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Jul 28, 2010

6 Common Foods Can Weaken Bones Drastically | Country Cooking Recipes

What you eat plays a big role in whether you're getting the nutrients you need to build strong bones. What might surprise you, though, is that your diet can also play a role in sapping bone strength. Some foods actually leach the minerals right out of the bone, or they block the bone's ability to regrow. Here, the six biggest bone-sappers:

1. Salt

Salt saps calcium from the bones, weakening them over time. For every 2,300 milligrams of sodium you take in, you lose about 40 milligrams of calcium, dietitians say. One study compared postmenopausal women who ate a high-salt diet with those who didn't, and the ones who ate a lot of salt lost more bone minerals. Our American diet is unusually salt-heavy; most of us ingest double the 2,300 milligrams of salt we should get in a day, according to the 2005 federal dietary guidelines.
What to do: The quickest, most efficient way to is to avoid processed foods. Research shows that most Americans get 75 percent of their sodium not from table salt but from processed food. Key foods to avoid include processed and deli meats, frozen meals, canned soup, pizza, fast food such as burgers and fries, and canned vegetables.

2. Soft drinks

Soft drinks pose a double-whammy danger to bones. The fizziness in carbonated drinks often comes from phosphoric acid, which ups the rate at which calcium is excreted in the urine. Meanwhile, of course, soft drinks fill you up and satisfy your thirst without providing any of the nutrients you might get from milk or juice.
What to do: When you're tempted to reach for a cola, instead try milk, calcium- and vitamin D-fortified orange juice, or a fruit smoothie made with yogurt. Or just drink water when you're thirsty, and eat a diet high in bone-building nutrients.

3. Caffeine

The numbers for caffeine aren't as bad as for salt, but caffeine's action is similar, leaching calcium from bones. For every 100 milligrams of caffeine (the amount in a small to medium-sized cup of coffee), you lose 6 milligrams of calcium. That's not a lot, but it can become a problem if you tend to substitute caffeine-containing drinks like iced tea and coffee for beverages that are healthy for bones, like milk and fortified juice.
What to do: Limit yourself to one or two cups of coffee in the morning, then switch to other drinks that don't have caffeine's bone-sapping action. Adding milk to your coffee helps to offset the problem, of course.

4. Vitamin A

In the case of vitamin A, recent research is proving that you really can get too much of a good thing. Found in eggs, full-fat dairy, liver, and vitamin-fortified foods, vitamin A is important for vision and the immune system. But the American diet is naturally high in vitamin A, and most multivitamins also contain vitamin A. So it's possible to get much more than the recommended allotment of 5,000 IUs (international units) a day -- which many experts think is too high anyway.
Postmenopausal women, in particular, seem to be susceptible to vitamin A overload. Studies show that women whose intake was higher than 5,000 IUs had more than double the fracture rate of women whose intake was less than 1,600 IUs a day.
What to do: Switch to low-fat or nonfat dairy products only, and eat egg whites rather than whole eggs (all the vitamin A is in the yolk). Also check your multivitamin, and if it's high in vitamin A, switch to one that isn't.

5. Alcohol

Think of alcohol as a calcium-blocker; it prevents the bone-building minerals you eat from being absorbed. And heavy drinking disrupts the bone remodeling process by preventing osteoblasts, the bone- building cells, from doing their job. So not only do bones become weaker, but when you do suffer a fracture, alcohol can interfere with healing.
What to do: Limit your drinking to one drink a day, whether that's wine, beer, or hard alcohol.

6. Hydrogenated oils

Recent studies have found that the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oil into the solid oils used in commercial baking, destroys the vitamin K naturally found in the oils. Vitamin K is essential for strong bones, and vegetable oils such as canola and olive oil are the second-best dietary source of this key nutrient, after green leafy vegetables. However, the amounts of vitamin K we're talking about are tiny here -- one tablespoon of canola oil has 20 micrograms of K, and one tablespoon of olive oil has 6 micrograms, as compared with 120 micrograms in a serving of spinach.
What to do: If you're eating your greens, you don't need to worry about this too much. If you're a big lover of baked goods like muffins and cookies, bake at home using canola oil when possible, and read labels to avoid hydrogenated oils.

