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Moderation Maven

Dishing up the best ingredients for a healthy lifestyle
Healthy Eating

Recipe Rescue: Chocolately Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

Fudgy or cakey, who doesn't love a good brownie? But they can pack hundreds of calories in just one small square. Here's a healthier version with 50% less fat and only 150 calories, with the added deliciousness of a cream cheese swirl. Yum! Original Recipe Ingredients (m...

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Recipe Rescue: Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Today we're making over an all-American summer side dish – pasta salad! Mayo-based dishes like potato salad or macaroni salad can be filled with fat and calories. I think summer food should be light and tasty, so I took on the challenge of making over this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad recipe....

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Spice it Up to Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right

March is National Nutrition Month and this year's theme is "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right." Given that taste is the biggest indicator of whether we will eat a food, the theme is certainly appropriate! With warmer weather on the way, I'm asking you, too, to bring the heat and try my favorite way to make healthy foods more exciting – by spicing it up....

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Get Cozy and Healthy with a Warm Bowl of Oatmeal

For the past 7 years or so, I would say that 95% of the time I have had oatmeal for breakfast. Why? What's so great about oatmeal? Well, there are lots of reasons to love the stick-to-your-ribs hot cereal. To start, it's a whole grain, which means it contains the whole grain seed and its nutritional value is left intact. A half-cup serving of plain raw oats (which makes about 1 cup cook...

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Table for One (or Two): Eating Well on a Smaller Scale

I opened one of my cookbooks a few nights ago and realized that my recipes are mocking me. Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh, but think about it. Most are written to make four servings or more, suggesting that we should be eating that meal with family or at least a gaggle of friends. But what about the singletons out there? Whether you live away from family, are an empty nester, or have a househol...

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New Year, New You

As you read this on the last day of 2013 -- before the dawn of the New Year at midnight tonight – I, like many of you, am reflecting on the choices I have made in the 12 months past. Have you made healthier food choices and stuck with your exercise routine? Have you spent less money and saved more? Built stronger relationships with loved ones? I recently realized that while we att...

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Going Gluten-Free for the Holidays

What would the holidays be without dinner rolls, stuffing, Christmas cookies, or pie? Besides being traditional holiday dishes, they all have one common denominator – gluten. Over the past few years, going gluten-free has become a bona fide craze. But what is the scoop on the gluten-free fad? Is a gluten poison your body would do better without? Will cutting out gluten magically m...

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Add a Little Hanukkah to Your Table - Any Time of Year!

Many people associate Hanukkah with December, but last week Hanukkah coincided with Thanksgiving for the first time since 1888. (The next time will be in 2070, so for many, this was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.) I was born and raised Jewish, and I often get questions about the culture and traditions. What most people want to know is, why do the holidays fall on different d...

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Indulge Your Hunger... but Read Your Body's Signals

As the holidays round the bend on the calendar, we're sure to see plenty of articles, blogs, and posts about how to prevent holiday weight gain. Normally, I'm one who would be sharing such information with you. This year, I'm taking a different approach. I'm not saying that the issue of holiday health isn't important, because it certainly is. But for dieters, diabetics, and weight watchers alik...

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Diabetes Diagnosis Just Got Slightly More Complicated

Although the symptoms of diabetes have been documented for thousands of years, medical professionals didn't start to look for a cause and treatment for the disease until 1910. Almost thirty years later, the classifications we know now as types 1 and 2 were made. But now we've encountered a new problem. Type 1 diabetes was previously known as juvenile diabetes, while type 2 has tradition...

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"Candy Corn" Parfait

Try this tasty Halloween-themed treat for a healthy snack or guilt-free dessert! Ingredients ¼ cup diced pineapple ¼ cup mandarin orange sections ¼ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt 2 tablespoons light whipped cream 3-5 candy corn pieces Recipe Tips Use fresh oranges and pineapple or drained pieces...

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Make broth at home with all of the flavor but not all of the salt!

So many recipes call for chicken broth, whether it's soup, stuffing, risotto, mashed potatoes, or gravy, to name a few. There's no doubt that chicken broth adds flavor, but unfortunately, it can be sky-high in sodium. Reduced-sodium options are certainly an improvement, but can still pack around 600 milligrams of sodium in just one cup. Whenever possible, it's best to go for unsalted broth or s...

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Fight Chronic Disease with... Pasta?

Did you know that eating pasta can help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cognitive problems, and even skin damage? If it's topped with plenty of classic marinara sauce, it can. Tomatoes, the primary ingredient in marinara, can prevent blood clotting and have anti-inflammatory properties to prevent a whole host of chronic conditions. They also contain high levels of...

