healthy eating

Vegan Key Lime Dream Shakeology

If you’re looking for a mouthwatering key lime pie recipe that isn’t full of sugar and calories – and one that is dairy-free – this Vegan Key Lime Dream Shakeology is the way to go. You can still get the taste of the scrumptious dessert, but you don’t have derail your diet to enjoy it.

How to Carve a Turkey

The classic image of a whole, golden-skinned turkey being carved on a platter at the dinner table is nice, but impractical. Let’s be real, if the carver doesn’t know what they’re doing, it can end up being a real hack-fest, and no one wants to see that. The person who carves the turkey is holding a place of honor at the feast, so if that person is you, it pays to learn how to do it the right way. Follow these tips to look like a pro.

8 Tips to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Eating fresh, healthy, organic, local foods sounds great—but what if you’re on a budget? Maybe you dream of shopping at Whole Foods, but the cold, hard light of day finds you wheeling down the aisles at ShopRite®.

We feel your pain. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to eat well and actually save money in the process. Your shopping list isn’t going to include vegetarian, brown rice sushi rolls from the macrobiotic deli case, but trust us, you’ll live.

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1. Don’t shop hungry!

How often do you swing by the market on your way home from work, tired and starving? While this seems like grandmotherly advice, it’s firmly rooted in current research; a new Cornell study shows that people who shop while hungry are more inclined to buy more calorically dense food. Keep a piece of fruit or a small Ziploc® bag full of raw nuts in your bag to guard against filling your cart with foods you’re craving now but wouldn’t buy on a full stomach.

2. Buy flash-frozen fruits, vegetables, and fish.

While any processing takes away from a food’s maximum nutritional value, flash freezing is a great way to preserve vitamins and minerals when vegetables and seafood are at their freshest. And the convenience of a bag of veggies or a filet of fish in the freezer can’t be beat. The price? For seafood, there’s no comparison: fresh is much more expensive—when you can get it at all. (If you check at your local grocer’s fish counter, you’ll find that much of what is being sold in the case as fresh has in fact been previously frozen.) Produce is trickier: frozen is sometimes, but not always, cheaper than fresh, in-season, fruits and vegetables.

3. Shop at your local farmers market.

This may surprise you, but it’s cheaper to get your veggies—organic or not—at the local farmers’ market than at the local supermarket. A 2011 study by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont is one of several around the country showing that farmers’ market prices are consistently lower than those of neighboring grocery stores. Who knew? So have a great time shopping with your neighbors and supporting local farmers, and be happy in the knowledge that you’re saving money too.

4. Stick to your list.

Don’t cave in to the snazzy packaging on the supermarket shelves. Make your meal plan and shopping list at home, and then stick to it. Here’s the exception: when you shop at the farmers’ market or local produce stand, sometimes a gorgeously fresh fruit or vegetable will stand out—one you hadn’t planned on. Build some flexibility into your list to account for these unanticipated treasures…just decide which meals you want to add them to before purchasing. A good rule of thumb is to stick absolutely to your list of pantry items, but give yourself some leeway with fresh, seasonal foods.

5. Eat lots of beans and always soak your own.

Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, and form the cornerstone of many world cuisines. And they’re dead cheap—if you buy them dried. Soaking your own beans is easy, though it does take more planning than opening a can of them. But it’s no big deal. Just decide the night before what you’re going to eat the next day. If a meal includes beans, then put them in a pot of water to soak and leave them overnight. In the morning, let them cook as you’re getting ready for the day.

6. Buy in bulk.

Costco® and other warehouse stores sell fruits and vegetables at ridiculously low prices—if you’re willing to buy, say, 15 pounds of potatoes or 8 pounds of oranges at a time. You’re in for some work at home, but at those prices, who’s complaining? Also, in many regions it is possible to pair up with another family or two and buy a portion of either a cow or a pig directly from a local farmer. In exchange, you will receive many, many neatly wrapped and labeled packages of meat. An extra freezer is necessary for this, but well worth the investment if you live in a region where such arrangements exist. Another huge benefit of this is that you know the animal was not raised on a factory feedlot. Therefore, the meat will likely be free from the steroids and antibiotics that plague grocery store bargain meat cuts.

