Tag Archives: healthy eating

National Nutrition Month – Slow Down and Be Mindful

Nutrition Month

Photo courtesy of http://www.notyourstandard.com

It’s National Nutrition Month and March 9 is National Dietitians’ Day!

This year’s theme from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is simple: ‘Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.’ In order words, each time you eat, truly focus on enjoying each bite. Appreciate the flavors, colors, aromas, textures and social experiences associated with eating your favorite foods. Too often we eat rushed, while doing tasks, and miss out on the enjoyment that food is meant to have. This can lead to over-eating. Sit down. Slow down. Enjoy. You will eat better and enjoy it more.

This month, create healthful meals with your favorite foods, to achieve your health and wellness goals. Inspired by the latest changes to the federal Dietary Guidelines released a month ago, here are some steps to take:

Cut added sugar

If you are like most people, you are probably eating and drinking more sugar than you are aware of. Added sugar is found in surprising places like salad dressings and sauces. Your goal? No more than 150 calories for women and 200 calories for men of added sugars. Read food labels and know what you are eating. “Added sugars” are listed in grams. For women, aim for 35 grams of sugar at most daily. Men, aim for no more than 50 grams of sugar.

  • What you can do: Reach for protein-rich nuts or seeds, fresh fruit or veggies, like baby carrots, cucumber or red bell peppers with hummus, or edamames. Try fresh sliced fruit served with Greek yogurt or Siggi’s thick Icelandic yogurt (both have less or no sugar). Make your own trail mix with wholegrain cereals, raisins and nuts. Enjoy crunchy whole wheat crackers with a soft cheese slice and zippy tomato juice.

Limit saturated fats

Eating too much saturated fat can increase risk of chronic illness such as heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Did you know the majority of saturated fat we eat is NOT in red meat and cheese, but rather in commercially prepared snack foods with “partially hydrogenated oils” such as in biscuits, cinnamon rolls, cookies, popcorn, cupcakes, cakes, frosting, French fries and many commercial snacks?

  • What you can do: Make any of the above foods at home with healthy oils and ingredients. Or choose fruit, beans, veggies, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, homemade snacks to avoid hydrogenated (factory-made) oils. Choose low-fat or non-fat dairy foods, lean beef trimmed of fat, skinned poultry and seafood that is not fried. Avoid frying anything. Keep meat to 5-6 oz daily. Use oil in cooking rather than butter. And check food labels. You want no more than 13-16 grams of saturated fat a day.

Reduce sodium

The new federal dietary guidelines call for cutting back sodium to 2,300 milligrams or less each day for those ages 14-50 and 1,500 milligrams daily for those older than 50 or African-American. Begin by cutting 1000 mg sodium daily….substitute ingredients and put the salt shaker away.

  • What you can do: It’s more than just stopping table salt or cooking salt. The bigger culprit is sodium packed in processed foods, such as condiments, pizza, sauces, soups, packaged snack foods, cold cuts, sausage, hot dogs and meals out. Read nutrition labels! Look for no more than 800 mg sodium in a frozen dinner, soup meal or entire dinner. Buy lower-sodium canned beans, soups and tomato or spaghetti sauces. Go fresh as often as possible. Nature does not put salt in fruit, fresh vegetables, potatoes, corn, dried beans and peas, etc. Be aware of the sodium in your bread. Often, a slice of bread contains 150-200 mg sodium, which is almost 10 percent of your day’s total.

Slow down and enjoy

Take time to enjoy mealtime. Food is more than nourishment and fuel for your body. Meals nourish our entire being, providing pleasure, relaxation and socialization. Sit down for meals. Be mindful of what you are eating. Stop. Take time between bites. Take smaller bites. Put away that cell phone. Don’t multitask while eating. Take a break from what you are doing to savor everything about the meal – the place, people, type food, time of day, etc. Savor each bite. Starting today, make the most out of every eating experience, and Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.

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/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.

 

The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on the websites or any association with their operators.

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.             

