butter onto apple slices.

• Use almond milk in your oatmeal, and top with dried or fresh fruit.

• Sprinkle sliced almonds into your breakfast parfait layered with low-fat yogurt and fruit.

• Toss toasted, sliced almonds into scrambled eggs or a veggie omelet for an extra healthy boost.

Try out Biancaniello’s delicious The Southside of Morocco Smoothie recipe to help get your day started, and visit www.AlmondBoard.com for more recipes and breakfast ideas.

The Southside of Morocco Smoothie

Yield: 1 smoothie

3 strawberries

2 ounces pomegranate juice

5 mint leaves

1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

1/2 ounce agave syrup (1-to-1 ratio with water)

1 slice fresh ginger

1 pinch cayenne pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons almond butter

Add each ingredient to blender or food processor; mix until well blended. Serve in glass with or without ice; garnish with mint sprig. For a slushy texture, blend ingredients with ice or substitute with frozen strawberries.

Nutritionals: Calories 158; Fat 9.8g; Saturated Fat 1.7g; Mono Fat 14.3g; Poly Fat 2g; Protein 8.9g; Carbohydrates 18g; Fiber 2.4g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 79.8mg; Calcium 51.9mg; Magnesium 54.9mg; Potassium 243.8mg; Vitamin E 4.3mg

Source: Almond Board of California

Give your body a boost with blueberries

You may have heard the saying that if you take good care of your body, it will take good care of you. Well, taking care of your body is a lot easier when you can enjoy delicious and healthy fresh fruits, such as blueberries.

Blueberries are considered a superfood by leading nutrition and medical experts, and are a recommended diet staple for health, skin care and longevity. Here are just a few of the benefits of this little blue dynamo:

• A half-cup of blueberries packs plenty of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants into only 40 sweet calories.

• Blueberries contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than red wine or green tea.

• Half a cup of blueberries a day may help improve brain function.

• Some scientific evidence suggests that blueberries may be beneficial for the skin. New skin care treatments include blueberry extracts to help revitalize the skin and hasten healing.

• Blueberries provide the same bacteria fighters as cranberries to help guard against urinary tract infections.

You can enjoy fresh blueberries all year thanks to blueberries from Chile, where it’s summer during our winter.

Blueberry Green Tea Fusion

2 cups water

1 cup fresh Chilean blueberries

2 green tea bags

Honey or agave to taste

Bring water to a boil. Add fresh Chilean blueberries. Boil 5 minutes; strain. Add 2 green tea bags and steep 3 to 5 minutes. Add honey or agave to sweeten. Drink hot or pour over ice.

Nutrients per serving: 8 servings each, 11 calories, 0.5 grams dietary fiber

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Family Features photo

Blueberry Smoothie

Fresh Blueberry Green Tea Smoothie

1 banana

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup fresh Chilean blueberries

Zest of one orange

4 ice cubes

1 cup Blueberry Green Tea Fusion

Blend well and top with a twist of orange peel or a sprig of mint.

Nutrients per serving: 80 calories, 2g dietary fiber, 42mg sodium, 4g protein

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Family Features photo

Fresh Blueberry Chicken Salad With Almonds

Fresh Blueberry Chicken Salad with Almonds

Serves: 6

2 whole cooked chicken breasts

1/2 cup red onion chopped

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 cup minced green onion

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup fresh Chilean blueberries

1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

1/4 cup sweet mustard

1/4 cup toasted almonds

Dice chicken breasts and place in mixing bowl. Sprinkle red onion with rice vinegar; toss into bowl.

Add green onion, parsley, cranberries and blueberries; fold gently to mix.

In small mixing bowl, add mayonnaise, yogurt and sweet mustard. Blend well; fold dressing into salad. Garnish with toasted almonds.

Nutrients per serving: 322 calories, 13 g fat, 114 calories from fat, 3 g saturated fat, 66 mg cholesterol, 255 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber and 22 g protein

Recipe may be doubled for 8 to 12 servings.

For more great recipes for blueberries and other fresh fruits from Chile, visit www.chileanfruitonline.com.

Developed by the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association

Source: Chilean Fresh Fruit Association

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Family Features photo

Hungry Girl’s Hey Mambo! Veggie Italiano Quesadilla

Satisfy Winter Cravings Guilt-free

When cold weather hits, so do comfort-food cravings. And although comfort foods like cookies and quesadillas taste great, they’re not so great for your waistline.

