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Healthy Cooking with Leftovers Healthy Cooking with Leftovers


cooking with leftovers

Properly using leftovers is a great way to increase the efficiency of home cooking. A big slow cooker of pinto beans can be stretched for use as a hearty lunch, the filling for breakfast burritos, and a side dish for tacos later in the week. When using leftovers, it’s important to be concerned about food safety because many people overestimate how long properly stored leftovers will last. Consuming leftovers beyond their "safe date" increases the risk for foodborne illness.

Always refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible, making sure that they don't stay at room temperature for more than 2 hours. (This time limit drops to 1 hour in hot weather.) Ensure that your refrigerator is set below 40 Fahrenheit; otherwise bacteria can multiply quickly in the food.

Label each container with the date so that you don't forget when it was prepared, and always throw it out if there is any question concerning its safety. It's better to be safe than sorry and sick. The lifespan of leftovers varies depending on the type of food. Refer to the information below when determining if the leftovers in your fridge are still safe to eat.

  • Cooked Seafood 1-2 days

  • Fruit and Cream Pies 2-3 days

  • Cooked Beef, Ham, Pork, Poultry, Fish and Meat Casseroles 3-4 day

  • Cooked Fresh Vegetables 3-4 days

  • Soups, Stews & Sauces 3-4 days

  • Pizza 3-4 days

  • Homemade Dips 3-4 days

  • Cooked Pasta 3-5 days

  • Pre-packaged Lunch Meats (opened) 3-5 days

  • Baked Muffins 7 days

  • Cooked Rice 7 days

  • Hard Cooked Eggs 7 days

  • Hot Dogs (opened) 7 days

Food safety information from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the University of Idaho

8 Foods that Fight a Cold 8 Foods that Fight a Cold


8 Foods that Fight a Cold

While there is no cure for the common cold, these 8 foods can build your immune system to help fight the cold virus and other bugs.


The skin of almonds contain natural compounds that may boost immunity and reduce inflammation. Researchers suggest that these compounds help white blood cells identify viruses and prevent them from spreading.


Cabbage contains the amino acid glutamine, which assists in the proper function of the immune system. The body makes glutamine, but if you regularly perform strenuous exercise, or you frequently get colds or the flu, you may need extra glutamine from food sources.

Chicken Soup

It turns out that this time-trusted remedy has scientific research to back it up. Chicken soup does have anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial when you are down with a cold. With a few creative twists to your basic recipe, it also provides a good way to eat many of the other foods that help prevent colds such as garlic, cabbage, and mushrooms.


Garlic contains the sulfur compound allicin, a powerful antioxidant believed to have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Current reviews suggest that more research is needed to support garlic’s role in the prevention of the cold, but with it’s many benefits to overall health, it doesn’t hurt to keep adding it to your meals.


Ginger root contains phenolic compounds called gingerols that have anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help if you are experiencing an upset stomach as it has long been associated with easing nausea and motion sickness.


Mushrooms contain B vitamins that help boost immunity. Even the standard white button mushroom found in most grocery stores provides health benefits. Recent animal studies show that these mushrooms enhance cell activity in the immune system, and that they may increase production of antiviral proteins.


This green leafy vegetable provides a powerful cocktail of antioxidants (including vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, selenium, and zinc). Together these nutrients help boost your immune system and work to resist infection.


The live active cultures in yogurt are probiotics that strengthen the immune system, and help the body fight off infection. To be sure your yogurt contains these cultures, check the label for the Live & Active Cultures seal from the National Yogurt Association.

Tips to Lose Fat and Gain MuscleTips to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle


When it comes to improving fitness, you likely have two goals – lose fat and gain muscle. Losing fat requires a calorie deficit, while gaining muscle requires a calorie surplus. Despite the contradiction, the body can easily handle losing fat and building muscle tissue at the same time. There are two things you should monitor to help you reach your goal - calorie intake and protein intake. The body requires both to build new muscle.

Calorie Intake

Muscle building occurs through protein synthesis, and this requires energy (calories). The key is to find a balance that ensures you are eating enough calories for protein synthesis, while also limiting your calories to achieve fat loss. Your body finds this balance by using the energy from the metabolism of body fat to build new muscle mass. This means you do not need as many calories to build muscle as you might think.

If you currently eat the calories suggested to reach your weight loss goal, you can start by simply adding strength training to your routine. If the desired fat loss doesn’t occur, slowly decrease your calorie intake by 100 calories per day. If you feel weak and lethargic, then you have reduced intake too much and you will need to slightly increase your calories until you feel strong and energetic again. Give each new calorie adjustment 3-5 days before changing it. This gives you enough time to assess your energy level correctly.

