Healthy Eats and Repeat Highlighting Food, Recipes, and Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle Sun, 15 May 2005 13:02:08 -0500 Mustard Seed to Plate Wed, 11 Jul 2018 09:00:00 +0000 If you missed the ketchup post, it should pair well with this post on mustard.

Mustard is considered an oilseed crop, which the USDA notes as "grains that are also valuable for the oil content they produce." The main seed varieties are yellow (or white), brown (or black), or oriental mustard. Yellow mustard seeds are commonly used in prepared mustards, like the condiment many of us use on sandwiches. Brown and oriental mustard seeds are spicier than yellow mustard seeds and often used to add spice and flavor in cooked dishes.


A single teaspoon of mustard seeds contains around 10 calories, with small amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. That teaspoon also contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals, including folate, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.

  • Buy: There are many types of prepared mustards – from yellow to Dijon to hot mustard and more. Your recipe may also use ground mustard or even the seeds. A typical yellow mustard contains mustard seeds, vinegar, salt, and spices like turmeric. Sodium content in a prepared mustard can be high, so take a look at the label before you buy.
  • Price: Price will vary by brand and amount you buy. It will also vary by what you buy: prepared mustard, mustard seeds, or ground mustard.
  • Store: Store seeds and ground mustard at room temperature. Like other spices, once the aroma goes away, the seeds or ground mustard need to be replaced. Prepared mustard is best stored in the refrigerate, and should be used within a year.
  • Prepare: Prepared mustard, seeds, and ground mustard are ready to use out of their container.  Maybe even try making your own prepared mustard at home.
  • Eat: Mustard lends a nice flavor to savory recipes, like the marinated tomato recipe below.


Marinated Tomatoes (Makes 6 (1 cup) servings)

Red wine vinegar pairs nicely with this recipe, but whatever flavored vinegar you have on hand will work too.

6 medium tomatoes, sliced (or 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 Tbsp oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp mustard
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Wash, core, and slice tomatoes; arrange on serving platter.
2. Sprinkle tomatoes with chopped cilantro, using scissors.
3. Combine remaining ingredients except pepper in small jar and shake well. Pour over tomatoes. Cover and chill a few hours.
4. Season with pepper just before serving.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 60 calories, 2g fat, 15mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 2g protein

Source: I on Diabetes, University of Illinois Extension

Tea: Bake, Drink, Savor Wed, 13 Jun 2018 09:00:00 +0000 While my first taste of tea was so bitter, I enjoy that bitterness now. And now that the weather is warm, I am transitioning from my morning hot tea to refrigerating it for iced tea at night. There are many varieties of tea, and I will focus on dry tea leaves today, with a tasty muffin recipe.


Tea leaves soaked in hot water produce brewed tea. Without added flavors or sweeteners, brewed tea contains no calories, and thus no fat, protein, or carbohydrates. Brewed tea has very small amounts of some vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and potassium. Depending on your water source, the tea may contain small amounts of minerals found in the water, such as sodium. Teas contain non-nutrient compounds, including antioxidants, that much research suggests benefits health.

  • Buy: Dry tea can be purchased as loose-leave tea or in bags. Instant tea is also available. To use loose-leave tea, purchase a reusable tea infuser.

  • Price: Price will vary by brand, type of tea, and amount you buy. Look for tea with a flavor you like and that fits your budget.
  • Store: Store dry tea at room temperature in a dark, cool place. Seal the container of tea well to keep air out; this will maintain its flavor longer.
  • Prepare: While most teas will steep in hot water for a few minutes, follow the directions on the box or container of tea. Longer steeping can lead to more bitter compounds in the tea, and result in a less-desirable flavor.
  • Drink: Enjoy hot or cold tea, and even cook with tea, like the Black Tea Chai Muffins in this post!


Research suggests an upper limit of 400mg caffeine per day for healthy adults is safe. Lower amounts and even no caffeine at all are recommended for pregnant women, youth under age 18, and those with some health conditions.

For a comparison of caffeine in tea, and a few other common drinks, view this infographic. Information comes from the National Nutrient Database from the USDA. Removing caffeine from tea still leaves a very small amount of caffeine, thus why decaffeinated tea in the infographic shows some caffeine.

Decaffeination Process

There are several ways to remove caffeine from tea. Very simple descriptions are described here.

