Mindful eating: 5 easy tips to get started | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Mindful eating

Much less attention is paid to the question of how we eat it.

Yet a growing body of research suggests that changing our attitudes and practices around meals and mealtime rituals may be every bit as important as obsessing over what it is we actually put in our mouths. Mindful eating (also known as intuitive eating), a concept with its roots in Buddhist teachings, aims to reconnect us more deeply with the experience of eating — and enjoying — our food. Sometimes referred to as “the opposite of diets,” mindful eating is based on the idea that there is no right or wrong way to eat, but rather varying degrees of consciousness about what we are eating and why. The goal of mindful eating, then, is to base our meals on physical cues, such as our bodies’ hunger signals, not emotional ones — like eating for comfort.

The idea was featured in a New York Times article last year, in which journalist Jeff Gordinier visited a Buddhist monastery where practitioners were encouraged to eat in silence, and chew every morsel of food as they explored its tastes, textures and smells in minute detail. The article inspired a somewhat skeptical response from our own Robin Shreeves, who noted that in her household full of young boys, the notion of eating in silence seemed like mission impossible, and might even be detrimental, given that mealtimes are often when the family gets a chance to actually converse.

But mindful eating doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing affair.

In fact, as the New York Times article stated, there are plenty of ways to work mindfulness into your daily food habits without the need to become a fully robed monk, or masticate on a raisin for three days straight.

As a registered dietitian, I am a firm believer that finding ways to slow down and eat intentionally are all a part of developing a truly healthy food culture. And some early research into mindful eating would seem to back this up. One study, for example, tracked more than 1,400 mindful eaters and showed them to have lower body weights, a greater sense of well-being, and fewer symptoms of eating disorders.

But mindful eating will only work for you can make it compatible with your lifestyle.

Here are some of my favorite tips to introduce mindfulness to mealtimes in an easy, accessible fashion.

Eat slower
Eating slowly doesn’t have to mean taking it to extremes. Still, it’s a good idea to remind yourself, and your family, that eating is not a race. Taking the time to savor and enjoy your food is one of the healthiest things you can do. You are more likely to notice when you are full, you’ll chew your food more and hence digest it more easily, and you’ll probably find yourself noticing flavors you might otherwise have missed. If you have young children, why not try making a game of it — who can chew their food the longest? Or you could introduce eating with chopsticks as a fun way to slow things down.

Savor the silence
Yes, eating in complete silence may be impossible for a family with children, but you might still encourage some quiet time and reflection. Again, try introducing the idea as a game — “let’s see if we can eat for two minutes without talking” — or suggesting that one meal a week be enjoyed in relative silence. If the family mealtime is too important an opportunity for conversation to pass up, then consider introducing a quiet meal or snack time into your day when you can enjoy it alone. The NYT article, for example, noted that one dietitian simply savors a few sips of tea in complete silence when she is too busy for a complete mindful meal.

Silence the phone. Shut off the TV.
Our daily lives are full of distractions, and it’s not uncommon for families to eat with the TV blaring or one family member or other fiddling with their iPhone. Consider making family mealtime, which should, of course, be eaten together, an electronics-free zone. I’m not saying you should never eat pizza in front of the TV, but that too should be a conscious choice that marks the exception, not the norm.

Pay attention to flavor
The tanginess of a lemon, the spicyness of arugula, the crunch of a pizza crust — paying attention to the details of our food can be a great way to start eating mindfully. After all, when you eat on the go or wolf down your meals in five minutes, it can be hard to notice what you are even eating, let alone truly savor all the different sensations of eating it. If you are trying to introduce mindful eating to your family, consider talking more about the flavors and textures of food. Ask your kids what the avocado tastes like, or how the hummus feels. And be sure to share your own observations and opinions too. (Yes, this goes against the eating in silence piece, but you don’t have to do everything at once.)

Know your food

Mindfulness is really about rekindling a relationship with our food. From planting a veggie garden through baking bread to visiting a farmers market, many of the things we locavores have been preaching about for years are not just ways to cut our carbon foodprint, but also connect with the story behind our food. Even when you have no idea where the food you are eating has come from, try asking yourself some questions about the possibilities: Who grew this? How? Where did it come from? How did it get here? Chances are, you’ll not only gain a deeper appreciation for your food, but you’ll find your shopping habits changing in the process too.

Like I say, mindful eating does not have to be an exercise in super-human concentration, but rather a simple commitment to appreciating, respecting and, above all, enjoying the food you eat every day. It can be practiced with salad or ice cream, donuts or tofu, and you can introduce it at home, at work, or even as you snack on the go (though you may find yourself doing this less often).

And while the focus becomes how you eat, not what you eat, you may find your notions of what you want to eat shifting dramatically for the better too.

Jenni Grover MS RD LDN is a registered dietitian and co-founder of Realistic Nutrition Partners in Durham, NC. She specializes in child, maternal and prenatal nutrition, with a focus on whole foods.

[catalog Food]

[tag Mindful eating]

Climate change hurts economy, EPA chief says | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Environmental regulations don’t kill jobs. In fact, they might be the only way to stop manmade climate change from killing the economy.

That was the message U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy delivered Tuesday in a speech at Harvard Law School, her first public address since taking office two weeks ago. McCarthy made it clear climate change will be her main focus at the EPA — and that, like President Obama, she sees carbon emissions as a danger to economic stability.

“Climate change isn’t an environmental issue,” McCarthy said. “It is a fundamental economic challenge for us. It is a fundamental economic challenge internationally.”

Climate change promotes natural disasters like droughts, fires, storms and floods, all of which can disrupt commerce and cripple economic growth. Superstorm Sandy shut down much of the U.S. Northeast last year, for example, and caused $50 billion in damage, second only to Hurricane Katrina in U.S. history. Few people saw Sandy as an environmental issue, McCarthy said Tuesday. “They looked at it as economic devastation.”

Republicans and industry advocates often suggest regulations to curb climate change also curb economic growth, but McCarthy sought to dispel that narrative. “Can we stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs?” she said. “Let’s talk about this as an opportunity of a lifetime, because there are too many lifetimes at stake.”

The EPA is working to develop “a new mindset about how climate change and environmental protection fits within our national and global economic agenda,” she added, arguing emissions cuts are “a way to spark business innovation,” not an economic cudgel.

McCarthy, along with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, is quickly jumping into the task of fleshing out the national Climate Action Plan Obama unveiled in June. A key part of that plan is the EPA’s upcoming regulation of CO2 from both new and existing power plants, an authority granted by the Clean Air Act. Anticipating arguments that such regulations are too costly, McCarthy cited the long-term savings: Every dollar spent so far on Clean Air Act rules, she said, has produced $30 in benefits.

U.S. air pollution has fallen 68 percent since the EPA was founded in 1970, she added, even as the gross domestic product grew 212 percent and private-sector jobs grew 88 percent in the same period. Those stats come from an EPA report on the Clean Air Act’s economic benefits, which says the initial cost of regulation is offset by long-term public health and technological innovation. The U.S. environmental technology sector generated $300 billion in 2008, the report says, and supported nearly 1.7 million jobs.

