Fresh Recipe: Grilled Vegetables with Basil and Pea Puree

Tuesday, July 08, 2014 9:32 AM comments (0)

basilDo you have a garden in the backyard or a few herbs growing in pots on your patio or balcony? Are you looking for healthy recipes that will put the delicious flavors of your harvest at the forefront of every meal? If basil happens to be one of your summer crops this year, you’re in luck.

Katrina Herrejon, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator, Adult Endocrinology Group, shares a vegetarian-friendly recipe that makes basil a star:

Recipe makes 5 servings
Ingredients:

For the puree: 
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2c pine nuts
3/4c basil, chopped
1 1/4c frozen peas
1/4c olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste 

For the grilled vegetables:
5 large (1/2” thick) tomato slices
5 medium portabella mushroom caps
5 medium (1/4” thick) jicama slices
2 tbsp of your favorite vinaigrette salad dressing
Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish:
5 basil leaves

Directions:

To prepare the puree: 

  • Place the garlic cloves, pine nuts, and basil in a food processor and blend until finely chopped.
  • Heat frozen peas according to the package instructions.
  • Add peas to the food processor and blend.  While blending slowly add the olive oil until the mixture becomes creamy.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and blend.

 To grill the vegetables:

  • Heat grill to medium/high heat.
  • Brush the vegetables with the salad dressing and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place jicama and mushroom caps on the grill and cook until tender (approximately 5-7 minutes on each side).
  • Place tomatoes slices on grill and only cook until grill marks appear (approximately 1-2 minutes on each side). 

To assemble dish:

  • Place one slice of grilled jicama on each plate.
  • Spoon 1 tbsp of the puree onto the jicama.
  • Layer with 1 slice of grilled tomato.
  • Spoon 1 tbsp of the puree onto the tomato.
  • Layer with 1 portabella mushroom cap.
  • Top with 1 tbsp of puree and garnish with a basil leaf. 
  • Serve immediately while puree and vegetables are warm.

Nutrition Information (per serving) : 

Calories: 255
Fat: 19.5g
Carb: 15
Fiber: 5g
Protein: 5g

Do you have a favorite recipe that includes fresh basil as an ingredient? 

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Fresh Recipe: Healthy Spring Rolls Three Ways

Monday, April 07, 2014 8:00 AM comments (0)

Spring rollsFresh spring rolls are a quick way to boost your intake of nutrient-dense foods. Simply purchase the pre-made rice papers (spring roll wrappers), fill with your favorite vegetables, roll, and enjoy.  You can add lean protein like shrimp, chicken breast or tofu to make spring rolls a more filling snack or a meal.  Low sodium soy sauce is a perfect accompaniment to these healthy treats. 

Katrina Herrejon, Certified Diabetes Educator at NorthShore, shares her recipe for healthy spring rolls three ways:

Ingredients:
Spicy: Serrano pepper, radish, lettuce and green onion
American: Avocado, carrots, zucchini, red pepper and basil
Shrimp: Shrimp, cucumber, bean sprouts and cilantro 

Reasons to Love Spring Rolls:

 

  1. Portable. Sometimes there is just no time for a knife and fork.  Springs rolls are a great way to take your vegetables on the go. And, they can be eaten with one hand.
  2. Raw. Uncooked vegetables are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals.  They are also particularly filling, which helps to make these low-calorie wraps satisfying.
  3. Quick. You don’t need to perfectly julienne your vegetables to make a delicious spring roll.  Just finely chop whatever vegetables you have on hand and roll it up!  

 

Nutrition Information Spicy: 

Calories 48
Total Fat 1g
Total Carbohydrate 9g
Fiber 1g
Protein 1g

Nutrition Information American:
Calories 62
Total Fat 3g
Total Carbohydrate 10g
Fiber 2g
Protein 1g

Nutrition Information Shrimp:
Calories 59
Total Fat 1.5 g
Total Carbohydrate 9g
Fiber 1g
Protein 3.5g

*Nutrition information may vary based on brand of spring roll wrapper used. 

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Taking on Trans Fats

Friday, January 31, 2014 11:59 AM comments (0)

trans fatThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in 2013 that it plans to label partially hydrogenated oils (PHO’s), which are the primary dietary source of trans fats, as not generally recognized as safe for use in food. This relabeling of trans fats is just the first move in a process that will likely lead to a ban on trans fats in the U.S. food supply. 

