Tag Archives: food

National Soy Foods Month

National Soy Foods Month

It’s National Soy Foods Month, and even if you aren’t a vegetarian or don’t have food allergies, soy can be a great source of protein in your diet.

Make the long-time staple (especially for those with dairy allergies), Homemade Soy Milk.

Homemade Soy Milk
Image and Recipe via Light Orange Bean

 

This Sheet Pan Honey-Sesame Tofu and Green Beans is hearty, tasty, and easy.

Sheet Pan Honey-Sesame Tofu and Green Beans
Image and Recipe via The Kitchn

 

Skip the meat in one dish on your grill with Vegan Sweet Potato Tofu Burgers.

Appetizing Vegan Sweet Potato Tofu Burger {Gluten-Free}

 

This Vanilla Soy Ice Cream is perfect for warm days when you’re avoiding dairy.

Vanilla Soy Ice Cream
Image and Recipe via Food

 

Your perfect summer side dish awaits with High-Protein Edamame Mango Salad.

High-Protein Edamame Mango Salad

High-Protein Edamame Mango Salad

 

No one will know this Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Pie uses tofu to get its silky texture.

The Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Pie

 

Eat with your eyes and skip the fish or pork with this beautiful Sesame-Crusted Tofu.

Sesame Crusted Tofu

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Healthy Pecan Recipes

Healthy Pecan Recipes for National Pecan Month

It’s National Pecan Month. Ditch heavy pecan pie for lighter ways to love the nut with these healthy pecan recipes.

First up, make these Pecan Pie Energy Bites for snacking on the go.

Pecan Pie Energy Bites
Image and Recipe for Tastemade

 

Whip up Spiralized Apple Salad with Citrus Dressing with pecans for extra crunch.

Spiralized Apple Salad with Citrus Dressing

 

This Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon uses a maple marinade to flavor the fish.

Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon

 

Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chip Granola is a great replacement for your favorite candy bars.

Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chip Granola

 

This Triple Berry Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans is a perfect springtime lunch.

Triple Berry Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans

 

Whip up this Clean-Eating Cranberry Pecan Quinoa for a healthy picnic dish.

Clean Eating Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Recipe

 

Add flavor and crunch to bland chicken with Honey Pecan Chicken.

Honey Pecan Chicken

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Deciding on a Balanced Diet

Eating a Balanced Diet

Focusing on a balanced diet is one of the best ways to make healthy eating a part of your life.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The USDA sets Dietary Guidelines for Americans regularly to help guide balanced diet choices. While these guidelines can seem complicated, there are key takeaways from them you should know.

The Importance of Healthy Eating

Healthy eating helps prevent and slow the onset of diseases, like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Include in a Balanced Diet

A healthy and balanced diet, which for most people is around 2,000 calories a day, includes a variety of:

  • Vegetables, including a variety of dark green, red, and orange veggies, legumes, which include beans and peas, and starchy veggies, like corn and potatoes.
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits, like apples and oranges, which are the perfect serving  size.
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grain.
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy (like milk, yogurt, and cheese) or appropriate substitutes.
  • A variety of foods high in protein, like lean meats, poultry, eggs, seafood, beans,  soy-based products (like tofu), nuts and seeds.
  • Oils (like canola, olive, peanut, and soybean) or naturally occurring oils in nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados.

Limit in a Balanced Diet

  • Added sugars should make up less than 10% of your daily calories, which can be hidden in processed and prepared foods, like soda, cereal, cookies, and more.
  • Limit saturated and trans fats, which should make up less than 10% of your daily calories. Foods high in these include butter, whole milk, and palm oil. Replace with unsaturated fats, like canola and olive oil whenever you can.
  • Limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day. Processed foods, like pizza, and canned soup and sauces can be high in this salt.

A Balanced Diet with MyPlate

MyPlate replaced the food pyramid as the guide to making sense of servings. It helps you look at your plate and strike a balance with each meal.

This chart can help you divide your own plates appropriately: MyPlate

Fruits and veggies should make up about half of your plate, with just over a quarter filled with whole grains, and protein should be under a quarter. (A few ounces of meat, a piece about the size of the palm of your hand, is a good serving size for most people.) Also work in a small serving of dairy through milk, cheese, or yogurt to round out your meal.

