Stories about: healthy eating

Have a heart healthy July 4th!

Happy Fourth of July from Boston Children’s Hospital! If you’re planning on firing up the grill and inviting family and friends to join you for a backyard barbeque this afternoon, why not create a few menu items that are both delicious and heart healthy? The following recipes were complied by the staff at Boston Children’s Heart Center, each a healthy twist on a traditional BBQ favorite. Enjoy!

Appetizer:  Low fat deviled eggs

Serving deviled eggs? Try low-fat cottage cheese for healthier take on a sinful treat.

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1/3 cup nonfat or low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives or scallion greens
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Paprika for garnish

PREPARATION

  1. Halve eggs lengthwise with a sharp knife. Gently remove the yolks. Place 16 yolk halves in a food processor (discard the remaining 8 yolk halves). Add cottage cheese, mayonnaise, chives (or scallion greens), relish, mustard and salt; process until smooth.
  2. Spoon about 2 teaspoons yolk mixture into each egg white half. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.

Tip: To hard-boil eggs, place them in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook at the barest simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, pour out hot water and cover the eggs with ice-cold water. Let stand until cool enough to handle before peeling.

Recipe originally found here.

SIDE DISH: Red, White and Blue Potato Salad

Mayonnaise may be a key ingredient in most potato salad recipes, but this heart-friendly version substitutes the mayo with olive oil—without skimping on taste.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds baby potatoes, a mix of white and blue (or purple)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers, rinsed
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herb (parsley, cilantro or mint)

PREPARATION

  1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a cutting board. Let cool for 20 minutes.
  2. Whisk lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Cut the potatoes in half, add to the bowl and toss to coat.
  3. Just before serving, add peppers, scallions and mint to the salad and toss gently.

TIP: Finish Step 3 just before serving. Add more lemon juice and/or salt to taste.

Recipe originally found here.

SIDE SALAD: Romaine, grilled avocado and smoky corn salad with chipotle-Caesar dressing

A refreshing side salad is a healthy alternative to potato chips and other junk foods. This salad is perfect for outdoor eating on a hot summer afternoon.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 firm-ripe 6-to 8-ounces avocados, halved and pitted but not peeled
  • 1 head romaine (1 pound), tough outer leaves discarded and head quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1-inch strips

PREPARATION

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over hot charcoal (high heat for gas). Put parmesan in a medium bowl and add olive oil in a slow stream, whisking. Whisk in lime juice, garlic, chipotles, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Rub vegetable oil on corn and cut sides of avocados, then season with 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Grill avocados, cut sides down, and corn, covered only if using a gas grill, turning corn occasionally, until golden-brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Peel avocados and thinly slice. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Toss romaine with dressing and serve topped with avocado and corn.

TIP: Corn and avocados can be grilled, in batches if necessary, in a lightly oiled hot grill pan over medium-high heat.

Recipe originally found here.

MAIN DISH: Lean Turkey Burgers

Turkey or chicken burgers can be up to 90% leaner than beef and often contains less fat. But just because it’s leaner doesn’t mean it needs to be any less juicy or tasty.

INGREDIENTS (makes 4 burger patties)

  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1 (1 ounce) package of ranch dressing mix
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
  2. Knead together the turkey, ranch mix, egg, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt and pepper in a bowl until evenly combined; divide into 4 equal portions and form into patties.
  3. Cook on the preheated grill about 5 minutes per side for well done. Add any veggie toppings you’d like. Try it on a whole-wheat bun with some fresh tomatoes, onions and lettuce.

Recipe originally found here.

Dessert: Flag Fruit Kabobs

Show your patriotic spirit with a healthy, flag-themed fruit spread.

INGREDIENTS

  • Fresh strawberries
  • Fresh Blueberries
  • Fresh Bananas
  • Kabob sticks

PREPARATION

Wash fruit and place on a paper towel to dry. Cut the stems off the strawberries, slice the bananas into sections of 5-6 pieces. Using a kabob stick, slide the fruit onto the stick—placing equal amounts of blueberries at the top of 5 kabobs—and arrange on a platter.

