What Are Your Tips for Cooking the Perfect Omelet?

Omelets are seemingly simple breakfast foods that are deceptively difficult to make. If you’re all too accustomed to overcooked, broken omelets, these seven expert tips will help show you how to flip one like a pro. And if you have your own omelet cooking tips, be sure to share them!

  1. Use the proper tools. For best results, use a skillet that’s 8 or 9 inches in diameter, plus a heatproof spatula and an egg whisk.
  2. Assemble the ingredients. A standard omelet uses two or three eggs per person, as well as whichever veggies, meats, or cheeses that you prefer. Be sure to chop and prepare your toppings in advance!
  3. Add a splash of water to your eggs. Before adding the other ingredients, whisk a splash of water into the eggs. This will help ensure a light, fluffy omelet.
  4. Heat the skillet. Heat your skillet to medium-high heat and coat the bottom with unsalted butter.
  5. Add the eggs. Add just the eggs to the pan first and let the edges set for about 10 seconds. Pull the now-set edges in toward the center and rotate the pan to disperse the raw egg.
  6. Add toppings. Gently sprinkle the toppings on the surface of the eggs.
  7. Fold. Fold only one side of the omelet in toward the center. Once it’s done cooking, fold the other side by tilting the skillet. Flip the whole thing face down onto your plate to complete the perfect omelet.

How to Make the Perfect Omelet [Food Network]
How to Make the 'Perfect' French Omelet [Instructables]
How to Make an Omelet [Organic Valley]

How to Eat Healthy When Dining Out

You really never know how a meal is prepared when you’re eating out, and even the healthiest seeming salad can be packed with fattening cheeses, heavy oils, and excessive amounts of sodium. Instead of boycotting restaurants, use these smart tips for eating healthy while eating out.

  1. Know the lingo. When navigating the menu, recognize that words like “crispy,” “au gratin,” “creamed,” or “battered” are just as bad as “deep-fried.” Instead, look for dishes that are “grilled,” “poached,” or “roasted.”
  2. Choose restaurants with healthy or light menus. If you want to make navigating the menu even easier, research which restaurant chains offer separate menus of healthier dishes.
  3. Avoid appetizers. Instead of ordering extra food before your meal even arrives, eat your healthy entree and then reevaluate to see if you’re still hungry.
  4. Ask for sauces on the side. If you order a salad with dressing or a sandwich with a creamy sauce, ask for it on the side and only use as much as you need.
  5. Ask for a to-go box with your order. If your biggest challenge is overindulging, there’s no shame in packaging a portion of your meal up before you begin eating. This will ensure that you don’t go overboard.
  6. Don’t skip dessert. No, you don’t have to pass on dessert; just opt for healthier treats like fresh fruit, sherbet, or flourless cakes.

Deciphering the Menu [American Heart Association]
Ordering Your Meal [American Heart Association]
Tips for Eating Healthy When Eating Out [USDA]
It's About Eating Right [Eat Right]

Spice Up Your Diet With These DASH Recipes

Any dieter will agree that healthy foods aren’t always the most exciting. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (or DASH) eating plan aims to incorporate convenient, tasty meals into your healthy diet, using only accessible ingredients that you likely have around the house. This NIH website offers a number of DASH-friendly recipes for every day of the week.

Here are three recipes you'll find there:

Chicken Salad
Just like the summer picnic favorite, this zesty chicken salad can be spread on sandwiches or placed on a bed of lettuce. Unlike its fattening counterpart, DASH’s chicken salad recipe contains less than 200 calories.

Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce
Whether you follow a meat-free diet or not, this delicious spaghetti sauce tastes great over pastas or on other Italian dishes. It also contains only 479 mg of sodium per serving, significantly less than other sauces.

Chicken and Spanish Rice
A traditional dish with a zesty kick of flavor, this Spanish rice recipe contains much less sodium than other versions. By substituting brown rice for regular white rice and adding a variety of vitamin-rich vegetables, this fast and easy recipe can help you stay on track with healthy eating as well.

To find the full week’s worth of DASH recipes, visit the NIH website here.

Deliciously Easy Meatloaf Recipes That Taste Anything But Basic

If your earliest memories of meatloaf are dry, bland, and boring, this post is for you. These three meatloaf recipes turn the old fashioned favorite upside down, but they’re still just as easy to make.