Making Smart Choices

Combine these guidelines with smart choices, and you’ll be well on your way to eating a balanced diet. And making these smart choices doesn’t have to be difficult. There are lots of tips and tricks that can help you make a balanced diet a part of your daily life.

Tracking Your Food

Then, you can target the number of servings you should be getting of the different food groups.

These can help you figure out calorie counts and limit sodium and sugar.

This can help you understand how balanced your diet and food servings are and set and reach food goals.

Making and Meeting Food Goals

  • Start small.

Making small changes in your eating habits can have long-term effects:

  • Switch to high fiber, low-sugar cereals.
  • Give up soda with flavored sparkling waters.
  • When you’re hungry, try drinking a glass of water before you eat something.
  • Plan for all of the places you go in life:
    • Instead of eating out for lunch at work, start planning and meal-prepping ahead of time, and avoid the vending machines.
    • If you know your kids aren’t making great food choices at school, get them involved in packing lunches they’ll love ahead of time.
    • When you know you’ll spend the day at the mall, carry snacks and a water bottle, eat a healthy breakfast or snack before you head out, and skip the food court. If you just can’t avoid a meal or a snack while you’re out, find the healthiest option. Load up a sandwich with veggies, get frozen yogurt without all kinds of extra sweet toppings instead of ice cream, and choose hot tea or unsweetened iced tea instead of a frappachino.
    • Check menus for calorie counts when you’re eating out. Ask for salad dressings and sauces on the side, avoid fried foods, and keep in mind that alcoholic drinks can be full of calories.
    • Many communities have community gardens. Join in and help out to get moving and to grow things your whole family can enjoy in meals.

Results and Rewards

  • Don’t beat yourself up when you have missteps.

Everyone struggles with giving up the foods full of sugar and salt that they love, so it’s important to stay positive and get back on track.

  • Plan your cheat day.

Many people have found that planning a weekly cheat day can help them stay on course knowing they can treat themselves later. And once you get used to a balanced diet, you’ll find that you’ll cheat in smaller and smaller ways, even on the day you’re allowed to.

  • Find healthy ways to treat yourself.

For example, do you love watermelon or raspberries? Splurge on the healthy treats you love. Enjoy a piece of dark chocolate each day or a glass of red wine each week. Another option, reward meeting your goals with a treat that isn’t food-related, like a new outfit, book, or manicure.

Up Next:

Now that you know the value of a balanced diet, learn to prepare before you go grocery shopping and shop smart to meet your goals.

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Healthy Celery Recipes for Spring

Celery Recipes for National Fresh Celery Month

It’s National Fresh Celery Month and the perfect time to find new, inventive ways to eat the veggie with these healthy celery recipes.

First up is a light Apple and Celery Slaw that you’ll love with summer meals.

Apple and Celery Slaw
Image and Recipe via Food Network

 

Make Buffalo Chicken Celery Sticks to lighten the classic game day dish.

Buffalo Chicken Celery Sticks

 

Be adventurous with this recipe for Kombu Celery as a snack.

Kombu Celery
Image and Recipe via Bon Appetit

 

Skip the food court with this Black Pepper Chicken.

Panda Express Black Pepper Chicken (Copycat)

 

Serve this rich and creamy Vegan Cream of Celery Soup with salad for a light meal.

Vegan Cream of Celery Soup

 

Lighten up your spring picnics with this Easy Avocado Egg Salad.

Easy Avocado Egg Salad Recipe

 

Whip up a light and refreshing salad with a kick with this Thai Celery Salad.

Thai Celery Salad

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Aging with Your Pets

Long View: Aging With Our Pets

My grandparents had a Chihuahua that lived to be 20 years old. Suzy had her own knitted sweaters to wear when she went outside. Every night, Grandma cooked and cut up liver in tiny, bite-sized pieces for Suzy’s dinner.

I’m not sure what the life expectancy and living arrangements for most dogs were in the 1950s and 1960s, but I would wager that Suzy’s life was particularly plush for that era. When I came along in 1968, my parents gave me the middle name of Sue. I often wondered if this was a happy coincidence or a tribute to that beloved Chihuahua.

Today, I have a yellow Labrador retriever puppy named Harvey. Grandpa’s name was Harvey. Touché.