7. Join a CSA.

Community Supported Agriculture is another way to save money by cutting out the middleman. With a CSA, you pay a flat fee up front. On the East Coast it’s typically $400-$500—for a whole growing season of produce! Every week you get a box of whatever came out of the farmer’s field. Like buying in bulk at warehouse stores, this calls for some time and creativity in the kitchen. In late summer, we sometimes freak out trying to figure out what to do with all those perfect, ripe tomatoes. What a problem to have!

8. Cut your consumption.

Over the last few decades, restaurant portions have become gargantuan, and we somehow seem to think that a platter of food is actually a single serving. Most restaurant entrées can easily feed two or three. So when you’re out, either share a single entrée, or get half boxed for another meal. And at home, serve smaller portions on smaller plates. It won’t take long at all before you’re satisfied with sensible portions!

6 Benefits of Eating Nuts

After decades of demonization for their high fat content—which in most cases is heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated anyway—nuts have finally claimed their rightful place among other foods long regarded as healthy.

In fact, nuts are so loaded with nutrients, they could be considered nature’s dietary supplement pill. Of course, roasted in heavy oil and salts, they become a lot less healthy but, properly consumed raw, or in some cases roasted (namely, chestnuts), nuts deliver a vast array of benefits unique to each.

Following are six overarching advantages to consuming nuts, within which are more specific nutrient benefits.

 

1. They Can Promote Heart Health and Circulation

Arginine

An amino acid produced by the body, arginine is implicated in healing, muscle growth, and sperm health because of its stimulation of protein production. But it’s perhaps known best for preventing arterial buildup by expanding blood vessels. Worth noting: Peanuts are not technically nuts, they’re legumes. Also, don’t eat them raw…or honey roasted. Opt for dry roasted, which are almost as healthy (but safer) as raw ones.

- Best source: Peanuts (1 g/1 oz serving – 166 calories, approx. 28 peanuts)

- Runners-up: Almonds (0.75 g), walnuts (0.7 g), hazelnuts/filberts (0.65 g – 178 calories, approx. 21 hazelnuts)

Omega 3

Omega 3s are polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, and walnuts contain the alpha-linolenic (ALA) form—over 150% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), in fact. Benefits include decreased LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, increased HDL (good cholesterol) levels, and a possible reduced risk of heart attack.

- Best source: Walnuts (2.7 g/1 oz serving – 185 calories, approx. 14 walnut halves)

- Runners-up: Pecans (20% RDA), pistachios (5% RDA), macadamia nuts (4% RDA)

Iron

This mineral source is fundamental to the production of red blood cells, the delivery units of oxygen throughout the body. While recommended intakes for men (8 mg) and women (18 mg) vary, a handful of cashews delivers about 25% and 11% of the RDA, respectively.

- Best source: Cashews (2 mg/1 oz serving – 157 calories, approx. 17 cashews)

- Runners-up: Hazelnuts (1.4 mg), peanuts (1.4 mg), pistachios (1.3 mg)

2. They Can Help Preserve Brain and Mental Function

Folate

This B vitamin plays a key role in lowering homocysteine—an amino acid associated with conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. Low folate levels have also been linked to depression, anemia, and even hair loss.

- Best source: Peanuts (72 mcg or 18% RDA/1 oz serving)

- Runners-up: Hazelnuts (34 mcg/9% RDA), walnuts (29 mcg/7% RDA), pistachios (15 mcg/4% RDA)

Magnesium

Magnesium plays a role in more than 300 chemical reactions in the body, including proper digestion, heart and circulatory function, and bone growth and maintenance. It’s also been suggested as a viable aid in memory retention.

