Weekly food for thought with items on "good" fat vs. "bad" fat, the new Rachael Ray cookbook, stuffed pumpkin recipe and more.
Fat is the enemy - that's the philosophy of many Americans. While plenty of proven health risks can be tied to carrying extra pounds, not all fat is bad, experts say. In fact, dietary fat is considered an essential nutrient, and some "good" fats actually aid in weight control.
"Fat aids in maintaining proper function of the nervous system, keeping our internal organs insulated, nourishing hair and nails and providing the building blocks for many hormones. It is a good source of energy, among other functions," said Dr. Susan Berkow, a spokesperson with the Institute of Food Technologists and an adjunct professor at George Mason University; she also discusses fats and labels on www.iftfoodfacts.org.
Separate the ‘fats’ from fiction
In general, people should look for sources of unsaturated fat that offer other nutritional benefits, such as those that contain omega-3 or omega-6 fattty acids. Minimize your intake of saturated fats and avoid trans fats as much as possible.
"Up to 30 percent of our daily calories should come from fat, with unsaturated fats making up the majority of that percentage," Berkow said.
Unsaturated fats are the "good" fats. You can find them in plant-based oils, such as olive or canola oil, salmon, tuna and many nuts, such as almonds and walnuts.
Saturated fats are also a natural fat but can cause health risks if not eaten in moderation. You'll find saturated fats mostly in animal products, such as cheese and meat. However, some plant oils, such as coconut and palm, also contain saturated fats. Holiday foods, which are often loaded with butter, can be very high in saturated fats.
Unless a label states "no trans fats," expect to find them in processed foods like baked goods and crackers. Manufacturers incorporate trans fats to provide long shelf life and good flavor. Trans fat has been linked to elevated LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, levels that can lead to heart attack and stroke.
The right kinds of fats, in moderation, can help with weight control. Fat digests more slowly than other types of food and are satisfying. Eating a modest portion of saturated fat at a meal can keep you full longer and help avoid unhealthy snacking.
Federal dietary guidelines recommend about 65 grams of fat per day in a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet. If a food label says 20 percent daily value for fat, then you will consume about 13 grams of fat in a single serving.
"To minimize bad fat in holiday foods, choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products, read labels and keep total ‘per serving’ to less than 5 to 15 percent of the daily value," Berkow advised. "Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables with low-fat dips such as low-fat yogurt or humus. Dip your whole-grain bread in olive oil seasoned with garlic or basil, rather than in butter. Try new vegetables such as jicama, which is great for dipping. Bake with margarine rather than butter.
Easy recipe: Stuffed Pumpkin
1 small-medium pumpkin
2 tablespoons melted butter
Dash of salt
4 cups pared, peeled and sliced cooking apples
½ cup brown sugar
2 cups raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Cut top off pumpkin and save. Clean seeds and membrane from pumpkin.
Brush melted butter inside pumpkin. Sprinkle with salt.
Combine apples, brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Put into pumpkin cavity. Place pumpkin lid on and set in pie pan. Bake 2 to 2 ½ hours at 350 degrees.
Makes about 4 servings.
-- State Journal-Register
Did You Know?
Cranberries, originally named “craneberries,” can be added to breads, muffins, stuffing and vegetable dishes for an extra source of antioxidants and vitamins A and C.
I'm craving a large, hot, soft pretzel with some mustard. Where must I go if I want an original hot pretzel?
Answer is at bottom of column
Wise to the Word: Saganaki
[sah-gah-NAH-kee] A popular Greek appetizer in which 1/2-inch-thick slices of kasseri cheese are fried in butter or olive oil. Saganaki is sprinkled with lemon juice and, sometimes, fresh oregano and pita bread. Some Greek restaurants have a dramatic form of presentation: the cheese is first soaked in alcohol, such as brandy, then flambéed before being doused with lemon juice. Saganaki is generally served as an appetizer or first course.
Number to Know
390: One slice of 14 inch Domino’s hand tossed pizza with pepperoni, mushroom and sausage is 390 calories.
The Dish On …
“Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook” by Rachael Ray
Rachael now presents her best idea yet: Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook — 100 brand new recipes, each featuring beautiful and helpful step-by-step, full-color photographs that illustrate how to create each meal. You literally look along while you cook!
But that’s not all . . . you’ll find 125 bonus, never-before-published recipes. As if that weren’t cool enough, the book also features accompanying real-time video available online for select recipes at www.rachaelray.com.
-- Crown Publishing Group
From the Beer Nut’s Blog: Cold weather seasonal beers
It’s getting cold out, so now it’s time to move on to the most magical time of the year, at least for beer: Winter seasonal times.
In the next two weeks, I will be featuring my favorite winter beers. Next week will be my top 10 winter seasonals from U.S. craft brewers. The following week will be my favorite European winter beers.
What are some of your favorites?
Are you a fan of a spiced winter warmer, such as Old Fezziweg from Samuel Adams? Maybe Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is one of your go-to beers at this time of year.
Or do you like a nice, big imperial stout to help warm your bones after a night of shoveling, like Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout? You can’t go wrong with a Belgian Christmas ale, maybe St. Bernardus Christmas?
Let me know your favorites and see how they compare to mine.
To read more from the Beer Nut, visit http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut/.
Food Quiz Answer
GateHouse News Service