Americans love their pets. Take a stroll through your local big-box pet supplies chain, and the number of things a person can buy for their animals will amaze you. Strollers, raincoats, probiotics, gluten-free and vegan dog food, and even memory foam mattresses. Within just a few miles of my house, Harvey can go to a doggy day camp, swim at an indoor pool just for pooches, and later have his hair and nails done at the pet spa.

Your pet pampers you in different ways. Owning a pet lowers stress, reduces blood pressure, and raises mental sharpness. A study from the University of Missouri-Columbia showed that petting a dog for 15 minutes releases the feel-good hormones serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, while also lowering the stress hormone cortisol.

Pets can open up a lonely world and get you out of bed in the morning. Walking a dog (or a cat, if you are particularly brave and the cat is extremely cooperative) is good exercise. Those of us with an empty nest find a new sense of purpose. And nurturing a beloved animal gives us unconditional love in return.

An older person with a pet companion can be a heartwarming love match. I reached out to Stacey Teager, from the Quad City Animal Welfare Center, for some advice for those who are looking to add a pet to their home in later years.

  • Make sure your pet gets regular checkups and immunizations. Have your animal spayed or neutered.
  • Never give your pet “people” medications. Always consult a veterinarian before medicating your pet.
  • Have a plan in place with your family or close friends for caring for your pet should you become sick and need to be hospitalized or stay in a nursing facility.
  • Match your pet with your physical capabilities. My 50-pound Labrador retriever puppy can drag my mother down the sidewalk. This is dangerous for both her and the dog. A quieter, smaller animal is a better choice for her to walk around the neighborhood.
  • Despite my grandmother’s loving intentions, don’t feed your pet table scraps or human food. Animals can get overweight and unhealthy with just a few added ounces. If you like to bake, there are lots of recipes for animal treats that use ingredients found in your pantry.

Lora Felger is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. She is the mother of 2 terrific boys, a world traveler, and a major Iowa State Cyclones fan.

Healthy Peanut Recipes

Peanut Recipes for National Peanut Month

It’s National Peanut Month, and there are plenty of healthy peanut recipes to make the most of the popular nut in your diet.

Thai Peanut Chicken and Zucchini Noodle Bowl is a great substitute for Thai takeout.

Thai Peanut Chicken Zucchini Bowl

Thai Peanut Chicken And Zucchini Noodle Bowl

 

Make Homemade Peanut Butter with your food processor to ditch store-bought.

How to Make Homemade Peanut Butter

 

This Peanut Coleslaw will be a perfect side for upcoming spring barbecues.

Peanut Coleslaw

 

Get a taste of the world at home with this hearty West African Peanut Soup.

West African Peanut Soup

 

Peanut Tofu Bowls are a great way to go meatless without losing flavor.

Peanut Tofu Buddha Bowl

 

Spicy Peanuts are a great snack to munch on during afternoon slumps or on game day.

Spicy Peanuts

 

Thai Chicken Chopped Salad with Peanuts is a light lunch as the weather warms up.

Thai Chicken Chopped Salad with Peanut Dressing

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Meals for National Noodle Month

National Noodle Month

It’s National Noodle Month, and you can enjoy the comfort food without breaking your healthy eating.

Toss the takeout menu for these Healthy Thai Peanut Chicken Zucchini Noodles.

Healthy Thai Peanut Chicken Zucchini Noodles

 

Skip the Alfredo sauce and make this indulgent Creamy Avocado Pasta instead.

Creamy Avocado Pasta Recipe

 

Try a unique take on noodles your kids will love, Sweet Potato Noodle Taco Bowls.

Sweet Potato Noodle Taco Bowls

 

For a pasta craving, make Whole-Grain Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage.

Whole Grain Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage

 

Tuna Zoodle Casserole is a healthy revamp of the classic casserole you’ll love.

EASY Paleo Tuna Green Chile Zoodle Casserole {Whole 30}

 

Whip up Skinny Beef & Broccoli Noodles for a taste of takeout.

Skinny Beef & Broccoli Noodles
Image and Recipe via Delish

 

Make Pesto Chicken with Zucchini Noodles for a light take on the Italian classic.

Pesto Chicken with Zucchini Noodles

Pesto Chicken with Zucchini Noodles

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