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Month: August 2017

Aspartame: 11 Dangers of This All-Too-Common Food Additive

Aspartame: 11 Dangers of This All-Too-Common Food Additive

Aspartame: 11 Dangers of This All-Too-Common Food Additive Few food additives have been studied with such scrutiny — or with more controversy — than that of aspartame. Proponents of diet drinks claim that no adverse effects have been proven and that aspartame-laced products contribute to […]

House Dust Causes Fat Gain? Shocking New Lab Test Results

House Dust Causes Fat Gain? Shocking New Lab Test Results

House Dust Causes Fat Gain? Shocking New Lab Test Results House dust causes fat gain? I know it may seem far-fetched, but those little dust bunnies hiding under your couch are housing much more than pesky pet hair and microscopic pieces of dirt. A 2017 […]

How to Store Summer Fruits and Vegetables

How to Store Summer Fruits and Vegetables

How to Store Summer Fruits and Vegetables

So, you’ve succumbed to the bounty of summer, filled your arms, baskets, countertops and refrigerator with the colors of the rainbow — all the fruits, vegetables and herbs that are filling the market right now. And it tastes so good, doesn’t it? The hardest part about this cornucopia of deliciousness is keeping it all fresh and tasting its best.

Here’s our quick guide to keeping those fresh nibbles at their peak until you’re ready to prepare. For example, did you know that storing fruits and vegetables together is the quickest (and most common) way to prematurely ripen (and ruin) your foods? Fruits give off a high level of ethylene (a ripening agent) that can prematurely ripen (and spoil) nearby vegetables.

In a nutshell, the “one bad apple” adage rings true. Instead, treat each fruit and vegetable with specific care.

A FEW BROAD TIPS

VEGETABLES

Before storing fresh veggies, remove all ties and rubber bands and trim leafy ends, but leave an inch to keep the veggies from drying out. If you’re storing veggies in a bag, make sure there’s a hole to allow airflow, then pack the veggies loosely in the refrigerator to prevent premature rotting (they still need room to breathe in there). The more space they have, the longer they’ll stay fresh. Pro tip: Leafy greens can be washed before storing by soaking them in a sink full of water, while soft herbs and mushrooms should not be washed until right before they are used.

FRUITS

Stone fruits, avocados, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, apples and pears continue to ripen if left sitting on a countertop, so only leave them out if you don’t mind them getting a bit more ripe. (Store them in the fridge when you’re ready to slow that process.) Fruits like bell peppers (yes, fruits!), grapes, citrus, berries and cherries start to deteriorate if they aren’t refrigerated. Bananas, in particular, ripen very quickly, and also speed the ripening of any nearby fruits.

A FEW SPECIFIC TIPS

BERRIES

Berries are tremendously delicate once picked … and expensive. (Making them all the more disappointing when they spoil prematurely.) Wash your berries in a diluted vinegar bath (1 cup vinegar plus 3 cups water) and gently spin them dry in a salad spinner lined with paper towels until they are completely dry. The vinegar helps to destroy mold spores and bacteria on the berries that threaten ripeness. Store the cleaned berries in a sealable container lined with paper towels, leaving the lid open a little to allow moisture to escape.


CHERRIES

Cold storage is key to keeping cherries fresh. Cherries lose more quality in one hour at room temperature than a day in the refrigerator. So get those cherries in the fridge as soon as possible, preferably wrapped in a plastic bag. Avoid washing them until just before eating and always use cold water.

CUCUMBERS

Even though chilled cucumbers are the epitome of refreshing, they should be stored at room temperature — not in the refrigerator. Cucumbers are sensitive to temperatures below 50°F so cucumbers thrive and last longer at room temperature. If you store them in the fridge (below 50 degrees,) they’re prone to developing “chilling injuries,” including water-soaked areas, pitting and accelerated decay.  If you keep your cukes on the countertop, know that they’re highly susceptible to ethylene — the ripening agent in most fruits — so keep them separate. And, if you insist on chilling your cukes, keep them toward the front of the fridge in the middle where it’s warmer, and eat within three days.

GREENS

The best way to store fresh, leafy greens is to wash them, shake off the excess water in a salad spinner, then spread the greens on paper or cloth towels to dry. With the greens still on the towels, roll the towels and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat; unroll the towels just enough to retrieve your greens then roll them up again! The absorbent towels do a great job of keeping the greens moist, but not wet, and protect the greens from the sometimes harsh conditions in the fridge.

