Category Archives: Fish

Mediterranean Diet Shopping List

Hopefully you are convinced (as I am) that the Mediterranean diet is fantastic. It has proven to be a healthy way of life for many people – why not you? Unlike other diets such as the Atkins diet or Paleo diet there is little debate over whether or not it is good for you.

Of course, we have established that it is also quite different from other diets because it is more about food choices and cooking methods – a way of eating – rather than focusing on restrictions. In fact, it doesn’t really even talk about portion control. Although, I do recommend that you use good sense and eat moderately.

Other than that, this is one of the best diets on the planet. It’s tasty, easy to follow, and has multiple health benefits, such as:  reducing your risk of getting nasty diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Also – if you need to lower your blood pressure and bad cholesterol . . . the Mediterranean diet is for you. If you want to live a long and healthy life . . . you got it! The Mediterranean diet is for you.

It you are focusing on clean eating, this is a diet that allows you to follow that philosophy, eat well, and enjoy the food.

The diet itself is quite simple and very flexible. You should be able to find most of the food at your local supermarket.

Mediterranean Diet Shopping List

The diet can be broken down into a few groups, which makes it easy to shop:

  • Whole grains
  • Healthy oils & fats
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Yogurt and cheese
  • Seafood
  • Beans
  • Herbs and spices

That’s pretty much it. There may be a few other items, but for the most part, if you stick to these eight categories, you will be eating healthy.

Whole Grains

Please notice it says “whole grains.” In fact, look for the word “whole” or 100% whole wheat or whole grain on the label. Examples would be whole grain bread or whole grain pasta. Good whole grain items would be: pasta, tortillas, bread, oatmeal, cereals, polenta, brown rice, quinoa, barley and pita.

Whole wheat bread dipped in olive oil is a tasty treat.

Healthy Oils

Mediterranean DietHealthy oils are a key ingredient In the Mediterranean diet. Replace butter with healthy fats – especially extra-virgin olive oil, which is excellent for cooking and on salads.

Other suggested oils are: canola, grape seed, sesame, and avocado oil. In the Mediterranean diet, the staple oil used is olive oil. Oils have lots of calories, so try to limit yourself to no more than three tablespoons per day.

Keep the oils in a cool, dark place so that they last longer.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are another group of healthy fats. You must be a little cautious with this group, they are calorie dense. Don’t go nuts with the nuts. Consume them in moderation or you will end up adding pounds you do not want.

A handful a day will provide our body with protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Buy them in bulk and pack them in small snack bags – limiting yourself to one bag per day.

Almonds, cashews, flax, sunflower seeds, walnuts and pine nuts are all good choices.

Vegetables and Fruits

Fruits and Vegetables
Image by by Erdosain

These are nutrition-packed foods filled with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Always buy fresh, organic produce when it is available. Seven to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables should be eaten daily.

Frozen fruits and veggies are also fine as long as they are quick frozen with nothing added. Avoid canned vegetables, if possible. If you must use canned, be they are low sodium.

Vegetables – you have many choices:  All the green leafy vegetables, plus broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, celery, onions, radishes, tomatoes, squash, beets, mustard greens, avocados, green peppers, etc. Obviously, it is a long list!

Fruits are eaten in place of sweets on this diet. Recommended are: apples, cherries, dates, peaches, kiwi, mango, papaya, grapefruit, oranges, melons, and strawberries.  Again . . . buy organic if at all possible; or, you may be ingesting pesticides that are harmful to your body. If not organic, wash extremely well and peel if possible.

Yogurt and Cheese

Dairy is not a major focus on the diet. It is usually eaten in the form of yogurt and cheese.  Both are good options as a calcium source. Stay with whole natural cheeses and plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt (need sweet, add a little honey).

Seafood

Baked SalmonSeafood is heavily consumed in the Mediterranean region. Shrimp, salmon, cod, clams, tilapia, tuna, sardines, scallops and crab are excellent seafood choices and are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.

Eggs are also eaten as a source of protein and a regular part of the diet. Chicken is also served on occasion.  Red meat is eaten rarely – so go very easy on this one.

Lentils and Beans

These are high in protein but low in fats and calories. You have many choices: lentils, chickpeas, clack beans, pinto beans and white beans.

