Sadly no surprise here, people pin healthy recipes but cook unhealthy ones

The road to healthy eating is paved with good intentions, at least when it comes to Pinterest. A new study by George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services found people are pinning healthy recipes on Pinterest. But when it comes to what they’re actually cooking and eating, unhealthy recipes win out.

“It’s an interesting discrepancy between what pinners posted/liked and how users actually consumed the information,” said Hong Xue, PhD, who led the study.

“Pinners are more likely to post recipes that are socially rewarded with likes and repins. They are more likely to adhere to an elite social norm set by celebrities and influencers promoting healthier, low-calorie, clean eating. But when it comes to the recipes users are more interested in making food high in fat, sugar, and high calories. We see a very different picture. They’re commenting on and posting finished dish photos of the less healthy recipes.”

This disconnect might have shocked naïve university students, but those of us who have been writing about food a long time are not surprised. People talk a good game when it comes to healthy eating but few actually carry through on it consistently.

Take a look at our slide show and tell me which dishes appeal more to you, the healthy ones or the fried, unhealthy ones?

  • Splurge on the garlic fries at Safeco Field. They were a garlic-lover's dream.
  • My Chinese birthday dinner, egg rolls, crab rangoon, Mongolian beef. Not shown was the fried rice.

One-Pot Garlicky Shrimp & Spinach — leave out the salt and enjoy

Shrimp recipes are a favorite of mine but I have to keep in mind that shrimp are high in salt, 111mgs per 100 grams of shrimp, or about a fifth of a pound. Few people will sit down and eat a pound of shrimp, but half a pound isn’t all that much and it has about 244 mgs of salt.

One-pot garlicky shrimp

So with that in mind, you don’t need to add salt to a shrimp recipe. Take this one, called One-Pot Garlicky Shrimp & Spinach. It’s ingredients are fairly straight-forward:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 medium cloves garlic, sliced, divided
1 pound spinach
¼ teaspoon salt plus 1/8 teaspoon, divided
1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 pound shrimp (21-30 count), peeled and deveined
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

You can easily leave out the salt and still have a very tasty dish. For the entire recipe, click here.

The nutrition info for this, with the salt added is:

Serving Size: 1 Cup Per Serving: 226 calories; protein 26.4g; carbohydrates 6.1g; dietary fiber 2.7g; sugars 0.7g; fat 11.6g; saturated fat 1.7g; cholesterol 182.6mg; vitamin a iu 10760.1IU; vitamin c 37mg; folate 222.5mcg; calcium 195.8mg; iron 3.8mg; magnesium 131.4mg; potassium 962.8mg; sodium 444mg. Exchanges:
3 Lean Protein, 2 Fat, 1 Vegetable

Pandemic shopping: food prices continue higher, expect more of the same

We reported last year on predictions that food prices would be rising this year and data so far bear out that prediction.

U.S. food prices in April rose 0.4% as overall consumer prices were up 0.8% month-to-month.

“Food prices increased 0.4%, lifted by rises in the cost of fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meats, fish and eggs. Households also paid more to dine out. But gasoline prices fell 1.4% after accelerating 9.1% in March,” reported Reuters.

And before you start thinking about some conspiracy theory against your least favorite politicians for all this, maybe pick up a basic economics book first.

Demand for everything skyrocketed last year as people were forced to stay home and actually cook, or at least defrost and microwave, their own meals rather than going out. Higher demand ran into smaller supplies thanks to difficulties transporting and processing food during the pandemic. When demand rises while supplies remain stable or decrease, prices are bound to rise as well.

The answer in this environment is to be a bargain shopper. If you already look for deals start looking harder.

When you see expensive proteins on sale, stock up and freeze items for future use. Buy bulk packages and repackage into usable portions for yourself. And if your local supermarket has any kind of special contests or deals going on, take advantage of them

Glance as the receipt I have pictured here, you can see I save a sizable amount (46%) when I use all the deals I can find in any given week.

