Summer Produce: What’s In Season from A to Z

There is a lot of produce in season during the summer months, so  We all know about melons, berries, peaches, tomatoes and corn being in season this time of year, but there are many other less-common options to try this time of year. Fruits and vegetables have a lot of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that provide many health benefits, so try some new ones and find a new favorite.

Apricots are creamy to orange-colored fruits that are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. You want to choose apricots that are plump, firm and uniformly colored. Store them at room temperature until they are ripe and then they can stay fresh in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for 3 to 5 days.

Breadfruit is a great source of fiber, B and C vitamins and potassium. It has a green skin that will darken while in the refrigerator and will typically last one week in the refrigerator.

Crenshaw Melon is a cross between cantaloupe and casaba melons. It is a great source of vitamin C and vitamin B6. Choose melons with a waxy, golden-pink flesh, with a soft rind at the large end. Avoid blemishes and those that are green. Whole melons can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, but after they are cut they should be refrigerated and consumed within 5 days.

Endive is very closely related to the dandelion plant, is a good source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium. Choose endive heads that are crisp and bright green and you can store this in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Green Soybeans (Edamame) are a good source of protein, vitamin A, calcium, and iron. This is the only vegetable that contains all nine essential amino acids. Choose beans that are crisp and blemish-free and keep them in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.

Lychees are an excellent source of vitamin C. They have red shells and you want fruits that are heavy for their size and if you want a sweeter taste, choose ones with brown patches. Lychees can be refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to 10 days.

Okra can be boiled, fried or pickled and is a great source of vitamin C, folate, magnesium and fiber. Choose bright, firm pods and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Tomatillo is a staple in Mexican salsas and is a low-calorie source of vitamin C.  You should choose dry, hard tomatillos with tightly fitting husks. Refrigerate them in the crisper drawer for 2-3 weeks.

Zucchini is high in vitamin C, manganese and molybdenum. Choose zucchini with skin clear of blemishes, but is slightly prickly. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days and should not be washed until you are ready to use it.

Source: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/?page_id=996

Omelet with Summer Vegetables

summer-omelet-ck-682964-xIngredients:
  • Cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons shredded smoked Gouda cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add corn, zucchini, onions, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove from heat.
  2. Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine 1/8 teaspoon salt, water, pepper, egg whites, and egg, stirring well with a whisk. Coat pan with cooking spray. Pour egg mixture into pan; cook until edges begin to set (about 2 minutes). Gently lift the edges of omelet with a spatula, tilting pan to allow uncooked egg mixture to come in contact with pan. Spoon corn mixture onto half of omelet; sprinkle corn mixture with cheese. Loosen omelet with a spatula, and fold in half over corn mixture. Cook 2 minutes or until the cheese melts. Carefully slide omelet onto a plate.

Recipe makes 2 bariatric surgery-friendly servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 140 Calories, 5.1 g Fat, 2.2 g Saturated Fat, 1.7 g Monounsaturated Fat, 0.7 g Polyunsaturated Fat, 165 mg Cholesterol, 474 mg Sodium, 12.6 g Carbohydrate, 2.1 g Fiber, 12.4 g Protein.

Recipe from http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/omelet-with-summer-vegetables.

Healthy Summer BBQs

Grilling FoodsSummer is in full swing and backyard barbecues are a popular activity this time of year. Unfortunately, these gatherings are often full of high-fat, high-sugar and high-calorie options, like hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, alcohol and desserts. Consuming these types of foods and beverages can really put a halt on your weight loss progress. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make healthier barbeques that you can fully participate in and enjoy with the rest of your family and friends without falling off the wagon, so to speak.

Greasy hamburgers, brats or hot dogs are not only high in fat and calories, but they also may not agree with your stomach after having bariatric surgery.  Instead, try grilling a leaner protein source, such as fish or chicken. Salmon, tuna, and grouper are all great grilling options and provide you with heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Veggie burgers, turkey burgers or Portobello mushroom burgers are also wonderful options. To make these high protein items extra delicious and ensure that they are nice and tender when they come off the grill, try marinating them ahead of time.

For sides, a fruit or vegetable kabob on the grill is a delicious and nutritious option. Try onions, peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms for a vegetable kabob. Peaches, nectarines, pineapples, strawberries and melons are all great options for a fruit kabob. You can experiment with any fruits or vegetables that you enjoy eating. You may even make the kabobs your entire meal if you put some lean protein on the skewer along with your fruits and vegetables.

