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Fiona Haynes

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Last-Minute Easter Ideas

Friday April 18, 2014
Easter is a movable feast, literally. It can fall as early as March 22nd or as late as April 25th, which can be very confusing to a child -- my younger daughter -- whose birthday has occurred on Easter. When she was little, it was hard to explain why the Easter bunny visited on her birthday one year but not the next. I tried to explain that, unlike Christmas, which is always December 25th, the date of Easter Sunday varies because of the Paschal full moon.

Easter Sunday falls on April 20th this year (last year it was March 31st; next year it will be April 5th). So here is a selection of low-fat Easter recipes so you can put together a family-friendly low-fat Easter brunch, lunch or dinner.

Easter Dinner Photo © Fiona Haynes, licensed to About.com

Eggs at Easter

Monday April 14, 2014
I love eggs, preferably poached, although I also love them lightly scrambled with spinach and mushrooms. Easter is only days away, so naturally, eggs are on my mind, and not just chocolate ones. Some people wonder if eggs can fit into a low fat diet, as they are often perceived to be a high-fat food. Despite being high in dietary cholesterol, eggs are low in saturated fat and are a very good source of protein and many other important nutrients. How they're prepared and what they're served with is perhaps what leads them to be demonized. If you need to eat low fat, then you should limit or cut out butter, cheese, and bacon from your egg dishes. Find out how eggs can fit into your diet.

Eggs Photo © Fiona Haynes, licensed to About.com

On the Road

Tuesday April 8, 2014
It's spring break somewhere in the U.S., and perhaps you're about to fly off to somewhere warm and sunny or maybe you are piling into the family car and heading off on a different kind of adventure. The holiday season aside, nothing undoes a diet more than a vacation. This may be due to the feeling that a vacation should also mean a vacation from your diet; but often it's due to a lack of choice. Airports, rest stops, and diners are not exactly synonymous with healthy eating. It is possible to buy fruit, yogurt, and granola bars, of course, but some of these can be oversized, sugar-filled, and therefore calorie dense. Still, if you are determined to eat well on your spring fling or summer break, it's not impossible. Here's how to eat low fat on the road.

Mushroom Risotto

Sunday March 30, 2014
Contrary to popular belief, risotto is not difficult to make; it simply requires a little time and attention, something that we're often short of during the course of a busy week. Despite this, with a little planning, risotto can be on the table in about 30-35 minutes. One of my favorite risottos is a mushroom risotto. Although I like to use cremini and shiitake mushrooms, feel free to use button mushrooms or a different blend if you prefer.

Mushroom Risotto © Fiona Haynes, licensed to About.com

Six Healthy Spring Recipes

Friday March 28, 2014
It might be hard for some of you in the Northeast to embrace spring while snow is still on the ground, but according to the calendar, it's time to lighten things up. Hearty meals give way to less heavy fare, and an abundance of new spring produce brings some variety to the table. So enjoy six fresh and healthy spring recipes including a vegetable soup (pictured), an asparagus strata, or perhaps a vegetable risotto, and more.

Spring Vegetable Soup © Fiona Haynes, licensed to About.com

Spring Strata

Tuesday March 25, 2014
Easter is still a few weeks away, but it's not too early to start thinking about what you might serve for brunch on Easter Sunday. This light asparagus strata is an excellent candidate. Make it the night before and refrigerate it, so all you have to do the next morning is put it in the oven. Traditional stratas are loaded with fat and calories, thanks to the combination of cheese, eggs, and milk (or half and half). But this lighter strata contains a blend of eggs and liquid egg substitute, nonfat milk, and reduced-fat cheese. It also uses whole wheat bread for an extra nutritional boost. The end result is still a satisfying spring brunch dish the whole family will enjoy.

Light Asparagus Strata Photo © Fiona Haynes, licensed to About.com

Saturated Fat and Heart Disease

Thursday March 20, 2014
For years we've been told that eating too much saturated fat leads to heart disease, but numerous studies have called this link into question. The latest of these, published in the March 2014 Annals of Internal Medicine, which reviewed almost 80 studies involving more than 600,000 people, could find insufficient evidence that eating less saturated fat and more unsaturated fat reduces the risk of heart disease. Yet a 2010 study by the Harvard School of Public Health, also a meta-study, found that replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats (rather than with carbohydrates) reduced the risk of heart disease by almost 19 percent. No wonder we are left scratching our heads once again.

A Prince Among Vegetables

Sunday March 16, 2014
Ambrosia may be the food of the gods, but according to King Louis XIV of France, asparagus is the food of kings. There are so many ways to enjoy asparagus: simply roasted with a squeeze of lemon and a generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper, or as an ingredient in risottos, stir fries, and many other delicious dishes. While asparagus, like so many other vegetables, is technically available year round, now is the time to enjoy it at its best. Find out how to choose, store, prepare -- and best of all -- eat asparagus, without resorting to drowning it in butter or smothering it in high-fat sauces.

Roasted Asparagus © Fiona Haynes, licensed to About.com

Better Breakfast Waffles

Saturday March 15, 2014
One of my favorite kitchen gifts is a Belgian waffle maker, which I use often on the weekends, usually at the request of my kids. It produces light, fluffy waffles, which we top with powdered sugar and fresh fruit. While waffles may not be the most healthful of breakfast foods, they can be made healthier. Plus, much of what's wrong with a breakfast featuring waffles (or pancakes) is what's served alongside them or on top of them. So if you can manage without butter or cream, drizzle rather than drown them in maple syrup, and enjoy some fresh fruit on top, as we do, then waffles can easily fit in to a healthy diet.

Belgian Waffles Photo © Fiona Haynes, licensed to About.com

Irish for a Day

Tuesday March 11, 2014
If you live in New York, Boston, or Chicago, you know that St. Patrick's Day is a big deal. When I first moved to the U.S. (from England), I lived in New York for a while, and that's where I experienced St. Patrick's Day for the first time. Everyone, it seems, becomes Irish for the day. Bottles of Guinness are on view at the grocery store, and packages of corned beef and crisp heads of cabbage are prominently displayed. If you want to enjoy some lightened Irish-inspired fare, I have a nice selection of St. Patrick's Day recipes for you to enjoy, some of them very green indeed. Slainte Mhath!

Spinach Soup Photo © Fiona Haynes, licensed to About.com

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