Make these chicken tenders a little healthier with some ingredient swaps

Americans eat way too much breaded, fried food, probably because we find it the tastiest food out there. But when you’re trying to eat healthier, you can modify some old recipes to get the worst of the worst out of them while not forsaking everything you love.

Seeing this BBQ Chicken Tenders recipe reminded me of that.

Ingredients for my barbecue garlic chicken.
Ingredients for my barbecue garlic chicken.

It calls for lots of barbecue sauce, which is normally high in salt and sugar, as well as seasoned bread crumbs which are also normally high in salt. These are barbecued, not fried, so they have that going for them.

I’d suggest you use Localfolks salt-free barbecue sauce, or another low-salt, low-sugar brand if you can find one, and panko breadcrumbs low in salt (check the package, not all panko is created equal when it comes to salt.

Salmon is a must-have for health eating, so treat it right. Here are some tips

Salmon has replaced red meat to a large extent in my diet since my first angioplasty in 2012 brought about a radical rethinking to my eating habits. My recipe page has a hot of salmon recipes you can try.

In another sheet of aluminum foil, place your four pieces of salmon and separate with aluminum foil. Then rub in marinades for each.
Grilling salmon is a luscious experience.

But like any food, salmon not cooked properly can be a disaster, so I was interested in reading This One Mistake Can Completely Ruin Baked Salmon on myrecipes.,com

The headline is a bit misleading because while the piece does say don’t overcook or undercook salmon (that’s the worst mistake), it also lays out some important details to cook salmon properly such as:

  • Don’t cook it cold, let it reach room temperature first.
  • Cook it in an oven at 400 degrees
  • Use a shallow dish or a shallow oven-proof skillet to cook it to allow for good airflow around the fish.
  • Let it rest before cutting/serving.

Remembering those should help you to become a salmon master in no time.

Pandemic Gardening: Here’s some tips for planting in pots

The Pandemic has changed American behavior in countless ways, but one healthy aspect of it has been that people started growing more of their own food.

Pandemic vegetable gardens sprang up across the country last year and it’s likely people already are planting again for this summer. Here’s a good piece for those with little space who rely on big pots for their planting, 10 Vegetables That Thrive in Pots, No Garden Required.

To be fair, I don’t know if I consider herbs and edible flowers as vegetables, but the story does list others like lettuce, tomatoes, kale and even min eggplants. And there is one I never heard of, cucamelons, also known as mouse melons.

The pandemic prompted me to clear out some space on the side of our house for a new raised garden this spring. I’ve planted it with green beans, which can grow even in shady spots such as where the garden is.

So even apartment dwellers whose only outside space might be a terrace can get into the gardening movement, enjoy.

Cholesterol and Heart-Health: Not Nearly as Simple as We’d Like It To Be

Keep your cholesterol numbers down, particularly the “bad” cholesterol, and you’ll keep your heart healthy…at least that’s what we’d like to think. Sadly, Americans constant search for easy answers about eating and good health gravitate to simple solutions that, most of the time, are simply wrong.

That goes for cholesterol too, according to this article entitled What everyone gets wrong about cholesterol in food on Cnn.com.

The biggest issue, the article notes, “the amount of cholesterol in your food doesn’t necessarily translate to the amount of cholesterol in your blood vessels..”

To elaborate, the article goes on:

‘”Eating foods rich in cholesterol does increase blood cholesterol, usually by a small, but still significant amount,” explained Dr. Stephen Devries, a preventive cardiologist and executive director of the educational nonprofit Gaples Institute in Deerfield, Illinois. But the effect of eating foods that contain a lot of cholesterol “may not be as high as one might expect, because most of the cholesterol in blood actually comes from the body’s own production.” When you consume a bunch of cholesterol, your body will usually make less to compensate.’

Are eggs bad for us because of cholesterol? That’s a more complicated question than you might imagine.

