Blog Posts by The Editors of EatingWell Magazine

  • Presidential favorites get a healthy boost

    Pulled Pork SandwichesPulled Pork SandwichesSince I'm totally obsessed with election coverage and food, I've been wondering about the candidates' favorite foods. I know McCain and Obama are busy campaigning, so I don't expect their campaigns to return my calls and emails, but in the meantime, I did a little digging and found in no particular order the candidates' favorite eats (and suggestions for healthier versions of their faves).

    It turns out that Barack Obama is a comfort food guy. (Maybe not a big surprise for a Midwestern dweller?) His wife, Michelle told Paula Deen that her husband's favorite grub is a steaming bowl of chili, I discovered when reading an Associated Press article. If we were going to cook for Obama, we'd put a low-calorie, high-fiber spin on this classic dish and make him a rib-sticking bowl of our Beef & Bean Chile Verde served with all the fixin's-reduced-fat sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, chopped scallions and chopped fresh tomatoes.

    John McCain likes his meat. His favorite food is baby

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  • Ditch Hamburger Helper. Hamburger Buddy is better and healthier

    Healthy Hamburger BuddyHealthy Hamburger BuddyOne of my favorite things to do is take classic comfort foods and make healthier EatingWell versions of them. It's a passion I share with my sister Katie, who also works for EatingWell. So, she suggested, why don't we try to make a simple one-skillet spin on Hamburger Helper? Katie developed this recipe for Hamburger Buddy with picky eaters in mind.

    Her goal was to make a family-friendly recipe that incorporated plenty of vegetables, and one that tasted enough like the original that even picky kids would be excited to eat it. And, with inexpensive ingredients like pasta and beef, this dish is still a good cheap dinner option.

    Here's what Katie did to give Hamburger Helper a healthy makeover:

    • As with many of our healthy ground-beef recipes, she chose 90%-lean ground beef for this dish. She decided on 90%-lean, after testing the recipe with beef of different degrees of leanness, because it offered the best balance between flavor and health. The 90%-lean beef is considered
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  • Love spuds? Stuff 'em.

    Loaded Twice-Baked PotatoesLoaded Twice-Baked PotatoesPotatoes, and most carbs, got a bad rap during the meaty, fatty Atkins Diet craze. Spuds also get dissed because they are a high-glycemic food. Luckily I haven't been swayed by all the hype-I know that potatoes are rich in vitamin C, potassium and offer some fiber, especially when eaten with the skin on.

    That's good news to me because potatoes are one of my favorite foods. I love them prepared in every way-roasted, steamed and mashed. But give me one stuffed, twice-baked potato loaded with broccoli and ground beef, and topped with melted Cheddar, and I swoon.

    These Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes make it to your plate in just 40 minutes and, when served with a salad, are a filling quick dinner. Think of baked potatoes as nature's mini casseroles: an edible dish that can hold up to a hearty stuffing. Russets have just the right balance to make a perfect twice-baked potato: enough starch to keep their structure, enough moisture to endure the double cooking.

    Loaded

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  • Better than takeout. Make Chinese favorites cheaper and healthier at home.

    Sichuan-Style Chicken with PeanutsSichuan-Style Chicken with PeanutsBefore I moved to Vermont, I had a weakness for Chinese food. I lived in San Francisco and when I headed for home from working late, I was exhausted. I'd order Chinese takeout from one of dozens of delicious local Chinese restaurants and chow down.

    Now, since I don't live near any good Chinese restaurants, I turned to making some of my favorites like Sichuan-Style Chicken with Peanuts at home (see recipe below). The silver lining is that I can make healthier versions of Chinese-restaurant classics, with perfect fresh produce, and I get to eat them when they're hot and sizzling straight out of my wok. (Scallop & Shrimp Dumplings and Kung Pao Tofu turn out really well too.)

    I'm not the only one who would benefit from making healthier Chinese food at home. EatingWell's recipe for Sweet & Sour Chicken was developed for a family who needed a little help eating healthier and avoiding the Chinese-takeout trap. Their story, and more than 175 of our favorite comfort-food recipes,

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  • Can apples get any healthier?

    Apple ConfitApple ConfitI've heard the phrase "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" more times than I care to count. But being the science nerd I am, I won't believe it until I see it-the scientific evidence, that is. (Frankly, I'm such a geek that I practically want my doctor to give me an annotated bibliography if I'm going to follow any health advice.)

