Spring means warmer weather and focus on improving your health

Published Mar 25, 2018 at 9:00am

By Eileen Luker
Registered Dietician

Spring is a welcome weather change, a time change (daylight savings time) and the re- birth of hope in Easter. Now is the time to make changes to improve your health.

April is Cancer Awareness Month. It’s time to make important health changes. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is searching for a cure for cancer and giving us advice to cook healthy, eat healthy, and stay healthy. From the ground up scientists are saying “Fight the Good Fight.” Publishers of the children’s book Eat Your Colors; say “Rookie Toddler TM celebrates a toddler’s world of firsts, eat your colors, encourages toddlers to eat vegetables and fruits for the first time.

AICR wants this to happen with adults. Will a small child’s book lead adults in eating colorful fruits and vegetables? See how many colors you can eat. Snacks are good anytime but especially in the spring when you are outside in fresh air. 

Snacks don’t have to be unhealthy chips and sweets. In fact, they can add important nutrients and fiber to your diet, as AICR advises for lower cancer risk. Turn your snacking into a healthy habit with cancer-protective foods. A mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack can help you eat 4-5 cups of vegetables and fruits daily. Healthy snacks that also contain fiber-rich whole grains and protein can give you lasting energy. 

Steer clear of unhealthy snacks. Unfortunately, the most common and convenient snacks tend to be highly processed. Chips, candy, and even many types of crackers are filled with added sugar, salt and saturated fat. This can ultimately lead to weight gain and increase risk of chronic diseases like cancer.

It’s easy to whip up some nutritious and tasty snacks. Aim for 1-3 small snacks per day if you are going more than five hours between meals or find you are ravenous at meal times. 

Crunchy snacks: 

Carrot and celery sticks or toasted whole-wheat pita bread wedges. Enjoy them with 2 tablespoons of hummus (chick-pea dip found in the deli section) or low-fat cottage cheese. 

Scant handful of almonds or cashews 

Fresh raw veggies (celery, bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, snap peas). Dip them into low-fat cottage cheese mixed with 1 tablespoon salsa or horseradish, fresh dill and black pepper. 

Savory snacks: 

Hardboiled egg or hummus deviled egg (slice egg in half, mix yolk with 2 teaspoons hummus and refill each egg with half the mixture. 

One-quarter avocado spread on 1 slice of whole-grain toast. Top it with a squeeze of lime juice or a sprinkle of salt. 

Sweet snacks: 

Frozen grapes or mango chunks with 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese

Half-cup raspberries mixed into plain nonfat Greek yogurt and sprinkled with 1 tablespoon mini dark chocolate chips. 

Impress your guests this Easter with Beet-Pickled Stuffed Eggs. There’s nothing devilish about these beet-pickled stuffed eggs. Guests will be wowed by the pop of pink color, and they’ll never suspect they’re eating a healthier version with plain, non-fat Greek yogurt swapped in for mayonnaise. And the best part is that these eggs are pretty simple to make. 

Ingredients

6 beet-pickled, hard-boiled eggs (see method below) 

1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon salt (optional) 

2 green onions, thinly sliced 

Steps to Make Beet-Pickled, Hard-Boiled eggs: 

Cook 6 eggs to a hard-boiled consistency 

In a pot, boil 3 cups water, 1 cup distilled white vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 large red beet, peeled and diced. Remove from heat and cool. 

Peel eggs and place in cooled beet-pickling brine. 

Chill eggs in brine for at least 4 hours. The longer eggs sit in the brine, the more color develops on the egg whites. (Tip: let them sit for 12 hours.)

Preparation: 

Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl. 

To the bowl, add yogurt, onion powder, Dijon mustard and salt, if desired. Stir to combine.

Spoon or pipe the mixture into egg halves. 

Garnish with a sprinkle of sliced green onions. 

Serves 12