Lightened Chocolate Desserts

You don’t have to stay away from chocolate when you’re on a diet. Cookinglight.com listed 20 mouth watering chocolate recipes that are more health conscious. Now, who doesn’t like chocolate? Below is one of our favorite recipes for individual chocolate soufflés, 152 calories each.

Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 350º
  2. Grab two ramekins (6-ounce) and coat them with cooking spray and sprinkle each ramekin with 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar.
  3. Mix 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes while stirring until smooth. Spoon chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and then cool 4 minutes. Next, stir in vanilla.
  4. Place egg white in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form.
  5. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat).
  6. Gently stir 1/4 of egg white mixture into chocolate mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Spoon mixture into prepared dishes.
  7. Sharply tap dishes 2 or 3 times to level.
  8.  Place dishes on a baking sheet; bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until puffy and set.
  9. Sprinkle each soufflé with 1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Click here for the nutrition information for this recipe!

Click here for the other lightened chocolate recipes!

Recipe courtesy of cookinglight.com

Image by: Randy Mayor

 

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Knee Pain? Eat to feel better…

Besides knee pain, we face daily aches and pains that require more than just a short rest or a nap. Below we have listed AARP’s recommendations for 7 foods that can help battle off those daily ailments.

 

Take the first step with…Ginger.

Long used as a digestive aid, ginger is also an effective painkiller. Almost two-thirds of patients with chronic knee pain reported less soreness upon standing after taking a ginger extract, according to a six-week study from the University of Miami. Those who consumed ginger also reported less pain after walking 50 feet than those taking a placebo — and they needed less pain medication. And new research suggests ginger may also help tackle post-workout pain.

“Ginger relieves pain by blocking an enzyme that’s a key component of the inflammatory process,” says investigator Christopher D. Black, Ph.D., assistant professor of kinesiology at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia. Two to three teaspoons a day should do the trick. “That’s not an overwhelming amount,” he says. “You could easily add that to a stir-fry or soup.” Other options include ginger tea and beverages made with fresh ginger.

…Soy

Want to cut your osteoarthritis knee pain by 30 percent or more? Add some soy to your diet. An Oklahoma State University study found that consuming 40 grams of soy protein daily for three months slashed patients’ use of pain medication in half. The secret lies in soy’s isoflavones — plant hormones with anti-inflammatory properties, says main study author Bahram H. Arjmandi, Ph.D., R.D., now professor of nutrition, food, and exercise sciences at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Tofu, soy milk, burgers, edamame: All are good options. But be patient. “It takes two or three weeks for it to take effect,” Arjmandi says.

…Turmeric

A recent Thai study found that the spice common in many Indian foods fights the pain of rheumatoid arthritis as effectively as ibuprofen. Turmeric also seems to inhibit the destruction of joints from arthritis, according to National Institutes of Health – supported research on rats at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Turmeric inhibits a protein called NF-kB; when turned on, this protein activates the body’s inflammatory response, leading to achy joints. Investigator Janet L. Funk, M.D., and others are still working out the optimal dose, but “using turmeric as a spice in cooking is safe,” she says.

…Cherries

High amounts of antioxidants called anthocyanins are the key to cherries’ pain-fighting power. In a U.S. Department of Agriculture study, participants who ate 45 Bing cherries a day for 28 days reduced their inflammation levels significantly. And a Johns Hopkins study of rats given cherry anthocyanins hinted that anthocyanins might also protect against arthritis pain. Unpublished preliminary data from the Baylor Research Institute in Dallas further showed that a tart-cherry pill reduced pain and improved function in more than 50 percent of osteoarthritis patients over an eight-week period. A cherry-juice drink likewise reduced symptoms of muscle damage among exercising men in a University of Vermont study: Their pain scores dropped significantly compared with the scores of those who did not drink the juice. Pain-calming anthocyanins are also found in blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

…Coffee/Caffeine

Ever wonder why so many over-the-counter cold and headache medicines contain caffeine? Studies show it enhances the effects of common painkillers such as aspirin and acetaminophen. But recent data suggest caffeine has pain-lowering powers of its own — at least when it comes to the pain associated with exercise. University of Georgia researchers showed that moderate doses of caffeine — equivalent to two cups of joe — reduced post-workout pain by almost 50 percent.

