Monthly Archives: April 2012

What’s in Your Easter Basket?

The Easter holiday is upon us! To enjoy holiday treats without gaining a pound, here are my top picks:

  • Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Eggs  – The ones in  Russell Stover’s 12-egg carton  are just 85 calories each (170 calories for 2 eggs).  The individually-wrapped larger ( 2” long) ones are  just 110 calories each.
  • Chocolate-Covered Coconut or Maple Crème-Filled Eggs – Russell Stover’s individually-wrapped  eggs ( 2” long) come in at just 110-120 calories each.
  • Lindt’s Little Gold-Wrapped  Bunnies – 55 calories each with 5 per package.
  • Hollow Chocolate Bunnies and Eggs – These treates are 150 calories per ounce. Enjoy an ounce a day!  Check out Russell Stover’s 160-calorie 4″  tall hollow bunny. This compares to the solid chocolate bunny for 230 calories.
  • Lindt’s Chocolate Mini-Eggs – 30 calories each and Cadbury’s mini-eggs are just 15 calories.
  • Nestle’s Crunch Chocolate Eggs – About 35-45 calories each (5 pieces of 4 mixed types total 180-210 calories).
  • Chocolate-Covered Peppermint Patties – Check out the ones in spring- colored wrappings. They are just 50 calories each.
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses – 22 calories each. Enjoy a handful of 5 for just 110 calories.

And don’t forget colorful jelly beans. These little sweet treats are just 3 calories each.

Of course your own colored Easter eggs are a true nutritional gem – just 75 calories, packed with super nutrition, and fun to crack and eat.  Eat these first…they will help manage your sweet-tooth!

Try to keep chocolate treats at 100-200 calories a day over the holiday weekend.

For more chocolate ideas year-long, check out my list of 75 best choices in The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating fun and more manageable. See

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

Protein Series (Part 3 of 3): Protein Boosts Weight Management

Many adults do not eat enough protein, because of the calorie restrictions they put themselves on as they try to lose weight. Keep in mind that eating lean protein, such as lean meat, poultry, seafood, and low-fat cheeses, is essential for maintaining lean body muscle, which helps promote an active or healthy metabolism. Making dietary changes such as adding high-quality lean protein can ultimately lead to improved weight management. As mentioned in my Protein Series parts 1 & 2, protein promotes satiety as well as body muscle, eating a protein-rich meal or snack helps you feel full longer, and satisfies cravings faster.

Recent research found that a moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-protein (3-4 oz per meal) diet helped individuals lose more weight and even reduce their risk factors for metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes, compared to those who followed a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet (2-3 oz per meal) Adding just one more lean protein to each meal, such as 1 oz meat or 1 cup milk/yogurt or ½ cup beans, is enough to add weight loss benefits.

                                                         Black Bean Chili Stew – by Georgia Kostas

1 lb of lean ground beef ( 95% lean, 5% fat)

2 cans of lower-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

2 Tbp cumin seeds ( or 1 Tbsp ground cumin)

1 Tbsp oregano

1 Tbsp basil

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped ( 1.5 cups)

1 large bell pepper ( red or green), chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp paprika

1 tsp ground red pepper

20 oz can of lower-sodium crushed or diced tomatoes

28 oz can of lower-sodium tomato sauce

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and minced (or small can of chopped jalapeno)

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a heated non-stick skillet. Add ground beef. Stir 5-7 min, till no longer pink. Drain off fat in a colander, under tap water (not cold or hot). Set aside.
  2. To a dry non-stick skillet, add cumin seeds and heat over medium heat, to toast seeds. Add basil and oregano, shaking pan occasionally for 3 minutes, till fragrant. Set aside. (Skip if using ground cumin.)
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, add all ingredients except beans. Simmer for 40-45 minutes, till onions and carrots are soft.  Then add beans. Heat 5-10 minutes more.
  4. You may also cook everything in a crockpot for 6 hours, except beans and meat. Add meat the last hour of cooking, and beans in the last 10 minutes, to prevent beef and beans from becoming too soft.