Tag Archives: healthy eating

Grilled Chili-Rubbed Pork Kabobs with Peach Salsa

Grilled Chili-Rubbed Pork Kabobs with Peach Salsa

Pork kabobs with peach salsa

Savory pork skewers with a fresh peach salsa are a great way to liven up dinner. You can bring a bit of summer to your plate by using frozen peaches when they’re not in season.

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Cucumber Salad

Low-fat yogurt, vinegar and dill give this cucumber salad plenty ofCucumberSalad zip!

Number of servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber (large, peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed (optional)
  • 1 dash pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. Peel and thinly slice cucumber.
  2. Mix all other ingredients in the mixing bowl.
  3. Add cucumber slices and stir until coated.
  4. Chill until serving.

Per serving: 90 calories, 7 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 15 mg sodium.

Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recipefinder.nal.usda.gov.

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Your Farmers Market Guide

FarmersMarket

You’ve heard, “Eat your fruits and vegetables,” since childhood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s good advice. Healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. With more farmers markets taking root across the U.S., buying fresh is easier than ever. Choosing produce in their natural growing season ensures value, freshness and nutrient density.

Locally grown trends
In a recent survey*, the majority of respondents said they:
• Go to a farmers market once a week
• Spend less than $10.
• Want to support local agriculture.

4 shopping tips
1. Go in the morning for the best selection, but go at the end of the day for the best deals.
2. Don’t just take advantage of the produce. Explore the baked goods, crafts and more.
3. Bring your own bags for easier shopping and environmental friendliness.
4. Plan for spontaneity—trying new things, like zucchini blossoms, is part of the fun.

Rex is a proud sponsor of multiple farmers markets in Wake County, including:

  • Downtown Raleigh Farmers Market
  • Holly Springs Farmers Market
  • Zebulon Farmers Market

Find a farmers market near you! Check out the USDA’s Farmers Market directory.

*Source: USDA Outdoor Farmers Market Dot survey 2011.

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Summer Breeze Smoothie

CaptureSmoothieThis smoothie is loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals for a low-calorie (and great-tasting) treat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yogurt, plain, nonfat
  • 6 medium strawberries
  • 1 cup pineapple, crushed, canned in juice
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ice cubs
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Place all ingredients in the blender and puree until smooth. Serve in frosted glass.

Number of servings: 3. Per serving: 121 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 64 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 6 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 483 mg potassium.

Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

 

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Wellness Wednesday: Healthy Chicken Tenders

Susan Ramsay (intern)-1Susan Ramsay is a Dietetic Intern at the Rex Wellness Center. She currently attends North Carolina Central University.

Getting kids to embrace healthy food choices can be a challenge! To start the process, try re-making some of their favorite foods with healthy substitutes. When they recognize the food they’ll be more likely to try it and won’t miss the added sugar, salt and fat that is usually added to fast food. These chicken tenders are crunchy and crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. They’re a delicious guilt free version of the classic. The tenders are coated in panko breadcrumbs and baked, instead of fried, which greatly reduces the overall fat and calorie content found in regular chicken tenders. The fiber in whole wheat slows the digestion of carbohydrate and provides vitamins and minerals not found in refined grains. You can serve them with your favorite condiment and kids and adults alike will love this twist on a classic comfort food.

Chicken

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 1/4 lb. (about 8) chicken tenders

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet lined with foil. Coat with cooking spray.
  2. Place the whole wheat flour in a medium bowl. In a shallow container, whisk together the eggs and Dijon mustard. In a separate shallow container, combine the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  3. Working with one chicken tender at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess. Next, dip in the egg mixture until the chicken is coated. Last, roll the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, completely coating the outside.
  4. Transfer the chicken tenders to the prepared wire rack.
  5. Lightly coat the chicken tenders with cooking spray. Bake until the chicken is just cooked through and the breadcrumbs are starting to brown, 5 to 6 minutes per side.
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Fiesta Lettuce Wraps and Pepper Boats

Add colorful veggies to your plate with build-your-own lettuce wraps.

Number of servings: 4

lettucewrapsIngredients

  • 6 sweet, mini bell peppers
  • 8 lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup instant brown rice (dry)
  • 1 pound tilapia filets, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 2 teaspoons Southwest chipotle seasoning (no sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (divided)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 limes (divided)
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream

For the salsa fresca:

  • ½ cup yellow corn (frozen or canned, no salt added)
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (minced)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Slice peppers in half vertically. Arrange lettuce and 8 pepper halves on a serving platter.
  2. Cook brown rice according to package directions.
  3. To make salsa fresca, dice remaining pepper halves, tomato and onion; mix with corn, garlic, jalapeño pepper, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  4. Sprinkle both sides of tilapia filets with Southwest chipotle seasoning
  5. Heat 1½ tablespoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish to pan, and cook for 3 minutes on each side (cook fish until it is opaque, 145°F). Flake with a fork and place in a serving dish.
  6. When rice is done, stir in remaining ½ tablespoon oil, juice from one lime, and ¼ tablespoon salt. Cut remaining lime into wedges.
  7. To serve, set out pepper-lettuce platter, rice, fish, salsa, fresca, sour cream and lime, and let diners build their own boats and wraps.

