Since it’s cranberry season and the little fruits are loaded with antioxidants, we wanted to share a few ideas of how to enjoy them…other than getting out your can opener. Cranberries are very tart on their own — our daughter Ella tried one around Thanksgiving and made the cutest, scrunched up face — your best bet is to incorporate cranberries into other foods.
Here are three ways to enjoy the nutrient dense, super healthy berry into your diet:
• Add a handful to a smoothie. Mix 1/4 cup whole cranberries, 1 cup unsweetened coconut almond milk, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 scoop whey protein powder and a splash of your favorite juice (Welch’s 100% purple grape juice works well). Blend until smooth and you reach desired consistency.
•Try a Cranberry SOYJOY bar. These bars include whole fruit and are one of our must-haves for when we take long drives. With 140 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, SOYJOY is a great snack on the go snack. While heating them isn’t an option the car, when at home, unwrap them and put them in the microwave for 10 seconds for a really great treat.
•Add dried cranberries to a bowl of oats. Now the key here is to read the label to find the ones sweetened without sugar; some brands sweeten with apple juice, which is a better option. Fresh is always best, but it’s a little tougher on the palate with cranberries.
There you have it. A few options to incorporate this great for your berry into your diet, outside of just the gelatinized sauce in a can.
-Chris and Kara Mohr, mohrresults.com
Related from FITNESS: Top 10 Healthy Foods with Antioxidants
Yael Cohen, CEO of FCancer and proclaimed “Chief Cancer Effer,” is on a mission to educate about early detection—90 percent of cancers are curable in stage one. Part of her initiative, besides using humor to promote self exams (check out their hilarious video contest!), is to promote awareness that “everything you put into, onto and do with your body affects your health.” According to Yael, having a happy, healthy holiday season does exist by reverting back to the basics. “Eat clean, whole foods. Eat stuff that you know what it used to be. If you can’t tell what plant or animal it came from, try to avoid it. If it’s wrapped in tin foil or plastic, try to avoid it. If it doesn’t spoil, be scared,” she joked. Interested in baking lighter versions of your festive favorites? Try swapping out butter for coconut oil and use crushed dates or agave nectar over processed sugar. Chocolate lovers, embrace baking with carob for a low-fat, naturally sweet and caffeine-free alternative. Speaking of chocolate, we scored Yael’s famous brownie recipe sealed with a sweet tooth’s approval. Santa has nothing on this! Read more
Written by Jennifer Fiorentino, editorial intern
Go ahead and have a cocktail at your holiday soiree. We found a little something that may make our waistlines a smidge happier this season (hint: sparkling water) and something that will spice up your festive drinks! Meet your new favorite guilt-free holiday cocktails.
The first comes from Cascade Ice, a sugar- and calorie-free sparkling water that takes out the heavy mixers without losing bursts of flavor. After being taste-tested and approved by our own staffers (we couldn’t give you a good recommendation without trying it for ourselves, right?), we were quick to grab a few festive recipes from the company. Try one (or all!) and feel free to indulge without worrying about tossing in an extra-intense run as part of your next workout.
The second just might establish your holiday party as one of the best – something we’re all striving for, right? New for this holiday season comes a limited-edition cognac from the House of Marnier-Lapostolle: Grand Marnier Cherry. Impress your guests with these easy-to-make recipes.
Passion Pucker-Up Cocktail
- 1.5 oz tequila
- 3 oz Cascade Ice Raspberry Black Currant
- Juice of 1 lime wedge
- Handful of raspberries
- Orange wedge, for garnish
Place tequila and sparkling water into a blender over crushed ice. Add juice from a lemon wedge and a handful of raspberries mix and blend until smooth. Garnish with orange wedge and serve.
Already thinking about your holiday dinner parties, at least the menu part? Here’s a fun idea–use nuts for a healthy, tasty twist. That’s what Alex Guaranschelli, Food Network host of Alex’s Day Off and executive chef of Butter and The Darby in NYC suggests. She’s teaming up with Fisher Nuts to show how nuts can add that little something you’ve been missing to your holiday recipes this year. “I hate when people say nuts have so many calories,” she says during a meeting in her super trendy restaurant Butter. “They give you the sensation of being full, and that’s what is important. I eat a handful and feel satisfied. With other foods I could eat 1,000 calories worth and still feel hungry.” To figure out which nuts work best with certain dishes, follow Guaranschelli’s guidelines:
- Try pecans with veggies that are meaty in texture, like beets, mushrooms, fennel or sautéed onions.
- For walnuts, go with one of two extremes. Use them with light and lean veggies (like the asparagus recipe below) or with a super heavy dish, like steak with lemon.