  • Tea leaves are combined with heated and pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide bonds to caffeine. When CO2 is removed, it takes caffeine with it.
  • Water processing can also be used to remove caffeine in tea. Tea is soaked in hot water, and the brew is run through a carbon filter to remove caffeine.
  • Tea leaves can be soaked in methylene chloride, which bonds to caffeine. Some resources note safety concerns in using methylene chloride.
  • Ethyl acetate is used in the same process as methylene chloride to remove caffeine. The tea may have an undesirable taste in this method.

Types of Common Teas

Tea comes from leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Variations in tea come from processing. Very simple explanations are described here.

  • White tea comes from immature leaves that are heated and dried.
  • Green tea are mature leaves that are heated and dried.
  • Oolong (Wulong) teas are "bruised" to allow oxidation, which produces darker leaves. These leaves are then heated and dried.
  • Black tea is fully oxidized and dried tea.


Black Tea Chai Muffins (Makes 12 muffins)

Baking with tea often involves steeping the tea in a liquid, like milk in this recipe.

1 cup skim milk
3 bags of black tea (or 1 1/2 Tbsp loose-leaf black tea)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plain, nonfat yogurt (or plain, nonfat Greek yogurt)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin.
2. Pour milk into a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave milk for 1 minute on high. Add tea bags (or loose-leaf tea in an infuser) and steep for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove tea bags (or loose-leaf tea).
3. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, yogurt, oil, and egg until smooth.
4. In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices until combined.
5. To flour mixture, add tea-infused milk and yogurt mixture. Stir just until combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin tin.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool muffins in pan for 10 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack.

Nutrition Facts per 1 muffin: 170 calories, 5g fat, 50mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 4g protein

Blog Special: Summer Recipe Rehab – Part 3, Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Fri, 25 May 2018 07:00:00 +0000 This recipe is credited to UI Extension nutrition and wellness educator, Jenna Smith.  Read her original post and recipe at Spring for Lemons. And many thanks to our intern, Terri Rupkey, for being the hand-model for the Summer Recipe Rehab recipes.

Dessert rarely gets a reputation for being healthier, but there are small swaps we can make in most recipes.  In this cheesecake recipe, there are swaps in both the crust and filling. While most crumbs are held together by butter, this recipe is bound with yogurt.  This lowers the fat and calories. The filling uses lower-fat cream cheese, plain yogurt, and egg whites, which lowers the fat and calories a lot from full-fat dairy and whole eggs.

See the video for the recipe online.

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake (Serves 12)

With less added fat and extra vitamins from the blueberries, this cheesecake is a healthier dessert option. Our oven needed 45 minutes to fully bake the filling, so keep cooking until the center is firm.


1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
3 Tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 350ᵒF. In a medium bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs and yogurt. Press into a greased 8x8-inch pan or 9-inch round pan. Bake for 5 minutes and let cool.


1 (8 oz.) package Neufchatel cheese (or 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
¾ cup nonfat plain yogurt
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest of one small lemon
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh blueberries
1. In a large bowl, beat Neufchatel cheese, yogurt and sugar. Add the lemon juice, zest, egg whites, vanilla, and flour and beat until fully combined. Fold in blueberries. Pour filling over the crust and return to oven. Bake at 350ᵒF for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 280 calories, 9g fat, 300mg sodium, 45g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 6g protein

Source: Jenna Smith, Nutrition & Wellness Educator, 2016

Blog Special: Summer Recipe Rehab – Part 2, Mocktato Salad Wed, 23 May 2018 07:00:00 +0000 Many thanks to our intern, Terri Rupkey, for being the hand-model for the Summer Recipe Rehab recipes and for suggesting this recipe.

Mayonnaise-based salads popular in summer, like potato or macaroni salad, can be heavy on calories and fat.  Compared to a typical potato salad recipe, this mocktato salad has more high-fiber vegetables with fewer carbohydrates.  The amount of dressing is less, which helps cut calories.  And by increasing the amount of mustard, we add more flavor, even with less of the dressing.

This was a hit with our office tasters, so give it a try this summer.  And watch the recipe being made.

Mocktato Salad (Serves 6)

Mocktato salad has the flavors of traditional potato salad while being a lower-calorie and lower-carb option.

