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Food Tidbits: Miscellaneous facts and info

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You can use mustard in place of some of the oil in vinaigrettes and salads. It acts like an emulsifier, binding the dresser, while adding flavor as well.

Three great sources of fiber are: Brown rice, beans and popcorn. And only 1% (!) of men (ages 19-50) get the recommended 38 grams of fiber per day.

Daikons (DI-kons) are large Asian radishes. They can add crunchy texture to a chicken salad, with a peppery bite. Bright and fresh, they can be used in place of celery or carrots. And they can also be used with dips.

Spice Life

Herbs can last from 1-3 years.
Seasoning blends: 1-2 years
Whole spices: 3-4 years
Extracts can last up to 4 years, BUT pure vanilla can last indefinitely!
Ground spices can last from 2-3 years.
Please Note: Bear in mind that although it’s OK to keep spices for several years, over time, they can lose their flavor. To make sure that you’re cooking with the freshest flavor, it’s always best to check the “best by” date on the spice package. For more info (and for recipes) visit www.mccormick.com.

New Year Resolutions

The no. 1 American New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. And now there’s an app to help you achieve that. With Nutrino, you enter your current and target weights, plus food preferences to get a personalized menu. This app is free and currently available on iOS; an Android version will be coming soon.

Eating healthier is the no. 5 goal. And Fooducate will help you by scanning grocery barcodes to get a nutrition grade from A to D on various products. Free on iOS and Android.

What You Can Do Today

Eat Breakfast-According to one study, a half-carb, half-protein breakfast is the most effective one for weight loss-For example, scrambled eggs with a slice of whole wheat toast.

Cut Back on Salt-The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of salt a day; it should be 2, 300 milligrams a day to lower cardiovascular risks, according to the Institute of Medicine (the American Heart Association has a blanket recommendation of 1, 500 milligrams a day, but the Institute didn’t find enough evidence to support this).
The best way to lower your intake is to skip processed foods like bread, pizza and cold cuts-salt added at the table or during cooking contributes very little overall.

What You Can Stop Doing Now

You Don’t Need to Wash Raw Chicken-90% of American cooks do, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture strongly advises against it. That’s because rinsing uncooked meat can splash germs up to three feet away, resulting in more kitchen contamination. Instead, cook the chicken to 165 (degrees) F.
Is the package dripping with juice (or blood)? “Gently pour the liquid down the drain, and clean your sink with hot soapy water or a disinfectant spray”, said Jennifer Quinlan, Ph.D., a food safety expert at Drexel University (Philadelphia).

Unless you’re an endurance athlete, don’t partake of sports drinks. According to Swiss researchers who reviewed thousands of studies, these beverages only boost performance for intense exercisers (more than 70 minutes straight). For everyone else, look out: A 2012 study showed that sports drinks can erode tooth enamel due to their high acid content.

Two Super Foods for 2014

Nutritional yeast is powdery, deactivated yeast that has been a regular part of vegan diets because it’s a good substitute for cheese. According to Michelle Dudash, registered dietitian, of www.MichelleDudash.com, “It’s low in sodium, so it can be sprinkled on stir fries, pizza and much more”.
But it’s not just for vegans; anyone can enjoy its taste, versatility and its load of B vitamins, trace minerals and amino acids.
It’s available at most large grocery stores, natural food stores and is sold by Bob’s Red Mill at www.Bobsredmill.com.

Freekeh is an ancient grain that’s a cousin to bulgur, with a chewy texture and naturally smoky flavor. It’s higher in protein and fiber than quinoa. This particular grain is digested more slowly, which in turn keeps blood sugar levels from spiking. Freeken can be substituted for brown rice or couscous.
This grain can be found in natural food stores, some large grocery chains and at www.Freeken-foods.com.

Sources: “Fridge Finds” by Katie Neal-Spry magazine, Dec. 2013, “This & That” and McCormick print ad-Relish magazine, Jan. 2014, “Parade Picks”-Parade magazine, Dec. 29, 2013 and ”Three Months To Healthy” by Melinda Wenner Moyer-Parade magazine, October 13, 2013

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