Have a Quick Healthy Breakfast

By Clare Jamison

Millions of people run out the door each morning without eating breakfast, and they pay the price for it too. Those on diets wish to avoid the calories, but most skip this meal because they don’t have the time to make something or they simply don’t see the importance of eating when they first wake up.

Some people are simply not hungry right away and don’t want to force themselves to eat something. Whatever the case, eating a quick healthy breakfast is not as hard as you think, and is more important than you may realize.

Breakfast is fuel for your morning. Without eating a quick healthy breakfast you are faced with lagging mental facilities and a lagging body as well. You will not think quickly and on your feet without breakfast, and you may feel sleepy throughout the morning.

You may also have a big lunch because you are starving by that time, bogging down your digestive system so much that you may feel like napping at two in the afternoon. Productive workers and students, as well as moms at home, know this is not the way to go about the day if you want to get things done.

Those that are dieting and skipping a quick healthy breakfast are making a mistake for the very same reasons. Though you are not consuming calories then, you may end up consuming even more later on because your body is going to demand nourishment.

When you do not eat breakfast you are going to be doubly hungry and you are going to eat twice as much later. If you had taken just a few minutes to get something to eat in the morning you could have actually shaved calories off of your day. You will make up for missed breakfast later, and usually with poor food choices.

A quick healthy breakfast does not have to be complicated. One of the best things that you can have for breakfast is fruit. You can get canned fruit, but fresh fruit is the best option.

If you do not want to be standing around cutting up fruit in the morning, get things like grapes that you can just grab and pop into your mouth. Slice up the fruit that you love the night before and have it ready for the next morning. You can even make a fruit salad (no added sugars though) so that you can take it with you or have a quick bowl in the morning.

You can also go with things like protein shakes from a package or a bowl of high fiber cereal in the morning for a quick healthy breakfast. These things will fill you up easily and give you the mental and physical edge that you need in the morning no matter what you have coming up that day.

Some people like to make pancakes or waffles and freeze them, and then toss them in the toaster in the morning for a quick breakfast. This works well as these items freeze and thaw rather easily and taste good after freezing.

Whatever the case, there is no excuse for skipping this meal, which many consider the most important of the day.

Make Heart Healthy Recipes for Your Party

By Gwyn Seabrooke

We all know that party buffets have delicious temptations for the dieter, diabetic and heart patient. Wouldn’t it be nice if you attended a party that filled the table with heart healthy foods tasty enough to please a crowd? Is this possible? Yes! Here we’ve got some ideas for entrees, side dishes and desserts you’ll be proud to serve and happy to eat.

I’ve scanned the many heart healthy recipe books and magazines to get a sense of how they differ from ordinary cuisine. My impression was that, well, they didn’t sound too interesting and a little on the stingy side.

I decided to come up with some generic heart healthy recipes, where you might ‘mix and match’, swapping out a zucchini for broccoli, for example. Or, substituting wild rice for white and mushrooms for corn.

Most cooks have a good sense of color, texture and size, as well as intuitively knowing combinations of foods that taste good together. In terms of ingredients and a variety of food groups, what makes heart healthy recipes that are tasty and satisfying and even elegant?

Perhaps the first signature is that the dish is low in fat and sodium. Being low in fat or salt does not at all negate a resulting gourmet pleaser. Olive oil is the recommended healthy oil for cooking.

Next, use the freshest, top quality produce you can buy. Learn to use seasonings, both for salt and fat substitutes in the flavor arena. Use lean meats, fish, seafood and poultry.

When you shop for grains, pasta and breads, choose whole grain products, rich in fiber. Use 1% dairy products to keep the fat down.

For dessert, a fruit cup with sherbet and sprigs of mint make simple, heart healthy recipes that are just right after dinner. Following the basic shopping guidelines and with a little creative imagination, you can create the most amazing gourmet delights, ones your heart will love as well.

You’ll soon become a master of your own heart healthy recipes by just getting online and searching out sites with food and seasoning compatibility charts. For example, did you know that thyme makes a plain green bean taste like a whole new food?

Studying these charts can become fascinating when you begin to learn how these humble herbs and spices can enhance the taste of a particular food. You can also check the bookstores for books that match foods with seasonings.

