This spring, fill your refrigerator with some fresh produce standouts that mark this time of year. Buying seasonally is optimal to receive the richest nutritional benefit and highest quality products because there’s less transport time from farm to table. Here are some tips on what to look for this season.
- These spring spears come in several colors: green, white and purple.
- They are good sources of fiber, folate, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K.
- A half cup serving (or 5 spears) contains 2 grams of fiber and only 20 calories.
- To properly store asparagus, wrap the stem ends in damp paper towels for several days. To further extend their freshness, refrigerate the stalks with the tips side up in a cup of shallow water.
- Enjoy grilled, roasted or sautéed using a small amount of olive oil, or simply steam and then season with a dash of sea salt for a low-calorie side dish.
- There are three types of peas: English (or green), snow (Chinese pea pods) and snap (or sugar snap) peas.
- English peas, sometimes called sweet peas, can be eaten raw, but are often served cooked.
- The pods need to be removed before eating, unlike their counterparts.
- They are higher in protein and fiber with a 1/2 cup cooked containing 62 calories, 4.4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.
- You can find them in frozen individual serving size containers for a convenient microwave side dish.
- Snow peas are flat and contain very small peas inside, but the whole pod is edible.
- They are a classic ingredient in stir-fry recipes.
- Snap peas are a cross between snow peas and English peas and can be eaten whole in their pods.
- You may need to remove the stringy seam before eating, but stringless varieties are also available.
- This popular pea (and my personal favorite) is a delicious crunchy snack or steamed side dish.
- Both snow and snap peas have a similar nutrient profile: one cup raw has 26 calories, 2.5 grams of fiber and 1.8 grams of protein.
- As a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, radishes are available year-round, but are smaller, sweeter and crunchier in spring.
- They are one of the easiest and fastest vegetables to grow in your garden, which is perfect for novice or young budding gardeners!
- One cup of sliced radishes has only 19 calories.
- Proper storage is the key to retaining flavor and freshness of these little bulbs. They can last up to a month in the refrigerator!
- Cut the tops off the radish and leave ½ inch of the stem attached to the top of the bulb.
- Place them in a perforated plastic storage bag or open plastic bag to allow for air circulation.
- Beyond serving crunchy radishes raw in salads or as a low-calorie snack, try incorporating them in stir-fry recipes, soups and stews.
- These sweet-seeded berries are in their peak from April to June.
- They are a nutrition powerhouse for vitamin C–exceeding 100 percent of our daily recommended needs.
- Strawberries are also a good source of folic acid, potassium and fiber.
- For only 55 calories per cup (or eight medium-sized berries), they offer 3.5 grams of fiber.
- Strawberries are best when purchased from a local source because they tend to retain their sweetness when handled delicately, and they tend to endure less damage during a shorter transport.
- I enjoy sliced strawberries on fresh spinach salads, but you can also indulge in a bowl with a light whipped topping for a guiltless dessert!
Other Spring Produce Stars:
- Bok Choy
- Fava Beans
What are some of your favorite springtime vegetables and fruits?
Who doesn’t love pasta! But an average serving contains so many calories and carbs that most of us either splurge to the point of excess or skimp to the point of deprivation. What if there was actually a noodle that was low in calories and can satisfy your carb cravings? Introducing the Shirataki noodle.
What are Shirataki Noodles?
Tofu Shirataki noodles are translucent, gelatinous Japanese noodles made from konjac yam. They come pre-cooked and pre-packaged in small refrigerated bags. Though a bit watery at first with a slight odor, once prepared, these noodles absorb the flavors of what they are cooked in. Because they are pre-cooked, their consistency and texture is softer than regular noodles. They come in fun shapes like fettuccine, spaghetti, macaroni, and angel hair (but watch out for the tangles in the angel hair!). Once only found in Asian markets, you can now buy them in many grocery stores in the refrigerated section, by the produce, near the tofu and other vegetarian items.
How to Prepare:
There is an art to preparing these little noodles, but it’s fool proof if you follow a few important steps:
- Empty noodles into a strainer, and rinse them with running water to get rid of the liquid in the package.
- Dry them as thoroughly as possible by blotting very well with paper towels. Remove as much liquid moisture as you can- this is VERY important!
- Cut up the long strands with kitchen shears- it’s actually pretty fun!
- Heat noodles for a minute or two in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove. Blot noodles once more if you use the microwave.
Shirataki Nutrition Facts:
Per serving (4 oz., ½ bag):
10 calories, 0.5g fat, 15mg sodium, 3g carbs, 2g fiber, 0g sugar, <1g protein
There are a lot of recipes available using these “magical” noodles. Explore a range to fit your taste, such as Low Mein, Fettuccine Alfredo, Tuna Noodle Casserole, Chicken Pad Thai, Shrimp Scampi with Fettuccine, and the list goes on. Remember to use low fat ingredient swaps for healthier leaner pasta dishes. Also, bulk up your entrée with tons of veggies for a filling, satisfying dish that rivals other high calorie pasta meals!
