Which Healthy Cooking Oils Should You Use?

By Anouk Brandt

You have long been told that fats are bad for you and you may be trying to keep them out of your diet. So, are there healthy cooking oils to use as an alternative?

Some people are so good at avoiding fats that they may actually have health problems as a result when they thought they were doing the right thing.

The fact is that some fats are good for you, and some are essential to your diet if you want to remain healthy. The bottom line is, saturated fats are the ones that you want to avoid.

If you have had a heart attack, you are best to avoid them completely, but the occasional use of saturated fats is not going to be too bad for you.

You do not want to consider anything with saturated fats as healthy cooking oils through. That is adding a bad type of fat when there is just no need to do so. Save the saturated fat for an occasional steak and cook with something else.

There are some products that were made with hydrogenated oils. These oils were essentially added to hydrogen because this allowed items to sit on store shelves for longer periods of time without rotting. It was a long term preservative.

However, it has been found that these oils are actually dangerous for the body and most healthy cooking oils no longer contain hydrogenated oils.

You can never assume this though, so make sure you read the packaging thoroughly before you decide if you have found something healthy or not. There are many alternatives to this type of oil, so keep it out of your diet.

Look for healthy cooking oils that have a heart healthy claim on the bottle. This does not mean anything sometimes, but some types are proven to be better than others for the heart and the body, and they deliver the fats that your body needs every day.

Some of the better types are safflower oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil and olive oil. There are other good types as well.  You can usually substitute safflower oil for vegetable oil in any dish or recipe without changing the flavor and it is better for you.

You don’t need a lot of healthy cooking oils to get the benefits your body needs.

Keep in mind that deep fried foods are not good for you no matter what type of oil you use!  However, it is better to use these good oils than to use something else. If you love deep fried, limit how often you eat it.

You only need a teaspoon or even less to lubricate a pan when cooking many foods, so watch out how much you add to the pan, even when using healthy oils for cooking. Use the right type of oil keeping it in your diet, and you will enjoy better health in the long run.

Fun Healthy Snacks for Kids

By Clare Jamison

Try some fun healthy snacks to get your kids on the right track with good healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.

Getting your children to eat the right foods can be hard if they are given the wrong things everywhere that they go. Grandma and the babysitter mean well, but that does not mean that they should be given sugar all of the time.

Once they get a sweet tooth, it can be hard to get them to eat the right things so that they can grow up healthy and strong. You have to find new and interesting ways to present the right foods to your kids.

Fun healthy snacks may be more about the way that you present them to your children than the types of foods that you offer.

Although you really want to try to give them the ones that you know they will or have eaten in the past. If they have tried and spit out broccoli, perhaps one way to get them started is to skip the broccoli and try something else. You can always try to serve that broccoli at a later date. Instead, think about the things they have had and liked in the past and go from there.

One way to get fun healthy snacks into your kids is to make them up in fun and creative ways. If this is not your strong point, there are plenty of ideas out there that you can use. For one, you can make the tried and true ‘ants on a log.’

This is a celery stick with peanut butter smeared inside. On the top of that peanut butter you can stick raisins. The celery is the log and the raisins are the ants. Many kids love this, especially boys who think eating ants is gross and fun all at the same time. You can use purple raisins for black ants and yellow raisins to represent some other type of insect if you wish.

Most kids love to dip. This is not the best idea when they are always putting potato chips into fattening dips, but there are other things that you can do. Give them rod pretzels and give them some fat free ranch dressing for dip. They will love it.

You can also find a recipe for a layered dip that included grated celery, radish (just a touch for a little kick), carrots, and anything else that you want to include. You can put fresh, low fat cream cheese or sour cream in a layer to stick it all together and give your kids baked tortilla chips and let them dip away. This may be one of their favorite fun healthy snacks.

Those are just a few fun healthy snacks you can try with your kids. There are many more ideas out there that you can use. You can find cookbooks with simple and yummy ideas that you can try, and more complicated meal plans that also include the foods that you want them to eat.

