A Less Frightful Halloween with Allergies or Diabetes

trick-or-treating. Teal pumpkin. the concept of health for children in the Halloween seasonA child having a dangerous physical reaction to something they’ve eaten, drank, or touched can be a parent’s worst nightmare. It’s even scarier when they know that their kid has allergies to foods, or an issue with sugar, as a result of diabetes. That’s a fear at any time of the year, but it can creep in like a monster when Halloween rolls around.    Continue reading

Scrambling Out the Door? Don’t Forget Breakfast!

Father Sitting at the Breakfast Table Eating Fruit With His DaughterThat phrase about breakfast you probably heard growing up is still ingrained in your brain: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But is it still true today? You bet. However, it’s more likely that your family’s morning “scramble” means that they’re colliding with each other while leaving the house for work and school, instead of sitting down together for a nutritious a.m. meal. Continue reading

Safer, Spicier Picnics

Family Camping By Lake On Hiking Adventure In ForestPicnic season is underway, a time for outdoor food and fun. But it’s also an opportunity to look at not only what we’re eating and how to prepare it safely, but with a little more flavor! (And that doesn’t mean more salt.)

Safety First

Each year, one in six people in the U.S. gets food poisoning from the E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella in spoiled food. That’s 48 million cases annually with 128,000 hospitalizations (and 3,000 deaths). Avoid sickness with these tips:

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Onion, Shallot, and Herb Frittata

Asparagus, mushrooms and goat cheese frittata with fresh herbs(Serves 6)

Here’s one of those easy, skillet-to-oven recipes that’s perfect for a savory but light breakfast or brunch (just 110 calories per serving). You get 6 g of protein, 70 mg of cholesterol, just 2.5 g of total fat, and only 75 mg of sodium. You can always add in some other favorite veggies, too (like mushrooms), so get creative. Put the coffee on, then add in some whole grain toast and maybe some sliced melon as sides!* Continue reading

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Homemade shepherd's pie made in a skillet. (Serves 4)

Got leftover chicken and veggies? This Irish classic is as easy as pie! With a prep time of 40 minutes and a cook time of just 10 minutes, it’s a lighter recipe, too (just 336 calories per serving, 32 mg cholesterol, 4 g of total fat, 24 g of protein, and just 302 mg of sodium), using chicken (instead of beef or lamb). Set your table for St. Patrick’s Day dinner.

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No-Bake Oatmeal-Peanut Butter Cookies

(Serves 18)Raw uncooked peanut butter cookie snack on plate (no need to cook)

Turn off your oven — no baking needed for these chewy treats! Perfect with that cup of tea or glass of skim milk, you’ll love this combo of peanut butter and whole grain oats, with just 120 calories per serving (two cookies!), 18 g of carbs, 5 g of cholesterol, 5 g total fat, 1 g of fiber, 2 g of protein, 15 g of sodium, and 12 g total sugar (using granulated  sugar).

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Probiotics and Prebiotics: Listen to Your Gut!

Young woman eating yogurt, closeupThere’s been a lot of talk about probiotics those high-fiber foods or supplements that contain live microorganisms said to improve or maintain the body’s “good” garden of microflora (bacteria).

Research is ongoing, but studies have pointed to “gut health” as impacting not only the digestive system, but the immune system as well. A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that consuming different strains of probiotics over an eight-week period could reduce body weight and BMI, which are two caution areas related to diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Studies at Johns Hopkins have revealed an altering of blood pressure when different gut bacteria are produced in mice, rats, and people. Good gut bacteria have also been known to help reduce allergy symptoms, inflammation, and skin issues, like acne. Experts have been looking at the effects of probiotics on mood and stress, too.

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Love Your Heart

Senior African American Couple Walking Through Fall WoodlandThere’s no sugar-coating it (even around Valentine’s Day).

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world, and the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing over 366,800 Americans a year (about one every 43 seconds). It’s the number one killer of women in the U.S., taking more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Heart issues in women can be more subtle. That’s dangerous, because women often misread the trouble signs while having an actual heart attack for things like acid reflux or flu. In fact, 64 percent of women who die from coronary heart disease (a narrowing of the arteries or blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart) had no previous symptoms. And heart disease is also the number one killer of men. (It doesn’t discriminate.)

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Black Bean Soup with Red Miso and Ginger

Traditional Brazilian cuisine (caldinho de feijão) with herbs on a green napkin and a traversed spoon metal spoon.Loaded with probiotic goodness, red miso (not white), a Japanese cooking staple made from fermented soy beans, is the star here (for more flavor and texture). At just 179 calories per serving, 34 g carbs, zero cholesterol, 4 g of total fat (none saturated), 11 g of fiber, and 9 g of protein, use this soup as a starter, or as a main meal with a salad, and whole-grain sourdough bread.

Note: Skip any added salt, as the miso is salty enough (743 mg). Monitor your salt intake that day, to stay under the recommended daily sodium limit of 2,300 mg (1,500, if you have high blood pressure).

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Creamy Ginger-Lemon Salad Dressing

Homemade asian peanut dressing with black sesame seedsThis light, Asian-influenced dressing gets its creaminess from Greek yogurt, and its tang from the blend of lemon and ginger. It’s an easy, quick, and tasty paring with any mixed greens combo, with just 33 calories, 1 g of carbohydrate, zero cholesterol, 2.5 g of total fat, 2 g of protein, and 2 g of sugar. (And why couldn’t you drizzle it on chicken or seafood as well?!)

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