McCarthy has spent the past four years leading the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, where she helped create new fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. She has a reputation for working with industry leaders, and said Tuesday the U.S. auto industry’s post-recession rebound is a model for how to capitalize on climate rehab: “This is a game plan for other sectors to follow on how we can reduce emissions, strengthen energy security and develop new economic benefits for consumers and businesses.”

Despite the hopeful tone of her speech, though, McCarthy was also careful not to sugarcoat. “Climate change will not be resolved overnight,” she said in her closing remarks. “But it will be engaged over the next three years — that I can promise you.”

The Complex World of Whole Grains, Made Simple – NYTimes.com

The Whole Story

Whole grains, whether truly “whole” or not, have gone mainstream.

You can’t mention quinoa without hearing about the plight of the Bolivians who can no longer afford to buy their crop because we’re willing to pay so much for it. The word “rice” has become loaded: there are more colors (red? black?) and types (extra-long brown Basmati?) than those of us who grew up knowing only Carolina and Uncle Ben’s could have ever imagined. The other day I heard half a talk show devoted to what couscous really is. (Pasta, and I don’t know why it was so hard to figure out.)

It gets more complicated. Manufacturers claim processed foods are, or contain, whole grains when it isn’t true. Debates rage about the relative benefits of “whole grain” pasta versus the real thing. Then there’s the “are whole grains even good for you?” thing.

Feh. You shouldn’t care. They’re fantastic.

What they’re not is a panacea, or a substitute for anything except the hyper-processed grains that replaced them in the first place. But at this point, the widespread, almost universal availability of farro, quinoa and millet alone would be more important and valuable than all of the gorgeous heirloom beans that have been rediscovered in the last decade. Legumes we already had; these are new to most of us.

Throw in spelt, kamut, wheat berries and brown rice, along with the semi-processed bulgur (cracked and steamed wheat) and steel-cut oats, as well as couscous, which is usually treated as if it were a grain, and kasha (buckwheat groats, which few people seem to like), and it’s a new world out there.

This isn’t even a complete list. They are all filling, chewy, satisfying, delicious options that complement both meat and vegetables as perfectly as, well, white rice. With more flavor, more texture, more fiber.

These questions seem to baffle many people: 1) How do you cook them? And 2) What do you do with them?

These are the answers, in short: Until they’re done. And whatever you’d like.

Glibness aside, the first answer is for real. Whole grains don’t all taste the same — far from it. But they all act pretty much the same, so you can treat them all, including bulgur and steel-cut oats, pretty much the same way: Cover them in abundant salted water and simmer until tender but still chewy. (There are occasions in which you’ll want to overcook whole grains, chief among them that their burst kernels make a good binder. But that’s another story.)

Cooking can take as little as five minutes (for bulgur) or as long as an hour (for wheat berries), but that doesn’t matter. If they threaten to dry out, you add water, preferably boiling, so as not to slow down the cooking, but don’t worry if you forget. If they’re soupy when you’re done, drain them. There are a zillion other techniques, but you don’t need to know them.

As to what happens next, I’d nominate grain salads as the way to go, especially this time of year.

There is one mistake many of us have made in producing grain salads: we’ve not only featured grains, we’ve downplayed everything else. A pile of cold brown rice with a few chopped vegetables and some soy sauce or a mound of wheat berries with vinaigrette is about as one-dimensional as it gets.

As great as the grains are, they cannot stand alone; they are role players. They need vegetables, fruits, meat or fish, and they need well-thought-out sauces. As with plain rice, there’s nothing wrong with any of these under a stir-fry, or with a pat of butter for that matter (and plenty of salt and pepper). But if you want a grain that people will really notice, you have to treat it right.

That’s what I’ve tried to do here. There’s a mash-up of a niçoise salad, with the tuna in a powerful vinaigrette, half of which gets tossed with farro. (Any hearty grain could take its place: one of the many “brown” rices, spelt, kamut, wheat. Farro is interesting in that it’s relatively fast-cooking for a whole grain.)

The millet with corn, mango, shrimp and arugula — and peaches! (or mango) — is a riot of color and flavor and, I think, the best use of millet I’ve ever found. Here its grassiness seems an advantage rather than a drawback. If you don’t want millet, or don’t have it, I’d go with couscous.

Finally, there’s a puffed brown rice salad. You can shoot white rice from cannons (or however it’s done), load it up with sugar and call it breakfast cereal. Or you can treat brown rice the same way, forget the sugar and turn it into something that’s as amusing as it is delicious.

Yes, there is a load of big-flavored and interesting ingredients here. But the point isn’t just to eat whole grains “because they’re healthy.” The point is to enjoy them because they’re good.

KS

15 Surprising Ways to Enjoy Edamame | Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy Living Blog

by Robin Miller in Robin’s Healthy Take, July 21, 2013

edamame
We all know that steamed edamame with a delectable sprinkling of salt make a phenomenal appetizer. Pop those babies in your mouth, strip off the pod with your teeth, discard the carnage and reach for another!

But given that soybeans are nutrient powerhouses, why not get creative and add the precious gems to your regular menu? For just 120 calories per heaping cup of edamame (or 1/2 cup shelled soybeans), you get 11 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, 10% of your Daily Value for vitamin C and iron and 8% for vitamin A.

Here are 15 unexpected ways to enjoy cooked and shelled edamame.

1. Green Dip: Puree soybeans with an equal amount of thawed frozen green peas, a little fresh shallot and garlic, and salt and black pepper to taste; fold in chopped fresh parsley. Serve with whole-grain crackers or pita.

2. Rice and (Soy)Beans: Sauté soybeans in a little olive oil with chili powder and cumin; add to brown rice with green onions, cilantro and fresh lime juice; add hot sauce if desired.

3. Strong Salads: Fold into potato, pasta, seafood and egg salads for a blast of protein.

4. Egg-cellent Breakfast: Add to your morning scrambled eggs.

5. Powerful Pesto: Puree into basil pesto and use as a protein-packed sandwich spread.

6. Super Soup: Add to your favorite soup and chowder recipes for the last few minutes of cooking.

7. Better Burritos: Nestle soybeans into your favorite rice and bean burritos, either in place of the usual beans or in addition.

8. Satisfying Greens: Sprinkle over Waldorf, Caesar and Asian salads (instead of nuts, croutons or fried noodles).

9. Pasta e Fagioli: Add soybeans to ditalini pasta; add tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese.

10. Cool Chili: Add to recipes for vegetarian and beef chili during the last few minutes of cooking.

11. Sucker-Punched Succotash: Use in place of lima beans in succotash (i.e., combine soybeans and corn).

12. Great Guacamole: Mash with avocado, lime, onion, garlic and cilantro to create amazing guacamole.

13. Stronger Grains: Add to brown rice pilaf recipes and side dishes made with couscous and quinoa.

14. Wok On: Toss into stir-fries for the last few minutes of cooking.

15. Ravioli: Puree with herbed cream cheese or herbed spreadable cheese (like Laughing Cow, Boursin or Alouette) and use between two wonton wrappers to make ravioli.