Herbs and Spices

Use fresh or dried herbs and spices to season your food and enhance the flavors. You will not need to use salt or unhealthy fats to make your food tasty. Garlic, mint, cumin, coriander, parsley, basil, oregano, cilantro and pepper are good choices.

Don’t forget the garlic – a favorite in the Mediterranean Region.

Red Wine

Mediterranean Diet
Image by karandaev

I know this isn’t one of the categories – and is optional on the diet. But if you enjoy good red wine, a glass each evening is encouraged (one for women and no more than two for men).

That pretty much sums it up. The diet is primarily focused on fresh fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and seafood with limited poultry and practically no red meat plus minimal sweets – all good reasons why it is so healthy.

Shop wisely and ENJOY!

Moderation or Abstinence?

 

McDonalds Big Mac and Fries
Image by Simon Miller

Moderation or abstinence is always a valid question when it comes to foods that are not particularly healthy, such as fast foods. It has been suggested that fast foods should not even be referred to as food – at least not in the nutritional sense.

You may tell yourself that fast foods every once in a while can’t possibly hurt you. But, you are wrong. The fact is they have no nutritional value, they are filled with empty calories and additives – and they are addictive. Would you indulge in heroine occasionally if someone told you that once in a while wouldn’t hurt you . . . of course not! Use the same good judgment when it comes to fast foods.

Because they are addictive, it is almost impossible to eat fast foods in moderation; In other words, the only thing that works is abstinence. If you think you can control the addiction (as most addicts believe about their drug of choice), you will continue to eat large amounts of junk food and suffer the dire consequences for the rest of your “much-shorter-than-necessary” life.

On the opposite end of the spectrum – raw fruits and vegetables can be eaten in abundance – no limits. It is basically impossible to eat too many, except for the popular high-fat fruits we discussed in the previous post: avocadoes, bananas, olives, and coconut, which should be eaten in moderation. But, even eating the high-fat fruits in large amounts is far healthier than stuffing yourself with donuts and potato chips on a regular basis.

It is difficult to over eat high-water content foods because they fill you up so fast. This includes some fruits and vegetables. For example, watermelon and strawberries are about 92 percent water. Other fruits with high water content are grapefruit, cantaloupe, peaches and bananas. High-water content vegetables include lettuce and cucumbers. As a result these foods have a built-in moderation factor.

Moderation is important when eating heavier, higher-calorie foods such as rice, beans, grains and nuts – especially if you are struggling with being overweight.

If you can commit to a healthier diet and start doing a little research, you will find there are many, many combinations of healthy foods that are not only nutritious, but also delicious. When you start feeding your body well and eliminate empty-calorie snacks from your diet, there is a very good chance that you will not miss the bad foods. I know it may take a little time, but the health dividends are well worth it.

Nature offers abundance, not deprivation. So, focus on natural foods as much as possible. Trying changing up your diet – for example, rather than eating a slice of caramel apple pie, slice your favorite apple very thinly and eat it with a yummy dip made from dates, cinnamon and a little ice water – pureed in a high-speed blender. It is a sweet and delicious treat that will quell your cravings and help you forget about the empty-calorie, sugar-fat-salt laden treats you were addicted to.

I know I have used some extreme comparisons and donuts or fast foods are not the equivalent to heroine (but I hope I made my point). You may decide that your health is just fine and you see no problem with having an occasional donut or McDonald’s Big Mac. All I ask is that you recognize that neither of those can be called real food and offer absolutely NO nutritional value whatsoever, and do more harm to your body than good.  Also – define your terms. Indulging in your “drug of choice” occasionally should mean: partaking very small amounts – once or twice a year – possible on your birthday or anniversary – even that carries the risk of your falling back into old habits, as with any addiction.

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Grilled Fish with Mango Salsa Recipe

Grilled Fish with Mango Salsa
Image © Olga Lyubkin – Fotolia.com

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#db2525″]Grilled Fish with Mango Salsa Recipe[/typography]

Grilled Fish with Mango Salsa recipe is made from nature’s combination of fish from the sea and fresh mangoes, which grow everywhere in Mexico’s coastal areas that border on the tropical parts of the country. This is an incredibly easy and delicious recipe that works as well for entertaining as it does for a delightful family dinner.

