Category Archives: Recipes

Add Green to Your Healthy Routine this St. Patrick’s Day

Kale Smoothie

Photo courtesy of Robert Gourley

St. Patrick’s Day is almost here. Get festive and show your Irish spirit this week by adding healthy greens to your celebration.

No food coloring is necessary! Green foods are an important part of a healthy diet and are packed with nutrients you can’t easily get from other foods. Leafy greens are a great source of antioxidants and many pack plenty of vitamins A, B (including folic acid), C, K and E, as well as iron, zinc., potassium, fiber, manganese and calcium..

To keep you and your family energized and healthy, add some healthy green juices to your St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Check out these delicious green juice recipes below.

Kale & Spinach Juice

In a blender or food processor, blend kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, lemon and apple

  • 6-8 kale leaves
  • 2 handfuls of spinach leaves
  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ lemon (remove peel)
  • 1-2 green apples
  • ½-1 cup water and/or juice (pineapple or apple)
  • Handful of ice cubes

Spicy Kale, Spinach, Apple & Carrot Juice

In a blender or food processor, blend kale, spinach, parsley, celery, apple, carrots and cayenne

  • 6-8 kale leaves
  • 2-3 handfuls of spinach leaves
  • 10 sprigs of parsley
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1-2 green apples
  • 2 large carrots
  • A pinch of cayenne
  • ½ -1 cup water and/or juice (pineapple or apple)
  • Handful of ice cubes

Kale, Cucumber, Mint & Fruit Juice

In a blender or food processor, blend kale, cucumber, lemon, mint and pineapple juice

  • 6-8 kale leaves
  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ lemon (remove peel)
  • 2 small handfuls fresh mint leaves
  • 1-inch thick slice fresh cored pineapple
  • ½-1 cup water and/or juice (pineapple or apple)
  • Handful of ice cubes

Kale, Spinach & Apple Juice

In a blender or food processor, blend kale, spinach, celery, apple, cucumber, lemon, ginger and mint

  • 6-8 kale leaves
  • 2-3 handfuls of spinach leaves
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1-2 green apples
  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ lemon (remove peel)
  • 1”-2” piece ginger
  • 2 small handfuls fresh mint leaves
  • ½-1 cup water and/or juice (pineapple or apple)
  • Handful of ice cubes

To sweeten up any of these juices, try adding an extra squeeze or two of lemon or lime, honey or a bit of ginger to taste. For an extra twist and to make your juice into a smoothie, add a half-cup of Greek yogurt or your favorite milk – including skim cow’s milk, soy, almond or rice milk.

Enjoy a healthy St. Patrick’s Day!

For more ideas on healthy eating and successful solutions, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips and eating plans makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/GeorgiaKostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.

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

 

 

Step Up the Flavor of Fall Foods

Fall Healthy Eating

This time of year, there is an abundance of fall foods to enjoy that are as healthy as they are delicious. They even fall into fall colors – reds, oranges, golds and deep greens. As temperatures drop and we start to crave heartier foods, remember that fall and winter foods can be both hearty and healthy. When looking to step up the taste and nutrition of your fall and winter meals, go for color. Brighten your plate with colorful food options as these are often the foods with the most nutrients and vitamins.

Here’s a look at a variety of colored foods to enjoy this time of year and their benefits.

Reds Foods

Smart Options: pomegranate seeds, cranberries, tomato sauces, beets, red beans and lentils

These foods contain heart-healthy flavonoids, which are anti-oxidants and reduce inflammation, fighting heart disease and keeping artery walls healthy. They also contain vitamins A and C, which boost the immune system and promote healing and are good for eyes, skin, and hair.

Orange and Golden Foods

Smart Options: oranges, butternut squash, acorn squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, golden raisins

These foods contain vitamin C needed for good eye health, wound healing, strong bones and a stronger immune system.

Greens

Smart Options: broccoli, Brussel sprouts, green bell peppers, coleslaw and cabbage

These foods are rich in minerals, phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and vitamins, including vitamins A, B’s and C. These are important nutrients for overall health and well-being as well as disease prevention.

Spices of the season

Smart Options: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, and cumin

These spices all have powerful anti-oxidant properties and fight inflammation in joints and arteries. Cinnamon also helps manage blood sugar levels. Add these enticing flavors to cooked apples, teas, beef sauces, poultry, salmon, sweet potatoes, and foods suggested below.