KS

How to Save Money On Organic Food | Garden Guides

Instructions

Organic food is healthy, yet very expensive. If you’re trying to incorporate more fresh food into your life, however, you don’t need to break the bank to do so. In fact, just a little planning and some dedication can go a long way to finding clean healthy organic food.

Step 1

Choose some basics. While it would be great if you could buy everything organic, it may make more sense to start with just a few groceries. According to the FDA, the 12 fruits and vegetables more contaminated by pesticides are pears, peaches, strawberries, broccoli, celery, cherries, apples, spinach, bell peppers, nectarines, grapes (and raisins), corn.

Step 2

Walk around your neighborhood. Look for health food stores and Asian markets selling organic produce. Bring a small notebook with you to write down prices at different locations and then make a list featuring the best items to buy at each place. Many of these places have special discount membership cards that help you save further, or they may publish a store magazine with coupons or specials.

Step 3

Shop at farmer’s markets. If you live in a big city, you probably have weekend markets set up somewhere near where you can buy everything from fruits and vegetables to organic honey, jam and even bread. For even bigger discounts, shop late in the evening, where vendors usually lower their prices significantly (it’s better for them to sell at any price than to have to pack up everything and take it home again).

Step 4

Shop in season. Organic strawberries will be cheaper in summer than in winter, where they have to be flown in from another state or country. Availability can even change from one week to the next, so make sure you plan meals that are flexible and can be adapted depending on what’s on sale.

Step 5

Join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. By buying shares, you are supporting local farms, but you are also entitled to some great benefits, including a weekly crate of fruits or vegetables (depending on which program you choose). Shares are not necessarily cheap (the cost can be several hundred dollars) but you are ensured a healthy portion of organic produce all year long.

[categories Food]

31 Surprisingly Delicious High-Fiber Snacks | Greatist

31 SURPRISINGLY DELICIOUS HIGH-FIBER SNACKS
31 Delicious High-Fiber Snacks
Photo by Perry Santanachote

It helps keep things moving smoothly (you know what we mean), it can lower our risk for diabetes and heart disease, and it keeps us fuller, longer. What is this magic stuff? Dietary fiber! It’s essential to our diets, plus a high fiber nibble can buy us time before the next meal hits the kitchen table. Here are 31 of our favorite fiber-packed snacks — one for every day of the month. We opted for snacks with at least five grams of fiber (20 percent of the daily recommended value) to tide you over. Instead of turning to chalky store-bought high-fiber bars, try out some of these tastier choices.

1. Orange Spinach Smoothie
This tasty treat goes down easy while sneaking in tons of fruits and veggies. Toss 1 large orange (peeled and separated), ½ a large banana, 1 handful of strawberries, 2 cups of spinach, 1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt, and 1 cup of ice into a blender. Store any leftovers in the freezer for tomorrow (pro tip: Pour the leftovers in ice cube trays for easier blending).

2. Raspberry Cream Cheese Toast
Toast 1 slice of whole-grain bread, spread with 1 to 2 tablespoons of low-fat cream cheese, and top with ½ cup of raspberries (1 cup of raspberries has eight grams of fiber, so feel free to add a few extra, or snack on another handful while making the toast).

3. Mediterranean Artichokes
Strain 1 6-ounce jar of artichokes to remove all liquid. Snack on them as-is, or get fancy by topping with 1 tablespoon of feta, a squeeze of lemon juice, a little olive oil, and some cracked pepper. This six-ounce (or ¾ cup) serving of the hearts (the center portion of an artichoke) has more than seven grams of fiber. Plus, they’re a rich source of vitamin C. (We won’t tell anyone if you stick a fork in the jar.)

4. Enlightened Bars
These healthier ice cream bars aren’t just low in calories — they actually have some impressive nutritional stats: Eight grams of protein, no artificial sweetener, only three grams of sugar, and five grams of fiber per bar. Plus, these smooth and creamy treats come in coffee, fudge, and orange cream flavors. At Greatist HQ, the favorite’s a tie between coffee and fudge. (I vote coffee!)

5. Maple n’ Oat Stuffed Apple
This snack is not only tasty — it’s lovely to look at, too. Boil 1 cup of steel cut oats in 4 cups of water. Stir in a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a drizzle of maple syrup, and turn the heat to low while the oats cook (covered) for 20 minutes. Serve in a hollowed apple (we like ‘em overflowing). If it’s too tough to eat raw, microwave the cored apple for a minute, and then fill it up. Or, if time’s on your side, stuff the apples with oatmeal and then bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the apple is tender.

Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges Photo: Deb Perelman / SmittenKitchen.com

6. Sweet Potato Fries
This one is easy as pie. (Sweet potato pie, that is.) Cut a sweet potato lengthwise, and toss the orange-hued wedges in oil, and spices for a new take on a hamburger’s BFF. Shhh, it’s a secret: A medium sweet potato has more potassium than a banana and five grams of fiber.

7. Pears and Cottage Cheese
Core a pear and slice in half top to bottom. Scoop low-fat cottage cheese on top of the pear and sprinkle with cinnamon or poppy seeds. One medium pear touts six grams of fiber.

8. Edamame Hummus
A new take on hummus, this spread adds some color and fiber to your dipping delight. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and toss in 2 cups of frozen edamame (16 whopping grams of fiber!). Boil for three minutes, remove from heat, and drain. Combine edamame, 3 cloves of garlic, 6 tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and a squeeze of lemon in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Serve with toasted pita bread or sliced veggies like carrots and cukes.

9. Pumpkin Yogurt Dip
Pumpkin, a superfood rich in beta carotene (essential for skin and eye health) is an easy and tasty way to sneak in some fiber, especially when it’s from a can. Mix together ½ cup of canned pumpkin puree, ½ cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon of honey, ½ teaspoon of vanilla, and a good helping of cinnamon and nutmeg (or pumpkin spice if you’re feeling fancy). Spoon it straight or use as a dip with graham crackers or apple slices. (Note: Make sure to use plain pureed pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, which is loaded with sugar and salt.)

10. Quinoa Pizza Bites
These simple nuggets are full of flavor. Fresh basil and tomato paste make them really taste like pizza. The key fiber-filled ingredients, quinoa and kidney beans, also make for a stellar protein-packed snack. Protein powerhouse quinoa is one of the only grains or seeds that provide all the essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce themselves!

11. Rice Cake with Almond Butter and Pumpkin Seeds
For a snack with some crunch, schmear 1 brown rice cake with 2 tablespoons almond butter. (Get this: almond butter beats peanut butter when it comes to fiber, iron, and vitamin E.) For even more crunch (and fiber), sprinkle 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds on top. The little green seeds are a super rich source of magnesium, which is especially good for strong bones. Extra bonus: Just half a cup of pumpkin seeds has about 14 grams of protein.

Berry Oatmeal Breakfast Photo by Caitlin Covington

12. Banana Berry Oats
For quick microwave oatmeal, mix ½ cup rolled oats and a dash of cinnamon in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir in ½ cup of water and microwave for one minute. Remove the bowl, add ½ a banana (sliced), and cook for another minute. Stir in 3 to 4 tablespoons of low fat milk or vanilla almond milk, and top with ½ to 1 cup sliced strawberries, blackberries, and other berries of choice. While all fruit helps out in the fiber department, berries are especially good sources — raspberries and blackberries have eight grams per cup.

