All Entries For healthy meals

5 Secrets to Staying Trim from the One of the World's Healthiest Countries

Japan has one of the lowest rates of obesity in the world--less than 5 percent, compared to nearly 35 percent for the United States. How do the Japanese stay so slim? Journalist Alice Gordenker (USAGITWO) blogs in from Tokyo to share Japanese diet and health secrets – ones you too can use!

Japanese Secret #1: Eat 30 Different Foods Every Day

In Japan, the standard nutritional advice is to eat 30 different foods every day. The idea is that building a diet of so many different foods pretty much guarantees that you’ll get a balanced diet and all the nutrients you need.

For someone building a meal the Japanese way, with many dishes in tiny portions, this is an achievable goal. A typical Japanese dinner at home might be a small serving of protein like teriyaki chicken or grilled fish, two or three vegetable-based mini-entrées, salty pickles made from seasonal vegetables, a bowl of rice and miso soup with two or three goodies like little cubes of tofu, a clam or two, chopped scallions etc.

On a standard Western diet, however, it’s tough to clock in 30 foods a day. Let’s see: Muffin for breakfast, ham-and-cheese sandwich with lettuce and tomato for lunch; steak, potatoes and broccoli for dinner--why, that’s only 9 items! To build your way to 30, try adding two mini-sides of vegetables or fruit with every meal, even breakfast! There’s no reason you can’t add a little salad to your morning. Japanese people do, all the time.

Posted 3/23/2010  10:04:36 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 118 comments   31,429 views
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The Secrets of Success: Know How Much You're Eating

Today we're launching a special 15-day series called "The Secrets of Success." When we were researching and writing our best-selling book, The Spark, we discovered 27 secrets of success that thousands of successful SparkPeople members have used to reach their goals, lose weight and keep it off. Some secrets--including these--are too good to keep to yourself.

We're sharing our 15 favorite secrets of success on the dailySpark and in our daily Best of SparkPeople emails from March 1-15.

Secret #1 Know how much you’re eating.
Posted 3/1/2010  6:09:10 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 140 comments   67,185 views
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Win 1 of 5 Mrs. Dash Prize Packs

Finding food that's high in flavor and low in salt can be challenging. A few months ago, I shared my salt-free secret weapons--and you shared your own.

Soon after, the folks at Mrs. Dash reached out. As purveyors of salt-free seasonings, they know a thing or two about flavor. I asked them if they would be willing to give away some of their 15 flavors of their salt- and MSG-free seasonings to a lucky reader.

They are giving 5 bottles of seasonings to 5 readers. And they've shared 10 tips for reducing sodium intake:
Posted 2/26/2010  2:46:21 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 132 comments   21,766 views
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Make Your Meals Do the Work: Cook Once, Eat for Days

Just how many meals can you get from one recipe? No, this is not a Food Network challenge but a real life, “how am I going to make it through the week and provide my family with some healthy, fast, and flavorful meals?” scenario. I am a working mother to three and wife who fits daily exercise into her life. I strive to, at some point over the weekend, make a one dish meal and turn it into two or three meals for the early part of the week or for “fall back freezer meals.”

Today let's take a look at one recipe, my Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, then see how this versatile, healthy and filling dish can be stretched for a few meals. The soup itself makes 12 servings, plus an extra quart of broth, so there are plenty of possibilities!
Posted 1/26/2010  10:24:12 AM By: Meg Galvin : 90 comments   59,625 views
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Beef: It's What's for Dinner Tonight

There is room for red meat in a healthy lifestyle. The key is choosing lean cuts, sensible portions and healthful cooking methods.

Serve this flank steak with steamed green beans and some whole-grain bread warmed on the grill. The heat of the meat warms the accompanying fragrant and herb-infused sauce. Use the bread to sop up every last drop of juice.

Flank steak is a lean, affordable and flavorful cut of beef, but it's often tough. We marinated our flank steak and cut it against the grain to keep it as tender as it is tasty!

With a slice of whole-grain bread, a cup of green beans and a cup of skim milk, this meal has 420 calories and 15 g fat. Add 98 calories if you're using Chef Meg's Garlic-Citrus Parsley Sauce. (I like to serve a teaspoon or so of the sauce over steamed vegetables.)
Posted 1/21/2010  2:20:59 PM By: Meg Galvin : 113 comments   28,321 views
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Try Chef Meg's Island Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

Hi, it's Chef Meg.