 

 

Celebrate National Nutrition Month

Summer HarvestMarch is National Nutrition Month. It’s a time to re-assess our eating habits and re-focus our attention on nutrition. Are you living a healthy, energetic and fulfilling lifestyle? Spring forward and start today!

This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.” Here are some bite-size changes to get you started towards a healthier you.

Make Water Your Drink of Choice

What you drink is as important as what you eat. Many drinks have added sugars and little to no nutrients. Your body needs pure water to hydrate cells, so you feel healthy and energetic. Your brain alone uses two cups of water a day! Try aiming for 32 ounces of water daily, plus an additional 32 oz of water or other beverages. If you drink sugary juices or soda each day, start by replacing one of these with a glass of water and try this for a few weeks. Once you’ve made this switch, try swopping out another serving, replacing it with water. Add a slice of lemon, lime or orange to make it more flavorful. You’ll find kicking this habit is easier than you think.

Try New Foods

It’s an exciting time to explore healthy and delicious foods you might not already know. The Internet and social media have made so many great recipes available at our fingertips. Vow to try a new fruit, vegetable or whole grain each week. Pick out a different variety of apple, a different kind of leafy green, a new color of bell pepper and a new “ancient grain” (popular are amaranth, kamut and millet). And in the kitchen, you can even refresh your go-to dishes by using new cooking techniques. Try grilling instead of baking or sautéing instead of frying. Bring new life into mildly flavored foods with a pinch of different herbs and spices or the new “smoked” seasonings like smoked paprika and smoked pepper. 

Go Low on Sugar

The U.S. Nutrition Advisory Panel’s recently released recommendations for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines made one thing loud and clear – Americans need to reduce sugar intake. And that’s not just the extra spoonful of sugar you put in your coffee or cereal. It’s important to be aware of the amounts of “hidden” sugar you eat each day that are added to foods and drinks by manufacturers. The FDA and American Heart Association recommend cutting down sugar intake to less than 10 percent of your daily calories, meaning 150-200 sugar calories a day. A 12-oz soda has 150 calories of sugar alone. By limiting added sugars in drinks and sweets, avoiding excessive snacking of processed foods (typically high in added sugar) and reading food labels carefully, you can make better and more informed choices on your sugar consumption.1

Eat More Fiber

Research has found eating a fiber-rich diet can lead to reducing your risk of chronic health diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer. Studies have also shown that consuming fiber-rich foods can boost weight loss by helping you feel fuller after you eat. The reality is most Americans aren’t consuming nearly enough fiber. In fact, nutrition guidelines recommend 25 to 38 grams per day, but the average American only consumes only about 10-14 grams. Simple ways to boost your fiber intake? Try eating more fruits and vegetables (including their fiber-rich skins and peels) and add more beans, peas and lentils to your diet. Get creative and add beans to salads, soups, rice, chili, tacos, side dishes, and snacks (think edamame pods and hummus). Be sure to compare nutrition labels to discover more fiber-rich food choices to up your fiber intake.2

Connect with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

Registered dietitian nutritionists are experts in developing a personalized nutrition plan for you. RDNs help you translate nutritional science into ideas and tips you can use to keep you on track to a healthier life. By consulting with an RDN you can learn to “eat healthy”, dispel food and diet myths, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, feel better and reduce your lifetime risk of chronic disease that impacts your heart, cancer, muscle and bones. To find an RDN near year, go to www.scandpg.org or www.eatright.org , click on “find a dietitian”, and insert your zip code. Remember, all RDN’s are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are RDN’s. RDN’s have met all the national educational, traineeship, and continuing education requirements by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to safely practice nutritional guidance with expert advice you can trust.

1 Source: Health.gov, 2 Source: Annals.org

For more ideas on heart-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.

The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on the websites or any association with their operators.                                                        

 

Silent Signs of Heart Disease in Women

Women Heart Health Tips

Most people don’t realize that heart disease and stroke are the #1 killer of women. Many have the misconception that heart disease is a man’s disease, but the reality is that each year one in every three women will die of heart disease and stroke.