13. Chocolate Bran Crunchies
For a seriously fiber-filled snack, grab a box of bran cereal, which has 10 grams of fiber per ½ cup serving. Combine 1 cup of bran cereal with ½ cup of slivered almonds, and 4 ounces (3 to 4 squares, depending on the bar) of melted dark chocolate (melt in a microwave in 20 second intervals until smooth). Spoon tablespoon-sized mounds of the chocolately delicousness onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and pop it in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes to set.

14. Spiced Flax Balls
These balls get the fiber benefits of flax (five grams per tablespoon) plus their omega 3s. Pulse 1 cup of almonds in a food processor until finely chopped. Add ½ cup of ground flax seeds, ½ cup of dates, ½ cup of raisins, ¼ cup of chopped dried apricots, ¼ cup of shredded coconut, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg and ground ginger. Pulse the mixture until it sticks (you may want to add a teaspoon or two of water). Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls, then cover in cling wrap and refrigerate. Enjoy!

15. Blackberry Basil Popsicles
Toss 1 ½ cups of fresh blackberries (one of the highest fiber contents of any fruit), 1 handful of fresh basil, ¼ cup of honey, and the juice of one lemon into a food processor or blender. Puree the ingredients until well combined (strain out the seeds if you’d like it smooth). Add the mixture to popsicle molds or small paper cups, and freeze for at least eight hours. For extra big kid fun, pour the mixture into ice cube molds and add them to blackberry margaritas or a mojito for an icy, antioxidant-filled treat.

16. Feta-Stuffed Prunes
Grandma was right: Prunes can get you back on track. The dried plums (once you get over the stereotype of them being an “old people food”) are really sweet and delicious. Plus, prunes have an insane amount of fiber (12 grams for 1 cup). Eat them as is, or cut a small opening and stuff some feta or blue cheese in the center for a quick sweet-n’-savory bite. Bonus: Prunes are considered the epitome of a functional food(which means they’re really good at promoting health!) [1].

17. Chocolate Bean Butter
For a no-fuss sweet (but healthy!) snack, try out this chocolate spread. Combine 1 can of white kidney beans, 5 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon of stevia powder (or sweetener of your choice), a pinch of sea salt, 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth (adding a splash of water or almond milk if it’s too dry). Spread onto a brown rice cake or use as a dip for sliced fruit. We know chocolatecan lower blood pressure but adding beans to the mix effectively pumps a healthy dose of fiber to the mix (6 grams for ½ a cup!) [2].

18. Buffalo Wing Hummus
Seriously, this is a real thing. It’s all the deliciousness of the Super Bowl, minus all the not-so-good stuff. Blend 2 cans of chickpeas, 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, ¼ cup of tahini, ¼ cup of lemon juice, 1 ½ teaspoons paprika, 3 tablespoons wing sauce, 2 tablespoons hot sauce, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and a pinch of kosher salt. Puree until smooth and dip-able, and enjoy with celery and carrot sticks (or by itself…). The beans up the fiber content to a dip that usually gets its base from a fatty dairy source.

Kale Chips Photo by Perry Santanachote

19. Kale Chips
We’ll be honest here: These guys definitely don’t taste exactly like potato chips. But if you’re looking for a healthier (or more chic) way to crunch, kale chips are it. Preheat oven to 375. Rinse and dry 1 large bunch of kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs. Rip the kale into large pieces, toss with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a large parchment lined baking sheet (careful not to overlap). Bake until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes, checking frequently (they can burn easily!).

20. Lentil Trail Mix
We did tell you trail mix can be a dangerfood. However, we’re about to give you a healthier option for this munchable snack, plus it’s pretty (and vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and grain-free!). Bake 1 cup of red lentils in a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet (after sprinkled with a touch of salt) for 30 to 35 minutes, or until they are crunchy. Chop up ½ cup dried apricots and pineapple, and toss the little chunks in rice flour to take away the stickiness. Combine lentils, fruit, ½ cup of pumpkin seeds, ½ cup of sunflower seeds, and ½ cup of dried cranberries, and munch away.

21. Banana in A Sweater
This easy-to-whip-together snack gets its fiber from superfoods flaxseed, chia, and oats. In a small bowl mix 1 teaspoon of honey with 2 tablespoons of a nut butter of choice (peanut and almond tend to be our favorites, but for a different taste and texture, try pecan butter, cashew butter, or walnut butter). In a shallow bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of oats, ½ tablespoon of chia seeds, ½ tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon. Coat a peeled banana with the nut mixture (it’ll be easier if the banana is cut in half), then roll it in the dry mixture. While the banana serves as a carrier for all the tasty toppings, it adds three grams of fiber, too.

22. Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
Considering my love affair with chocolate and peanut butter as separate entities, a combo of the two really knocks it out of the park. Plus, these snack bites are actually healthy and you only need three ingredients to make ‘em. Mix 3 scoops of chocolate protein powder, ¼ cup of ground flax seed, and ½ cup of peanut butter (look for the unsalted variety). Form the mixture into small balls and pop in the freezer to set before eating.

23. Banana Chocolate Chip Quinoa Bake
The very best thing about this recipe is that it takes only five minutes to make. Grease a microwave safe dish (try coconut or vegetable oil on a piece of paper towel for a light coating). In a small bowl, mix 1/3 of a medium banana (mashed), ¼ cup of egg whites, ½ cup of quinoa flakes (the flake version of the superfood grain), 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon of chopped pecans, and a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the mix into the dish, and even out with a fork until it reaches all of the edges. Pop it in the microwave for two and a half minutes. Let it cool and enjoy!

24. Chocolate Crunch Mix
This is the ultimate homemade Chex mix. Combine 1 cup of Chex cereal, 1 cup of pretzel sticks broken in half, and ¼ cup of roasted almonds. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of melted dark chocolate (to melt: microwave for one minute, stir, and continue heating in 20 second intervals until completely melted). Spread the mixture on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate sets. For a little extra fiber, sprinkle in some sesame seeds.

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas Photo by Lisa Cain

25. Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
Crunchy roasted chickpeas are becoming pretty popular at grocery stores, but they can bare a hefty price tag. These chickpeas are a heckuva lot cheaper, easy to make, and have a kick to them. Drain and rinse 1 can of chickpeas and add to a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Take them out and shake ‘em around before returning to the oven for another 15 minutes, or until the chickpeas are brown and crunchy. Just half a cup of the little guys provides six grams of fiber and six grams of protein.

26. Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Combine 1 cup of pumpkin puree, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk or almond milk, 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed, and a ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom (pumpkin spice works too). Aside from shelling out fiber, pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A, which is key for healthy eyes and also helps maintain heart, lung, and kidney health.

