Kate's Cuisine

Jun 14 2009

Grilling Tips

Besides the hot, hot sun beating down on me in the summer, my very next favourite thing about this fabulous season is that it’s barbecuing time! There are many reasons why I love barbecuing; it’s fast, easy, and cleanup is a cinch! But taking good care of your barbecue and knowing a few tricks that I’ve learned myself along the way can help turn your outdoor grill into your very own gourmet cookery! Here are some of the most useful tips I’ve found.

  • Before placing anything on your grill, oil it and preheat it. I like to oil my grill before I turn the heat on (because I’m a bit of a pansy as well around the BBQ.) I just dip a paper towel into some oil and then spread it across my grill. Then I turn the grill on to the heat I need it. Preheating is a must to avoid over-handling your food.
  • Marinating is key when it comes to barbecuing. I sit my meat in a delicious marinade for as long as it will allow and then use the marinade as a baste. Extra marinade must always be thrown out so try not to make too much excess.
  • Meat and fish can dry out pretty quick on the grill. For meat such as steaks and burgers that can take some time cook, making sure that they are at least 1-inch thick will ensure that you still get choice, juicy meat! For fish, I like to wrap it in aluminum, lay it on a soaked board, or use indirect heat.
  • Learning how to use direct and indirect heat is key with your grill. One half of the grill should be hot with flame under it while the other half should have all heat turned off completely. Use the direct heat to sear in flavour and the indirect heat side to cook the food the rest of the way through.
  • Direct cooking on a charcoal grill requires coal to be stacked up in a pyramid on one side with the top coals being 1-2 inches away from the food. On the indirect side, coal or briquettes can be placed along the sides of the grill with the food being positioned over a drip pan.
  • Trimming the fat around the edges of meat to 1/8″ thick can help prevent flame flare-ups and can eliminate the black, curled edges that sometimes appear around meat.
  • Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are both very toxic fumes that are released when grilling. This is why it’s important to never BBQ inside or in an enclosed area.
  • Only tongs should ever be used to turn the meat that you are grilling. Using a fork to pierce and turn the food will release valuable juices and will dry your meat out quicker.
  • Meats should only be turned once during grilling. Closing the lid to help keep heat in and cook food through completely. Turning the meat can result in the meat taking too long and the food not being cooked evenly through. Also, if you turn the meat too soon after placing it on the grill, it’s most likely to stick so be patient.
  • BBQ sauce and other sugary sauces, marinades, or finishing touches should only be added at the end. These liquids only need to be heated through quickly and leaving them on too long will only cause the meat, and the sauce, to burn.

Jun 13 2009

Nutrition Myths

When it comes to nutrition, there is a plethora of information out there. Whether you subscribe to magazines, read the daily updates of what’s good for you and what’s not in the newspaper, or just do a simple search online, you’ll find tons of nutrition information. But just like any other vast amounts of info, the more there is, the more conflicting theories there seem to be too. Nutrition is something that carries a lot of myths and just so you’ll know what to look for and what to watch out for, here are some top nutrition myths debunked!

Sugar will Cause Diabetes
Too much sugar can be dangerous for diabetics and a registered dietician is needed to help keep diabetics on track with their diet and blood sugars. However, those who are not suffering from diabetes cannot contract it simply by eating sugar. Diabetes is a disease that’s caused by many things but mostly, it’s a diet that’s too high in calories and a lifestyle that’s too deficient in exercise and being active. Sugar alone cannot cause diabetes.

All Fats are Bad
This is a myth that more and more people are beginning to understand is actually just a myth. Many fats actually have many benefits for us and fat is something that we all need to survive. When it comes to our diet, the trick is to replace bad fats such as saturated and trans fats) with good fats (monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.)

Brown Sugar is Better for you than White Sugar
Maybe it’s because we associate brown bread with healthy bread or brown rice with healthy rice. But the idea that brown sugar is better for you than white sugar is simply absurd! Wanna know the secret? Brown sugar is simply white refined sugar that’s had small amounts of molasses added to it. So it will have very, very few more minerals and nutrients but not enough for you to do away with your white sugar completely!

Brown eggs are Better for you than White Eggs
Just like all the other brown vs. white debates, this one is a nutrition myth too. Egg colour does not determine the thickness of a shell, the flavour, or the nutritional component of the egg. Eggs are white or brown depending on the breed of the hen.

Reducing carbohydrates can help you lose weight.
We’ve all run into a dieter at some point or other that has banished all carbs in an effort to lose weight. The only problem is that it doesn’t work! We need carbs to provide us with a source of energy and because they also fill many of our other nutrient needs. But the reason why low-carb diets work is because they are also low-calorie. And the only way to lose weight is to reduce your calories, not your carbs!

Skipping meals will help you lose weight.
This is another myth that’s truth is becoming more commonly known. It may make sense that foregoing meals will lower your calorie intake and therefore, help you lose weight. However, when you skip eating your body thinks that it’s starving and so, to keep energy reserves up, it will slow down metabolism. This not only helps your body hold onto weight but it will also cause you to overeat at your next meal and subsequently, gain weight.

