Food Fun and Facts   Healthy Cooking Tips for You

Healthy Cooking

Healthy cooking or healthy eating doesn't mean denial. Changes that we implement towards a healthier lifestyle will impact our health, the way we feel and perhaps extend our life.

Cooking is a personal experience and we can implement different methods for the same meal. For example, if we want to make mashed potatoes, we could boil the potatoes, or we could steam them, we could peel the skin, buy instant mixes, etc.

The choices we make will modify and transform the quality and the nutritional value of the food you put on your table.
So here are a few tips that you can easily implement in your kitchen.

Healthy Cooking for a healthier lifestyle, you may want change what you cook as well as how you cook.

Depending on the method you choose, you may be depleting the nutrients out of your food. You could be preparing a meal with the right nutritious ingredients but after you are done cooking, you may end up with a dish that has no nutritional value.

When heat is applied, many vitamins and minerals are burnt away. The higher the temperature and the longer you cook it, the fewer nutrients you will have in your meal.

It is important then not to over cook your meals, try to cook your meals in the shortest time possible and with the minimum amount of water possible.

However, dry cooking methods such as roasting and baking are perhaps the worst method, as they require a longer cooking time.

Microwave, frying, boiling and saute are some of the methods that you need to consider before you cook.

Steaming and stir-frying are better choices, as they will allow the natural nutrition to remain in your food.

It is also important to consider the oxidation that occurs in vegetables once they are cut,
as oxidation will neutralize the vitamins. For this reason, try not to cut or chop your vegetables way ahead of time.

You may also want to think about the seasonings that you add to your foods when cooking.
Consider adding unrefined sea salt to your meals instead of the commonly available commercial table salt, which is a highly refined product containing 99.5% sodium chloride with almost no trace minerals left.
Unrefined sea salt taste wonderful and depending on the method of processing, it contains 0.5 to 3% trace minerals in addition to sodium chloride and small quantities of other elements found naturally in the ocean.

You also need to remember that too much salt can cause hypertension, excessive fluid retention and other complications.

You could also add a lot of spices and herbs instead if you need to add more taste to your meals.

Try adding fresh lemon juice or lime juice to add a little extra taste.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). It is used to enhance flavor and some people are extremely sensitive to it.
It is believed to cause headaches, muscle tightening.

Baking powders contain aluminum.

Cooking utensils -Quality cookware and utensils that do not interact with food are also important to consider.

Natural materials such as earthenware, ceramic, glass and metals such as stainless steel, cast-iron or enamel coated steel are recommended.

Avoid aluminum, plastic, Teflon and other synthetic materials.
Nonstick cookware such as Teflon will emit toxic fumes when heated to a high temperature.
Inhaling these toxic fumes can lead to respiratory disease, weakening of the immune system, cancer, depression, asthma and other health problems.

More Things to Consider: Choose quality vegetable oils. Avoid hydrogenated oils and fats, refined margarines and oils, animal oils and fats and shortenings.

Hydrogenated oils are manufactured oils. Studies have found that they attack the arteries with a risk of heart disease, the kidneys, liver, spleen, intestine and gallbladder.

Avoid Aspartame. MSG and Aspartame are both considered excitotoxins.

Studies have found that Aspartame is the cause for many medical problems, such as headaches, hyperactivity in children, seizure disorders and memory loss.
Both Aspartame and MSG and other similar substances cause harm to the brain and nervous system.

Try using less white flour and introduce more fiber by adding bran and soy flour and wheat germ to your bread recipes.

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Here’s a shocker about Healthy Food:
Some healthy foods are just as bad for your teeth as sweets.

Avoid white processed sugar. The living vitality is not there.

Organically grown unprocessed living sugar can be found at health food stores.

Avoid artificial sweeteners, they are manufactured chemicals. Use raw organic honey, fresh organic fruit juices or organic raw evaporated sugarcane juice.

Balance your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables versus frozen or canned.
Choose 100% organic fresh produce that is free from chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. Have a salad every day.
Make your own salad dressing.

Here is the one I make for my daily salads:

In the food processor chop garlic, ginger, onion, jalapeño pepper and parsley.
Add fresh squeezed lime juice (from 4 or 5 limes) or lemon juice, extra virgin oil, and unrefined sea salt, that's it, and it is delicious. You could also add honey for a little extra flavor.