Don’t forget to modify things that they like, such as cake, but using applesauce instead of oil to keep the cake moist. This saves calories and most people can not tell the difference. Keep up your hard work and you will see a pay off from your healthy and happy kids.

Quick and Healthy Summer Desserts

By Antonia Sparks

Are there any healthy summer desserts out there? You bet. We’ve got the scoop on easily and quickly prepared, healthy summer desserts your family will surely enjoy.

When we envision that end-of-meal treat, the dessert, a sweet, sinfully delicious and typically high-calorie dish comes to mind. During the cold months, a piece of cheesecake or chocolate cake makes a lovely, albeit filling, ending to the meal. As the warm days of summer linger, we’re not quite so hungry for such heavy desserts. A lighter dish is what we want.

In French and Italian households, fruit and cheese are customarily served for dessert, a healthy and delicious alternative to the usual sugar-laden confections commonly seen at the American table. The fruit provides the perfect touch of sweetness, while a wedge of cheese treats the palate to a creamy bite of goodness that’s satisfying and doesn’t require that you loosen your belt to enjoy.

First, we’ll go over the basic ‘rules’ for the storage and preparation of your fruit. Then, we’ll get into suggestions for combinations that produce tasty and healthy summer desserts. You don’t even need a recipe!

With the exception of firm-skinned fruits, such as oranges, bananas and apples, fruits should be stored in the frig, to protect against the loss of vitamins, particularly vitamins A, B2 and C. Left at room temperature, fruits are rapidly depleted of their vitamin content. For example, a ripe kiwi fruit, sitting at room temperature for just a day, may lose up to 80% of its nutritional value!

The vitamin content of fruit continues to increase until the fruit is ripe. If your fruit is not yet ripe, storing it at room temperature in a dark area allows it to ripen. Plan your desserts to use fruits at perfect ripeness. This is easily accomplished with a mix-and-match strategy to combining fruits.

Don’t wash any fruit until you’re preparing it to serve. When you do wash fruit, do so as quickly as possible and use cold water.

There are several ways to combine and present these healthy summer desserts. A fruit cup of mixed fruits may be garnished with a non-dairy whipped topping for a simple and colorful dessert. Wedges of kiwi fruit, strawberries, and sliced bananas are a delicious combination, especially when mixed in a dressing of your favorite flavor of yogurt.

A simple presentation of wedges of apples or cantaloupe, along with 2 or 3 slices of a sharp cheddar makes a nice contrast for the palate. Other cheeses that go well with fruit dessert plates include Brie, Swiss, Gouda, and Roquefort.

Your repertoire of healthy summer desserts can be expanded with cooked fruits, such as baked apples, pears, peaches and apricots. When cooking fruit, it’s best to steam it first (to retain the maximum nutritional content), then briefly baking just until tender. Garnishing cooked fruit with a spoonful of whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon makes a terrific dessert.

So, there you have a mini-cookbook of healthy summer desserts – the recipes are in your imagination!

The Secret to Cheap Healthy Food?

By Antonia Sparks

Cheap healthy food is abundant. Learning how to turn simple ingredients into a first-class meal is a culinary skill worth developing when you want to save money on groceries.

We’ve all been told countless times that it doesn’t make any sense to spend money on eating out or on Starbucks lattes. But that isn’t quite enough to help us handle a drop in income and rise in food prices.

The real savings comes from having cheap healthy food to provide good meals that taste good. So, what kind of food do you turn to?

The answer to that would be peasant cuisine, or peasant food, as it is commonly called. That is the kind of food traditional societies in Europe, South America and Asia have always relied on whether they are wealthy or not. If that doesn’t sound entirely appetizing, it absolutely will, as soon as you take a look at the recipes behind the dishes.

These recipes weren’t developed for economic hardship. These kinds of recipes come from countries that are quite developed and affluent. If they sparingly use meat or heavy dairy products, it’s because those cultures have discovered how healthy cooking this way can be. Especially when you learn to use spices the way they have, which makes the dishes tasty too.

