(Family Features) As a key part of a nutritious eating plan, protein intake can be a healthy step to take in the new year. One increasingly popular way to add protein to your at-home menu is with protein-packed, plant-based foods like tempeh.
Tempeh’s roots date back thousands of years and originate in Indonesia. It’s an all-natural protein source made with simple, whole-food ingredients – most often fermented soybeans, water and rice – and is high in protein, packed with fiber and low in fat, sodium and calories. Tempeh is also loaded with vitamins and minerals like calcium, manganese, phosphorus and iron, and has all nine essential amino acids. Because it’s fermented, the nutrients in tempeh are easy for the body to digest.
The health benefits of tempeh, including 18 grams of protein per serving, are one reason to give it a try, but another is it’s easy and versatile to cook. It has a firm texture, nutty taste and can be baked, fried, steamed or grilled. Tempeh also easily absorbs marinades, spices and sauces. To prepare tempeh, cut it into cubes, strips or crumble it then toss into a stir-fry, layer it onto a BLT sandwich or simply warm a skillet and sear it until golden brown.
The possibilities for tempeh are nearly endless, and it’s also increasingly easy to find. For example, Lightlife, founded in 1979 as “Tempeh Works,” was among the first commercial producers of tempeh in the United States. Today, it offers its Original Tempeh at more than 18,500 retail stores nationwide.
Find protein-packed meal ideas, like Sesame Ginger Tempeh Power Bowls with Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes, at lightlife.com.
Sesame Ginger Tempeh Power Bowls with Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes
Pickled Pink Onions:
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 package (8 ounces) Lightlife Original Tempeh
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 cups baby spinach or kale
- 2 cups cooked tri-color quinoa, at room temperature
- 1/2 ripe avocado, cubed
- 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 6 red grape cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6 yellow grape cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup pea shoots
- To make pickled pink onions: In small pot, bring white wine vinegar, sugar and salt to boil. Add onions and toss to coat 15 seconds. Turn off heat and let sit 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and bright pink. Set aside.
- To make sesame ginger vinaigrette: In small bowl, stir vegetable and sesame oils with ginger, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Pour into two small ramekins. Set aside.
- To make sweet potatoes: In large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add sweet potato slices and cook, turning occasionally, 15-17 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary until tender when pierced with knife. Remove to cutting board and cut each slice into quarters. Wipe out skillet.
- To make tempeh: Cut tempeh crosswise into eight triangles. In nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, heat vegetable oil. Cook tempeh with soy sauce until golden brown and warm, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove tempeh from pan and add baby spinach or kale; stir 1-2 minutes just until wilted.
- To assemble bowls: On bottoms of two shallow bowls or plates, spread cooked quinoa. Top with piles of warm sweet potatoes, pickled pink onions, sauteed spinach or kale, avocado, chickpeas, grape tomatoes and pea shoots. Top with tempeh and serve with sesame ginger vinaigrette.
(Family Features) If you’re looking to spice up your mealtime routines, especially during those busy school nights, you may find your solution in versatile ingredients that work for a multitude of dishes.
For example, you can turn to plantains as a replacement for often-used recipe staples like potatoes. Plantains are a fruit grown around the world that cooks and eats more like a vegetable. Members of the banana family, they’re starchier and lower in sugar, meaning they’re still green when ripe.
While you’re most likely to find them baked, roasted or fried as a savory side dish at Latin, African or Caribbean restaurants, they’re growing in popularity in North America as stars of their own recipes or as nutritious, exotic swaps for starches. For example, these dishes from Dole for Plantain Crusted Salmon Fillets and Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Plantain and Lentil Caribbean Curry offer quick ways to enjoy plantains while saving time in the kitchen.
As an additional benefit, plantains can be used at every stage of ripeness. They can be boiled like a potato when green; prepared in sauces and soups, air-fried or roasted as snacks when yellow; or baked in desserts and sweet recipes when black or spotted.
Find more ways to enjoy plantains and other fresh fruits and vegetables in family recipes at dole.com.
Plantain Crusted Salmon Fillets
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each), skin on
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste, divided
- 1 DOLE® Plantain, green or half ripe
- 2 Dole Green Onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tablespoon grated lime peel
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line baking sheet with foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Combine cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, garlic and cumin; set aside.
Arrange salmon fillets on prepared baking sheet. Season with salt, to taste. Spread about 1 tablespoon cilantro mixture on top of each salmon fillet to cover.