INGREDIENTS

The Fish

  • 4 red snapper filets or swordfish steaks (6 ounces each)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 avocado, sliced into thin wedges
  • 2 limes cut in quarters

The Sauce

  • ½ cube butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon juice from canned chipotles in adobo
  • ½ cup diced mango (Dice over a dish so you can save the juice that results from the dicing).
  • Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Salt the filets and either broil or grill until just cooked through (DO NOT OVERCOOK).
  2. Make the sauce – This can be done while the fillets are cooking
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add remaining ingredients and simmer for one minute.
  4. Place each filet on a plate, spread the mango sauce over the filets, and top with avocado slices and lime wedges.
  5. Serve immediately with steamed Basmati rice and a bright green vegetable. .

Servings: 4



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Cheesy Tuna Casserole – Busy Mom’s Series

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#b01025″]Cheesy Tuna Casserole – Busy Mom’s Series[/typography]

Cheesy Tuna Casserole
Image by Elizabeth Brixton

Cheesy Tuna Casserole is the perfect family supper as the days get shorter and the weather grows cooler. After a long, tiring day at work and school, this comfort food will be enjoyed by all.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups egg noodles
  • ¼ cup butter (do not use margarine)
  • 1 cup chopped red sweet pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery (~2 stalks)
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2¼ cups milk
  • 1 can (12 oz) chunk white tuna (water pack), drained and broken into chunks; two 5-ounce pouches chunk light tuna in water, drained; or two 6-ounce cans skinless, boneless salmon, drained
  • 1 cup cubed cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup soft bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, snipped or minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
  2. Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish; set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan cook noodles according to package directions; drain.
  4. Return noodles to pan, cover, and set aside.

Prepare the Sauce

  1. Melt ¼ cup butter in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add sweet pepper, celery, and onion – sauté for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in flour, mustard, salt, and black pepper.
  4. Gradually stir in milk and cook, stirring continuously, until slightly thickened and bubbly.
  5. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula gently fold sauce, tuna, and cheddar cheese into cooked noodles.
  6. Pour noodle mixture to the buttered baking dish.
  7. In a small bowl stir together soft bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and parsley; stir in melted butter.
  8. Sprinkle crumb mixture over noodle mixture.
  9. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly.

To Freeze and Serve Later

  1. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap, then with foil.
  2. Freeze for up to 1 month.
  3. TO SERVE:  Thaw in the refrigerator overnight (may still be a bit icy).
  4. Bake uncovered in preheated oven (375º F) for 65 to 75 minutes or until heated through.
  5. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

NOTE:  Can be made with other types of pasta, experiment and find the one your family enjoys the most. 

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Baked Salmon with Grape, Berry and Spinach Salad – Busy Mom’s Series, Day 18

Baked Salmon with Grape, Berry and Spinach Salad

Baked SalmonBaked Salmon is delicious and nutritious all by itself; but, when you pair it with Grape, Berry and Spinach Salad it becomes an extraordinary culinary event. It is incredibly easy to prepare and a delightfully healthy main dish.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • ½ cup red or black grapes
  • 1½ cups fresh baby spinach
  • ¼ cup raspberry vinaigrette dressing
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 1 tablespoon good quality virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon (juice only)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Prepare the Salad

  1. Rinse the blueberries, grapes and raspberries thoroughly and place on a paper towel to drain.
  2. Wash to spinach carefully to be sure there is no sand caught in the leaves.
  3. Shake the remaining water from the leaves and let it drain for a few minutes, then, shake again – absorb any excess water with paper towels.
  4. Discard the stems and break the spinach into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Place the fruit and spinach in a medium-sized bowl.
  6. Drizzle the raspberry vinaigrette over everything and toss gently. Set the bowl in the refrigerator to chill.

Cook the Salmon

  1. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and place the salmon on the paper.
  2. Sprinkle the salmon with olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake the salmon for 10-15 minutes or until the fish flakes with a fork (DO NOT OVERCOOK)
  5. NOTE:  You can also grill the salmon in your oven broiler or over hot coals if you prefer.
  6. Remove the salmon from the baking pan and place it on 4 dinner plates.
  7. Serve immediately with the chilled salad and a bowl of steamed and buttered Basmati rice (brown or white).

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