Baked Chicken Tenders | Country Cooking Recipes

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These tasty nuggets are crispy but low in fat because they are baked and not fried! Made with all white meat (as opposed to the usual fillers), they make a healthy fast-food alternative. Serve with ketchup, barbecue sauce or a low-fat ranch dressing mixed with plain yogurt.

Makes 4 servings
Ingredients:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 egg white
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 cup cornflakes, crushed

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare three bowls: one with flour and seasonings, one with egg white and buttermilk stirred together, and one with crushed cornflakes. Cut chicken breasts into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces. Place chicken pieces into bowl and roll in flour mixture. Then, piece by piece, shake off excess flour, dip the chicken into the milk mixture, then coat the pieces with cornflakes. Place chicken on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until golden, turning them halfway through.

Eating for Your Health at a Chinese Restaurant | Country Cooking Recipes

Love Chinese food? Learn to make healthier choices at your favorite restaurant.


inese food is one of the most popular ethnic choices in the U.S. After all, who doesn't love a savory oriental dish topped off with a fortune cookie? But if you want to eat an occasional Chinese meal and still watch your waistline, you should know how to order wisely.
A plate may come loaded with veggies and lean shrimp or chicken. But when portions are too big or there is too much sauce, you can unknowingly be taking in more than half a day's worth of calories (as well as fat and ) sodium in just one meal.

Use the following tips to learn how to enjoy a good Chinese meal without feeling guilty about it afterwards.
Use discipline and plan carefully
Appetizers
Keep in mind that most full orders have enough calories to warrant an entire meal.
Think twice about:
  • Steamed and fried pork dumplings. One dumpling has about 85 calories and 170 mg of sodium.
  • Egg rolls and spare ribs have about 200 mg of sodium per piece, depending on how they're prepared. Egg rolls can also contain anywhere from 200 to 300 calories and 11 to 16 grams of fat.
  • A half cup of fried noodles has about 150 calories.
Instead, consider:
  • One spring roll (100 calories).
  • Soup (100 to 150 calories). Egg drop, wonton and hot and sour are low in fat, but have 1,000 mg of sodium.
  • Steamed veggie dumplings. One will cost you about 65 calories and 185 mg of sodium.
Vegetarian dishesThink twice about:
  • Eggplant in garlic sauce and stir-fried greens (1,000 calories and over 2,000 mg sodium each).
  • Any dish with deep-fried tofu.
Instead, consider:
  • Mixed vegetables or Szechuan string beans have almost half the calories of the above choices. Sodium will be the same.
  • Stir-fried tofu.
  • Steamed veggies, sauce on the side.
Meat and fish dishesThink twice about:
  • Items that are crispy, coated, marinated, twice-cooked or battered.
  • Anything deep-fried or heavy in beef or pork.
  • Lemon chicken (deep fried), General Tso's chicken, moo shoo pork, beef and broccoli, and orange crispy beef.
  • Dishes with nuts. Although healthy in moderation, restaurants sometimes use excess amounts.
Instead, consider:
  • Steamed dishes, especially if you have high blood pressure. Steamed chicken, shrimp or fish with steamed vegetables.
  • Any shrimp dish (not fried), Moo goo gai pan, chicken chow mein or chicken with black bean sauce. These range from 500 to 700 calories, although they carry over 2,000 mg of sodium.
Noodles and fried rice
These are often high in refined carbohydrates.
Think twice about:
  • Chicken chow mein and any lo mein dish. They have about 1100-1500 calories and 2700-3600 mg of sodium.
  • Fried rice - just one cup has 320 calories and 12 grams of fat.
Instead, consider:
  • One cup of steamed rice (200 calories, no fat or sodium). Brown is best.
Extra savvy strategies
  • Use chopsticks. Most of the fat and calories are actually found in the sauce. Pluck your food out with chopsticks and mix with steamed rice for extra savings. This also slows down your eating.
  • Go easy on dipping sauces, such as soy and duck sauce. Many are high in sodium and/or sugar.
  • Speak up! Most restaurants are happy to accommodate. Ask for extra veggies, less red meat and oil.
  • Share. Many main dishes and appetizers can feed two to three people. Or bring home a doggy bag.
  • Combine and conquerOrder one steamed dish and mix it with a non-fried dish and steamed rice. This will cut the fat, calories and sodium in half when you share it, while getting the flavor of the sauce.