Per serving 350 calories, 12 g total fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 28 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 5 g dietary fiber, 370 mg sodium.

Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recipefinder.nal.usda.gov

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Comparing the DASH and the Mediterranean Diets

Jennifer OzkurtJennifer Özkurt is a Dietetic Intern at the Rex Wellness Center. She currently attends Meredith College.

MedDiet

According to the CDC, hypertension (high blood pressure) affects 70 million Americans. It’s a condition which can lead to weakening of the arteries, stroke, and heart and kidney disease if is not controlled. High blood pressure is a measured blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher. Shockingly, one out of three American adults has prehypertension, which is blood pressure higher than normal between 120/80 to 140/89 mmHg. Many American do not have this condition under control, increasing their chances of developing hypertension.

The typical American diet of over processed foods and eating on-the-go affects one’s chances of developing hypertension. Research has shown that healthy lifestyle changes such as a low sodium diet high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, along with moderate physical activity, can lower and prevent the development of these conditions. Here we will compare two of the most proven dietary approaches for preventing hypertension and improving ones dietary health, the DASH and Mediterranean diets.

DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)

The DASH Diet was developed as a dietary approach to lower blood pressure without the use of medication and has been proven useful for weight loss. It reduces sodium consumption, and promoting an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts. These foods provide an abundant source of nutrients such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which have lowering effects on blood pressure.

The Dash Diet plan was developed with everyone in mind, and it is a therapeutic meal plan that can be easily adapted for a lifetime of healthy eating. The overall goal of this dietary approach is to encourage lifestyle changes which promote healthy dietary behaviors. You can choose from two plans based on individual need. Version one allows for 2300 milligrams of sodium per day. The second is for 1500 mg of sodium per day and is promoted by the American Heart Association. It’s the recommended diet for adults 51 years of age or older, African Americans, or for those with hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

Mediterranean Diet

In the 1970s, it was concluded in the landmark Seven Country Study that a so called “peasant diet” consumed throughout the Mediterranean had a beneficial effect on heart health and other co-morbidities. It was determined that dietary fats, such as saturated fat, contributed to the development of heart disease. The traditional Mediterranean diet was introduced in 1993 by the Harvard School of Public Health and the World Health Organizations as a lifestyle change to be used as a prevention strategy for heart disease, in addition to hypertension, obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Like the Dash Diet, although its distinction includes the title of diet, the Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle change, which encompasses healthy eating patterns. It encourages eating more whole foods packed with nutrients and less of heavily processed and refined foods. Due to variations among countries throughout the Mediterranean, recommendations include multiple versions from the traditional plan to the new Mediterranean pyramid.

Side-by-Side Comparison

When looking at a side-by-side comparison of the Mediterranean diet compared to the DASH diet plans they vary slightly in whole grains, fruit and vegetable servings per day. However, the Mediterranean diet differs greatly in the amount of fish, lean meat, and sweets consumed. Red and processed meats come with the lowest serving recommendations per week of two or less, or in some cases, these meats are only recommended at one to two servings per month. In addition, two or more servings of fish, the use of olive oil in food preparation at each meal, and a daily serving of nuts are encouraged on a Mediterranean diet plan.

Benefits of Adherence to Either Diet

  • Reduces hypertension as much as seven to 12 points, over time.
  • Improves weight loss outcomes
  • Reduces hypertension by four points with every 10 pounds of weight loss.
  • Reduces primary and secondary cardiovascular risk
  • Reduces the inflammation response in the body
  • Helps lower risk for osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Take Home Message

Both the DASH and Mediterranean Diets promote healthy lifestyles, which includes both physical and nutritional health. If you have hypertension, talk with your doctor or a dietitian to explore your current diet and lifestyle.

Do your homework! There are many books and online resources for you to learn more about these diets and recipes.

Remember, when making a change to your diet, start with one behavior that you would be willing to change. Change should come gradually to allow for the behavioral modification to take place. For instance, you may have considered switching from white bread to whole grain breads. Give yourself a start date and an end point to reassess your ability to make this change. Ask yourself what barriers kept you from meeting your goal or expectation. More importantly, forgive yourself if and when set-backs occur, but analyze why the setback occurred and then continue where you left off.