Trans fat first entered the American food supply in 1911 in the form of Crisco shortening. Fairly early in its history, preliminary studies show that trans fats could be more harmful than other fats. Later studies confirmed this finding, indicating that trans fat contributed to heart disease.  While their presence has already been greatly reduced in the food supply, trans fats can still be found in many processed foods, like frozen pizzas, microwave popcorn, baked goods, margarine and store-bought icings. 

Philip Krause, MD, Director for the Section of Cardiology at NorthShore Skokie Hospital, explains why doctors have long urged their patients to stay away from trans fats:

  • Increases LDL cholesterol. High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, build up the walls of your arteries and can make them hard and narrow. Elevated LDL cholesterol levels are a significant risk factor for heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Consumption of trans fats can raise the bad LDL cholesterol in the body.
  • Lowers HDL cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is your cholesterol friend. It’s responsible for cleaning up your bloodstream, picking up excess cholesterol from where it doesn’t belong and bringing it back to your liver.
  • Increases triglycerides. A type of fat found in blood, triglycerides are also partly responsible for the hardening of arteries. When combined with high LDL cholesterol, elevated triglycerides put you at high risk for stroke, heart attack, heart disease and even diabetes. 
  • Causes inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s response to injury. Trans fats can increase inflammation by damaging the lining of the blood vessels. Inflammation may also be a cause of fatty blockages in the heart’s blood vessels. 

Notably, manufacturers have made steps to reduce fat levels in many foods and products. Since 2006, after which food labels reported trans fat content, intake of this substance has dropped significantly.

It is hoped, after the FDA finalizes its preliminary determination, PHO’s would be considered as “food additives” and could only be used with prior authorization. The primary goal and hope is that with better consumer education and these changes in product and food manufacturing, Americans can look forward to much healthier life ahead.

 

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Celebrate a Healthier Holiday Season

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 3:25 PM comments (0)

holiday eatingAre your waistbands a little tighter each year when January arrives? It’s not just your imagination. Studies show that the average American gains between one and two pounds during the holiday season, and up to 14% of Americans gain five pounds or more. This fairly small gain tends to increase body fat percentage, which may partially explain why we often have the illusion of a more significant increase around the holidays. 

Holiday parties, rich holiday food, the cold weather keeping you indoors and holiday stress can all contribute to this seasonal weight gain.  And, though the gain may be modest, for many it could stick around for the rest of the year.

Weight loss doesn’t have to be a New Year’s resolution this year. Start your year off right with these simple tips from Jeni Panicko, RD, LDN at NorthShore, and enjoy the holiday season full of health and zero regrets:

Focus on maintenance not weight loss. Enjoy the holidays! If you start out trying to deny yourself the food that you enjoy, you’re likely to overindulge eventually. Don’t try to lose weight during the holidays; try to maintain your weight. The holidays can be stressful enough without the added pressure of a diet. 

Have a healthy snack before you head out the door. Holiday parties are a great time to catch up with friends and family, but they aren’t the best place to find healthy snacks. When your favorite high-fat holiday fare is on offer, it’s not easy to practice moderation, especially if you show up hungry. Eat a healthy snack before you hit the buffet line to avoid overindulging. If you don’t have time to eat beforehand, grab a small plate and ensure most of it is filled with healthy fruits and veggies. 

Keep moving! The weather outside might be frightful, but don’t let that keep you from staying active during the holiday season. There are many outdoor activities that not only embrace the cold but are big calorie-burners for the entire family, like ice-skating and cross-country skiing (no hills required). Make these family activities and you’ve started a new healthy holiday tradition. Keep it simple, layer up and go for a walk; take the stairs at work before your holiday days off instead of the elevator; do your holiday shopping at the store instead of online. 

Don’t forget your fruits and vegetables. Seasonal fruits and veggies aren’t just a summer thing. Apples, cranberries, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, leeks and pumpkin are all in season during the colder months of the year, and they can be prepared in a multitude of healthy and delicious ways. Fill your plate and don’t regret it.

Make some small substitutions that make a big difference. Healthy substitutions can make a huge difference when it comes to calories and fat. Use lower-fat ingredients in your holiday cooking to create healthier versions of your favorite holiday foods.  Consider substituting skim milk for whole. In many baked goods, applesauce can replace oil. And the best thing about making these healthy substitutions is that, in terms of taste, you won’t notice a thing. 

How to you maintain your weight during the holidays?