Paula Deen’s Old Fashioned Meatloaf [foodnetwork.com]
Don’t be fooled by the name; this perfectly moist, endlessly flavorful meatloaf recipe is a world away from the outdated dinner entree. Quick-cooking oats create a hearty base for the beef, while simple seasonings and some all-American condiments enable you to make a delicious sauce from things you already have in the fridge.

Simple Meatloaf Recipe [southernfood.about.com]
Because this recipe requires more oven time than prep time, it leaves you with extra time to do whatever you please. Just top it with a blend of ketchup, mustard, and maple syrup once it’s all done.

Turkey Meatloaf [realsimple.com]
Save a few calories and grams of fat while still getting a hearty dose of protein by using ground turkey instead of the usual beef. Plus, this meatloaf is filled with herbs and spices for a truly flavorful taste and a wonderful aroma while it bakes in the oven. Serve it with some classic mashed potatoes for a delicious dinner just like mom used to make.

Tips for Properly Cleaning Your Wooden Cutting Boards

If you’ve ever owned a wooden cutting board, you know just how finicky they can be. These kitchen essentials are ideal for chopping vegetables or serving a cheese platter, but they’re also very difficult to clean. Here are four smart tips to help you properly clean your cutting board.

  1. Use vinegar as a disinfectant. Using soap and water on your cutting board can cause it to weaken or crack. Instead, disinfect it with a full-strength white vinegar after each use to kill E coli, salmonella, and other dangerous bacteria.
  2. Remove odor with lemons. Rub your cutting board all over with the cut side of half a lemon in order to remove the odors left behind by onions, meat, or crushed garlic.
  3. Deep clean with baking soda. Every so often, deep clean your cutting board with baking soda to ensure that no bacteria is lurking beneath the surface. Scrub it with a paste made of one tablespoon each of baking soda, water, and salt.
  4. Remove stains with salt. If your cutting board is covered in oil stains, remove them by sprinkling each stain with coarse salt and scrubbing with a sponge dipped in hot water. Repeat as needed until the stain is completely gone.

How to Clean a Cutting Board: 7 Effective Treatments [Reader’s Digest]
5 Ways to Clean a Wooden Cutting Board [Food Network]
How to Clean a Wooden Cutting Board [Paula Deen]
Clean Wooden Cutting Boards Naturally with Lemon and Salt [The Kitchn]

How Much Oil Should You Consume?

Oil has a reputation for being bad for the waistline, but select oils are very beneficial when consumed in moderation. This helpful guide from the USDA provides simple, accessible descriptions of the main types of oils, then helps you to make informed decisions about which to use. Here are the highlights:

What are oils?
Oils are fats that become liquid at room temperature. Things like canola oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and olive oil are common, as well as the oils found in foods like nuts, olives, avocados, and some fish.

How are oils different from solid fats?
Solid fats contain more saturated fats and/or trans fats, while oils contain more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Saturated fats and trans fats raise the “bad” cholesterol in your body, which increases the risk of heart disease.

Why are oils important?
It is important to consume oils because they provide essential nutrients. Oils are the major source of essential fatty acids, which are necessary for your health, and they are also provide the majority of your body’s Vitamin E.

How much oil should I consume?
The average American adult needs anywhere from five to seven teaspoons of oil per day, depending on factors like your gender, age, and level of physical activity.

What Are “Oils”? [USDA]

How to Reduce Your Daily Caffeine Intake

You might feel like you simply can’t function without your morning coffee, but that boost of caffeine may be doing you more harm than good. Caffeine addiction causes you to rely on drinking coffee, soda, and energy drinks throughout the day, and it is also proven to contribute to stress and anxiety. If you want to cut back on the amount of caffeine you consume per day, these simple tips will make it easier.

