Tag Archives: protein

Eggs for National Egg Month

National Egg Month Recipes

May is National Egg Month, so we’re helping you whip them into easy meals for your family.

First up is a delicious Turkey and Egg Breakfast Casserole, perfect for brunch.

Turkey & Egg Breakfast Casserole

 

These Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Eggs make an easy and tasty meal.

Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With Eggs

 

Spinach and Mushroom Egg White Frittata is a light take on the classic.

 

Quinoa Fried “Rice” is a protein-filled version of your takeout favorite.

Quinoa Fried “Rice”

 

Make simple Eggs Baked in Portobello Mushrooms for an easy breakfast.

Eggs Baked in Portobello Mushrooms

 

Skip the pastry with this lighter Crustless Spinach, Onion, and Feta Quiche.

Crustless Spinach, Onion and Feta Quiche

 

Whip up this Sweet Potato Hash with Feta and Poached Eggs for any meal.

Sweet Potato Hash with Feta and Poached Eggs
Image and Recipe via The Nest

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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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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Protect Your Children's Dental Health

Foods for Children’s Dental Health

It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month, so we have some recipes to try to work into your kids’ diets that are good for their teeth.

Cheese has been found to raise the PH in your mouth, which lowers risk of tooth decay.

For your adventurous eaters, try this healthy Cheesy Turkey Stuffed Peppers.

Cheesy Turkey Stuffed Peppers
Image and Recipe via Cookie Named Desire

 

Yogurt’s probiotics are good for your gums. Try these 7 Healthy Fro-Yo Recipes.

7 Healthy Fro-Yo Recipes
Image and Recipes via Greatist

 

Leafy greens are high in calcium and vitamins for your teeth. Sneak them in with 20 Healthy Green Smoothie Recipes.

20 Healthy Green Smoothie RecipesImage and Recipe via Yummy Healthy Easy

 

Apples help you produce saliva that rinses out your mouth and is good for your gums.

Try Apple Pie in a Jar for a fun new way to get your kids to eat their apple a day.

Apple Pie in a Jar
Image and Recipe via Vie de la Vegan

 

Carrots can help lower your risk of cavities and are a great source of fiber and vitamin A.

If your kids love pasta, this Raw Carrot Pasta with Peanut Sauce is a great way to get their veggies.

Raw Carrot Pasta with Peanut Sauce
Image and Recipe via Betsy Life

 

Celery has great vitamins that are good for gums, and it acts like a toothbrush scraping out food and bacteria.

The apples in this Celery Root and Apple Salad can help convince your kids to get their veggies in.

Celery Root and Apple SaladImage and Recipe via Gourmande in the Kitchen

 

Almonds are a great source of calcium and protein while being low in sugar.

These Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Almond Clusters taste like candy and are good for your teeth.

Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Almond Clusters
Image and Recipe via Sally’s Baking Addiction

Shop Smart by Reading Labels

Breaking Down Food Labels

While you’re shopping, understanding the nutrition labels on food can help you make smart choices for your family. We can help you make the most of them.

New Food Label for a New Era

In May, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a new Nutrition Facts label with some important improvements:

What's Different?
Image via the FDA

When you see them side by side, you can see that the new label calls out the actual serving size and calories per serving much bigger. At the store, this can quickly help you see how good for you something is in terms of calories, and how much bang for your buck you’re getting in what you buy.

New vs Old Label
Image via the FDA

It also calls out added sugars, which are sugars (like sugar, honey, or corn syrup) that are added to packaged food. Fresh fruit has natural sugars, so juices don’t list the sugar that’s naturally occurring from the fruit as added sugar.

And now it calls out the exact amount of nutrients, like vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium.

The FDA’s new labels have also changed serving sizes to better show how much people actually eat of certain foods:

New Serving Sizes
Image via the FDA

While a half a cup of ice cream used to be the recommended serving size, most people are scooping out closer to a cup, so the FDA wanted to make sure you know how many calories you’re actually eating in that bowl of ice cream.

Making the Most of Food Labels

1. Serving Size

Serving SizeWhen you pick something up at the store, start with the serving size on the Nutrition Facts label.

