instructor takeover: jenna’s favorite healthy dessert

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve got the biggest sweet tooth!  I’ll take sweet over salty any day.  I strive to eat as healthy and clean as I can to keep myself strong and energized to get through Paula’s killer thigh series, but I also know that I should treat myself in moderation.  I came across a healthy dessert blogger a year or two ago who goes by Chocolate Covered Katie.  I tried out a few of her recipes and I fell in love!  She has so many yummy, modified sweets recipes that won’t cost you a quarter of your daily calories like so many desserts do.

One of my favorites that I find myself making over and over is her oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  These cookies don’t have any butter in them, so they will have a consistency more like a soft granola bar.  Bonus: They also have walnuts and coconut in them, adding in omega-3s & potassium!  Healthier dessert with benefits — who says you can’t have the best of both worlds?!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of spelt or whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 3 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp vegetable oil (coconut oil can be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • pinch of stevia, or 1 extra tbsp pure maple syrup
  • if using stevia option, add 1tbsp milk of choice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees & grease a muffin pan or cookie tray.  I find the muffin pan works best so the cookies don’t roll around.  Since there is no butter in the recipe, they won’t melt like a normal cookie.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, stir together the wet ingredients.  Combine the two bowls to form a dough.  Chill for at least an hour in the fridge.  After the dough has chilled, roll the dough into cookie-sized balls and place in the muffin pan or on the cookie tray.  Place in the oven and bake for 7 minutes.  Once you remove these yummy bites from the oven, let sit in pan for about ten minutes to cool before moving to the cooling rack or plate.  Dig in!  I know you’ll love them as much as I do!

xoxo,  Jenna C.

Pear Season: Toasted Quinoa and Pear Salad

Mmmmm…we’re getting to that time of year where pears are in season and just simply juicy and delicious, one of our fall favorites! The nutritional benefits of pears are wide-ranging, including enough fiber to supply a quarter of your daily needs as well as quercetin, a flavonoid linked to improved immunity, bone health and weight loss.

We love pears fresh and solo – but if you like to dress yours up, it might not get any better than this salad. It’s quirky – combining summery tart dried cherries with fall flavors in the pear and toasted quinoa and almonds – perfect for this time of year when the days are still warm but the nights get cool, hinting at the season to come.

When picking your pears, remember that this is one of those fruits that does ripen well after being picked – so if you won’t be using them for a few days, look for ones that are firm to the touch. If you’re eating or using that day, test by gently aplying pressure to the neck of the pear with your thumb…if it feels slightly soft, it’s ripe and delicious!

Toasted Quinoa and Pear Salad

Ingredients

Salad:GG-Toasted-Quinoa-and-Pear-Salad-4-1 cup quinoa
-1 ½ cups water
-½ tsp salt-1/3 cup dried tart cherries
-1 Anjou pear, cut into large chunks
-1 cup baby arugula, packed
-1/3 cup toasted, sliced almonds
-2 oz Chevre cheese, crumbled

Dressing:
-1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
-½ tsp orange zest
-1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
-1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
-1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
-kosher salt, to taste
-¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

To toast the quinoa: Place quinoa in a small pot, and turn heat to medium-low.
Stirring occasionally, and watching closely, toast quinoa about 5-6 minutes. It will
smell nutty and be slightly golden when done.

Remove pot from heat, and add water — be careful, as it will bubble! Throw in salt,
and then return to low heat, and cover. Simmer about 15 minutes, until water is
absorbed. Set aside.

While quinoa is cooking, make the dressing: Whisk all ingredients, through black
pepper, in a bowl. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, while whisking. Taste, and adjust
seasoning if necessary.

Toss slightly cooled quinoa with all of the dressing. Then add in all other salad ingredients. Serve, and enjoy!

Recipe slightly adapted from The Glitter Guide.

Serves 6
Nutrition Info:
Calories: 264
Fat: 18 g
Cholesterol: 8 mg
Sodium: 70 mg
Carbs: 21 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 5 g
Sugar: 9 g

Grilled Halibut w/Peach & Pepper Salsa

The long-awaited emergence of spring weather here in MN has most of us rushing out to fire up our grills and deliver as many “charred” meals to our table as possible: grilled meals simply taste better, it seems, especially coming off on a very extended winter season, & have less clean up! Win, win.

