Thursday, March 6, 2014

Leader Enterprise - January 15, 2014 - Tips to help with a Healthy New Year

(Things got a little messed up with my regular publishing cycle.  I just found this in my drafts and even though it was intended for a January post, I'm sure these ideas can still be helpful and hopefully inspirational to many...) 

Since the most popular new year's resolutions seem to be getting healthy and losing weight, I wanted to share these ideas to help upgrade your healthy eating plan with these nutritional no-brainers! I certainly need practical ideas to consider in my every day eating,especially when I'm trying to make changes.
***Article written and shared by: Julie Upton, M.S., R.D., CSSD,Appetite for HealthCo-Author, 101 Fat Habits & Slim Solutions 
Here are ways you can slash the unhealthy saturated fat, added sugars, excess sodium and make your diet all-around healthier with these 10 simple steps.

-Fill your salt shaker with pepper and your pepper shaker with salt. Since salt shakers have more holes the switcheroo will help to slash your sodium intake.

-If you taste-test while cooking, you can add hundreds of mindless calories to your diet. To break this bad habit, chew gum while cooking or place a piece of masking tape over your mouth (really, it works!).

-Eat whole nuts in lieu of nut butters to trim calories. Research shows that when eating whole almonds or pistachios, some of the fat in the nuts is not absorbed by the body, making the available calories less that what’s on the label. Almonds are 25% lower in available calories and pistachios are 6% lower than labels state.

-If you watch TV, use your recorder to tape no more than two hour’s worth of programming per day and watch it later so you can fast-forward through all the food or beverage advertising. You’ll avoid the stimuli that triggers areas of the brain that make us want high-calorie foods.

-When making pasta dishes or casseroles for dinner, add additional vegetables to the dish. Pumping up the volume while keeping calories low is a way to trick your tummy full while cutting around 150 calories from your meal.

-Use a light, 100-calorie, fiber-rich wrap (i.e., Flat-Out) instead of two slices of bread when making sandwiches.You’ll save about 60 calories while getting more filling fiber and protein. Or use leaf lettuce in place of bread and shave about 150 calories from your sandwich.

-Eat your meals off smaller plates and bowls and you’ll serve yourself about 10 percent less, which can add up to hundreds of calories less every day. Strive for bowls that hold no more than 1 ½ cups and plates that are less than 9”in diameter.

-When whipping up whole gains, opt for quinoa. It has more filling protein than any other whole grain (4 grams per ½ cup serving).

-Opt for the more deeply-colored foods for more antioxidant benefits. Examples: Choose pink grapefruit instead of white; red grapes in lieu of green grapes; and vibrant green and red salad greens instead of the pale iceberg.

-Drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces of water every day to help elevate your metabolic rate (metabolism). So if you weigh 150 pounds,you should drink 75 ounces of water every day.

-Move a little more each day. Exercise is a natural way to stimulate many of our important “mood” hormones, including serotonin and dopamine. Just 15 to 20 minutes of exercise every day will naturally release these feel-good hormones that are so vital to feeling happy and balanced. Your family will thank you and you'll thank yourself.

This luscious soup recipe,from Nancy at Skinny Kitchen's website ( can be made with turkey or chicken. It's chocked full of fiber; you'll love it. This soup freezes great.

One cup has just 142 calories, 1 gram of fat, 5 grams of fiber and 3 Weight Watchers Points PLUS. It’s so low in fat and calories,you can serve it as a main course soup with 2 hearty cups!

1 (48 ounce) container Swanson’s reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (32-oz) container Swanson’s reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 c. dried pearl barley
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1-1/2 c. carrots, sliced
1-1/2 c. celery, sliced
1-1/2 c. onions, chopped
1 (12 oz) bag peeled and chopped butternut squash or 2-1/2 c. butternut squash, peeled and chopped 
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 lb.cooked turkey breasts or chicken, cubed

In a large pot, add the chicken broth and barley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. In the meantime, in a nonstick pan add the olive oil, garlic, carrots, celery, onions, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the sautéed vegetables to the broth. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Add butternut squash, thyme, sage an fresh ground pepper. Continue to cook uncovered for 25 minutes. Add the cooked turkey and stir with a rubber spatula so the squash doesn’t get mushy. Cook for 5 minutes more. This soup freezes great. Yield: 12 cups (Tip:poke holes into the whole squash and microwave for about 3 minutes. It will soften the skin so you should be able to peel it with a potato peeler.) 

Another recipe from Skinny Kitchen blog.(
I use a lot of Nancy's recipes and they're always delish.
Marinating chicken in citrus juices can make chicken very tender.
(I have Nancy's permission to use recipes & photo!)
                                            credit: Skinny Kitchen

The skinny for each serving, 153 calories, 3 grams of fat and 4 Weight Watchers Points PLUS.

Cooking spray
4 (4 ounce each)chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1/2 c. orange juice
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1 Tb. brown sugar
1 Tb. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tb. fresh garlic cloves,minced
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika or paprika
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. olive oil

In a small bowl, mix together orange juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, 1 teaspoon olive oil, paprika and red pepper flakes. Pour marinade over chicken and move around to coat well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, turning once, to coat. Can be marinated overnight. Coat a large nonstick pan with cooking spray. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil. Remove chicken from marinade and add to pan. Don’t throw out marinade. Cover and cook chicken on each side about 5 minutes. While chicken is cooking, add marinade to a small saucepan. Simmer for about 10 minutes to cook and to thicken a bit. When chicken is done, remove from pan and drizzle cooked marinade over chicken. Makes 4 servings, (each serving, 4 ounces chicken)

This healthy make ahead oatmeal dish is one of my favorites. It's amazingly moist and scrumptious. A favorite substitute for one egg, when baking, is to add 1 Tb. flax seed meal to 3 Tb. water. This substitute works for half the eggs called for in a recipe, when baking. It adds a bit of a nutty taste, but does not change up flavor overall.

2 eggs, lightly beaten
(I used one egg and the flax seed meal substitute)
3 c. 2% (or skim) milk
2 c. old-fashioned oats
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
(I used 1/4 c. brown sugar & 1/4 c. Brown Sugar Splenda)
1/4 c. canola oil
(I used applesauce)
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. dried cranberries (or fresh blueberries or chopped apples)
1/4 c. sliced almonds

In large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, oats, brown sugar, oil, cinnamon and salt. Stir in dried cranberries. Pour into a greased 8" square baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking. Uncover and stir; sprinkle with almonds. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 45-50 minutes (Please remember that Splenda bakes faster) or until a thermometer reaches 160.Serve warm, with milk if preferred. Yield: 9 servings

Here's to a healthy start to your new year!

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