Using box grater, peel and grate plantain. Place grated plantain in bowl with green onions, lime peel and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss to combine. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup plantain mixture on top of each salmon fillet, gently pressing to adhere. Spray plantain crust with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake 15 minutes, or until salmon is opaque and plantain crust is lightly browned.
Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Plantain and Lentil Caribbean Curry
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, grapeseed oil, divided
- 1 large DOLE® White Onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 can (15 ounces) reduced sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 large Dole Sweet Potatoes, chopped (about 4 cups)
- 2 medium Dole Plantains, chopped (about 3 cups)
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 3 cups packed, chopped collard greens
- 1/4 cup roasted salted pepitas
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 teaspoons oil; add onion and cook 3 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, curry powder, cayenne pepper and ginger; cook 2 minutes, or until fragrant and starting to brown, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer onion mixture to 3-4-quart slow cooker; add chickpeas, potatoes, plantains, broth and lentils. Cover and cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours, or until potatoes and lentils are tender.
- Stir in collard greens; cook 20 minutes, or until greens are tender. Serve garnished with pepitas.
(Family Features) Grilled meals provide a summer escape for many families by offering opportunities to spend moments together while enjoying flavorful dishes. As Americans face uncertainty in many aspects of life, one place they should be able to turn to for normalcy is food.
One option that checks boxes including comfort, fun, taste and variety: seafood. As a nutritious protein available across the country, it is versatile and can be paired with a variety of cuisines and flavors. Options range from salmon and shrimp to crab, tuna and more.
To encourage hungry Americans to enjoy the many benefits of eating seafood, the “Eat Seafood America” campaign offers these reasons to add fish, shrimp and more to your menu:
- Whether you order online, head to a store or purchase fresh from a local fisherman, seafood is widely available.
- Seafood works for a variety of dishes and cooking methods, such as these recipes for Easy Shrimp Skewers, a light and hassle-free family meal, or Seared Salmon with Mediterranean Salsa, a fun spin on cowboy caviar.
- Seafood provides essential nutrients that support immune health, such as omega-3s that may even help reduce anxiety, according to research published by “The Journal of the American Medical Association.”
- Purchasing seafood supports 2 million American jobs for men and women who follow high levels of food safety practices to provide sustainable seafood.
- Seafood offers an escape as a way for families to enjoy a favorite meal that reminds loved ones of vacation memories from oceanside paradises.
Find more ways to add seafood to your summer menu at eatseafoodamerica.com.
Easy Shrimp Skewers
Recipe courtesy of Annessa Chumbley, RDN, on behalf of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 10 wooden skewers
- 2 medium zucchinis, cut into large chunks
- 2 medium bell peppers (any color), cut into large chunks
- 2 red onions, cut into large chunks
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 10-12 ounces cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails on
- olive oil
- sea salt, to taste
- 1 lemon, juice only
- In bowl, soak skewer sticks in water at least 10 minutes to prevent burning on grill). Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
- Build skewers by alternating zucchinis, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and shrimp, pushing ingredients closely together on each skewer. Brush each with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, to taste.
- Cook skewers about 9 minutes, rotating every 3 minutes until veggies and shrimp are seared but not overcooked. Remove and place on large platter.
- Drizzle with lemon juice and serve.
Seared Salmon with Mediterranean Salsa
Recipe courtesy of Annessa Chumbley, RDN, on behalf of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4-6 salmon filets (each about 1-inch thick)
- sea salt, to taste
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 can quartered or chopped artichoke hearts, drained
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 1 cup diced cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 handful fresh spinach, chopped
- balsamic glaze
- In skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Sear salmon filets 4 minutes. Sprinkle tops of each salmon filet with sea salt, to taste. Flip and cook 4 minutes until barely done. Remove to serving platter.
- In medium bowl, make salsa by gently folding together chickpeas, artichoke hearts, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, feta and spinach. Sprinkle with sea salt, to taste. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and spoon salsa over each salmon filet.
- Refrigerate leftover salsa.
Source: Seafood Nutrition Partnership
(Family Features) Boosting immune function through a healthy diet has become an important new focus for many people these days. One key dietary recommendation is to eat more fruits and vegetables each day to improve immune function and prevent heart disease and diabetes. When looking to guide your family to healthier snacks and meals or simply trying to mix up your at-home menu, success can be as simple as rethinking the ingredients you choose to use, including your favorite produce, such as grapes.
Fresh California grapes, for example, make for an ideal snack because they are tasty, healthy, hydrating and refreshing, but grapes can also be used to make good-for-you dishes that are also satisfying and delicious. Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. Plus, they are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and contain virtually no sodium.