And a caffeine buzz may boost your workout. Caffeine seems to raise your pain threshold, making it easier to keep exercising or work out harder than you would have otherwise. Just don’t overdo it. “If you are going to work out, get a cup of coffee on the way,” Black says. “There’s good evidence it makes your muscles feel better

…Fish

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish that help keep your ticker in top shape may also tame the pain or inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, and some autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s disease. Even chronic neck- and back-pain patients can benefit: In an open trial at the University of Pittsburgh, 60 percent of respondents experienced some relief after taking fish oil for three months, and almost as many dropped their pain drugs altogether. “We found we could substitute fish oil in place of drugs — an anti-inflammatory with no side effects in place of pharmaceuticals with side effects,” says Joseph C. Maroon, M.D., clinical professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the study’s coauthor.

Aim for two to four meals a week of fatty fish such as salmon, Atlantic mackerel, sardines, or trout — all top omega-3 sources. Halibut, light tuna, snapper, and striped bass are good, too. Not a fan of the fin? Consider a daily supplement containing both EPA and DHA — the key omega-3 fats — suggests Maroon. If you are taking a blood thinner, check with your doctor first; omega-3s may increase that drug’s effects

…Red Grapes

This deeply hued fruit contains resveratrol, a powerful compound that blocks the enzymes that contribute to tissue degeneration. The evidence: In lab experiments at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, resveratrol protected against the kind of cartilage damage that causes back pain.

Although the research is preliminary, it can’t hurt to fill up on foods rich in resveratrol, including blueberries and cranberries, which contain other powerful antioxidants as well. Or have a glass of wine. “Resveratrol in red wine is far more easily absorbed due to the form it is in,” says researcher Xin Li, M.D., Ph.D., a biochemistry instructor at Rush.

6 Foods to Slow Down Aging!

   “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” —Satchel Paige

In keeping with our healthy theme this month, we would like to feature some exciting news. Six foods that actually help to slow aging. Now that’s music to the ears of us all. We can actually eat to look younger and feel better. How old would you honestly say you were if you truly didnt know your age? Would you be one of the lucky who could confidently throw out a number much lower than reality, or would you say you feel as though you are living in a body much older than your years?

I have found myself cursing my body for hurting at times or for not performing the way it used to. But as I recall the vigorous activity and over active lifestyle it has been subject to, I realize that my complaining perhaps comes with a package of pain that is deserved. However, when I was introduced to these 6 delicious foods and the notion of a more kind and friendly moderate version of excercise to create a new, younger, healthier me, I forgot my woes and dove in.  

Food #1: FISH

Recent research suggests that the Omega-3 fatty acids from certain fish can lead to improved mood and mental capacities. These oils have antioxidant properties, meaning they attack the cells that cause the body to decay. Omega-3s are the same acids that combat chronic inflammation, which can lead to all sorts of health complications. Finally, fish oil is great for your skin, preventing dryness and eczema, and promoting firmness and elasticity. Salmon and tuna are two of the most popular and readily available fish with high levels of Omega-3.

Food #2: WHOLE GRAINS

Avoiding all carbs makes no sense, when whole grains such as whole wheat, oats, brown rice, farro, barley and wheat berries are so rich in fiber, which keeps your digestive system regular and helps you feel full. Their low glycemic levels mean that they don’t play havoc with your blood sugar levels. Choose bread, pasta and cereals made from whole grains, and incorporate whole grains into your cooking. Whole grains have been widely accepted as a smart way to combat all types of illnesses, such as heart disease, colon and breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. Refined grains filter out the many nutrients intrinsic in natural whole grains, and therefore don’t provide the same benefits.

Food #3: CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

This powerhouse family includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips and Brussels sprouts. They are an effective aid to the body in fighting toxins and cancer. And they have a high concentration of antioxidants and sulfur, which provide energy and can keep your skin healthy. If you eat them raw or lightly cooked their protection properties are even more effective.

Food #4: NUTS

They are high in calories, but you don’t need to eat a lot of them to reap their benefits, which include protein, fiber and crucial minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc and magnesium. They are reported to be good for your digestive and immune systems, helpful in the fight against cancer, and the oils are good for your skin. Their high Omega-3 fatty acid content also helps keep your brain and body healthy. Plus, there are so many kinds of nuts to choose from: almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamias, pistachios and more.

Food #5: AVOCADO

Did you know that avocado is a fruit? It is chock full of monosaturated fat, which is believed to reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the body. Avocados have a lot of potassium, which combats fluid retention and high blood pressure and the risk of stroke. And they have a high level of vitamin E, which is thought to prevent skin aging and may also be helpful in reducing hot flashes associated with menopause. Finally, they are rich in folate, which is thought to decrease the risk of heart attacks, as well as antioxidants, which help your body protect itself from free radicals, which means keeping your organs and tissues healthy.