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Tempted by the Apple? It's Worth the Health Benefits!

When fall arrives, there's nothing more satisfying to me than biting into a fresh, juicy apple that's as crisp as the autumn air. Sure, we can get apples any time, but they're never as plentiful, affordable, and downright delicious as during the last quarter of the year. Of course, that doesn't stop us from enjoying all things apple year-round. There are plenty of varieties to choose fr...

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To Save Money, Keep Up with Your Kitchen

Though the economy is recovering from rock-bottom, times are still tough for many. When it comes to food, it can seem like every trip to the grocery store drains more hard-earned dollars from your pocket. But we all have to eat, right? It may help to start thinking like a business owner. In the restaurant industry, every effort is made to eke out a profit. One way is by making the most...

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Thinking Outside the (Lunch)box

It's that time of year again. Summer is rapidly coming to a close, and the kids are dreading returning to school. If you're a parent, you may be dreading their return as well. It can be a daily struggle to pack lunches and make sure the kids have had something to eat before they dash out the door. Although any breakfast is better than no breakfast, that extra effort to make it healthy m...

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Vanity Sizing: Do We Need a Reality Check?

If a stranger took a peek in your closet, would they be able to tell how big or small you are from the labels sewn into your favorite shirts and pants? Due to the phenomenon of vanity sizing, probably not. You're likely familiar with the concept from personal experience, but according to National Public Radio (, vanity sizing is when marketers "(re-label) large-size clothes as smal...

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Protein-Packed Foods: Do You Really Need Them?

Taking a look at grocery store shelves, you'd think Americans were starving for protein. Perhaps we are, but our hunger is not literal. Just a few years ago calcium was all the rage and more recently, fiber and antioxidants. Protein is now the nutrient du jour, and food companies have jumped on this trend by rolling out protein-fortified granola bars and cereal to smoothies and even water. But...

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Pull of Junk Food not "All in Your Head"

How does fried eggs and bacon between a split, glazed donut sound? Dunkin' Donuts' latest addition to the breakfast menu may seem a bit crazy, but this concoction is anything but random. The Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich joins the ranks of Krispy Kreme cheeseburgers and bacon sundaes as yet another novelty food item designed to appeal to the American palate. Food companies figured out...

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Always Consider the Source for Health Information

Think fast – where do you get information on health and nutrition? Magazines at the checkout stand? Your friends, family, or doctor? How about TV or social media like Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter? With any of these, you probably have some degree of trust. But have you ever thought about whether the source is a commercial venture? What about their credentials? We often assume others hav...

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The Scoop on Smoothies

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Arizona for a family wedding as my mom's "plus one." We took a day trip to Sedona for a hike, and our guide shared with us his favorite smoothie recipe. It was an exceedingly long list of ingredients, but included frozen fruit, coconut milk, agave nectar, spirulina, local bee pollen, and wheat grass, among other things. My first thou...

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Should You Go Paleo? Pros and Cons of the

The "Caveman Diet" is one of the hottest diets being touted by celebrities and average Joes alike. Also called the "Paleolithic Diet" or "Paleo" for short, the idea is that we should be sticking to the eating patterns of our hunter-gatherer ancestors for optimal health. With a catchy name and a scientific-sounding premise, it has the winning formula for a fad diet. Most weight loss craz...

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Keep the Sweet in Easter without Sugar Overload

Do you dread the arrival of the Easter Bunny with his pastel candies and chocolates? If you are hanging on to your New Year's resolutions to manage your diabetes, eat healthier or lose weight, it can be hard not to feel left out when everyone around you is enjoying sweet treats. Food and candy can be a fun part of the holiday, but try not to make them the center of attention. Enjoy time...

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Gather Around the Table for National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month, and there's no better time to get the whole family on board for a healthier lifestyle. Prevention is always the best medicine, so helping kids learn to enjoy healthy foods is an important strategy to raise healthy, well-adjusted, productive adults. Not surprisingly, kids are more likely to eat foods that they've helped prepare. But getting kids involve...

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Veggies: a Not-So-Secret Ingredient for Heart Health

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, you might expect me to extol the virtues of red wine and chocolate. And while these can certainly be heart-healthy in moderation, there are other foods that are far more effective at preventing cardiovascular disease. Vegetables – yes, vegetables – aren't exactly easy to get excited about, but get this. Only 23% of adults in Illinois are...

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