27. Fig and PB Dough Balls
Each of these dough hunks has four grams of fiber and just 150 calories. Grind ¾ cup of peanuts in a food processor until it reaches a fine crumb. Add in 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, ¼ cup of agave, ½ cup of oats, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, ¼ cup of ground flax seed, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, and 6 dried figs. Pulse until the mixture begins to come together, and then roll into 1-inch balls.

28. Avocado Boat
Cut an avocado in half, and twist it to separate both pieces. Remove the pit, and fill up the hole with salsa and some shredded cheese. Aside from a pretty stellar fiber content (six grams for just half of a medium one), avocados are a fantastic source of monosaturated fats, which can help improve cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of heart disease, and benefit brain activity.

29. Black Bean Brownies
Brownies with beans? These fudgy squares take on the taste of chocolate way more than the beans — we promise. The batter forms up quick in a food processor, and doesn’t require a whole lot of prep work. More good news: Sneaking in black beans loads the brownies with fiber, and provides lots of folate, a nutrient that’s necessary to make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of cells.

30. Yellow Split Pea Spread
This spread makes for a colorful alternative to hummus. Dip veggies like broccoli, celery, or cauliflower, or try whole-wheat pita triangles. Veggies, on veggies, on veggies!

31. Popcorn
Popcorn is a whole grain, made from a seed so it can keep you fuller longer than other more calorie-laden snacks. For a budget friendly version, try popping a handful of kernels in a small brown bag in the microwave. Fold the rim of the bag over twice, and lay it horizontally in the microwave. Cook until popping begins to slow but doesn’t stop completely. To jazz up the regular old movie necessity, add fresh herbs like dill or parsley, or try a sweet variety with cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey (microwave it first for a bit to thin it out).

[categories Food]

52 Healthy Meals in 12 Minutes or Less | Greatist

52 HEALTHY MEALS IN 12 MINUTES OR LESS

52 Healthy Meals in 12 Minutes or Less

Being hungry sucks (it’s a scientific fact). So why spend hours cooking a gourmet feast when a nutritious and delicious meal could be only 12 minutes away? Skip the grumbling tummy and cranky guests and serve up any one of these 52 satisfying meals.

(See Also: 60 Healthier Drinks for Boozing)

Breakfast

1. Chocolate-Blueberry Shake Blend together 1 packet chocolate breakfast powder (like Carnation Breakfast Essentials), 1 1/2 cups milk of choice, and 1 cup frozen blueberries. Optional: Add a scoop of protein powder for improved muscle recovery.

2. Cold Pizza Nope, not the takeout kind! Toast 1 slice whole-grain bread and top with 2 tbsp. ricotta, 1 large basil leaf, 2 tomato slices, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper.

3. Eggs in a Muffin Heat a pan with a spritz of cooking spray over medium heat. Season 1 egg with salt and pepper, scramble, and cook to desired consistency (no more than five minutes). Top egg with 1 slice cheddar cheese and allow cheese to melt. Pile egg and cheese on 1 toasted whole-wheat English muffin and add 1 slice cooked Canadian bacon. (Use half the muffin and eat it open-faced to save a few calories!)

4. Canadian Waffles Toast 1 whole-wheat waffle and top with 1 slice cooked Canadian bacon, 1 over-easy egg (prepared with cooking spray), and a 1 to 2 tsp. drizzle of maple syrup.

5. Cereal A-Go-Go Swap out the milk in a bowl of cereal for 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt flavored with 1/8 tsp. lemon zest and 1 tsp. honey. Add ½ cup bran flakes and some extra flavor with ¼ cup fresh berries or 1 tbsp. sliced almonds.

6. Breakfast Taco In a pan spritzed with cooking spray over medium-high heat, scramble 3 egg whites, a small handful of spinach leaves, and 1 tbsp. drained and rinsed black beans. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap mixture in an 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla and top with 1 tbsp. salsa.

7. Oatmeal in an Instant Skip pre-made packets in favor of this homemade version. Combine ½ cup rolled oats, 1 cup milk or water, and a pinch of salt, and microwave for 3 minutes. Stir in toppings of choice, like 1 tsp. maple syrup, 2 tbsp. sliced almonds, or ¼ cup dried fruit.

8. PB & H Waffle Toast 1 whole-grain waffle and smear with 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter. Drizzle with 1 tsp. honey and sprinkle with 1 tsp. sesame seeds.

9. Mini Wrap Top an 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla with 2 slices Canadian bacon, ½ sliced apple, and 2 to 3 slices cheddar cheese. Roll up and microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until cheese is melted.

10. Vegan Breakfast Scramble In a frying pan over medium-high heat combine ½ cup tofu (crumbled), a handful of spinach, ¼ cup chopped red peppers, 1/8 cup chopped onion, 1/8 cup chopped vegetarian bacon, and a few dashes of paprika. Sauté until veggies are cooked and tofu is heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

11. Broiled Grapefruit Preheat broiler and halve 1 chilled grapefruit. Sprinkle each half with ½ tsp. sugar and ¼ tsp. cinnamon. Broil both halves on a baking sheet for 3-5 minutes. Serve with 1 slice of whole-wheat toast spread with 1 tbsp. nut butter for a complete breakfast.

12. Nutty ‘Nana Toast 1 slice whole-grain bread and top with 1 tbsp. crunchy almond butter and ½ a sliced banana.

13. Berry Yogurty Smoothie Blend together ½ cup frozen strawberries, ½ cup frozen blueberries, 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt, 2 tsp. honey, and ¼ cup milk of choice.

14. Sweet n’ Savory Breakfast Pizza Preheat the broiler (or toaster oven). Microwave 2 slices turkey bacon for 30-60 seconds (or until crisp) and crumble once cooked. Spread 1 tbsp. low-fat ricotta on 1 whole-wheat tortilla. Top with ¼ cup sliced strawberries and/or blueberries and the bacon. Broil 5 minutes or until fruit softens and begins to caramelize.

15. Sun-Dried Tomato Omelet Coat a pan with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Pour in 3 egg whites mixed with 1 tsp. water and salt and pepper (to taste). When eggs begin to set, top half with 2 tbsp. goat cheese, ½ cup fresh spinach, and 2 tbsp. chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Fold in half and cook 2 more minutes, or until egg whites are set, veggies are warmed through, and cheese is melted.

16. Frog in a Hole Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Spread 1 slice of whole-grain bread with 1 tsp. butter. Use a cookie or biscuit-cutter to cut a hole in the center of the bread. Place the bread— buttered-side down— in the pan and crack 1 egg into the hole. Cook until egg sets, about 2 to 4 minutes. (Flip half way through for a more well done egg.)

17. Fruit Parfait Layer together: 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt sweetened with 1 tsp. honey, ½ cup granola, and ½ cup frozen blueberries and strawberries.

18. Breakfast Quickie Cookie In a microwave-safe bowl, combine ½ cup oats, ¼ cup liquid egg whites, 1 ½ tbsp. brown sugar, 1 ½ tbsp. all-purpose flour, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, ½ tsp. baking powder, 2 tbsp. raisins, and cinnamon to taste. Flatten half the mixture into the bottom of the bowl and microwave for 45 seconds. Pop cookie out of the bowl and repeat with second half of mixture.

