Whether to spread butter or margarine over your toast is a question many of us are asking. Most butters (salted, unsalted or sweet cream) will have a NuVal score of a 2. Most of the fat in butter is saturated fat, resulting in a low NuVal score. Spreads and margarines tend to score higher because they are made with oils, and oils have a better fat profile than butter. The oils used in margarines contain unsaturated fats and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, resulting in a higher NuVal score. Many margarines are lower in saturated fat than butter and are trans-fat and cholesterol free. Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol. To guarantee your margarine is trans-fat free, check the ingredients list for partially hydrogenated oils. If you don’t see this oil in the ingredients list, then the product is free of trans-fat.
I work at a desk job, and sometimes I get the uncontrollable urge to get up, walk around or stretch. The good thing is experts agree that it’s very beneficial to do these things during the day.
The kids are back in school now, and they are also sitting sedentary at a desk most of the day. We can all benefit from moving around.
It’s best to get up at least every hour and take a short lap around your office or building. It helps our kids to switch classes and walk the hallways to get their wiggles out, and it helps adults, too.
When you can’t get up, you can stretch at your seat. These simple activities should work for students or executives to help increase blood flow, to increase focus and to ease stress on your cramped or stiff limbs.
1. While sitting in a chair, cross your arms over and hang onto the chair between your legs. Let your head fall forward and lean backward slowly. (Be careful!)
2. Sit upright and interlock your fingers. Bend your arms and place them above your head while pressing your elbows and hands backward.
3. Keep your shoulders still and your head up. Slowly rotate your chin toward your shoulder. Repeat on both sides.
4. Look forward while keeping your head up. Slowly move your ear toward your shoulder while keeping your hands behind your back. Repeat on both sides.
5. Sit upright and place one arm across your body. Keep your arm parallel to the ground and pull your elbow toward your opposite shoulder. Repeat for both arms.
If you don’t like the pungent taste of an onion try a red onion. Red onions have a milder, sweet taste and are delicious grilled, raw or lightly cooked. Red onions are a good source of the flavonoid quercetin. Quercetin possesses anti-cancer, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Onions are also a good source of vitamin C and vitamin B6. Try these recipes using Tanimura & Antle Sweet Italian Red Onions.
Roasted Red Onions and Cheesy Bread Crumbs
2 Tanimura & Antle Artisan® Sweet Italian Red Onions, each cut crosswise into 4 slices
1 Tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
1-2 Tbsp Olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Heat oven to 400° F, then lightly oil 12x9x2-inch baking pan. Place onion slices in single layer in pan.
Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Add wine to pan. Roast in 400° F oven for 30 minutes.
Mix breadcrumbs, cheese and butter. Press onto tops of onion slices. Continue roasting until topping is golden, 12 to 15 minutes longer. Sprinkle with parsley.
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Caramelized Onion Crostini
2 Tanimura & Antle Artisan® Sweet Italian Red Onions, thinly sliced
1/2 French baguette, thinly sliced (24 slices)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup soft goat cheese
Fresh thyme leaves
Heat oven to 375° F. Place bread slices in a single layer on baking sheet; brush tops lightly with oil. Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks. (Toast can be baked 1 day ahead; store in airtight container.)
Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions until soft and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in chopped thyme, salt and pepper.
Spread 1/2 teaspoon cheese on each toast slice. Top with 1 teaspoon onions. Garnish with thyme leaves.
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Marinated Vegetable Salad
1/2 small Tanimura & Antle Artisan® Sweet Italian Red Onion, thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, rinsed, thinly sliced
4 radishes, rinsed, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1/3 cup Italian dressing
Combine radishes, celery, carrots, onion and olives in bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours .
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When I was younger, I would start getting excited about the back-to-school season around the end of July. I loved going to the store with my parents to pick out the coolest school supplies, the most fashionable clothes and the most delicious snacks for my lunch box.
I remember once school started my dad would get up early every morning to make my lunch. Some days I would get a turkey and cheese sandwich, and other days I would get my favorite, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My favorite part of my dad making my lunch was that each day my sandwich would be cut into a different shape. I loved opening my lunch box to see what kind of design was cut into my sandwich.
If your kids love PB&J sandwiches, I highly suggest trying this recipe: PB&J sushi rolls. It’s easy to make and it brings variety to your kid’s lunch.
