Tuesday, June 22, 2010

About those recipes.....on Fox 5 Atlanta

The Lady of the Refrigerator...reveals......

Avocado Spring Rolls
Makes 8 rolls

3/4 cup finely shredded Napa cabbage (packaged angel hair works great too!)
1/4 cup fresh Thai basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, thinly sliced
1/2 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced ¼” thick lengthwise
1/4 cup citrus dipping sauce*

4 ounces (1/4 pound) cooked chicken breast (Rotisserie chicken is perfect for this)

*Citrus dipping sauce:
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Whisk all ingredients together

16 rice paper wrappers

Make the citrus dipping sauce and set aside for flavors to blend.
Remove skin from chicken breast and shred into small pieces. Combine the cabbage, basil, mint, cilantro and toss. Cut the red pepper, cucumber and avocado.

Fill a shallow pan with hot water. One at a time, dip the rice paper wrappers in the hot water until soft and pliable. Spread the hydrated rounds onto a clean, flat, dry surface. Arrange avocado and peppers in a single layer across the center of the rice paper round; spread 1/4 cup of the cabbage mixture on top then 1/2 oz. chicken. Drizzle with the dipping sauce. Fold the bottom end of the rice paper over the top of the mixture, fold the sides up and then roll into a tight cylinder, "burrito style". Repeat until all ingredients are used. Cut diagonally and serve with the dipping sauce.

Watermelon and Mango Salsa
Serves 6

1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely minced
1 small jalapeno pepper, core and ribs removed, finely diced
1/4 cup red onion, 1/4" dice
2 cups watermelon, 1/4" dice
1 ripe mango, peeled and 1/4" diced
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, 1/4" diced (1 small cucumber)
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, very thinly sliced

In a large bowl, whisk lime juice, brown sugar, salt, ginger and pepper until sugar dissolves. Dice the onion and soak in ice water to remove acid and crisp. While onion is soaking, cut watermelon, mango, cucumber, and mint and add to the bowl with the dressing. Drain the red onion and add to the fruit mixture; gently toss. Cover and chill. Season with salt to taste and serve cold.

This is great with a baked, whole grain tortilla chip or over grilled fish or chicken.

See these recipes on Fox 5 Good Day Atanta


The New Picture of Health

What should Americans be eating today?
Congratulations to those who say they’re trying to eat a better diet to lose some weight and improve their overall health.

As you’ve no doubt heard, the American diet could use some improvements to battle obesity and help prevent diet-related illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. But what does a healthy diet look like these days?

Does it mean trading steaks on the grill for tofu and bean sprouts? Should salad bowls be bigger and ice cream bowls be banned? Are there clearly defined dietary devils and angels?

Addressing these questions is the job of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. It was established to update the 2005 Dietary Guidelines by taking a look at the latest and greatest nutrition research and then advising leaders at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on what Americans should be eating today.

In its report, released this month, the committee concludes that, “On average, Americans of all ages consume too few vegetables, fruits, high-fiber whole grains, low-fat milk and milk products, and seafood, and they eat too much added sugars, solid fats, refined grains, and sodium.”

Translation: Spend more time exploring the produce section and less time eyeing fried chicken in the deli.

Get off the 'soFAs'

Remember all the talk about “couch potatoes,” referring to sedentary habits that contribute to weight gain? Well now couches are joined by sofas! The 2010 Dietary Guidelines report warns that “SoFAS” (solid fats and added sugars) contribute about 35 percent of calories to the American diet for kids, teens and adults.

"Solid fats" refers to the fat in butter, cheese, stick margarine, vegetable shortening (oils that are hydrogenated to be solid at room temperature) and the fats in meats.

"Added sugars" doesn’t need much explanation, but don’t forget that includes soft drinks. The report states, “Reducing the intake of SoFAS can lead to a badly needed reduction in energy intake and inclusion of more healthful foods into the total diet.” So couches and sofas are out, but tables are in. The committee included advice to encourage the enjoyment of healthy food and pointed to the benefits of Mediterranean-style dietary patterns.

Translation: Set a table outside with platters of grilled fish and lemons, vegetables drizzled with olive oil and sliced melon for dessert; preferably with a view of the sea.

The 2010 ‘Uncle Sam Diet,' if you will.The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report: “Shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.”

Translation: Check out the vegetarian entrees on menus when dining out, even if you’re not a vegetarian, to increase intake of valuable nutrients including fiber and antioxidants.
The report: “Increase the intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products and consume only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs.”