In honor of National Heart Month and GO RED for Women month, I am joining the movement to help women know the facts and that they can prevent heart disease. In fact, 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.1

Get to Know the Facts

  • One of 3 women dies from heart disease, equal to the prevalence in men.
  • More women than men die from heart attacks and strokes.
  • Women typically develop cardiovascular symptoms about a decade later than men, and the disease is often riskier and more complicated to treat. Women are also more likely to be disabled after a heart attack or stroke.
  • At menopause, a woman’s heart diseaserisk starts to increase significantly, so start prevention before menopause.
  • 90 percent of women have at least one risk factor for developing heart disease.
  • Women’s symptoms are often overlooked at emergency rooms, or doctors’ offices. That is why it is CRUCIAL for you to be in the know and to be pro-active if symptoms are present.
  • Women don’t have “typical” symptoms and symptoms do not always include chest pain. Commonly, the only symptom is extreme fatigue, or fatigue upon exertion or “just not feeling right.” You can see why this symptom is misdiagnosed. Fatigue can result from lack of sleep, lifestyle, allergies, colds, and many other conditions, but at times it is a sign of heart disease.

Recognize the Symptoms

Heart Attack

  • unexplained prolonged fatigue
  • chest discomfort , pressure or chest pain (not as severe as men’s)
  • pain in your arm(s), back, neck, or jaw or stomach pain
  • shortness of breath, with or without exertion
  • light-headedness or headache
  • confusion
  • nausea or indigestion
  • sweating

Stroke

F.A.S.T. is an acronym used for the most common signs and symptoms of stroke. These signs tend to appear suddenly and every second matters so it’s crucial to act fast.

  • Face. Ask the person to smile. Does the face look uneven? Does one side droop?
  • Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift down or is it unable to move?
  • Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does their speech sound strange? Strange speech could be slurred, the wrong words may come out, or the person is unable to speak.
  • Time to call 9-1-1.

Understand the Risk Factors

Be alert to your risk status for heart disease. Each risk factor increases your risk. These include:

  • Age 55 or older – no matter how healthy you are
  • Smoking, which increases heart risk 7 times more in women than in men
  • Diabetes, which increases risk by 3-fold
  • Being overweight or having abdominal fat (a waist size over 35 inches)
  • African-American women over age 20 – almost 50% have heart disease
  • Hispanic women – who typically get heart disease 10 years earlier than Caucasian women
  • High blood pressure – 1 in 3 women over age 65 have or will have HBP
  • Cholesterol over 200 – which means 70% of women
  • High triglycerides (blood fats) over 125
  • Sedentary living, including more than 10 hrs of TV a week
  • Menopause – at any age
  • Depression/stress (ups risk 2.5 times)
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Family history or personal history of a heart condition

Scary, isn’t it? How many risk factors do you have? Which can you reverse or control?

Here’s the good news: 80 percent of all heart disease is preventable and even reversible by making lifestyle changes in your eating and activity habits.  

We can all make changes. Be proactive! Do not wait for your doctor to tell you to eat fresh food or shed a few pounds. Rid your pantry of packaged foods with extra salt, sugar and saturated and trans fats. Vow to eat a heart-healthy diet that is plant-focused with lean proteins and liquid vegetable oils. Add salads, beans, nuts, fruit and wholegrains to your daily diet along with lean cuts of beef and pork and nonfat dairy foods. You can do this. Take a 30 minute brisk walk daily in your neighborhood, mall or gym. You can break it up into three 10-minute walks. It all starts with one step.

Making these changes, you will soon reap the benefits – improved, less inflamed arteries, better blood flow, lower blood fats and a lessened risk for heart attacks and stroke. The sooner you start, the better. The longer the damage continues, the tougher for you to turn around. Please take preventative, aggressive action. Every bite and every step count.

Start eating better and move more today. You are worth it!

For more ideas on heart-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.