PB&J sushi rolls
Prep Time: 10 minutes
4 slices whole wheat bread, crust removed
1/4 cup jam
1/4 cup peanut butter
Press down on bread to flatten. Spread about 1 tablespoon of jam and peanut butter on each slice of bread. Starting at one edge, slowly roll the bread tightly. Slice into rolls about 2 inches wide, cleaning the knife between each cut to separate rolls neatly.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 220, Fat: 9 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 213 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 8 g
Your mouth plays an important role in everyday life. It allows you to eat, talk and express emotion. Keeping your teeth, gums and mouth healthy is an essential part of living a healthy life. Oral health has been linked to many chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Follows these 5 simple tips to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Talk to your dentist about how often you should visit. If you’re a smoker, diabetic or if you a history of cavities, you may have to visit the dentist more often.
- Brush your teeth twice a day. To help maintain your beautiful smile, brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes. Brushing your teeth twice a day will help prevent the build up of plaques, cavities and gingivitis.
- Floss daily. Flossing is an essential part of cleaning your teeth. Flossing removes food particles that your toothbrush cannot get. The proper way to floss your teeth is to floss between your teeth in a zig-zag motion. When flossing, make sure you wrap the floss around the side of the tooth. Slide the floss up and down against the tooth surface and the gum line with a clean section of floss. The gum line is where periodontal disease often begins.
- Rinse with mouthwash. Talk to your dentist about a mouthwash that would be good for you. Mouthwash can help prevent gum disease like gingivitis.
- Chew sugar-free gum. Chewing gum stimulates saliva, which helps fight cavities, neutralizes plaque acids, re-mineralize enamel and washes away food particles.
Happy National Grilled Cheese Month! A grilled cheese sandwich was one of my favorite lunchtime treats growing up. Whenever I visited my nana and poppy in Wills Point my nana would always make me the most delicious, crisp, gooey grilled cheese sandwich. To this day when I stop by nana’s house she asks, “Would you like a grilled cheese?” I always love the treat of my nana’s grilled cheese sandwiches.
Now, we all know the iconic crisp, gooey, cheesy grilled cheese sandwich is not the most nutritious sandwich you could have. The warm American cheese melted between two butter rich slices of white bread is one nutrition disaster. Here are a few tips on how to make a delicious grilled cheese a little more nutritious.
- Pick the right bread. Choose bread that has either whole grain flour or whole wheat flour as it’s first ingredient and has at least 3 grams of fiber per slice.
- Keep it crisp. One of the best parts of a grilled cheese sandwich is the crisp bread. Instead of spreading butter on the bread for a crisp sandwich, place your sandwich in a panini press. If you do not have a panini press, spray a skillet with extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil and add your sandwich. Place another skillet on top of the sandwich and weigh it down with a few cans. Cook sandwich for a few minutes or until crisp. Flip sandwich and place pan with cans on top of the sandwich for a couple of minutes, or until sandwich is crisp and cheese is melted.
- Pick a good cheese. Pick a natural, flavor-filled cheese. If you pick a cheese that is full of flavor, you can use less cheese for a lot of flavor. Pick a reduced-fat cheese to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your sandwich.
- A grilled cheese sandwich is the perfect place to sneak in some veggies. Add sliced tomato, bell pepper, arugula or mushrooms. You can also add fruit like sliced pear or avocado.
Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month by enjoying a delicious grilled cheese!
If you were to ask anyone what cause I’m most passionate about, they would answer, “The prevention of heart disease.” As a teenager, my father had a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery at 39-years-old. Over the past 10 years I have watched the devastating effects of this disease. I have been fortunate enough to learn to enjoy the good days and not take your loved one for granted. I feel very fortunate to still have my father and know pretty early in life what I need to do to prevent heart disease.
Heart disease is currently the number one killer in both men and women in the United States. There are 2,200 deaths per day from heart disease and stroke. February is American Heart Month, and I encourage you to take the time to learn your risks for heart disease and factors that will help prevent this disease from developing. Below are 10 tips to help you prevent heart disease.
1. Stop smoking. We all know smoking is bad. Ask a little kid, they will quickly tell you smoking is bad. Your risk for heart disease and stroke is doubled, if not quadrupled, just by smoking. How, you ask? Nicotine increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Carbon monoxide and tobacco steal oxygen from your heart, brain and arties. Smoking causes damage to your blood vessels making your blood sticky. Smoking decreases your HDL, good cholesterol that helps remove bad cholesterol. Stop smoking, and you can reduce your risk by half within a year.
