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Healthy Eats and Repeat

Highlighting Food, Recipes, and Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle
Honey Sesame Chicken

Blog Special: Honey


Our office has a beehive! With our first harvest, we celebrated with recipes using our local honey!

Nutrition

A tablespoon of honey has around 65 calories and 17g carbohydrates. Honey is not a significant source of fat, protein, fiber, or sodium, and contains only very small amounts of some vitamins and minerals.

  • Buy: Depending on your store, both local and national brands of honey may be available. Buying honey that lists an apiary in your state or a city near you is a great way to support local agriculture.

  • Price: Price will vary by brand, type and form of honey, and the amount you buy. For more on types of honey, keep reading.
  • Store: Store honey at room temperature in a dark, cool place and cover with a lid. While honey stays safe to eat for a long time, for best quality, use within 2 years. Over time, honey will darken, lose flavor, and crystalize depending on storage, but it can still be safe to eat. Honey that has foam or smells like alcohol should be thrown out.
  • Prepare: Honey is ready to use right out of the container, although honey crystalizes over time. To melt crystals back into solution, add jar of honey to a container of warm water and stir until crystals dissolve.
  • Eat: Enjoy honey in baked goods, mixed into cereal, or other ways where you want a sweetener. Try the two recipes in this post, and watch the videos showing how to make each!

Types of Honey

Honey is available in a number of forms.

  • Comb Honey: honey inside the comb
  • Cut Comb Honey: liquid honey with chunks of the comb (also called liquid-cut comb combination)
  • Naturally Crystallized Honey: honey where part of the glucose sugars have been spontaneously crystallized
  • Whipped or Crèmed Honey: purposely crystalized honey that spreads like butter
  • Raw Honey: while not legally defined, the National Honey Board writes that "honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining without adding heat" defines "raw" honey
  • Extracted or Filtered Honey: honey has been filtered to remove particles, pollen, and air bubbles. The filtering process keeps honey liquid for longer.

Eating, Baking, and Cooking

  • When adding honey as a sweetener – such as for tea, oatmeal, stir-fry sauce, or other foods – honey can easily replace granulated sugar in a 1:1 ratio.
  • To replace granulated sugar with honey in baked goods, make four modifications:
    • Use 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of honey for 1 cup of sugar
    • Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey used
    • Reduce liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used
    • Reduce oven temperature by 25°F
  • For home canned goods with sugar, like jams and jellies, honey cannot be substituted for sugar. Instead, find tested recipes specifically developed for honey.

Safety

Do not feed honey to infants under 1 year old or feed them honey-based or honey-added foods, such as honey graham crackers. Clostridium botulinum is a bacterium common in soil that may contaminate honey. Healthy adults and kids have mature digestive tracks to prevent growth of this bacteria if found in honey, but infants do not and they may get sick.

Healthy Honey?

When comparing its nutritional makeup, honey is actually similar to other sweeteners. Download this infographic to compare.

Honey and other sweeteners, like granulated sugar or corn syrup, are considered added sugars. That is, they have calories and carbohydrates and essentially no other nutrients, like vitamins or minerals. When eating a generally healthy diet, even with a small amount of added sugar, a person still gets healthful nutrients to maintain and/or improve their body's health. But when a large amount of our daily food choices come from added sugars, we are missing out on many important nutrients.

The average American spends around 14% of their daily calories in added sugar. For someone who eats 1,500 calories per day, that is more than 200 calories in added sugar. Foods with added sugar can have a place in the diet, and the American Heart Association recommends no more than 9 teaspoons (or 3 tablespoons or 36g) added sugar for men and no more than 6 teaspoons (or 2 tablespoons or 25g) for women per day.

With new FDA legislation, added sugar is now being added to nutrition facts labels. Have you noticed it on labels yet? If not, take a look! And look at the added sugar amounts in the recipes in this post.

References:

Honey Sesame Chicken (serves 6)

Try this over cooked brown rice or quinoa.

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cubed into 1" pieces
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup less-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp sesame or vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups of cut broccoli florets and stems
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, optional
1/2 cup green onions, optional
1. Add chicken to the bottom of the slow cooker.
2. In a bowl, mix honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and garlic. Pour over chicken pieces, and gently stir until chicken is covered with sauce.
3. Cook on low setting for 4 hours.
4. At hour 3, carefully remove lid. Spread broccoli florets and stems evenly over chicken, and replace lid. Continue cooking 1 more hour.
5. Mix cold water with cornstarch in a medium bowl or measuring cup until combined.
6. Carefully remove lid from slow cooker. Pour cornstarch mixture evenly over chicken and broccoli, and stir. Replace lid. Cook another 15 minutes. Sauce will thicken.
7. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions, if desired.

Nutritional analysis per serving (with 1 tsp sesame seeds and 1 tsp green onion): 380 calories, 8g total fat, 1030mg sodium, 39g carbohydrates, 23g added sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 39g protein

Adapted from recipe by Susan Glassman, UI Extension

Gingered Carrot Zucchini Bars (serves 16)

Use up summer produce with this bar. Add additional flour as needed if the batter seems thin.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups shredded carrot
1 cup shredded zucchini
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey

1. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and ginger in a large bowl.
2. In another bowl, combine eggs, carrot, zucchini, brown sugar, walnuts, if desired, oil, and honey.
3. Add carrot mixture to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened.
4. Spread into an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
5. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center is clean.

Nutritional analysis per serving (with nuts): 190 calories, 10g total fat, 70mg sodium, 24g carbohydrates, 13g added sugar, 1g dietary fiber, 3g protein

Nutritional analysis per serving (without nuts): 170 calories, 8g total fat, 65mg sodium, 23g carbohydrates, 1g dietary fiber, 2g protein



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