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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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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