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Archive for Low Calorie

TIP OF THE DAY: Save Calories With Healthy Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps are a carb- and calorie-reducing way to enjoy your favorite foods at lunch, dinner or for a snack.

Just substitute low-cal, crunchy lettuce for tortilla wraps, sandwich bread, pita and even rice.

For example, Asian dishes that typically pair with rice can be eaten in lettuce wraps instead of with rice. We were first served romaine leaves for this purpose at a Vietnamese restaurant in Paris, many years ago. Today, we regularly go out for Korean barbecue, where meat, pickles, garnishes and condiments are rolled into a romaine leaf and eaten. It’s so delicious, it’s hard to believe it’s so low in calories.

Lettuce wraps are also a sneaky-fun way to get the family to eat more low-calorie lettuce. A .17 ounce/5 gram lettuce leaf has 1 calorie; two pieces of extra-thin-sliced bread have 90 calories.

What Types Of Lettuce Should You Use?

Just about anything works: leaves of Boston lettuce, iceberg lettuce, red leaf lettuce, romaine, napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage (bok choy) and radicchio. Pick the largest head with pliable leaves (you can blanch cabbage leaves to make rolling easier).

 

Save calories with lettuce wraps instead
of bread. Photo by W.S. Mahar | IST.

 

Wash and dry the leaves well in advance of serving. They will stay crisp in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

What Should You Put In Your Lettuce Wraps?

  • Your favorite sandwich salads (chicken, egg, shrimp, tuna, etc.)
  • Your favorite sandwich meats and/or veggies, chopped into bite-size pieces (try a BLT!)
  • Burrito, fajita and taco fixings—anything you’d put in a tortilla
  • Salad (think chopped salad, Israeli salad and Greek salad)
  • Leftovers
  • Your favorite stir fry
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    Wrap Sandwich Recipes

    The easiest way to serve wraps to anyone old enough to fix a sandwich is to keep the filling and the lettuce wraps separate and let people roll their own.

  • Set up a “wrap buffet” with one or more types of lettuces and fillings, plus garnishes like fresh mint leaves and basil leaves, chopped tomatoes, sliced green onions, shredded cheese, sliced pickles, olives and capers. Watch everyone go to town creating their own custom wraps.
  • Provide sauces and condiments that are appropriate for the fillings: vinaigrette, hot sauce, hoisin or other sweet and spicy sauce, yogurt sauce, mustard, mayonnaise, etc.
  • An easy dressing for seafood and vegetable wraps: 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce and 2 tablespoons fish sauce (in the Asian condiments aisle).
  • Core the lettuce and soak it in ice water for an hour, for easy removal of intact leaves. Separate the leaves and drain each one individually, then refrigerate on a towel for a couple of hours to crisp them.
  • Lettuce leaves can be prepared hours in advance or overnight. Rinse, dry and stack the leaves in a plastic bag in the fridge. Be sure to dry the lettuce well before serving.
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    SANDWICH TYPES

    How many types of sandwiches can you name? See our Sandwich Glossary.

    There are more sandwich recipes in our Gourmet Bread Section.
      

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    PRODUCT: Crystal Light Pure

    We’re enjoying all the flavors of new Crystal
    Light Pure. Photo courtesy Kraft Foods.

     

    Just in time for warmer weather, there’s a new way to hydrate.

    Crystal Light has introduced a tasty sister, Crystal Light Pure, which replaces Crystal Light Pure Fitness. Because there’s no artificial sweetener, there’s no artificial aftertaste, which is what kept us from enjoying regular Crystal Light (yes, we know that millions of people love it, including some of our closest friends).

    But if you’d like a more natural-tasting, low calorie fruit drink—as well as one made of all-natural ingredients—we nominate Crystal Light Pure.

    All-natural Crystal Light Pure has no artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives. It’s sweetened with sugar and Truvia, a natural sweetener derived from the stevia plant (a member of the holly family). Stevia has no calories, so even after the addition of sugar, the drink has just 15 calories per 8-ounce serving, with 4g sugar. (Regular Crystal Light has 5 calories per serving and 0g sugar.)

    The sweetness level is so natural that even those who normally use all-sugar-sweetened drink mixes should give it a try.

     

  • Crystal Light Pure is available in five popular flavors: Grape, Lemonade, Mixed Berry, Strawberry Kiwi and Tropical Blend.
  • Two flavors, Grape and Strawberry Kiwi, also contain electrolytes, potassium and sodium that help to aid hydration during light physical activity.
  •  
    You can make a pitcher of Crystal Light Pure or add it to a reusable water bottle and drink sustainably all summer long.

    And, a bit of gin, vodka or tequila turns it into a fruity, lower-calorie cocktail.

    Crystal Light Pure is available at supermarkets nationwide and on Amazon.com.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Sugar Snap Peas

    Sugar snap peas. Photo by Louis Hiemstra |
    IST

     

    Almost everyone loves peas, but few people serve snap peas—even though they’re available year-round.