These are cultures that have learned to throw together cheap healthy food with awesomely delicious flavors drawn from an exciting and adventurous use of spices. Think of the tangy pasta recipes of Italy, the paella recipes of Spain, and frankfurters from Germany.

These are all examples of how inventive use of cooking technique and spice can turn a less expensive cut of meat into a five star recipe.

Do you feel that you need an extra dash of salt to add more flavor to a meal? That wouldn’t be the healthy way to do it. Instead, try rice vinegar or red wine vinegar or Apple cider vinegar. It’ll bring exciting new notes of flavor to your meal that salt just couldn’t.

Try experimenting with spices like ginger, garlic, rosemary. Not only did these have great health benefits, they make food infinitely more appetizing and imaginative.

Do you marvel at how the Japanese recipes involve slices of meat so thin, they are almost transparent? They didn’t learn to do that for their fascination of delicately sliced meat. They had to make do with what they had to make it go farther.

As it would turn out, methods like this make for cheap, healthy food. You get less meat in your diet, you save money, and it’s much better for you. It could be a new trend in responsible eating –  choosing traditional recipes from all around the world.



Late Night Healthy Snacks

By Bliss Blaire

Late night healthy snacks sounds a bit crazy.  For those that stay up late, or those that tend to wake up and have trouble getting back to sleep, here are some healthy snack to munch on as an alternative to just pigging out.

Often late nighters fall into the trap of eating whatever they can find if they are hungry, which they often are. These folks can have a great, healthy diet during the day, but are simply out of energy at night and grab whatever they can eat from the cupboard or the fridge, or even worse, from a drive through window.

Instead of sabotaging yourself at night, look for some late night healthy snacks that you can have on hand so you can make the same great choices you make throughout the rest of the day.

Most healthy snacks are things that you have to prepare ahead of time, but not all. Some late night healthy snacks that you can have on hand that do not require a lot of preparation are granola (low sugar varieties) bars and protein bars. Not only are these easy, they are filling too.

You could also grab a bowl of healthy cereal in a matter of a few minutes and have something that is going to fill you up. Stay away from things like Pop-Tarts and candy bars, which are full of sugar and lead to you being even more hungry as the night wears on. Save those for daylight hours if you must have them.

You can also plan ahead for your late night healthy snacks. Get whatever fruit or vegetable that you like to munch on and cut them up ahead of time. These could be carrot sticks or grapes. Anything you like that is healthy can be washed, cut up, and then placed into baggies so that you can open the refrigerator and grab what you want. a

They can even be taken with you if you are going somewhere late and you know you are going to be hungry before you can get home. Those that work late always want something to eat on the way home. A bag of grapes is so much more better for you than a Big Mac.

There are a few things that you can make in just a few minutes, much like the bowl of cereal, for late night healthy snacks. You can have microwave popcorn on hand that you can have in three to five minutes. To keep it healthy, use very little salt and skip the butter.

You may also want to have a few tablespoons of healthy peanut butter on some celery that you prepared earlier. A can of healthy soup can be heated in the microwave in a few minutes if you keep your favorites on hand in your cupboards.

If you are worried about late night healthy snacks because you fear you are going to sabotage your weight loss plan, get rid of the things that you do not want to eat so that you can not have a moment of weakness at three in the morning when you can not sleep. a

Get the candy, chips, or whatever your problem foods might be out of the house and replace them with yogurts, protein bars, and light popcorn. It is hard enough to make good choices without easy and sinful choices jumping up as a temptation when you are most likely to give in.

How to Eat Healthy Even on a Tight Budget

By Gwyn Seabrooke

When times are tough, many people wonder how to eat healthy on a tight budget. It seems that everyone is feeling a financial pinch these days. We’re all trying to save money any way we can. One of the first ways of making a budget is the grocery bill because it’s one of the most flexible expenses.

