19 calories in an entire cup of rashishes

Over this past winter, I may have gotten a little carried a away with Food Should Taste Good – Sweet Potato Chips. While I wholeheartedly endorse these chips (12 chips = 140 calories, 3 grams of fiber), I’m thinking it is time to rein it in a bit now that bathing suit season is fast approaching.

Enter my formerly “forgotten” vegetable, the humble radish. My latest use for radishes is as a replacement for a chip. They are crisp and peppery, and great as a dip for hummus.

1 cup of radish slices for a measly 19 calories!

The key to getting a radish to impersonate a chip is to slice it thinly. I do use a mandoline on the second setting (3mm) so that the radish is thick enough to not wobble and allows it to support a nice amount of hummus. It’s also a good idea to choose pretty hefty size radishes if you can.

But, here’s the really good news about radishes. 1 cup of sliced radishes has about 19 calories! In terms of vitamins and minerals, this amount would give you a nice bump of potassium (270 mg) and a good amount of vitamin C (17 mg), not to mention some serious hits of B vitamins for the day.

These radishes are guilt-free, cheap, and a healthy replacement for our usual dippers.

What are your favorite healthy dippers?

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As the temperature rises, I find myself craving fresh chilled soups more than ever. Soups are a great way to get a ton of vegetables into one serving of food. If you a a raw food fan, this recipe is definitely for you, though it is appealing to everyone’s palate.

The recipe that follows is adapted from the book, “100-Calorie Snack Cookbook” by Sally Sampson.

100 calories per serving!

100 calories per serving!

Ingredients (Serves 5, about 2 cups per serving)

2 small English cucumbers, diced

2 beefsteak or other large tomatoes, cored and diced

1 small read onion, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and finely chopped

1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar

3 1/2 cups low sodium tomato or v8 juice

1 cup water

1/3 cup chopped fresh dill, cilantro or basil

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Method

  1. Place cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers in a bowl and toss to combine.
  2. Remove half the mixture and place in bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse 2 to 3 times until chopped and combined. Return to bowl
  3. Add the vinegar, tomato juice and water and stir to combine
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Serve garnished with herbs (optional) and feta.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

Calories: 103

Fat: 2.1 g

Cholesterol: 7mg

Sodium; 110 mg

Carbohydrates: 19.4 g

Fiber: 3.4 g

Protein: 4.5 g

Besides all of those good statistics, you will most definitely get more than a days supply of vitamin C, a big boost of potassium, lots of beta carotene and lycopene, and many other nutrients. This soup will also quench your thirst on account of all the additional water in the vegetables.

Diet Tip:

Having a bowl of soup prior to a meal actually causes you to eat less on account of your stomach being full of all tha fluid and triggering satiety signals to the brain.

100 calories

100 calories

This snack or appetizer is a seriously delicious and super low calorie. The recipe is adapted from a GREAT cookbook called “100-calorie Snack Cookbook” by Sally Sampson. It’s also extremely easy and doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare.

I used light cheddar cheese slices and fresh basil, and piled on the tomatoes, but, this would not change the calorie info very much. When I make this again (and i definitely will), I will add some balsamic vinegar to the mushroom before adding on the other ingredients, though its very good on its own. Here’s the original recipe:

Portobello Mushroom with Mozzarella and Tomato

Ingredients

Serves 1

1 Portabello Mushroom Cap

2 thin tomato slices

2 1/2 tablespoons mozzarella cheese

Pinch kosher salt

Pinch dried basil

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Pinch dried oregano

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. Place the mushroom cap on a nonstick baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes
  3. Place the baking sheet on a heatproof
  4. Top the cap with the tomatoes and cheese
  5. Sprinkle with salt, basil, red pepper flakes and oregano
  6. Return to the oven until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately

Nutrition Analysis

Calories: 103

Fat: 3.9 g

Sodium 260 mg

Carbohydrates: 10.6 g

Dietary Fiber: 2.9 g

Protein: 9.1 g

I of course have to mention that portabellos have a nice amount of potassium (407 mg per cap), some folate, choline, niacin, pantothenic acid, as well as the other B vitamins. They are also 91 % water which accounts for their status as super low in calories. I personally love portobellos, if you do too check out my previous post on having them at breakfast, Huevos Portobellos.

Make your own spicy condiment with Sriracha

Make your own spicy condiment with Sriracha

This article in the Washington Post does a very comprehensive job of comparing condiments in terms of their health and nutrition benefits.

I am a mustard person myself, but, every so often I will make a spicy mayo using sriracha sauce. It makes a great addition to anything from the grill, from burgers to veggies. If you choose to go with a light mayo, using the hot sauce is a good way to “mask” that light flavor.

I would also add salsa to the list of condiments, though I guess technically it is a sauce. At about 4 calories per tablespoon and less sodium than ketchup (96 milligrams per tablespoon) it’s a very good choice. Plus salsa has lots of lycopene as well.

Made from soy without dairy, cholesterol, eggs, wheat, gluten, or sugar

Made from soy without dairy, cholesterol, eggs, wheat, gluten, or sugar

There’s also a product called Miso Mayo which is more comparable to mayo in terms of nutrition, but, suitable for vegans. It has 90 calories per tablespoon, 9 grams of fat and 100 milligramas of sodium. I mention it because it is VERY tasty, and is made from soy without dairy, cholesterol, eggs, wheat, gluten, or sugar, which can be beneficial if you are on a special diet or have certain allergies.

What’s your favorite condiment or dipping sauce?

Doble Chocolate Biscotti

Double Chocolate Biscotti

I talk a lot on my blog about drinking coffee, and I have to admit I do like to dunk things in my coffee every now and again. Sometimes, when I am in Starbucks I am so tempted to buy those biscotti they have at the counter wrapped in plastic, to dunk in my coffee of course.

