Monthly Archives: July 2012

Three Bean Salad

This simple salad is one of my favorite afternoon snacks! The light and fresh salad is packed full of goodness. Great on its own as a healthy and filling snack or as an accompaniment to a variety of entrees.

1 1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-oz) can black-eyes peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 cups thinly sliced celery
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Cook edamame in a pot of boiling water, uncovered, 4 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold water to stop cooking.
2. Heat oil in a small heavy skillet over moderately low heat until hot but not smoking, then cook cumin, stirring, until fragrant and a shade darker, about 30 seconds. Pour into a large heatproof bowl.
3. Add edamame and remaining ingredients to cumin oil and toss to coat. Let stand 10 minutes for flavors to blend.

Gourmet Magazine March 2007


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Fish and Mercury

As a great source of protein packed full of good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and B vitamins, fish is a very important part of a heart-healthy diet. However, nearly all fish contain at least trace amounts of mercury, a contaminant. When mercury is eaten in excess, it may potentially affect brain development and the nervous system, especially in pregnant women and growing children.

According to the FDA, women and growing children can avoid the risk of overexposure by following 3 recommendations:
1. Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
2. Eat up to 12 oz (about 2 meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury such as shrimp, canned light tina, salmon, pollock, and catfish.
3. Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and costal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 oz per week.

I believe the benefits of moderate seafood consumption, even during pregnancy, far outweigh the potential harmful affects that mercury found in seafood may have on the human body.

For a more extensive list of mercury levels in fish, please see the FDA’s List

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Sunrise Parfaits

This healthy and tasty breakfast parfait can be made in advance and ready to go for a quick weekday breakfast. Packed full of vitamins, minerals, and protein, this sunrise parfait can help jump start your morning!

couscous and berries





2 cup low fat milk
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup dry whole wheat couscous
2-3 cup mixed berries or your favorite fruit
2 containers vanilla yogurt or greek yogurt
1/2 cup low-fat granola

1. In a small saucepan, bring milk and salt just to boiling. Stir in couscous. Remove fro heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
2. Divide couscous among six 8-oz plastic cups or to-go containers with lids. Top each with fruit and yogurt.
3. Serve warm or cover and chill overnight. Top with granola if serving immediately or before serving from chilled state.

Yield: 6 servings per recipe

Nutrition Facts per Serving: 199 calories, 2g fat, 40g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 8g protein

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Healthy Ingredient Substitutions

It is very easy to make recipes healthier by swapping out calorie dense ingredients for lower calorie alternatives without sacrificing taste. You may already have some of these healthy substitutions in your pantry!

This table can help you reduce the amount of fat, salt, sugar, and calories in many recipes:

If your recipe calls for this ingredient: Try substituting this ingredient:
Bacon Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, smoked turkey or lean prosciutto (Italian ham)
Bread, white Whole-grain bread
Bread crumbs, dry Rolled oats or crushed bran cereal
Butter, margarine, shortening or oil in baked goods Applesauce or prune puree for half of the called-for butter, shortening or oil; butter spreads or shortenings specially formulated for baking that don’t have trans fats

Note: To avoid dense, soggy or flat baked goods, don’t substitute oil for butter or shortening. Also don’t substitute diet, whipped or tub-style margarine for regular margarine.

Butter, margarine, shortening or oil to prevent sticking Cooking spray or nonstick pans
Cream Fat-free half-and-half, evaporated skim milk
Cream cheese, full fat Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, Neufchatel, or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth
Eggs Two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute for each whole egg
Flour, all-purpose (plain) Whole-wheat flour for half of the called-for all-purpose flour in baked goods

Note: Whole-wheat pastry flour is less dense and works well in softer products like cakes and muffins.

Fruit canned in heavy syrup Fruit canned in its own juices or in water, or fresh fruit
Ground beef Extra-lean or lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast (make sure no poultry skin has been added to the product)
Lettuce, iceberg Arugula, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach or watercress
Mayonnaise Reduced-calorie mayonnaise-type salad dressing or reduced-calorie, reduced-fat mayonnaise
Meat as the main ingredient Three times as many vegetables as the meat on pizzas or in casseroles, soups and stews
Milk, evaporated Evaporated skim milk
Milk, whole Reduced-fat or fat-free milk
Oil-based marinades Wine, balsamic vinegar, fruit juice or fat-free broth
Pasta, enriched (white) Whole-wheat pasta
Rice, white Brown rice, wild rice, bulgur or pearl barley
Salad dressing Fat-free or reduced-calorie dressing or flavored vinegars
Seasoning salt, such as garlic salt, celery salt or onion salt Herb-only seasonings, such as garlic powder, celery seed or onion flakes, or use finely chopped herbs or garlic, celery or onions
Soups, creamed Fat-free milk-based soups, mashed potato flakes, or pureed carrots, potatoes or tofu for thickening agents
Soups, sauces, dressings, crackers, or canned meat, fish or vegetables Low-sodium or reduced-sodium versions
Sour cream, full fat Fat-free or low-fat sour cream, plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt
Soy sauce Sweet-and-sour sauce, hot mustard sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
Sugar In most baked goods you can reduce the amount of sugar by one-half; intensify sweetness by adding vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon
Syrup Pureed fruit, such as applesauce, or low-calorie, sugar-free syrup
Table salt Herbs, spices, citrus juices (lemon, lime, orange), rice vinegar, salt-free seasoning mixes or herb blends
Yogurt, fruit-flavored Plain yogurt with fresh fruit slices

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Veggie Packed Spaghetti Sauce

This veggie packed spaghetti is a great way to get in extra servings of vegetables. Feel free to experiment with different vegetables and herbs to mix it up! This sauce can be frozen in individual portions and thawed later for a quick weeknight meal. Great served over whole-wheat pasta!


  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 3 medium yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) Italian crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 2 cans (2-1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • In a Dutch oven, saute the onions and peppers in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant and mushrooms; cook and stir for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until sauce is thickened.
    Yield: 14 servings (3-1/2 quarts).
Nutritional Facts: 1 cup equals 131 calories, 3 g fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 705 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 5 g protein.
Recipe from

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Choose MyPlate


MyPlate is based on the 2012 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to help consumers make better food choices. It is a visual representation of a place setting that incorporates the five food groups to make up a healthy meal. The MyPlate is only meant as a reminder to eat healthy; the size of the plate and the amount of food on the plate is different for each individual. See a registered dietitian to determine the amount that is right for you whether you want to lose, gain, or maintain your weight.

When building your own healthy plate, keep these key messages in mind:

  1. Balancing Calories: Enjoy your food, but eat less. Avoid oversized portions.
  2. Foods to Increase: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Make at least half your grains whole grains. Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
  3. Foods to Reduce: Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals – and choose foods with lower numbers. Drink water instead of sugary drinks.


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Zucchini Muffins

Zucchini Muffins

These wholesome muffins are perfect for an on-the-go breakfast or afternoon snack and a great way to use up all your extra summer zucchini! Zucchini is packed full of many vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy. To mix it up, add nuts or dried fruit to the recipe.


4 3/4 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1 cup)
3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine whole-wheat flour and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine zucchini, milk, oil, honey, and egg in a small bowl; stir until blended. Make a well in center of flour mixture; add milk mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

3. Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over tops of muffins. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 muffin)

Nutrition Facts per serving: 145 calories, 3.1g fat, 0.4g saturated fat, 3.5g protein, 27.1g carbohydrate, 1.8g fiber, 21mg cholesterol

Source: Cooking Light Magazine, June 2009

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