For more information or if you are having trouble making dietary changes, make an appointment to talk to a registered dietitian. A dietitian can provide counseling and tips to help guide you on diet strategies and maintaining a healthy diet long-term.

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Navigating Nutrition Noise

Ashley HoneycuttAshley Honeycutt, RD, LDN is the Manager of Corporate and Community Services for Rex Wellness Centers. She blogs about nutrition, wellness & healthy living.

Health_800Diet advice can be confusing, conflicting and overwhelming. Almost daily, you hear about a new study that contradicts the one you heard the week before. New studies gain traction in the media and spread like wildfire. You search the internet to read more about what you just heard on the news and you become even more confused. You may worry that you’re making the wrong decision for you and your family, sometimes becoming fearful or feeling guilty about your food choices. There is SO MUCH information and “advice” out there. Some of it intentionally causes fear and confusion in order to sell a product or message.

Know that real science takes time. Our opinions should not change overnight based on what we hear on the news. Numerous studies need to occur and results need to be replicated in order to make educated conclusions. Many “studies” you hear about in the media fail to replicate. Slow-moving science isn’t fancy and doesn’t garner media attention. Controversy always sells.

Healthy eating shouldn’t be controversial, fancy or cause fear. Turn off the TV and stop searching unreliable web resources. Instead, seek the expert, science-based advice of a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians have done the research for you. We can show you what to believe and what to ignore. We can help you incorporate healthy eating into your lifestyle without fear or confusion.

Rex Wellness Centers offer private nutrition counseling for weight loss, food allergies, chronic disease management and much more. Contact us today to get started.

Not sure about seeing a Registered Dietitian? Check out these 10 reasons for why you should visit a RD.

Are you diabetic? Our Certified Diabetes Educators at the Rex Diabetes Education center can help you manage your blood glucose levels through proper diet and exercise. Contact us today to learn more.

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Wellness Wednesday: Eating Right When You’re Short On Time

Grocery stoSandwichre convenience foods and drive-through fast foods are rarely the best nutritional choices for you and your family. Unfortunately, they’re often the go-to staples for families short on time.

But sacrificing good nutrition quickly takes its toll, making you and your loved ones feel tired and sluggish. On the other hand, people who eat well-rounded diets and are physically active tend to be healthier, feel happier and have more energy.

A little preparation can go a long way toward nutritional success:

Build a better breakfast: Give your body the fuel it needs to power through busy days. Whole-grain low-fat breakfast bars, yogurt or low-fat string cheese are nutritious, portable breakfast options.

Have some time the night before? Consider preparing hard-boiled eggs, cutting up fruit or making a veggie-packed crustless quiche that you can eat over several days (hint: frozen veggies in microwave steam packages save chopping and cooking time).

Pack lunch with a healthy punch: If you frequently brown bag your family’s lunch, try packing leftovers or half a turkey and avocado sandwich with an apple.

Eating out? Veggie wraps or soup with half a sandwich are good restaurant options. At fast food restaurants, order low-calorie, healthy selections, such as a grilled chicken sandwich (without the mayo or sauce). Many restaurants provide calorie counts on their menus to make choosing healthy options easier.

Slow down your supper: You can slow cook a healthy meal with very little effort or prep work. Some slow cooker models will even keep foods warm if the meal is done before you’re ready to eat.

If you find the time to cook, make a double recipe—freeze the rest for next week’s dinner or use the main protein in an entirely new way (think: extra grilled chicken tonight becomes the base for fajitas or tacos tomorrow).

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Garden Turkey Meatloaf

GardenMeatloaf

Give meatloaf a makeover with lean ground turkey and two cups of veggies!

Ingredients

For meatloaf:

  • 2 cups assorted vegetables, chopped — such as mushrooms, zucchini, red bell peppers or spinach
  • 12 ounces 99 percent lean ground turkey
  • ½ cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs (or substitute regular breadcrumbs)
  • ¼ cup fat-free evaporated milk
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, rinsed, dried and chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, rinsed, dried and chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • Nonstick cooking spray

For glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Steam or lightly sauté the assortment of vegetables.
  3. Combine the meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
  4. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and spread meatloaf mixture evenly in the pan.
  5. Combine all ingredients for glaze in a bowl. Brush glaze on top of the meatloaf.
  6. Bake meatloaf in the oven for 45–50 minutes (to a minimum internal temperature of 165ºF).
  7. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into eight even slices.

Number of servings: 4 (serving size = 2 slices of meatloaf)

Nutrition facts (per serving): 180 calories, 2 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 34 mg cholesterol, 368 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 25 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 406 mg potassium, 50 percent vitamin A, 154 percent vitamin C, 10 percent calcium, 15 percent iron.

 Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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