8 Tips for Getting Enough Healthy Protein

protein food

Follow these tips if you are looking to get more protein in your diet (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Protein is essential to good health because it is involved in every critical function within your body. On average, American adults should be getting 10-35% of their calories each day from protein. For men that means about 56 grams and for women it means about 46 grams. You can get ample protein simply from eating a diet based on meat. Of course, you want a balance of meat and plant proteins. These eight tips will help you get enough protein.

1.   Focus on Lean Meats

Meat definitely has a place in a diet filled with healthy protein and you have easy access to lean pork, beef, and chicken. The reason you need seafood and red meat in your diet is because it’s the best source of zinc, an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining a sense of smell, keeping a healthy immune system, building proteins, triggering enzymes, and creating DNA. While some plant proteins can provide this important mineral too, they can’t at the level and quality of seafood and red meats. Beef and other red meats are also a good source of iron, choline (that supports our nervous system development) and selenium (helps protect cells from damage).

2.   Diversify

When most of us think of protein, meat is all that comes to mind but there are many other sources of protein that are not meat based. Varying the sources of your protein can help you manage calorie and fat intake while also keeping meal time interesting and inviting.

3.   Re-acquaint Yourself with the Incredible Edible Egg

Eggs, like the ones produced by Arizona farms, are a great source of protein. Adding an egg to your morning breakfast plate or eating a hard boiled one for a snack are both easy ways to get this healthy protein into your day.

4.   Go Nuts!

Nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans are all excellent sources of healthy proteins. Nuts and seeds make great snacks and beans, lentils, and other legumes are perfect ways to add protein to a soup, stew, or salad.

5.   Dip Into Some Dairy

Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are all also good sources of healthy protein. Including low-fat dairy products at various points throughout the day will help you get your protein and boost your calcium intake.

6.   Eat it on the Side

Many times the protein in our meal features prominently on the plate and is considered the main course, but there are lots of delicious side dishes that also provide healthy protein. Eating things like hummus, bean salad, and lentils which are all excellent sources of protein will make it easy to get the right amount of protein without the entire meal centering on protein.

7.   Have a Salad

Many of the dark leafy green vegetables that are so good for us also provide a healthy source of protein. Vegetables like spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and even artichokes serve us a solid helping of protein along with all the other vitamins and nutrients they provide.

8.   Go for the Grain

There are some ancient grains like quinoa and amaranth are packed with protein and full of fiber. Using them instead of carb heavy potatoes or rice can help you get more healthy protein without the extra calories.

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6 Easy Ways to Warm Up Your Home this Fall

Christmas holiday decoration ideas

Follow these tips to get your home decorated for the holidays. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

The nights are shorter and a little bit colder and there is Christmas music playing in all of the stores. There is no denying that we are in the heyday of the fall season. It is time to pull out warmer clothes, long pants, and maybe even a jacket to get your wardrobe ready for the winter. While you are sprucing up your wardrobe, take a minute to make a few seasonal changes around the house as well. Changing small aspects of the décor along with the changing seasons keeps things fresh and bringing a little fall warmth into your decorating can make those short days seem less depressing.

Whether you are entertaining for the holidays or just looking for a way to make the early evenings seem less dark and dire, these ideas will help you add a little fall flare and welcome warmth to your home.

 

  1. Choose Different Art

Most people pick some pictures or art work that they like, hang them on the wall, and never consider changing them until they redo the room or need to paint. However, swapping out art work in main areas like the dining room, hall, or even kitchen can be an easy way to freshen things up with each season. For fall, choose art with warm, rich colors like reds, yellows, oranges, and greens.

 

  1. Seasonal Pillows and Throws

Another quick easy way to incorporate the warm feelings associated with the fall season is to replace standard throw pillows with some that have a seasonal flavor like fall leaves. Choosing seasonally themed throws can also bring warmth to any room – both figuratively and literally!