Kids' Menus are Friendly, but Fatty | Country Cooking Recipes

Thank goodness for your local table-service chain restaurants. They are relatively cheap, the kids love them and you don't have to cook that night.
But there is one drawback. Many kids' meals typically have enough calories, fat and salt to rival the average adult-size meal at a fast food restaurant.

Taking a close look


Take a peek at any chain restaurant kid's fare, and what you see looks eerily similar to your favorite drive-thru options. The kids' menus are guaranteed to please little palates: French fries, chicken fingers, cheeseburgers and pizza. But some portions are so large that an adult would have to order a sirloin steak, a large order of fries and three pats of butter to match the fat and calories.
A recent study actually compared the nutrition profile between fast food and non-fast food restaurants. They concluded that fast food restaurants offer smaller servings, so they have fewer calories and less total fat, saturated fat and carbohydrates than their restaurant counterparts.
Making healthier choices


The fact is, eating out is no longer a special occasion, but more a way of life. In that regard, parents need to be more selective about what their children are eating. This is especially true if kids are going to be eating out three or more times a week.
The better news is that some restaurants are reworking their children's menus. They're adding healthier fare, such as broccoli, grapes, carrots and grilled chicken. This is in response to reports that obesity rates in children have doubled since 1980.
But until you see healthier options at all restaurants, you'll need to be creative when dining out. Your kids deserve a shot at a nutritious meal just as much as you do. Here are some suggestions:
Pare down portions.


 Restaurants put enough food in their kids' meals for children with the biggest: appetites 12-year-old boys. Unless you're dining with one, there's probably too much food. Split a kids' meal between two children 6 and under and order an extra beverage.
Substitute. 


Ask if the restaurant would grill those chicken strips instead of frying them. Ask if you can substitute a vegetable, baked potato, rice or applesauce for the fries. Choose low-fat milk instead of soda or fruit punch.
Order an "adult" appetizer for your child's main dish,


 or check out the soup selections, such as bean, veggie or chicken noodle. Or order an entrée and share it. Adult portions are usually more than generous anyway. Splitting the entrée between two kids also works well.
Try an ethnic restaurant.


 Consider ordering a few dishes family-style and share. Try less spicy ones for starters. This is a good way to introduce your child to new foods.
In the meantime, keep pushing for restaurants to list nutrition info on the menu. Then you can navigate through the minefield of calories and fat to find the healthy options - for yourself and your kids.




Eating Healthy | Country Cooking Recipes

Do you struggle to eat healthy when dining out? Considering that most Americans dine out at least four times a week, its important to know how to navigate the menu and make nutritious choices. Though sometimes it's fun to splurge, doing so too often can wreak havoc on your health and your waistline.
How about some sample ideas to get you started? Following are some suggestions for breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizers, drinks and desserts that most restaurants will be able to accommodate. As you will see, you can still dine out, eat healthy AND have an enjoyable meal at the same time.
Breakfast
  • Fresh fruit or a small glass of citrus or tomato juice
  • Whole-grain bread, bagel or English muffin with a touch of jelly
  • Whole-grain cereal with sliced banana and low-fat or nonfat milk
  • Oatmeal with nonfat milk and fruit
  • Vegetable omelet made with egg whites or egg substitute
  • Two-egg (instead of 3-egg) vegetable omelet
  • Two poached or scrambled eggs with whole-wheat toast (with butter on the side) and fruit
  • Nonfat or low-fat yogurt