So get creative! Enjoy these foods and flavors in new inspiring ways. Some suggestions:

  • Pomegranate seeds sprinkled on salads and yogurt
  • Dried cranberries in oatmeal and salads
  • Roasted or pickled beets as snacks or in salads or as sides
  • Tomato sauces in stews or spaghetti or chili or soups
  • Red beans with rice or in chili, lentil soup or cold lentil salad
  • Butternut squash soup, mashed butternut squash or roasted butternut strips or rings
  • Baked, mashed or roasted sweet potatoes – a great option for both breakfast or a snack
  • Stuffed bell peppers or cabbage rolls
  • Coleslaw with diced apples, cranberries and walnuts
  • Cinnamon added to oatmeal, yogurt, stews, roasts, spaghetti sauce, butternut or acorn squash
  • Ginger added to stir-fries, broccoli, butternut squash, cranberry sauce, apples, salmon, chicken
  • Cumin added to stews, meat sauces, chili and beans

To inspire your fall and winter cooking, here are a few recipes to get you started.

Fall Recipes

Butternut Squash Soup by Georgia Kostas, MPH, RD, LD

Ingredients

Yields 6 servings

1 large butternut squash

½ large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 carrots, sliced

1 pear or apple, peeled and sliced (1 cup)

1-2 teaspoons olive oil

4 cups (2- 15oz cans) chicken broth

½ cup orange juice

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ tsp cumin

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon all-spice

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground red pepper

2 Tablespoons sherry or white wine

½ bunch cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Scrub butternut squash. With fork, poke several “vents” for steam to escape when cooking. Place in microwave, on paper towels. Cook on High for 10 minutes. Remove. Let sit 5 minutes, wrapped in a kitchen towel. Scoop out the flesh to add to the soup pot.
  2. While squash is cooking: sauté onion, garlic, carrots, pear in oil in a large soup pot for about 5 minutes, till softened.
  3. To soup pot, add broth and juice; heat to boil. Then add scooped butternut squash, wine, seasonings.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add cilantro. Blenderize to create a smooth creamy texture.

Stove-top Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Walnuts

Ingredients

1 lb Brussels sprouts, washed, outer leaves trimmed, cut in half

1 Tbsp olive oil

1-2 cups chicken broth

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup walnuts, sliced

2 tsp sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add and stir Brussels sprouts in oil 5 min; add broth a little at a time, as needed, to prevent sticking; cook till sprouts are tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add remaining three ingredients, stir, and cook 5 minutes more.

For more ideas on how to feel satisfied and not overeat, as well as how to enjoya healthy diet and succeed with weight loss, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.

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

RECIPE: Grilled Salmon & Vegetable Packets

Recipe & Tips reprinted from Tufts Health & Nutrition Newsletter Jan 27, 2014

SALMON

Cooking fish and vegetables together in a foil packet on the grill is an excellent technique for healthy outdoor cooking. Because the food is cooked by the steam, which develops in the packet, you don’t have to be concerned about potentially harmful carcinogens and Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs; see March, 2010 issue of the Tufts Health & Nutrition Newsletter) that form when food is charred on a grill. What’s more, this cooking method delivers lots of flavor with a minimum of fat, and cleanup is a breeze. It is also a great way to incorporate colorful vegetables into your entrée. In this recipe, a savory Asian glaze enhances richly-flavored salmon. Round out this simple meal with brown rice or quinoa.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sliced (1/2 inch-wide ribbons) napa cabbage
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 3 tsp minced fresh ginger (divided)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (divided)
  • 2 1/2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinager
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 8 ounces salmon fillets or archic char, skin removed (see Tip), cut into 2 portions
  • 1 tbsp chopped scallion whites

Instructions:

  • Preheat grill to medium-high. Cut two 12 x 16-inch sheets of aluminum foil. Fold each one in half to form a 12 x 8-inch rectangle.
  • Combine napa, bell pepper, 1 tsp ginger, ½ tsp garlic, 1 tsp soy sauce, and sesame oil in large bowl; toss to coat.
  • Mix hoisin sauce, vinegar, crushed red pepper, remaining 2 tsp ginger, remaining ½ tsp garlic, and remaining 1 ½ tsp soy sauce in small bowl.
  • Open a foil rectangle. Spray half of the rectangle with cooking spray. Place half of the vegetable mixture on sprayed side of rectangle. Top with a piece of fish. Spread half of the hoisin sauce mixture over fish. Sprinkle with half of the scallions. Fold the other half of the foil rectangle over to enclose contents. Seal packet. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 1 more packet.
  • If using a gas grill, turn off one of the burners. If using a charcoal grill, push hot coals to one side of the grill. Place packets on unheated portion of grill. Cover grill and cook packets over indirect heat for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fish, or until packets are puffed and fish just begins to flake. (When you open a packet to check for doneness, be careful of steam.) To serve, use a wide spatula to transfer contents of each packet to a plate. Spoon vegetables around fish and pour any accumulated juices over fish.

Yield: 2 servings.

  • Per serving (with wild Coho salmon): Calories: 262. Total fat: 10 grams. Saturated fat: 2 grams. Cholesterol: 57 milligrams. Sodium: 449 milligrams. Carbohydrates: 12 grams: Fiber: 3 grams. Protein: 30 grams.
  • Per serving (with Atlantic farmed salmon): Calories: 284. Total fat: 15 grams. Saturated fat: 3 grams. Cholesterol: 63 milligrams. Sodium: 457 milligrams. Carbohydrates: 12 grams: Fiber: 3 grams. Protein: 25 grams.
  • Tip: You can ask the fish counter to remove the fish skin for you. But it is easy to trim the skin yourself. Place salmon fillet, skin-side down, on cutting board. Use paper towel to grasp the edge of salmon skin with your free hand. Holding a chef’s knife at a 45º angle towards skin, ease knife forward to separate skin from flesh. 
  • Tip: If the weather is not suited to outdoor cooking, you can cook the packets (use foil or parchment paper) in a 400ºF-oven for 15 to 17 minutes.
  • Shopping for Salmon: Seafood Watch at the Monterey Bay Aquarium lists wild-caught Alaskan salmon as a “Best Choice” because of the clean waters in its habitat and carefully managed fishery practices. Most farmed Atlantic salmon, on the other-hand, falls into the “Avoid” category because of high levels of PCBs, and the farms’ harmful effect on the environment and wild salmon population. If using farmed salmon, be sure to trim skin and fatty portions because that is where the contaminants collect. For more information on sustainable seafood, check out web sites, such as (montereybayaquarium.org) and www.nrdc.org(Natural Resource Defense Council

 

Savor Summer with Smart Grilling Tips

Grilled Vegetables

Summer is in full swing. What better time to take advantage of the season than firing up the grill for a summer cookout while taking advantage of the season’s freshest ingredients.

To ensure your summer BBQ is flavorful and healthy, follow these simple tips:

  • Experiment with Marinades: You can add a lot of flavor without adding too many calories, salt, sugar and fat. In fact, spicing up your meat not only helps with flavor but can also make it healthier. Spices and herbs high in antioxidants and ingredients with Vitamin C help get rid of harmful HCAs (heterocyclic amines) formed when meat fat drips on a hot grill. So be sure to add lemon juice , orange juice or pineapple juice to your marinade, as well as great plant seasonings  such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, garlic or onion. Toss out used marinade. Never add it to a cooked food.
  • Trim Fat: Before firing up your grill, take the time to remove excess fat from m Buying lean beef or pork or lamb cuts will also help eliminate some of the saturated fats consumed. Lean cuts include flank steak, pork or beef tenderloin, skirt steak, fat- trimmed leg of lamb, or lean ground beef.
  • Go for Seafood: The grill is not just for meat. It’s a delicious and healthy way to cook seafood, too. Opt for lighter marinades that won’t overpower the taste of your seafood. Firm fish, such as tuna, salmon or snapper prove to be much better options for grilling as opposed to delicate, flaky fish like cod and tilapia. Firmer fish do much better with the high heat of the grill and smoky flavor. For shellfish, like shrimp or scallops, choose jumbo varieties and consider using a basket or skewers, which handle better on the grill.
  • Add vegetables: Add vegetables to the grill every chance you can. They are delicious and you won’t have to worry about overcooking. Add a little olive or canola oil to your veggies or marinade them. Make kabobs, using half meat and half vegetables . Grill extra veggies on the grill, in foil, or in a grilling basket to enjoy tomorrow as a side, snack or add to a salad or sandwich. Grill ears of corn in their husk (after soaking in water to prevent burning). Get creative. Grill romaine lettuce leaves, whole onions, pineapple or peach slices – all rich in flavor.