Food #6: BERREIS!

Blueberries have gotten their fair share of health news but in fact all black and blue berries, such as blackberries, black currants and black grapes, contain antioxidants that are known to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals and aging. These phytochemicals are called flavonoids, and are found in the pigment of the berries. In addition, dark berries are also thought to be of assistance in maintaining good balance, coordination and short term memory.

So do yourself a favor and head to the store annd pick up a few of these super anti-aging and health focused items. To make it easier, we have attached a recipe to get your started on your new food endeavours!

Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich with Scallion and Pickled Ginger

The pickled ginger, which comes in jars and can be found in the Asian section of your supermarket, adds a pleasantly unexpected sweet pungency to the salad. For a very special tuna salad, grill or broil 12 ounces of fresh tuna. Remove and discard the skin, break the meat up into small pieces, and use it as the base for the sandwich filler below. Tuna is a cold-water fish that has a high percentage of omega-3s. You can also substitute canned salmon for the tuna.

Yield: MAKES 4 SANDWICHES

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 can (12 ounces) solid white tuna packed in water, drained
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons eggless soy-based mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Hot red pepper sauce, to taste (optional)
  • 8 slices whole-wheat or other whole-grain bread, toasted if you want
  • 8 dark green lettuce leaves

Directions

1. In a small bowl, break up tuna with fork. Add scallion, pickled ginger, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce if using, and mix together with fork.

2. Make four sandwiches with the bread, dividing the salad equally among them, and garnishing with lettuce, tomato, and roasted red pepper, if using.

Notes

Make-Ahead Tip: Salad can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Serving Suggestions: For a sharply flavored accompaniment, toss together Spicy Cabbage Salad with Cider Vinegar, or serve the tuna salad as is on a bed of dark leafy greens with bottled roasted red peppers as a garnish.
ENJOY!

A VERY Berry March

“On the motionless branches of some trees, autumn berries hung like clusters of coral beads, as in those fabled orchards where the fruits were jewels…”

As we take some time out of our day this month to shop for the foods that fuel our bodies, there may be a few commonalities we notice within our favorite grocery stores. One will be the the egg themed aisles filled with Easter candy and rabbit ears, while another may be the vivid colors of strawberries and blueberries filling our produce sections. While candy can of course be delicious and fun, we are going to urge you this month to take advantage of the sweet fruits that surround you. Berries have been an essential part of the human diet since the beginning of time and we tend to forget their importance. New scientific research over the past several years has come to prove the significance of the simplistic berry in our diet and now researchers are even calling them the brain’s superfood.

The polyphenols found in berries, which give them their deep-red or blue-hue, activate proteins which act as “housekeepers” for damaged cells within the brain. These chemicals clean-up oxidative damage and help prevent and protect against degenerative brain decline. Researchers are continuing to find further evidence that support the effectiveness of berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and acai in going as far as reversing the effects of brain damage that has already occurred. Thus, let’s make this a very berry March indeed!

Berries are so easy to add to your daily diet and there are many fun and interesting ways to do so! Add a few sliced strawberries or a handful of blueberries to your daily yogurt or cereal. Strawberries can make a delicious addition to a goat cheese and walnut salad or perhaps you’d like to  treat yourself to a lowfat blueberry coffee cake! Throughout this month we would love to share some of our favorite berry recipes with you in hopes that you will be excited enough to make the berry shift and incorporate these brain saving fruits into your diet.

 Recipe #1:

Chicken & Blueberry Pasta Salad Recipe

Chicken and Blueberry Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat fusilli or radiatore
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Preparation

  1. Place chicken in a skillet or saucepan and add enough water to cover; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool. Shred into bite-size strips.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, about 9 minutes or according to package directions. Drain. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, place oil and shallot in a small skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, 2 to 5 minutes. Add broth, feta and lime juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the feta begins to melt, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken to the bowl with the pasta. Add the dressing, blueberries, thyme, lime zest and salt and toss until combined.

 

Per serving: 315 calories; 11 g fat ( 3 g sat , 6 g mono ); 49 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 23 g protein; 5 g fiber; 238 mg sodium; 207 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (60% daily value), Fiber (20% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 very lean meat, 2 fat