Lunch
  • Salads with lots of fresh, colorful vegetables; a serving of lean protein (skinless chicken, turkey, hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, roast beef) and a spoonful of beans. A large spoonful of marinated vegetables or marinated three-bean salad can serve as your dressing.
  • Sandwiches made with lean meats on whole-wheat bread or wraps. Add lettuce and tomato.
  • Large bowl of bean or vegetable soup. Good choices include pasta fagioli, minestrone, chicken and vegetable, mushroom barley, beef and barley, lentil and split pea (without ham).
  • Pizza with extra vegetable toppings and half the cheese. Forget the high-fat meats.
Beverages
  • Water with lemon.
  • Flavored sparkling water (non-caloric).
  • Juice spritzer (half fruit juice and half sparkling water).
  • Iced tea, unsweetened.
  • Tomato juice (reduced sodium).
  • Limit alcohol, which is very high in calories and can prevent you from making healthy food choices.
Appetizers
  • Shrimp or crab cocktail (limit cocktail sauce if watching sodium).
  • Steamed seafood (clams, mussels, etc). Don't dredge in butter.
  • Melons or fresh fruit.
  • Bean or vegetable soups.
  • Salads. Ask for reduced-fat dressing, or dressing on the side and use just a little. Lemon juice or vinegar adds no calories.

Entrées
  • Grilled chicken and fish.
  • Pasta with red sauce or with vegetables (primavera). Avoid cream sauce. Ask for extra veggies and less pasta. Watch portions.
  • Look for lower-fat, grilled or broiled entrées. Other good choices include those that are steamed, poached, roasted or baked in their own juices.
  • Ask for sauces and dressings on the side.
  • Limit the amount of butter, margarine and salt.
  • Breaded, batter-dipped and tempura all mean fried, which means heavy in fat.
  • Watch out for croissants, biscuits, quiches and pastries. Pick hard rolls, bread sticks, French bread or whole-wheat buns.
  • For sauces, stick to wine or thinned, stock-based sauces. Avoid heavy butter sauces.
Salads/salad bars
  • Fresh greens, lettuce and spinach.
  • Fresh vegetables, including tomato, mushrooms, carrots, cucumbers,peppers, onions, radishes, broccoli.
  • Beans, chickpeas and kidney beans (not mixed in dressing).
  • Dressings. Drizzle a small amount of balsamic or other vinaigrette and stretch with vinegar and/or lemon juice.
  • Instead of dressing, pick a marinated salad. Use marinated mushrooms,artichoke hearts or cucumbers and tomatoes. Mix a large spoonful through salad.
Sides
  • Ask for sides without butter or margarine.
  • Ask for a steamed vegetable to go with your entrée.
  • Ask for mustard, salsa or low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream or butter.
  • Have a baked potato instead of French fries.
Dessert/coffee
  • Fresh fruit.
  • Nonfat frozen yogurt.
  • Sherbet or fruit sorbet. Ask for a small portion. They can be high in sugar and calories, but are usually low in fat.
  • Share a dessert.
  • Ask for low-fat milk for your coffee.

Stovetop Tuna Mac | Country Cooking Recipes

Macaroni and cheese is one of America’s favorite comfort foods, and when you toss in a can of tuna, you’ll surely have the gang rushing to the dinner table. Plus, it’s easy on the wallet.

Stovetop Tuna Mac


Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 package macaroni and cheese dinner
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 can (6-ounce) can white tuna, drained and flaked
  • 8 buttery crackers, coarsely crushed
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan prepare the macaroni and cheese dinner according to package directions, adding the frozen mixed vegetables to the boiling macaroni in water for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain and return the macaroni and vegetables to the saucepan.
     
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients as directed on the package; mix well. Stir in the tuna, sprinkle the crushed crackers over the top, and serve.


compliments: mr food

Taco Potato Salad | Country Cooking Recipes

Potato salad lovers will rejoice in this novel twist on a favorite cold summer salad. Boasting a fiesta of flavors, our Taco Potato Salad is sure to be the talk of your patio party.

Taco Potato Salad
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds white potatoes
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 (1.25-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions (green onions)
  • 1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 cup coarsely crushed ranch-flavored tortilla chips
Instructions
  1. Place potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook 20 to 25 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain and let cool.
     
  2. In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise and taco seasoning; mix well.
     
  3. Cut cooled potatoes into chunks and place in a large bowl. Add mayonnaise mixture and remaining ingredients to potatoes and mix until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.