Red Meat is Bad for You
Many people avoid red meat for different reasons. Some think it will cause cancer, while others think that it has a higher fat content than other meat. What many don’t know however is that beef has the same amount of saturated fat that chicken and pork do when the skin is left on. To decrease the amount of saturated fat that you obtain from red meat, simply choose lower-fat cuts such as eye of round, top round roast, tenderloins, and loin chops.

Jun 13 2009

Understanding Food Labels

We all know that food labels are important when we’re trying to make sure that we get a healthy and balanced diet. While food labels can tell us how much good and bad is in a product, these labels can also be quite confusing. What do they mean really and can they really help you eat better? And even more important, are these labels regulated and can we trust a label that came from the manufacturer that wants to sell it to us? Here’s a breakdown of nutrition labels so you can make sure that you can read – and understand – them!

There are some common items that ALL food labels must show. These include: the common name of the product, the name and address of the manufacturer, net content in the form of weight, measure, or count, a list of the ingredients, and the nutrition facts.

The nutrition facts is the area of the food label that leaves many of us confused and befuddled. This is the chart area where there are different items listed with a certain percentage or amount beside it. While the chart may seem self-explanatory, how can you really make sure it has what you need? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. Fat, cholesterol, sodium, and other common nutrients are required fields. This means that you’ll most likely be able to tell if the food is relatively healthy for you. However, if you’re looking for certain vitamins or minerals such as Vitamin K or potassium, these are optional and you may not find them. What each nutrition fact label is required to show however is the amount of nutrients that each item has.

Nutrition fact labels will also show serving sizes and these sizes are very important to pay attention to. This is because these serving sizes will let you know just how much of that percentage you are getting. A box of chocolate chip cookies for example may show a small percentage of fat so you grab 4. But when you look at the serving size, the quantities are only appropriate for 2 cookies at a time, meaning you’ll have to double those percentages if you want to eat all 4 cookies (which might not be a good idea anyway.)

The amount of calories in a certain food is also a very important part of the nutrition label. While you want to keep your number of calories down, these also translate into your energy for the day, so you’ll need some! The calories indicated on the label will tell you how much energy you will have after eating a certain food. If you’re looking for a low-cal diet, you may be surprised to find that not all fat-free or sugar-free foods are low in calories, so this section can become particularly important.

The percentage of daily values are also shown on the labels and there will usually be a footnote that explains these percentages are based on a 2,000-calorie per day diet.

Jun 13 2009

Superfoods

Superfoods are foods that are thought to have such a high nutritional value that we can get many of the nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that we need by only eating one serving of them! These superfoods are great to incorporate into your diet so that you can make sure you’re knocking off the daily percentages you need while still maintaining a superbly healthy weight and feeling fit and fine! Here are some of the best superfoods you can eat!

Broccoli
What doesn’t broccoli have that’s good for you? Full of antioxidants, indoles, and monoterpenes, these are all wonderful things that will help you fight off many types of cancer. Broccoli is also loaded with great vitamins such as vitamin A and C, plus it also comes with fibre and calcium – two musts for every diet!

Sweet Potatoes
Even if you’ve sworn off white potatoes because of the starch content, sweet potatoes are a great way to still fill up on a great energy source without getting those extra inches on your waist. Sweet potatoes are packed with carotenoids, which will help prevent cancer but they also have Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, and copper to keep you at the top of your game!

Buckwheat
Like the sweet potato, buckwheat is a carb that can sometimes get a bad name. What you’ll find in buckwheat is tons of rutin, which will help lower your cholesterol and help lower high blood pressure. In addition to all of this, buckwheat also has a lot of protein, fibre, vitamin B, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus. Light buckwheat has more nutritional punch than dark buckwheat and it can be used to make pancakes or a small amount can be substituted for white flour when baking.

Organic Skim Milk
There’s no argument that drinking milk is one of the best ways to supply your body with calcium. Unfortunately, there are some hormones and fat that comes with drinking milk that many people, especially adults, don’t care for. Organic skim milk eliminates both of those problems by getting rid of both the hormones and the fat. And besides calcium, you’ll also fill up on Vitamin D and riboflavin!

Apples
The apple is a fruit that often goes unnoticed but this little powerhouse will give you 25% of your Vitamin C intake for the day. But even more than that, apples are also a great way to get phytochemicals into your diet, which can help prevent diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. And because they’re also full of antioxidants, apples are also a great way to fight cancer, especially prostate and breast, and they also help fight against heart disease and stroke! Want to make sure you get all the benefits from that apple? Make sure you eat the peel!

Nuts
One of the snack foods dieters and athletes often turn to are nuts. This is because they fill you up without adding too much weight and because nuts are a great way to get omega-3′s – the good kind of fat! Not only that but nuts can help prevent heart disease and they’ve got tons of protein, phytochemicals, Vitamin E, calcium, and magnesium.