Wondering what to make for dinner? Here in Northern Kentucky, where I live, it's cold--without a ray of sunshine in sight. Still, that doesn't mean that we can't imagine we're someplace warmer.

My makeover of a user-submitted recipe, Island Chicken with Pineapple Salsa, combines lean grilled chicken with sweet and tangy tropical fruits for a healthy dinner that will transport you away from the cold, gray winter.

Watch the video now!
Posted 12/30/2009  12:10:27 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 38 comments   19,134 views
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Habits of Healthy Eaters: Celebrate Holidays for One Day

In these modern days, with busy lives, blended families, and packed social calendars, the holidays would be better named the holi-weeks.

For me, the holidays started on Monday, with an office party--lunch from Panera and bowling. Then, after a couple of days of last-minute shopping, working frantically to get ready for the shortened week, and a four-hour drive to my mother's house late last night, we had Christmas Eve dinner with my mom's family.

Today, we were up early to open presents, and soon we'll have lunch with my stepdad's extended family. Tomorrow we have a two-hour drive to my dad and stepmom's for Christmas, round two, and then another two-hour drive home to my boyfriend's mom's house for Christmas, round three. Dinner with a friend will follow on Sunday.


My tactic to survive this weekend is easy: I'm celebrating the holiday for one day. The rest of the week is business as usual.
Posted 12/25/2009  10:22:50 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 72 comments   12,481 views
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How Has Healthy Eating Changed Your Life?

This weekend, in addition to cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I hosted a party for 50 people and attended my 10-year high school reunion. By Saturday night, I'd eaten my fair share of carbs and was craving vegetables.

My pre-reunion dinner was a bag of frozen broccoli topped with an egg and some cheese.

My 16-year-old sister had a friend over, and she gave me a weird look as I dug in to my overflowing bowl of green veg.

"How can you eat so much broccoli?" she asked incredulously.

"Easy," I replied. "If I don't eat enough vegetables, I get cranky after a day or so."

"She does," my mom echoed. "Believe me."

That wasn't always the case.

Back in the day, I fed myself with whatever. Sure, I liked vegetables, but I also liked fast food. I liked whole-wheat bread, but I also liked Nutella or butter smeared on top. I didn't really pay attention to what I ate.

But you know what I did notice? I noticed that I was tired, cranky, stressed and anxious more often than not. When I moved to South Korea and started paying more attention to my diet, I started to feel better.

After I ate that bowl of broccoli, I felt better. And then I started thinking about comfort food. Since adopting a healthy lifestyle, my idea of comfort food has changed drastically. Has it for you?
Posted 12/1/2009  12:49:13 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 179 comments   21,427 views
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Winners of the SparkRecipes Un-Chained Contest

It was a tough decision, but the results are in, the votes have been counted, and the winners have been chosen.

Monday we announced our 10 semifinalists. From there, we tested the recipes, considered our choices and tried some really delicious recipes!

So who won?

Posted 11/20/2009  2:53:47 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 57 comments   21,458 views
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7 Tips for Healthy Meal Planning

By Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC, the Mojo Coach Think healthy meal planning needs to be difficult and time consuming? Use even a few of these tips and enjoy the extra time you’ll discover as a result.

  1. Use a slow cooker: These are a busy person’s dream. Simply set everything up in the morning and enjoy a warm, home cooked meal when you’re through with your busy day. Slow cookers are also a great way to cook less expensive, lower fat cuts of meat without drying them out. (Here’s a website with a ton of great recipes – A Year of Slow Cooking.)
    Posted 11/19/2009  12:56:46 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 40 comments   16,818 views
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Diet Friendly Dining: Ted's Montana Grill

A few weeks ago in my Buffalo Meat is No Bull blog I mentioned having had a delicious Buffalo burger at a Ted's Montana Grill restaurant. I thought it would be good to look at this unique restaurant chain named for the renowned media entrepreneur and environmentalist in our ongoing Diet Friendly Dining series. The chain started in 2002 with one restaurant in Columbus, Ohio and has now grown to over 50 restaurants throughout 19 states.

