May 27, 2016

Skinny Recipe: Sweet Homemade Lemonade

In my book, Memorial Day weekend is the start of summer and nothing quite says summer like a fresh glass of lemonade. This easy to make recipe will certainly quench your thirst during the coming hot months, and it’s only 25 calories a glass. Mix up a pitcher, sit on the back porch and enjoy the long summer nights!

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May 26, 2016

Respect the Fruit: Three Important Reasons to Plan More Fruit in Your Diet

As a registered dietitian and nutrition educator, I find that fruit often doesn’t get the nutritional respect it deserves.  Maybe that’s because fruit is called “Nature’s Candy” or because it’s found in many calorie-laden  desserts like Strawberry Shortcake, Apple Pie, or Banana Pudding.

But, fattening desserts are only part of fruit’s resume.  Consuming fruit has many health benefits . Here are three that may surprise you:

Fruit is Ranked Much Higher in Antioxidants than Vegetables (yes, vegetables!)

An anti-oxidant can combine chemically with the destructive forms of oxygen in our bodies to render them harmless.  Research supports a link between the consumption of anti-oxidant-rich foods and a lower risk of certain cancers and heart disease.  When USDA scientists tested dozens of foods to determine their anti-oxidant capacities, 15 fruits and only 1 vegetable made the top 20 list.  The highest-ranked fruits were not costly, exotic varieties either — the top performers included apples, plums, blackberries, blueberries, and pears.

Choosing Whole fruits Satisfies a Sweet Tooth while Keeping Blood Sugars in Better Control

Fructose is a sugar naturally found in fruits and vegetables.  Because fructose is the sweetest-tasting of all natural sugars, a smaller amount has a bigger impact on our taste buds than other natural sugars. Fructose is also low on the glycemic index (GI). That means it won’t raise your blood sugar levels as fast or as high as glucose or sucrose will. Whole fruits contain fiber which means they are digested more slowly which also keeps blood sugars from rising too quickly.  Whole fruits like apples, oranges, peaches, and pears are good low-GI choices.

Consuming Raw Fruit Could Help Lower Your Blood Pressure

While consuming high-sodium foods can raise blood pressure, consuming potassium-rich foods can help lower blood pressure. Controlling blood pressure contributes to a healthier cardiovascular system and a decreased risk of kidney failure. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in sodium and most are good-to-excellent sources of potassium.  However, when most fruits are eaten they are likely to have a much higher potassium content than most vegetables. That’s because fruits are usually eaten raw and often vegetables are not.  Cooking, particularly in boiling water, can greatly reduce a food’s potassium content.

As with all foods, fruits should be consumed in moderation.  The USDA recommends about 1.5 cups of fruit per day for women and 2 cups of fruit per day for men.  Examples of 1 cup servings include 2 large plums; 1 small apple; or a large banana.  For more information on appropriate serving sizes:  please go to the USDA’s site.


Ellen StokesEllen Stokes, MS, RD, LD is an award-winning video producer, director, and writer in addition to being a registered dietitian. Ellen writes and creates videos about nutrition education, food safety, menu planning, grocery shopping, and healthful cooking on a budget. Ellen has worked with organizations and companies including the Partnership for Food Safety Education, the University of Georgia Food Science Department, and Golden Cuisine. Ellen formerly worked for CNN as a writer and producer and has taught food safety online for Georgia State University and she teaches nutrition to fledgling chefs at the Art Institute of Atlanta. Check her out on Twitter @EllenS_RD.

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May 20, 2016

Skinny Recipe: Homemade Blueberry Pie

Blueberries are in season, and that means it’s blueberry pie time. One of my favorite memories with my aunt is making this homemade blueberry pie recipe. Seriously delicious, this blueberry pie will satisfy your sweet tooth! Make some memories, grab the kids, and bake a homemade blueberry pie!


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May 18, 2016

Exercise: It’s Medicine and Fun, Too

May is Exercise is Medicine Month, an annual initiative of the American College of Sports Medicine to create awareness of the important role physical activity plays in promoting health and preventing disease. Research finds that exercise helps reduce risk of several chronic conditions including diabetes, cancer, heart disease and obesity.

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