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Small Changes in Snacks Make for Big Changes in Kids’ Health

Friday, April 19, 2013 2:31 PM comments (0)

healthy snacksOver the last 30 years, childhood obesity rates have tripled in the United States, with nearly 1 in 3 children considered overweight or obese. Left unchecked, childhood obesity can lead to serious health issues in children, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma and sleep apnea.

The good news is that small changes in snacks, like swapping those high in fat, sodium and calories for healthier, more filling options, can make a big impact. Felissa Kreindler, MD, pediatrician at NorthShore, shares some healthy snack options that won’t send the kids running … unless, that is, they always follow a healthy snack with some equally healthy exercise.

  • Vegetables. Bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, and sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C and also fiber, which both help kids feel fuller faster and longer. Make veggies more palatable to the younger set with a high-protein dip like hummus. Or, give them the ranch dressing they want but without the fat by serving a low fat yogurt-based version [recipe provided].
  • Cheese. It might be a surprise to see cheese on a list of healthy, kid-friendly snacks.  Yet in moderation, cheese is a great way to fill kids up and keep them from snacking later in the day. High in calories, yes, but cheese is also high in protein and calcium. When paired with vegetables and fruit, it can round out a well-balanced snack.
  • Fruit. It’s an obvious choice but not all fruits are created equal. Consider fruit high in fiber, like apples, avocado, bananas and berries. Dried figs, apricots and dates are a sweet replacement for the empty calories in candy. Transform avocados into guacamole and replace high-fat tortilla chips with whole grain crackers.
  • Peanut, sunflower, and almond butters and nuts. Great with fruit or on whole grain crackers, these nut butters are high in protein and heart-healthy fat. You can get the same benefits from whole nuts as well. When it comes to nut butters and nuts, stick with the natural options that limit added oils and sugar.

 What healthy snacks do your kids love?

Try this low fat, kid-friendly recipe for ranch dressing:

8 teaspoons dried minced onion

1 tablespoon dried parsley

½ teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons pepper

1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder

1 cup nonfat yogurt

1 cup fat-free sour cream

 

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Dining on a Dime: Healthy Eating on a Budget

Thursday, April 11, 2013 1:54 PM comments (0)

budgeteatingWe often think that eating healthy means spending more money. You don’t necessarily have to sacrifice on flavor and the foods you love when trying to eat on a budget. Saving some green in your pocket book can be as easy as becoming a better planner both at the grocery store and in the kitchen.

When you think about stretching your dollars with your food, remember that making smart choices is a small price to pay when it comes to your overall health and wellness.

Kimberly Hammon, registered dietitian at NorthShore, shares the following recommendations for maximizing nutritional value and minimizing costs:

  • Shop seasonally. When produce is in season it tends to be less expensive. Another way to enjoy your seasonal favorites all year round is to can or freeze them for later use.
  • Plan your meals and make a list. Think about how often you have to throw items out in your refrigerator because they go bad. Planning out your menus and sticking to your shopping list will help reduce waste. It also is a good idea to shop on a full stomach. This way you’ll resist the urge to splurge.
  • Purchase items in bulk. Rice, beans and other items can be much more cost effective when purchased in larger quantities. You don’t have to worry about these items going bad, so there’s nothing wrong with buying in bulk. Just make sure you have proper storage space.
  • Buy frozen and canned vegetables. The nutritional value is often the same as fresh vegetables and the shelf life is much longer.
  • Start a garden of your own. A great way to reduce the cost of buying food is to grow it yourself. You can start growing many fruits and vegetables from seeds or seedlings inside, and then transfer them outdoors once the threat of frost is over.
  • Shop when you are not in a hurry. Take time to compare prices.  
  • Try to shop without your children. Unwanted items can creep into the cart with too many “helping hands.” Take turns with a friend for child care.
  • Limit your shopping to only once a week. The more trips to the store, the more money you spend. It is hard to purchase only a few items on any trip to the grocery store.

What do you do to reduce your grocery bill? What cost-saving tips do you have?

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Dieting: What Works, What Doesn’t

Friday, March 22, 2013 9:45 AM comments (0)

There seems to be a diet out these days to appeal to everyone trying to trim down. And, with the barrage of different diets in the media, it's hard to know which diets work and which fall short.

What's important in a safe and healthy approach to weight loss? Before starting a diet be sure that your plan includes the following:

It’s balanced. By excluding food groups, your body is at risk of being deprived of the nutrients it needs to function. For example, the popular Atkins Diet drastically reduces carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are a major source of energy for the cells of the body and also are a main source of your daily fiber needs.