Since the usual suspects to throw on the grill are of the red meat variety, we always love to search out other options – and grilled fish just happens to be a summertime favorite of ours. This recipe calls for halibut, but artic char or striped bass would work, as well  – and topping the deliciously grilled fish with a fresh fruit salsa will make you rejoice in all things summery, fresh & delicious.

halibut-peach-salsa-ck-lHere, pairing the fiery habanero with the season’s juiciest of peaches comes together in a delightfully sweet yet spicy way, giving you the best of both worlds!

Grilled Halibut with Peach and Pepper

Serves: 4  (serving size: 1 fillet + 2/3 cup salsa)
Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
Salsa:

  • 1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped peeled yellow peaches (about 1 pound)
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1 medium)
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh arugula
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 habanero pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Fish:

  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless halibut fillets
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. To prepare salsa, combine first 9 ingredients; toss gently. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.
  2. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
  3. To prepare fish, combine 4 teaspoons juice, oil, paprika, and 1 garlic clove in a large, shallow glass baking dish, stirring with a whisk. Add fish to juice mixture; turn to coat. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.
  4. Remove fish from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle fish evenly with 3/8 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place fish on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve fish with salsa.

Jeanne Kelley, Cooking Light 
JUNE 2010

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 267
  • Fat: 8.6g
  • Saturated fat: 1.2g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4.6g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.8g
  • Protein: 35.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 11.8g
  • Fiber: 2.3g
  • Cholesterol: 52mg
  • Iron: 2mg
  • Sodium: 389mg
  • Calcium: 104mg

Skillet-Seared Chickpea Bulgur Burgers with Roasted Asparagus

This is a delicious meatless meal that still packs the protein you need to power you through your day, with a deliciously exotic twist. Pair with slow-roasted asparagus that is packed with heart-healthy fats from the olive oil & almonds, and you will round out your wholesome dinner in under 30 minutes! If you are watching your carbs, skipping the pitas is a great option for these burgers – you’ll still get a serving of heart-healthy whole grains (and fiber to keep you full) from the bulgur! Bon apetit!

Skillet-Seared Chickpea-Bulgur Burgers

l_RU199291Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup bulgur wheat
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 – 15 ounce can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus pinch coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 4 6-inch whole-wheat pitas, warmed

Directions

1. Bring water to a boil in a small pot. Add bulgur and simmer, partially covered, over medium heat 8 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat, cover pot and let bulgur rest 5 minutes.

2. Pulse garlic in a food processor until minced; set aside 1/2 teaspoon. Add chickpeas to remaining garlic and puree. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and add carrot, scallions, cumin, cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Fluff bulgur with a fork and stir into chickpea mixture.

3. Shape 3/4 cup chickpea mixture into a 3/4-inch-thick patty; repeat with remaining chickpea mixture.

4. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook 3 minutes on each side, or until browned.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt with reserved garlic and pinch of salt. Split pitas open and fill each with 1 patty, 2 slices tomato, 2 slices cucumber and 2 tablespoons yogurt sauce.

Nutrition Info Per Serving:
Calories: 374
Fat: 6 g
Protein: 16 g
Carbs: 67 g
Fiber: 12 g
Sodium: 663 mg

Roasted Asparagus with Slivered Almonds

Makes: 2 servings

asparagusIngredients:

  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, ends trimmed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp slivered almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes, or until tender-crisp.
  4. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with almonds & serve!

Nutrition Info Per serving
Calories: 260
Fat: 15.9 g
Protein: 12 g
Carbs: 22 g
Fiber: 11 g
Sodium: 25 mg

Breakfast for Dinner: Mushroom, Pepper and Fontina Frittata

As a child, it was always a fun, topsy-turvy treat to have “breakfast for dinner” by way of pancakes and eggs – but there’s absolutely no reason the deliciousness of that great idea should be in your past. Pancakes for dinner are always a winner, but if you’re looking for a lighter, healthier and significantly more elegant option, enter the frittata. Of course this delicious veggie egg dish would naturally be perfect for breakfast, but one-pot meals that save time are always a bonus towards the end of the day.

You can make this as is, but if you want to “bulk” it up a little bit, I actually added ham and layered the bottom of the skillet with thinly sliced (mandoline-style) potatoes, as noted below. Served with a side salad, your belly will be fully satisfied (which is shocking as one serving is well under 200 calories, even with my added extras).

With the seemingly fancy flipping that frittata-making requires, I had my doubts that this would turn out – but it was absolutely beautiful and help together perfectly as an “egg pie” out of the pan. The best part is that it reheats deliciously – dinner one night can be breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next few, as well!