The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on the websites or any association with their operators.                                                        

1Source: The American Heart Association

Falling for Apples

Apples

Fresh and cooked apples, apple butter and apple pie are favorites this time of year. The good news: apples are as healthy for you as they are delicious.

An apple a day does keep the doctor away. In fact, this everyday fruit is packed full of key nutrients, including fiber, potassium, folic acid, Vitamin C, flavonoids and disease-fighting antioxidants. Research shows that the phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like cancer1, hypertension2, diabetes3 and heart disease4. An apple peel ingredient slows down cancer cell growth while quercetin reduces blood pressure, increases blood flow and reduces inflammation and heart disease. As an added bonus, the quercetin in apples also has antihistamine properties that may help reduce allergy symptoms4. The slow-digesting pectin fiber in apples also helps with blood sugar control and the high boron content supports strong bones and a healthy brain5.

Apples are also a good source of vitamin C. In a medium-size apple you will find about 10 percent of the daily-recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital to our health. It helps repair collagen and tissue, maintains bone health and provides antioxidants to lower your risk of acquiring chronic diseases.

 With less than 100 calories and 4 grams of fiber in a medium-size apple, apples make a low-calorie, healthy, crunchy and portable snack. Apples can be incorporated into many recipes and used as a healthy baking substitute, too. This fall, here are some delicious ways to enjoy apples and eat an apple a day:

  • Add sliced apples to your oatmeal at breakfast time.
  • Use chopped apples to add color and crunch to salads, coleslaw, and tuna salad.
  • When baking desserts or holiday treats, swap in applesauce as a healthier baking alternative to oils, butter and eggs. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter or oil, swap in 1/2 cup of applesauce. For eggs, swap in 1/4 cup of applesauce per egg.
  • Enjoy honey-crisp apple slices topped with peanut butter.
  • Try replacing jam or jelly on a peanut butter sandwich with apple slices dipped in orange or lemon juice to prevent browning.
  • Pair cheese with apples for a healthy snack.
  • Cook apples in a little sugar or stevia and cinnamon for a sweet treat, side dish or oatmeal topping.
  • Use apple butter in place of jam on toast as it contains no butter, just cooked apples that soften and thicken like butter.
  • Zap an apple in the microwave with cinnamon and stevia in the cored out center, as a sweet dessert.
  • Have applesauce as a snack.
  • Add apple chunks to stews, roasts, chicken or turkey dishes, spaghetti or tomato sauces, to add flavor and a natural sweetener.
  • Puree a cooked apple and add to a soup to thicken it (e.g. butternut squash soup).

You can even let apples help you with weight control. To avoid overeating, try eating an apple before a large meal. It is filling, curbs your appetite and satisfies a sweet tooth. Crunching and chewing an apple even reduces your day’s stress level.

Enjoy an apple today, sweet or tart, and add to your health!

For more ideas on how to feel satisfied and not overeat, as well as how to enjoy a 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.

 1 Nutrition and Cancer. http://bit.ly/1uXsRr6

2 The Journal of Nutrition. http://bit.ly/1uUGAya

3 British Medical Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5001

4 British Medical Journal. http://bit.ly/1gFBONG

5 Journal of Investigational Allergology. http://1.usa.gov/1swOyaO

6 Environmental Health Perspectives. http://1.usa.gov/1tzLbPF

 

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

 

Fire Up the Father’s Day Grill with Lean Meats

Red meat is a Father’s Day favorite and sure to grace the menus of Father’s Day feasts around the country this weekend. For those looking for healthier options for their family celebrations, remember – not all cuts of meat are equal. Grilling can be one of the lightest ways to entertain, but it all comes down to knowing what cuts to look for how to prepare them and how to complement them with nutrient-rich additions to the menu.

Lean cuts of meat such as sirloin, have up to 34 percent less fat today than a few decades ago, thanks to new breeding, feeding and fat trimming at the grocery store. This is good news, but some still struggle to know how to cook lean beef cuts and keep them tender when the fat content is so low.

