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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.

Summer 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:

Summertime Fruits

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 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.

Benefits of eating watermelon

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 together 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 together 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

  • 2 cups chopped seedless watermelon
  • 2 tablespoons 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.

Food for Thought: Spring Clean Your Diet

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Now that the long, cold, endless winter is over it's time to give up those comfort foods and trade them in for a spring cleaning of your diet!

Spring clean your diet

The good news is it is possible to rid your body of harmful toxins that you may have indulged in during the winter months, just by eating better and right this spring.

These foods will help hydrate, refresh and detoxify your way into a healthier season and give you the energy you need to gear up for summer, too!

  • Berry green smoothie : Get started with a healthy smoothie blending together a cup of greens like spinach, kale and celery with a handful of fresh berries.  The greens contain chlorophyll that eliminates toxins that can contribute to liver damage and other illnesses.  The berries are packed with antioxidants and enzymes that fight free-radical damage, plus their sweetness combat the bitterness in the greens.
  • Curry powder : Popular in Indian foods, curry gets its yellow color from a compound called curcumin.  According to holistic medicine, curcumin is used to help aid with liver issues and digestive disorders.  And because curry powder is also an anti-inflammatory it also contributes to the production of glutathione, a liver-protecting antioxidant.  You can add curry powder as an accent to almost any food including eggs, chicken, and vegetables.
  • Cabbage : Made up of nearly 92 percent water, cabbage is a natural diuretic that will help your body get rid of excess fluids. It is also jam packed with glucosinolates, organic compounds that contain nitrogen and sulfur, that help to flush out unwanted toxins in the body.  Cabbage also is loaded with many essential vitamins like C, K, E and A, plus minerals, dietary fiber and folic acid.
  • Water : Always start your day with a big glass of water and stay hydrated all day long by carrying around with you a reusable water bottle.  Drinking water before a meal can help curb hunger and overeating.

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Plums

Written by Lisa Jillanza
  • Plums, and their dried version known as prunes, are very high in phytonutrients, which function as an antioxidant and provide much benefit to the body.
  • Eating plums helps in the production and absorption of iron in the body, thereby leading to better blood circulation leading further to the growth of healthy tissues.
  • Consuming plums on a regular basis will help prevent macular degeneration and other eye infections.
  • Researchers have also found that plums contain anti-cancer agents that prevent the growth of cancerous cells and tumors.

Health benefits of eating plums

Recipe: Chicken Breasts with Plum Salsa and Basmati Rice

1 ½ cups of water

1 cup uncooked basmati rice, rinsed and drained

¾ pound plums, pitted and chopped

½ medium red onion, minced

3 habanero peppers, seeded and minced

3 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro

1 teaspoon sugar

¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Place water in medium saucepan and stir in rice. Bring to boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and fluff with fork.  In a bowl, mix the plums, peppers, onions, cilantro and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Season chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper.  Heat vegetable oil in skillet over medium-heat. Place chicken in oil and brown 1 minute per side.  Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 5 additional minutes per side.  Serve over rice with plum salsa.

Recipe: Fresh Summer Fruit Salad

½ cup water

2/3 cup sugar

3 cups thinly sliced rhubarb

15 seedless grapes, halved

½ orange, sectioned

10 fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

1 apple, cored and diced

1 peach, sliced

1 plum, pitted and sliced

15 pitted Bing cherries

¼ cup fresh blueberries

Bring water and sugar to boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the rhubarb, turn heat to low, cover and simmer until rhubarb is soft, 10 to 15 minutes.  Mash and chill in the refrigerator about one hour.   To serve, mix the grapes, orange, strawberries, apple, peach, plum, cherries, and blueberries with 2/3 cup of the rhubarb sauce.  Stir gently, but thoroughly to coat.  Refrigerate for at least two hours for all of the flavors to blend well.