Protein Intake

Although our bodies can use energy from burning other tissues (fat), it cannot provide all of the amino acids needed to build muscle. This makes it important to get adequate amounts and varied types of protein in your diet. Note that adequate protein does not mean excessive protein. There is no need to supplement normal dietary protein with expensive protein supplements. You will need somewhere between 0.8 and 1.7 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, which is easily attained through normal food intake. Remember to vary your protein sources to ensure that you are getting all of the essential amino acids in your diet. In addition, choose protein sources that are low in saturated fat such as:

  • Beans and legumes
  • Egg whites
  • Hummus
  • Low-fat milk and yogurts
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Poultry and Fish
  • Quinoa
  • Soy-based foods (tempeh, tofu)

The timing of your food intake can also help. Include snacks that provide protein and carbs immediately before and after your workouts. This will help replenish glycogen stores and aid muscle building.

4 Things to Know About Negative Calorie Diets 4 Things to Know About Negative Calorie Diets


Negative Calorie Diets

Negative calorie food is a popular diet term, and the claims can be convincing. When marketers say a food has negative calories, they are claiming that the body burns more calories digesting the food than the food contains. Here are a few things you should know about these claims.

Negative calorie diet claims do not have scientific support.If people lose weight using what they term a negative calorie diet, it is likely due to decreasing total calorie intake by replacing high-calorie foods with low-calorie foods.

These claims are based on the thermic effect of food. The thermic effect of food is the energy used during digestion. According to the Mayo Clinic, this accounts for just 5 to 10% of total calories eaten. On a 1,500 calorie diet, up to 150 calories are necessary for digestion. Even if the negative calorie theory were true, the impact on weight loss would be minimal.

Most foods on the negative calorie list are healthy. Celery, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, onions, and cabbage contain nutrients and fiber. Include these foods as part of a balanced diet, but include them for their nutritional content and not because they are reported to magically boost calorie burn.

Avoid the temptation to believe in quick fixes and magical solutions. It is much more effective to reduce calories eaten and increase calories burned than to limit yourself to a select number of vegetables.

High Protein, Low Cholesterol Foods High Protein, Low Cholesterol Foods


high protein, low cholesterol foods

Health experts recommend limiting cholesterol intake, but many high-protein foods also contain high levels of dietary cholesterol. How do you get the protein you need without going over your limit? Here are 5 low-cholesterol foods that are also high in protein.


Beans are an excellent choice for protein that is cholesterol-free and full of fiber. Don’t be afraid to try different beans, and get creative with how you use them in recipes. Stewed garbanzo beans, pinto beans, or cannellini beans are ideal with a side of sautéed kale and brown rice. They are also delicious blended into bean dips. Seek out fun, heirloom varieties and experiment with cooking dried beans in the slow cooker. Cranberry beans and black Calypso beans are two varieties that can add fun to your meal. (1 cup cooked black beans: 227 calories, 0 mg cholesterol, 15.2 g protein)


Many of the healthy, whole grains eaten today are considered grains for culinary purposes, but they originate from protein-rich seeds. In fact, quinoa is considered a complete protein meaning it contains all the essential amino acids. Other grains that provide protein include amaranth, millet, and wheat berries. (1 cup cooked quinoa: 190 calories, 0 mg cholesterol, 6 g protein)


Similar to beans, lentils provide protein while also being low in cholesterol. An added bonus is that they contain over 15 grams of fiber in one cup cooked. Don’t get stuck in a lentil rut. There are numerous types available that will add variety to salads, soups, and stews. Try French green lentils, black lentils, or yellow lentils. (1 cup cooked lentils: 229 calories, 0 mg cholesterol, 17.9 g protein)

Nuts and Seeds

Shelled nuts and seeds require no preparation -- making them a great protein-rich snack. They also provide plenty of heart-healthy fat without cholesterol. Try cashews, pistachios, or walnuts. Protein-rich seeds include sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. (1 ounce of pistachio nuts: 157 calories, 0 mg cholesterol, 5.8 g protein)


Minimally refined soy products, such as fermented tofu, offer plenty of protein without cholesterol. The benefit of soy-based foods for protection against cancer and heart disease is still a topic of scientific debate. However, tofu is full of vitamins and minerals, and can serve as a high protein, low cholesterol substitute for meats. Tofu can be grilled, roasted, or cooked in stir-fries. (3 ounces firm tofu: 70 calories, 0 mg cholesterol, 8 g protein)

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