Mushroom, Pepper and Fontina Frittata

Original recipe from health.com

Prep: 15 minutes; Cook: 28 minutes. You’ll need a large, oven-safe skillet. Nonstick makes it easier to flip the frittata out of the pan.

mushroom-frittata-400x400Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 thinly sliced onion
  • 1 thinly sliced green bell pepper
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/3 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup fontina cheese, cut into small cubes (about 5 ounces)

Optional extras (additional calories):

  • 1/2 cup diced, cooked ham (or chicken, turkey or sausage)
  • 1 thinly sliced potato

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a 10-inch, oven-safe skillet or sauté pan. Add onion and pepper; sauté over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms, cover, and sauté 3 minutes, stirring several times. Add garlic, and sauté 1 additional minute. Remove vegetable mixture from heat, and transfer to a plate to cool briefly. Wipe pan with paper towels, and return to stove.

2. Combine eggs, egg whites, milk, salt, pepper, and basil in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended; set aside. Heat skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes and add butter, swirling pan to melt butter evenly. If adding potato “crust”, line the bottom with 1 layer potato slices. Add vegetables and ham (if using) to egg mixture in bowl, stir, and carefully pour entire mixture into heated skillet. Scatter cherry tomatoes and cheese over egg mixture (do not stir).

3. Cook frittata gently over medium-low heat 15-18 minutes or untilit is cooked most of the way through. To finish cooking the top, preheat broiler and place the frittata about 6-8 inches from heat for 2-4 minutes (watch frittata carefully to ensure that it doesn’t burn).

4. Remove frittata from oven, cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, and shake pan rapidly back and forth to loosen. Cool a few more minutes, then carefully put a plate over the frittata and invert it onto the plate. Invert it again onto another plate so the frittata is right side up. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutritional Information

Calories per serving: 168
Fat per serving: 13g
Saturated fat per serving: 5g
Monounsaturated fat per serving: 5g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving: 1g
Protein per serving: 10g
Carbohydrates per serving: 4g
Fiber per serving: 1g
Cholesterol per serving: 189mg
Iron per serving: 1mg
Sodium per serving: 353mg
Calcium per serving: 114mg

Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca with an Apple Walnut Salad

Chicken breasts – a nice, healthy lean protein. Pretty tasty, too. But a chicken breast dressed up in a pork outfit? Not surprisingly, outstandingly tastier. I’m talking about taking just a little bit of prosciutto (enough to give just the perfect amount of crisp and deliciously saltiness) and wrapping it around our old fave, the chicken breast. Take that base into this chicken saltimbocca recipe, and you’ve got a winner. Makes sense, of course, since saltimbocca itself means “jump in the mouth” – and there’s really no better way to explain the flavors of this dish…a totally outstanding combination of zesty lemon, woodsy sage and savory prosciutto.

This dish will be on your table in almost no time, and is an absolute crowd-pleaser: perfect for a night at home or casual entertaining. Pair with a steamed vegetable and this deliciously seasonal Apple Walnut side salad – and your tummy will be satisfied for the evening!

Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca

Ingredients

  • 4 (4-ounce) chicken cutlets (I used chicken breasts for a heartier main meal)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 ounces very thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 8 thin strips
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

 

Preparation

 

  1. 1. Sprinkle the chicken evenly with salt. Place 3 sage leaves on each cutlet; wrap 2 prosciutto slices around each cutlet, securing sage leaves in place.
  2. 2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; cook for 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
  3. 3. Combine broth, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture and the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Spoon sauce over chicken. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

 

Sandy Gluck, Cooking Light
NOVEMBER 2012
Original recipe from Cooking Light Mag, click here.

 

Nutritional Information

 

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 202
  • Fat: 7.5g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4.3g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.9g
  • Protein: 30.5g
  • Carbohydrate: 2.3g
  • Fiber: 0.2g
  • Cholesterol: 77mg
  • Iron: 1.1mg
  • Sodium: 560mg
  • Calcium: 18mg

For the salad:
Ingredients:

  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted & roughly chopped
  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Whisk vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice – simply toss with the apple, walnut and mixed greens for a surprisingly zesty, crunchy meal starter!

Tomato and Olive-Stuffed Portobello Caps

We hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! Nothing helps get a little “self-detox” underway like a healthy, grilled vegetarian meal…that doesn’t taste vegetarian at all! The meatiness from the portobello mushrooms combined with the cheese, herbs and other vegetables result in a seriously satisfying meal. At only 122 calories per cap, feel free to have two (!) – and pair with a simple side salad for a completely delicious, healthy dinner!

