February is American Heart Month, and in the past the Guiding Stars blog has covered various aspects of eating for a healthy heart including eating more whole grains, cutting down on added sugars, and eating more seafood. Science shows that consuming a diet that’s lower in sodium, saturated fats, and higher in potassium and fiber is beneficial for cardiovascular health. But of course, knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things. What to do? Make heart-healthy food shopping easier with these tips.
Given all the media hoopla, you’ve likely already heard—the Mediterranean Diet snagged the top slot for “Best Diet Overall” for the first time this year. Unless you read through the whole list, you may not realize how extensive it is—41 diets were reviewed! (That’s a lot of diets…wonder what that says about dieting in general…a topic for another day.)
Feeding others or providing edible holiday gifts is a long held tradition, and we’re all for it! Giving food gifts—especially homemade ones—is an act that comes from the heart and shows care and consideration. And that’s what you’re going for when you give a food gift, right? Purchased food gifts of high-quality provisions or local specialties are also welcomed by most (I myself love getting those nice boxes of citrus fruit) and the convenience factor for the giver cannot be beat.
You know what crowdsourcing is, right? The basic idea is to solicit the opinions and experience of a “crowd” or group of people—typically in an online community. People use crowdsourcing for all types of projects and goals, maybe you’ve seen a friend on Facebook asking how to use Grandma’s antique washboard as a decorative object, or where the best breakfast in Toledo is—and what to order. Businesses use crowdsourcing techniques when looking for innovative ideas and non-profits use it for sourcing funding. There’s no reason YOU can’t use it to get help with your Thanksgiving meal!
This easy Cranberry Smoothie earns 3 Guiding Stars for nutrition, and will probably also earn you some “What a great idea!” comments from your holiday guests. True, smoothies are not typical Thanksgiving fare—which is why it’s a unique menu addition. Try serving the smoothie in punch glasses or little “shooter” cups and offer it to guests as they arrive. Or include it in your day-after-Thanksgiving breakfast or brunch: multiply the recipe to serve your crowd, then transfer it to a big pitcher so guests can serve themselves. However you decide to serve it, the creamy consistency and alternative way to feature cranberries makes it a festive and tasty choice this season.
As I’ve been suffering from a bad cold for almost a week now, and spending waaaay too much time bundled up in bed, I figured now was as good a time as any to examine the old adage “feed a cold, starve a fever” and see if there was any truth to it. First off, I want to say that dietitians never recommend “starving” for any reason, so you can rest-assured I won’t be giving anyone that advice. But what’s this bit of medical folklore all about?
Keep in mind, the sugar that is added to foods provides energy (calories), but nothing else in the way of nutrients. On the other hand, the sugars found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy products comes packaged with plenty of nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Therefore, the sugar we’re interested in limiting is added sugar—sweeteners added by food manufacturers and consumers themselves. If you need a quick primer on sugar basics, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few tips that will help you rein in your added sugar intake.
I’ve put together a week of ideas (some breakfasts, some lunches, some dinners) for those of you who aren’t feeding a family. They are flexible recipes in terms of ingredients, meaning you can use up leftovers or adapt to your own taste. I hope it inspires you to rediscover your own culinary creativity.