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Eating 101: Great Summertime Fruits

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Summer is a great season to partake in the numerous delicious seasonal fruits.  Not only do these summertime fruits taste great, but they also give you many nutritional benefits. Some fruits to enjoy before the season ends include:

 

Berries: the phytochemicals in blueberries, strawberries and blackberries all boost immunity, and protect against heart diseases and circulatory problems.

Peaches and plums: full of vitamin C and beta carotene, peaches and plums help to eliminate free radicals from the body.

Pineapples: being packed with the most vitamins and minerals, pineapples are also a great digestive aid.

Papayas and mangoes: both are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, beta carotene and fiber.

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Bananas

Written by Lisa Jillanza
  • We consume about 25 pounds of bananas per person each year.
  • There are more than 1,000 varieties of bananas.
  • Bananas don't grow on trees : trees have bark and banana plants don't have bark.
  • Bananas are low in saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium.
  • A large portion of the calories in bananas come from sugars.

 

 

Recipe: Classic Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)

1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking spray

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Spoon batter loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Recipe: Banana Chia Pudding

1 ½ cups vanilla-flavored flax milk

1 large banana cut in chunks

7 tablespoons chia seeds

3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Put milk, banana, chia seeds, honey, vanilla extract, and sea salt in respective order in the blender; blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until thickened, at least 2 hours. Spoon mixture into small bowls to serve.

Healthy Eating DASH Your Way to Lower Blood Pressure

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Ranked recently as the “top diet” by U.S. News and World Report, the DASH diet – or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension- is growing in popularity as being a diet followed by more than just those with high blood pressure.

 

According to reports, the DASH diet “involves manageable dietary changes that are flexible and rooted in proven nutritional advice.” 

The food options on a DASH diet closely mirror those of the U.S.  Department of Agriculture’s My Plate diet, with a focus on whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, fat or low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean meats, fish, and poultry. The plan also encourages participants to cut back on processed foods, sugary drinks, packaged snacks, and limiting red meat. 

There are two different options when it comes to the DASH diet. The standard DASH diet limits sodium consumption to 2,300 milligrams per day. The lower-sodium DASH diet calls for limiting sodium consumption to 1,500 milligrams per day. 

The daily DASH eating plan also involves, on average: 

  • 6 to 8 servings of grains, preferably whole grains
  • 6 or fewer servings of meat, poultry, and fish
  • 4 to 5 servings of veggies
  • 4 to 5 servings of fruit
  • 2 to 3 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products
  • 2 to 3 servings of fat or oils 

Depending on your weight loss goals or management, you can choose a DASH plan that varies from 1,200 to 3,100 calories per day.

As with any diet plan, it is best to talk to your physician to find out if the plan is best for you and your health needs.

Eating Healthy Spotlight on: Watermelon

Written by Lisa Jillanza
  • Besides being made up of nearly 90% water, watermelons are also a great source of significant vitamins and minerals.
  • It is chock full of a considerable amount of vitamins A and C. It contains thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate and niacin in small amounts. 
  • It is a great source of potassium, and also contains magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and iron in trace amounts.
  • Watermelon is also very low in calories, free of fats and cholesterol and is rich in carotenoids.

Recipe: Grilled Scallop and Watermelon Kebabs

  • 12 sea scallops
  • 4 cups boiling vegetable or chicken broth
  • 24- 1”x1” watermelon cubes
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger

Cut the scallops into halves across the diameter to create half-moon shapes.  Place them in a heatproof casserole dish in a single layer.  Pour the boiling clear broth over the scallops and let them poach for 5 minutes.  Drain and cool the scallops.  On each skewer alternate one half-moon scallop, then two watermelon cubes, then one half-moon scallop.  Mix the remaining ingredients and brush the kebabs as they are grilled over a medium-hot grill for 90 seconds per side, turning only once.  Serve warm.

Recipe: Cajun Chicken with Watermelon Mint Salsa

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets 

Mix the spices.  Coat the chicken cutlets with the spice mixture.  Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat and place chicken in pan.  Blacken on both sides and sauté just until cooked through.  Top with Watermelon Mint Salsa and serve immediately. 

Watermelon Mint Salsa

  • 2tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup diced seeded tomato
  • Minced seeded jalapeno to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
  • ½ cup chopped fresh scallion 

Toss ingredients together, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Healthy Eating: Superfoods to Boost Your Immune System

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Everyone has heard about how “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and how your mom always suggests chicken noodle soup when you are sick, but how much does the food you eat really affect your immune system? According to experts, a lot!

 

Experts say that “Our immune system works most efficiently when lifestyle factors are in balance, and first and foremost is having the foundation of a healthy diet.” 

A diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help your body better prepare to fight off anything that may come its way. To build that proper foundation, here are a few great superfoods that you should be eating or adding to your diet.

  1. Yogurt
  2. Garlic
  3. Blueberries
  4. Kiwi
  5. Mushrooms
  6. Salmon
  7. Beans and Lentils
  8. Tea 

Experts also say that “Our immune response declines as we age, so it is important to consider every meal as an opportunity to nourish your body and support a healthy immune system.” Start small by adding a superfood each day into your diet and soon enough you start noticing some big changes to your health.