HERBS

The best way to store fresh herbs is to keep them like you would flowers — in a vase of water. Trim the stems every few days to keep the herbs fresh, and use at will.

ONIONS

Surprisingly enough, onions ripen quickly in the fridge and give off a high amount of ethylene … so we suggest storing them well away from all other fruits and vegetables on the countertop. This not only keeps your onions ripe, but keeps everything else in the fridge ripe longer, too.

ROOT VEGETABLES

Carrots, radishes and beets and other root vegetables are hearty in your recipes, but are actually relatively delicate and tend to wilt and get limp once picked and refrigerated. For snappy carrots, beets and radishes, trim, then store them in a bowl of cold water, covered in the fridge.

STONE FRUIT

Plums, peaches, apricots and nectarines continue to ripen when stored at room temperature on the countertop. We suggest keeping them on the countertop until just before peak texture and taste, then refrigerate and eat as soon as possible. (That is, if your fresh summer peaches make it more than a day at home.)


SWEET CORN

You can theoretically store corn for several days refrigerated in the husk, but they will gradually lose their sweetness and begin to taste starchy even when cooked. Corn connoisseurs will tell you sweet corn should be eaten the day it’s picked, preferably within hours, while the corn is at its sugary peak. With any corn you can’t eat right away, it’s best to slice off the kernels and freeze them for using in soups or salads.

TOMATOES

In his book, “On Food and Cooking,” Harold McGee explains that refrigerating tomatoes damages the membranes inside the fruit walls, causing the tomato to lose flavor and develop the mealy texture we associate with mid-January grocery store tomatoes. The best way to store tomatoes is on the countertop at room temperature. They actually continue to develop flavor until maturation peaks a few days after picking.

Lentine AlexisUnder ArmourAugust 20, 2017

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8 Moves for Stronger, Healthier Feet

8 Moves for Stronger, Healthier Feet

8 Moves for Stronger, Healthier Feet It’s no surprise there’s an uptick in foot injuries come summer. You can strain your feet walking or running in the sand or even stepping on something sharp. But even switching from laced-up footwear to flat sandals can cause […]

Free-Range Chicken Benefits vs. Conventional Chicken Dangers

Free-Range Chicken Benefits vs. Conventional Chicken Dangers

Free-Range Chicken Benefits vs. Conventional Chicken Dangers If you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, you probably eat chicken, but what kind of chicken do you eat? These days not all chicken farms are created equal. In fact, some of these places treat their birds horribly and […]

5 Plant-Based Protein Powders Worth Adding to Your Next Smoothie

5 Plant-Based Protein Powders Worth Adding to Your Next Smoothie

5 Plant-Based Protein Powders Worth Adding to Your Next Smoothie

One of the three macronutrients, along with fat and carbs, protein helps us feel full, achieve weight-loss goals and build muscle. However, most of us struggle to get enough in our diets, especially if we’re following a plant-based or vegan diet. An easy way to increase your daily protein intake is with protein powders because they are convenient and often inexpensive compared to high-protein, animal-based foods like meat, fish and dairy. Also, there are a variety of plant-based protein powders on the market that offer other health benefits, like fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Here are five plant-based protein powders worth tossing into your basket the next time you’re grocery shopping:

1. PEA PROTEIN

With 15 grams of protein per serving, pea protein is made from the yellow pea, a legume rich in fiber and micronutrients like B vitamins. Though it’s not a complete protein, pea protein is a good plant-based option for vegans and vegetarians. With an earthy flavor, pea protein is best used in recipes that have a lot of flavor, like this Ultimate Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl.  


2. BROWN RICE PROTEIN

Though brown rice protein isn’t a complete protein, it’s rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber and has 24 grams protein per serving. It’s also easily digestible and well suited for people with food allergies. Bonus: It has a neutral flavor that doesn’t overpower — or compete with — other flavors so feel free to mix it into your smoothie along with coffee, matcha or mango.  