You’ll benefit from purchasing (or checking out from the library) a good nutritional reference guide, a wealth of information on nutritive value of various foods. This helps you pair the right ingredients when creating heart healthy recipes on your own.

When you cook produce, steaming the veggies in a steam basket retains the maximum amount of nutrients, as well as delivering all of the fresh flavor with a good crunch.

There are several herbs which make perfect additions to heart healthy recipes:

1.Cayenne pepper may be used in its whole, fresh form or used in powdered form in a spicy blend to bring a little zip to a bland side of rice, or lightly sprinkled on a shrimp or crab Louie. Cayenne reduces both your blood pressure and pulse rate, as well as toning and strengthening the heart muscle. Good stuff!

2.Garlic is a powerfully valuable addition to any heart healthy recipes and is so versatile, it may be used in salads, to marinate meats or as a spread for breads. Garlic has some pretty impressive credentials: it reduces your blood pressure, LDLs and triglycerides, while increasing the HDLs. This superstar helps eliminate fats from your blood and promotes good circulation. Fresh slivers of garlic are best, but garlic packed in a jar may be more convenient. Use liberally to realize these many benefits.

3.Rosemary is a tonic for your heart, toning and strengthening the function of the heart, as well as helping to normalize blood pressure. Happily, it also makes a delicious garnish for poultry, beef and mild-flavored fish, such as snapper or tilapia. A sprig of fresh rosemary adds great flavor to roasted potatoes.

4.The common seasoning, celery seed, is one of the most effective ways to lower blood pressure, promoting good circulation and a healthy flow of blood to the heart. Celery seed is good in a rice stuffing for poultry. Cook the rice in chicken broth, adding celery seed, fresh parsley, sliced black olives and green onions. Not only is this good for your heart, but tastes wonderful with the poultry. Try adding celery seed to a potato salad, along with diced onions (which also reduce BP) and freshly snipped parsley.

5.Artichokes contain a substance known as cynarin, which helps control cholesterol levels, accomplished by suppressing the production of cholesterol in the liver. Cynarin works in much the same way as the statin drugs. In addition, cynarin flushes old deposits of cholesterol from the liver, ultimately resulting in the breakdown and flushing of fats. That’s not all: artichokes help reduce the LDLs and raise the HDLs. Steamed artichoke hearts make a great side dish, while marinated artichoke hearts dress up any salad or antipasto platter.

Now you know some of the foods which can be eaten separately or combined, in a myriad of ways, for tasty and heart healthy recipes.

You can create these dishes on the fly.  Start with a whole grain pasta or rice, top the rice with a seasoned meat or fish and serve a leafy green salad with garlic bread. The possibilities are almost endless. BTW, your guests probably won’t know these are heart healthy recipes – they taste and look too good!

Healthy Junk Food is an Oxymoron

By Anouk Brandt

New studies suggest that while junk food may never exactly be healthy, some choices certainly can be more healthy than others. Does that mean there is such a thing as healthy junk food?

For instance, if you are at a street stand or food truck, and you are trying to make your mind up between rotisserie chicken and a hotdog, which should be your pick for some healthy junk food?

Surprisingly, the answer there would be the humble hot dog.

Rotisserie chicken, during the cooking process, gains carcinogenic compounds (that’s what lives in the crispy burned skin). Pepperoni and hotdogs, on the other hand aren’t cooked that way and can be better for your health.

The carcinogenic compounds in meats that are fried or grilled, are called HCAs. And researchers have been trying to find out how much of these carcinogens we end up taking in as we innocently pick any one of a variety of ready-to-eat meat products.

Researchers in this study, at the Kansas State University, certainly had a very pleasant task before them. It was their job to try to make up ready-to-eat fast food of the kind people buy everyday and find out which items have the least cancer-causing HCAs. This way, the feel they could narrow your menu down to the most healthy junk food you could buy.

And this is what they found: pepperoni has the least cancer potential. Hot dogs and deli meat are nearly the same as well. Bacon that’s well-cooked and rotisserie chicken, on the other hand, have high levels of cancer-causing HCA’s.

Which brings us to a simple rule – the more frying or grilling anything goes through, the more dangerous it is for your health.