- If you’re choosing almonds, use them on berries or keep the skin on them and add them to your mashed potatoes (they’ll mimic the skin on potatoes!).
And a word to the wise for all party planners: “Write out your holiday menu and then cross half of it off,” Guaranschelli says. “Wasn’t it Coco Chanel who told us to look in the mirror and remove one thing before going out? The same goes with cooking. Give yourself a break and add more later if you need to. Also, pick one thing to make from scratch and be proud of. Cooking should be about enjoying the process, and you can’t do that if you are overworked. It’s perfectly fine to buy something store bought every once in awhile!”
Read on for two holiday recipes to try.
Written by Lisa Turner, Editorial Intern
When the New York Knicks need to refuel for a big game, they turn to Heidi Skolnik, M.S., C.D.N., FACSM, and founder and president of Nutrition Conditioning, which oversees the nutrition programs at The Juilliard School, The New York Knicks, School of American Ballet, and Fordham University Athletics. We got Skolnik’s pointers on how to make good-for-you snacks that won’t damage your waistline.
What can I stock in my fridge that I can grab n’ go?
Planning ahead is always the best way to ensure you’re prepared with a healthy snack and don’t face the vending machine dilemma. There’s a lot of easy and simple options to choose from:
- Whole wheat Pita stuffed with peanut butter and banana with a small glass of milk
- Hard boiled egg, small OJ, whole grain crackers
- Fruit parfait: fresh or frozen fruit, yogurt, a sprinkle of Grape nuts or muesli and nuts
- Homemade trail mix with nuts and dried fruits and a cheese stick
Grab ‘n Go Snacks:
- GoGo squeeZ applesauce
- Kind Nut Bars
- Cheese sticks or rounds
What’s a calorie limit I should shoot for with a snack?
Ultimately, it depends on your meal size and daily caloric needs. If you need 1800 calories in a day and meals are 400-500 calories that leaves two snacks at 150-300 calories.
- Banana and almond butter
- Mango smoothie made with calcium fortified OJ and lactose free whey protein powder
- Quinoa, vegetable and edamame cold salad
- Popcorn –sprinkle with olive oil and herbs of choice
- Hummus with crudités or spread on a corn or rice cake Read more
While Thanksgiving is one of the most delicious meals of the year, it’s also usually the heaviest. Instead of chowing down on foods filled with oil, butter and mayonnaise, we searched for lighter fare that was still super tasty. What (or who) did we find? Bravo’s Top Chef All-Star winner, Richard Blais. We met the cooking extraordinaire at a recent Dannon Oikos Greek yogurt event, where he wined and dined us with dishes that left us feeling full and satisfied, without the “oh my gosh I need to go run 10 miles” feeling.
So what’s Blais’ big secret? Aside from the fact that he’s a top-notch chef who blows our aprons out of the water, he subbed the aforementioned ingredients with Dannon’s Oikos Greek nonfat yogurt. We didn’t miss any of the heavy-calorie items, and got to keep all the flavor. Win-win for us!
It wouldn’t be right to brag about the decadent meal this marathoner whipped up without nabbing some recipes, though. Check out the appetizer and dessert dishes below, then use them to start and end a perfect Thanksgiving meal in your own home.
Malted Panna Cotta
- 5 fl. oz. heavy cream
- 2/3 cup Dannon Oikos vanilla Greek nonfat yogurt (or use a 5.3 oz. single-serve container)
- 1 oz. sugar
- 1 oz. malted barley
- 1 gelatin sheet
- Clementine slices for garnish
- Candied ginger for garnish
- Chocolate dusted almonds for garnish
- Heat the heavy cream and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Remove liquid from the heat and add malted barley. Let steep for 1 hour.
- Strain mixture into a clean pot and stir in Greek yogurt.
- Bloom gelatin in an ice bath. Meanwhile, bring strained mixture to a simmer.
- Remove strained mixture from heat and add gelatin.
- Pour liquid into four small containers. Let chill for 2 hour or until panna cottas have set.
- Garnish each with a few slices of clementine, a scattering of candied ginger and chocolate dusted almonds.
By now you’ve heard about the Mediterranean diet and how it can boost your heart health and keep your weight down. This diet, which includes plenty of fresh produce, whole grains and red wine, can also help your bank account because of the reduced meat consumption compared to the typical American diet. Try these Greek salad recipes from GRK Fresh Greek restaurant in New York City for a hearty, meatless meal that will leave you more than satisfied.
