Tag Archives: calories

National Dessert Month

National Dessert Month

For National Dessert Month, we’re helping you satisfy your sweet tooth with healthy dessert recipes.

First up are Fudgy Avocado Brownies that won’t leave you feeling guilty.

Fudgy Avocado Brownies with Avocado Frosting

 

Use in-season apples with Low-Fat Apple Cake that’s just 116 calories per slice.

Low Fat Apple Cake

Low Fat Apple Cake

 

If your kids are adventurous, this Pistachio Chocolate Banana Sushi is an easy treat.

Pistachio Chocolate Banana Sushi
Image and Recipe via The Petite Cook

 

Feel like you’re indulging with these tasty Greek Yogurt Lemon Cheesecake Bars.

Greek Yogurt Lemon Cheesecake Bars

 

Don’t fill up on Halloween candy. Try Healthy Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites instead.

Healthy Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites
Image and Recipe via The Harvest Kitchen

 

Simple Maple Vanilla Baked Pears make the perfect dessert for cool fall nights.

Simple Maple Vanilla Baked Pears (Video)

 

Whip up Vegan Chocolate Pudding for a treat the whole family will love.

Vegan Chocolate Pudding
Image and Recipe via Paleo Running Momma

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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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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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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Foraging for Morel Mushroom Recipes

Healthy Morel Mushroom Recipes

It’s wild mushroom season, and we featured morel mushroom recipes you can make with fresh or dried mushrooms.

This Les Bourgeois Beef with morel sauce will wow dinner guests.

Les Bourgeois Beef

 

Make Asparagus and Morel Quiche to add a savory bite to your breakfast.

Asparagus and Morel Quiche

 

This Golden Trout with Asparagus, Morels, and Tomato Sauce is an all-in-one meal.

Golden Trout

 

Homemade Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup is a lighter take on the canned favorite.

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup
Image and Recipe via Simply Recipes

 

Morel and Asparagus Crispy Pizza packs veggies onto your favorite kind of takeout.

Morel and Asparagus Crispy Pizza

 

This Chicken Fricassee with Morel Mushrooms and Thyme is great for date night.

Chicken Fricassee with Morel Mushrooms and Thyme

 

This Spring Pasta with Morels, Ramps, and Peas is the perfect rich spring meal.

Spring Pasta with Morels, Ramps, and Peas

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Healthy Apricot Recipes

Healthy Apricot Recipes

This week, we featured healthy apricot recipes recipes for the in-season fruit, to help prepare your taste buds for spring.

These Apricot Ricotta Honey Basil Bites are perfect for a dinner party.

Apricot Ricotta Honey Basil Bites
Image and Recipe via Reluctant Entertainer

 

This Apricot-Raisin Chutney is a perfect topping for your next pork chop dinner.

Apricot-Raisin Chutney
Image and Recipe via Martha Stewart

 

Make this easy Honey Apricot Frozen Yogurt for a simple but delicious dessert.

Honey Apricot Frozen Yogurt

 

This Skinny, Dreamy, Apricot Chicken can be made with fresh or dried apricots.

Skinny, Dreamy, Apricot Chicken

 

This Blackberry Apricot Salad will help you get ready for summer meals.

Blackberry Apricot Salad

 

Flourless Apricot Upside-Down Cake is a healthy treat your family will love.

Flourless Apricot Upside-Down Cake

 

These Roasted Apricots with Ricotta and Honey are a tasty, rustic dessert.

Roasted Apricots with Ricotta and Honey
Image and Recipe via Kitchen Repertoire

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Enjoying Breakfast for Dinner

Healthy Breakfast for Dinner Recipes

This week, we featured comfort food classics for you to try breakfast for dinner, or brinner.

First up is a Skillet Sweet Potato Chicken Hash with Eggs that’s tasty and easy.

Skillet Sweet Potato Chicken Hash with Eggs

 

Try these easy Cheesy Mushroom Baked Eggs for Two for a simple night in.

Cheesy Mushroom Baked Eggs for Two
Image and Recipe via An Edible Mosaic

 

Make this Easy Shakshuka , or spicy eggs poached in tomato sauce, tonight.

Easy Shakshuka (Gluten Free)

 

Roasted Tomatoes with Eggs and Quinoa are a quick, filling meal.

Roasted Tomatoes with Eggs and Quinoa
Image and Recipe via This Gal Cooks

 

This Quiche with Butternut Squash and Kale is perfect for dinner or brunch.

Quiche Recipe with Butternut Squash and Kale

 

This Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Stack is impressive and delicious.

Huevos Rancheros
Image and Recipe via Call Me PMC

 

Make these showstopper Mushroom and Egg Breakfast Pastries for any meal.

Mushroom and Egg Breakfast Pastries

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