Tomato and Olive-Stuffed Portobello Caps

Ingredients

2/3 cup chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/8 teaspoon dried
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 portobello mushroom caps, 5 inches wide
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

Preparation

  1. Combine tomatoes, cheese, olives, garlic, 1 teaspoon oil, rosemary and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Preheat grill to medium.
  3. Discard mushroom stems. Remove brown gills from the undersides of the caps using a spoon; discard gills. Mix the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, lemon juice and soy sauce in a small bowl. Brush the mixture over both sides of the caps.
  4. Oil a grill rack. Place the caps on the rack, stem sides down, cover and grill until soft, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and fill with the tomato mixture. Return to the grill, cover, and cook until the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes more.

Nutrition

Per serving: 122 calories; 8 g fat ( 2 g sat , 4 g mono ); 9 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 7 g protein; 2 g fiber; 338 mg sodium; 431 mg potassium.

Total Time: 40 minutes
4 servings

From eatingwell.com!

Do you know your biggest sources of sugar intake? It might surprise you!

We have all heard that sugar is not our nutritional friend – adding nutrient-less calories to our diet and adding fuel to our sweet tooth, and some argue that the amount of sugar added to most foods Americans eat is one of the primary reasons for the obesity epidemic.

According to the American Heart Association, Americans down about 22 teaspoons of the sweet stuff every day, and multiplying that to the yearly intake, Women’s Health Magazine tells us if you’re currently taking in more than 120,000 sugar calories each year—as is the average American—then you’re adding 35 pounds of sugar-induced flab to your body annually!

Let’s be honest: if you’re reading this, you’re probably relatively conscious of your sugar intake, monitoring to keep it in moderation (i.e. a brownie or cookie is not going to do damage – but I’ll try not to binge on 8 :)). However, it turns out that for most of us, those sugary desserts are actually not the main source of our sugar intake! That’s right, sugar has been snuck into many seemingly harmless, or even seemingly healthy, foods we may be eating everyday!

Women’s Health Magazine has pulled together the Top 9 Sneaky Sources of Sugar in our Diets, so we can arm ourselves! The moral of the story here is simple: check the nutrition labels – but don’t just look at the calories and fat…if these are low, watch for companies making them taste “good” by adding huge amounts of sugar (or sodium, but that’s a whole other blog!).

#9: Asian Sauces (American versions!): WH tells us the sauce varieties that turn an ordinary meal into a teriyaki, sesame or sweet and sour delight that we pick up at the grocery store are one of the top sources of sneaky sugar! Check the nutrition label for ingredients like corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup, and watch out for anything that ends in “-ose” (dextrose, maltose). These are all forms of sugar.

Eat this: La Choy Stir-Fry Teriyaki Sauce & Marinade (1 Tbsp)
10 calories
0 g fat
1 g sugars

Instead of: La Choy Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce (1 Tbsp)
40 calories
0 g fat
8 g sugars

#8: Fruit Spreads: Ah, the peanut butter and jelly…childhood friend…or foe?? WH tells us “Smucker’s, for instance, packs three different sweeteners into its classic Strawberry jam. Why three? Because if the company used only one, it would have to list “sugar” as the first item on the ingredient statement. By spreading the impact over three sweeteners, it can push fruit to the top of the ingredient list and hide the sweeteners below. It’s a common trick used by food processors to make their products look healthier than they are. Just remember that fruit is its own natural sweetener. Opt for an unadulterated version like Polaner’s All Fruit spreads, which—true to name—contain nothing more than fruit and fruit juice.”

Eat this: Polaner All Fruit with Fiber, Strawberry (1 Tbsp)
35 calories
0 g fat
6 g sugars

Instead of: Smucker’s Strawberry Jam (1 Tbsp)
50 calories
0 g fat
12 g sugars

#7: Light Salad Dressings: Talk about sneaky! In an effort to be healthier, one switches from full-fat salad dressing (which can convert even the most innocent salad greens into caloric monsters) to light dressing, feeling so proud of the decision! Turns out, many salad dressing makers take out the fat but then add in sugar to keep it tasting good (remember, if something tastes too good to be healthy….it probably is!)! WH reveals that this Ken’s light salad dressing has as much sugar per serving as ice cream does per scoop! Moral of the story: check your labels!