 

  1. Light Up the Night with Candlelight

There are few light sources that inspire a sense of warmth and comfort like candlelight. Turn down the harsh overhead lights and use the flickering glow of a few candles to create an ambience that is all fall. Choosing candles scented with fall scents like pine or wind can also bring the season inside your home. Old fashioned canning jars make great candle holders that fit perfectly in with the harvest season.

 

  1. Give Your Entranceway Some Seasonal Curb Appeal

Simple touches like a pile of well-placed pumpkins, a few pots full of fall mums, or an autumn wreath on the door can make your home feel warm and inviting to anyone who comes to call.

 

  1. Bring the Outside In

Natural elements like acorns, pressed leaves, and pinecones can quickly dress your home up for the fall season. Use these elements on mantles, in floor vases, or frame them and use them as your seasonal art installation.

 

  1. Feature Fall Fruits

A large glass vase filled with fall fruits like cranberries is beautiful, seasonally appropriate, and simple to do. You can quickly create a beautiful centerpiece with some fall fruit and couple glass vases and bowls. Add some pressed leaves and acorns and you have a fall centerpiece worthy of the fanciest table.

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Let’s Celebrate Arizona Grown Leafy Greens

lettuce Arizona

Check out these delicious recipes using Arizona grown leafy greens (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

November is the month of gratitude and if there is one thing we have to be grateful for here in Arizona it is the abundance of locally grown leafy greens produced during the fall and winter months. While you might not think ‘leafy greens’ when you think ‘desert climate’, the winter weather in Arizona is actually perfect for growing these healthy veggies.

Our climate is so leafy green friendly in fact that Yuma, Arizona is the winter lettuce capital of the world and more than 1,000 truckloads of lettuce leave the Yuma Valley every day this time of year. The leafy greens produced in Arizona from November to March will account for about 85% of all the leafy greens consumed in both the U.S. and Canada during that timeframe.

In addition to contributing to the food supply, these leafy greens also play an important role in Arizona agriculture by contributing $1 billion a year to the economy and employing more than 20,000 people.   To help you celebrate these locally grown veggies and get more of them in your daily diet, here is some basic information about the top Arizona grown leafy greens according to Arizona Leafy Greens and some ways you can use them to fill your family’s plate.

Arugula

Popular in Mediterranean cuisine, arugula has a distinct peppery flavor and an excellent nutritional profile. It provides vitamins A, C, and K, folates, and beneficial phytochemicals.

Cabbage

Most people are familiar with cabbage, which is a good source of fiber.

Chard

This leafy green stands out from the others because of its brightly colored stalks and veins which come in a rainbow of colors. With a taste similar to beets, chard is a good source of fiber and provides both vitamins A and C.

Kale

This leafy green powerhouse is packed with nutrition and provides vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, and even calcium. It has a more bitter taste than most lettuce varieties and comes in a range of colors.

Lettuce including Butter, Iceberg, Green Leaf, Red Leaf, Baby Leaf, and Romaine

Lettuce provides a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, and potassium, the darker the leaves, the higher the concentration of nutrients. It is also a good source of dietary fiber.

Spinach

Spinach provides folate, vitamins A and C, and is actually better for you when it is cooked, unlike most of the other leafy greens.

 

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Creative Ways to Cook Your Turkey

Turkey grilled

If you want to change things up this Thanksgiving, try grilling your turkey. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and if you are dreading cooking your turkey maybe it’s time to try something a little different this year.   There is more than one way to cook a turkey and choosing an alternative method may be just what you need to get yourself excited to make this huge holiday meal. To help get you inspired, here are tips and tricks for cooking your turkey on the grill!

Grilling Your Turkey

If you are cooking a smaller-sized bird, about 12 pounds or less, you can grill your bird rather than roasting it. In order to grill your Thanksgiving turkey you will need a large charcoal grill, about 20 pounds of charcoal briquettes, a disposable roasting pan big enough to fit the bird, a meat thermometer, a grill thermometer, utensils like tongs and heat safe gloves.

