Traditional Chinese (Cantonese) Dishes with Modern Presentation

Steamed Shrimp with Yu Choy

Oil Blanched Fish Fillet

Plant-based Foods Provide Healthy Nutritional Benefits

Those in the know consider fruits and vegetables among the healthiest foods around.

U.S. government health experts now encourage Americans to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables. Weight Watchers’ new system assigns no points to nearly all fruits and vegetables, making them a truly “guilt-free” option.

But, really, what’s the big deal? Why is it so important to eat more veggies?

Nutritionists can rattle off a long list of reasons when asked that question. Vegetables and fruits are dense in nutrients but light on calories. They contain rich amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Eating more veggies and fruits has been linked to decreased risk for such health problems as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.

Despite this, many people seem to have a hard time eating vegetables, something that’s developed the reputation of being a chore rather than a pleasure. President Barack Obama even likened the need to finish difficult debt ceiling negotiations to the need to “eat our peas.”

More than nine of 10 Americans consume fewer fruits and vegetables than the daily amount recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines, which ranges from 2 cups to 6½ cups, according to the “Fruits and Veggies — More Matters” health initiative, a national program aimed at increasing consumption of plant-based foods.

“I would say many of my current clients get maybe a cup of vegetables and maybe a fruit throughout the day, if I’m being generous,” said Jessica Crandall, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator in Denver and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Getting a serving of vegetables or fruit is not difficult because a single serving is not a large amount, said Angela Ginn, a nutrition education coordinator and diabetes educator at the University of Maryland Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology at Maryland General Hospital, who’s also a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

“A whole cup raw or a half-cup cooked is considered a serving for vegetables,” Ginn said.

But there’s a lot of nutritional power packed into that cup or half-cup. Though the precise benefit varies by type of fruit or vegetable, it could include a significant amount of:

  • Calcium, which promotes healthy bones and teeth, and is needed for proper functioning of muscles and nerves.
  • Folate, which reduces a woman’s chances of having a child with a birth defect.
  • Iron, which is necessary for healthy blood and cell function.
  • Magnesium, which prevents muscle cramping and high blood pressure and is needed for healthy bones and proper enzymatic function.
  • Potassium, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure.
  • Vitamin A, which keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps protect the body against infection.
  • Vitamin C, which aids in healing cuts or wounds and helps keep teeth and gums healthy.

Even the micronutrients that give fruits and vegetables their color are important sources of antioxidants, which have been shown to help prevent an array of diseases.

“Your phytonutrients that have all those vibrant colors, those are things that fight against chronic diseases,” Ginn said. “You find them in your fruits and vegetables more in abundance than you will in whole grains or in meat or dairy products.”

According to Crandall:

  • Blue and purple fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanins, which have been shown to help fight some cancers and are helpful in anti-aging and memory function. They are found in blueberries, blackberries, plums, grapes, figs and raisins.
  • Green fruits and vegetables contain luteins, which lower cancer risk and help promote better vision and strong bones and teeth. They are found in avocados, kiwi fruit, pears and apples.
  • Red fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanins and lycopene, which can help keep the heart healthy, maintain better memory function and lower the risk for some cancers.

Fruits and vegetables also contain a large amount of fiber. Fiber has a number of health benefits and also helps make people feel more full, reducing their consumption of other higher-calorie foods, Crandall said.

“Most people think fiber is just good for digestion,” she said, “but it’s also helpful for lowering cholesterol, keeping your blood sugars stable and helping you feel full throughout your day.”

But even those who are already sold on eating more fruits and veggies sometimes find it tricky to work sufficient amounts into their day-to-day eating, say both Crandall and Ginn. They suggest getting creative.

For instance, work veggies into recipes that don’t normally contain them. “It’s just the little things you can do, even if you add grated carrot to your favorite muffin or grated zucchini to your pancakes,” Ginn said. “You can sneak them into your food in ways where you don’t even taste them, but you receive the nutritional benefit.”

