Healthy Foods & Cooking

Healthy Foods & Cooking

Healthy Foods & Cooking
Do you want to cook healthier? With some simple tweaks, you can lighten up regular recipes for brownies, casseroles, and other tasty treats. Plan healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner by learning about healthy food substitutions. For instance, you can sprinkle powdered sugar on cakes instead of using frosting. Reduce fat and calories in baked goods by cutting the fat ingredient such as butter or margarine by one-half and substituting a moist ingredient like applesauce, fat-free sour cream or orange juice. Read on to learn more tips about healthy foods and in no time you will be cooking healthy recipes for you and your family.

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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    In season from September through February, chestnuts are sold fresh and in their shells. Choose firm, plump, heavy nuts whose glossy mahogany shells are free from blemishes.

    Because of their high moisture content (chestnuts have a water content of 52 percent, while that of most nuts ranges from 3 to 6 percent), chestnuts should be kept covered and refrigerated lest their moisture provide a favorable climate for the growth of bacteria and molds. If freshly gathered, however, they should be left to cure at room temperature for a few days to allow some of their starch to be converted into sugar.

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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    If the juice you drink contains added sweeteners, opt for a variety that says it is (not contains) “100 percent fruit juice,” with no added sugar (or high-fructose corn syrup, or honey, or any other sweetener). While 100 percent fruit juice may contain about the same number of calories as sweetened fruit drinks, you will get more vitamins and nutrients and fewer additives from 100 percent juice.
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    Make sure your rice serving takes up no more than a quarter of your plate, and use low-fat, low-calorie flavorings (i.e., herbs and spices). Hot sauce is great, as is a teaspoon or two of Parmesan cheese. Or if cooking your rice in water is not flavorful for you, try cooking it in a low-sodium vegetable or fat-free chicken broth.

    Also, choose brown rice as often as you can. It’s not that white rice is bad, but brown rice is more nutritious and well worth the few extra minutes of cooking time. And honestly, once you make the switch, you’ll realize that it’s far more flavorful.
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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered

    Fresh spinach should be medium to dark green, fresh-looking, and free from any evidence of decay.

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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered

    On visual inspection, the skin color should be vivid, shiny, and free of discoloration, scars, and bruises, which usually indicate that the flesh beneath has become damaged and possibly decayed. The stem and cap on the end of the eggplant should also be free of discoloration. Choose eggplants that are firm and heavy fortheir size. To test the ripeness of an eggplant, gently press the skin with the pad of your thumb. If it springs back, the eggplant is ripe; if an indentation remains, it is not.

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    Good-quality tomatoes are well formed and plump, fully colored, firm, and free from bruise marks. Avoid tomatoes that are soft or show signs of bruising or decay. They should not have a puffy appearance, since this indicates that they will be of inferior flavor and will also cause excess waste during preparation due to their higher water content. Ripe tomatoes will yield to slight pressure and will have a noticeably sweet fragrance. When buying canned tomatoes, it is often better to buy those that are produced in the United States, as many foreign countries do not have strict standards for lead content in containers. This is especially important with a fruit such as tomatoes, whose high acid content can cause corrosion and subsequent migration into the foods of the metal with which it is in contact.

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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    Pignoli are widely available and are sold already shelled. Pinons are most likely to be available in the southwestern U.S., where they are sold, already shelled, in the produce section of grocery stores and natural food markets. Asian markets are the best places to find Chinese pine nuts.

    Due to their high fat content, all varieties of pine nuts are extremely susceptible to rancidity. Purchase pine nuts that are packaged in an airtight container. Be sure to check the sell-by date on the package to ensure freshness.

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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered

    Good-quality red radishes have intact greens. The greens should be fresh-looking, with no signs of spoilage. Slightly flabby greens can be restored to freshness if stored in the refrigerator in water; if it is too late to save them, simply cut them off. The radish root should be firm, smooth, and vibrant red versus soft, wrinkled, and dull-colored. Red and white radishes are sold year-round, although supplies are best in spring. Black radishes are at their peak in winter and early spring.

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    A number of prepared coconut products are available in many natural and whole-food markets, including dried coconut meat, creamed coconut (very finely ground dried coconut blended with coconut milk), canned coconut milk (either the fluid found inside the coconut or milk made from the expressed juice of grated coconut), and coconut oil.

    Dried coconut meat is often shredded and may be sweetened, toasted, and/or creamed. Since shredded coconut is often sweetened with sugar and preserved with propylene glycol (a chemical used in antifreeze), we recommend that you read labels carefully to avoid such products or buy whole coconuts and prepare your own shredded coconut with the aid of a food processor. Store shredded coconut in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or a refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for about a month.

    Creamed coconut is found in the refrigerated foods section of Asian and Indian markets and in some whole-food markets and health food stores. Store it in the refrigerator, where it will keep for seven to 10 days.

    Canned coconut milk, a good substitute for creamed coconut, can be found in grocery stores. Be sure to buy whole, not low-fat, coconut milk (from which much of the beneficial medium-chain fat has been removed), and choose a brand that contains no additives. Once opened, canned coconut milk should be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator, where it will keep for seven to 10 days.

    Coconut oil of high quality is odorless and tasteless, a white semi-solid in cool weather and a creamy-colored oil in hot weather. Choose only food-grade oil and avoid any product that has been hydrogenated. Although coconut oil is quite stable and need not be refrigerated, it is best used within one month after opening.

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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered

    Fresh sweet bananas and plantains are best when they are yellow and speckled with brown, with no green showing. Sweet bananas and plantains with green tips are not quite ripe, but they will continue to ripen if stored at room temperature, particularly if placed in a plastic bag, as the gases they emit turn around and act on them to stimulate further ripening.

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