Advice of this kind can be particularly good for women who are pregnant. For some reason, when you’re pregnant, you crave just the kinds of things that you’re not supposed to have. Researchers find that mothers who give in to those junk food cravings too much when they are pregnant end up raising children who have lifelong problems with obesity.

If you really crave potato chips for instance, try to make do with pretzels or tortilla chips. If you can’t think of anything other than a great beef patty burger, you could try instead to do with a turkey burger that’s not cooked as much.

Still, healthy junk food is really an oxymoron. Would you agree?

Easy Healthy Recipes You Can Make Quickly at Home

By Gwyn Seabrooke

Here we’ve got some suggestions on fast and easy healthy recipes you can whip up at home. Most take no more time than it takes to stop by the pizza place or fast food drive-through and keeps a little more gas money in your pocket.

You may have admired those super-Mom types in the past, who can feed a family of four on $400 a month. While you probably thought they spent all day baking homemade bread and clipping coupons, a reduced food budget is now a reality for the majority.

Let’s see how you can juggle that hectic schedule and save money without working yourself into a state of exhaustion.

At the core of a money saving food plan is organization. Menu planning, taking advantage of the weekly supermarket sales and clipping coupons give you a big edge. However, when you’re short on time as well, you also need a repertoire of easy healthy recipes to make the most of your food dollars.

Changing your shopping habits can stretch your budget significantly. This strategy goes hand in hand with menu planning. When you shop, don’t buy more than you’ll use in a week. You’ll avoid waste.

Serve foods that are on sale this week. Stock up on sale-priced canned goods, which don’t spoil and provide ready ingredients for a quick, impromptu meal based on your pantry contents.

Easy healthy recipes start with fresh or frozen, top quality foods. Shop your local farmer’s market, where you’ll typically find better prices, fresher produce and organically grown foods. If you don’t think you can live without a cookbook, think again. Easy healthy recipes can spring right from your imagination!

With whole-grain pastas, meat or fish and a few veggies, you can serve delicious, nutritious meals, made with the ingredients your family enjoys, on the cheap, in 30 minutes or less!

So what are the guidelines for producing such healthy recipes, without the help of a cook book? First, choose simple combinations. Rice and pasta are the basis of many a delectable entree. Add whatever type of meat, fowl or fish that sounds good.

You’ll use far less chicken in a pasta based dish than you will in a fried chicken dinner. Throw in a mix of colorful veggies and you’ve got dinner. For an extra filling meal, just add a can of low sodium cream of chicken or mushroom soup.

All-in-one dishes, such as casseroles, saving electricity and prep time without a ‘stingy’ result. A case in point is our modified meatloaf, truly a fast, easy healthy recipe without the cookbook.

Make your meatloaf as usual. Pack it in a 9 x 9 inch baking pan. A can of Spanish-style corn, drained and seasoned with taco spices, is layered on top. Top it off with a couple of cups of instant mashed potatoes and bake. Ten minutes before it’s done, sprinkle generously with grated pepper jack or cheddar. This easy healthy recipe hits all the nutritional requirements and serves up six generous portions.

This brings us to do-ahead meals. If you’re making one meatloaf, you might as well make two. One effort and one set of dishes to clean up. One less dinner prep. Freeze and save!

Homemade soups are great dinners for cold fall and winter nights. These easy healthy recipes practically cook themselves and grant a good deal of artistic license to the cook. Put a whole chicken in the stock pot and simmer slowly. Remove the meat and strip off fat and bones.

An onion, a few stalks of celery, carrots, corn or bell pepper and you’ve got an original, easy and healthy recipe. Put your chicken back in the pot just before serving. Salad and a loaf of bread as accompaniments makes an inexpensive, nutritious, but very tasty dinner.

The take-out subways are always family favorites. Create your own for big savings and family appeal. Subways made with whole grain breads, Kaiser rolls or pita bread are not only cheap, but nutritious. Pack these with a bunch of greens, sprouts, jalapenos, bell peppers – or whatever good looking produce is at the market today.

You don’t need a great deal of meat. Add some calcium with a couple of slices of cheese. Dress the sandwich with your favorite dressing and you’ve got happy campers at the dinner table, courtesy of an easy healthy recipe and your imagination.

