Sunday, January 08, 2012

Healthy Ideas for the New Year

I'm betting that at least some of you made one or more of a set of related resolutions: eat healthier or lose weight.  I'm right there with you.  So these tips from Rachael Ray's magazine are welcome additions to our kitchen bag of tricks.
  • Toss some herbs (dill, thyme, parsley, etc.) into your salad as you toss it.  An Italian study says that they increase the antioxidant levels in the other vegetables.
  • Forget about bottled salad dressings...even the "low-fat" versions are full of sugar and preservatives. Makes your own with flaxseed oil or olive oil for a dose of good-for-you fats.
  • You can get those good fats by adding a small handful of nuts to your salad as well.
  • If you're making a creamy dressing like Ranch, replace half of the mayonnaise in the recipe with non-fat Greek yogurt.  The result will be creamier with fewer calories and higher levels of calcium and protein.
  • If you eat half an avocado in your salad, you up the concentrations of lycopene, beta-carotene and alpha carotene in your blood.
  • Craving mashed potatoes?  Substitute turnips for half of the potatoes in the recipe and you'll increase vitamins and decrease calories.
  • I love rice, but it's not on my diet plan.  I can swap quinoa out for it in my pilaf and risotto recipes to pump up the fiber the quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids.
  • Make a guilt-free cream sauce. Instead of using a cup of heavy cream, mix in a cup of skim milk and 1/2 cup pureed white beans. Fewer calories and 25 percent of your daily requirement of fiber.
  • Next time you make marinara sauce, wilt in 6-8 ounces of spinach.  More fiber, plus iron and potassium.

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