Flaxseed
Flaxseed is another food that has major cancer-fighting power. This is because it has more lignans, which are powerful phytochemicals, than any other plant. These can greatly help in a fight against cancer, particularly breast. But flaxseed is good for so much more! It’s also filled with omega-3′s and can help prevent inflammation and heart disease. Flaxseed is easy to incorporate into your diet by shaking some into your baking goods or by sprinkling some on a salad. It’s important to note that real flaxseed, not the oil, brings the most health benefits.

Tea
Tea is a superfood that actually gives you your pick. Whether you like black tea, white tea, or green tea, there is no wrong answer! They all have powerful antioxidants that can help fight cancer and reduce inflammation. Green and white teas are more known for their anti-inflammatory properties while black tea is thought to help prevent heart disease and can help lower cholesterol levels.

Beans
Beans are another superfood that give you your pick, depending on which type of beans you prefer. But all beans, whether they are pinto, kidney, soy, garbanzo, black, or another variety, all have powerful cancer-fighting properties because of their phytochemicals. These phytochemicals also allow beans to help prevent heart disease, infections, and osteoporosis. Beans also have tons of vitamins, especially the B vitamin, minerals, and protein, making it a true superfood!

Blueberries
Next time you need to add some fruit to your breakfast cereal, make sure you grab some blueberries. This tiny little fruit is not only packed with antioxidants that will fight free radicals and cancer, but they’re also loaded with Vitamin C, magnesium, and fibre. Plus, their antioxidants also help them fight heart disease, cancer, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Jun 13 2009

The Canada Food Guide

The Canada Food Guide is an excellent way for people to make sure that they are getting the proper amount of nutrients in their diet and that they are including foods from each of the food groups every day. Following the Canada Food Guide can help prevent obesity, diabetes, and obesity. Below you’ll find the recommended daily intake for certain foods, according to the Canada Food Guide.

Children (Ages 2-3)

  • Fruit and Vegetables: 4 Servings
  • Grain Products: 3 Servings
  • Milk and Milk Alternatives: 2 Servings
  • Meat and Meat Alternatives: 1 Serving
  • Children (Ages 4-8)

  • Fruit and Vegetables: 5 Servings
  • Grain Products: 4 Servings
  • Milk and Milk Alternatives: 2 Servings
  • Meat and Meat Alternatives: 1 Serving
  • Children (Ages 9-13)

  • Fruit and Vegetables: 1-2 Servings
  • Grain Products: 6 Servings
  • Milk and Milk Alternatives: 3-4 Serving
  • Meat and Meat Alternatives: 1-2 Servings
  • Female Teens (Ages 14-18)

  • Fruits and Vegetables: 7 Servings
  • Grain Products: 6 Servings
  • Milk and Milk Alternatives: 3-4 Servings
  • Meat and Meat Alternatives: 2 Servings
  • Male Teens (Ages 14-18)

  • Fruits and Vegetables: 8 Servings
  • Grain Products: 7 Servings
  • Milk and Milk Alternatives: 3-4 Servings
  • Meat and Meat Alternatives: 3 Servings
  • Adults, Women (Ages 19-50)

  • Fruit and Vegetables: 7-8 Servings
  • Grain Products: 6-7 Servings
  • Milk and Milk Alternatives: 2 Servings
  • Meat and Meat Alternatives: 2 Servings
  • Adults, Women (Ages 51+)

  • Fruits and Vegetables: 7 Servings
  • Grain Products: 6 Servings
  • Milk and Milk Alternatives: 3 Servings
  • Meat and Meat Alternatives: 2 Servings
  • Adults, Men (Ages 19-50)

  • Fruit and Vegetables: 8-10 Servings
  • Grain Products: 8 Servings
  • Milk and Milk Alternatives: 2 Servings
  • Meat and Meat Alternatives: 3 Servings
  • Adults, Men (Ages 51+)

  • Fruit and Vegetables: 7 Servings
  • Grain Products: 7 Servings
  • Milk and Milk Alternatives: 3 Servings
  • Meat and Meat Alternatives: 3 Servings
  • Jun 12 2009

    Sodium

    Sodium, also known as salt, is something that gets a very bad rep when talking about different food and nutrients but some sodium in our diets is essential to our well-being. This is because sodium helps control things such as water and electrolyte levels, and it’s also needed for muscle and nerve activity. Sodium is also required so that our bodies can absorb certain nutrients.

    However, the problem with sodium is that today’s salty and highly processed foods often mean that we get way too much sodium, far more than the 1500mg/day. Sodium is usually found in processed food but can also be found in meat, soy sauce, table salt, and bread.

    Jun 12 2009

    Potassium

    Potassium is a mineral that is extremely important because it helps maintain proper water levels as well as proper electrolyte levels in our bodies. A potassium deficiency could quickly lead to dehydration, which in turn causes the body to shut down.

    Luckily potassium can be found in every plant and animal cell which means that it’s present in just about everything we eat. Refined foods generally won’t contain much potassium so it’s best to choose fresh options such as fresh fruit and vegetables. Men and women both need 4700mg/day of potassium.

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