In addition to a great tasting and nutrition conscience menu, Ted's Montana Grill also boasts a deep commitment to the environment. One of their environmentally focused goals is to be 99% plastic free and they re-introduced the paper straw that has not been used in the United States since 1970 to help them work toward goal achievement. If you want a to-go cup or food to go, those come in Bio-Plus Earth Containers and cornstarch based cups that bio-degrade quickly. Reuse is also a part of their environmental plan as well since menus are printed on recycled paper. They also look at non-food related ways to be sustainable by using water-efficient toilets and solar panels for energy and water conservation where possible as well as making all of their restaurants smoke free. At the same time, you find authentic early 20th century craftsmen-style architecture and natural materials used for a classic look and feel and a relaxing dining experience. With all this attention to so many details, is there any food that meets our criteria?

Posted 11/19/2009  6:10:45 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 64 comments   20,206 views
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Get Chef Meg's Latest Cookbook: A 500-Calorie Thanksgiving

by Chef Meg, World Master Chef and SparkRecipes Healthy Cooking Expert

Thanksgiving is a time for family, gratitude, and, of course, food. The typical holiday meal can have more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat, according to the Caloric Control Council. That's almost three days worth of food for most of us! Butter, cream and white bread seem to be lurking in almost every dish, and the meal never seems to end.

For those of us who are trying lead healthier lifestyles, moderation and healthy eating are just as important on Thanksgiving. Fortunately, it is possible to eat right and still enjoy yourself on Turkey Day!

To help, I created brand new SparkRecipes for a three-course Thanksgiving meal that clock in around 500 calories! (Dessert, not included in that number, will add 150 calories or fewer, if you have room for it.)

This SparkPeople meal has 510 fewer calories and 39 fewer grams of fat than a traditional feast! These recipes include a veggie-rich soup to start your meal off right, the juiciest turkey you'll ever taste, several sides, two desserts, plus a cranberry relish that will leave the store-bought jelly quivering in its can.

Posted 11/17/2009  12:13:33 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 36 comments   21,865 views
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Watch 11 New Videos from Chef Meg

It's Chef Meg from SparkRecipes.

It was great to connect with members at the Spark Your Life Convention back in September. We heard wonderful feedback about the recipes I've been creating, and we hope to continue to bring you flavorful, tasty recipes that you and your family will enjoy.

I've been hard at work on some new recipes and features for Not only do we post new recipes each week (both my original recipes and reader makeovers), but we've also been creating new videos. We taped a third round of videos two weeks ago--about a dozen more--that we'll unveil soon. Plus, we've been working on all sorts of holiday-themed healthy cooking recipes. From lightening your favorite cookies to saving money on the Thanksgiving turkey, we've got a lot in store for you in the coming weeks.

In the mean time, I'm writing a quick blog post to let you know we've just added 11 new cooking videos to the site--five recipes and six quick kitchen tips!

Posted 10/29/2009  6:00:07 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 21 comments   13,310 views
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Speedy Suppers: Comforting and Light Chicken Casserole

Who's hungry?

Me, too!

In today's installment of Speedy Suppers, we bring you Chef Meg's Healthy Chicken-Vegetable Casserole, a makeover of those dump-and-bake comfort recipes we all remember from childhood. This healthy meal has far less sodium and fat than a traditional creamy chicken casserole, and it's packed with vegetables, too.

Chef Meg uses a standard--but lighter--white sauce instead of canned, condensed soup, and she uses whole-wheat pasta for a burst of fiber. Bell peppers add another layer of flavor.

Even better--this homemade meal will be on the table in under 30 minutes, and it serves 6. That means you've got lunch ready for the next day!

Posted 10/8/2009  12:49:54 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 112 comments   41,222 views
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I'm Going Meatless for World Vegetarian Day--Are You?

Today is World Vegetarian Day! And while most of us have already eaten at least two meals and maybe a snack or two, there's still one meal left to go meat-free.

While a 100% vegetarian lifestyle might not be for you, we can all benefit from going meat-free a few meals a week. Chances are, you probably only eat meat one or two meals a day as it is.

Forgoing meat can really benefit your health. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, vegetarians have lower rates of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and asthma. In the world's "Blue Zones," where people reach age 100 at higher-than-normal rates and live longer, meat is often used as a side dish or condiment.

So will you go meat-free for the rest of today (and perhaps a few more meals each week)?

I've gathered some of SparkPeople's best meat-free resources to help you get ideas:
Posted 10/1/2009  3:43:30 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 194 comments   17,804 views
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