Archive for August, 2009

Apples have a lot of nutritional value and benefits.  They are an excellent source of fiber, a good source of vitamin C, and loaded with antioxidants! 

Apples are a great source of fiber.  One medium apple with the skin contains 20% of your daily fiber needs.  Apples offer both soluble and insoluble fiber.  Insoluble fiber helps to promote the movement of materials through your digestive system.  Therefore it can help with those who struggle with constipation.  Soluble fiber helps to lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar.  It specifically lowers the “bad” cholesterol in the blood and helps to slow the absorption of sugar in the blood.  Therefore a high fiber diet can help to reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes.

Apples are packed with antioxidants which can help protect your body’s cells from damage.  One specific antioxidant apples contain is Quercetin.  Quercetin has been shown to fight heart disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease.  The peel of the apple contains the highest amount of antioxidants which is why it is so beneficial to eat apples in their whole fruit form opposed to as applesauce or juice. 

Apples are a good source of vitamin C, which is also an antioxidant that helps protect your body’s cells from damage and chronic diseases.  Vitamin C is very important for the body to form collagen in bones, cartilage, muscles, and blood vessels.  Vitamin C also helps aid the absorption of iron as well.  For example if you had a bowl of an iron-enriched cereal and added apples, it could help aid in the absorption of iron. 

Apple season is here!  Pick your own or buy your apples from your local farmer’s market.


Apple Yogurt

Makes 6 servings

2 medium apples (any color)

¼ cup crunchy granola

¼ cup raisins or dried fruit bits

1 ½ cups (12 ounces) vanilla yogurt


Core the apples.  Leave the skin on and cut into small pieces.  Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Stir well and put ¼ cup of mixture into six individual serving cups.


Easy Baked Applesauce

Makes 8 Servings


5 tbsp. water

¼ cups packed brown sugar

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

4 pounds- apples, peeled, cored, and halved


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Combine all ingredients in a large Dutch oven; toss to coat.  Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring once after 45 minutes.           


Recipe from: Cooking Light


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Most everyone loves mozzarella sticks. Why not make them healthier by making them yourself and sneaking in a vegetable?  Whole-wheat breadcrumbs and flaxseed meal add fiber and using part-skim mozzarella and sautéing them with a little olive oil also makes them lower in fat than the restaurant fried version. This is a good way to get a little calcium in your kid’s diet!


Mozzarella sticks

Makes 8 sticks


1 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal (optional)

1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

½ cup cauliflower puree*

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Nonstick cooking spray

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt


In a bowl, toss the breadcrumbs with the flaxseed meal and sesame seeds.

In a second large bowl, stir together the mozzarella, cauliflower puree, and cornstarch until well combined.  Shape into eight 2×1/2 inch logs.  Gently roll each log in breadcrumbs, then wrap in aluminum foil or waxed paper and freeze for 20 minutes.  Make sure they are frozen before you cook!

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the oil.  Arrange the mozzarella sticks in the pan in a single layer, being careful not to crowd them.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until the crumb coating begins to brown.  Sprinkle with salt and serve with ketchup or marinara sauce. 


*Cauliflower puree

Cut off florets and discard core from 1 head of cauliflower.  Steam for 8 to 10 minutes.  Puree in food processor or blender for about 2 minutes, with a few teaspoons of water if needed for a smooth, creamy texture.

Deceptively Delicious; Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food; Jessica Seinfeld

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Eggs come in single-serving packages stuffed with easy-to-digest protein for maintaining muscle and building your immune system against pneumonia and the flu. The yolks,the part which usually gets a bad wrap because of the saturated fat and cholesterol, also contain the good fats – mono and polyunsaturated fats.  They are loaded with important nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin D and two antioxidant carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) which are crucial for preventing blindness in adults. The yolk also contains the mineral choline which has been shown to enhance memory.  Choline, a little-known but essential nutrient contributes to fetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects. The National Academy of Sciences recommends increased choline intake for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Two eggs – including the yolks – contain about 250 milligrams of choline, or roughly half the recommended daily amount.  Eat an egg two to three times a week and be egg-OK!


