Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stuff the Bird, Not Yourself This Thanksgiving

The article below from the Calorie Control Council contains some great advice on how to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal without the guilt.

According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories and a whopping 229 grams of fat from snacking and eating a traditional holiday dinner with turkey and all the trimmings. And these figures don't even include breakfast or the late evening munching on leftovers!

The average holiday dinner alone can carry a load of 3,000 calories. And most of us nibble our way through more than another 1,500 calories downing dips and chips and drinks before and after the big meal. Combined, that's the equivalent of more than 2 1/4 times the average daily calorie intake and almost 3 1/2 times the fat. The typical holiday dinner can be loaded with 45 percent of calories from fat. In fact, the average person may consume enough fat at a holiday meal to equal three sticks of butter.

Many of us will figure that we've blown our diet and the holidays are to be enjoyed, so why worry about weight? But even if you start the holiday season off with gastronomical excess, you can quickly get back on the right track.

Reducing the amount of fat and calories in your snacking and main holiday meals can help prevent the average weight a person will gain over the holidays (from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day). And instead of crashing on the couch after eating, you can lessen or ward off weight gain by burning off that eggnog or pie.

Also, try these "Low-Fat Holiday" tips from the American Heart Association:

Eat lower-fat and reduced-calorie foods for days in advance of the holiday feast, and for days after.

Prepare for handling your worst temptations; if you want both pecan and pumpkin pie, take a tiny slice of each, instead of an average serving.

If cooking, provide low-fat foods, or ask if you can bring a low-fat dish.

After the meal, start a tradition -- a holiday walk, for instance. You can also reduce the calories in a meal by using lower-calorie products.

Try using a low-calorie sweetener in your tea or coffee or a casserole that requires sweetness.

So, to all our visitors, here's to a holiday season full of health and happiness, and to holiday eating that doesn't make you too full to move!

Learn how to lighten your holiday feasting and still have a jolly good time!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Perfect Roasted Chicken Recipe

When it comes to trusted sources, Ina Garten, aka "Barefoot Contessa," is my go to gal. Her recipes are easy to follow, often come with helpful tips and tricks and always come out delicious. Her roasted chicken recipe below is always a crowd favorite and makes a great presentation at dinner parties. The only tweak I've made is it use soft margarne instead of butter to reduce the amount of saturated fat in the recipe. This is also a perfect dinner for winter.

Happy Friday people!!!

Perfect Roasted Chicken Recipe


1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the margarine and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Study affirms 'mediterranean diet' improves heart health

I try my best to eat heart healthy, following the mediterranean diet as much as possible. The study below published by MedicalXpress.com tells me I'm doing something right!
In a report prepared for the American Heart Association’s scientific sessions in Orlando next week, the Johns Hopkins investigators say swapping out certain foods can improve heart health in those at risk for cardiovascular disease, even if the dietary changes aren’t coupled with weight loss.
“The introduction of the right kind of fat into a healthy diet is another tool to reduce the risk of future heart disease,” says Meghana Gadgil, M.D., M.P.H., a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who will be presenting the research.
Gadgil and her colleagues analyzed data from the OmniHeart Trial, which studied the cardiovascular effects of three different balanced diets on 164 people with mild hypertension but no diabetes.
The researchers compared the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and maintain healthy insulin levels while on a carbohydrate-rich diet, a protein-rich diet and a diet rich in unsaturated fats. People whose bodies fail to effectively use insulin usually develop type 2 diabetes, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. The researchers found that a generally balanced diet higher in unsaturated fats such as those in avocados, olive oil and nuts improves insulin use significantly more than a diet high in carbohydrates, particularly such refined carbs as white bread and pasta. The preferred diet is very similar to the Mediterranean diet, inspired by the foods of southern Italy and Greece and emphasizing healthy fats, fruits and vegetables.
Each participant in the study was fed each of the three diets for six weeks in a row, with two to four weeks off in between. Blood samples were collected after fasting periods in weeks four and six of each diet, and used to monitor insulin and glucose levels. The study was designed to keep participants at their starting weights. “A lot of studies have looked at how the body becomes better at using insulin when you lose weight,” Gadgil says. “We kept the weight stable so we could isolate the effects of the macronutrients. What we found is that you can begin to see a beneficial impact on heart health even before weight loss.”
Provided by Johns Hopkins University

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Slumber Party French Toast

Who doesn't love a good slumber party when the temperatures drop? Get into those pjs, pop in a great movie and curl up with this comforting dish...and it's heart healthy too!

Slumber Party French Toast
Recipe from the American Heart Association Kids' Cookbook
◦1/4 cup soft margarine spread

◦1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

◦3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

◦Liquid egg substitute equal to two eggs

◦1/4 cup skim milk

◦6 1-inch thick slices French bread

◦1-2 Tbsp. powdered or confectioner’s sugar

Place margarine in baking pan or heat proof baking dish (9x13-inch). Place pan on burner. Turn heat to low. Heat margarine until melted.

Place brown sugar in small bowl. With fork, stir in cinnamon. Sprinkle mixture evenly over melted margarine in baking pan or dish.

Combine egg substitute and milk in glass pie plate. Mix with fork until blended.

With fingers or fork, dip bread slices into egg mixture to coat both sides. Lay slices over sugar-cinnamon mixture in baking pan or dish. Pour any remaining egg mixture over the bread slices.

Cover pan with foil and refrigerate overnight. Remove pan from refrigerator one hour before baking. Let stand on the kitchen counter to reach room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Carefully place toast in hot oven. Bake 25 minutes.

Using oven mitts, remove pan from oven to wire cooling rack. With oven mitts, carefully remove foil from pan. Return pan to hot oven. Bake for 15 minutes longer. Using oven mitts, remove pan to cooling rack.

Sprinkle French toast with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings (one slice per serving).

Nutrition Information:
Per Serving:
*calculated using a 70% oil soft margarine spread
Calories 288
Fat (grams)8
Cholesterol (mg)less than 1