As far as the amount for each ingredient, I would say, 5 cloves of garlic, a 1/2" piece of ginger, 1/2 onion, 1 jalapeño pepper, a handful of parsley and 4-5 limes.
Add oil and salt to taste. Yields about a pint.

Storing foods depletes their vitamin and mineral content.
So remember not to keep leftovers in the fridge for more than a couple of days.
Instead, try freezing your leftovers right away, as soon as your food has cooled.

And last but not least, cook with a light heart and avoid meals prepared by people who are sick, angry or they have an unhappy attitude when cooking.

 by: Izzy Morgan

About The Author

Izzy Morgan offers Health Articles on Nutrition and other health topics at her website http://www.ForHealthTips.com

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Maintain Healthy Habits Year-Round

(Family Features) According to the National Pork Board's "Healthy Habits 2011" survey, while 60 percent of dieters have made a health-related resolution, sticking to that goal will be harder than quitting smoking or even winning the lottery.

Luckily, finding nutritious foods, like pork, which taste great and can help you feel fuller longer, is a delicious recipe for long-term diet success. However, the survey also showed that seven out of ten people are not aware that incorporating lean pork into their diet can decrease distracting thoughts about food.

"One of the keys to weight management is managing hunger," said Dr. Heather Leidy, currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri.

"There is a growing body of evidence that suggests increasing the amount of lean protein, like pork, in your diet can help decrease distracting thoughts about food to help you achieve long-term healthy eating goals."

Here are a handful of tips to help you control your appetite:

Choose cuts of pork that come from the loin - including chops and roasts - and 96 percent lean ground pork, which are the leanest cuts of pork available.

Think about meal frequency. A recent study, published in the journal "Obesity," suggests that sitting down to eat a real meal three times a day may be a better strategy for weight loss than grazing on several smaller "mini-meals."

In addition to protein, look for foods high in fiber like fruits, vegetables and whole grains to help keep you fuller.

For more information, including recipes to help you maintain a healthy diet year-round, visit www.TheOtherWhiteMeat.com or www.Facebook.com/TheOtherWhiteMeat.

Recipe for Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers


  • 12 ounces 96 percent lean ground pork
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons couscous
  • 4 large red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, or a combination
  • 3/4 cup prepared salsa, plus more for serving (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar, Monterey jack, or Mexican blend cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 500°F.
  2. In small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil. Stir in couscous, cover, remove from heat, and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in large skillet over medium-high heat, cook pork, stirring occasionally and breaking it up, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
  4. Also while couscous is softening, remove tops from peppers and scrape out seeds. Set aside.
  5. In large bowl, combine couscous, pork, salsa, corn, and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fill peppers with pork mixture. Arrange peppers in a shallow baking pan and bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle cheese on top and continue baking until peppers are tender and stuffing is heated through, about 5 minutes.
  7. Serve peppers with additional salsa on the side if you like.

    Calories:280g Total Fat:6g
    Cholesterol:55mg Protein:26g
    Carbohydrates:55g Sodium:470mg

    Preparation Time:
    5 min

    Cook Time:
    25 minutes

    National Pork Board

Is Your Kitchen Heart Healthy?

Newswise Lurking in your kitchen may be a killer. According to Saint Louis University cardiologist Melda Dolan, M.D., the fast, convenient and processed foods that fill Americans freezers and pantries are bad news for your heart and waistline, as well as your taste buds.

This February, in honor of American Heart Month, Dolan is encouraging the SLU community to give their kitchen a heart-healthy makeover.

Maintaining a heart healthy diet is easier than you might think, but it does require a life style change, Dolan said. Once you learn how to shop for and cook with fresh ingredients, you will see that it is easy to do.

According to Dolan, diet plays a major role in the development of heart disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans. Unlike your genes, your diet is something you can control to directly impact your heart health.

Dolan offers 10 tips for giving your kitchen and diet a heart healthy makeover.

1. Shop the perimeter of your local grocery store. This is where you will typically find fresh produce, dairy, seafood and meat.

2. Say goodbye to processed foods such as frozen meals and canned goods. These items are often very high in sodium and simple carbohydrates.