Egg Salad Sandwich

Yields 1 serving


1 hard boiled egg, peeled

1 tablespoon light mayonnaise

½ tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon finely grated carrots

a little salt and pepper, to taste


Chop egg.  Add other ingredients and mix together.  Pile mixture on a slice of whole wheat bread.  Add whatever other veggies you want, top with the second slice of bread and enjoy!

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Eat watermelon!  This is one hard-working fruit that is often overlooked because it seems so simple!  A 1-inch slice is a great source of hydration. – It contains 92% water!  And low in calories – 1 cup has only 49 calories.  Who would have guessed that this fruit is a cancer fighting powerhouse!   The red color in watermelon meat comes from the anti-oxidant lycopene.  In fact, watermelon delivers 1/3 more lycopene than fresh tomatoes do.  Lycopene protects against skin cancer by boosting the skin’s natural SPF.  For men, lycopene is a powerful fighter against prostate cancer. 

The fiber in watermelon is soluble which means that it helps clean out your blood vessels of unwanted plaque and cholesterol, lowering your total blood cholesterol.  Watermelon also packs a lot of potassium which helps the fight against high blood pressure.

For all of you mom’s-to-be out there battling that queasy feeling – studies have shown that pregnant women who can’t even keep water down enjoy ice-cold chunks of watermelon without feeling sick.


Selecting watermelon

A whole watermelon gives very few clues as to what is inside.  Check out the store’s cut pieces of watermelon which are typically sold along side whole ones.  This will give you a general idea of the quality of the melons the store sells.

  • Look over the melon.  Choose one that is firm, symmetrical, and free of bruises, cuts and dents.
  • Lift it up.  Watermelon should be heavy for its size since it is mostly water.
  • Turn it over.  There should be a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.  If the melon is still green or white on the bottom, it is probably immature.
  • Watermelons ripen on the vine, not on your kitchen counter.  So, what you buy is what you get.


Freezing watermelon chunks:

Cube seeded watermelon.  Place the cubes on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and freeze.  When frozen, transfer to a plastic bag and return to freezer.


Serve Watermelon Slush drinks at your next family gathering!

Yield:  six servings


1 can (10 ounces) frozen nonalcoholic margarita mix

3 cups cubed seeded watermelon

2 cups frozen cubed seeded watermelon or ice cubes


In a blender or food processor, whirl the margarita mix and the unfrozen watermelon cubes until liquefied.  Add the frozen watermelon cubes or ice cubes.  Pulse until mixture is slushy.  Serve immediately.


Sources:  The Giant Book of Kitchen Counter Cures;  Karen Cicero and Colleen Pierre, M.S., R.D.

USA Weekend June 1-3, 2007

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Ranch-Snack-MixTry this recipe for a snack mix with the tangy twist of ranch dressing.  By adding nuts, you are getting protein along with the complex carbohydrates found in the pretzels, fish crackers and cereal.  Eating a protein and carbohydrate together will make you feel full longer.   Nuts offer a dose of heart healthy fat and by choosing whole grain fish crackers and wheat cereal, you are boosting the fiber content a little which will help you feel fuller faster.  This is a great snack for kids to prepare by themselves or with just a little help from an adult.


Ranch Snack Mix

 Servings: 8


1 cup whole grain fish crackers

1 cup pretzels, any shape

1 cup Wheat Chex cereal

1 cup peanuts, plain

¼ cup dry buttermilk salad dressing mix, do not prepare

1 tablespoon canola oil


Combine crackers, pretzels, cereal and peanuts in a large bowl or bag.  Drizzle oil over dry ingredients and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle ranch dressing mix over the mix. Toss or shake well.  Store in an airtight container.

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