Whether you are roasting, grilling, or smoking your turkey, you will want to brine it first in order to have juicy meat that is packed with flavor. Once your turkey has soaked in the brine long enough, remove it and rub the entire outside with butter. This will help create a crispy, browned skin while the turkey grills. If you want a little extra flavor, apply a dry rub (low in salt) to the outside of the turkey and put it in the pan.

You might be wondering why you haven’t stuffed it yet. The easy answer is that you should not stuff turkeys that aren’t going to be roasted as the stuffing won’t cook properly or evenly and you will risk food poisoning. If you opt for one of these alternative methods, simply cook the stuffing separately in a pan in the oven.

Start the grill and get the charcoal going on one side of the grill. Oil the grill’s grate and set the disposable roasting pan in the grill next to the charcoal. This will serve as the drip pan and keep the juices and fat from dripping onto the hot coals. Once you have white ash on the charcoal, place the turkey on the grate so that it is positioned over the drip pan.

Ideally, you want the temperature inside the grill to remain around 350 degrees Fahrenheit while the turkey is cooking. The turkey will take two to three hours to cook and you will want to rotate it while it is cooking so that it cooks evenly. Try to keep the grill closed as much as possible. The turkey is done when the meat thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the thigh meat.

Once the meat has reached the appropriate temperature, remove the turkey from the grill and carve as you normally would.

If grilling doesn’t seem like the right solution for you, you can also smoke your Thanksgiving turkey in a smoker or deep-fry it in a deep-fryer made for cooking turkey. Choosing to go outside the lines when making this year’s holiday meal can make it more interesting for you and more memorable for your guests.

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Simple, Thoughtful Recipes Work Best for Holiday Feasts

Easy simple Thanksgiving recipes

If you’re looking to simplify the cooking complexities this Thanksgiving, try one of these recipes from Fill Your Plate (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and if you are like us, you are spending your evenings searching Pinterest for the perfect recipes to make your meal a masterpiece. Despite the fact that last year didn’t turn out the way you planned (or maybe because it didn’t), you are determined to have a holiday happening that could grace the pages of Martha Stewart’s magazine. With the big day still weeks away, the stress and panic often brought on by actually making that masterpiece has yet to set in and it is easy to forget how crazy we make ourselves simply by trying to do too much and by making things a lot harder than they need to be.

So, instead of spending your evenings looking for the most complicated dishes and dreaming of desserts that would be considered divine in a 4 star restaurant, stop the madness before it starts and settle on a simple approach to your holiday meal.

Why Simple is Better

When you are the one making the Thanksgiving meal it is easy to feel a lot of pressure to make it perfect. Whether you need to show up your sister who seems to channel Martha Stewart or you are looking to impress your future spouse and in-laws, the tendency is to take on too much. Instead of making the standard sides, we choose complicated recipes and offer too many options. Rather than using the pre-made pie crust from the store, we decide to make everything from scratch. And while our intentions are good, the outcome often isn’t. Rather than making a delicious hearty feast that is simple enough to allow us to spend time with our loved ones, we reach for the stars and end up frustrated and stressed.

Taking a Thoughtful Approach

Settling on simplicity doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice taste, flavor, or quality and it doesn’t mean you can only serve turkey, potatoes, and pie. It means taking a thoughtful approach to planning your meal that takes into account your skills, the time you have available, and the likes and dislikes of the people who will be joining you for dinner. For example, providing a vegetarian dessert option for your cousin’s vegetarian family shows you care more than any 9 course meal even could.

Simple Doesn’t Have to Mean Standard

Deciding to take a simple approach doesn’t mean serving up a standard Thanksgiving meal devoid of any flare or interesting flavors. In fact, choosing non-standard dishes might actually make things simpler. For example, you might choose to skip the whole ‘roasting a full turkey in the oven’ thing and opt for a much simpler turkey dish instead. To help you start planning, here are some simple, yet delicious ideas for Thanksgiving dishes courtesy of the Fill Your Plate recipe section.

Turkey

Cranberry Sauce

Rolls and Breads

Sides

Desserts

 

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