They also suggest cutting up fruits and veggies so they’re bite-sized and available for snacking. As Crandall said, “Make a vegetable tray so they are easier to use, so you don’t have a cucumber rotting in the back of the fridge.”

And don’t worry about whether you’re eating fresh, frozen or canned vegetables. They’re all good for you. Fresh or frozen vegetables might have slightly more nutrients, Ginn and Crandall said, but canned veggies are cheaper and available throughout the year. Just be sure to rinse canned veggies, to reduce the amount of sodium they contain, or buy low-sodium alternatives.

Source: HealthDay

A Grilled Fish Recipe from My Clippings

Ingredients

1/3 cup olive oil
4 tbsp freshly chopped mint
1/4 tsp white or freshly ground black pepper
4 firm-fleshed fish fillets, such as halibut or sea bass, about 6 oz each
6 ripe plum tomatoes
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
generous pinches of salt, freshly ground black pepper and granulated sugar
fresh mint sprigs for garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Grease grill, then preheat barbecue to high. In a small bowl, stir 2 tablespoons oil with 1 tablespoon mint and white pepper. Brush mixture over fish. Let stand at room temperature while preparing salsa.
  2. If tomatoes are firm, peel skin using a vegetable peeler. Or cut an X in bottom of each tomato and place in a large saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Immediately plunge tomatoes in cold water and peel. Cut into quarters, then remove and discard seeds. Finely dice.
  3. In a medium-size bowl, stir remaining oil with 3 tablespoons mint, lime juice, onions, garlic, salt, pepper and sugar. Stir in tomatoes. Lightly sprinkle both sides of fish with salt. Then grill with lid down until fish flakes easily with a fork, from 6 to 8 minutes per side. Serve fish with tomato-mint salsa spooned overtop. Garnish with mint sprigs.

Source: Chatelaine

Smart Nutritious Breakfast Solutions

Quick breakfast fix

Running low on time? Here are speedy breakfast ideas to get you and your family out the door and ready for your day.

  • Mix low-fat yogurt with whole-grain cereal, and serve with a glass of orange juice.
  • Blend low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana for a 30-second smoothie to enjoy with a bran muffin.
  • Add dried cranberries and almonds to quick-cooking oatmeal.

Picky Eater

Do your children demand certain foods every morning? You can make subtle changes to give their traditional breakfasts a nutritional boost.

  • Doughnuts: Offer whole-grain toaster waffles with reduced-sugar syrup. If doughnuts are on the menu, consider serving the smaller option of doughnut holes and add other food groups such as low-fat milk and fruit to ensure some extra nutrition to get you through the day.
  • Bacon: Switch to Canadian and turkey bacon, which is much lower in fat than regular bacon.
  • Toast with peanut butter: Use whole-grain toast to boost fiber and use reduced-fat peanut butter. Add a glass of low-fat milk or orange juice.
  • Sugary cereals: Substitute low-sugar, whole-grain cereals and berries.

Lack of Appetite

Many kids complain that they just don’t feel like eating when they get up. If this is true for your child, here are some things you can do:

  • Spread it out: Have your child eat a piece of fruit and drink a glass of low-fat milk before they leave the house, then on the bus they can eat an oatmeal muffin or a low-sugar breakfast cereal bar.
  • Eat breakfast at school: Many schools serve a variety of nutritious breakfasts for kids. Encourage your children to take advantage of these options if available.
  • Be a role model and eat breakfast: If your child sees you making time to eat a healthy meal, he or she will follow your good example.

Read more about nutrition for kids ….

Source: American Dietetic Assocaition

Breakfast for Kid

Home-cooked Japanese Breakfast

Menu

  • Simmered Sweet Potato
  • Sausage and Fried Egg
  • Cheese
  • Broccoli
  • Home-made Yogurt with Strawberry Sauce
  • Rice with Seasoning Powder
  • Banana