6 vine tomatoes
4 Kapello peppers
3 red onion
1 lb. Greek feta cheese
- Cut the tomatoes into wedges, about 6 pieces per tomato. Peel the cucumbers, then slice them into thin half moons. Slice each pepper in half, then de-seed and cut into small links. Halve the red onions, then slice into slivers. Cube the Greek feta cheese.
- Toss the ingredients with the dressing until coated. Serve immediately.
Greek Salad Dressing
Greek olive oil
Greek oregano to taste
Salt to taste
- Combine 1 part olive oil to 2 parts balsamic vinegar. Blend with Greek oregano until thoroughly combined. Season with salt to taste.
- Dressing variation: use a blend of balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar instead of only balsamic.
Written by Deanna Cioppa, editorial intern
The media has lit up in recent days over reports released by the Food and Drug Administration indicating that Monster Energy drinks may have been linked to five deaths and a non-fatal heart attack over the last three years. While no link has been proven yet, the mother of one of teenager who died after drinking the energy beverage two days in a row (a 24oz can of Monster Energy contains 240 mg of caffeine, while a typical 8 oz cup of coffee contains around 100 mg) has filed a lawsuit against Monster Beverage.
Part of the danger of energy drinks is the way they’re marketed, says Sharon Richter, R.D. In fact, The New York Times reported recently that current FDA rules don’t require companies to indicate the level of caffeine in their beverages and allows them to market the drinks as beverages or dietary supplements. These drinks “are so attractive to kids, and it’s not necessarily appropriate for them,” says Richter. Plus, it’s easy to consume several cans of these drinks without thought during the day, and at 240mg per can, that adds up quickly.
So what about alternative, natural sources of energy? “A lot of people are low in terms of vitamin D and B vitamins,” says Richter. Doctors can test for low D levels, and Richter recommends taking a vitamin D supplement if the doc finds your levels are low. Not comfortable getting your nutrients from a supplement? You can also find the sunshine vitamin in certain fish, like salmon and trout, and fortified in milk and orange juice.
If you find that you’re not low on vitamin D but still experience an energy slump in the middle of the day, reach for green tea, says Richter. “There are a lot of benefits to green tea because its level of caffeine is not too excessive,” she says. Don’t forget to take a step back from the computer and get moving for a few minutes, either – taking a walk or doing jumping jacks for 30 seconds can increase oxygen intake and get blood pumping, which may provide a much-needed energy spike.
And no matter how much those cravings may kick in, try to steer clear of excessive sugar in processed foods like donuts and cupcakes. It’ll only bring on a sugar crash a few hours later. Instead, Richter suggests opting for a piece of fruit or an energy bar with simple, natural ingredients.
Now you tell us: Do you reach for energy drinks during a pick-me-up?
Take one easy-on-the-eyes English chef, mix in a selection of all of our favorite comfort food meals, add two all-star cooks with an eye towards health and stir.
That’s the formula for Recipe Rehab, a new TV show airing on ABC stations. Each episode of the show, hosted by Danny Boome (left), features one dish that traditionally is a calorie bomb (spaghetti with meatballs or macaroni and cheese, for example). Two accomplished gourmets duke it out in the kitchen to see who can create the most flavorful—and healthful—makeover.
We caught up with Boome to find out what makes this program stand out among all of the cooking shows on air and to learn how we can lighten up any of our favorite meals.
What do you think most home cooks do wrong in terms of the health factor of their meals?
Why do we always have to buy full-fat or full-sodium products? Swap in reduced-sodium and low-fat and use your spice rack frequently. It also helps if you buy seasonally. Butternut squash tastes so much better—and is way more affordable—now rather than during summer.
Great advice! There are a lot of food shows on TV. What convinced you to sign on to the Recipe Rehab team?
It’s much fresher than the “stand and stir” shows. The competition adds energy, but it’s still educational. We’re not lecturing. You don’t have to cut everything out, but we show viewers how to make good choices
Keep reading for Boome’s greatest lessons learned on set, plus a winning “unfried” chicken recipe from the show.
Yes, you read that title correctly – we love our carbs! FITNESS fully believes in “everything in moderation,” and pasta is no exception. After all, it’s great fuel on the night before our long runs, and it’s also a super simple meal to whip up for dinner.
A new study from Barilla found that nearly 58 percent of parents say their life is more hectic than it was a year ago, and nearly 2 in 5 families find it difficult to find time to prep dinner! To celebrate World Pasta Day (yep, that’s today!) and make dinnertime just a smidge easier on all our busy readers, Barilla shared a simple pasta dish that won’t leave you feeling lethargic, but energized and properly fueled.
Click on the link below for a delicious recipe, and to find out how you can help feed the hungry!