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Healthy Picnic Food 101

Written by Lisa Jillanza

It’s getting warmer and it’s almost time for picnics, barbecues, and outdoor parties! But just because you aren’t choosing all of your meals, that doesn’t mean that you have to pack on the pounds this summer.  Keep these tips in mind at your next picnic:

 

  • Choose lean ground meat when making burgers. You should also try low-fat hot dogs, sausages and bratwurst and other grilled favorites.
  • Seafood and chicken are great grilled foods and are both still healthy picnic options.
  • Don’t forget your greens and mix in a salad to your picnic or party menu.
  • Remember your veggies as they are also great on the grill and as side dishes, especially summer time veggies like squash and zucchini.
  • Instead of chocolate desserts, think fruity desserts instead, and take advantage of a season when fruits are plenty.

Eating Healthy Spotlight on: Mangoes

Written by Lisa Jillanza
  • Mangoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and they are also an excellent way to replenish potassium lost through exercise or for those who are constantly “on the go.”
  • An average-sized mango can even contain up to 40 percent of your daily fiber requirement, thereby being a great way to curb constipation and irregularity.
  • Mangoes can also help to prevent certain types of cancer and help to lower blood cholesterol levels, too.

 

Recipe: Mango Pork

  •  2 medium ripe mangoes
  • 1 pork tenderloin, about ¾ pound
  • Cooking spray or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot pepper sauce

Put pulp of one mango in food processor or blender.

Cut the other mango into small cubes.  Trim pork tenderloin and slice into 1-inch thick medallions.  Flatten slices lightly with hand.  Spray a skillet or medium saucepan with cooking spray or add a small amount of olive oil and heat on medium-high.  Brown pork for one minute on each side. Season each side with salt and pepper to taste. 

Reduce heat and cook pork another five minutes to cook through.  Remove to plate and add mango to skillet or saucepan. Cook puree about, scraping up brown bits of pork, for about 30 seconds.  Add several drops of hot sauce and the mango cubes.  Toss cubes in puree while heating through.  Spoon sauce over pork and serve with pasta or hot cooked rice.

 

Recipe: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad 

  • ½ cup prepared or purchased honey mustard dressing
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 4 chicken breast halves without skin, boneless
  • 1 tablespoon Jamaican Jerk seasoning
  • 2 large fresh mangoes
  • 10 to 12 cups mixed greens 

Stir together honey mustard dressing and lime zest.  Cover and chill dressing while preparing chicken. 

Rinse chicken and pat dry; sprinkle with Jerk seasoning.  In a large skillet cook the seasoned chicken in hot oil over medium-high heat about 6 minutes on each side until browned and no longer pink.  Thinly slice each chicken breast. 

Arrange warm chicken and mango atop greens on four plates; drizzle with the honey mustard dressing.

Healthy Eating 101: The Best Grab and Go Breakfasts

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Because breakfast is the most important meal of the day and because we live in a fast-paced world, we all need to learn some of the best go-to, easy and healthy breakfasts. Here are some of the top picks for healthy and fast options.

 

  • Smoothies
  • Muffins
  • Quick Breads
  • Frittatas
  • Quiches
  • Yogurt Parfaits
  • Breakfast Sandwiches

Spring Eating 101: Get the Freshest Produce

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Before hitting the grocery store or produce stands this season, check out what fruits and veggies you should be getting:

 

  • Apricots – slightly soft, not bruised
  • Artichoke – compact head, bright green color
  • Asparagus – closed and compact tips, bright green stalks
  • Avocado – should be a little “give” when squeezed
  • Carrots – crisp, healthy tops
  • Collard Greens – dark green, vibrant color
  • Mango – more orange/red than green
  • New Potatoes – last only a few days
  • Pineapple – sniff the bottom for sweet aroma, check for firmness
  • Rhubarb – check for bright, crisp stalks
  • Spinach – avoid dried out or yellow stems
  • Strawberries – pick fragrant, slightly soft ones
  • Sugar Snap/Snow Peas – bright green, should feel like they have a snap (not limp)

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Spinach

Written by Lisa Jillanza
  • The vitamin K in spinach provides 200% of the daily value in fresh spinach and nearly 1000% of the daily value in boiled spinach.
  • Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, folate and magnesium.
  • Cooked spinach is a great source of iron and is totally fat free.

Recipe: Wilted Spinach Salad

  • 10 to 12 ounces spinach, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, 1 chopped and 1 sliced
  • 2 to 4 slices bacon
  • 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper 

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes. Refrigerate, tightly covered. Fry or microwave bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside. In a small jar or measuring cup combine drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving. When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on high for 30 to 45 seconds, or until mixture boils. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hot dressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly. Top with sliced egg and crumbled bacon.

Recipe: Spinach Lasagna

  • 2 egg whites
  • 26 oz of prepared spaghetti sauce
  • 24 oz of ricotta cheese
  • 10 oz of Lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz of frozen spinach, thawed and chopped, then squeezed dry
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, grated, reserve ½ cup
  • ¾ cup of Parmesan cheese, grated and divided, reserve 2 tablespoons
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • Olive oil 

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9x13 dish. Cook lasagna noodles as directed on the package, then rinse and drain. Combine parmesan cheese, ricotta cheeses with the egg whites, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour ¼ cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out using a spatula. Cover the sauce with a single layer of lasagna noodles. Spread about half the cheese mixture over the noodles, and then cover with about half of the spinach and shredded mozzarella cheese. Finish this layer with half of the remaining spaghetti sauce. Add a second layer of noodles, topping with the remaining cheese mixture, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of noodles and remaining spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle the reserved Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set for 10-12 minutes.