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Traveling the carbo road

"Red Light" carbohydrates

Stop. Look. Hesitate. Eat only occasionally. Eat small portions. Don't fill up on these.

Simple sugars, refined carbohydrates, low fiber foods.
Examples: Sugar, honey, corn syrup, sweetened jams, jellies, syrups, candies, regular soda, white bread, white rice, regular pasta, grits, white skinless potatoes, fruit juice, pre-sweetened refined cereals

"Yellow Light" carbohydrates

Slow down. Eat, enjoy as part of a healthy diet but limit portion sizes.

More nutritious and fiber rich than "red light" foods.
Examples: Whole grains, such as barley, bulgur, spelt, quinoa, 100% whole wheat breads, Wheatena, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, multi-grain cereals such as 100% bran flakes, old-fashioned oatmeal or oat bran, popcorn, fresh unsweetened fruit, raisins, starchy vegetables (corn, peas, lima beans, sweet potatoes, baked white potatoes with skin), dried peas and beans (chick peas, pinto beans, white beans, lentils)

"Green Light" carbohydrates

Go ahead. Don't hesitate. Eat and enjoy. Take second helpings. Fill up half your plate with a variety of these.

Very nutritious foods, rich in fiber and low in calories.
Examples: Dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, green beans, lettuces, parsley, kale, collards, celery, zucchini, eggplant, cucumber, cauliflower, green and red peppers, carrots Note: This list is not comprehensive. Other foods could be included as examples. Source: Harvard Heart Letter, Volume 8, Number 4, December 1997, PP. 1-3


Autumn Roasted Vegetables    

3 carrots
9 small mushrooms
1 medium sweet potato
2 cups Brussels sprouts
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Toss the vegetables with the oil, thyme or other seasoning of choice, salt, and pepper. Place the vegetable mixture in a roasting pan. Pour the broth into the bottom of the pan.

Roast the vegetables at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring and turning carefully every 10 - 15 minutes. Serve hot.

  Bean Burritos  

8 flour tortillas
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, canned
1 (4 oz.) can green chiles
1 cup salsa
1 cup fat-free cheddar cheese

Heat tortillas according to package directions. Mash beans and chiles together to desired consistency (use a mixer, food processor, or hand held potato masher). Spread 1/2 cup salsa in 9 inch square baking dish. Divide bean mixture among all the tortillas, filling centers of each. Sprinkle with a little cheese and 1 to 2 teaspoons salsa. Roll tortillas (leaving ends open) and place in pan. Top with remaining cheese and salsa. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

For extra-quick burritos: Add 1/4 cup salsa to bean and green chiles mixture. Heat through. divide bean mixture between warmed tortillas and top each with cheese. Fold bottom 1/3 to tortilla over filling; fold sides towards center, leaving top open. Serve with remaining salsa.

    Bulgur Florentine

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup bulgur
1 cup mushrooms
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup fat-free Parmesan cheese

Saute garlic and mushrooms in olive oil for 2 minutes.

Add bulgur and continue to cook for 5 minutes or until the bulgur is roasted evenly.

Add chicken broth and spinach, stirring until blended. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Chunky Chicken and Black Bean Chili    

3 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup salsa
1/3 cup beer
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, canned
1/4 cup lowfat cheddar cheese

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl, toss to coat

Spray large skillet with cooking oil spread. Add onion, saute for 5 minutes. Add chicken, pepper and garlic, saute for 3 minutes. Add beer, salsa, and tomatoes; cook 5 minutes. Stir in beans; cook 5 minutes or until chicken is done.

Ladle into 4 bowls; sprinkle with cheese.

  Crunchy Salsa Chicken  

1 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon water
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1 cup salsa

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray casserole dish with no-stick cooking spray

In shallow dish or plastic Ziploc bag, combine wheat germ, spices and salt.

In second shallow dish, beat egg whites and water until frothy. Dip chicken into egg white mixture and then into wheat germ mixture. Coat pieces thoroughly with dry mixture.

Arrange chicken pieces in casserole dish. Spray tops lightly with vegetable cooking spray.

Bake 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.

Serve with salsa.


2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 cups salsa
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup green peppers
1 cup black beans, cooked
1 cup zucchini slices
1 cup spinach
4 flour tortillas

Slice chicken in 1/2 inch strips or pieces. In small mixing bowl, stir together chicken, salsa, cumin and garlic.

Spray large skillet with cooking spray. Add chicken mixture and stir fry for 5 minutes or until center of chicken is no longer pink. Add mushrooms, green peppers, black beans, and zucchini, if desired. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach and cook 1 minute or until spinach slightly wilts. Serve in warm tortilla shells.

Fruity Chicken Rice Pilaf    

2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup onion
1 box (6 1/4 oz) brown and wild rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup apricot, dried
1 tablespoon slivered almonds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Cook rice according to package directions.

Spray a 3 qt. saucepan with cooking spray. Cook chicken and onion in saucepan about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink. Stir in prepared rice, dried fruit, almonds and nutmeg or cinnamon. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

  High Fiber Muffins  

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 cup skim milk
6 tablespoons applesauce, unsweetened

Mix first 4 ingredients together in a medium bowl. Mix last 3 ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Add liquid ingredients to dry and mix with as few strokes as possible to combine ingredients. Line muffin pan with paper liners. Fill liners three-fourths of the way full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until done.

Yield: 1 dozen

Oatmeal Cookies    

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup oats
1/4 cup flax seed
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 egg whites
1/3 cup Karo syrup
1 cup carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with vegetable oil spray.

In large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Stir in egg whites and corn syrup. Add carrots, raisins or apricots and vanilla. Stir until well blended.

Drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.

  Sesame Chicken and Snow Peas in Apricot Sauce  

2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 cloves garlic
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/3 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apricot spreadable fruit
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger
1/2 pound snow peas

Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and saute until browned and no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sesame seeds and saute, stirring frequently, until browned, about 2 minutes.

Add the apricots, water, apricot spreadable fruit, soy sauce, mustard, and ginger and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the snow peas and simmer until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes more.

    Seven Layer Bean Dip

2 (14 oz.) cans fat-free refried beans
1 package taco seasoning mix
2 cups tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup black olives
8 ounces fat-free cheddar cheese

In oblong casserole dish, spread refried beans as first layer.

Combine sour cream, mayonnaise and taco mix; spread over first layer. Next layer onions, follow with tomatoes, then black olives, and top with cheese. Chill 1-2 hours.

  Stuffed Baked Apples  

4 Granny Smith apples
1/3 cup raisins
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon mace
1/3 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons honey

Peel top 1/3 of each apple. Place in a 9 inch baking dish

Combine raisins, cinnamon and mace or cloves. Stuff 2 tablespoons of mixture into center of cored apple.

Combine apple juice, water, lemon juice and honey. Pour over apples in baking dish.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until apples are tender. Baste occasionally with liquids from bottom of dish while baking.