    Sugar snap peas are a cross-breed of the English pea and the Asian snow pea, delivering the best traits of both. Completely edible like snow peas (but with a crunchier pod), the sweet pea pods are filled with plump, round green peas.

    And they’re a culinary bargain.

  • There are two grams of dietary fiber and 35 calories per 2/3 cup serving of sugar snap peas.
  • Sugar snap peas are rich in minerals, with high concentrations of magnesium and calcium.
  • They’re also a good source of potassium and phosphorus.
  • One serving provides a 90% of the RDA of vitamin C, along with niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and vitamin A.
  • They have no cholesterol or fat, and very low in sodium.
  • Sugar snap peas can be eaten raw or cooked (boiled, microwaved, steamed or stir-fried). They can be enjoyed plain, with a dab of butter or a sprinkle of soy sauce (we like a mix of low-sodium soy sauce and yuzu juice).

    We serve them alongside fish, meat and poultry:

    Try this recipe for Seared Wild King Salmon with Sugar Snap Peas, Avocado and Tangerine-Fennel Beurre Blanc. More ideas:

  • Toss them into a green salad or a salad with radishes and cucumbers with ginger dressing, or tossed in a 4:1 vinaigrette of olive oil and yuzu or lime juice.
  • They’re delicious with asparagus, steamed as a side or in a salad.
  • Add them to pasta with shrimp or scallops.
  • Steam them as part of a mixed vegetable medly.
  •  
    You’ll enjoy the snap in your recipes.

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Low Fat Donuts

    Who couldn’t to discover that their favorite snack pastry is low in fat with half the calories? Today’s a lucky day: We’ve found delicious low fat donuts and cinnamon buns.

    You can have your cake and eat it too, thanks to Holey Donuts!. The secret is in the process: they use a method that takes 22 steps to make and avoids deep fat frying.

    You can order donuts in just about type you can imagine, including filled donuts (our favorite and the best sellers) and filled donut holes.

    What are you waiting for? Stock up!

  • Read the full review.
  • Who invented the donut?
  • See many different types of pastry in our beautiful
    Pastry Glossary.
  •  

    Low fat and delicious. Photo by River
    Soma | THE NIBBLE.

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    RECIPE: Easy Healthy Recipes With Salsa

    Want a home-cooked meal that’s good for you and couldn’t be easier?

    Cook with salsa!

    These two recipes for Chicken Salsa and Fish Salsa show just how easy it is to take the protein, a jar of salsa, and create an easy and delicious dinner. They also work with tofu.

    While the protein is cooking, make a green salad, steam a green vegetable and make some brown rice (microwave precooked frozen or cook it in the pressure cooker for the same 15-20 minutes that the protein takes.)

    To Microwave Brown Rice
     
    1. Add 1 cup brown rice and 3 cups cold water in a 2-1/2 quart microwave-safe dish. (We enjoy our square CorningWare casserole dish, which also looks nice at the table.)

    2. Microwave uncovered for 10 minutes on HIGH.

     

    Salsa Chicken is one of the easiest chicken
    recipes to make. Photo courtesy McCormick.com.

    3. Reduce power to 50%. Microwave uncovered 20 minutes.

    4. Allow to sit for 5 minutes in the microwave (you can remove it if you need the microwave for another task).

    5. Fluff with a fork and add any seasonings. For healthy cooking, don’t add butter, but look to herbs, spices and/or veggies: chives (or green onions), diced bell peppers and/or toasted sesame seeds, for example. A sprinkling of slivered almonds, walnuts or other healthy nuts also pairs well with the nutty flavor and chewy texture of brown rice.

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Chef Gerard & Chuck’s Salsa Verde

    Salsa verde is made from the green tomatillo
    berry, which is not a tomato. Photo by
    Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     

    We’re a nation of salsa lovers; but much of that is salsa roja, red salsa.

    In Mexico, the land from which we obtained our love of salsa, it’s the opposite. Only the northern states of Mexico, closest to the U.S. border, have red salsa as their tradition.

    Green salsa is based on the tomatillo, which is a distant relative of the tomato (the difference between tomatoes and tomatillos).

    We’ve had salsa verde from jars, but only recently experienced the joys of fresh salsa verde, from Chef Gerard & Chuck’s. It made us ask, why isn’t there more fresh salsa verde on the market?

    Of course, that’s the very question that got Chef Gerard into the business!

  • Read the full review.
  • Watch the video and learn how to make salsa verde.
  • Check out all the different types of salsa in Latin America, including 20 types you’ve probably never heard of.
  • The history of salsa, all the way back to the Aztecs.
  • How did salsa, the food, become salsa, the dance? The origin of salsa dancing.
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    COOKING VIDEO: How To Make Salsa Verde

     

    Our Top Pick Of The Week, which will be posted tomorrow, features salsa verde.

    Spanish for “green sauce,” salsa verde is made from a base of tomatillos, seasoned with chiles, cilantro and spices. A salsa verde can be fresh or cooked. It is typically much thinner than a tomato-based salsa roja.