1 medium head of fresh cauliflower
2 medium stalks celery, diced
Half a small onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
2 large eggs, hard boiled, shelled, and diced
2 Tbsp light mayonnaise
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1. Chopped head of cauliflower into small florets. Rinse under water. Add chopped cauliflower to a steamer basket. Insert steamer basket into a pot with 1" of water in the bottom. Cover pot with lid and steam cauliflower over medium-high heat until slightly tender, about 10 minutes. With tongs, move cauliflower to an ice-bath for 1 minute. Drain water and move cauliflower to a large bowl.
2. To bowl of steamed and cooled cauliflower, add celery, onion, parsley, and egg.
3. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, and salt. Add to cauliflower mixture and stir to coat.
4. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 70 calories, 3g fat, 230mg sodium, 7g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 4 grams protein

Blog Special: Summer Recipe Rehab – Part 1, Chicken and Shrimp Citrus Kebabs Mon, 21 May 2018 07:00:00 +0000 Many thanks to our intern, Terri Rupkey, for being the hand-model for the Summer Recipe Rehab recipes.

From fresh melons to main dish salads, light and healthier foods can appeal to us during the heat of summer. But not all summer recipes are so light. Desserts, mayonnaise-based salads, and grilled brats and burgers can be heavy on fat and calories. So head to the kitchen to make lightened versions of popular summer favorites.

Compared to burgers and brats common on the summer cookout menu, kebabs with lean meats and lots of veggies are a way to add vitamins and minerals and lower fat.  With the flavorful marinade we add to both the shrimp and chicken recipes, the proteins gain more flavor.

Watch these kebabs be grilled in the video!  The smells in our office were amazing!

Citrus Kebabs (Serves 8 – 4 chicken kebabs, 4 shrimp kebabs)

Compared to classic grilled foods like burgers, try these kebabs with lean cuts of meat and way more veggies than are on a burger.


2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp fresh minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1. In a medium container with lid, combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, and black pepper.
2. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat.
3. Cover container with lid, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.


1 lb deveined raw shrimp (thawed if frozen)
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp fresh minced cilantro (or 1 tsp dried cilantro)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1. In a medium container with lid, combine oil, lime juice, cilantro, and black pepper.
2. Add shrimp and toss to coat.
3. Cover container with lid, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.


1 medium fresh red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium bell pepper (any color), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium fresh zucchini, cut into 1-inch slices
1 medium fresh yellow summer squash, cut into 1-inch slices
1 8-oz package fresh whole mushrooms, cut in half or keep whole

1. Wash vegetables and cut into the sizes indicated.

Kebab Assembly Instructions

1. Pre-heat grill to medium heat.
2. Prepare 8 wood or metal kebab skewers according to directions on package.
3. Thread alternating pieces of chicken or shrimp with vegetables, in any combination desired.
4. Add assembled kebabs to grill. Cook on one side for 5-10 minutes. Turn and cook for another 5 minutes. Shrimp may take less time.

Food Safety Tip: Use one plate for the raw, uncooked kabobs. Once kabobs are cooked, use a clean plate to transport them.
Food Safety Tip: Chicken should reach 165°F and shrimp should reach 145°F.

Nutrition Facts per 1 chicken kebab: 190 calories, 7g fat, 55mg sodium, 5g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 27 grams protein
Nutrition Facts per 1 shrimp kebab: 140 calories, 5g fat, 650mg sodium, 6g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 17 grams protein

Summer Sauces: BBQ Wed, 09 May 2018 09:00:00 +0000 It's nearly summer! The weather is better for cooking outside. What is your preferred seasoning for the grill: rubs, marinades, or sauces? Today, I want to explore barbecue (BBQ) sauces.


There are so many variations of BBQ sauce, which means the nutrition information will vary by brand and recipe. For this example, I used the standard reference BBQ sauce from the National Nutrient Database from the USDA.

Two tablespoons of BBQ sauce have around 60 calories, 14g carbohydrates, and 350mg sodium. BBQ sauce is not a significant source of fiber, fat, or protein, and contains only small amounts of different vitamins and minerals.

  • Buy: Sodium and added sugar are often high in commercial BBQ sauces. When buying, see if reduced-sodium bottles are available. If not, compare between bottles to find one with the least sodium. There are sugar-free BBQ sauces, many of which contain a sugar substitute. Reading the ingredient list will help you know which one.