So now you really can have your pasta, and eat it too!!
Today at Cooper Aerobics we are celebrating Dr. Cooper’s birthday! He is known throughout the world for being a visionary and as the “father of aerobics.” To celebrate his 84th birthday, let’s take a look at his accomplishments this past year and how he continues to inspire millions each day to live longer, healthier lives.
Dr. Cooper proudly joined United Way of Metropolitan Dallas to celebrate 90 years of service. In partnership with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, The Cooper Institute is able to promote health in schools with Healthy Zone School Recognition Program, now reaching 90 area schools!
For his impact on the football community, Dr. Cooper was honored as a 2015 inductee into National Football Foundation Leadership Hall of Fame at the Omni Dallas Hotel as the kickoff event for the College Football Playoff National Championship weekend. In addition to hundreds gathering together to honor Dr. Cooper on Jan. 8, his family and some of his closest colleagues contributed to a video in his honor, watch here!
With his son, Dr. Tyler Cooper and staff members of Cooper Fitness Center, Dr. Cooper honored the 2014 Members of the Year. Ranging from the two “Youth of Year” at 11 and 12 years old to the “Classic of the Year,” Dr. Cooper’s patient and longtime friend at 97 years old. Read about each of the members honored and see their photos taken with Drs. Kenneth and Tyler Cooper on the blog.
Dr. Cooper warmed up with Frito-Lay by doing a few stretches with CEO Tom Greco before he presented to an employee group. Did you know 12 years ago Dr. Cooper made the recommendation to remove trans-fats from Frito Lay products? The project resulted in 50 million pounds of trans fats removed from the American diet every year!
The Cooper Institute® rolled out the Hungarian version of the Cooper International Fitness Test™ in Hungary at the three-day conference after signing a partnership agreement with the Hungarian School Sport Federation in 2013. Dr. Cooper addressed the topic of childhood obesity before stakeholders of the European Union. The partnership was formed to establish a national framework for student fitness assessments in Hungary, reaching more than 1.2 million children in 4,000 schools. Read the press release at cooperaerobics.com/Media.
The American Heart Association celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Dallas Heart Walk and honored Dr. Cooper as the Honorary Chairman. Dr. Cooper led the first Dallas Heart Walk in 1992 with just 500 walkers and raised $50,000 and now Dallas has the largest Heart Walk in the nation. In 2014, Dr. Cooper led the walk with his son Dr. Tyler Cooper as the Board President of the American Heart Association—Dallas Division with more than 60,000 walkers, raising nearly $5.5 million. Thank you to everyone who supported the Cooper Aerobics team!
Cooper Aerobics is the feature article in the Preston Hollow Advocate this month. What started out as a renovation story, evolved into an entire feature. The writer spent hours on campus with our experts including Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Cooper, Dr. Tyler Cooper, Dr. DeFina and Houston Nichols (who grew up in the Nichols’ Mansion). Read the story here.
BIG things happen everyday on the Cooper Aerobics campus! Dr. Cooper and many teammates, members and clients posed on campus to be the “I” in BIG like Dr. Cooper. View all of the photos on Cooper Aerobics Facebook page.
Dr. Cooper named his son, Tyler Cooper, MD, MPH, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cooper Aerobics. In addition to practicing preventive medicine, Dr. Tyler Cooper oversees the company’s seven health and wellness businesses. Dr. Cooper remains as Chairman and Founder of Cooper Aerobics. Read the press release at cooperaerobics.com/Media.
As an internal update for all 650 Cooper Aerobics employees, “State of Cooper” is held each spring. Dr. Cooper introduced the meeting by saying “Play Ball” with a playful baseball theme. The media panel included members of the Senior Leadership team to provide corporate updates.
Cooper Hotel hosts a group of professional referees who train at Cooper Aerobics every quarter. Dr. Cooper shared his soccer history from the late ’60s and ’70s in Brazil. They loved meeting him and taking photos, but teased him a little for creating the dreaded Cooper Test or ‘cooperteszt’ which is a fitness test commonly used for professional referees.
As part of Cooper Aerobics Center’s multi-million dollar renovation, Drs. Cooper began the renovation of Cooper Hotel by pulling up the carpet to lay out the new. The renovation has refreshed the 61 guest rooms, meeting rooms and public spaces. Blending elegant sophistication with modern touches, guests will stay well at Cooper Hotel. The renovation is expected to be completed this spring. Read the press release at cooperaerobics.com/Media.
Here’s to a happy, healthy 84th year, Dr. Cooper!
This year, we celebrate 45 years of inspiring millions to live longer, healthier lives.