It focuses on portion control. Have you ever seen the MyPlate icon? MyPlate focuses on portion control and balanced meals by dividing a standard dinner plate into four food groups—fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein, with a side of dairy. Portion control is important to avoid overeating and can help reduce caloric intake.

It teaches lifelong, healthy eating habits. Longevity is impossible with impractical fad diets like The Hollywood Cookie Diet and The Grapefruit Diet, which severely restrict calories and lack the nutrition (not to mention the variety) that your taste buds crave. By eating balanced meals and controlling portions, weight loss is achievable and can be maintained throughout your entire life without having to crash diet.

For a healthy, balanced diet with controlled portions always remember to:

  • Load up on fruits and veggies
  • Eat whole grains
  • Choose fat-free and low-fat dairy products
  • Pick lean sources of protein
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Make exercise part of your daily routine


Which diet approaches have worked for you?

This article was submitted by Lindsay Sankovsky, Dietetic Intern, and reviewed by Kimberly Hammon, MS, RD, LDN.

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Creating a Healthy Meal Plan with Healthy Food Substitutions [Infographic]

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 4:28 PM comments (0)

Eating healthy and staying healthy is something that millions of Americans strive for every day. Unfortunately, it's not always so easy to eat healthy on a daily basis. With 36% of adults in U.S. considered obese, it's becoming more important for both adults and children to start eating healthier. The experts from NorthShore University HealthSystem have provided some general guidelines for the recommended intake of each food group, suggestions for creating a healthy meal plan every day, as well as some healthy food substitutions.

Click on our infographic for more ideas on creating a healthy meal plan with great healthy food substitutions.

Perfect-plate

 

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A Sugar High – Knowing When Too Much is Too Much

Thursday, January 03, 2013 11:01 AM comments (0)

It’s hard to avoid the temptation of having something sweet—whether it’s an after- dinner treat, a mid-afternoon snack or something you indulge in to reward yourself for a hard day’s work. Like most things, in moderation, sugar shouldn’t lead to any long-term health concerns. However, when consumed in excess—both in its natural form and processed form—sugar can lead to some very serious health conditions.

Mary Bennett, RD, LDN, CDE, a diabetes educator at NorthShore, identifies some of the health concerns that excess sugar can lead to:

  • Obesity – Sugary foods are usually higher in calories and can leave you not feeling full. A diet high in sugar can lead to excess daily calories, and if not burned off through exercise can lead to increased weight.
  • Increased risk of diabetes and heart disease – A diet high in sugar doesn’t necessarily lead to the onset of diabetes, but it can increase your odds. The same holds true for developing heart conditions, as a diet high in sugar can often increase cholesterol and fat levels (triglycerides) in the blood.
  • Added calories – Sugar adds calories and displaces nutritious foods. It is important to note that there is no difference between honey, maple syrup and molasses. Sugar is sugar.

The American Heart Association has set a limit for consumer consumption of sugar, which includes:

  • 9 teaspoons daily (150 calories) for men  
  • 6 teaspoons daily (100 calories) for women

How do you control your cravings for something sweet? What is your favorite alternative snack?

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Holiday Eating – Plan Your Portions

Thursday, November 22, 2012 10:23 AM comments (0)

All of the holiday treats and temptations on the table can make for a difficult time managing your weight and portion control. While it’s okay to indulge from time to time, it’s important to make smart choices to help keep your plate balanced.

According to the USDA’s MyPlate recommendations, half of your plate should consist of fruit and vegetables, accompanied by grains, protein and dairy. You may find it hard to have this much balance on your plate during the holidays, but planning in advance and thinking through your meal choices can be a huge help for keeping your plate (and waistline!) in check.

Goutham Rao, MD, gives his insight on how to plan your portions and still be able to enjoy the holidays:

  • Be selective about what you put on your plate. There is no need to deprive yourself of holiday treats, but be sure to watch your portion size. You also want to make sure that you are including plenty of fruits and vegetables on your plate. You can enjoy a smaller slice of pie just as much as a full slice.
  • Don’t be afraid to adapt recipes to include more healthy additions. Finding ways to remove salt, sugar and fat from recipes can help keep the calorie count down.
  • Watch what you’re drinking. Alcoholic beverages can contain just as many calories as the main course. Try to keep it light and drink in moderation. Avoid other high-calorie drinks such as regular soda pop, milkshakes and fruit juices.
  • Make physical activity part of your holiday routine. This can be something simple such as taking a walk every evening after dinner.

What is your favorite holiday treat? What do you do to resist temptation and overeating?

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