  1. Examine your intake. Studies show that 200 milligrams of caffeine or less is a healthy amount for the average adult to consume per day. This translates to about two strong cups of coffee, so this is an easy way to decipher how much you need to limit yourself. If you can’t make it through the workday without that third cup in the afternoon, that’s a good place to start.
  2. Gradually cut back. Quitting caffeine cold turkey is just as painful as quitting any other bad habit. To prevent headaches, grogginess, and other signs of caffeine withdrawal, mix your usual coffee with a bit more decaf every day, or work your way down to just two cups of coffee instead of your usual amount.
  3. Be smart about caffeine. Once you know that you can only have two cups per day, you should choose when to drink them wisely. If you feel most tired early in the morning and around 2 p.m., plan on drinking your cup of joe about an hour before those times.

Easy Ways to Reduce Caffeine Intake [U.S. News]
How to Lower Your Caffeine Intake Without Headaches [Fitday]
10 Ways to Start Your Day Without Caffeine [Everyday Health]
Caffeine [McKinley Health Center]

Feeling Jittery? Avoid These Surprising Caffeine Sources!

You’ve already cut out your morning latte and ruled out the sugary energy drinks in an effort to reduce your caffeine intake, but you still occasionally feel jittery or prone to headaches. If you’re making all of the right steps toward a caffeine-free diet but just can’t seem to catch a break, these surprising products may be to blame.

  1. Dietary supplements. Frustratingly enough, one of your other attempts to lose weight and stay healthy may actually be the cause of your caffeine headaches. Dietary supplements, including multivitamins, often contain high doses of caffeine that aren’t always listed on the nutrition label. Some supplements even contain over 210 milligrams – that’s more than double the amount in one cup of coffee!
  2. Chocolate. Chocolate, another popular vice among many adults, is known to contain just as much caffeine as coffee in some cases. If you need a chocolate fix, indulge in less intense milk chocolate instead of dark.
  3. Tea. Switching your daily cup of Joe for a cup of tea still causes you to consume caffeine, contrary to what many may think. One cup of black tea has around 14 to 60 milligrams, while green tea contains 24 to 40 milligrams of caffeine.

What Am I So Awake? [CBS News]
12 Surprising Sources of Caffeine [Fox News]
5 ‘Hidden’ Sources of Caffeine [Live Science]

How to Get More Vitamin A in Your Diet

Vitamin A provides a number of wonderful eye health benefits, from minimizing dry eyes to helping to absorb light in the retinal receptors. In addition to improving your eye health, it also supports cell growth and improves the health of the kidneys, heart, and other essential organs. Here are just a few surprising food sources for beneficial Vitamin A.

  1. Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes are some of the best sources of Vitamin A out of any food, offering a staggering 561% of the recommended daily amount in just one whole potato. Better yet, the delicious sweet potato offers all of its priceless nutrients while adding only 103 calories to your diet. Simply bake one in the oven for a healthy side dish that’s absolutely packed full of A vitamins.
  2. Carrots. This other favorite orange food is equally as rich with Vitamin A. The carrot has been known for its eye health benefits for quite some time, though many people don’t realize that it’s because of the numerous A vitamins inside. One medium carrot offers a full 200% of the recommended daily intake, and it’s a great source of the Vitamins C, K, and B that your body also needs.

Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin A [Healthaliciousness]
Vitamin A [NIH]
26 Foods High in Vitamin A for Healthy Eyes [Bembu]

Public Domain/Public Domain

All the Taste, Less Fat: 2 Handy Stand-Ins for Butter

Whether you practice a vegan diet or you simply want to reduce harmful fat and calories from your meals, cutting out butter is a healthy food choice. These simple butter substitutes will enable you to eat the foods that you love in a healthier manner, and they’ll taste just as delicious.

  1. Olive oil. While olive oil is also high in calories, it has a number of other health benefits that butter doesn’t. For every cup of butter, you can easily substitute 1/4 cup of olive oil plus two tablespoons in order to maintain the same texture and consistency. Olive oil is also completely vegan, and it can be used to grease pans as well.
  2. Commercial butter substitutes. Your local grocery store likely sells a wide variety of commercial butter substitutes and margarines that can be used in place of butter. These products usually have the same look, feel and taste, but they have much less fat and calories. Brands like Earth Balance and Smart Balance taste very similar to real butter, but unlike butter they’re completely vegan. Most chefs advise against browning commercial butter substitutes, however, because they burn very easily and don’t achieve the same effect.

Common Ingredient Substitutions [All Recipes]
Top 3 Ingredient Substitutions [The Kitchn]

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