3. HEMP PROTEIN

Made with hemp seeds, hemp protein powder offers 15 grams of protein per serving and is high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. The upside is it’s one of the few plant-based proteins that is a complete protein source with 20 amino acids — making it especially good for vegans. One caveat: Because it’s high in fiber, hemp protein may be difficult to digest, especially if consumed before working out. With an earthy flavor, hemp pairs well with banana, unsweetened nut milk and a bit of honey in a smoothie.


4. PUMPKIN SEED PROTEIN

Made from ground pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed protein powder delivers 19 grams of protein per serving and also contains essential omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids. This vegan protein option also packs a extra nutritional punch, containing micronutrients like vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and other minerals including zinc, iron and copper.

5. SOY PROTEIN

Soy protein powder is one of a few plant sources that offers all of the essential amino acids and about 20 grams of protein per serving. This protein powder is a rich source of arginine, an amino acid important for immunity and cardiovascular health. In addition, several years ago, the Food and Drug Administration approved a health claim for soy protein stating that “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Tried and true in smoothies, these protein powders are an easy way to boost the protein quotient in bars and bites, too. With so many different options — whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free or anything in between, these plant-based protein powders are a convenient and nutritious way to increase your protein intake.

Share your favorite protein powder in the comments below!

Megan Meyer, PhDUnder ArmourAugust 19, 2017

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How to Gain Weight Fast in a Safe Way

How to Gain Weight Fast in a Safe Way

Being underweight can be just as frustrating as being overweight. For people who experience difficulty gaining weight, it can be confusing to figure out how to gain weight in a healthy way. If you’re wondering how to gain weight fast without harming your body, there are […]

Feeling Better About Your Body Could be a Workout Away

Feeling Better About Your Body Could be a Workout Away

Feeling Better About Your Body Could be a Workout Away Not loving the way you feel in your favorite jeans? You’re not alone. A 2016 survey calls low confidence and appearance anxiety a “critical issue” and reports that 85% of women have opted out of […]

Healthier Kung Pao Chicken | Recipe

Healthier Kung Pao Chicken | Recipe

Healthier Kung Pao Chicken | Recipe

Have only 20 minutes to put dinner on the table? Try this protein-packed kung pao chicken, courtesy of Fit Foodie Finds, made healthier with less sodium and oil. If you’re craving extra heat, add more Sriracha or chili paste.

Healthier Kung Pao Chicken

Ingredients

  • 3 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced into bite-size pieces
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce (certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste (certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
  • 24 ounces fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • Optional garnish: crushed peanuts or cashews

Directions

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Prep stir-fry sauce by mixing together soy sauce, Sriracha, chili paste and honey in a small bowl. Set aside.

Place 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 1 tablespoon minced garlic in a large skillet or wok on medium-high heat.

Add chicken, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Remove chicken (it will only be partially cooked), and set aside.

Place the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil and garlic in the pan and turn to high heat. Add green beans, and sauté for 5–7 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add chicken, and continue to cook for 5 more minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Add stir-fry sauce, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for a few more minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Add sesame seeds, and let sit for at least 5 minutes, so the sauce can thicken a bit more. Serve hot.

Garnish with peanuts or cashews as desired.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 4  |  Serving Size: 1/4 recipe

Per serving: Calories: 375; Total Fat: 20g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 8g; Cholesterol: 82mg; Sodium: 495mg; Carbohydrate: 14g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 30g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 717mg; Iron: 10%; Vitamin A: 13%; Vitamin C: 20%; Calcium: 6% 

The post Healthier Kung Pao Chicken | Recipe appeared first on Under Armour.

Kung-Pao-Chicken

Have only 20 minutes to put dinner on the table? Try this protein-packed kung pao chicken, courtesy of Fit Foodie Finds, made healthier with less sodium and oil. If you’re craving extra heat, add more Sriracha or chili paste.

The post Healthier Kung Pao Chicken | Recipe appeared first on Under Armour.

Fit Foodie FindsUnder ArmourAugust 19, 2017

One Mom’s Plan to Let Her Kids Pack Their Own School Lunches This Year

One Mom’s Plan to Let Her Kids Pack Their Own School Lunches This Year

One Mom’s Plan to Let Her Kids Pack Their Own School Lunches This Year They’re back at it! Our year-round school started three weeks ago, and this year I’m trying something new for lunch. It’s called: Three Small Kids Pack Their Own Lunches. Here’s how […]