If you prefer to not grill your fruits, pick several of your favorite fruits, chop them up and mix them together in a simple fruit salad – no dressing or sweeteners needed. In moderation, tortilla chips with fresh guacamole and salsa can be a good option. For a different flavor, try a homemade fruit salsa or raw vegetables with hummus. If you’re having a salad, aim to use low-fat or fat-free dressings and use them sparingly. Leave off the croutons, bacon bits, cheese and other high calorie toppings. Prepare beans without bacon or brown sugar and instead season them with tomatoes, jalapenos and other spices.

For a sweet treat, wash some berries and top them with a light whipped cream or make a sugar-free low-fat ice cream. Other options are fat-free, no-sugar-added frozen yogurt, a sugar-free Popsicle or sugar-free snow cone.

Go light on drinks by offering ice water with lemon, orange, mint or cucumber slices in it. This makes the water even more refreshing on a hot summer day. Make fresh squeezed lemonade, sweetened with Splenda (or other artificial sweetener) or some refreshing unsweetened iced tea. Avoid alcoholic beverages as these contain empty calories that can quickly ruin your weight loss efforts. Alcohol can sometimes wreak the most havoc on weight loss efforts at these barbeques, so your best bet is to “just say no.”

Barbeques can be a fun gathering of friends and family, but don’t forget about the dietary “rules” that go along with bariatric surgery. Get your lean protein in first, be mindful of your portions, chew your foods thoroughly, stop drinking 30 minutes before your meal and don’t drink until at least 30 minutes after your meal. Follow these rules during your BBQ and you’ll have a healthy meal while enjoying your company and the warm weather!

Grilled Pepper Salad

peppersIngredients:

  • 4 bell peppers (mixed colors), halved, seeded and stemmed
  • 1/4 cup halved and pitted black olives
  • 1/4 cup rinsed and chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Grill peppers on medium-high, turning once, until soft and charred in spots, about 5 minutes per side. When cool enough to handle, chop the peppers; toss with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, oil, vinegar and salt in a large bowl.

Recipe makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 107 Calories, 7 g Fat (1 g Saturated Fat, 3 g Monounsaturated Fat), 0 mg Cholesterol, 330 mg Sodium, 10 g Carbohydrates, 2 g Fiber, 1 g Protein.

Recipe from www.eatingwell.com.

Braised Green Beans & Summer Vegetables

Green BeansIngredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 cup white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 medium summer squash or zucchini, halved and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and oregano and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add wine (or broth) and bring to a boil. Add green beans, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add summer squash (or zucchini) and tomatoes and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.

Recipe makes 6 servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 92 Calories, 4 g Fat (1 g Saturated Fat, 2 g Monounsaturated Fat), 2 mg Cholesterol, 158 mg Sodium, 10 g Carbohydrate, 3 g Fiber, 3 g Protein.

Recipe from www.eatingwell.com.

Grilled Chicken Tenders with Cilantro Pesto

Grilled ChickenIngredients:

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves (1 – 2 bunches)
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Whisk lime juice, soy sauce, oil and chili powder in a large bowl. Reserve two tablespoons of the marinade in a small bowl. Add chicken to the remaining marinade; toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or up to one hour.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  3. Meanwhile, place cilantro, scallions, sesame seeds and the reserved marinade in a food processor and process until fairly smooth.
  4. Oil the grill rack. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill until cooked through. Discard marinade. Serve the chicken with the cilantro-sesame pesto.

Recipe makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 168 Calories, 6 g Fat (1 g Saturated Fat, 3 g Monounsaturated Fat), 63 mg Cholesterol, 299 mg Sodium, 3 g Carbohydrate, 1 g Fiber, 0 g Added Sugars, 24 g Protein.

Recipe from www.eatingwell.com.

Benefits of Grilling

Grilling FoodsStacey Newsletter PicPost Submitted by Stacey Brouk, MS, RD, LD

Did you know that July is celebrated as grilling month? Well, it’s July, so get your grill ready!

You can make LOTS of healthy, delicious meals on the grill. When you grill something, your food doesn’t have a batter coating and it won’t be dripping grease, which can save you lots of calories and help you reach your weight loss goals. Who doesn’t love that? Keep in mind that just because you’re grilling and SOME of the fat contained in the food will be dripped off during cooking doesn’t mean you should choose high-fat items. You still want to make healthy choices for what you grill. Therefore, stick to the old rule of thumb to choose lean meats and remove any visible fat or skins.

Are you worried that you will end up with a dried out piece of chicken if you cook it on the grill? While this can happen, you can significantly reduce the chances by marinating your chicken before grilling it. There are pre-bottled marinades you can get in the grocery store or you can come up with a creative mixture of ingredients to make your own signature marinade. Some popular ingredients used in homemade marinades include lemon juice, lime juice, soy sauce, vinegar, wines, garlic, herbs and spices. Be sure to avoid using too much oil in order to keep the added calories and fat low. If you’re choosing a store bought marinade, check out the label to make sure it’s not going to give you an excessive amount of sugar or fat that you don’t really want!

