Stories about: healthy food

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.


  • 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


  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.


  • 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)


  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.


  • 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


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


  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.


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


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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Junk foods parade around as healthy choices: How can you tell the difference?

A bag of pretzles may contain "No Trans Fats" but does that make them healthy?

Most of us enter the grocery store with good intentions: to leave with nutritious food. But when you read the packaging on your average grocery store items, it seems like everything is “good for you;” Organic crackers, grain-infused waffles and vitamin-loaded breakfast bars are just some of the packaged foods that boast healthful benefits. But how can you tell which products are good choices vs. those that are just junk food in disguise?

It boils down to two things: knowing the difference between healthy and sneaky ingredients, and then seeing where they fall on the ingredient list.

The biggest trend right now are packaged foods that tout whole grains, like crackers, bars, cookies, pancakes and pizza, according to Sara Yen, registered dietician at Children’s Hospital Boston’s Martha Eliot Health Center. The caveat is in the ratio of whole grains (or lack thereof) in relation to the rest of the ingredients.

Know what regulations mean. Yen points out that according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, any cereal that claims to be a “good source of whole grains” has to have 8 grams of whole grains per serving. Cereal that has an “excellent source of whole grains” contains 16 grams per serving.

What takes some detective work is finding out how big the serving is, and what else you’re eating in order to obtain the whole grain benefits. “Having 8 grams of whole grains in a 50-gram serving isn’t getting the biggest bang for your caloric buck,” says Yen. “Consider the ratio of what you’re eating—what are those other 42 grams made up of?”

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Children's helps bring healthy food to the community

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve probably heard plenty of healthcare experts stressing the importance of eating healthy food like fresh fruits and vegetables. The message may sound a little repetitive at times, but it’s important advice; whole, unprocessed foods  are not only good for our bodies, but for our waistlines too. And as obesity continues to dramatically affect the health of millions of Americans, it’s clear that more of us need pay closer attention to what the experts are saying.

But for many Americans, the shift towards eating healthy food isn’t so easy. Adding more greens to the grocery list is good advice, but it’s easier said than done for a lot of people. The high cost and limited availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in some areas makes them practically unobtainable to a substantial portion of the population.

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Health headlines: Eczema, triplets and growing pains

triplet girlsOther stories we’ve been reading:

Another court case rules that vaccines don’t cause autism. Eczema drugs need tougher warnings. Deep brain stimulation reduces epileptic seizures. [Read one patient’s story of how brain stimulation is keeping her epileptic seizures at bay.]

Kids do outgrow their growing pains. More strides are seen in pediatric orthopedic surgery. Naughty children are more likely to report chronic pain as adults.

Babies are born to dance. There’s a rise in triplet births, but the death rates are high.

The First Lady tells food makers to hurry up on making healthy food. PepsiCo pledges not to sell sugary beverages in school. Kraft plans to cut sodium levels in food products. [Read Thrive’s stories on childhood obesity and healthful eating.]

MTV launches an online “morality meter” to help teens understand the difference between “digital use” and “digital abuse.” [Read whether or not parents are legally responsible when their kids engage in sexting.] Learning may be tougher for the teen brain. [Read about Frances Jensen, MD’s research into why teen brains really are different.]

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