Eat this: Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan (2 Tbsp)
40 calories
2 g fat (0 g saturated)
3 g sugars

Instead of: Ken’s Steak House Fat Free Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette (2 Tbsp)
70 calories
0 g fat
12 g sugars

#6: Spaghetti Sauce: Come on guys, tomatoes are naturally sweet – is it really necessary to sneak sugar into our spaghetti sauce, too? Turns out when you use cheaper ingredients (dehydrated vegetables, cheap vegetable oil), the sauce doesn’t taste as good – so yes, companies feel they need to add sugar to make store-bought spaghetti sauces taste delicious! It’s worth it to spend a little more and read your ingredient label (this Francesco Rinaldi sauce lists sugar as the #2 ingredient) and shoot for pure, wholesome ingredients – and no sugar added.

Eat this: Ragu Light No Sugar Added Tomato Basil (1/2 cup)
50 calories
0 g fat
8 g sugars

Instead of: Francesco Rinaldi Traditional Pasta Sauce, Original (1/2 cup)
80 Calories
3 g fat (0 g saturated)
11 g sugars

#5: Oatmeal: Ok, what? We know oatmeal has been linked to lowered cholesterol and a healthy heart – but now we need to watch how much we eat? Yes, if in fact you’re not eating whole oats. Companies love to use the gimmick of the health-aspect to sell the more delicious sugary varieties – you’ll probably eat more of it and start to crave your sugar fix! It’s one thing to add a sprinkle of brown sugar to your oatmeal, but this Quaker Oatmeal actually contains as much sugar as two actual cinnamon rolls, essentially kicking off your day with a dessert!


If you don’t want to go with plain oats (truly the heart-healthy breakfast superstar) –

Eat this: Quaker Lower Sugar Instant Oatmeal Maple & Brown Sugar
120 calories
2 g fat (0 g saturated)
4 g sugars

Instead of: Quaker Oatmeal Express Cinnamon Roll
200 calories
2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated)
17 g sugars

#4: “Wheat” Bread: Whole grains: great for you. They keep you full longer, helping you eat less and improve your heart health. However, there’s a distinction you need to make sure you see when buying your whole grain products: that word whole. Companies call things “wheat” all the time, leaving out the “whole” part, which means enriched flour is likely the first ingredient – no whole grains at all – so it’s refined carbs and likely quite a bit of sugar to make it taste better! So your daily sandwich, which wouldn’t typically be filed under your “sweets” category, could actually just be delivering you a few extra servings of refined carbs and sugar, minus the complex-carb, hunger-fighting, heart-helping addition you would get from whole grains.

WH found the best example of this sneaky tactic: the “Honey Wheat” bread Arby’s uses on its Market Fresh sandwiches is not whole wheat (enriched flour is the first ingredient) and contains 15 grams (!) of sugar in every two slices. That’s more sugar than you’ll find in a Hostess Ho Ho!

When eating out, Eat this: Arby’s Cravin’ Chicken Sandwich (Roast)

370 calories
12 g fat (2 g saturated)
9 g sugars

Instead of: Arby’s Market Fresh Roast Turkey and Swiss Sandwich
710 calories
28 g fat (7 g saturated)
18 g sugars

#3: Yogurt: This just keeps getting worse! Eat a yogurt, feel like you ate something good for you! Unfortunately, this is not always true, as many yogurt companies add sugar to their “light” fruit-flavored yogurts, giving them as much sugar as candy!

Your best bet? Top plain yogurt with nature’s own sweeteners, like strawberries and blueberries. If you like it in pre-packaged form, here’s your best swap:

Eat this: Dannon Light & Fit Peach (6 oz, 1 container)
80 calories
0 g fat
11 g sugars

Instead of: Yoplait Original 99% Fat Free, Harvest Peach (6 oz, 1 container)
170 calories
1.5 g fat (1 g saturated)
26 g sugars

#2: Frozen dinners: What you really want to watch out for here are the nutrition labels on “light” dinner options – when they remove the fat/calories, companies often supplement with sugar (and sodium) to keep your taste buds happy. The front of this Lean Cuisine box looks fabulous – pretty low in calories, fat and carbs – but don’t ever forget to turn the box over to check the back. The sugar in this meal per serving takes it into dessert-zone!

Eat this: Smart Ones Bistro Selections Slow Roasted Turkey Breast (1 entrée)
200 calories
7 g fat (2 g saturated)
Sugars <1 g

Instead of: Lean Cuisine Roasted Turkey Breast
290 calories
4 g fat (1 g saturated)
27 g sugars

#1: Bottled teas: Once again, companies are capitalizing on the fabulous press tea gets: the disease-fighting antioxidants are a great addition to your daily beverage intake, right? Generally, yes. But unsweetened tea isn’t always the most palatable item, so many tea-makers pump in sugar to make it more delicious…but this Arizona green tea with honey (sounds healthy enough, right?) actually contains more sugar than a Snicker’s bar!