Try recipes like Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette, Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes with Yogurt, and Cauliflower Steaks with Grapes to pair heart-healthy grapes with other nutritious ingredients and add variety and fresh appeal in the kitchen.
Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup parsley, leaves only
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ras el hanout (Moroccan spice blend)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup green California grapes
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 1 preserved lemon, rind only
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup red California grapes, halved
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- To make couscous: Cook couscous in boiling salted water. Drain, rinse with cold water and combine with olive oil. Add carrots, tomatoes, parsley leaves, ras el hanout and salt. Mix well and set aside.
- To make chicken: Heat grill to medium-high heat.
- Rub chicken breasts with harissa paste, olive oil and salt. Grill on both sides until just done. Set aside to cool. Slice into 1/4-inch slices.
- To make vinaigrette: In blender, puree green grapes, lemon juice, lemon rind, olive oil and cilantro until smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Toss couscous mixture with vinaigrette and portion into four bowls. Top with sliced chicken, red grapes and almonds.
Nutritional information per serving: 590 calories; 30 g protein; 44 g carbohydrates; 32 g fat (49% calories from fat); 4.5 g saturated fat (7% calories from saturated fat); 65 mg cholesterol; 720 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.
Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes with Yogurt
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
- 1 cup California grapes
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 garlic clove, grated
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
- In large bowl, mix chickpeas and grapes.
- In small skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mustard seeds and cover. Cook until seeds stop popping then add cumin and fennel seeds; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper flakes; pour over chickpeas and grapes. Mix well.
- In separate bowl, stir yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and remaining salt. Spread on serving platter and top with chickpea mixture, cilantro and scallions.
Nutritional information per serving: 220 calories; 11 g protein; 31 g carbohydrates; 6 g fat (25% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 280 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
Cauliflower Steaks with Grapes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 large head cauliflower, leaves trimmed off
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 cup halved California grapes
- 1/4 cup chopped Castelvetrano olives
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped, toasted pistachios
- Heat oven to 450 F.
- Cut stem off cauliflower and cut remaining head crosswise into four 1-inch-thick slices, keeping as intact as possible. Place on sheet pan and brush sides with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast until browned and tender, about 25 minutes.
- Combine remaining olive oil, remaining pepper, grapes, olives, parsley and pistachios. When cauliflower is roasted, transfer to serving plates and top with grape mixture.
- Nutritional information per serving: 210 calories; 5 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat (60% calories from fat); 2 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 480 mg sodium; 5 g fiber.
- Healthy Eating is Easy with Grapes
- Grapes are prized for their taste and crisp, juicy texture, but fresh grapes are also a heart-healthy, hydrating snack choice. Grapes contain more than 1,600 natural plant compounds, including antioxidants and other polyphenols, which help protect the health and function of the body’s cells. Grapes can be paired with other healthy foods to enhance flavor and nutrition, including dark leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins.
(Family Features) Stocking up on pantry essentials is a productive practice, especially as people across the country spend more time at home. However, having all those ingredients on-hand doesn't do as much good if you aren't sure how to use them or feel as if you're constantly whipping up the same dishes.
For example, canned protein is a popular pantry item as it cuts down on prep time and holds a long shelf life while adding important nutrients to family meals. Canned seafood, in particular, is a versatile choice that can be used in a variety of easy recipes or simply eaten on its own.
An option like Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water, which is 99% fat free and a good source of protein and heart-healthy omega-3s, makes for an easy and versatile addition to dishes like pasta. A 5-ounce can contains 24 grams of high-quality protein, making it a nourishing source of energy while helping to easily satisfy hunger.
Try adding some modern flair to the table with this Mediterranean Tuna Pasta, perfect for a family of four and ready in just 20 minutes. Virtually any canned seafood can be used from salmon to tuna in place of more traditional proteins used in this pasta and many other dishes.
If your family prefers to stick to tradition, Mom's Favorite Tuna Noodle Casserole provides a warm, hearty meal with a hint of nostalgia while gathering loved ones around the dinner table.
Ingredients in these recipes can be easily substituted for similar options you may already have on hand, such as another dried pasta in place of penne or carrots in lieu of peas.
Find more filling family recipes at chickenofthesea.com.
Mediterranean Tuna Pasta
Total time: 20 minutes
- 1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 2 tablespoons sliced ripe olives
- 1 can (5 ounces) Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water, drained
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- In large skillet, bring chickpeas, tomatoes, zucchini, olives and tuna to boil; stir constantly.
- Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.
- Spoon mixture over cooked pasta. Top with Parmesan cheese.
Substitution: Use any canned seafood such as salmon in place of canned tuna.
Mom's Favorite Tuna Noodle Casserole
Total time: 40 minutes
- 2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 2 cans (12 ounces each) Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water, drained
- 4 cups medium egg noodles, cooked
- 4 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In bowl, stir soup and milk until smooth.
- In 3-quart casserole dish, combine peas, tuna and noodles with soup mixture.
- Bake 30 minutes, or until warm and bubbling; remove from oven and stir.
- In bowl, mix breadcrumbs with melted butter; sprinkle over tuna mixture.
- Bake 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
Substitution: Use any frozen vegetable in place of frozen peas.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Mediterranean Tuna Pasta)
Source: Chicken of the Sea
(Family Features) The spring season brings to mind flowers blooming and plants springing back to life, making it the ideal time to enjoy fresh produce in meals throughout the day. Salads are of course one of the easiest ways to combine the flavors of your favorite fruits and veggies, but you can take your greens to the next level with refreshing recipe ideas.
Creating a cool, satisfying salad can be easy when you start with quality ingredients like Fresh Express salad blends, NatureSweet Cherubs Tomatoes and Litehouse dressings for versatile bases in a nearly endless array of options. For example, salads aren’t limited to lunch or appetizers – this Breakfast Salad Bowl makes for an energizing start to the day by combining classic salad ingredients with quinoa, bacon and avocado.
Perfect for those busy weeknights, heartier salad recipes can also provide quick, simple dinner options. As a more traditional mix to enjoy at the family table, this Salmon and Grains Salad Bowl brings together salmon, tomatoes and chickpeas on a bed of lettuce topped with ranch dressing.
Find more ways to create hearty salads this spring at litehousefoods.com/iheartsalad.
Salmon and Grains Salad Bowl
- 4 ounces salmon
- 2 tablespoons paprika, divided
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 15 ounces chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ounces Fresh Express Sweet Butter Lettuce
- 1 cup red quinoa, cooked
- 6 ounces NatureSweet Cherubs Tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Dressing
- Heat oven to 350° F. Sprinkle salmon with 1 teaspoon paprika; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake on lined baking sheet 15 minutes, or until it reaches desired doneness.
- In bowl, toss chickpeas in olive oil and remaining paprika; add salt and pepper, to taste. Add chickpeas to lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 F 30-40 minutes.
- Add lettuce to plate or bowl. Top with quinoa, chickpeas, salmon and tomatoes. Drizzle with ranch dressing.
Breakfast Salad Bowl
- 10 ounces NatureSweet Cherubs Tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 ounces Fresh Express Baby Spinach
- 1 egg
- 2 bacon strips, halved
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 2 tablespoons Litehouse Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
- Heat oven to 400° F. Toss tomatoes in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake tomatoes on lined baking sheet 40 minutes.
- In skillet, add remaining olive oil and cook baby spinach until wilted, stirring as necessary.
- Cook egg as desired. Remove egg from skillet and set aside. Add bacon to skillet and cook until crispy, turning halfway through.
- In bowl, layer quinoa, bacon, avocado, egg, spinach and tomatoes. Drizzle with jalapeno ranch dressing.
(Family Features) Whether you’re hosting a houseful of guests or simply keeping your family’s hunger at bay before dinner, appetizers can be a home chef’s best friend. Simple options like dips allow for personalization while keeping cook time to a minimum.
The next time you’re looking for a quick fix, consider this Caramelized Sweet Onion Hummus recipe that’s ideal for pairing with pita bread, veggies or crackers. With the layered flavor, color and texture of onions serving as a key ingredient, it’s a nutritious substitute for less health-conscious appetizers and snacks.
In fact, onions can be called nature’s ninja because of their many “skills.” Onions add abundant flavor to a wide variety of foods with just 45 calories per serving as a source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and other key nutrients such as folate, calcium and iron. They are also rich in heart-healthy nutrients and have been shown to help prevent some cancers.
Find more recipe ideas at onions-usa.org.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Caramelized Sweet Onion Hummus
Recipe courtesy of the National Onion Association
- 1 whole garlic head
- 4 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon, extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
- 1/2 cup tahini (toasted ground sesame seeds)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Cut top of garlic head off and place cut-side down on pan; drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bake 20-30 minutes, or until garlic is soft. Once cool, squeeze garlic from each clove.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir onion frequently until slices begin to brown. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until onions are soft and reach medium brown color.