19. Pumpkin Muesli Combine ¼ cup quick-cooking oats and ¼ cup pumpkin puree in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and nuke for 20 seconds. Let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine ½ cup plain nonfat yogurt, 2 tbsp. honey, 1 tsp. lemon zest, and 2 tbsp. sliced almonds in a separate bowl. Stir yogurt mixture into the oat mixture and enjoy. Extra points for adding fresh fruit, too!

Lunch

20. Quinoa Salad Microwave ½ cup quinoa (rinsed) and 1 cup water for 5 minutes at full power. Reduce to 70 percent power and microwave another 5 minutes. Fluff and stir in: 2 tbsp. chopped bell pepper, ¼ cup rinsed and drained chick peas, 1 tbsp. chopped parsley, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Optional: Add ½ can tuna for a meatier meal.

21. Taco Salad For the dressing, combine 2 tbsp. salsa, 1 tbsp. low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. olive oil, and 1 tsp. chili powder. Serve dressing over a salad with: 2 cups baby spinach, ½ thinly sliced celery stalk, 1 chopped scallion, 1 tbsp. chopped black olives, 2 tbsp. corn, and ¼ cup drained and rinsed black beans. Optional: Add ½ lightly toasted tortilla cut into strips to each salad.

22. Mediterranean Pita Split open a whole-wheat pita and spread one side with 2 tbsp. hummus. Add 1 large roasted red pepper (sliced), 1 tbsp. crumbled feta, 1 tbsp. black olives, 5 slices cucumber, and a small handful of mixed greens.

23. Niçoise Sandwich In a bowl, combine 1 6-oz. can tuna, ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes, ¼ cup pitted black olives (chopped), and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Split open ¼ whole-wheat baguette (about 4 inches in length) and fill with the tuna mixture and a handful of baby spinach leaves.

24. Roast Beef Roll Spread 1 oz. light cream cheese and ½ tbsp. horseradish on 1 whole-wheat wrap. Layer on 2 oz. roast beef, 1 oz. sliced cheddar, and a handful of romaine lettuce. Roll up and enjoy.

25. Open-Faced White Bean Sandwich Mash ¼ can rinsed and drained white beans with 1 tsp. olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toast 1 slice of whole-grain bread and spread with the bean mixture. Top with 1 slice red onion, 5 cucumber slices, and ¼ avocado (sliced).

26. Lighter Chef’s Salad Tear ¼ head of romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Top the lettuce with ½ tomato (sliced), ½ avocado (cut into bite-sized pieces), 2 slices deli turkey, ¼ sliced red onion, 1/8 cup shaved Parmesan, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.

27. Grilled Cheddar n’ Apple Between 2 slices of whole-grain bread, layer 1 to 2 slices sharp cheddar cheese (from the deli section) and ½ green apple (thinly sliced). Spread one slice of the bread with 1 tsp. deli mustard. Grill in a nonstick pan for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or cook in a panini press until cheese is melted.

28. Hawaiian Wrap Combine ¼ cup nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar, and ½ tsp. caraway seeds in a small bowl. Toss together ¼ cup pineapple (diced), ½ carrot (shredded), 2 slices of deli ham (chopped), and ¼ head Napa cabbage (thinly sliced). Dress vegetables with the yogurt mixture and roll up in a whole-wheat wrap.

29. Souper Spicy Soup In a medium saucepan, combine ¾ cup vegetable broth, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and ½ tbsp. olive oil. When it reaches a boil, stir in 1/8 cup uncooked couscous, ¼ cup broccoli, and ¼ cup cauliflower (both chopped into small florets). Cook until tender. Optional: Serve topped with 1 oil-packed sun-dried tomato (chopped) and 1 scallion (thinly sliced).

30.Green Tortilla Pizza Preheat the broiler. Spread 2 tbsp. pesto (homemade or store bought) on 1 whole-grain 8-inch tortilla. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. chopped broccoli florets, a large handful of spinach, 4 sliced baby bella mushrooms, 2 tbsp. chopped onions, and 2 tbsp. part-skim mozzarella. Broil until cheese is lightly browned, about 4 minutes.

31. Loaded Sweet Potato Prick 1 sweet potato with a fork 4 to 5 times. Microwave on a paper towel or a microwave-safe plate for 4 to 5 minutes. Split open lengthwise and top with 2 tbsp. nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. honey, 2 tbsp. drained and rinsed black beans, and a pinch of paprika.

32. Black Bean Wrap On 1 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla, mash ¼ cup drained and rinsed black beans with a fork. Sprinkle with a pinch of cumin, a pinch of paprika, and 1 tbsp. cheddar cheese. Roll up and microwave for 30 seconds. Serve with 2 tbsp. salsa.

33. Low-Carb Roll-Up On a plate, layer 1 slice low-sodium deli turkey and 1 slice provolone cheese. Spread the cheese with 1 tsp. pesto (homemade or store bought!) and top with 2 slices avocado. Roll up the turkey and repeat 2 more times.

34. Fancy Fig Sandwich Mix together 2 slices goat cheese, ½ tsp. honey and a pinch lemon zest. Spread the mixture between 2 slices whole-grain bread. Add 2 tsp. fig preserves and 1 tsp. thinly sliced basil. Grill the sandwich in a pan for 2 to 3 minutes per side or prepare in a panini press until warmed through.

35. Mango Quesadillas Spread 1 8-inch, whole-wheat tortilla with 1/8 cup mango chutney. Add 2 slices deli ham, 1/8 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese, and 1 tbsp. scallion (chopped). Fold in half and grill 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Cut into quarters and serve.

36. Curried Chicken Salad Combine 2 tbsp. nonfat plain Greek yogurt and ¼ tbsp. curry powder. Add ½ cup roasted chicken (diced), 1/8 cup red onion (diced), ¼ cup grapes (halved), and 1 tbsp. cilantro (chopped). Serve atop a large handful mixed greens.

Dinner

37. Spicy Veggies In a large skillet, combine ¼ can drained and rinsed black beans, ¼ can drained diced tomatoes, ½ zucchini (diced), and ¼ cup okra (diced). Cook 5 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through, and stir in hot sauce of choice and salt to taste.

38. Kale and Cauliflower Pasta Bring a small pot of water (with a lid on it) to a boil (about 4 to 5 minutes). Add 1 serving angel hair pasta (a small handful) and ¾ cup cauliflower florets. After 3 minutes, fish out the cauliflower and add to a trying pan over medium-high heat with ½ tbsp. olive oil, ½ shallot (chopped), 1 clove garlic (minced), and a handful of kale (stems removed and roughly torn). Cover and cook 4 minutes. Add cooked pasta, 1 tbsp. grated Parmesan, and ¼ cup reserved cooking water and toss to combine.

39. Honey Soy Salmon Preheat the broiler and combine ½ tbsp. honey with ½ tsp. soy sauce. Season 1 5-oz. salmon filet with salt and pepper and broil for five minutes. Drizzle with honey-soy sauce and broil an additional 2-5 minutes. Serve with microwaveable rice.

