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Posts tagged ‘healthy’

Fast and Easy Tuna Burgers

When I’m at home in Connecticut, I really love making salmon burgers. If you haven’t tried salmon burgers yet, they’re a great alternative to beef burgers with less calories while still retaining high protein. As an additional benefit, salmon also provides omega 3 fatty acids.

My only issue is that right now I’m living in an apartment at college and am keeping a tight food budget. I can’t currently afford to buy salmon. But why give up fish burgers entirely when this is the perfect time to experiment?

So after a few weeks of tuna sandwiches an tuna wraps, I decided to create my own tuna burger recipe.

FAST AND EASY TUNA BURGERS (makes 5 patties)

Ingredients:

1. 2 cans of tuna fish, drained

2. 2 tbs mayonaise

3. 2 egg

4. 1/2 cup breadcrumbs *I just put 2 pieces of fiber dense bread into a blender because I don’t trust a lot of breadcrumb brands-check the ingredients for high fructose corn syrup

5. 1/3 cup finely chopped celery

6. 2 tsp lemon juice

7. salt and pepper to taste

To make these burgers is the easiest part! You literally mix the ingredients together, form into patties and drop onto a lightly oiled skillet. These tuna burgers are light, packed with protein, wonderfully flavorful and don’t involve expensive ingredients or tons of time. I would definitely recommend busy parents to try this recipe, or college students like me who are on the go and need a quick and healthy meal.

I eat my burger broken into pieces and tossed onto a wrap, but this is a great recipe to get creative with!

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Educational Food Websites!

So, even though I’m off on summer vacation as of last week I won’t have access to an oven until May 24th at the earliest. This means that I’m still living in my dorm room, currently surviving on peanut butter sandwiches, oatmeal and frozen vegetables. This is what happens when the most technological piece of kitchen equipment in your dorm is a microwave.

like this only a lot less high tech

So, in short I’m rapidly running out of bread because the most I can do to spice up a meal is put it in the microwave.

Right now I’m on a hunt for the healthiest whole wheat bread I can find (and hopefully something reasonably cheap as well). Although my main grocery options are Kroger or CVS, the internet helped me find a fantastic website that will help me significantly in my search for a peanut butter sandwich.

If you haven’t heard of it before, check out fooducate.com.

This website rates products based on their overall nutritional value going beyond the standard nutrition label of calories, fat content and sugars. For people who really want to know what’s up with their food, fooducate will you tell you that

Great Grains Bakery 100% Whole Wheat & Honey Bread:

  1. has 120 calories per serving (per slice)
  2. has caramel coloring

The caramel coloring fooducate goes into detail on as a point in this product to watch out for. As fooducate explains:

Homemade caramel is made by melting sugar in a saucepan.

Brown coloring in sodas and some other products is not the same thing.

Industrial caramel coloring is made by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperatures. The chemical reactions create 4-methylimidazole, which in government-conducted studies caused lung, liver, or thyroid cancer or leukemia in laboratory mice or rats. This is why California recently required foods containing caramel color to be labeled as potential cancer-causing agents.

But you won’t see this warning label any time soon – manufacturers simply reduced the use of caramel color enough that the labeling requirements no longer applied.

Caramel color varies slightly between products – when in beer, sauces or baked goods it has just ammonia and when used in soft drinks, it has both sulfites and ammonia. Neither one is a “good” option.

Although the bread has an A- rating and is by most reviews a high quality product, fooducate wants its readers to be as healthy as possible and know what they’re eating beyond the basic nutritional information.

I’m still on the look out for the perfect bread, but now I have a few ideas of what to look for in my bread choices beyond the obvious avoidance of high fructose corn syrup. While I would much rather make my own bread, that won’t be an option for another 9 days.

If you have a bread you’re interested in highlighting or recommending me to try, please suggest it! I’m looking forward to starting up my Product Placement line again.

 

 

Product Placement: Tropicana Orange Juice

Hey, I’m back in GA! I do believe I got in enough baking and making my own recipes to last me a little while (or at least I can tell myself that) and I’m back and ready to continue my Product Placement. My schedule has been a bit off what with moving back into the dorms, but I’m all set to make some inroads on talking about products to buy or stay away from.

I was at a Leadership Conference the past couple of days and at breakfast there were these sleek looking black pitchers of cranberry juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, you name it they had it. Now, I’ve already discussed my love of grape juice and apple juice  but I do love orange juice as well. I just hate pulp and generally find the juice to be too sweet. I’m very picky when it comes to my orange juice.

The point, though, is that I was lured in to believe that this jazzy design for the pitcher meat the juice had been fresh squeezed. We were at a hotel and the entire conference can only be described as needlessly swanky, so I had reasons to believe that fresh squeezed juice was not outside the realm of possibilities.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Nope. I drank the typical Tropicana juice and unfortunately didn’t realize it until the next morning that it was typical Tropicana Juice until the hotel staff moved to refill it. From a carton.

Needless to say my spirit was crushed for a bit.

This is not to say Tropicana is a bad company or that their juice is disgusting. It’s not. I was just expecting to be blown away by the fresh squeezed variety and no matter what Tropicana claims on their website about from ‘Grove to Glass’ it’s packaged and it’s loaded with sugar.

I don’t care how many vitamins and minerals the juice has because it has 28 grams of sugar per serving. Something that claims to be healthy for you should not have that much sugar. Ever. There is no excuse. I am particularly critical here because this juice falls under the category of ‘masquerading as healthy’. If people don’t read the nutrition label they won’t know that although there’s 120% of their daily Vitamin C in that 10 oz glass of juice they’re also ingesting needless amounts of excess sugar that will then need to be burned off.

