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Resolve to eat more fruit, veggies

January 4, 2012
By ESTHER MCCOY - Food editor ( , The Herald-Star

As the New Year is ushered in, many people will make resolutions to eat better and lose weight, then proceed to break that dietary vow before February appears on the calendar.

Adding more veggies and fruits to the diet is one way to lower calories and find ways to make meals tastier as well.

"Eat smart, be fit and live well" is a motto shared by Cooking Light magazine, and it could be a suggestion for everyone. Some of these recipes were borrowed from a Cooking Light magazine.

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MAKING?CHANGES — Resolutions to eat in a healthier fashion in 2012 would be easier to keep if plenty of vegetables, fruits, low-fat milk, whole wheat products and low-fat protein are included in the diet. While a tape measure was once the measure of inches lost while losing weight, it is now suggested to try on a pair of jeans that fit snug at the start of the year and see if they’re easier to snap after a few weeks.
-- Esther McCoy

These dishes could inspire the tastebuds of many dieters and keep them on track well past February and hopefully be a start to a new way of eating healthier.

Another snafu on the way to good health is eating on the run. This usually means grabbing something fast or outside the home, thought to account for about 40 percent of the food budget, according to Cher Murphy, who wrote "Tips for Eating Healthy on the Run."

Here are some of her healthy eating tips:

-- Only snack when hungry. Avoid nibbling and snacking just because it's there.

-- Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Whether for snacking or for meals, fresh is best.

--Keep portion sizes in check as the amount you are eating matters.

-- Avoid sugary beverages. They merely add empty calories. Instead, opt for water or less sugary drinks, such as tea and healthy smoothies.

-- Look for low-fat options. For example, look for fruits, veggies, air-popped popcorn or cereal bars.

-- Plan ahead. The more meals and snacks are planned out ahead of time, the better off you'll be. This helps when hunger hits. Rather than scrounging around for "whatever you can find," there will be something prepared.


Cooking Light magazine notes that this recipe can be assembled in less than 10 minutes by using preshredded cheeses. Actually, that is the only kind I ever use. I have scraped my knuckles too many times trying to grate cheese.

Spinach-Cheese Bake

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Cooking spray

Two 6-ounce packages fresh baby spinach

1 1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat sharp, cheddar cheese

3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 1/3 cups flour

1 1/2 cups fat-free milk

1 cup egg substitute

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put melted butter into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Tilt dish to coat. Place spinach evenly in bottom of dish; sprinkle evenly with cheeses. Combine flour and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until blended. Pour milk mixture over cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately. Makes 12 servings at 157 calories per serving.


With the Super Bowl coming up in several weeks, here is a tomato chutney and baked pita chip recipe that would be lower in fat and calories than chips and sour cream dip. It is from Cooking Light magazine as well. This makes a tangy spread on turkey sandwiches or to serve with grilled chicken as well.

Tomato Chutney with Baked Pita Chips

Six 6-inch pitas

Cooking spray

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 cup chopped onion, about 1 medium

1 tablespoon minced, peeled, fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Two 14.5-ounce cans no-salt diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

1/3 cup raisins

2 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Split pitas and cut each half into eight wedges. Arrange wedges on a large baking sheet. Lightly coat the wedges with cooking spray and sprinkle with the salt. Bake at 400 degrees for 7 minutes or until crisp.

In the meantime, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds to pan. Saute 1 minute or until mustard seeds begin to pop. Add onion, ginger, garlic and jalapeno to pan and saute 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in curry and turmeric. Cook 30 seconds more. Stir in tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in cilantro, raisins and sugar. Cool to room temperature. Serve with chips. Makes 12 servings of 1/4 cup chutney and eight chips for a 131 calorie count.

Note: I know none of my family would touch this when raisins are included. I don't have fresh ginger, so I would omit it also.


The strawberry pie that looks so yummy and tempting in the restaurant can be made at considerably less calories in this recipe from "Cook Lite and Eat Rite Cookbook."

Slimmer Strawberry Pie

Low-fat graham cracker pie shell

Small package low-calorie strawberry gelatin

20-ounce box frozen strawberries

1 cup low-calorie whipped topping

Dissolve gelatin in 1 cup boiling water. Stir in frozen strawberries until thawed. This should start getting thick as the strawberries thaw. Spoon into pie shell. Chill until firm. Spread whipped topping on pie before serving.


Here is another low calorie dessert. It might be hard to find red raspberries now but as soon as they appear, this would be a tasty way to use the very healthy fruit. And this would be excellent for a healthier Valentine's Day dessert.

Chocolate Raspberry Tart with White Chocolate Cream


1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa

6 chocolate graham cracker sheets

1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Dash of salt

1 large egg white

Cooking spray


1 cup fat-free milk

2 tablespoons sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

3 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped

1 cup reduced-calorie whipped topping

4 cups fresh red raspberries, about 1 1/2 pints

1/2 cup apple jelly

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Chocolate curls, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare crust, place first five ingredients in a food processor; process until fine crumbs form. Place egg white in a small bowl. Beat with fork until frothy. Add 3 tablespoons beaten egg white through the food chute to the food processor and process just until combined. Discard any remaining egg white. Press crumb mixture into a 9-inch round, removable bottom tart pan or a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

To prepare the filling, combine milk, 2 tablespoons sugar and egg yolks in a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over milk mixture. Let stand 5 minutes. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until gelatin dissolves and mixture beings to thicken, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add white chocolate, stirring until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Scrape white chocolate mixture into a medium bowl. Place bowl in a larger ice-filled bowl until mixture cools and thickens, about 4 minutes. Stir constantly do not allow gelatin mixture to set. Gently stir 1/4 cup whipped topping into white chocolate mixture. Gently fold in remaining 3/4 cup whipped topping. Scrape into prepared crust, using a rubber spatula. Spread evenly to edge of crust. Cover pan with plastic wrap; chill at least 1 hour. To prepare topping, place raspberries in a large bowl. Remove plastic wrap from tart pan; remove sides of tart pan. Heat jelly in a small saucepan until melted, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice. Drizzle jelly mixture over raspberries; toss gently to coat. Spoon raspberry mixture evenly over filling. Refrigerate, uncovered, 15 minutes. Garnish with chocolate curls. Makes 12 servings with 184 calories per serving.

Note: If using a springform pan, simply place it on your serving plate, rather than trying to remove the dessert.

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