    An article we published in EatingWell's October 2008 issue by author Joyce Hendley convinced me to load up on apples. Hendley writes about the science supporting this age-old phrase. Read the complete story for yourself or check out these highlights:

    • Apples may help protect you from metabolic syndrome-a cluster of symptoms related to an increased risk of heart disease, suggests a recent study that analyzed data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In the survey, people who reported eating any form of apples within the past day were 27 percent less likely to have symptoms of metabolic syndrome-like high blood pressure
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  • Save time, stuff a mushroom

    I've seen Shirley Conran, author of Superwoman, quoted as saying "Life is too short to stuff a mushroom." Although I agree that time is precious, I love a stuffed mushroom as much as the next person, which is why I love these easy, quick and incredibly delicious Tomato & Olive Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps (recipe below).

    Whether mushrooms are served as a side dish or the main event, their meaty texture is very satisfying. Plus they contain nutrients like potassium, copper, niacin and selenium, so they're good for you too. In fact EatingWell recently reported on research that found that inexpensive, white button mushrooms have as much antioxidant power as other (sometimes pricier, more exotic) mushrooms.

    The variety of fresh mushrooms available in supermarkets is on the upswing. Here are a few recipes using common varieties of mushrooms available in most large supermarkets.

    1. Shiitake mushrooms have a meaty texture and flavor and are brown with umbrella-shaped caps.

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  • Pasta: the best food for cheap meals

    Pasta is quite possibly the best food for making cheap meals. For less than $2, you can buy a pound of pasta. (If you hit a supermarket sale right, you might spend as little as 79 cents.) Since two ounces of pasta is a serving size, you'll get four meals for two out of the deal.

    Not to get all healthy on you, but if you haven't made the switch yet, it's time to start buying whole-wheat pasta. The thought of it might make you gag, but it's actually good! Quite honestly, once you put a full-flavor sauce on it, you can't taste the difference anyway. And you'll get a couple more grams of fiber per serving if you make the switch. (If you need some good-tasting suggestions, check out the winners of EatingWell's whole-wheat pasta challenge taste test.)

    Even though heating up a jar of marinara sauce is convenient, why not make a fresh, healthy and more delicious pasta recipe? Here are three yummy dinners to try:

    1. Penne with Vodka Sauce & Capicola is one of my go-to recipes.

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  • Can you eat to beat breast cancer?

    I need two hands to count the number of my friends and colleagues who learned in the past year or so they have breast cancer. I shouldn't be surprised; after skin cancer, it's the most common cancer women face.

    Even women with extensive health knowledge, who seem to get everything right, get cancer. We know there are some things we can't control. We can't change risk factors like our family history; scientists predict that just over one-quarter of breast-cancer risk is due to inherited factors. But it's clear that eating well is part of doing everything you can to tip the odds in your favor.

    So what can we do (or not do) to lower our risk? For perspective, I checked in with colleagues who are experts in cancer and nutrition. Here are 5 simple strategies:

    1. Eat soyfoods, not supplements

    In countries like China and Japan where soyfoods are commonly eaten, breast-cancer rates are among the lowest in the world-and one analysis of 18 studies found that eating soyfoods,

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  • Cheaper by the dozen

    Quick Breakfast TacoWith the country's financial woes putting a crimp in my (and everyone else's) fun money, I've decided to cut costs and get healthier by cooking at home. Eating out less is definitely an easy way to save money, particularly when meals are composed around inexpensive main ingredients, like eggs.

    When I went to the store this morning, a dozen eggs cost $2.89 (although if you go buy local, free-range, organic, etc., a dozen might cost you up to $5). Consider a serving to be 1 to 2 eggs (depending on how you use them), so you'll get at least three meals for two people out of a dozen. A pretty good value, and they make delicious meals any time of day. Here are some ideas:

    BREAKFAST

    • A smaller cousin of the breakfast burrito, this Quick Breakfast Taco made with reduced-fat Cheddar is a satisfying and healthy breakfast option.

    Quick Breakfast Taco

    2 corn tortillas
    1 tablespoon salsa
    2 tablespoons shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
    2 eggs or 1/2 cup liquid

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  • Mom’s meatloaf made healthy

    MeatloafMeatloaf is a standard in my mom's cooking repertoire. When I was a kid she made it often for dinner, using "meatloaf mix," an inexpensive blend of ground beef, pork and veal. Her meatloaf (like all meatloaves) was true comfort food-easy to make, delicious and satisfying.

    What's not to love? Well, not much really except that "meatloaf mixes" are usually higher in saturated fat than is healthy. And her meatloaf was bound with white bread-which is a missed opportunity to add healthy whole grains.

    These days meatloaf isn't just good home-cooking, it's been popping up on the menus of trendy restaurants across the country. I don't make my mom's "original" meatloaf at home, but I do make healthier versions, like this meatloaf recipe from our new cookbook, Comfort Foods Made Healthy.

    This recipe uses one of my all-time favorite makeover ingredients, bulgur. Bulgur is great because you can add it in place of some ground beef in things like burgers, meatloaf, meatballs or

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