Translation: You don’t have to cut milkshakes or steaks from a healthy diet. Lean toward low-fat dairy and lean meats. For instance, from flank steak to top sirloin, there are 29 different cuts of beef that qualify as lean with less than 10 grams of fat per serving.
The report: “Significantly reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats because these dietary components contribute excess calories and few, if any, nutrients.”

Translation: Don’t waste calories on sugar-sweetened beverages and deep-fried foods. If you do, spend those calories wisely with smaller portions enjoyed less frequently.

The report: “Reduce sodium intake.”

Translation: Shaking a salt habit doesn’t have to mean suffering with bland foods. Add a world of healthy flavors with fresh herbs, dried herbs, spices, citrus, vinegars, salsas, garlic and mushrooms. Cooking techniques such as grilling, roasting and pan searing caramelize the natural sugars and proteins in foods to add flavor.
The report: “Lower intake of refined grains, especially refined grains that are coupled with added sugar, solid fat, and sodium.”

Translation: Looks like we'd better go easy on the doughnuts and tortilla chips.
To read the full report from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, go to www.dietaryguidelines.gov.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vacation Diet

Just because you’re taking a vacation or even a “stay-cation” with time off spent at home doesn’t mean an escape from diet and fitness habits. In fact, many people today are using their precious days away from a hectic work schedule to attend to health goals. So vacation time is emerging as an opportune time to focus on wellness. Flexible days where you decide what to do when are perfect for taking a pilates class for the first time at a resort or gathering goodies at the local farmer’s market and leisurely cooking up meals at a vacation house.

Registered dietitian, Donna Shields, MS RD has noticed this emerging health trend in her conversations with vacationers in Key West, Florida where she is a self professed “southernmost nutritionist.” Author of the Caribbean Light cookbook, she’s well qualified to help clients trim the calories in a poolside pina colada or discover the healthy flavors of fruit salsas on grilled fish, “Mango and other tropical fruit salsas can be a healthy accompaniment to an entrée or as a sandwich topping; lots of fresh flavor, few calories and a nutritious choice. For cocktails, the Mojito would be a good choice, although it will contain some simple syrup or sugar, most of this rum beverage is club soda which is calorie free. Frozen blended drinks such as Key West’s famous margaritas are usually loaded with sugar, made from presweetened mixes. Pina coladas are a double whammy in that they also can be fairly high in fat due to the cream of coconut.”

Of course, vacations are meant to be fun and an escape from the everyday but indulge wisely. A week of eating breakfast buffets, fabulous lunches and late night dinners followed by an evening of libations can add up to significant weight gain. An extra 3 to 5 pounds is not exactly the souvenir you wanted to bring home with you!

Vacation Diet Tips:

Lighten up expectations- Unless you’re headed to a spa with strict diet and exercise regimes, aim to maintain your weight on vacation.

Try something new- Add the adventure of tasting healthy new foods such as a fish you’ve never tried before, tropical fruits or fresh picked mountain berries.

Hammock time- Know that taking an afternoon nap or collapsing early for a good night’s sleep is not just recharging your batteries it’s helping with weight control. Research shows that getting enough sleep keeps your metabolism humming more efficiently and that helps burn calories!

Packing for vacation – Include healthy snacks such as nuts, fresh fruit, popcorn, whole grain crackers, low fat cheeses in a vacation road trip or air travel packing list.

Skip work but not meals - Eat 3 meals and allow one or two 100-150 calorie snacks per day. Make sure to include sources of lean protein (eggs, fish, chicken, lean beef cuts and non fat milk and yogurts) to keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day.

Choose favorites – If it’s melted butter on Maine lobster that makes your vacation or fresh churned ice cream at the beach that helps you melt into relaxed mode; then go for it! Skip the things you really don’t care about (such as the bread basket at dinner or cheese on a burger) to allow for the calories your really crave.

Exercise some fun -“Leave the car keys in the hotel room and start walking everywhere,” advises Shields, “Biking in Key West is what I would call “functional” exercise. We don’t really think of it as exercise but simply a way to get from one place to another. It’s practical, quick, very green and there’s no hassle or cost of parking. It’s great for the quadriceps muscles which don’t get much use if you’re used to sitting at a desk all week.”

Feeling Better Already - A little down time helps us get in touch with our bodies, minds and our taste buds. Eating mindfully and really savoring flavors is an important part of wellness advice today. As Sheilds shares, “Having fun on vacation is important, doing something nice for yourself can also make you feel better. Sharing a bottle of wine with a little platter of olives and nuts with friends at sunset could be the highlight of your trip.”