For some creative ideas, check out the recipes below for some of my favorite summer grilling recipes:

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

 

Healthy Summer Foods to Add to Your Diet

Summer VegetablesJune is National Dairy and National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. Just a quick reminder here that this is a perfect time of year to add more fresh produce and dairy to your eating and be mindful of their importance. These are nutrient-dense foods critical to your health and they provide a high ratio of nutrients per calorie.

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables reduce our risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. Two to three fruit and two to three cups of veggies daily have been highlighted in studies to be health-promoting. Why not explore this summer’s finest ripe, sweet fresh produce such as cherries, berries, apricots, blackberries, peaches, melons, and sweet peppers, beets, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers and summer squash!

Like fruits and vegetables, dairy foods are nutrition-powerhouses also. Key to bone health, blood pressure and heart rhythm, milk products are the easiest way to assure you are getting enough calcium and Vitamin D in your diet. In fact, each glass of milk contributes significant amounts of nine major nutrients, as well as almost every other nutrient we need. Two glasses a day, and you are on your way to a healthier day. When choosing milk, note that regular non-fat milk has a higher potassium content than soy and almond, and Greek yogurt concentrates even more potassium. Potassium plays a big role in a maintaining a healthy blood pressure and heart rate.

To celebrate National Dairy and National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, why not try these two easy, healthy breakfast recipes from MilkLife.com. You can swap in your favorite fruits or add a few green leaves, including kale or spinach leaves, to the smoothie, or add a touch of orange juice to replace the sweetener in oatmeal.

Protein-Packed Berry Burst Smoothie – provides 10 grams of protein and 250 mg calcium, meeting 25% of your daily need (Daily Value) for calcium per serving.

Slow Cooker Oats – This easy make-ahead recipe is perfect for busy families, provides 9 grams of protein and meets 25% of your daily need (Daily Value) for calcium per serving.

This shake and oatmeal each include milk, oatmeal (a whole-grain), nuts and fruit – a winning combination for any meal. So, go ahead and try these.  You’ll start your day with additional health and a burst of flavor!

For more ideas on healthy eating, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.

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

RECIPE: 15 or 16 Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 lb bagged beans (15-16 types)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey (90% fat free)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, diced ( or 1 tablespoon minced garlic, purchased)
  • 1 large onion, peeled, sliced into chunks (2 cups)*
  • 5 large carrots, cleaned, peeled, sliced into chunks (2 cups)*
  • 6 celery stalks, cleaned, sliced into chunks (2 cups)*
  • 4-8  cups kale leaves, washed, loosed packed, cut into thin strips
  • Optional: jalapeno or serrano pepper, de-seeded and sliced (or canned)
  • 2 quarts of chicken broth
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 14.5 oz  can diced tomatoes
  • 3  tablespoons Greek seasoning
  • 1  teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (add at end)

* You could also use a frozen veggie mix.

Directions

1. Night before: Sort beans in colander and rinse to remove dirt.  Transfer to a large pot and soak beans overnight in a large pot of water.

2. Next morning or night before: Clean and cut all vegetables into similar sized chunks, so they cook evenly.  Throw out soaking water and retain beans to transfer to a  crockpot.

2.  In a crockpot,  cover bottom with oil (to prevent food from sticking). Add all ingredients and beans.

4.  Stir and simmer 6-8 hours.  During last 15 minutes, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to add a zesty flavor.

RECIPE: Hummus Primavera

Check out the following recipe for a healthy entree, side dish or dip. This dish has 8 colors and food types, magnifying the nutrition of just plain hummus. It makes for a nutritious light meal for just 200 calories.

Ingredients and Directions:

Layer the following in a serving bowl, starting from the bottom, up:

  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup lettuce or spinach leaves, sliced into narrow strips
  • 1/4 cup hummus, any flavor

Layer the following mix on top of the hummus:

  • 6 red grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1-2 tablespoons cucumbers
  • 1-2 tablespoons sliced green onions
  • 1 mini orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 mini yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 olives, sliced

Enjoy as a side dish or serve as a dip with raw celery and carrot sticks.