- Best source: Brazil nuts (113 mg or 28% RDA for men/1 oz serving – 186 calories, approx. 6 kernels)

- Runners-up: Cashews (88 mg), almonds (81 mg), peanuts (50 mg)

3. They Promote Vision and Eye Health

Vitamin A (Beta-carotene)

The nonanimal form of Vitamin A that gives plants their color is implicated in slowing macular degeneration, limiting sun sensitivity, and lowering the risk of heart disease. Pistachios are particularly rife with it, delivering 14% per serving.

- Best source: Pistachios (125 mcg or 14% RDA for men/1 oz serving – 159 calories, approx. 49 pistachios)

- Runners-up: Pecans (17 mcg), walnuts (6 mcg), hazelnuts (6 mcg)

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

These two antioxidants play an important role in reducing the risk of chronic eye diseases, including macular degeneration and cataracts by filtering harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light.

- Best source: Pistachios (362 mcg/1 oz serving)

- Runners-up: That’s it. Pistachios are the only nut containing lutein and zeaxanthin in significant quantities.

4. They Help Regulate Weight and Metabolism

Protein

Nuts are a fantastic source of this vital energy for vegetarians—and anyone else. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, eating nuts instead of red meat once a day can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes 16 to 35%.

- Best source: Peanuts (7.8 g/1 oz serving)

- Runners-up: Almonds (6.3 g), pistachios (6 g), cashews (5.4 g)

Fiber

The fiber and sustained energy content of most nuts make them filling without being fattening, and chestnuts are by far the lowest in fat and calories than all other nuts.

- Best source: Chestnuts (1.5 g fiber, 39 calories/1 oz serving – 70 calories, approx. 3 chestnuts)

- Runners-up: Almonds (3.75 g fiber/174 calories), pistachios (3 g fiber/169 calories), peanuts (2.5 g fiber/170 calories)

Vitamin E

There are eight forms of this antioxidant, but the one found in nuts is of the alpha-tocopherol variety. Fairly strong evidence suggests it aids in preventing type 1 and 2 diabetes and treating fatty liver disease.

- Best source: Almonds (7.8 mg or 52% RDA/1 oz serving – 163 calories, approx. 23 almonds)

- Runners-up: Hazelnuts (4.5 mg/30% RDA), peanuts (2.5 mg/17% RDA), Brazil nuts (1.8 mg/12% RDA)

5. They Help Strength Bones and Teeth

Calcium

While also vital to blood and cellular function, 99% of all calcium in the body is found in bones and teeth, where it prevents osteoporosis and decay. Almonds are the nuts highest in this mineral, and number two isn’t really close.

- Best source: Almonds (81 mg or 8% RDA/1 oz serving)

- Runners-up: Brazil nuts (48 mg/5% RDA), hazelnuts (34 mg/3% RDA), pistachios (32 mg/3% RDA)

Phosphorus

The only mineral more prevalent in the body than phosphorus is calcium. Combined, the two work to grow, maintain, and repair bones and teeth, along with all other tissues and cells.

- Best source: Brazil nuts (218 mg or 31% RDA/1 oz serving)

- Runners-up: Cashews (178 mg/25% RDA), pistachios (147 mg/21% RDA), almonds (144 mg/21% RDA)

6. They Aid in Boosting Immunity

Zinc

The overall amount of this mineral found in the body is nominal, but it’s vital to immunity, affecting T cell and other immune cell functions and helping to stave off pathogens.

- Best source: Cashews (1.7 mg or 16% RDA for men/1 oz serving)

- Runners-up: Pecans (1.4 mg/13% RDA), Brazil nuts (1.2 mg/11% RDA), peanuts (1 mg/9% RDA)

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Important for keeping hormones balanced and healthy, deficiency among the B6 compounds is associated with compromised immune response. One serving of pistachios contains 40% of the RDA for an average adult.

- Best source: Pistachios (0.51 mg/1 oz serving)

- Runners-up: Hazelnuts (13% RDA), walnuts (12% RDA), cashews (10% RDA)