If you can’t get yourself to drink an unsweetened variety, make at home and add your own slight bit of sweetener, or

Drink this: Honest Tea Jasmine Green Energy Tea (16 oz. bottle)
34 calories
0 g fat
10 g sugars

Instead of: AriZona Green Tea with Ginseng & Honey (16 oz bottle)
140 calories
0 g fat
34 g sugars

Thanks to Women’s Health Magazine for their research, and to see the full slideshow and commentary on their website, click here!

Tastes like Summer: Fish Tacos with Lime-Cilantro “Crema”

Even though our winter wonderland seems to have finally arrived, there’s nothing like a meal that you taste and it immediately transports you to a summer evening… I can’t wait to remake this recipe this summer on the grill, but let me tell you, you don’t really miss it now! The light sautéed veggies and citrus creme sauce come together in a slightly tropical, decidedly summer-y way in this simple recipe!

Plus, it’s a fantastic way to sneakily incorporate seafood into your diet: sub in almost any fish you like – and guess what? Your kids will probably love it, too, since the seasonings are so fantastic it erases any seemingly “fishy” flavor! I’ve pumped up the original Cooking Light recipe with additional veggies to up the nutritional value, and made one of my all-time favorite swaps: 0% plain greek yogurt for sour cream…you literally can’t tell the difference, so why say no to some extra protein?

Here’s to spring and summer…just around the corner!

Fish Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
Crema:

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup 0% plain greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Tacos:

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds red snapper fillets
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 (6-inch) 100% whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/2 sliced red onion
  • 1/2 sliced red pepper
  • 1/2 sliced green pepper
  • 2 cups sliced spinach

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. To prepare crema, combine the first 8 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. To prepare tacos, combine cumin and next 5 ingredients (through garlic powder) in a small bowl; sprinkle spice mixture evenly over both sides of fish. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Place fish in a bowl; break into pieces with a fork.
  4. While fish is baking, sauté sliced onions and peppers over high heat until blackened.
  5. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish evenly among tortillas; top each with 1/4 cup cabbage, onions and peppers and 1 tablespoon crema.

To see the original recipe, click here!
Original: Lisa Bell, Cooking Light 
DECEMBER 2006

Nutritional Information (based on original recipe)

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 394
  • Calories from fat: 14%
  • Fat: 6.3g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 1.5g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.5g
  • Protein: 40.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 40.1g
  • Fiber: 5.5g
  • Cholesterol: 70mg
  • Iron: 3.5mg
  • Sodium: 857mg
  • Calcium: 233mg


No time? Healthy soup in a flash!

We all know the importance of having a couple dinners up our sleeve that we can whip up in a flash with ingredients we have on hand for those times with unexpected company…or simply, “I ran out of time and didn’t think about dinner!”. Soup is not usually one of those items unless it comes from a can, so I was thrilled to come across this delicious, from-scratch soup in Cooking Light mag that can be thrown together in no time!

This recipe’s health-factor comes from cannellini beans (high in fiber and iron, and cholesterol-reducing), spinach (packed with antioxidants and vitamins) and lean turkey (protein!), so it’s a perfect all-in-one meal that doesn’t sacrifice health benefits for speed (which would happen with those from-a-can varieties)…plus, topping it with fresh romano cheese & herbs give it flavor that disguises the fact that you can whip this together in 15 minutes!

Sausage and Spinach Soup

Fresh herbs are added after the soup cooks so they’ll retain their bright color and flavor. You can substitute 1 teaspoon dried herbs for each tablespoon fresh, but add them with the tomatoes.

  • 10 ounce sweet turkey Italian sausage 
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup prechopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can organic stewed tomatoes, undrained (such as Muir Glen)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Romano cheese

Preparation
Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and 2 teaspoons garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat, and stir in spinach, basil, and oregano. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls, and sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese. Serves 4.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving

  • Calories: 261
  • Calories from fat: 30%
  • Fat: 8.6g
  • Saturated fat: 2.8g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.7g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 2.5g
  • Protein: 20.9g
  • Carbohydrate: 23.1g
  • Fiber: 5.4g
  • Cholesterol: 62mg
  • Iron: 3.4mg
  • Sodium: 842mg
  • Calcium: 105mg

David Bonom, Cooking Light 
MARCH 2007