If you're trying to steer your bread and grain choices toward whole wheat, try this tasty recipe for bulgur salad. Bulgur is made from cracked whole-wheat grains, and it's fast and easy to cook. You can find it in the health-food section of most supermarkets. 1 1/2 cups boiling water 1 1/2 cups bulgur 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or substitute white wine vinegar) 1/4 cup soy sauce 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 clove of garlic, minced or mashed 1 16-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) 2 carrots, peeled and grated 4 green onions, trimmed and minced 1 cup dried currants In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over bulgur. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, beat vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic together in a medium bowl. Add carrots, green onions, currants, and undrained beans. Mix together. When the 30 minutes are up, add the bulgur and mix all ingredients well. Serves six. You can serve this recipe warm, cold, or in-between. Served with fruit salad, it makes a great meal. Because bulgur salad is packed with fiber, it's quite filling. You'll be less likely to hunt for snacks after this dinner. In the previous tip, we told you how to make a nutritious bulgur salad. While you've got a box of bulgur in your cabinet, try your hand at tabbouleh. Here's one recipe you can try. The ingredients list may look long, but if you have a spice rack, you probably already have the spices on hand. 1 cup bulgur 1 cup boiling water 1/4 cup olive oil 1/3 cup lemon juice 1 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. garlic powder 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves dash of cayenne pepper 1/4 cup green onions (chopped) 1 bunch fresh parsley (chopped) 1 large tomato (chopped) 1 can (2 1/4 ounces) black olives (sliced) In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over bulgur. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. In a sealable bowl or a shaker, mix oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Shake well. Add vegetables and parsley to bulgur. Pour in oil mixture and stir well. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serve over a bed of lettuce. Makes about ten half-cup servings.
There's a certain amount of confusion out there about protein servings. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Guide Pyramid suggests that most of us should have two to three servings of meat or other protein source every day. But how much is a serving of meat? Well, according to the USDA, it's two-and-a-half to three ounces of lean meat, poultry, or fish. This is not a big serving! Consider that many steaks weigh in at 16 ounces or so. Even a petite steak such as a filet usually weighs eight ounces. For most of us, that's more than the recommended amount of protein for the entire day. If you like to add up the number of protein grams you eat in a day, here are some figures that can help you keep track. The American Dietetic Association considers the following items "very lean meats" or equivalent substitutes. Each item listed contains seven grams of protein, zero to one gram of fat, and 35 calories. *One ounce of chicken or turkey, white meat without skin *One ounce of tuna (fresh or canned in water); most kinds of white fish or shellfish. (A notable exception: Oysters are higher in fat and calories.) *One-quarter cup no-fat or low-fat cottage cheese *Two egg whites This is only a partial list. You can find a complete listing in the "Exchange Lists for Meal Planning" booklet, which you can order online at
For the sake of both nutrition and dining pleasure, treat yourself to a sweet potato sometime soon. Sweet potatoes are so tasty that they're practically a dessert item, yet they're great for you. They're high in fiber--a five- by two-inch sweet potato, baked in its skin, contains more than three grams of dietary fiber, which is comparable to a packet of instant oatmeal. That same sweet potato contains 118 calories, most of them from complex carbohydrates, so it will fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of vitamin A. They're not hard to prepare: Just prick them several times with a fork and bake at 350 degrees for 45 or 50 minutes. Or, if you're in a hurry, prick with a fork and microwave on high for six to eight minutes or until tender. Sweet potatoes really don't need any dressing up. Try eating them plain to let the natural flavors come through. Or sprinkle them with a product such as Butter Buds and a dash of cinnamon.
One of the downfalls of many a health-conscious person is the dreaded eating rut. It's boring to eat the same foods over and over, so many of us wind up digging through our cabinets for something--anything!--to give our palates a little variety. Too often that means we find ourselves scarfing down chocolate-chip cookies or leftover Halloween candy. To help yourself stay out of the eating rut, stock your fridge with fresh tropical fruits. Mangos, pineapples, papayas and the like provide a refreshing twist on the old standby fruits. Since they're so satisfyingly sweet and rich to eat, they make wonderful desserts--without all the fat of ice cream or cookies.
Certain packaged foods list their meats or meat substitutes according to fat content. You may have seen labels listing very lean, lean, medium-fat, or high-fat meats. Ever wonder how those categories are quantified? The official standards are as follows: *Very lean meat or meat substitutes contain 7 grams of protein, 0 to 1 fat gram, and 35 calories per "exchange." (An exchange is typically a 1-ounce serving of meat; amounts vary for oddball items like cottage cheese and peanut butter.) *Lean meat or meat substitutes contain 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat, and 55 calories per exchange. *Medium-fat meat and substitutes contain 7 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and 75 calories per exchange. *High-fat meat and substitutes contain 7 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat, and 100 calories per exchange. (Incidentally, two tablespoons of peanut butter equals one high-fat meat exchange plus two fat exchanges. But don't shy away from peanut butter. Its unsaturated fat is good for you.)