3. Use fresh herbs to add flavor to your cooking rather than salt. Fresh basil, mint, rosemary and garlic are among Dolans favorites.

4. Replace butter with olive and vegetable oil, which are both healthier and tastier. Instead of serving butter with bread, try olive oil topped with fresh thyme or basil.

5. Quit frying your foods. Baking, broiling and grilling are much healthier options. Dolan also recommends slow cooking to get the best flavors out of vegetables, chicken and fish.

6. Welcome fish and chicken into your diet. While both are low in fat, fish contains omega fatty acids, which are important in lipid management.

7. Limit red meat and pork. They are higher in fat and speed up the atherosclerosis process, or hardening of the arteries, which leads to heart disease.

8. Enjoy fresh fruit for dessert rather than high-calorie options like cake or ice cream.

9. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink per day (12 oz. beer, 4 oz. glass of wine or 1.5 oz. of 80 proof spirits). Red wine contains heart healthy flavanoids and antioxidants, but that does not make it safe to drink in excess, Dolan says. Excessive drinking can lead to alcoholism, high blood pressure, obesity and stroke.

10. Watch your serving size. The key is keeping portion sizes small. Dolan suggests tricking” yourself by replacing big plates with smaller, appetizer size plates.

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, infectious disease, liver disease, aging and brain disease and heart andlung disease.

Released: 2/2/2010 9:00 PM EST Source: Saint Louis University Medical Center Contact: Sara Savat Phone: (314) 977-8018 e-mail: ssavat@slu.edu

Eating Healthy for Two

(Family Features)
What you eat not only affects you, it could affect your unborn child.

Of the four million women who give birth in the US each year, some 3,000 babies are born with neural tube defects, which include certain birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.

Folic acid is a critical element needed for proper spinal cord development during the first three weeks of pregnancy.

Because this is often before a woman even knows she's pregnant, it's important for women of child-bearing age to follow a healthy lifestyle and to include folic acid as part of her diet.

The Grain Foods Foundation would like to remind all women of child-bearing age of the important role folic acid plays in preventing birth defects.

Enriched breads - and many other grains such as rice, tortillas, pasta and cereal - are important sources of folic acid.

White flour is enriched with three major B vitamins (niacin, thiamin and riboflavin), as well as iron, and is fortified with the B vitamin folic acid.

Enriched flour contains two times as much folic acid as its whole grain counterpart - making enriched grains the largest source of folic acid in the diets of most Americans. Whole grain products, with the exception of some breakfast cereals, are not fortified with folic acid.

Since the FDA required fortification of enriched grains, the number of babies born in the United States with neural-tube birth defects, which include certain birth defects of the brain and spinal cord, has declined by 26 percent.

Grain foods are a delicious and nutrient-dense component of a healthy diet and have been shown to help with weight maintenance.
In fact, people who consume a medium-to-high percentage of carbohydrates in their diet have a reduced risk for obesity.
This is important for women of child-bearing age as obese women who are pregnant have a significantly higher risk of needing a Cesarean section delivery, delivering too early, developing pre-eclampsia, and having an exceptionally large baby.
They also face double the risk of stillbirth and neonatal death.

For a balanced diet, the USDA recommends at least six one-ounce servings of grains daily.
Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product.
Bread, pasta, oatmeal and even tortillas and pretzels are examples of grain foods.

The following recipe is a simple way to start incorporating enriched breads into a healthy diet.
For more nutritional information and delicious recipes, visit www.GoWithTheGrain.org.

Recipe for Breakfast Fruit Turnovers


  • 2 slices enriched white bread, crusts removed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dried apples
  • 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • Vanilla yogurt for garnish, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Roll out bread with a rolling pin until flattened to about 1/16 of an inch.
  3. Stir together apples and cranberries. Brush some of the butter on the edges of the bread. Mound one half of the dried fruit mixture just right of center in the middle of each piece of bread. Fold over the bread to form a triangle and enclose the filling. Pinch the edges of the bread together firmly to seal.
  4. Arrange in one layer on a small baking sheet and brush the top of each turnover with the remaining butter. Bake the turnovers in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until pale golden.
  5. Top each turnover with a spoonful of vanilla yogurt, if desired.


Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Developed by Sara Moulton for the Grain F
oods Foundation

Grain Foods Foundation