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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. 

Food for Thought: Foods that Contain Sneaky Sodium

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Potato chips, French fries, movie theater popcorn… all these foods we know are packed with sodium. But what about those foods that contain “sneaky” amounts of sodium? High sodium diets can wreak havoc on your health so the more you know about what foods contain sodium the better off you will be when making your food choices.

Sliced deli meats and hotdogs – just one hot dog can contain 500 mg of sodium and just two slices of deli meat up to 250 mg.

Cereal – here’s a sneaky one with one cup of cornflakes containing 200 mg per serving.

Pancake mix – mixes contain 400 mg of sodium per serving!

Canned soups and vegetables – anything in a can is going to contain high amounts of sodium so make sure to be a label reader!

Ketchup and soy sauce – while they are delicious, these condiments pack a punch when it comes to sodium with ketchup containing 150 mg per tablespoon and soy sauce containing 1,000 mg per tablespoon.

Frozen foods – just a single slice of frozen pizza contains nearly 750 mg of sodium! A single serving of frozen meatloaf contains 900 mg.

Spaghetti sauce – just one cup of jarred spaghetti sauce can have a sodium content of 1,000 mg.

Flour tortillas – depending on the size of the tortilla you are looking at between 400 and 600 mg of sodium in each tortilla.

Some seafoods – while seafood can be great for a heart healthy diet, be sure to check your canned and frozen seafoods for those sodium amounts.

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Salmon

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Besides being an excellent source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, salmon is also full of high-quality proteins and low in saturated fat. 

  • Salmon has nearly a third of the saturated fat of lean ground beef and 50 percent less saturated fat than chicken, making it one of the healthiest items that you could eat.
  • Salmon is also low in calories. One serving contains approximately 183 calories, making it one of the lowest in calories among other fish.
  • Salmon contains sufficient amounts of every essential amino acid required by our bodies for growth and the upkeep of muscle tissue.

 

Recipe: Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon

1 scallion, minced

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into four portions

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds 

Whisk scallion, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and ginger in a medium bowl until the honey is dissolved. Place salmon in a sealable plastic bag, add 3 tablespoons of the sauce and refrigerate; let marinate for 15 minutes. Reserve the remaining sauce. Preheat broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Transfer the salmon to the pan, skinned-side down. (Discard the marinade.) Broil the salmon 4 to 6 inches from the heat source until cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with the reserved sauce and garnish with sesame seeds.

 

Recipe:  Smoked Salmon Dip 

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 oz. smoked salmon, minced 

Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudités or crackers. 

Food for Thought: Five Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays

Written by Lisa Jillanza

‘Tis the season for eating… turkey, stuffing, pies, cookies, cakes, ham and all the sides! But how do you stay on your healthy eating track when it is so easy to get sidetracked with the holidays?

Experts weighed in (no pun intended) on this topic and have come up with these five healthy eating tips to help you keep those diet goals and still enjoy the delicious meals of the season!

  1. “Holiday-proof” your diet. How you ask? Try to eat as close to your normal eating times as possible, offer to bring a healthy treat to the meal, if you want to eat dessert maybe cut back on other carbohydrates during dinner and don’t skip meals to save up for dinner.
  2. “Outsmart the buffet.” Ways to do this include eat on a smaller plate and resist seconds, eat slowly so you feel fuller, start with vegetables so you fill up quicker and avoid (or limit) your alcohol.
  3. Add your favorites instead of eliminating them. If you only eat pumpkin pie once a year, then eat the pumpkin pie! Just make sure that you account for that in your diet plan/calorie count.
  4. Keep up with your exercising. While the holidays can be a busy time, make sure that you still try to fit your physical exercise in like you normally would. Being active can help you offset that extra eating that you will be doing and reduce your stress.
  5. Get your sleep. Because the holidays are such a busy time, you might be going out more and staying out later. Sleep loss may make it harder for you to stick to your diet and exercise plan. Getting your sleep will also prevent late night snacking.

Most of all, when you celebrate with the people that you care about, you will find that you are focusing on the fun not the food.

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Cranberries

Written by Lisa Jillanza
  • Cranberries contain high amounts of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. They also include only 45 calories per cup.
  • Cranberry's juice can be used for the prevention of urinary tract infections and bacterial adhesion in the stomach.
  • The same bacteria preventing ability of the cranberry juice can avert the formation of plaque, which leads to fewer cavities. 

 

Health benefits of cranberries

 Recipe: Easy Cranberry Bread 

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon, rind of
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 3/4 cups cranberries, chopped 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly. Add egg, finely grated orange peel, lemon peel, and orange juice all at once; carefully stir until the mixture is evenly moist. Fold in cranberries. Spoon and spread evenly into a greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. 

Recipe: Cranberry Sauce 

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups (1 12-oz package) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Optional: Pecans, orange zest, raisins, currants, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice. 

Place the cranberries in a colander and rinse them. Pick out and discard any damaged or bruised cranberries. Put the water and sugar in a medium saucepan on high heat and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar.  Add the cranberries to the pot and return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries have burst.  Once the cranberries have burst you can leave the cranberry sauce as is or dress it up with other ingredients. We like to mix in a half a cup of chopped pecans with a few strips of orange zest. Some people like adding raisins or currants, or even blueberries for added sweetness. You can also add holiday spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice. Remove the pot from heat. Let cool completely at room temperature, then transfer to a bowl to chill in the refrigerator.