40. Superfood Shrimp Scampi Pasta Prepare 1 serving angel hair pasta (whole-wheat, if you can find it!) according to package instructions, about 10 minutes (including the time it takes to boil the water). Heat ½ tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan and cook ½ lb. peeled and de-veined shrimp seasoned with a pinch of salt for 3 to 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Remove shrimp and add 1 tbsp. olives (chopped), 1 tbsp. parsley (chopped), and 1 clove garlic (minced). Cook 1 minute and add 1 cup fresh baby spinach, ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes, ¼ cup chicken broth, and 1/8 cup white wine. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Stir in shrimp and serve with pasta.

41. From-Scratch Fish Sticks Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice 1 6-oz. cod filet into 6 strips. Season with 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. paprika. Bread each by dipping into 1 egg (scrambled) and then ½ cup seasoned whole-wheat breadcrumbs. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, spritz fish strips with cooking spray, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until opaque throughout. Serve with a green salad (2 handfuls of spinach or mixed greens with a spritz of oil and vinegar) for a healthy dose of veggies!

42. Asparagus and Orzo Pasta Preheat the broiler and bring a small pot of water (with a lid) to a boil (about 5 minutes). Add ¼ lb. asparagus (cut into 3-inch pieces) and ½ cup orzo to the pot. After 3 minutes, remove only the asparagus and continue cooking orzo according to package instructions (usually about 6 minutes). While orzo cooks, season 5 oz. salmon filet with salt and pepper and broil for 5 minutes, or until opaque throughout. Meanwhile, whisk together ½ oz. crumbled feta, ¼ tbsp. chopped dill, ½ tbsp. lemon juice, ½ tsp. olive oil, and pepper to taste. Flake the fish and toss together all ingredients.

43. Springtime Stir-Fry Combine 5 asparagus spears (quartered lengthwise), ½ cup snow peas, ½ cup broccoli florets, and ¼ cup fava beans (shelled) in a pan coated with cooking spray, and heat over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes. Instead of using pre-made sauce, heat 2 tbsp. canola oil with ½ tsp. grated ginger and 1 scallion (chopped), and toss with cooking veggies. Cook for an additional 3 minutes or until veggies are softened but still crisp inside. Optional: Serve with rice (like Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice, which cooks in approximately 90 seconds).

44. Veggie Fried Rice Prep 1 serving of instant rice (about ¾ cup) according to package instructions, approximately 90 seconds. Sauté cooked rice with ¼ zucchini (diced), ¼ cup cherry tomatoes (halved), and ¼ can drained and rinsed black beans. Add 1/8 cup vegetable broth and cook 5 to 7 minutes. Push the veggies and rice to outer edges of pan and scramble 1 egg in the center of the pan until cooked, about 3 minutes. Serve the fried rice topped with egg and ½ tbsp. shredded cheddar cheese.

45. Spicy Shrimp Stir-Fry Heat 1 tbsp. canola oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper and ¼ onion (sliced) and cook for 4 minutes. Add ½ a red bell pepper (sliced), ½ cup zucchini and squash (thinly sliced), and ¼ cup corn kernels and cook for 5 minutes. Add ¼ lb. shelled and de-veined shrimp and cook an additional 3 minutes, or until shrimp are pink in color and opaque.

46. Tuna Pasta Salad Cook 1 serving corkscrew pasta according to package instructions, about 12 minutes. In a bowl, combine ½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar, ½ tbsp. olive oil, and 1/8 tsp. celery salt. Stir in ½ can flaked white tuna, 1 chopped scallion, and ¼ cup halved grape tomatoes. Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, and toss with the tuna mixture.

47. Couscous with Chicken Sausage Ragu Cook 1 serving couscous according to microwave instructions, about 7 to 10 minutes. While couscous is cooking, heat ½ tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Slice open 1 uncooked chicken sausage to remove the casing, and add meat to the pan. Add ¼ cup onion (chopped) and sauté, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon. When the meat is no longer pink (about 4 to 5 minutes), add 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes, 1 garlic clove (minced), 1/8 cup basil leaves (chopped), and salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 2 minutes to warm through and toss with couscous.

48. Portobello Burgers Preheat a grill or grill pan. Whisk together 1 clove garlic (minced), ½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp. olive oil, and ½ tsp. fresh basil (finely chopped). Drizzle half the sauce over 1 Portobello mushroom cap. Grill the mushroom for 3 to 4 minutes per side, covered. Meanwhile, combine the remaining sauce with ½ tbsp. light mayo and spread on 1 whole-wheat bun (lightly toasted). Place the mushroom cap, 1 tomato slice, and 1 lettuce leaf on the bun.

49. Tropical Scallops Prepare 1 serving instant brown rice according to package instructions, approximately 90 seconds. Stir together ½ cup mango (chopped), ½ small cucumber (peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces), ¼ tbsp. grated ginger, 1 tsp. lime juice, ½ tbsp. olive oil, and 1 tbsp. cilantro (chopped). Meanwhile, heat 1/2 tbsp. olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Season ½ lb. sea scallops with salt and pepper, and sear for 2 minutes per side or until lightly browned and cooked through. Serve scallops with rice and mango salsa.

50. Creamy Avocado Pasta Cook 1 serving angel hair pasta according to package instructions, about 12 minutes (including boiling time!). Meanwhile, combine the juice from ½ a lemon, 1 garlic clove, 1 tbsp. olive oil, ½ of an avocado and 1/8 cup basil in a food processor and puree. Toss together pasta and sauce and season with salt to taste.

51. Turkey Frittata Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a small ovenproof pan, heat ½ tbsp. olive oil over high heat. Add ¼ lb. ground turkey, ½ tsp. curry powder, and 1/8 cup grated onion and cook until the turkey is no longer pink, about 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, beat together 2 eggs, 1/8 cup milk, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the egg mixture to the pan, lower the heat to medium-high, and cook 2 minutes or until eggs begin to set. Transfer to the oven and cook until the eggs set, about 5 minutes.

52. Southern Breakfast (for Dinner) Recreate this southern favorite in half the time. Combine ½ tbsp. lemon juice, a dash of Tobasco sauce, and ¼ lb. peeled and deveined shrimp. Heat ½ tbsp. olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add 1/8 cup chopped onion, 1 tbsp. green bell pepper (diced), and 1 clove garlic (minced). Cook 5 minutes and then add shrimp mixture, 1 scallion (chopped), and 1/8 cup low-sodium chicken broth and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare ½ cup quick-cooking grits according to package instructions and stir in 1 tsp. butter and a pinch of salt (less than 5 minutes in the microwave). Serve with shrimp.

7 (More) Great Reasons To Add Chia Seeds To Your Diet

Long before the Ch-ch-ch-chia pet of the 1980’s, the Aztecs and the Mayans used chia seeds as a staple of their everyday diets, alongside corn and beans. “Chia” is the Mayan word for strength, and these ancient peoples understood the important health benefits of these seeds.

The Mayans would grind chia seeds into flour, press them for oil, and drink them mixed with water. Ancient people considered these seeds magical due to their ability to increase stamina and energy for long periods of time. However, once the Spanish conquered Latin America, they introduced their own foods and prohibited the farming of chia.