To help you satisfy your cravings without winter weight gain, here are some tasty tips from “Hungry Girl” Lisa Lillien’s new book, Hungry Girl Supermarket Survival: Aisle by Aisle, HG-Style!

• Check out the seasonal options of tea bags that pop up during the holidays, such as candy cane or sugar cookie. You’ll get sweet satisfaction without all the calories.

• Dunk-a-fruit. Grab some orange segments and dip them in a sugar-free vanilla pudding snack cup. Or, plunge some apple slices into no-sugar-added caramel pudding.

• Portion-controlled cheeses are ideal for protein-packed snacking on the go. Mini Babybel® Light cheeses come in a protective red wax that makes them perfect for tossing into your purse to fuel your various shopping excursions.

• It’s easy to overdo it when pouring dressing straight from the bottle onto your salad. And those calories add up fast if you double or triple the serving size. So portion out a serving first, and consider using the dip-don’t-pour method to make it go further.

• To make the most of a single serving of brown rice, stir in tons of diced veggies, fresh or thawed from frozen. Peas, carrots, bean sprouts, broccoli, coleslaw, shredded cabbage and finely chopped cauliflower are all great for this. Another tip? Don’t make rice your main course. Fill your plate with lean protein and veggies and then enjoy a serving of fluffy rice on the side.

• For a spreadable, meltable, super-creamy and deliciously mild snack, try The Laughing Cow® Light Cheese Wedges, each with 35 calories and 1.5 to 2 grams of fat. They can be spread on apple or pear slices or even used in a gooey-good quesadilla recipe.

For more tasty ideas to keep you satisfied, visit www.thelaughingcow.com and www.hungry-girl.com.

Hungry Girl’s Hey Mambo! Veggie Italiano Quesadilla

Makes 1 serving

1/3 cup canned cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 large low carb/high fiber tortilla with about 110 calories

1 wedge The Laughing Cow® Light Mozzarella, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil cheese

1/4 cup sliced zucchini

1/4 cup sliced red bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 piece Mini Babybel® Light cheese, chopped

Optional toppings: low-fat marinara sauce, fat-free sour cream

Place beans in blender or food processor with 1 tablespoon water; blend until mostly smooth. (Or place beans in bowl with 1 tablespoon water and mash with fork.) Add Italian seasoning and mix well.

Lay tortilla flat; spread half of the upward-facing side with bean mixture. Spread cheese wedge on other half; set aside.

Bring skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat on stove. Add veggies and, stirring occasionally, cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer veggies to side of tortilla spread with cheese wedge.

Top veggies evenly with chopped cheese. Fold bean-covered side of tortilla over other side and press gently to seal, forming quesadilla.

Remove skillet from heat, re-spray with nonstick spray, and return to medium-high heat. Place quesadilla in skillet; cook for about 2 minutes per side, until outside is toasty and inside is hot.

Cut into triangles and, if you like, top or serve with marinara sauce or sour cream.

Per Serving (entire quesadilla): 295 calories, 8g fat, 858mg sodium, 44.5g carbs, 11g fiber, 5g sugars, 18.5g protein

Source: The Laughing Cow

Preparing Healthy Family Meals

The simple ritual of sitting down for nightly dinners with the family is no longer a thing of the past. More and more families are reaping the multiple benefits it offers, including the enjoyment of a home-cooked meal and meaningful discussions about the day.

While family dinners encourage us to stay connected to loved ones, keeping up with busy schedules and making nutrition a priority is a challenge that many families face year after year. According to the Rice-a-licious Global Omnibus Survey 2010, 53 percent of consumers “would make a healthier meal” if they had time.

Experts say that simple changes and the right items in your grocery cart can lead to an easier and healthier way to prepare great-tasting meals for your family.

“Beginning your meal with rice opens your family’s dinner plate to healthy eating because rice acts as a powerful tool that attracts colorful vegetables, savory spices and leaner cuts of meat,” says registered dietitian and chef Michele Powers. “Remember to look for recipes that include rice to create delicious and nutritious meals for your family.”

And for those families that are time-crunched, Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice products are a simple solution. Ready to eat in just 90 seconds, they can be enjoyed as part of a balanced meal plan with zero grams trans fat and zero saturated fat. With virtually no clean-up needed, it’s easy for dinner to go from the microwave to dinner plate.

