Here's the Dish

healthy ANDI licious

Buddy Up for a Great New Year of Fitness December 30, 2010

Filed under: Fitness — thegreatplate @ 1:20 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Working out with a friend can make exercise a fun, social event to look forward to and can help keep you accountable for days when you feel tempted to skip it. Find a friend who you think will be motivating and make a plan together with an exact day (or days) and time that you can schedule workout dates. Whether its a group exercise class, time in the gym, or a brisk walk around campus, putting your workout on your schedule and a having a friend to keep you accountable will help you achieve your workout goals this year.

A message from Tufts Student Resources (TSR) Fitness:

NEW YEAR’S Special:
Buddy Up for Better Fitness
Sale starts now and ends January 3rd at noon (on Boston time.)

Order your TSR Fitness Pass today and get a free gift pass for your friend! Offer valid for the Unlimited Class Pass and individual class passes. (Not valid on 5-Class Pass). How to get in on the deal: Order your pass today through January 3rd at noon and email the name and email of your friend you are gifting a pass to at You must email the name and email of your friend to us by noon on January 3rd for them to receive the free pass.

Limited quantities of each individual class pass available, order today! Your friend will be given the same unlimited pass that you purchased (EXCLUDES 5 class passes- if your individual class unlimited pass comes with a 5-class pass you will receive the 5-class pass but your friend will ONLY receive the unlimited pass to the class you purchased) and will be sent an email informing them of your gift on January 5th.

Order your TSR Fitness pass today at


Aguacate relleno de atun

Aguacate relleno de atun: This is a simplified version of a favorite Mexican dish with one scooped out fresh avocado half, and chunk light canned tuna mixed with pineapple salsa.

This recipe uses a homemade low-sodium, low-fat version of tuna salad from this delicious Mexican dish by mixing canned light tuna (in water) with salsa without adding any mayo, salt, or cheese. The creamy avocado flavor with the savory taste of the tuna and salsa makes for an incredibly satisfying flavor. Nutrition bonus: this dish is a good source of potassium, vitamin E, vitamin K and folate.

Try it at Home: Aguacate Relleno de Atún

1. Slice and remove skin from one ripe but firm avocado. remove the pit and use the hollowed out center as a bowl for tuna/salsa mix.

2.Brush avocado with a splash of lemon or lime juice  (to keep avocado fresh longer- you just need a few drops)

3. Combine 1-2 tbsp chunk light tuna with 1 tbsp salsa of your choice. (I used Newman’s Own All Natural Chunky Pineapple Salsa).

4. Top with a spring of fresh cilantro.

Dish works well as a snack or appetizer or pairs nicely with a salad or tortilla soup for a delicious meal. You can use both avocado halves to make 2 servings or save the other half of the avocado to use the next day in the fridge or for later use in the freezer.

Serving Size: 1 stuffed avocado half. Nutrition Info (approximate values will vary with exact portions used) Calories per serving: 220 kcal. Fat: 15 g (2g saturated, 13g unsaturated). Sodium: 187 mg. Potassium: 587 mg.


Workout with More Free Music December 29, 2010

If you missed my original “How to Score Great Free Music” post you can find it here.

Here’s another site to add to the list:Iggy N Scratchy presents: From Russia With Club

Iggy (Tufts ’10) features hours worth of music sets that you can download for free from his blog site. Just click on the orange text within the post that says the name of the set to download. Thanks Iggy for the free music!


Satisfying Soup December 28, 2010

Satisfying Soup: Hot vegetable soup with multigrain tortilla chips topped with low-fat cheddar

Featured: Health Valley Organic No Salt Added Vegetable Soup topped with multigrain tortilla chips and low-fat cheddar blend. Canned soup can be good to keep on hand for when you don’t have much time to go grocery shopping but many soups try to compensate for the lack-luster canned taste with enormous amounts of sodium. Look for low-sodium or no salt added versions and add your own toppings to amp up the flavor. I found this combo to be particularly delicious as a mid-afternoon snack and helped me stay on track with my goal to eat more vegetables. One cup of soup plus toppings delivered 70% of the DV for vitamin A, 20% of the DV for vitamin C, and lots of satisfying flavor for only 175 calories. I saved the rest of the soup for later (the can comes with two cups) but loved it so much that I couldn’t wait until the next day and ate the rest that evening.


Rosemary Roasted Chicken December 27, 2010

Rosemary Roasted Chicken: Fresh whole chicken stuffed with lemon and parsley and topped with olive oil, rosemary and lemon grass.

Try it at Home: Roast Your Own Chicken

Preheat oven to 425°F (I used a convection roast setting). Line an oven tray with tinfoil and roll a piece of foil to use as a circular base for the chicken. Fill a small bowl with olive oil,  3-4 cloves chopped, crushed fresh garlic, 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh or dried rosemary leaves, juice from 1/2 of a freshly squeezed lemon, a dash of pepper, and a couple of sprigs of fresh parsley. Stuff the inside of the chicken with a bunch of fresh parsley and the remaining half of the lemon after you have squeezed the juice into the olive oil mixture and on the chicken. Using a basting brush (or your clean hands if you don’t have a brush) evenly spread the olive oil mixture onto the chicken and underneath the skin.

Tie the legs  together with baker’s twine or other oven-safe string (I used thread).  Place in the oven and set your timer for an hour. Temperatures may vary based on your oven settings and desired crispness. Check on the chicken frequently throughout the hour. It will be done when the internal temperature is about 180°F.


