501 Life Magazine | Make unhealthy foods healthier
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Make unhealthy foods healthier

Follow these homemade tips on ways to make typically unhealthy foods healthier. The family will love it, you’ll love it and everyone will be healthier and happier.

At home, use pita bread as your crust. Make a mixture of chopped tomatoes and tomato puree to go on the top and then, depending on your taste, top with a variety of vegetables, olives, tuna or lean meats. Finish with grated cheese and cook for 20 minutes. Arrange on the table and watch as your family enjoys to their hearts content.

Homemade burgers
Make your burger from the leanest beef you can find. Add onions, parmesan, breadcrumbs, pepper, garlic and finally an egg (or substitute) to bind it all together. Grill instead of frying until golden brown and crispy. Garnish with lettuce, cucumber, salsa and low-fat cheese, and serve with low-fat buns.

Keep the fun in family film night by cooking the popcorn in olive oil and adding a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper, or a slight scattering of sea salt.

Increase your children’s Vitamin C intake by several levels with natural popsicles. Simply blend their favourite fruits until smooth, add a squeeze of lemon as a natural preservative, pour into tray molds and freeze. There’s absolutely no need for chemical-filled, shop-bought popsicles when these are so delicious and simple to make.

Sweet things
Cookies and brownies that aren’t sweet aren’t going to be eaten. But do they really need to be all that sweet? Substitute some of the sugar in your homemade cookies and cakes by adding healthier ingredients such as oats, nuts, raisins, dates, prunes and seeds. This is a great way to get those vital vitamins and minerals.

Zippy Summer Shrimp

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons paprika
2 pounds shell-on de-veined jumbo shrimp
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat; cook and stir the garlic in the oil until translucent. Sprinkle the red pepper flakes and paprika into the oil. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Pour the lemon juice over the shrimp; cook until the shrimp are bright pink on the outside and the meat is no longer transparent in the center, 1 to 2 minutes more. Reduce heat to medium-low; add the basil and toss lightly. Season with salt and pepper to serve.

Healthy Banana Cookies

3 ripe bananas
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Stir in oats, dates, oil and vanilla. Mix well and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an un-greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly brown.

Heart Healthy Burrito

4 (10 inch) fat free flour tortillas
2 cups grilled chicken strips, pre-cooked, prepared refrigerated or frozen
1 1/3 cups brown rice, microwaveable
1 1/3 cups broccoli, microwaveable
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Cook chicken strips, brown rice and broccoli according to each of their package instructions. Re-serve hot.
Warm tortillas in a microwave for 10 seconds.
To build 1 burrito: Place 1/2 cup of chicken on the bottom third of each tortilla, followed by 1/3 cup of brown rice, then 1/3 cup of broccoli.
Evenly sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese over the broccoli.
Repeat steps 1 through 4 using remaining tortillas and ingredients.
Roll each tortilla into a burrito, forming a larger size burrito. Cut each burrito in half, on an angle, and serve hot.

Citrus Carrot Sticks

3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon butter or margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound carrots
6 cups water

Combine orange juice, butter and cumin; set aside.
Cut carrots into 3-inch chunks, then into matchstick strips. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add carrots; cook for about 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; place in a serving bowl. Drizzle with orange juice mixture.