- Rinse and drain chickpeas; reserve 3 tablespoons liquid.
- In food processor, blend chickpeas, reserved liquid, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, remaining olive oil and onions until combined and smooth. Serve with pita bread, veggies or crackers.
Source: National Onion Association
Resolve to make nutritious eating a priority
(Family Features) Discovering a better version of yourself is all about striking balance. That’s especially true when it comes to making smarter food choices that you can maintain over time.
A sustainable, long-term healthy eating approach, such as the Atkins low-carb lifestyle, emphasizes variety and balance. Start planning a low-carb menu filled with high-fiber carbohydrates, optimal protein and healthy fats with these tips from Colette Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition and education for Atkins.
Fill up with fiber-rich foods. Foods like vegetables, nuts, seeds, low-glycemic fruit (like berries) and whole unrefined grains are considered carbohydrates, but they don’t raise your blood sugar the way processed carbs do. Fiber slows the entry of glucose into your bloodstream so you don’t experience insulin spikes that encourage your body to produce and store body fat. Try to eat between 25-35 grams of fiber a day.
Reduce inflammation. A low-carb approach eliminates refined and processed foods and sugars that can cause inflammation. Focus on foods that decrease inflammation, such as colorful low-glycemic vegetables, low-sugar fruits, protein and healthy fats such as olive oil. The ground turmeric in this Golden Milk recipe offers an easy way to fight inflammation without sacrificing flavor.
Kickstart your morning. Start your day with a protein-packed choice such as these Chocolate Banana Protein Overnight Oats. You’ll get the omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants from the chia seeds along with protein and healthy fats to keep you energized while avoiding high-sugar breakfast alternatives.
Satisfying, Low-Sugar Swaps
Eating on the go can easily cause you to grab a high-sugar option, but there are simple swaps to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Satisfy your hunger with an option like the Atkins Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar. Made with sweet chocolate and rich, creamy peanut butter, this bar offers 16 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber and only 2 grams of sugar to satisfy your hunger without the guilt.
Find more recipes like these for Salmon and Asparagus Sheet Pan or Spicy Crispy Chickpeas and ideas for a balanced, low-carb approach to eating well at Atkins.com.
Salmon and Asparagus Sheet Pan
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Net carbs: 4.41
- 1 bunch thin spear asparagus
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1/4 teaspoon, extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
- 2 salmon fillets (4 ounces each), no more than 3/4-inch thick
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil-based mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon minced or pressed garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat oven to 425° F.
- Wash asparagus and remove woody ends. Place on rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and pinch of salt. Arrange in single layer, leaving space for salmon. Place salmon skin-side down on sheet. Brush with remaining olive oil and season with remaining salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake 12 minutes.
- In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard and garlic.
- Remove sheet pan from oven, sprinkle asparagus spears with cheese and cook 3 minutes, or until fish reaches 145° F and asparagus spears are tender and beginning to brown on tips.
- Plate one fillet and half the asparagus, drizzle each plate with about 2 tablespoons mayonnaise sauce and serve.
Spicy Crispy Chickpeas
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Net carbs: 8.3
- 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon ghee (or clarified butter), melted
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- Heat air fryer to 390° F 3 minutes.
- Using fine mesh sieve, drain and rinse chickpeas. Use towel to gently pat chickpeas dry, removing skins. In small bowl, toss chickpeas with ghee and salt.
- Cook in single layer in air fryer 6 minutes. Pause and shake bowl; cook 6 minutes. Pause and shake bowl; cook 3 minutes.
- In separate small bowl, sprinkle chickpeas with spices and toss to evenly coat. Chickpeas can be stored in open container at room temperature up to 3 days.
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 7 minutes
Net carbs: 3
- 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 10 drops liquid stevia extract
- In small pan, whisk coconut milk, almond milk, water, coconut oil, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and pepper. Warm over medium heat until hot but not simmering, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in sweetener and serve.
Chocolate Banana Protein Overnight Oats
Prep time: 5 minutes
Chill time: 3 hours
Net carbs: 6.84
- 1 Atkins Chocolate Banana Shake
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut shreds
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- fruit, such as sliced bananas or berries (optional)
- In jar with tight-fitting lid, combine shake, rolled oats, chia seeds, hemp hearts, coconut and almonds. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Top with fruit, if desired.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Salmon and Asparagus Sheet Pan, Spicy Crispy Chickpeas, Golden Milk, Chocolate Banana Protein Overnight Oats)
Create kid-friendly meals using canned foods
(Family Features) Back-to-school season means busy schedules filled with extracurricular activities, homework and carpools. It can be challenging to find quality time to spend with loved ones, let alone get a wholesome, homemade meal on the table.
