Dietary fats provide your body with energy and insulation, aid with vitamin absorption and support bodily functions. While some fats are essential, others have severe health risks. Here’s what you should know about the various types of fats.
• Trans fats can raise the level of bad cholesterol, provoke inflammation and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Hydrogenated vegetable oil, a major source of artificial trans fat, was frequently found in processed and deep-fried foods. As of June 2018, the Food and Drug Administration banned food manufacturers from using it. Small amounts of natural trans fat are present in meat and dairy products.
• Saturated fats occur naturally in animals and provide many of the same benefits as healthy fats. However, a diet rich in saturated fat increases bad cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to roughly five percent of your daily caloric intake. Sources of saturated fat include fatty cuts of red meat, dark chicken meat, poultry skin and high-fat dairy products.
• Unsaturated fats are healthy fats containing vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect cells. When consumed instead of trans and saturated fats, unsaturated fats help regulate cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular disease. Some types of unsaturated fats, particularly polyunsaturated fats, are essential to normal body functioning. They play a role in blood clotting, blood pressure regulation and immune and nervous system function. Nuts, seeds, avocado, fatty fish and various plant-based oils contain high amounts of unsaturated fats.
Fats are a necessary component of a healthy diet. They’re also a major source of calories. Make sure you’re balancing your fat intake with sufficient fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins.
A guide to picking berries
At this time of year, berries are abundant at grocery stores, markets, and farms. Here are some tips to help you pick the best ones in the bunch.
The skin of a perfectly ripe blueberry is dark blue or purple with no traces of red. The fruit should be firm and round without looking dried out. Large blueberries may be more attractive, but the smaller ones tend to have more flavor.
If you pick your own blueberries, place a bucket or container under the branch, and gently loosen the berries one by one with your fingers.
A fresh, ripe strawberry has a uniformly red hue, bright green leaves, and pale seeds. The fruit should be firm, so avoid ones that look wet or bruised.
To pick strawberries from a patch, cup the fruit in the palm of your hand and break the stem with the nails of your thumb and index finger.
A perfectly ripe raspberry should be bright red. It’ll be plump and feel almost velvety. If you purchase this fruit in a container, make sure the delicate berries at the bottom aren’t squished.
Ripe raspberries easily come off the plant when plucked. Look for the reddest fruit, hold it between your fingers and gently tug. Watch out for thorns on the branches.
A blackberry is ready to eat when it’s dark, glossy, and plump with no signs of red. Like raspberries, this fruit is delicate so check to see if all the berries in your container are intact.
You can pick blackberries the same way you do raspberries, just make sure to choose ones that have already started to soften.
Once you bring your berries home, you can enjoy them right away or set them aside for your favorite recipe.
Summer salad with grilled halloumi
This brightly colored salad with crispy halloumi cheese is light enough for summer but will certainly satisfy your hunger.
Start to finish: 20 minutes
• 1 fennel bulb
• 1 pomegranate
• 2 oranges
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
• Salt and pepper
• 14 ounces halloumi cheese
• Sprigs of fresh dill, to garnish
1. Preheat one side of the grill on high heat.
2. Divide the arugula onto four plates or in shallow bowls.
3. Cut the fennel bulb in half and slice thinly. Divide the slices between the four dishes.
4. Cut the pomegranate into four wedges and loosen the fruit with your fingers. Divide it between the four dishes.
5. Supreme the oranges and divide them between the four dishes.
6. Over a small bowl, use your hands to squeeze the juice out of the leftover orange peels. Add the olive oil, mustard, and maple syrup or honey. Whisk together until well emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste and set the dressing aside.
7. Cut the cheese into slices that are half an inch thick. Oil the grill rack on the side of the barbecue that isn’t lit. Put the halloumi slices on the oiled grill and cook for about one minute on each side. Divide the cheese between the four dishes.
8. Drizzle each dish with one-quarter of the dressing and garnish with fresh dill.
How to supreme an orange
Trim the top and bottom of the orange to create two flat edges. Then, rest the fruit on one end and cut off the peel, making sure to remove the white pith. Put the orange on its side and cut along the edge of each membrane to the core, releasing perfect wedges.
Granola and berry parfait
This dish is wholesome, delicious, and easy to prepare. Serve it at a festive breakfast with family and friends or any time you’d like to indulge in a decadent morning meal.
Start to finish: 1 hour (10 minutes active)
• 4 cups rolled oats
• 1/4 cup hulled sunflower seeds
• 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
• 1/2 cup peanuts, roughly chopped
• 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
• 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup maple syrup
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup grated coconut
• 17 ounces frozen mixed berries
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 23 ounces plain Greek yogurt
• A few fresh raspberries
• A few fresh mint leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, sunflower seeds, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, poppy seeds, cinnamon, and salt.