Adding lean cuts of beef to cool summer salads is an ideal way to turn up the flavor and certainly makes for a delicious and nutritious way to celebrate this Father’s Day. In time for firing up your grill this weekend, following are a few crowd-pleasing, healthy grilling recipes — each with less than 15 grams of fat.

Champagne Steak Salad with Blue Cheese –– 300 calories, 14 grams of fat

Recipe 1

Recipe courtesy of Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

  • INGREDIENTS
    • 2 beef Ranch Steaks , cut 1 inch thick (about 8 ounces each)
    • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
    • 2 teaspoons crushed mixed peppercorns (black, white, pink and green)
    • 2 medium red and/or yellow bell peppers, cut into quarters
    • 1 package (5 ounces) mixed salad greens
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
    • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • Vinaigrette
    • 1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground mixed peppercorns
  • INSTRUCTIONS
  • Bring 1-inch water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add green beans, cover and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; set aside.
  • Meanwhile, combine vinaigrette ingredients in small bowl; set aside.
  • Press 2 teaspoons peppercorns evenly onto beef steaks. Place steaks in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange peppers around steak. Grill steaks, covered, 11 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 12 to 16 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness. Grill peppers 7 to 11 minutes (gas grill times remain the same) or until crisp-tender, turning steaks and vegetables occasionally.
  • Carve steaks into thin slices. Cut peppers into 1-1/2-inch pieces. Season beef and vegetables with salt, as desired. Divide salad greens among four serving bowls; top evenly with vegetables. Arrange beef on salad. Sprinkle with blue cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

Note: You can use Ranch or Top Sirloin cuts – both approximately 300 calories and 15 grams of fat. 

Tenderloin, Cranberry and Pear Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing — 320 calories, 14 grams of fat   

Recipe 2

Recipe courtesy of the Texas Beef Council and The Healthy Beef Cookbook

  • INGREDIENTS
    • 4 beef tenderloin steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick (approx. 4 oz. each)
    • 1/2 tsp. coarse grind black pepper
    • 1 package (5 oz.) mixed baby salad greens
    • 1 medium red or green pear, cored, cut into 16 wedges
    • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
    • Salt (to taste)
    • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
    • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)
  • Honey Mustard Dressing
    • 1/2 cup prepared honey mustard
    • 2-3 Tbsp. water
    • 1-1/2 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
    • 1/4 tsp. coarse grind black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • INSTRUCTIONS
  • Season steaks with 1/2 tsp. pepper. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place steaks in skillet; cook 7 to 9 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, whisk Honey Mustard Dressing ingredients in small bowl until well blended. Set aside. Divide greens evenly among 4 plates. Top evenly with pear wedges and dried cranberries.
  • Carve steaks into thin slices; season with salt as desired. Divide steak slices evenly over salads. Top each salad evenly with dressing, pecans and goat cheese, if desired.

Farmer’s Market Vegetable, Beef and Brown Rice Salad; 500 calories, 15 grams of fat

Recipe 3

Recipe courtesy of Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and The Healthy Beef Cookbook

  • INGREDIENTS
    • 1 lb. top round steak, cut 3/4 inch thick
    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 2 cups asparagus pieces (2-inch in length)
    • 1 medium yellow squash, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
    • 3 cups hot cooked brown rice
    • 1 cup diced, seeded tomatoes
    • 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Marinade
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
    • 1 Tbsp. honey
    • 2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
    • 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • INSTRUCTIONS
  • Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl. Place beef steak and 1/4 cup marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn steak to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or as long as overnight. Reserve remaining marinade in refrigerator for dressing.
  • Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place steak on rack in broiler pan so surface of beef is 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil 12 to 13 minutes for medium rare doneness, turning once. Remove; keep warm.
  • Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add asparagus and squash; cook and stir 7 to 8 minutes or until tender. Toss with rice, tomatoes, beans, basil, salt and reserved marinade in large bowl.

Note: You can use round or flat-iron cuts for this recipe.

 For more ideas on heart-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 fun 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.

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