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Healthy Bites

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Add some sweet to the season

Are you looking for ways to add sweetness to your foods but without all the sugar?

Seasonings that add the flavor of sweetness include allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, mace and nutmeg.

If you add fruit, you'll get the benefits of their vitamins, minerals and fiber, too!

Try these ideas:

* Add ginger to a fruit glaze. Blend frozen raspberries with a pinch of ginger and a small amount of fruit juice concentrate and toss the glaze with fresh berries or sliced fruit.

* Add cinnamon to coffee before brewing.

* Top oatmeal with allspice, mace or nutmeg.

* Squeeze citrus juices from lemon, lime, orange or grapefruits over fresh fruit.

Adding sweetness doesn't have to mean adding calories. Be creative and see what family favorites you can sweeten up using allspice, cardamom, cinnamon or fruit.

A nutty addition to a healthy diet

Enjoying a handful of nuts is a pleasure for most people. But the thought of fat in nuts may keep some from savoring that pleasure.

Nuts are high in fat, but the fat in most nuts is healthy, monounsaturated fat, which can help lower blood cholesterol.

Good sources of monounsaturated fats include peanuts, pecans, walnuts and almonds.

In addition, research studies have shown that many different nuts are helpful in reducing the risk of cancer and elevated blood pressure.

Nuts also provide protein, carbohydrates and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.

But wait, there's more. New research shows that eating plans that include nuts are more satisfying, leading people to eat less and control their weight.

So enjoy nuts in your eating plan. The key is watching your serving sizes.

A winter alternative to fresh fruit

Consuming fruits and vegetables is easy in the summer when everything is fresh and readily available. What do you do in the winter?

One convenient option is dried fruit. Like fresh fruit, dried fruit provides fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium and folate. Per serving, dried fruit may contain more calories than fresh, but in the dead of winter, it's still a good choice.

Dried fruit is easy to carry. It can be added to salads, pancake batter, bread recipes or even your daily bowl of cereal.

Some dried fruits may be preserved with sulfite, which can trigger allergic reactions in some people. Read the label to find out if sulfites are present.

These tips were provided by Kelley Steen, clinical dietitian at Central Peninsula Hospital, courtesy of the American Dietetic Association's public relations team.



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