3. In another bowl, combine the maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla extract. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well to incorporate.
4. Pour the mixture on the prepared pan and press using a spatula to ensure an even layer. Bake for 12 minutes.
5. Add the coconut and stir well. Press down again with a spatula and bake for another 12 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.
6. While the granola is cooling, combine the frozen berries and sugar in a small pot. Cook over high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Lower the heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the berries have mostly broken down. Using a hand blender, puree the mixture until smooth.
7. Once the granola has cooled completely, break it up into chunks with your hands or use a wooden spoon.
8. Using six small drinking glasses, pour about half a cup of yogurt into each. Add 1/4 cup of the berry puree, followed by 1/4 cup of yogurt. Top each glass with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the granola and garnish with a few raspberries and mint leaves.
This recipe can easily be made vegan or gluten-free by using vegan yogurt and certified gluten-free oats.
The lowly cauliflower has gained respect, devotees
Though cauliflower is native to Asian countries, it made its way to North America in the late 1600s. Two hundred years later, Mark Twain called it “cabbage with a college education!”
Cauliflower is so smart it can grow by the light of the full moon almost as well as during the day. It’s sometimes called the “moon crop.”
People who eat cauliflower are smart too. At the Foundation for Preventive Oncology in New York, they say it is one of the best healing foods you can buy, especially when it’s eaten raw.
The carotenoids in cauliflower make it a powerful defender against cataracts.
Its sulforaphane helps prevent cancer by increasing the production of enzymes that sweep toxins out of the body before they can damage cells and make them cancerous.
Its other cancer-fighter, I3C, works as an anti-estrogen. It reduces harmful estrogen levels that can cause tumor growth in the colon, breast, and prostate.
But cauliflower does more than fight cancer and protect the eyes. It’s rich in vitamin C and folate, nutrients that keep the immune system working well. Just three florets of uncooked cauliflower can supply two-thirds of your daily value for vitamin C.
Cauliflower gratin with ham
Divide a 2-pound cauliflower into florets. Cook in salt water 5 or 6 minutes. Drain it and run cold water over it.
Carefully brown 3 tablespoons of bread crumbs in 1/2 tablespoon butter and set aside.
In a small pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add 2 tablespoons flour, blend. Cook 1 minute, then add 3/4 cup milk, 3/4 cup chicken broth, a bay leaf, and a clove of garlic. Stir and simmer 8 to 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf, garlic.
Cut florets to similar sizes. Put in a buttered baking dish, salt, and pepper. Pour sauce on florets. Tear 1-ounce thin ham slices apart and scatter on top.
Finally, top with a cup of shredded cheddar. Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.
4 tasty on-the-go breakfast options
If your mornings are rushed, it can be hard to make time for breakfast. Here are four healthy options that are easy to prepare and can be eaten on the go.
1. Overnight oats
Combine rolled oats, fruit, yogurt, and seeds in a Mason jar and store the meal in the fridge overnight. In the morning, add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup for a touch of sweetness.
2. A muffin
A muffin with seeds, nuts, and dried fruits makes a nutritious and portable snack. Eat one along with a bit of yogurt or a slice of cheese as your morning meal.
3. A smoothie
To make breakfast you can drink, simply put milk and fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables in a blender. If you want, you can also add some nut butter or Greek yogurt; the protein will help keep you going till lunchtime.
4. An egg wrap
To make a breakfast wrap, stuff scrambled eggs, tomatoes, spinach, and cheese into a whole wheat tortilla. The resulting meal will be delicious yet portable.
All of these meals are easy to prepare the night before and can be ready to grab on your way out the door in the morning.
The healthy, easy way to make breakfast
A balanced breakfast is essential for making sure your body has the energy it needs to get through the day. Therefore, your morning meal should always include protein, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.
Ideas for a balanced breakfast
If you keep your pantry stocked with the essentials, putting together a healthy breakfast will be easy. Some options are:
• Whole grain cereal with dried fruit, yogurt and a small handful of nuts
• Multigrain toast with nut butter and sliced fruit
• Oatmeal sweetened with apple sauce and a glass of milk
• Nut muffin and a fruit smoothie
• Vegetable omelet and a whole wheat bagel
If you’re pressed for time in the morning, prepare your breakfast the night before. You could make overnight oats, assemble the ingredients for a smoothie or pour a bowl of cereal so it’s ready when you wake up.