Eating fresh means knowing when to dump old food too

Heart-healthy approaches to eating usually emphasize eating a lot of fresh, rather than processed, foods. That means your refrigerator should be stocked with fresh produce, fresh fish and fresh chicken, depending on your tastes.

Start with white meat chicken. Cut it into bite-sized cubes.
How long can you keep chicken in your refrigerator, even after you’ve frozen it? Check this list.

But how long can you keep those before they start to spoil, even in the refrigerator?

WebMD has a handy illustrated guide, although the first thing that struck me about it is that we shouldn’t be eating many fo the items covered here — like deli meats, Mayonnaise, butter, most high-fat ground beef and cheese. Continue reading “Eating fresh means knowing when to dump old food too”

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Some happy talk about the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet has become a favorite of nutritionists in recent years, especially for those with heart and other ailments. Now a new study that looked at a lot of earlier studies thinks it also can help mood.

Veggie plates are common in Italy, why can’t U.S. places offer the same?

“The evidence so far pointed to the idea that the foods we eat can make a difference in lowering our risk of depression, even though there is no solid clinical proof yet,” reports the BBC in detailing the new study in Molecular Psychiatry. The study reviewed 41 studies published within the last eight years. Continue reading “Some happy talk about the Mediterranean Diet”

Don’t be taken in but these food buzzwords

Food processors are getting the message that today’s consumer, especially millennials, want to eat healthier and won’t shop in traditional stores unless they change their product mix to reflect that.

Think anything that says whole grain is healthy? Think again.

But rather than simply make healthier products, some processors have turned to buzzwords that appear to mean healthier while not actually conveying anything healthy about a given food. Don’t be taken in by these terms, read labels and actually study what is in a product before buying it.

Here’s a list from Cooking Light Continue reading “Don’t be taken in but these food buzzwords”

Deli shop much? You shouldn’t, but if you do, check this list

It’s literally been years since I regularly shopped in the deli section of a supermarket. The processed meats there are loaded with salt and fat plus other additives most people, not just those of us with heart issues, should avoid.

But if you still get the urge once and awhile, at least avoid the worst of the worst. WebMD recently posted this Best and Worst Choices From the Deli Section.

Among the best– rotisserie chicken, low-sodium turkey breast, roasted vegetables, bean or lentil salad, coleslaw (the kind without mayo), veggie Quiche and sushi with brown rice.

No more bologna for me, bye-bye old friend.

I’d avoid some of those as well because of high salt content.  I once had a long conversation with cooks at Mariano’s, an upscale chain here in Chicago which specializes in prepared foods and has large buffets in its stores, and was told all their offerings would be considered high in salt content for someone like me. Continue reading “Deli shop much? You shouldn’t, but if you do, check this list”

Pasta, swordfish, eggplant — if you like all those, try this

Pasta is always a favorite for me, although these days I eat only multigrain pasta because of my heart issues. I normally make my own tomato sauce to avoid high-salt processed alternatives. But occasionally, I’ll try something without a traditional tomato sauce, like this fun-sounding dish, Sicilian Swordfish Pasta With Eggplant and Tomatoes.

Rigatoni with swordfish, eggplant and tomatoes.
Rigatoni with swordfish, eggplant and tomatoes.

Swordfish is a relatively healthy fish when it comes to the type of fat it contains, but eating large amounts of it could cause other problems since it’s a fish that can contain high levels of mercury (sorry, every food seems to have its ups and downs healthwise doesn’t it).

The recipe is fairly simple to make.

Step 1: Fry the Eggplant
Step 2: Infuse Oil With Garlic
Step 3: Add Swordfish and Cook
Step 4: Add Tomatoes, Wine, and Herbs
Step 5: Add Eggplant, Then Finish

For all the details, simply click here to go to the site where I found this recipe.

Restaurant review: Five & Dime had bar food, but a surprise or two

Rooftop bars and restaurants are having their moment in Chicago these days, with people willing to pay up for expensive drinks that come with views of the city skyline.

My Chicago suburb has its own entry in the rooftop derby, albeit not one that looks at the skyline of Chicago. Five and Dime is mostly outdoor dining above two other restaurant below it. My brother-in-law wanted to go there for his recent birthday dinner.

Looking at the menu on-line, something I do whenever I go out to eat so I can search ahead for any low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar offerings, the only thing I saw that might possibly be ok for me was a salmon grilled with charred lemon, farro & quinoa, tomato, basil, olive oil for $23.75.

My poke at Five and Dime
My poke at Five and Dime

Grilled salmon tends to be my go-to at most upscale restaurants and I usually ask for it without whatever sauce or butter mixture they try to put on it.

But it gets tiring to have salmon every time I eat out, so I decided to try something else, a poke bowl with Ahi tuna sashimi over steamed rice, sesame seaweed salad, vegetables, spicy Kewpie aioli, tobiko & a big tempura shrimp for $16.75.

Poke bowls are another culinary hotspot these days, but I’ve read they can be unhealthy, primarily because many are loaded with white rice which I’ve been told by nutritionists not to eat. Sushi rice, often used in poke bowls, also contains more sugar, another reason to avoid it.

But the thought of some fresh ahi tuna applied to me, so I tried the Poke at Five and Dime. I was pleasantly surprised, first because there was not a massive amount of rice in it.

The tuna was fresh and tasty, I had the aioli brought on the side and didn’t eat it after tasting how spicy, and likely salty, it was. The seaweed was tasty, although I worry if there was salt on it. The pieces of cucumber were fresh and unadorned which was fine with me.

Did it fill me up? No, not really, but it was good. The birthday boy, meanwhile, got a big slab of ribs while my wife went with barbecued brisket. Neither healthy but they smelled and looked so good.

My wife’s brisket and fries.

Summer grilling: chicken breast, corn and asparagus

I’ve been blogging this week about easy summer grilling meals that also are low in salt, fat and sugar. Today’s pick is chicken breast topped with a low-salt, low-sugar barbecue sauce like the LocalFolks variety I buy.

Chicken breast is easy to overcook, especially if you worry about killing any harmful germs or bacteria it might carry. But overcooked chicken can be dry and rubbery. I finally found a guide that says cook a breast three minutes per side and use a meat thermometer to be sure it’s properly done inside. Continue reading “Summer grilling: chicken breast, corn and asparagus”