For more convenient and healthy mealtime solutions that can bring the family together, visit www.UncleBens.com or www.Facebook.com/UncleBens.

Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 20 minutes

1 boneless skinless chicken breast thinly sliced (approximately 1 cup cooked; 8 ounces raw)

2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce or lite soy sauce

1 spray of cooking spray

1 tablespoon whole sesame seeds

1 to 2 teaspoons ginger powder

1/2 cup carrots cut into matchsticks

1/2 cup snow peas

1, 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, with fluid

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 package Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Jasmine

Marinate sliced chicken breast in lite soy sauce. Heat large pan or wok over high heat. When pan is hot, lightly coat with cooking spray and add the chicken and soy sauce.

Cook chicken for 1 to 2 minutes; add sesame seeds and ginger powder, stir to coat. Add carrots, snow peas, water chestnuts, including liquid, and toasted sesame oil.

Prepare rice according to package directions. Set aside.

Cook until vegetables are crisp tender. Add rice; toss to combine.

Serve hot.

Source: Uncle Ben’s

Tips for Family Dinners that are Big on Taste and Antioxidants

The weeknight rotation of go-to family dinnertime favorites just got better — and better for you. The flavor experts in the McCormick Kitchens took up the challenge to find easy ways to add more flavor, plus antioxidants, to the top Internet-searched family dinner recipes of the season with on-hand ingredients like spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits.

Top 10 Most-Searched Family Dinner Recipes

  1. Spaghetti 6. Enchiladas

  2. Tacos 7. Meatloaf

  3. Pork Chops 8. Lasagna

  4. Pizza 9. Chili

  5. Chicken Soup 10. Beef Stew

Google Adwords; August-October 2010

“This list of top recipes reveals that busy cooks are searching for new ideas to add some flavorful twists to the same weeknight standbys,” explains Mary Beth Harrington of the McCormick Kitchens. “We wanted to create deliciously simple variations that can inspire healthy choices every night of the week.”

Making healthier dinners is easier than you think. Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, MA, RD, author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet, believes that the best place to start is with what the family already loves — and then boost the excitement, flavor and nutrition of dinnertime with healthy ingredients.

“Using ‘Super Spices’ like red pepper, oregano, ginger and garlic provides an added bonus because they are a delicious source of natural antioxidants, which play an important role in keeping the body in good health,” says Dr. Bazilian.

The McCormick Kitchens have developed these easy tips to inspire healthy choices on even the busiest nights of the week:

Pork Chops

Rub four pork chops with a blend of 1 teaspoon each Garlic Powder and Thyme Leaves, 1/2 teaspoon crushed Rosemary Leaves and 1/4 teaspoon Ground Red Pepper. Sauté in skillet with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/2 cup apple juice, a sliced apple and 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon. Adds antioxidants equal to 3 ounces of pomegranate juice per serving.

Chicken Soup

Give homemade chicken soup an Asian flair. Stir 2 teaspoons Ground Ginger and 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder into 4 cups soup and top with snow peas and shredded carrots. Adds antioxidants equal to 1/2 cup chopped cantaloupe per serving.

Meatloaf

Turn everyday meatloaf into a Mexican fiesta by adding 1 tablespoon each Paprika, Oregano Leaves and Ground Cumin and 1/2 teaspoon Ground Red Pepper to two pounds lean ground beef or ground turkey. Top with salsa. Adds antioxidants equal to 1-1/2 cups green peppers per serving.

Chili

Make a lower-sodium turkey chili with tons of flavor. Blend a pound cooked ground turkey with 2, 8-ounce cans of no salt added tomato sauce spiced up with 2 tablespoons Chili Powder, 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin and 1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper. Adds antioxidants equal to 1/3 cup chopped asparagus per serving.

Beef Stew

Spice up plain beef stew with 1 teaspoon each Thyme Leaves and Oregano Leaves and 1/2 teaspoon each Garlic Powder and Ground Black Pepper. Give it an extra antioxidant boost by adding sweet potatoes and chopped red peppers. Adds antioxidants equal to 1-1/2 cups sliced kiwi per serving.

For additional better-for-you dinner ideas, infused with a passion for flavor, visit www.spicesforhealth.com.

Source: McCormick

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