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer Lights

A toast to summer!!
How about a little rose wine this summer? Remember Mateus? Perfect with crab cakes at a pool party.
Mateus is an inexpensive medium-sweet frizzante rosé wine produced in Portugal. From research, ie Wikepedia!!"The brand was created in 1942 and production began at the end of World War II. The wine was especially styled to appeal to the rapidly developing North American and northern European markets. Production grew rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s and by the late 1980s, supplemented by a white version, it accounted for over 40% of Portugal's table wine exports."

I think a litle pink is poised to make a comeback. Dry rose wines are ALL the rage in smart sets now from Montreal to Montana. Now.....here's a toast to summer slimmers!!

Summer rules! Time to wind down, wear shorts on weekdays, dine outside and declare a free zone away from all of the fuss. Foods lighten up too. Summer issues in a new crop of restaurant menus featuring more salads, grilled entrées, cold soups, frozen drinks and fruit for dessert. The heat drives more diners to cool down with chilled foods and cold beverages and because summer fashions bare more skin there’s more demand for diet-friendly dishes. The problem is that “light and fresh” doesn’t always mean light in fat and calories.
Summer Salads
Whether you’re tossing your own or eyeing the salad section on a restaurant menu beware of the summer salad “blockbusters”. Many overly huge entrée salads aren’t a slam dunk for summer dieters so check web site nutrition information for the big chain restaurants. Many weigh in around 1000 calories. And anywhere you dine, stop and do the mental math- high fat ingredients add about 100 calories per ounce. So chances are when you pile on the cheese, fried chicken, croutons, bacon bits and salad dressing you’ve probably eaten more calories than a large burger and fries.
Remember that the principle ingredients in a salad are supposed to be fresh, raw vegetables, which are low in calories, a good source of fiber to keep you feeling full. Pick veggies in lots of different colors to contribute a wide variety of nutrients to your diet. Add a total of 3 to 4 ounces of lean proteins such as boiled egg, grilled chicken or steak, steamed shrimp, seared tuna or deli sliced roast beef, turkey or ham. Accessorize with a few nuts or small amount of grated parmesan or crumbled goat cheese.
What’s really refreshing to see this summer is a bumper crop of culinary creativity in the salad category. Cheryl Orlansky, dietitian and spokesperson for the Georgia Dietetic Association likes what’s on the menu at Metro Fresh in midtown Atlanta, “To help plan I check their daily specials on line before I go. For example, English Peas and Black Eyed Peas in a salad with mint from their garden with a little feta cheese and lemon zest with olive oil.” Orlansky also likes Metro Fresh’s version of Spaghetti and Meatballs which turns the dish into sort of a salad, “Instead of pasta they use julienned zucchini and yellow squash topped with marinara and meatballs. There’s lots of creativity here.”
Slimming Summer Menus:
- Look for menus that take advantage of summer’s bountiful harvest of low calorie nutrient rich produce including tomatoes, cucumbers, field peas, peaches, basil, and all kinds of berries. Did you know that the vitamin C in produce is essential for building collagen for healthy skin? Another summer beauty tip.
- Don’t be fooled by the fire. Grilled meats and fish are often slathered with butter or oil so request that your order be brushed lightly with oil. Orlansky likes what’s going on the wood fired grill at Fuego Mundo, a South American inspired restaurant in Sandy Springs, “It’s easy to eat well here. Pick a protein, such as tilapia, tuna, sea bass, honey citrus salmon, chicken, chicken sausage, steak, lamb, or tofu. Then you choose your veggie sides such as plantains, rice, quinoa, or black beans. You can go vegan, vegetarian or full on carnivore at this fun spot.”
- Avoid cream based cold soups and go for choices chock full of vegetables such as gazpacho. Fruit soups, from melon to strawberry are delicious and nutritious summer menu additions, too.
- Instead of ice cream or gelato, you’ll save hundreds of calories per serving by choosing fresh fruit sorbets or frozen desserts made with low fat or fat free milk. Many of those trendy frozen yogurt outlets make versions with fat free milk, but watch the toppings. Choose fresh fruit when possible and skip the crushed candies. Milk and muscle note: A study in June issue of Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise reports that women who drank two glasses of fat free milk a day after their work outs improved muscle tone and lost more fat.
- Think about your drink. Pina coladas may be popular poolside cocktails, but the high calorie content really doesn’t pair well with a bikini! Count 400 calories per 8 ounces of a Pina colada, margarita, or fruit daiquiri. Look for the new ‘skinny’ mixers made with no calorie sweeteners such as sucralose or stevia. Or for less than 100 calories per 8 ounces choose a light beer, vodka and soda with spritz of fruit juice or a rum and diet cola.