Recipe originally found here.

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Boston Children’s research in the news

image: flickr /christopher.woo

Boston Children’s Hospital made the headlines this week, when major news outlets across the globe reported on new studies from many of our researchers.

We’re well known for our world-class care and innovative approach to pediatrics, but did you know we also have a long, distinguished tradition in clinical research? And on more than one occasion that research has advanced not just pediatric care, but all of medicine.

Here’s a quick recap of some of our recent research coverage:

David Ludwig, MD, PhD

Researchers Cara Ebbeling, PhD, and David Ludwig, MD, PhD, of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children’s Hospitalthis week published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), suggesting that all calories aren’t created equal. The study looked at three diets (low-fat, low-carb and low-glycemic) in order to see which helped participants keep pounds off after losing weight. Even though all three diets consisted of the same amount of calories, the low-glycemic diet came out on top.

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Are all calories created equal?

David Ludwig, MD, PhD Boston Children's Hospital

Historically, people who lose weight have a hard time keeping it off long-term. Most people believe it’s due to lack of adherence to diets or lost motivation, but recent research finds that not all calories are the same—and that following a low-glycemic diet that works with a person’s changing metabolism could help maintain weight loss.

Researchers Cara Ebbeling, PhD, and David Ludwig, MD, PhD, of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children’s Hospital considered that after people lost weight, the rate at which they burned calories slowed down, making it harder to maintain weight loss. The challenge was to find a diet that would work with the body’s changing metabolism and help people continue to burn calories at a rate that would help them maintain their weight loss.

“Keeping weight off—even under the best circumstances—is difficult,” says Ludwig. “But lining up biology and behavior can help.” Ludwig and Ebbeling studied the affects of three diets with the same amount of calories in each:

  • Low-fat, which is typically recommended by the U.S. government and American Heart Association, aims to reduce overall fat intake.
  • Low-carbohydrate, modeled after the Atkins diet, reduces almost all carbohydrate intake.
  • Low-glycemic, which aims to keep blood sugar levels steady by choosing natural foods and high-quality protein, carbohydrates and fats.

Even though all three diets consisted of the same amount of calories, the low-glycemic diet came out on top: Aside from helping to stabilize metabolism even after weight loss, existing research suggests that low-glycemic diets help people feel fuller longer and experience improved sense of well-being, as well as improved mental and physical performance.

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Food for thought: The war against childhood obesity

Daivd Ludwig, MD, PhD

For David Ludwig, MD, PhD, one of health’s most fundamental truths can be traced back to a 2,000-year-old quote from Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine: “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.”

It’s a simple but powerful philosophy, and when combined with current research in obesity prevention, it’s one of the cornerstones of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) Clinic. “Hippocrates was right, nutrition really is the foundation for health and well-being,” says Ludwig. “He understood that intuitively, without access to the modern science and technology.”

Founded by Ludwig in 1996, OWL is a multidisciplinary clinic with a staff that includes physicians, nurses, dietitians and experts in child behavior. With Ludwig at the helm, OWL has spent the past decade and a half researching childhood obesity while serving over 1,500 patients a year, making it one of the largest and most respected childhood obesity clinics in America. Now, thanks to a $7 million grant provided by the New Balance Foundation, Ludwig and his team will be able to expand their clinical research, patient care and community health programs. The newly created New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center will bring Ludwig’s message to even more children and communities struggling with weight issues.

Since he was 8 years old, Ludwig has been captivated by the inner workings of the human body. By the time he finished the fourth grade he had read every physiology book on the shelves of his local library.

That fascination stayed with him throughout his education. When he began his pediatric endocrinology fellowship at Children’s, he focused his studies on diet and weight, researching how brain function affects body size, as well as the role genetics plays in why some people become obese and others do not.

But with childhood obesity already reaching epidemic status by the mid-1990s, Ludwig felt a more preventive approach was needed to remedy the mounting health problems that overweight children would face in the future.

“Our genes, though important, haven’t caused the epidemic—so we need to look to the environment for the answers,” he says.

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