Cantina Power Bowl with Chicken from Taco Bell provides a generous portion and packs in 29 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. Even if you add avocado ranch dressing and sour cream, the whole dish is less than 500 calories.
Craving pizza? Skinny Italy from Pizza Hut is only 220 calories per slice (almost half the fat of entries like Supreme, but with just as much flavor), providing red onions, meatballs and a balsamic drizzle.
White Castle’s Sliders (those delicious tiny burgers) have long been a fast-food favorite; there’s now a vegetarian option by the popular brand Dr. Praeger’s. They’re made with carrots, zucchini and broccoli. Two sliders are less than 400 calories, no trans or saturated fat and almost half of the daily recommended vitamin A (Source: “Spry Kitchen-Roadside Assistance”-Spry Living, April 2015).
Darkhorse Specialty Foods has a line of smoked brown sugars that can be used in baked goods, on roasted vegetables and as a fish or meat rub, among other things (flavors include chili and whiskey). They’re available at www.thesmokedolive.com, Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table in 8-oz. resealable pouches for $14.
Perk up any salad by swapping in one new ingredient and adding leftovers (or by planning ahead, an extra chicken breast or steak can be grilled, steamed or roasted veggies can be doubled; or an extra slice of bacon can be done at breakfast. Any or all of these can be tossed into a salad throughout the week): Baby kale can be added to sliced flank steak + sliced radish + carrot ribbons + pumpkin seeds. Tuna can be added to butter lettuce + boiled new potatoes + sliced almonds + tomatoes. Mixed greens + leftover steamed asparagus + leftover bacon crumbles + croutons can be added to a poached egg. Hot or room-temperature roasted veggies (beets, eggplant, zucchini or carrots) can transform a salad. Try roasted zucchini + baby greens + red onion + feta + pistachios. Blueberries or orange segments can be added to baby spinach + leftover baked salmon + steamed green beans + pecans. Canned beans provide vegetarian protein, texture and fiber; try chickpeas + arugula + cucumbers + tomatoes + olives (Source: First Bite and healthy table sections-”6 Ways to Shake Up Your Salad”).
Reducing Food Waste
Your freezer is an essential tool to reducing food waste; here are three ways to use it not only save food, but money: Puree fresh herbs in a blender with just enough water or oil to make a paste. Freeze in an ice cube tray, then store the cubes in a freezer bag. You’ll then be able to add fresh herbs quickly and easily.
Bread crusts, butts and heels can be stored in a re-sealable bag to make fresh bread crumbs (no toasting necessary).
Before juicing a lemon or eating an orange for a snack, zest it first; then freeze the bits in a small container or freezer bag (Source: ask melissa section-Relish, April 2015).
Ideas for Earth Day
Want to go green? Try a green smoothie of kale or baby spinach, apples, celery, ginger and lemon pureed in a blender; a hearty salad with asparagus, celery, artichokes and grapes; pesto pizza made with a pre-baked crust (Boboli), topped with green pesto from a jar (Classico).
Serve a platter with cucumbers, green peppers, broccoli and artichoke dip.
Here’s a few eco-friendly things, food-wise, that Americans are doing across the United States:
Connecticut-In 2013, the state’s legislature made food history by signing the nation’s first genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling bill.
Georgia-The world’s first online farmers market was created by Eric Wagoner (a farmer himself, from Athens). The site has grown to more than 100 communities nationwide.
Kansas-The Prairie Festival is held every fall in Salina; the event is sponsored by the Land Institute, a 30-year-old nonprofit. The Institute’s mission is to develop an ecologically stable agricultural system that doesn’t contribute to climate changes.
Maine-Lobstermen become voluntary stewards of their local environment (retrieving abandoned ropes, nets, traps and buoys, for example) through the Gear Grab program of the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation.
Mississippi-Yale-educated local farmer Charlie Munford sells organic beef and lamb to restaurants from Jackson to New Orleans. At Two Run Farm in Vaughn, Munford raises the meat in the same tradition as his grandfather: No antibiotics, no hormones.
Missouri-The nation’s largest edible garden resides in Kingsville-the 12-acre Heartland Harvest.
Nebraska-The Grey Plume in Omaha becomes the Greenest Restaurant in America.
Oklahoma-State residents can buy ECOpasses (ranging from $5 to $200) under a program from the Oklahoma Conversation Commission. The money goes directly to the state’s farmers and ranchers who adopt no-till crop systems to stop erosion.
Oregon-The Portland Composts! Program allows residents to put yard debris and food scraps (like eggs, eggshells, pasta, beans, bread, coffee grounds, table scraps and spoiled food) out on the curb for weekly pickup, greatly cutting down on landfill waste.
Pennsylvania-Students grow organic vegetables and raise free-range livestock on a 50-acre, USDA-certified organic farm at Dickinson College in Carlisle. The food they raised is then served in the dining hall, sold at a local farmers market and donated to a community food bank.
South Carolina-The average age of the American farmer is 57; to buck the trend of aging farmers, the Dirt Works Incubator Farm near Charleston offers a three-year training program for aspiring farmers.
Vermont-The 2014 Locavore Index (a ranking of a state’s commitment to local foods) puts the state first, based on the number of farmers markets, consumer-supported agriculture operations (CSAs), food hubs per capita and percentage of active Farm-to-School programs.
West Virginia-Williamson (a formerly dying Appalachian coal-mining community) has become sustainable, creating a profitable farmers market and community garden (Source: “Earth Day Across America” by Alison Gwinn-Parade, April 19, 2015).