Monday, August 15, 2011

Healthier Pantry

Fitness Magazine published some interesting ideas of simple food swaps that will make your pantry a bit healthier. Here is a summary:

Stock up on: Canola and olive oils
Toss: Vegetable oil
Canola oil is a great source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. "It has a mild flavor and a high smoking point, so it's ideal for sauteing and stir-frying," says Natalia Hancock, a culinary nutritionist for Rouge Tomate restaurant in New York City. When making salad dressing, cold dips, or spreads, reach for olive oil. It's an excellent source of oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat, which research shows suppresses hunger.
Broth and Noodles
Stock up on: Low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Toss: High-sodium broth

One cup of the regular broth contains up to 40 percent of your recommended daily sodium intake. Choose broths that are lower in sodium -- 450 milligrams per serving or less -- and use them in mashed potatoes instead of butter or half-and-half; you'll save about 230 calories and 24 grams of fat per batch, says Jessica Fishman Levinson, RD, a nutritionist in New York City. Or swap butter or olive oil for broth in rice recipes and cut up to 36 calories and 5 to 6 grams of fat per serving. Broth also adds zing to steamed veggies. Just sub it for water and cook as usual.
Stock up on: Buckwheat noodles
Toss: Refined pasta
Trading up from white pasta to whole wheat is good, but choosing soba, made with buckwheat, is even better. These noodles are high in fiber (3 grams per 2 ounces), and they're an excellent source of plant protein (about 8 grams per cup cooked). "Buckwheat noodles are so filling and satisfying, you're less likely to eat oversize portions," says Zuckerbrot. They're also loaded with magnesium; choline, a mineral that helps keep your brain healthy; and antioxidants, including rutin, which may lower blood pressure.
Bread Crumbs
Stock up on: Panko bread crumbs
Toss: Regular bread crumbs
Not only do they contain half the calories of the Italian kind -- 110 versus 220 per half cup -- but "because panko bread crumbs are lighter and coarser, they tend to absorb less oil and fat," Levinson says. They also stay crisper after cooking, making them perfect for breaded chicken, meat, and fish dishes. Plus, panko has about one-tenth the sodium of many regular bread crumbs.
Healthier Chocolate
Stock up on: Cocoa powder
Toss: Chocolate chips
Sweet treats don't have to be off-limits, even if you're on a diet. Instead of high-calorie, high-fat chocolate chips (a half cup has 560 calories and 32 grams of fat), add 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to cookie, cake, or muffin batter before baking. Voila, the chocolaty flavor you crave for just 37 calories and 2 grams of fat.
Beans and Tuna
Stock up on: Dried beans
Toss: Canned beans

Canned beans are convenient, but they can cost twice as much per pound as the dried kind and have 50 times the sodium. Soak dried beans in water overnight, drain them in the a.m., and freeze what you don't use. They'll last up to six months, and no defrosting is required, says Leanne Ely, author of the Saving Dinner cookbook series. A 1-pound bag of beans yields 5 to 6 cups cooked.
Stock up on: Chunk light tuna packets
Toss: Canned albacore tuna
The chunk light variety has all the nutrients and protein that fancier white-meat tuna does but about one-third the amount of mercury. Don't like the darker meat? Opt for brands of albacore that use troll- or pole-and-line-caught fish, like Wild Planet, suggests Elizabeth Brown, RD, a nutritionist in Houston. These fish are much younger and smaller, which means they've had less time to accumulate the harmful heavy metal.

Source: Fitness magazine, Shine

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