I don’t buy them though because I know biscotti are relatively easy to make, and when you make them yourself, you can make them as low fat and/or low calorie as you like.

This weekend I adapted a recipe which originally appeared in Cooking Light, December 2008. They will definitely satisfy your chocolate cravings. I changed a few things:

  1. Replaced the white flour with whole wheat flour (increases fiber, lowers the calories)
  2. Used half the amount of sugar, and used brown sugar instead of white sugar (less calories, tastes better)
  3. Added 1/4 cup dried tart cherries and zest of one orange (adds fragrance and texture)
  4. Added some oil and milk to compensate for the dryness of the whole wheat flour (if you don’t want to use oil, you could use yogurt or applesauce, just to add more moisture)
Here’s the recipe with the above-mentioned adaptations

Double Chocolate and Tart Cherry Biscotti

Yield

3 dozen (serving size: 2 biscotti)

Ingredients

  • 6.75  ounces  whole wheat flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2  cup  sugar
  • 1/2  cup  unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2  cup  semisweet chocolate minichips
  • 1/4 cup dried tart montmorency cherries (chopped)
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • Zest of one orange
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1  large egg white
  • 2 tablespoons milk (if necessary)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (if necessary)
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine vanilla, zest, eggs, and egg white in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; stir until well blended. If dough is too dry, add two tablespoons of skim milk and/or canola oil. Divide dough in half. Turn dough out onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. With floured hands, shape each dough half into a 12-inch-long roll; pat to 1/2-inch thickness.

3. Bake at 350° for 22 minutes. Remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut each roll diagonally into 18 (1/2-inch) slices. Carefully stand slices upright on baking sheet. Bake biscotti an additional 15 minutes or until almost firm (biscotti will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove biscotti from baking sheet; cool completely on wire rack.

Cooking Tip:

Use parchment paper to line the baking sheet, it will prevent the biscotti from burning and it keeps the pan clean.

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories: 107
Fat: 3 g (sat 1g, mono 1.2 g, poly 0.32 g)
Protein: 2.8 g
Carbohydrate: 18 g
Fiber: 1.2 g
Cholesterol: 24mg
Sodium: 125mg
While my changes did not change the original nutrition information too dramatically, I prefer to use less sugar whenever possible. And in this case, I was able to add some antioxidants to the mix, as well as some additional mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
To cut even more calories you could use a sugar substitute, and use egg whites instead of the whole eggs. When I make these again, I will probably add some nuts as well because I like a little crunch in my biscotti.
Veggies!

Veggies!

I needed to clean out the refrigerator and had a random assortment of vegetables, so instead of making a soup, I decided on a stir fry.

The nice thing about a stir fry is that you can use very little oil and the vegetables stay nice and crisp, and the whole process doesn’t take more than 20 minutes or so including prep time.

So here’s what I had on hand:

Ingredients

1/2 yellow onion

1 clove of garlice

1 bunch of broccoli

1/2 orange pepper

1/2 red pepper

2/3 of a 6 ounce package of portobello mushrooms (not traditionally part of a stir fry, but, you could use any mushroom)

1 teaspoon peanut oil

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Slice all of the vegetables into somewhat unifrom slices
  2. Heat the peanut oil on medium high heat, the wok (or pan) is ready when you flick some water in and it sizzles
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the wok and stir often, for 2 minutes or so
  4. Add broccoli and peppers and stir these often as well for another 2 minutes or so
  5. Add the mushrooms and toss all of the vegetables together for 2 minutes or so
  6. Taste the broccoli, if it’s crisp or at the texture you desire add in the soy sauce and toss over vegatables to coat. If you prefer your vegetables more well done, cook for a few minutes longer and then add the soy sauce when you feel it’s ready.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The finished product

The finished product

Some other vegetables I would like to have added, but did not have are carrots, celery, snow peas and asparagus. You can also add a protein like chicken or tofu to the stir fry to make it even more filling.

The stiry fry is also a great way to get several servings of vegetables into one dish, and it is guaranteed to be low calorie if you monitor how much oil you use. This dish alone had more than a days supply of vitamin C, beta carotene, lots of potassium and fiber.

They are great as an entree or a side dish, versatile enough to go over rice or noodles, or as a stand alone.

TIP: Don’t discard the broccoli stalks! If you cut off the tough outer “bark” there is a very tasty inner flesh that tastes similar to a water chestnut. It’s my favorite part of the broccoli, and it tastes great raw or cooked.

Chock full of carotnoids

Chock full of carotenoids

With the weather in the Northeast finally getting warmer, it’s time to really start enjoying smoothies. Stone fruits such as nectarines, peaches and plums are coming into season and this smoothie recipe makes a great treat any time of day.

It’s packed with antioxidant vitamins A and C, several carotenoids, potassium, and a good amount of fiber (the real kind). Using frozen fruit eliminates the need for ice cubes and cuts down on dilution, but, it’s just as good with fresh fruit. The added bonus is because you are making it yourself, you know that it’s low in calories, as opposed to some of the smoothies that are commercially available which can contain upwards of 600 calories per smoothie.

Recipe courtesy of the “The Smoothies Deck” by Mary Corpening Barber, Sara Corpening & Lri Lyn Narlock

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups of orange juice

2 cups diced nectarines, frozen

1 cup diced fresh mango, frozen

Method:

Pour the orange juice into a blender. Add the nectarines and mango. Blend until smooth.

Serves 2

Nutrition information per serving:

185 calories

4 grams of fiber

700 mg potassium (15% of the daily value)

96 mg of vitamin C (>100% of the daily value)

1,333 IU Vitamin A (> 50% of the daily value)