Put your carved jack-o’-lantern on your porch, but please pass along its seeds to your plate! Those tiny ovals will obtain an irresistible crunch upon roasting, meaning they have no place in the trashcan.
They’re also scary good for you. Legend has it that jack-o’-lanterns originated as a means to ward off evil spirits. However, we’re starting to think it’s the pumpkin seeds that deserve most of the credit for scaring off death. You see, pumpkin seeds contain a solid 150mg of magnesium per ounce. Research shows that meeting the recommended daily value of magnesium (442mg/day) is highly associated with a reduced risk of death. (That’s a 34% risk reduction for overall mortality, 59% reduction in cardiovascular death & a 37% reduction in cancer death, according to this study. Woah!)
In addition to that magical magnesium, pumpkin seeds are packed with protein, fiber, and heart healthy fat. This all makes them an incredibly satisfying snack — especially when you add a little salt and curry powder to the mix.
We’ve got the recipe below that shows you how to do just that, so get ready to go save your seeds and take them to the table.
If you’re headed to de-stress in the sand anytime over these last few weeks of summer, we’ve got a bunch of snack ideas for you that are heavy on nutrition yet light on calories. These will swim you away from the pizza, ice cream, funnel cakes, and other beach fare that are likely to crash a tidal wave down on your beach body. Use these smarter choices to keep those temptations at bay. Below find five, 100-calorie bites for the beach:
Since 40+ million Americans eat pizza on any given day, we decided it’s time to turn one of the nation’s favorite junk foods into a meal with more merit. Your average slice packs in more fat, sodium and refined “bad” carbs than can ever be claimed healthy. Enter the deep dish arena and you run the risk of piling 770 calories onto your plate in just one slice. Yikes!
Luckily, pizza has the potential to be an award-winning meal if you power it up with the right ingredients and give its crust some care. In fact, it presents the perfect platform to load up on summer veggies, which you’ll see in many of the recipes included below. Let your mood and your meal help you choose which to try first!
8 recipes to power up your pizza:
Packed with vitamin C and containing 95% water, cucumbers are a LifeVest summer favorite. Thinly sliced with some onions, and a splash of oil and vinegar, and they easily become a refreshing side that won’t weigh down the rest of your meal. Make that same plate a snack, and it won’t weigh you down either.
Luckily, cukes run rampant in gardens this time of year, so there’s plenty of them to both snack on and lighten up pasta recipes like this. Here, their crispness compliments creamy, roasted eggplant that gets tossed with an Asian sesame sauce over soba.
Soba is a type of noodle made from buckwheat flour, which gives it a nutty flavor and also boosts it with protein. Lower in calories than traditional pasta, we love it as a way to add some variety to pasta night, especially when working with Asian flavors. Be sure to look for “100% buckwheat” on the package to get the most nutritional benefits. We recommend Eden, our go-to brand.
By Emma Fogt, MBA, MS, RD, LDN, FAND
Have you ever heard of Swai (pronounced “swy”)? It’s a white fish popping up a lot now in grocery stores and at local fishmongers. It’s similar to a milder version of catfish, with sweet and flakey filets that come at an affordable price.
Swai is river-farmed, mostly in Vietnam, as is considered a sustainability-friendly fish that provides high quality protein at a highly attractive price. At $7.99 a pound you can’t beat Swai at the market when you compare it to the $14.99-$19.99/lb of most other fish. Its trendy filets are also light in calories, weighing in at only 25 calories per ounce. That one ounce will also contain a full five grams of protein, meaning a six-ounce serving size will bring 30 grams of protein to your plate. That’s all at the cost of just 150 calories.
Swai is also a holder of omega-3s, containing approximately 110mg of the heart healthy fats per ounce. While not as high as the 500 mg found in wild herring, salmon and mackerel, it still brings a significant contribution to the daily recommendation of 500 mg/day.
Following is a simple preparation that draws upon the fish’s natural sweetness. Worried about fishy smells wafting into the air? The secret is to utilize a milk base. I kid you not, the milk in this recipe will lightly cook the fish and provide moisture all around, while also reducing both fishy odors and the tendency to have a dry filet on your plate.
If you prefer not to use butter, swap it for extra virgin olive oil, a heart healthy substitution that’s equally delicious. To go lighter on calories, cut the fat in half to just 1 tablespoon. Serve alongside a whole grain rice pilaf, couscous or quinoa, along with a simply steamed green vegetable such as asparagus, broccoli, or green beans.
Beans are an excellent source of both fiber and protein. On average, just ½ cup holds the same amount protein as an ounce of meat. As for their fiber, beans have been shown to help lower cholesterol and keep blood sugars even, which is important for weight control and overall health.
In fact, in a new study shows, participants who ate ¾ cup of legumes per day reduced their LDL (bad cholesterol) levels by about 5 percent. Researchers suggest that this could reduce heart attacks and other major cardiovascular events by 5-6 percent.
Our hearts tell us it’s time to bring you a bean-filled recipe to fuel up and use for today’s Meatless Monday. This colorful and easy salad comes from wellness and nutrition expert, Emma Fogt, MBA, MS, RD, LDN, FAND. She suggests making it a day in advance and allowing the flavors to marinade, then serving with a green salad, and grilled salmon or chicken.
Coming down with a case of the winter blues? You’re not alone. Whether mild or far-reaching, cabin fever falls upon many of us once February strikes. The new novelty of winter is long gone, and its end still feels many weeks away.
With winter in full throttle, it’s more important than ever to fill up on warming, healthy eats. A healthy body leads to a happy mind, and much of this starts at the dinner table.
What we’re bringing to our dinner plate this week? This Winter Squash & Quinoa with Curry Lime Vinaigrette from Food-Fitness-FreshAir. Quinoa is a rich source of whole grain protein and has just under 225 calories per cup cooked.
Curry is also a powerhouse, largely due to the turmeric it contains. Numerous studies have shown the spice can help prevent everything from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer.
Fill your bowl with both quinoa and curry from the recipe that follows, and say hello to a colorful display free of any winter shades of blue. Check out the recipe here.