I learned an important lesson about roasting chicken last night: Don’t assume that the bird you buy will be ready to cook. Last week, I put my knowledge from the Tufts Culinary Cooking lesson with Dining Services Chef Toby to work and roasted two chickens for a dinner with my family and friends. Much to my delight, the chickens turned out beautifully and tasted even better. Last night, however, my effort to repeat the experience for my grandparents did not work out quite as easily as planned. The problem: the chicken had been frozen and was not fully de-thawed. Given that my first chickens had been ready to cook when I opened them, I made the rookie mistake of thinking that this was a standard. Last night however, just as I opened the package and got ready to start seasoning I realized that this bird was way too cold. Long story short, while the outside appeared cooked, when we sliced the chicken and were about to serve dinner we noticed that the inside was far from done and we had to return it to the oven and begin our dinner sans chicken.

Lesson Learned: Let the chicken de-thaw overnight in the fridge before attempting to cook. Don’t assume chickens in the fresh meat section were not previously frozen.


Goals for 2011: Eat More Vegetables December 24, 2010

Frozen Veggie Side Dishes help make it easier to eat more of the good stuff

My 3-day diet record (part of a nutrition class assignment) revealed that despite my efforts to eat enough greens, I am not up to par with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommendations. According to my log, I was consuming about 2 cups of veggies/day. The minimum veggie intake per day is at least 2.5 cups.

Goal #1 for 2011: Eat More Veggies.

Here are my strategies for reaching this goal on a college-friendly budget for both time and money:

1. Stock up on frozen. Frozen vegetables are easy, cost-effective, and retain their nutrient content better than fresh vegetables that don’t get eaten soon enough. Green Giant makes a variety of microwave-ready vegetable mixes that you can just pop out of the freezer, heat up, and eat. Some varieties don’t score very well on Guiding Stars food finder because they have a fairly high amount of sodium added in their seasoning but, personally I don’t think the sodium content is too terrible and they taste so good that I know I will actually eat them. My favorite is the Garden Vegetable Medley. The mix of roasted potatoes, snap peas, and bell peppers is so tasty that I love eating the mix as a snack  or even at breakfast (not just as a side dish to lunch and dinners). Generally the packages are listed as having 2 servings per box, but at about 50 calories/serving you can easily enjoy the whole box guilt-free.

If you’re trying to cut back on sodium (another goal I’m trying to work on), you can mix the box veggies in with some unseasoned veggies to help cut back on your salt per serving ratio. For example, the Garden Veggie blend that I like takes great mixed with some  plain frozen peas. I just cook the mix as directed. Then pop some frozen peas in the microwave in a covered dish with just a bit of water. Microwave on high (time varies so check your microwave or package instructions).  Mix the peas and veggie mix together, dish out your desired serving and scoop the rest in a container to store in the fridge for a future snack.  You can also stick to plain, unsalted frozen veggies to really cut back on your sodium intake and make your own seasoning to add flavor with garlic, herbs, and olive oil, and pepper.

Green Giant's "Garden Vegetable Medley": A mix of roasted potatoes, snap peas, and bell peppers makes a satisfying, nutrient-rich 100 calorie snack.

2. Keep a plate of ready-to-eat fresh veggies handy. If they’re not easy to eat, they probably won’t be the first thing you reach for when you want a snack. During the summer, I always make a “cool plate” of washed, sliced fresh vegetables such as yellow and red bell pepper slices, baby carrots, and thin cucumber slices to serve as a side dish to meals for my family. I make more than enough so that we can keep the extras on a plate with saran wrap in the fridge to snack on throughout the day. I haven’t been as good about making these this fall or winter but I’m going to try to reinstate the plate. If it’s too much work, or you don’t have access to a lot of fresh veggie choices, buying a bag of baby carrots (which require little more than a quick rinse) can still achieve this purpose. The goal is to make the veggies in your fridge easily accessible.

3. Splurge on Salads. If I’m going to eat a fresh salad I want it to taste good. For me this means splurging on a good quality lettuce (organic mixed greens and spinach are my favorites) that looks appetizing enough that I know I’ll actually eat it. I love adding avocado slices, nuts, beans, artichokes, and a flavorful grilled chicken, light tuna, or goat cheese or Parmesan. Seasonal fruit tossed in can also liven it up nicely. Right now Bosc pears are my favorite fresh fruit in season. Buying all of your fresh ingredients can motivate you to eat everything before they go bad. Think of it as lowering your cost/serving every time you make a salad that week. Choosing a low-fat or non-fat dressing can be helpful to keep calories in check but check the label to make sure the manufacturer doesn’t try to compensate with extra sugars or salt.


Fresh Tomato Guacamole December 20, 2010

Fresh Tomato Guacamole

Fresh Tomato Guacamole

Ripe fresh tomatoes blended into the avocado and cilantro base make this naturally potassium and vitamin-E rich guacamole a delicious appetizer or side dish.

Try it at home

Using a blender, food processor, or hand blender, blend two ripe avocados, two fresh (medium sized) tomatoes, a large handful of fresh cilantro, a splash of lime juice, and a dash of cayenne (or chili) pepper.

Serving sizes: Although I love avocados and believe they are a wonderful, healthy part of my diet, I try to stick to limiting a serving to about 1/2 an avocado or less to keep calories in check.  For guacamole, I try to stick to no more than 1/2 cup servings (about 175 calories). This dish can easily serve 4 people. If you’re making it for yourself you can cut the recipe in half or store it in the fridge for a couple of days to spread out the servings.

Serve cool. Pairs well with salsa and tortilla chips (look for a low-sodium variety).

Other tasty guacamole blends

Another guacamole favorite, Whole Food’s recipe for Edamame Guacamole boosts protein and slashes calories in each serving without missing any of the creamy flavor. I’ve made this version several times and it always seems to be a hit with friends.

I haven’t made this one yet, but a guacamole hummus is next on my to-make list. This recipe looks like a delicious on from “Fannetastic Food.” I’ll let you know how it turns out!