There are other ways to get your vitamin C (and occasionally Vitamin D if the juice is enriched). Try eating an actual orange, eat kiwi fruits, cherries, strawberries, and even red and green peppers are high in Vitamin C. For more information on Vitamin C rich foods check out: http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/eat-safe/top-sources-vitamin-C-44102808

If none of these are in season (like strawberries, etc) you can always find oranges at the local supermarket and buy a small orange juicer to get the job done yourself. Small juicers like these are incredibly cheap and can be bought at a local Macy’s, or possibly even Target. You don’t need a fancy juicer in order to make healthy juice drinks. Juice away with all the health benefits and none of the added sugar.

Product Placement: Salada Green Tea

My family drinks tea by the gallon. In the winter time, or really from October until around May because it’s Connecticut weather, we make pots and pots of hot tea and in the summer time we keep a pitcher of iced tea in the refrigerator. My mother is into holistic remedies and no matter what was wrong with my brother or I the solution was always drink green tea.

Now, Salada Green Tea is not our family’s favorite. We prefer Good Earth, but  if I’m to be perfectly honest, Good Earth  might be good for the earth, but it is also expensive. So to save costs, we decided to buy Salada  where a 40 count box of tea bags costs $3.99 at Stop and Shop according to peapod. The Good Earth tea is only sold as a 2o count (as are most teas) and so is even less cost effective.

The good news is that buying cheaper does not mean sacrificing on flavor. Salada tea is a good brand. There’s a rich flavor to their teas and one bag is potent enough for 2 or 3 cups depending on how dark you prefer your beverage.

The company cares about health and their website is devoted to explaining the benefits of fresh brewed tea and how their varying flavors can support bone health or immunity based on the type of tea you buy.

You can buy it by the 40 count to save money and for all  its worth it’s a sturdy brand of tea guaranteed to satisfy. To learn more about different types of teas and the health benefits of each read the following article and apply your new knowledge when purchasing your chosen type of Salada: 

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/tea-types-and-their-health-benefits

Product Placement: Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest

Why does it seem that if you want to buy natural you have to buy brands that are expensive or brands no one has heard of before? It’s unfortunate that most brand name products are stuffed with ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and chemicals and dyes.

But there’s a secret to most of these big name products: they produce natural versions of their commercial products. Both Jif and Skippy have natural peanut butters and Smucker’s has Orchard’s Finest berry preserves.

  

Now, I’ve only tried the blueberry (far right of the photo) but there are whole blueberries in the jam. It’s smooth and sweet and whole blueberries are abundant. When my family ran out of blueberries from Jones Family Farm and I wanted to make blueberry loaf cake, I used a half cup of Smucker’s jam and my blueberry cake is studded with blueberries.

Here comes the hard part though, it’s not perfect. Though it pains me to admit it, Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest preserves are not in fact perfect. The ingredients (though all readable and common) are: BLUEBERRIES, SUGAR, FRUIT PECTIN, CITRIC ACID. It would be preferred if there was no sugar added, but this seems rather minor. There are 12 grams of sugar and 50 calories. For more information on the nutrition label visit: http://www.smucker.com/products/ProductDetail.aspx?groupId=1&categoryId=338&flavorId=755

As usual, unfortunately, the natural jams are more expensive than the standard ones. A twelve oz jar is $3.29 for the natural jam and a 12 oz jar is $2.99 for their commercial products. This is, thankfully, not a huge cost difference. Look for the natural Smucker’s jams next time you shop and let me know what you think!

Apparently, Smucker’s also has an organic line. I’ll be looking into this soon and I’ll keep you posted. Enjoy!

PB & Peach Smoothie

I love thick smoothies. I’m talking about turn the cup upside down, liquid-cement, can’t drink through a straw, need a spoon kind of thick. As you can imagine, I’m frequently disappointed.  So instead of complaining or buying store bought smoothies I’ll never be satisfied with, I decided to make my own smoothie this morning.

Enjoy this healthy protein-packed breakfast. I used homemade peanut butter, but store-bought works just as well.

Peanut Butter and Peach Smoothie:

INGREDIENTS:

1 peach

1/2 cup peanut butter

milk, to desired consistency

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. Pulse cut up peach and peanut butter in the blender until smooth. Add milk until smoothie reaches desired consistency.

Apple Cinnamon Wheat Biscuits

So in my ongoing battle to produce healthy food, still be a foodie, and run a confections business I decided to spice up the basic biscuit recipe I use by chopping up some apples and making the dough half whole wheat.

The idea behind these biscuits came about from more than idea about being healthy though, as it is difficult to make biscuits healthy. After trying Yoga Bread, I wanted to experiment with using fruit in my baking and after successfully making apple oat muffins (more to come on this later) I knew I wanted to try a similar combination with a biscuit.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup shortening*

1 1/2 tbs baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

2 apples, chopped finely (I used McIntosh)

1 cup milk

*was butter in the original biscuit recipe, recipe works with either

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 6 large muffin tins.

2. Combine dry ingredients. Add shortening with two knives or with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Pulse apples through a food processor until chopped finely (skin them if you wish, it’s not necessary).

4. Add milk and apples to the mixture, stirring just until combined.  Spoon into muffin tins.

5. Bake for 15 minutes.

Try this variation on the biscuit recipe from Favorite Brand Name  books.