Most of us eat far more protein than we need and far too few veggies. Switch this around with chef’s salads, composed of an abundance of greens and veggies your family likes, with a small mound of shrimp, chicken, tuna or whatever strikes your fancy. Another dozen easy recipes at your disposal!

It’s clear, we’re all going to have to sharpen our skills and imagination, with a strategy that produces nutritious, easy healthy recipes that leave our food budget breathing! You can still get kick-back time, perhaps more than afforded in the take-out scenario. You can enjoy restaurant quality meals on a shoestring, as you save time and money.

Healthy Breakfast Menu at Fast Food Restaurants?

By Gwyn Seabrooke

Not long ago, if you told anyone that for your healthy breakfast menu every morning, you stopped by at your local fast food joint, they would look at you like you had lost your marbles.

Well, fast food mainstays like McDonald’s are finally seeing how a large part of their clientele would really appreciate healthier alternatives. And that they would come to a fast food restaurant for a healthier alternative because fast food restaurants are everywhere and are easy to access.

So how do you find a healthy breakfast menu when you get to the fast food restaurant down the road? What you need of course, is an item that offers you a healthy set of complex carbohydrates – in other words, you need whole products. You also need healthy fats and proteins to feel filled.

For instance, what kind of healthy breakfast menu could you expect at Dunkin’ Donuts? You could expect something very healthy if you order the Egg White Turkey Sausage Wake-Up Wrap. If you’re watching your fat and calorie intake, this particular recipe should leave you really happy.

It comes with a lean cheddar cheese, spinach and turkey sausage all in a nice wrap. The best part is, it doesn’t taste diet; it tastes pretty rich. The only complaint with this breakfast item is that it’s kind of small. You would probably have to buy more than one.

McDonald’s has some great healthy offerings. Consider the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal bowl, for instance. The first thing you notice about it is that it comes topped with beautiful chopped red and green apples – a colorful complement unlike you’ve ever come to expect from McDonald’s. It is even sweetened with brown sugar. The oatmeal is great for your cholesterol and the cranberries and raisins put you in a great mood.

Starbucks has a great line in color too. Their Protein Artisan Snack Plate may be small; but you get everything you need in a great healthy breakfast – you get whole-grain, two kinds of fresh fruit, healthy fats, whole-wheat bread and peanut butter. It just sounds healthy even to read these out.

And finally, if you have a Subway in your neighborhood, consider their Western Egg White & Cheese Muffin Melt. It’s an English muffin sliced in two and stuffed with black forest ham, peppers, cheese, red onion and egg whites. It comes with a side of apple slices or yogurt.

So next time you are tempted to skip breakfast while racing off to work, stop and pick up something off these healthy breakfast menus.

A Few Healthy Energy Foods

By Bliss Blaire

Lack of proper information and over-dependence on TV guidance on diet can be said to be among the reasons why many people these days are ending up with processed, sugary foods and drinks on their tables. Some of the foods and drinks are great for a person who wants to boost their energy but it should be noted that such kind of energy only lasts for a short time.

There are, however, healthy energy foods that one can use to boost their strength. While these foods might work very well to boost energy, it is important to note that one will not only have to change the food they eat but they will also have to change their lifestyles.

When in it comes to energy boosting foods, one should try as much as they can to feed on living, raw things as uncooked food is known to maintain its natural properties known to boost energy as well as other nutrients.

It is an open secret as well that one stands to get more energized if their diet includes more healthy energy foods such as fruits, seeds, nuts and plant food.

Another well known fact is that human beings use more energy digesting animal meat as compared to when they eat green vegetables. In addition to this, green vegetables entail the greatest amount the much need living energy compared to the energy that is contained in the flesh of dead animals.

Specifically, there are foods such as raw cacao (powder or nibs) that can help a person who is seeking to get re-energized. Raw cacao contains antioxidants and magnesium ad is therefore quite effective and this is especially when it is combined with the mostly popular sunflower seeds.

Spirulina is another kind of food that is known to boots energy levels. Spirulina is basically a dense green blue algae that is very rich in B vitamins particularly B12, Beta Carotene and protein.

Compared to oranges, Goji berries vitamin C is 500 times more per each ounce. While they are very nutritious kids should always be allowed to have only a handful of goji berries.