It will tell you the total number of servings in the package, and the new serving size, which better shows how much of it you actually eat.

These serving sizes are standard, so it’s easier for you to compare the calories and nutrients in similar foods to find the healthiest brand for you. Serving sizes also come in measurements you know, like cups, followed by grams.

2. Calories

CaloriesNext, look at the number of calories per serving. Calories are a measure of how much energy you’ll get from food.

Many people eat more calories than they need to, so keeping track of how many you eat can help you with your weight. Most people should eat around 2,000 calories per day.

When you’re looking at the calories, if you’re eating around 2,000 calories a day, then 40 calories is low for a serving, 100 calories is in the middle, and 400 or more calories is high. In fact, you should shoot for whole meals to be around 400 calories.

3. Nutrients to Limit

The nutrients listed first are Nutrients to Limitones that most Americans get plenty or too much of.

Eating too much fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, or sugar can raise your risk of certain diseases, like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

The bold headlines are most helpful for you when you’re shopping, so you can quickly see how much of these is in something, while the subheads, like saturated and trans fat, can help you focus on a nutrient you’re interested in.

The percentages along the side tell you how much of your 2,000 calorie diet this food takes up. So in this image, the total fat in this food takes up 10% of all the fat you should eat in a whole day.

Dietary fiber and protein that are mixed into this list are good for you and important to keep an eye on. Fiber can help you better process food and reduce the risk of heart disease, and protein can help you stay full longer and is important if you’re trying to build muscle.

4. Nutrients You Need

Important NutrientsThe bottom section of nutrients are ones that many don’t get enough of, so they’ve been highlighted to help you buy foods rich in them.

These are nutrients that can help you improve your health and help lower the risk of some diseases. For example, calcium and vitamin D can help you build strong bones and lower your risk of getting osteoporosis later in life, and potassium can help lower your blood pressure.

5. Footnote

Label FootnoteThe footnote is more simple in the new design, too. It just reminds you that the percentages are based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Now that you know what the different sections of the Nutrition Facts label are telling you, it will be easy to look for food with good calorie counts, limited salt, fat, and sugar, and plenty of healthy nutrients, like calcium.

Up Next:

Why shop organic? Our Organic 101 guide makes it easy!

Make sense of expiration dates while you’re shopping to make the most of your groceries.

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Grocery Shopping Fresh

Grocery Shopping Like a Pro

Even after you’ve gotten ready to head to the store, grocery shopping on a budget for healthy meals can be hard. But there are some things you can do to make it easier.

Stock Your Pantry

Keeping your kitchen stocked with certain key things can make cooking easy. This list has some items that are perfect for this. And this article has some healthy foods perfect for your pantry that only cost about $2.

Add one item that won’t go bad, like a spice, grain, beans, or frozen veggies to your cart each shopping trip to help you build your pantry without dropping a lot of money at once. (These are also good things to buy in bulk when they’re on sale if you have space to store them.)

Having this stocked pantry will help you throw together meals fast, help you save on packaged or premade meals you might’ve grabbed in a hurry, and make shopping easier.

Choosing Your Store

Choosing where you shop can also help you save. Besides the grocery store, some great places to find good deals are:

  • Ethnic markets
  • Dollar stores
  • Retail supercenters
  • Wholesale clubs
  • Farmers markets

At the Store

Once you’re at the store, you should try to shop the outer edge of it as much as possible. The outer edge usually has the fresh produce, like fruits and veggies, meat, dairy, bread, and frozen food. It’s typically the inner aisles that are full of boxed and processed foods.

Fruits & Veggies

It’s recommended that you eat 5 servings of veggies a day, so it’s important to really use that part of the store. With that in mind, fruits and veggies, fresh or frozen, should take up about a third of your cart on each shopping trip.

  • Shop in season 

At the farmers market, you have to buy what’s in season, but at the grocery store, there are lots of choices. But when you buy what’s in season, you can save a lot, and your food will be the tastiest and freshest it can be. This list can help you find what’s in season when.

  • Buy bags at the right time

With certain go-to things your family will always use, like apples, oranges, potatoes, and onions, buying them in the big bags when they’re in season can help you save even more.