Healthy eating starts with what you put in your cart. You can’t go wrong with keeping these staples on your grocery list to make healthy eating convenient for your busy lifestyle. Cooper Clinic dietitians weigh in with their favorite Top 10 Convenience Health Foods.
- Fresh fruit. Fruit is the world’s “original” fast food. Pick a variety for meals and snacks.
- Bagged salad greens. Throw a salad together in a pinch. These pre-washed greens can be served up as a side dish or main entrée with chopped chicken or canned tuna.
- Fish fillets. Individually frozen fish filets (salmon, cod, halibut, sole, and tilapia) are lean proteins and take just a few minutes to broil.
- Whole grains. Frozen corn and 90-second brown rice are good sources of fiber, low sodium, and healthy sides to compliment your meal.
- Yogurt. Select nonfat Greek yogurt for a high protein snack or after-dinner treat with fresh fruit topping.
- Frozen vegetables. Pop these in the microwave for a quick side dish.
- Canned beans. Simply rinse to reduce sodium by 40% and add to salads, soups and stews.
- Canned tomatoes. Buy low-sodium tomatoes to add to pasta, soups, sauces and casseroles.
- Nuts. One small handful of nuts is a perfect snack to carry you to the next meal.
- Oatmeal. One of dietitian’s top-pick cereals as a filling source of fiber and heart healthy breakfast that takes only a few minutes to cook in the microwave.
To learn more tips and advice from Cooper Clinic Dietitians, join us March 2 for the Cooper Nutrition Expo! With 40-plus vendors and new products all devoted to your good health, this event is FREE and open to the public. View more details and the list of vendors here.
This month we celebrate heart health. There are many powerful foods that deliver big benefits to reduce your risk of heart disease. Here are a few super-stars that you may want to incorporate into your routine. All of these foods are loaded with heart-protective components that will keep your heart strong and pumping.
This fatty fish ranks high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats may reduce inflammation throughout the body which can cause damage to your blood vessels and lead to heart disease. These healthy fats may also lower cholesterol, blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, decrease stroke and risk for heart failure. Try to eat fatty fish, like salmon, two to three times a week.
These berries are bursting with antioxidants, specifically the phytonutrient polyphenol. Anti-oxidants are potent substances that reduce inflammation in the body and reduce the risk of heart disease, along with other chronic diseases. Add blueberries to yogurt or smoothies. Frozen blueberries are just as nutritionally packed as fresh!
Everyone loves avocados! These fruits are packed with mono-unsaturated fat that bumps up your good HDL cholesterol and lowers risk of heart disease. Recent research shows a link between consuming avocados daily and reducing bad LDL cholesterol. Avocados also contain vitamin B 6 and folic acid which are also beneficial to your heart. Enjoy avocados in salads or as a sandwich spread instead of mayo several times a week.
Walnuts contain a wealth of omega-3 fats in the world of nuts. If you’re not a fan of salmon or other fatty fish, this is a great way to fit these fats into your diet. Walnuts also contain vitamin E which is an antioxidant that may protect your heart. Enjoy walnuts on salads or as a crunchy snack. Try to eat nuts at least 3 times a week- 4 or five times is even better!
Oatmeal is good news for your heart. The type of soluble fiber in oats, beta-glucans, forms a gooey mass in your stomach, trapping cholesterol and transporting it out of the body before it can get absorbed into your blood, thus lowering your LDL cholesterol levels. It takes about 1 ½ cups of cooked oatmeal (equal to ¾ cups dry) to get the maximum benefit. Try to eat oatmeal several times a week. Top with blueberries and walnuts- two other star foods on the list!
For information on nutrition consultations at Cooper Clinic visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.
New Year’s Resolutions shouldn’t be a thing of the past. If you need another burst of motivation from the trainers at Cooper Fitness Center, read on.
The KISS Principle: Keep It Simple Stupid.
With all of the exercise related technology, gadgets and new equipment that is available in today’s age, it is easy to forget the underlying principle of exercise: Incorporating a consistent level of cardio-vascular activity with regular resistance training and stretching, we can maintain a level of health and wellness as we age. Instead of overcomplicating it with numbers, formulas and fitness related phone apps that may distract us, sometimes it is better to just get out there and do SOMETHING.
- Consistency. I would rather have someone be consistent with a new exercise routine, over intensity any day of the week. When starting a new routine everyone wants to go all out in the beginning then they burn out really quickly. Relax! Rome was not built in a day, so take your time.
- Careful with the running. You don’t run to get in shape—you get in shape to run. Starting too quickly on a running routine can cause nagging injuries. Remember the body needs time to adapt to the pounding so never underestimate the power of walking first before you hit the pavement jogging.