But there is a tendency to forgo the healthiest items on our lists, such as fruits and vegetables. It’s not a good idea to sacrifice your health in order to save a few bucks, however, so here are a few tips you can use.

It takes a bit of work to eat healthy when you are on a tight budget, but it absolutely can be done. If you’re committed to following through, then you can still buy the ingredients for hearty, wholesome, nutritious meals that won’t put too much of a dent in your wallet.

The first thing you have to do is forget about buying prepackaged foods. It’s no secret that consumers pay a premium for the convenience of bagged salads, heat-and-serve breakfast sandwiches, and the like.

You can save lots of money each week by making your own salads and meals with fresh ingredients. Moreover, a key component in how to eat healthy is avoiding the preservatives that often go into prepackaged goods, so you’ll actually be killing two birds with one stone.

Another thing to do is to use coupons or stick to items that are on sale. This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how few people take advantage of free coupons anymore.

Shopping this way does take some discipline, so be prepared to make frequent substitutions. If apples aren’t on sale this week, make do with oranges instead. If beef has been slowly creeping up in price, switch to turkey or chicken.

Most people who know how to eat healthy on a tight budget are very strict about the sales-only rule. It really makes a difference!

And finally, if the option is available to you, consider joining a wholesale club such as Costco or BJ’s. In addition to the typical gallon jugs of ketchup these places are known for, they also sell meats and produce.

If you have enough room in your freezer, you can stock up on lean cuts of beef, pork, or chicken, and simply defrost them when you’re ready to cook.

Similarly, you can purchase discount produce – as long as you’re sure you can use all of it before it goes bad. Loading up on vegetables and then making a couple weeks’ worth of stews and casseroles to freeze is something lots of folks do.

These are just a few basic ideas for how to eat healthy on a budget. I know it’s tempting to simply stop off at McDonald‘s or Burger King and order off the dollar menu on your way home from work, but you won’t be doing your waistline any favors that way. Your health is worth the extra effort!



Tips For Eating Out Healthy

By Gordon David

I found out the hard way that eating out healthy is possible, but it’s a challenge. One of the biggest obstacles I have faced in my quest to get healthy and fit is eating out. Most of the time, I don’t have time to pack a lunch and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t.

I like to socialize with my coworkers over lunch every day, and since they go out to meals, I do too. For dinner, I go out with my wife at least three times a week.

Between all that, I’m eating out almost as many meals as I’m staying in every week. Needless to say, it makes resisting temptation and planning my meals a bit more difficult.

I know that the strategies that help one person eat healthy will not necessarily help another, but there are certain things that have worked for me. When I first started trying to eat out healthy, I figured that I could go to all my old haunts.

I found, however, that I consistently gave into temptation. It was just too hard to say no to a meaty, greasy pizza or calzone, or a delicate, tender steak. For the first month, all I managed to do was lie to myself that I was eating out healthy.

Finally, I realized that I had to try some different restaurants that offered choices more in line with my diet. I started eating at vegan and vegetarian restaurants where I had no choice but to eat a relatively healthy meal. Because I was eating most of my main meals at these restaurants, it drastically cut my intake of meat. Before long, I was shedding pounds and feeling better than I had in a while.

After I had gotten the knack for eating out healthy, I decided to try reintroducing some of my old restaurants while making more healthy choices. I would go out for Italian but, instead of having a pasta dish appetizer and a big steak for dinner, I would have a light pasta as my entire dinner.

Eating Out Healthy Chicken Ceasar Salad Other times, I would eat a big Caesar salad or a Greek village salad for a meal. I kept the vegetarian restaurants in my rotation. I found out that I really liked them, and they also helped me with healthy eating; when I was feeling tempted, I would go to a vegetarian restaurant where I wouldn’t be able to break down and order a steak even if I wanted to.

All in all, my experiment has been a success. Eating out healthy is possible if you are realistic with yourself and avoid temptation until you get a handle on your diet.