So sorry, it’s not as simple as we’d like. Believe me, I know from first-hand experience. I’ve been on cholesterol-lowering medication since my first stent in 2012 but it didn’t prevent a second blockage in 2017 (and a second stent) and my blood pressure has been elevated recently, so a third blockage could be developing which may require a third angioplasty this summer.

Our bodies and their relationships with what with eat are still much more complex than we know, or would want them to be unfortunately.

Cucumbers everywhere — here’s 34 recipes to use them

Cucumbers have been on sale a lt lately at my local food stores, which is great since I love putting them in my daily salads. But you can do so much more with them too, as this piece, 34 Recipes to Use Up All Your Fresh Cucumbers shows.

It’s slide show of recipes, so it will take some time to scroll through them all, but you’re bound to find ones you can enjoy.

Chicken and cucumber lettuce wraps sounds good to me, for example. although I would leave out the penaut sauce, I can’t stand the taste of peanuts and many people are allergic to them.

You can find some of my favorite cucumber recipes on our recipe page, just click here.

Sabra Hummus recall — check the states to see if you’re affected

Salmonella has reared its ugly head again, this time in a tub of Sabra hummus. As a result, roughly 2,100 cases of the product ahve been recalled in 16 states by maker Sabra Dipping Company, LLC.

The states affected are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, New Jersey, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Details of which products are involved:

  • Product name: Sabra’s 10-ounce Classic Hummus
  • UPC code: 300067
  • Best by date: 4/26/21
  • Production date: On: Feb 10 Between: 18:00:27 and 23:49:00

If you have this in your fridge, you can return it to where you bought it or visit www.sabrahummusrecall.com for a refund. Consumers can also contact Sabra Consumer Relations at 1-866-265-6761 for additional information Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. eastern time.

A different take of making your own pizza

I was recently contacted about a new cookbook coming out, the No Sugar Baker Cookbook of Healthy Living and No Regrets. I just received a review copy and will be writing about it soon.

In the meantime, the author sent me a recipe to share. Recipes in the book are geared to diabetics and others watching their sugar/glucose intake. So I was interested to see if the sample recipe also would be low-salt, low-fat. Well, not exactly, I need to modify it a bit, as I often do. But I am intrigued about the idea of using almond flour for the crust. I usually buy a low-salt, super thin crust for mine, you can see that recipe by clicking here.

See my modifications in italic below

No Sugar Baker’s Sausage and Broccoli Pizza To Die For!

Ingredients for Dough:

1 and 3/4 Cs. Almond Flour

½ C. Pasta Sauce (Low Carb) — look for no-salt-added pasta sauce; Trader Joe’s sells one, as does Hunt’s

½ t. Xanthun Gum or Corn Starch

1 t. Baking Powder

2 Eggs — I tend to only use the whites of eggs, or low-salt egg-white substitutes

1 T. Melted Butter — try a lower-fat butter alternative or olive oil

Splash of Seasonings: Salt, Garlic Powder, Italian Seasonings, Onion Powder — leave out the sale and use salt-free versions of the others

Combine all ingredients in food processer into dough ball. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Using parchment paper, roll out dough to desired thickness. Place dough on sprayed baking sheet. Prick dough with fork. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Flip dough and repeat.

Ingredients for Topping:

1 Lb. Cooked Bulk Sausage — omit, too much fat. If you must add meat, try extra lean ground turkey

2 C. Fresh Broccoli

1 C. =Pasta Sauce (Low Carb) — see above

2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese – use reduced-fat or fat-free Mozzarella, Kraft makes both but the fat-free is difficult to find in most stores.

Fresh Arugula or Basil

Olive Oil

Spread pasta sauce onto crust. Top crust with sausage and broccoli! Finish by topping with mozzarella cheese. Bake for another 10-12 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cut fresh arugula or basil to the top and lightly add a glaze of olive oil! Cut and enjoy!

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