- Balanced diet. We can take in more calories in 5 minutes than we can exercise off in an hour. Visit a nutritionist and get some simple guidelines that will help you achieve your goals. Fruits and veggies: eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can. We hear too often “careful with eating too much fruit, that can be too much sugar.” Meat: I am all about protein, but do we need to have a meat product with every meal? Try to fall into the “meatless Monday” trend to get in more fruits and veggies.
- Athletic development. No matter how old you are—it is very important to stay athletic! Not everyone should be practicing sprints and plyometric exercises, but some basic athletic drills that require foot work and agility goes along way. All locomotion starts from the feet—work on your balance and foot strength by standing barefoot on each foot for 1 minute.
David H. Williams, Professional Fitness Trainer
Tired of trying to crunch your way to washboard abs? Strengthen your core, with a few crunch variations.
- Correct Crunch (Front) – Lay on your back, lift your legs off the ground to form a 90 degree angle with your knees and legs. Then lift your upper body about two inches off the ground for the crunch. Breathe out when you lift up and breathe in when you go back down. If you have neck problems, place your hands on the back of your neck for support, but remember to not pull on your head.
- Side Plank (Side) – Lay on your side and lift your body off the ground, balancing on one forearm and one foot. Contract your abdominals for the workout, and remember to breathe. For an added workout, lift your hips up and back down remaining lifted. Make sure you maintain good posture and your elbow is supported directly beneath your shoulder.
- Cobra (Back) – Lay on your stomach and place your hands at your side with your palms down. Squeeze your glutes and raise your chest about two inches off the ground. To engage the exercise, rotate your thumbs up and out and lift your head neutrally. For an advanced version, start on your stomach with your arms bent in 90 degree angles by your head. When you lift up, stretch your arms out in front of your head. This is known as the superman and you may watch the demonstration here.
- Reverse Crunch (Lower Abs) – Grab a small stability ball and grip it between your thighs while laying on your back. Make sure your palms are facing up. Squeeze the stability ball between your thighs to activate the lower abs. Roll your knees toward your chest with the ball for the exercise.
To achieve your goals for a strong, lean core, you also have to incorporate healthy habits in the kitchen! Mark your calendars to join us at Cooper Fitness Center on Monday, March 2 for our 8th annual Nutrition Expo! Come see 20-plus vendors and new products all devoted to your good health! FREE and open to the public.
Lisa Hanley, Professional Fitness Trainer
Lighten the weight if it helps you do it correctly. While it is true that exercising with a challenging load increases strength, sharing the work among unrelated body parts will cheat you out of a good workout. Or worse, expose yourself to excessive wear and tear.
Help your body last a long time. There is no substitute for original parts. Reinforce and maintain the ones (knees, hips, discs) you were born with.
Exercise has evolved. Your workout should too. We now have the opportunity to reflect upon the long-term effects of exercises promoted as beneficial 30 or 40 years ago. The risk to benefit ratio of certain activities can range from extremely unfavorable to downright crazy! We should all treat our bodies better than that.
Exercise, massage and stretch. A certain amount of tissue elasticity will be lost as a normal result of aging. The best way to slow this process is through stimulating, increased circulation and range of motion from strength and cardio activities and remodeling soft tissue to be more extensible through massage and stretching. This helps muscles and fascia work more like a rubber band, the way they do in our youth.
To meet with a Professional Fitness Trainer from Cooper Fitness Center, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com/Pros or contact Mukidah Wiggins at 972.233.4832, ext. 4329.
Looking for the perfect winter escape? Make an appointment at Cooper Spa for the Chocolate Petal Pedicure. It’s nice to get away when time allows, but you don’t have to travel far to experience a nourishing soak with petals, vanilla scrub and a rich chocolate mask. Cooper Spa’s Seasonal Service is the perfect cure for those winter blues. Take a moment to indulge…
The tranquil lighting and plush furniture will help you unwind before your appointment. The hour-long treatment begins with a relaxing footbath to allow your feet to soak with soothing rose and lavender petals. The manicurists will awaken your senses with the vanilla sugar scrub to slough away any winter dryness and treat you to the hydrating chocolate mask. Your skin has time to absorb the mask while your feet are wrapped in warm towels. The warm marshmallow butter melt will moisturize chapped, winter skin and soften feet leaving an immediate glow. Top it off with the perfect polish (Cooper Spa has many to choose from).
Want to try it for yourself? The service is available for $65 until April 15. From now through Feb. 14, for each $300 gift card purchase, receive a luxury Cooper Spa light-weight robe, while supplies last. If you’re in the Dallas area, head to cooperspa.com/Dallas to book an appointment or call 972.392.7729. Otherwise, you can always shop the Beautiful Fit products and have them shipped to your door.
Enroll in Spa Rewards and start earning perks today—rewards to use toward spa services, exclusive offers and more! Learn more at cooperspa.com/Rewards.