  • Stock up on canned and frozen fruits and veggies

Canned and frozen fruits and veggies are picked while they’re in season and tasting best, and they’re good for you, too. So instead of buying fresh peas when they’re not in season, stock up on frozen ones to save and get the best flavor. Plus, they last much longer.

Look for frozen veggies without added sauces or butter. Choose canned fruit in 100% fruit juice and veggies with “low-sodium” or “no salt added.”

Canned veggies and broths are perfect for easy soups and stews, and canned fruit makes great fruit salad and snacks for the kids.

Packaged Goods

Avoid a lot of the packaged and processed foods in the center of the store. Cookies, candy, chips, crackers, and soda are all high in things you don’t want, like sugar, salt, and bad fats, and low in things like protein and nutrients. They’re also expensive.

  • Look for whole grains

Be careful you don’t get fooled by things that just call out wheat. Instead, look for whole grains and whole-grain breads.

  • Find high-protein foods besides meat

Yogurt and cheeses are great sources of protein, as are beans and other legumes, which you can find dried or canned.

  • Be smart about cereal

Cereals are one of the top foods for hidden sugar. Look for ones with little or no sugar. You can always add honey to flavor it in the bowl. Also look for cereals high in fiber to start your day right.

  • Try new things in the bulk aisle

If you want to try a new grain, nut, or dried fruit, the bulk aisle with bins is a great way to taste test. Scoop out a small bag for your family to taste before buying bigger servings.

Shopping Tips

Make the most of your trip by paying attention to how your store organizes things, their price tags, and food labels.

  • Don’t shop at eye level

Stores oftentimes stock the most expensive things right where they’ll catch your eye. Looking at the upper and lower shelves can help you find the best deal.

  • Grab from the back

Stores also stock from the back, putting newer things behind the older ones. Grabbing from the back gets you fresher food with better expiration dates, so your food will be good for longer.

  • Look for store brands

Many stores have their own brands of items, and in most cases, you’ll get the exact same or very similar thing at a much better price.

  • Read the label

Reading the nutrition label can tell you a lot about what’s in a food, if it’s good for you, and help you choose between brands.

  • Pay attention to serving sizes

Some things might seem good for you until you check the serving size. Sometimes the serving size is much smaller than what you’d actually eat in a sitting, which makes the numbers on the label look better.

  • Learn how to read unit price on the price tag

Unit price tells you how much something costs per pound, ounce, quart, or other unit of measure. It can tell you which brands are the most affordable. This guide can help you read or calculate unit price.

  • Have a calculator handy

Whether it’s on your phone or you bring a small calculator along to the store, having one on hand can make it easy to compare labels and costs.

Up Next:

Learn how to read and make sense of nutrition labels to get the most out of your food.

Snacks for Adults

Healthy Snacks for Adults

Sick of grabbing your kids’ snacks on-the-go because that’s handier? This week, try making these healthy snacks for adults that will be perfect for you.

First up are homemade Oven-Baked Honey Barbecue Sweet Potato Chips you can’t resist.

Oven-Baked Honey Barbecue Sweet Potato Chips
Image and Recipe via mandyashcraft.com

 

This Edamame with Citrus Salt is a protein-rich snack to fuel you through your afternoon slump.

Edamame with Citrus Salt
Image and Recipe via Kitchen Treaty

 

These Pumpkin No-Bake Energy Bites can help satisfy your year-round Starbucks frap cravings.

Pumpkin No-Bake Energy Bites
Image and Recipe via Gimme Some Oven

 

Make Baked Zucchini Fries with Pesto Yogurt Dipping Sauce for an adult version of fast food.

Baked Zucchini Fries with Pesto Yogurt Dipping Sauce
Image and Recipe via Cookin Canuck

 

These Raspberry Fig Bars will satisfy your sweet tooth while you’re on the move.

Raspberry Fig Bars
Image and Recipe via Dora Daily

 

Baked Rosemary Parmesan Chickpeas are a tasty and light protein boost you’ll love.

Baked Rosemary Parmesan Chickpeas
Image and Recipe via BlogLovin’

 

Easy Homemade Flatbread Crackers are the salty snack you crave without the guilt.

Easy Homemade Flatbread Crackers

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