Eat Smarter

15 Easy changes to make in your family's diet right now
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Four Starters

1. Enjoy soy

Eating soy -- fresh soybeans (edamame), nuts, soy milk or soy burgers, and perhaps the most famous form, tofu -- can reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and breast and prostate cancers and may relieve the symptoms of menopause. The Food and Drug Administration now allows health-claim labels on foods that deliver at least 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving (based on the assumption that we need 25 grams each day).

Soyful scalloped potatoes Tofu and golden potatoes make this dish as tasty as the traditional version.

Prep time: 30 minutes plus standing Baking time: 55 to 60 minutes

  • 1 package (19 oz.) firm tofu
  • 4 teaspoons butter, divided
  • 1 medium (12 oz.) sweet onion, cut into very thin wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 1/3 cups chicken broth

Arrange tofu on 4 layers of paper towels; top with one layer of towels, a cookie sheet and 2 large cans. Let stand 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees F. Melt 3 teaspoons butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add onion and thyme and cook, stirring, until golden.

Toss potatoes, salt and pepper in a bowl. Arrange half the slices in a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Crumble half the tofu over potatoes, then half the onion and cheese. Repeat. Add broth and dot with remaining butter. Cover dish; bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Let stand 10 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 280 calories, 10.5 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 546 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrates, 17 g protein, 231 mg calcium, 3 g fiber

2. Eat more fish

Fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, often in short supply in the American diet. Omega-3s help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes and increase immune response. The American Heart Association guidelines now recommend eating fish twice a week.

Salmon and soba noodles Poaching salmon in an aromatic broth is a healthy way to prepare it.

Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes

Soba noodles

  • 8 ounces soba noodles
  • 2 bags (10 oz. each) fresh spinach
  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 4 (4 oz. each) skinless salmon fillets

Broth

  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) chicken broth
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 large clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 quarter-sized unpeeled ginger slices
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions

Cook noodles according to package directions. During last 2 minutes of cooking, add spinach to same pot; cover and cook just until wilted. Drain and toss in a bowl with the sesame oil and salt. Spoon noodles and spinach into four bowls; keep warm.

Rub ginger and garlic over salmon. Make broth: Combine all ingredients in a deep 12-inch-wide skillet. Add fish and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 4 to 5 minutes; let stand 2 minutes. Transfer salmon to bowls. Remove star anise, garlic and ginger slices. Ladle hot broth into bowls. Sprinkle with green onions. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 535 calories, 19.5 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 84 mg cholesterol, 1,289 mg sodium, 51 g carbohydrates, 42 g protein, 190 mg calcium, 6 g fiber

3. Got calcium?

In combination with vitamins D and K, calcium helps build bone, but only until about the age of twenty-five; then the goal is to maintain the bone you've got. Dairy products are the best source of calcium, but if you don't get enough calcium from your diet, your body will leech what it needs from bone, which ultimately leads to thinning. Calcium is also crucial for normal blood pressure and heart health, so women should try to take in a minimum of 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily from foods or supplements.

White pizza with broccoli The nonfat dry milk in the crust and the cheesy topping gives each serving of this pizza about as much calcium as a six-ounce glass of nonfat milk.

Prep time: 40 minutes plus standing Baking time: 15 minutes

Dough

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Topping

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large bunch broccoli (1 lb.), trimmed and cut into 1 inch florets
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, patted dry
  • 1 cup shredded low-fat yogurt cheese or part-skim mozzarella cheese

Make dough: Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a cup; let stand 5 minutes, until yeast is bubbly. Add 3/4 cup water, oil and honey.

Pulse together flour, dry milk and salt in a food processor. With motor running, pour yeast mixture through feed tube; process until mixture forms a ball. Pulse dough 1 minute. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough; divide in half. (Wrap one piece of dough in plastic. Refrigerate overnight or freeze up to 1 month for another pizza.)

Arrange oven rack on bottom shelf. Heat oven to 450 degrees F.

Make topping: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add broccoli; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in broth and garlic. Cover skillet; reduce heat to medium-low and cook until broccoli is tender, 5 minutes. Cool.

Sprinkle large cookie sheet with cornmeal. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to prepared sheet. Combine ricotta, dry milk and sun-dried tomatoes. Spread ricotta mixture evenly on top of dough, then sprinkle evenly with cheese. Arrange broccoli mixture on top. Bake pizza until crust is golden brown, 15 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 340 calories, 8.5 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 432 mg sodium, 52 g carbohydrates, 13 g protein, 187 mg calcium, 3 g fiber

4. Go with the grains

Fiber is crucial for digestive health, but it also may help you eat less fat (people who eat lots of fiber generally weigh less than those who don't). Another bonus of whole grains is that they supply vitamins E and B6, and magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese and potassium -- vital nutrients often lacking in the average person's diet. Aim to eat at least six servings (20 to 35 grams) daily, with at least three whole grains, such as whole wheat, oatmeal, barley and brown rice, for the biggest fiber boost.

Barley Waldorf Salad To bring out barley's best nutty flavor, we toasted the grains just before tossing them with some crunchy apple, celery and grapes.

Prep time: 25 minutes plus cooling Cooking time: 27 to 35 minutes

  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 3 3/4 cups water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups green and red seedless grapes, cut in half
  • 1 Gala or Fuji apple, cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
  • Grapes, for garnish

Heat a large skillet over medium heat 2 minutes. Add barley and toast, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until barley is golden brown. Combine barley, water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a 3-quart saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 27 to 35 minutes until tender. Drain. Cool 30 minutes.

Whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon peel, juice, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the barley, grapes, apple and celery. Sprinkle salad with walnuts; garnish with grapes. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 210 calories, 6 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 257 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 50 mg calcium, 7 g fiber

Continued on page 2:  Six Smart Solutions

 

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