A simple way to create more moments with your family and still serve up nutritious and delicious dinners is to make sure you have canned foods on-hand.
According to a study published in “Nutrients,” a pantry stocked with canned produce helps adults and kids eat more nutrient-rich foods, leading to healthier overall diets. Canned foods also help cut down on meal prep, so you spend less time in the kitchen and more time together with your family doing the things you love.
“As a busy mom, canned foods are my secret weapon in the kitchen and ensure that I always have the makings of a nutritious meal for my family all year long, and especially when the kids are back in school,” said Holley Grainger, registered dietitian and mother of two. “Fresh fruits and vegetables are harvested at the peak of ripeness and canned within only four hours after being picked, sealing in their nutrition and flavor. So, I know I have year-round access to my family’s favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables right in my pantry.”
Canned foods also make it easy to get the kids involved in the kitchen, with recipes like Pumpkin Mac and Cheese or Hearty Chickpea Vegetable Soup, so you can help build a positive connection to healthy eating for your children. Plus, the family can “go green” and recycle the cans after they’re used; in fact, cans are the most recycled food and beverage containers in America.
For more flavorful recipes, and to learn more about the benefits of cooking with canned foods, visit CansGetYouCooking.com.
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- 8 ounces rotini or medium shell pasta
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- Grease 1 1/2-quart baking dish. In 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and milk; cook until mixture is thickened and smooth. Stir in pumpkin, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Remove from heat; whisk in cheeses until smooth. Stir in cooked pasta; toss to mix well. Spoon into baking dish.
- Melt remaining butter; stir in breadcrumbs to coat well. Sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and mixture is golden.
Hearty Chickpea Vegetable Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 cans (14 3/4 ounces each) low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1 medium squash)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) sliced carrots, drained
- 3 cups kale, coarsely chopped
- In 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Cook onion and garlic until just softened, stirring frequently. Stir in cumin; cook 1 minute.
- Add broth, water, butternut squash and salt. Over high heat, heat to boil.
- Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes until squash is tender.
- Add garbanzo beans, carrots and kale. Continue to simmer about 5 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Source: Can Manufacturers Institute
(Family Features) As days get longer and the weather gets warmer, take your meal outdoors for some tasty al fresco dining featuring a fresh and easy-to-prepare salad.
With minimal ingredients and maximum flavor, this combination of radicchio, California green ripe olives, chickpeas and Parmesan is sure to find its way into your seasonal meal occasions, from at-home dinners to garden parties.
Boasting vibrant purple hues, radicchio not only looks beautiful on the plate but packs a unique and pleasing, bitter flavor that is complemented by the texture added to each bite by toasted sunflower seeds and chickpeas.
Completing the salad are California Ripe Olives, which are grown by farming families across California. The California green ripe olive is similar to the black ripe olive but features a more mild and buttery flavor profile.
Find more tasty recipes at calolive.org.
Radicchio Salad with Olives, Chickpeas and Parmesan
Recipe courtesy of the Simply Recipes blog
Prep time: 15 minutes
Resting time: 10 minutes
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 large head radicchio (10-12 ounces)
- 1 can (16 ounces) California green ripe olives, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
- 1 can (16 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, plus additional, to taste
- Add sunflowers seeds to small, dry skillet. Toast over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until seeds are toasted around edges and smell fragrant.
- Transfer seeds to bowl to cool.
- Peel away and discard a layer or two of outer radicchio leaves if they look wilted or battered. Cut head of radicchio into quarters through root. Trim away root.
- Cut each quarter crosswise into strips, 1- to 1 1/2-inches thick. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
- Add olives, chickpeas and 3/4 cup cheese to bowl with radicchio.
- Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss gently until ingredients are evenly coated. If cheese clumps together, break apart with spatula and stir in.
- Let salad stand at least 10 minutes, or up to an hour.
- Add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve salad on individual plates or one shared platter. Top with remaining cheese and toasted sunflower seeds.
Substitution: If radicchio is unavailable, try frisee, endive or another bitter green.
Note: Salad is best served within one hour of preparation, but can be stored in airtight container in fridge for several days.
Source: California Olive Committee