To round out your meal a bit, throw in some veggies. Have you ever tried grilling your vegetables? If not, I challenge you to try it. Some great veggies for grilling are tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and zucchini. During the summer months, it is rare for me to go more than a week without having grilled bell peppers and onions. Just slice them up, put just a drizzle of fat-free Italian dressing on them and cook them in foil or on a pan on the grill. Yum! Fruits are great on the grill, too. Try pineapple, apples, peaches or watermelon. For a fun spin on things, make kabobs with your favorite veggies, fruits and lean proteins.

Even though there are all sorts of good reasons to fire up the grill, there can be a downside if you aren’t grilling properly. What I’m referring to are the potentially cancer-causing compounds that can form on your food when you grill. These are known as heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s).  While it sounds scary, there are plenty of ways to reduce your exposure to such compounds, so you don’t have to worry about getting cancer from grilling your foods. Marinating foods before grilling helps reduce formation of HCA’s by more than 90%, so marinate, marinate, marinate! Avoid charring your foods. Flipping your foods frequently helps reduce the formation of HCA’s as well. Choose lean foods (which you should be doing anyway) so there is less grease dripping into the bottom of the grill, which reduces the amount of flame-ups and smoke, reducing the PAH’s that ultimately get into your food.

Grilling is a fun way to make meals during these beautiful warm months. You can certainly make healthy meals on the grill – it’s not just for hamburgers, bratwursts and hot dogs, after all! So go marinate some chicken, chop up some veggies and throw them on the grill for a delicious, nutritious meal tonight!

Be Smart About Your Salads


Salad
Stacey Newsletter PicPost Submitted by: Stacey Brouk, MS, RD, LD

Summer is a great time to include salads in your diet. The produce is fresh this time of year and salads are light, refreshing meals, which can be very appealing on a hot summer day. However, you have to make smart choices with your salads because a seemingly healthy salad can easily turn into a high calorie meal if you’re not careful with what you choose to put in it. Here are some tips on how to make sure you get the most nutrition out of your salad without excessive calories.

Include:

  • Lean proteins, such as chicken, tuna, turkey, boiled egg or beans. This will help fill you up and help you meet your protein needs for the day.
  • Fresh veggies, like tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, broccoli and all your favorites. They are low in calories, but full of good-for-you antioxidants and fiber.
  • Fresh fruits. They add a nice kick of sweetness without added sugars .

Limit:

  • Candied Nuts
  • Dried Fruits. For the same number of calories, you could have 2 Tbsp. raisins or 1 cup of grapes. What would you choose?
  • Cheeses
  • Fried chicken
  • Croutons
  • Salad dressings. These can make or break your salad sometimes. Use it in very small amounts and be sure to go with a reduced-fat variety. Rather than pouring it on your salad, dip your fork into the dressing before picking up each bite of salad. You use significantly less dressing, but you still get the taste with every bite.

Chicken Kebabs with Creamy Pesto

SkewersChicken Kebabs with Creamy Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 (1-inch) pieces yellow bell pepper
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 Tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon commercial pesto

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler or grill.
  2. Combine rind, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Toss with bell peppers, tomatoes, chicken and onion. Thread vegetables and chicken onto 4 (12-inch) skewers. Place skewers on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray or place directly on grill that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Broil or grill until chicken is done, turning occasionally.
  3. Combine 1 teaspoon juice, yogurt, sour cream and pesto. Serve sauce with kebabs.

Recipe makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 211 Calories, 7.3 g Total Fat (2.1 g Saturated Fat, 3 g Monounsaturated Fat, 0.7 g Polyunsaturated Fat), 70 mg Cholesterol, 441 mg Sodium, 7 g Carbohydrate, 1.2 g Fiber, 27.9 g Protein.

Recipe from www.myrecipes.com.

Seven-Layer Salad

Seven-Layer Salad

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups shredded Romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes, or quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
  • 3/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 3/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 3 strips cooked turkey bacon, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Place lettuce in a large bowl. Layer peas, bell pepper, tomato, celery and scallions on top.
  2. Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar to taste, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. Spread the dressing evenly over the top of the salad. Sprinkle with cheese, basil and turkey bacon. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Recipe makes 10 servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 84 Calories, 4 g Total Fat, 1 g Saturated Fat, 7 mg Cholesterol, 355 mg Sodium, 10 g Carbohydrate, 2 g Added Sugars, 2 g Fiber, 5 g Protein.

Recipe from www.eatingwell.com.

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