4. Get regular health screenings. Heart disease is a silent killer. You may not know you have heart disease until it’s too late. Talk to your doctor about getting your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose checked.
5. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol.
6. Eat fish twice a week. Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of abnormal heartbeat, decrease triglycerides, slow down the growth of plaque, and lower blood pressure. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna.
7. Skip the salt. A diet high in salty foods can increase your risk of high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per a day. Ways to reduce your sodium intake are to remove the saltshaker from the table, buy fresh food, and look for reduced sodium products.
8. Watch out for saturated fat and trans fat. A diet high in saturated fat and trans fat can raise your blood cholesterol. Replacing saturated fats and trans fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help lower your cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your total fat intake to 25 to 35% of your daily caloric intake. Limit your saturated fats to less than 7% of one day’s calories and no more than 1% of your calories should come from trans fats. Saturated fat is mostly found in animal products like meat, cheese, butter and dairy products. Trans fats are mostly found in fried foods and baked goods. You can spot trans fats in the ingredients list by looking for the words “partially hydrogenated oils.”
9. Pick whole grains. Half of your grains each day should be whole grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain. Examples of whole grains are whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, whole cornmeal, brown rice, bulgur and popcorn. Most whole grains are a good source of cholesterol- lowering fiber. Fiber also helps keep you feeling full.
10. Manage your stress. Chronic stress can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. The American Heart Association suggests managing your stress through positive self talk, finding pleasure, daily relaxation and emergency stress stoppers like counting to 10 or taking five deep breaths.
(Source: American Heart Association)
It seems over the past few weeks everyone around me has gotten sick. As soon as one person is better another person is starting to feel ill. Growing up whenever my brother or I got sick we knew chicken noodle soup and crackers were on the menu for lunch. My mom would always tell us chicken noodle soup would make us feel so much better and it normally did. While my mom thought the secret ingredient to getting well was a bowl of chicken noodle soup I personally preferred a bowl of warm, cheesy broccoli soup.
A couple of years ago, I had mentioned to my mom about not feeling well. I had not been home for too long when there was a knock on my door. I opened my door to find my mom holding a bowl of broccoli cheese soup and a package of crackers. The next day I felt better. I don’t know if it was the TLC, the soup or maybe it was the medicine I took.
So, with everyone sick I thought I would make my family a bowl of broccoli cheese soup. With most recipes calling for whole milk, half-and-half, a lot of butter and a lot of cheese, the amount of saturated fat was so high. I decided I would turn this not so healthy soup into something more nutritious.
Instead of cooking the onions and garlic in butter (NuVal Score:2) I chose to cook them in canola oil ( NuVal Score 24). I also added diced carrots (NuVal Score: 99) to the mixture for a little added vitamin A . I replaced the whole milk (NuVal Score: 52) and half-and-half (NuVal Score: 28) with fat-free milk (NuVal Score:91). The soup turned out delicious and well, a little more nutritious!
Broccoli and Cheese Soup
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
1 cup chopped onion (NuVal Score: 93)
1 cup diced carrots (NuVal Score: 99)
2 garlic cloves, minced (NuVal Score: 91)
1 Tbs Food Club Canola Oil (NuVal Score: 24)
3 cups Food Club Fat-Free, Less Sodium Chicken Broth (NuVal Score: 2)
1 (16 oz) pkg Food Club Broccoli Florets (NuVal Score: 100)
2 1/2 cups Brookshire’s Fat-Free Milk (NuVal Score: 91)
1/4 cup Food Club All-Purpose Flour (NuVal Score: 77)
1/4 tsp Food Club Salt
1/4 tsp Food Club Ground Black Pepper
1 cup Food Club Shredded 2% Cheddar Cheese (NuVal Score: 23)
In a pot, over medium-high heat, sauté chopped onion, diced carrots and garlic cloves in canola oil. Add broth and broccoli and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl combine milk and flour; whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until cheese melts. Place half of soup in a blender and process until smooth. Return puree soup to pan. Serve.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 191, Fat: 9 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 22 mg, Sodium: 516 mg, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 12 g
Many people around the holiday season start to notice their clothing getting a little snug. With all the Christmas parties full of rich foods and sweet treats those extra pounds tend to just sneak right up on us. Not to mention we just celebrated a holiday that is centered around a feast, Thanksgiving. With simple substitutions and an eye for smart choices you can survive the holiday season by leaving those extra few pounds behind.