  • Price: BBQ sauce prices will vary by brand and size of bottle. Choose a brand that fits your budget and personal tastes.
  • Store: Store unopened bottles of BBQ sauce at room temperature in a dark, cool place. Unopened bottles can also be stored in the refrigerator. Once opened, store the bottle in the refrigerator and use for up to 9 months. The brand of sauce may have a recommended shelf-life date on the package you can follow.
  • Prepare: Commercial BBQ sauces can be used from the bottle without other preparation. To make and can your own BBQ sauce, use instructions from the National Center for Home Food Preservation: Barbeque Sauce.
  • Eat: From your grill to sandwiches to appetizers, BBQ sauce pairs well with a number of savory recipes!
Low-Sodium BBQ Sauce (Makes 1-1/2 cups, Serves 12)

Looking for a barbeque sauce without all the sodium? It may taste different what the higher-sodium varieties, but give your taste buds time to adjust.

1/2 cup no-added salt ketchup
1/2 cup no-added salt tomato sauce
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate any sauce not being immediately used.

Nutrition Facts per 2 Tbsp serving: 60 calories, 0g fat, 10mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g protein

Source: Food and Nutrition Services at Memorial Medical Center, Springfield, 2015


Classic Food: Tomato Juice Wed, 11 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Do you enjoy drinking your vegetables? And no, I am not referring to green smoothies. Today's post is on tomato juice. Let's save green smoothies and vegetable juice – a blend of veggies – for another day.


An 8-oz cup of tomato juice has around 40 calories, 9g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 2g protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C and potassium. Tomato juice is not a significant source of fat.

A raw tomato contains some sodium. So even unsalted tomato juice has some sodium, around 25mg sodium per 8-oz cup. An 8-oz cup of commercially-made tomato juice with salt as an ingredient has around 600mg sodium. Sodium does not add calories to a food, so the calories in the juice will be the same.

  • Buy: Choose reduced-sodium or low-sodium tomato juice to limit added sodium in the diet.

Tomato juice is usually available in a shelf-stable bottle. Look for bottles with a "use by" date as far out as possible. "Use by" dates are a measure of quality. If the store has a sale on tomato juice bottles close to the "use by" date, still consider buying it. Once the "use by" date passes, the juice may not taste as fresh as before the date, but should still be safe to drink as long as the bottle is otherwise sealed and was not damaged or held unsafely.

  • Price: Tomato juice prices will vary by brand, size of bottle, and any additional ingredients, such as in spicy or hot styles of tomato juice. Choose a brand that fits your budget and personal tastes.
  • Store: Store unopened bottles of tomato juice at room temperature in a dark, cool place. Unopened bottles can also be stored in the refrigerator.

Once opened, store the bottle in the refrigerator and use within 1 week. The brand of tomato juice may have a recommended shelf-life date on the package you can follow.

To freeze tomato juice, pour juice into plastic freezer containers and leave a half inch to a full inch of headspace; juice will expand as it freezes. Use within a few days of being defrosted.

  • Prepare: Commercial tomato juice can be used from the bottle without other preparation.  To make your own tomato juice, the National Center for Home Food Preservation has instructions:  Canning Tomato Juice and Freezing Tomato Juice.
  • Eat: From drinking a glass to cooking with tomato juice, enjoy a versatile food!


Slow Cooker Chili (Serves 4)

Consider cutting up the veggies, draining the beans, and browning the meat the night before to speed up assembly in the morning.  Store them in separate containers in the refrigerator.

1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
16 oz tomato juice (low-sodium if available)
1 15-oz can red beans, rinsed and drained (low-sodium if available)
8-oz tap water
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano

1. In a skillet over medium heat, cook turkey until browned, breaking into small pieces. Drain fat from meat.
2. Add cooked turkey and remaining ingredients to a 3-quart or 4-quart slow cooker. Stir to combine. If chili looks dry, add more water just until mixture is covered.
3. Cover slow cooker with lid. Cook on LOW for 8-12 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours.

Nutritional analysis per serving (no sodium reduction): 320 calories, 4g fat, 710mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 43g protein

Nutritional analysis per serving (with low-sodium ingredients): 290 calories, 4g fat, 380mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 40g protein]]>