    In this video, you’ll see how easy it is to make salsa verde:

       

       

    Tomatillos are not small, green tomatoes. They’re only distantly related to tomatoes.

    Here’s the difference between tomatoes and tomatillos.

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Healthy Recipes, Part 3

    We’re halfway through January. How’s the New Year’s resolution to “eat healthier” working for you?

    We’re here to help with another way to make easy, healthy recipes for dinner. This tip turns plain grilled, poached or roasted proteins into glamour dishes. (See Part 1 and Part 2.)

    The photo shows pan-sauteed catfish, but you can use this concept for any fish or seafood, meat, chicken or other protein. The key is to select interesting greens for your salad topper, and to be sure everything is small or delicate—a light layer instead of an avalanche.

  • Eschew the standard iceberg or romaine lettuces in favor of a mixture of one or two of these: baby arugula, baby spinach, mâche (lambs’ lettuce), fennel, mesclun, mizuna, sprouts or watercress.
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    Garnish your protein with your salad. Photo
    courtesy Whole Foods Market. Get the recipe.

  • Add color. This can be as simple as the tomato and parsley salad shown in the photo; but you’ll find a wealth of options as you peruse the produce aisle. Carrot curls (we like a thick curl going down the length of the carrot), cherry or grape tomatoes (whole or halved, or diced standard-size tomatoes in season), sliced sundried tomatoes, enoki mushrooms and diced red or yellow bell peppers are basic, but give you plenty of opportunity to select two different combinations every day.
  • Look for specialty items in season. If you see something interesting, grab it: It may not be there next week. Fiddlehead ferns, for example, have a season that lasts only two weeks (from April in the South to July in the North).
  • Don’t forget fresh herbs. Americans add too much salt and sugar to recipes because we don’t take the time to buy and savor the fabulous flavors of fresh herbs. That’s why French and Italian cooking is so spectacular. Go for basics like basil, cilantro, dill and parsley. Use them up by adding them to everything you make (including eggs and sandwiches).
  • Like onions? We love ‘em. Add some thinly-sliced onions or green onions to your salad topper.
  • Dress the salad in a healthy olive oil vinaigrette or a lime vinaigrette (one of our favorites), substituting fresh lime juice for the vinegar. Grapefruit juice and lemon juice work as well. You can combine different juices and even add a splash of orange juice.
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    Bon appétit et salud!

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Appliances That Make Low Calorie Foods

    It’s easy to make your own grilled chicken,
    fish, kebabs and roasts in this Cuisinart
    Vertical Rotisserie
    .

     

    It’s easy to cook low calorie foods when you have the right appliances.

    One of our most popular articles last January was 10 Appliances For Low Calorie Cooking.

    Take a look at how you can whip up low calorie foods—with high taste—using a:

  • Countertop Grill
  • Food Dehydrator
  • Food Steamer
  • IngenuiTea Easy Loose Tea Brewer
  • Milk Frother
  • Modern Wok
  • Pressure Cooker
  • Vapor Cookware
  • Vertical Rotisserie
  •  

    Let us know your favorite calorie-saving appliances.

    Find our favorite low calorie products in THE NIBBLE’s Diet Foods Section.

      

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    FOOD VIDEO: How To Choose Healthy Snacks

     

    If you’re one of the millions of people who have just made a New Year’s resolution to pursue better food choices, here’s an “inspirational” video. It shows some simple, portion-controlled snack ideas that let you treat yourself without going overboard.

    Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer savory flavors—and there’s no reason you can’t have both—pick up some tips to maintain your 2011 eating plan.


    Some of our favorites:

  • Quality lower-calorie, fat-free and no-sugar-added ice cream is as close as your local supermarket. If your goal is to have more ice cream more often, trade away the superpremium brands for those with half the calories, fat and carbs. It’s not plain vanilla: Edy’s, Dreyer’s and Breyer’s, among others, make exciting flavors.
  • Check out different sugar-free preserves. You can’t tell the difference with the best ones, imported from Europe made sweetened with maltitol. Or check out the organic Fiordifrutta line, sweetened with apple juice instead of sugar and available in an orchard of flavors: Apricot, Blackberry, Cherry, Cranberry, Lemon, Peach, Plum, Orange, Raspberry, Strawberry, Wild Berries and Wild Blueberry.
  • No Sugar Added preserves also make good low calorie dessert toppings for ice cream and yogurt, as well as pancake toppings.
  • Salsa is low in calories but bursting with flavor and nutrition. Salsa and baby carrots are a ready-to-eat, healthy snack. Check out some of our favorite salsas and salsa recipes.
  • And speaking of veggies, treat yourself to pickled vegetables. Our two favorite brands are Rick’s Picks and Tillen Farms. Asparagus, okra, red pepper strips, string beans and other veggies never tasted so good!

    Find more healthy ideas in our Cooking Videos Section.

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