Who doesn’t love homemade cake around Christmas time? When baking your family’s favorite cake, cut the calories by reducing the oil. If your cake recipe calls for 1 cup of oil you can get away with just using 2/3 cup. If you’re feeling brave substitute the oil with unsweetened applesauce. Not only will this cut the calories, but it will also cut down on the fat.
Sometimes those sweet treats are a little too sweet. Reduce the amount of sugar in your recipe by 1/4 to 1/2 cup. A simple tip when using sweetener is for every cup of flour you should have 1/4 cup sweetener. If you’re worried about the flavor, add a little more cinnamon or vanilla to your recipe. If you want to replace the sugar in your recipe with a sweetener, like agave nectar, replace every cup of sugar with 2/3 cup agave nectar.
Get sneaky by adding more nutrients to your sweet treats. Make black bean brownies or brownies with pureed pumpkin, applesauce or mashed banana. Add berries to a slice of angel food cake or go for the dark chocolate dipped strawberries. Try making cookies with almond flour. Almond flour is gluten-free, low in carbohydrates and high in protein.
Do you want to experiment with whole-wheat flour in one of your favorite recipes? Instead of going all the way whole-wheat do 50% whole-wheat flour and 50% all-purpose flour.
Not many of us look at a cookie and think of sodium. Try not to use more than 1/2 teaspoon of salt per a batch of cookies. If you can, only use 1/4 teaspoon.
Other simple substitutes include using fat-free or 2% milk in the place of whole milk. If a recipe calls for heavy cream use fat-free evaporated milk. For every egg in a recipe use 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute. Instead of using chocolate chunks in your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe use the mini chocolate chips or use dark chocolate instead. If your recipe calls for shortening don’t fret use a trans fat free and saturated fat free margarine.
Growing up one of my favorite foods was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I loved the combination of the crunchy peanut butter and the sweet grape jelly. You could bet that everyday my school lunch consisted of a delicious PB&J. Even though I loved a PB&J after high school I was content with not eating another peanut butter and jelly sandwich again. Over the last few months PB&J sandwiches have become my go-to lunch when I need something quick. I have made a few NuVal Trade ups from what was in my lunch in high school. Now I use Nature’s Own 100% Whole Grain Sandwich Rounds (NuVal Score 39), Barney Almond Butter (NuVal 36) and sliced banana (NuVal 91).
The main ingredient in a sandwich is of course the bread. The bread aisle can be difficult to navigate because you have to watch for added sugar, trans fat and sodium. The average NuVal score for bread and rolls is a 27 with the scores ranging from 1 to 96. The higher scoring bread products are whole grains with high fiber and lower amounts of sodium. Here are some higher NuVal scoring breads:
- Sara Lee Delightful Wheat Bread – NuVal Score 35
- Pepperidge Farms Whole Grain 100% Whole Wheat Bread – NuVal Score 36
- Mrs. Baird’s 100% Sugar-Free Whole Grain Wheat – NuVal Score 37
- Mrs. Baird’s 100% Whole Grain – NuVal Score 37
- Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat – NuVal Score 38
- Sara Lee Delightful 100% Multi-Grain – NuVal Score 41
- Pepperidge Farms Whole Grain Hearty Oatmeal – NuVal Score 42
- Nature’s Own Double Fiber – NuVal Score 46
The next step is the peanut butter. The average NuVal score for nut butter is a 23. Jif Regular Peanut Butter scores a 20 and Jif Reduce Fat Peanut Butter scores a 7. If you’re looking for a higher score check out Barney Almond Butter (NuVal Score 36) and MaraNatha Almond Butter (NuVal score 56). Skip over low scoring jellies and try preserves or even sliced fruit, like a banana (NuVal 91).
With some simple trade-ups and PB&Js can turn into nutritious sandwiches!
Each Monday we feature a new or interesting product.
Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.
On Wednesdays, get a tip or idea on using an item in the circular.
Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.
Stop fighting the crowds, save money and dine in, every Friday.