Raisins are also included among the healthy energy foods and contained in raisins is potassium, magnesium, fiber and iron which can help one keep alert and stay full for a long time. Raisins are also ideal for people who go to the gym because they also contain fructose and glucose that can be quite instrumental in providing power-up for muscle building.

Almonds which are really a great source of protein and vitamin E are also energy giving foods. When one includes almonds I their diet they will be full for a number of hours. Also in almonds are ingredients like zinc, magnesium, iron, monounsaturated fat, potassium and a number of phyto-chemicals that work to keep the heart healthy as well. With the right foods, it is easy having energy.

Enjoy Healthy Christmas Recipes and Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

By Gwyn Seabrooke

The Christmas season is certainly a time that most of us pull out all the stops, enjoying every little goodie that passes our way. ‘Tis the season and the very idea of healthy Christmas recipes seems to take all the fun away!

However, as we all know, ’tis also the season where we put on ten pounds and have to make that inevitable New Year’s resolution.

Another problem arises when you’ve got health conditions that will only get worse if you overindulge. Here we’ve got some ideas for some healthy Christmas recipes and strategies to enable you to celebrate, scarf up some delicious, albeit healthy food, have plenty of fun and perhaps only gain three pounds.

Let’s start with some general strategies that help you avoid general overindulgence.

When you consider the number of occasions put before you, it’s amazing we don’t all gain twenty pounds! Office parties, neighborhood gatherings, brunches, the church bake sale, cocktail parties and the Christmas dinner are filled with temptations.

An hour or so before you leave for a party, eat a small meal of healthy snacks to quell your appetite a tad.

For example, a healthy Christmas recipe made of an attractive platter of dipping veggies and a spinach and Greek yogurt dip. This gets you in the spirit of the festivities to come, while filling you up just enough to take the edge off your appetite. When you arrive at the party, you’ll be satisfied with smaller portions of the goodies spread out before you.

Alcoholic beverages are plentiful during the round of parties and can really help pack on the pounds. For every glass of wine or cocktail you have, have two beverages that are non-alcoholic, yet festive. Fruit punches and spiced ciders are good substitutes.

Cookies and sweets are a traditional part of the Christmas festivities. For some of us, not spending a couple of weeks baking up fudge, cookies and sweets is unthinkable. The kids would never be the same!

Try making half as many sweets, using the other half of your time making salt dough ornaments and decorations to hang on the tree and to give as gifts.

The kids will love these activities and everyone will eat less of the stuff that’s bad for us. Take a walk around the neighborhood to check out the Christmas lights. You’ll have a good time, in keeping with the spirit of the season and burn off a few calories too.

Now, on to the nuts and bolts of healthy Christmas recipes that are so tempting, you won’t even know they’re good for you.

Let’s start with the Christmas bird…

Some people live for the skin on the turkey. If that’s not your thing, consider roasting a skinless turkey, much as you would a skinless chicken breast. This single modification saves about 3 grams of fat per serving, a healthy Christmas recipe indeed.

How about the stuffing? Try using less bread cubes and more veggies. Whatever your favorite veggie addition to your stuffing may be, double it and reduce the bread accordingly.

Chop up some onions, slice up a good quantity of mushrooms, celery or water chestnuts and moisten with a low sodium, low fat chicken broth and your favorite spices and fresh herbs. Voila! You’ve transformed a starchy, high calorie stuffing into a healthy recipe!

Use herbs and spices, rather than sugar or excessive amounts of salt, to spark the flavor of your dishes. If you’re unfamiliar with seasonings, you’ll find plenty of guidance online, at the library or bookstore.

Sweet spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger can stand in for sugar in many a recipe.

For example, carrots in an orange and ginger sauce is a dish even a kid can love. Pearl onions, spiced with a dash of nutmeg, in a low fat cream sauce are heavenly. Both are healthy Christmas recipes that have your diners asking for seconds!

A diverse assortment of brightly colored, well-seasoned foods produces the festive look and feel of the Christmas party, not the number of pounds of fat, salt and sugar!

Healthy Christmas recipes are not an oxymoron. You just need to put on your thinking cap. Merry Christmas! Here’s to one less New Year’s resolution.