However, chia seeds have recently made a comeback in modern diets as researchers have discovered the hidden benefits from this ancient super seed. Here are just seven of the various reasons you should add this superfood to your diet today.

1. Pack in your fiber.

The American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, yet most people only consume about half of that. Chia seeds deliver almost 50% of your necessary daily intake, with 11 grams of fiber per ounce. Fiber is necessary for ultimate health, but especially for digestion and weight loss.

2. Trim the fat.

Chia seeds absorb up to 12 times their weight and expand in your stomach, making you feel full and curbing your appetite. Chia seeds help reduce your caloric intake by filling you up and helping lower the energy density of certain foods — ultimately, assisting greatly in weight loss.

3. Get your omega-3s.

Chia seeds are a concentrated sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and they actually have more omega-3s than salmon. Omega-3s are critical for brain health, and chia contains five grams per one ounce serving.

4. Build your bones.

One ounce of chia seeds has 18 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Chia seeds can help promote better bone and oral health.

5. Boost heart health.

Studies have shown that chia seeds can improve blood pressure and increase healthy cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol. Chia seeds can help you maintain a healthy heart — a crucial element of your health.

6. Get your phosphorus.

Your body uses phosphorus to synthesize protein and repair cells and tissues. Chia seeds contain 27 percent of your daily value of phosphorus, and can help your body heal and repair itself faster!

7. Fill up faster.

Tryptophan, the amino acid that’s popularly known for making you sleepy, is also found in chia seeds. Not only will it make you want to take a nap, but it also helps regulate appetite, sleep and improve mood.

There are plenty of ways that chia seeds can benefit your overall health, and it’s no wonder that the ancient Aztecs and Mayans regularly consumed them. Adding chia to your diet can be a great way to help with weight loss and get your daily vitamins and nutrients!

KS

Your Love Of Quinoa Is Good News For Andean Farmers : The Salt : NPR

Your Love Of Quinoa Is Good News For Andean Farmers
Farmer Geronimo Blanco shows his quinoa plants in Patamanta, Bolivia, in February. A burgeoning global demand for quinoa has led to a threefold price increase since 2006.Enlarge image

Farmer Geronimo Blanco shows his quinoa plants in Patamanta, Bolivia, in February. A burgeoning global demand for quinoa has led to a threefold price increase since 2006.

Juan Karita/AP

Quinoa lovers have been put on a bit of a guilt trip with stories suggesting that the increased demand in the U.S. has put the superfood out of reach for those living closest to where it’s grown.

How can poor Bolivians in La Paz afford to pay three times more for quinoa than they would pay for rice, critics have asked?

So some quinoa farmers in Bolivia and distributors are talking back. And what they want us to know is that their incomes are rising. As the price of quinoa has tripled since 2006, and farmers plant more of the crop, they’re typically making more money.

“To me, quinoa … is absolutely changing the lives of our regional community of people,” German Nina, a quinoa farmer, said during a conference call organized by Alter Eco Foods, which sells quinoa products that are fair trade certified.

Eduoard Rollet of Alter Eco adds that when he visits the farmers that he buys from in Bolivia, he finds that they are typically setting aside a portion of the quinoa they grow so that they can eat it themselves throughout the year.

“The farmers who have been eating quinoa traditionally are still eating quinoa,” he told me. And since their incomes are up, “they’re able to now afford [foods such as] tomatoes and salads and veggies, and foods that they weren’t able to afford before,” Rollet says.

And he’s not alone in thinking that the quinoa boom has been good, on balance, for rural communities in Bolivia.

It is “very good news for small, indigenous farmers,” says Pablo Laguna, an anthropologist who has studied quinoa’s influence on local communities in Bolivia. Quinoa’s popularity, he says, is bringing more income to the southern highlands, traditionally one of the poorest regions in Bolivia. Laguna has also worked as a consultant to Alter Eco.

Laguna acknowledges that “quinoa prices are definitely higher” for locals. But among the rural and farm families of southwest Bolivia, “households have not diminished … their quinoa consumption,” he says.

In some instances, Laguna says, llama herders in the regions are eating a bit less quinoa because of the price, but they’re still eating more than most other households in the world.

He says that these families recognize and appreciate quinoa’s nutritional value. Nutritionally, it’s a superstar, since it contains an ideal blend of essential amino acids that form a complete protein. And quinoa has become a vegan-foodie favorite, known for its nutty taste and satisfying texture.

A salad of asparagus and quinoa, a superfood prized for its nutty taste, satisfying texture and protein content.Enlarge image

A salad of asparagus and quinoa, a superfood prized for its nutty taste, satisfying texture and protein content.

Larry Crowe/AP

So if quinoa farmers are still enjoying this crop, what is the downside of the boom?

Some would point to the cities of Bolivia and Peru. I’ve already mentioned that quinoa is three times more expensive than rice in La Paz markets. And according to an article in The Guardian, quinoa is more expensive than chicken in markets in Lima.

These prices do likely put quinoa out of reach for poorer people. But Laguna notes that while quinoa has been a staple for rural Bolivians, it isn’t one for city folks.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has weighed in on the issue as well. Though some press reports from 2011 suggested domestic consumption was down, Morales says otherwise.

“It’s not true that due to an increase in the price of quinoa, less and less is being consumed” in Bolivia, The Associated Press quoted Morales as saying in an article in February.

In fact, Morales pointed to a threefold increase in domestic consumption of quinoa over the past four years.

Editor’s Note: You can hear Allison discuss this story with Robin Young on Here & Now, a show from NPR and member station WBUR.

KS

How to Dry Herbs: Mint, Oregano, Thyme, Basil, and Dill: BA Daily: Bon Appétit

Dry and Mighty: How to Preserve Herbs by Drying Them
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the joys of spring and summer, but they don’t last forever. Unless, that is, you know the tricks to keeping them around. And you can learn those tricks here, in Preserved.

preserved-dried-herbs-646.jpg Marjoram, oregano and mint all maintain most of their original aroma and fragrance once dried, making them ideal candidates for this project. (Credit: Matt Duckor)

Few things love warm rainstorms and abundant sunshine more than the herbs of summer–and if your window box looks anything like mine, things are getting pretty out of hand. Sure, we love using fresh leaves in salads, to make pesto, or for those salsa verdes, but there is an easier (i.e., lazier) way to reap the benefits of all that shrubbery: clip them and leave them out on your counter to dry. Within 48 hours, you should have dried herbs, ready for storage and for helping you through the winter.

HOW TO DRY FRESH HERBS

Pick the leaves from the stems and lay them on a piece of parchment. Leave them in a draft-free area, like on your kitchen counter. Once completely dried (this should take about 2 days), store them in glass jars or containers.

You can store each herb separately or mix them, depending on your preference. The combo of oregano and marjoram is a natural for all things Italian (your Sunday gravy will thank you) and oregano and mint make for a lovely Greek-inspired rub for roast chicken or leg of lamb.

Before using, crush the leaves slightly to release their essential oils. Shelf life for most dried herbs is about 6 months. The test? If the aroma is gone, it’s time to let them go.

KS