Staples of health
Tips to stay on track during the holidays
By Kristin Kirkpatrick
THE FOODS that line the shelves of your pantry can be a major determinant of your ability
to maintain healthy eating habits. Stock your
shelves with junk food and your diet, and possibly your health, will suffer. Keeping nutrient-dense foods on hand instead gives you better
access and tools to have the best diet possible.
This is particularly important during these
holiday-treat-filled times of the year. Here are a
few of my pantry essentials.
Why? This pantry must-have adds
flavor without excessive calories and fat.
Purchasing tips: Look for broth that has
only a few ingredients and contains less than
250 mg of sodium.
Cooking ideas: Vegetable broth is great
for soups and stews, and cooking with broth
instead of oil saves fat and calories as well.
Sautéing vegetables or shellfish in broth
saves you both fat and calories, and cooking
rice or quinoa in broth can provide a huge
Why? This plant is nutrient rich; high in
protein, fiber, antioxidants, magnesium,
calcium and potassium; and low in calories.
Research indicates that seaweed consumption
may lower blood pressure and reduce risk of
Purchasing tips: Read the label before
purchasing to make sure the sodium level isn’t
Cooking ideas: Make homemade sushi,
add to stir-fry dishes or homemade soups,
eat alone as a snack or blend in a fruit
smoothie. You can also add seaweed strips to
a salad or mix in with brown rice for a flavor
and nutrient boost.
Why? One study found that consuming
nuts daily decreased the risk of early death,
even for individuals with chronic illnesses
such as heart disease and cancer. Bonus:
EPILEPSY IS A CHRONIC neurological
condition that affects the central nervous system. It is the fourth most common neurological condition, affecting
65 million people worldwide, according
to the Epilepsy Foundation.
Known as a seizure disorder,
epilepsy is usually diagnosed after a
person has had at least two seizures
that were not caused by some known
medical condition. The seizures in
epilepsy are caused by disturbances in
the brain’s electrical activity.
Epilepsy can affect anyone, anytime, anywhere:
• More than 2 million people in
the U.S. have epilepsy.
• 1 in 26 people will develop
epilepsy during their life.
• In 60 percent of cases the cause
• 150,000 new cases are diagnosed
• Epilepsy is more common in people of Hispanic background than in
• New cases are most common
among children in the first year of life.
• After age 55, new case rates
increase as seniors develop strokes,
brain tumors or Alzheimer’s disease—
all potential causes of epilepsy.
Epileptic seizures vary from person
• Some experience simple staring
• Some experience violent shaking
and loss of alertness.
• Mostly seizures will be similar to
• Some experience sensations—
called an aura—before each seizure,
Treatment for epilepsy ranges
from medication to lifestyle changes
to surgery in some cases. For more
information or to get involved to make
a difference in funding a cure for
epilepsy, visit the Epilepsy Foundation
for your health
The Costco Connection
Costco carries the items mentioned here,
as well as a wide variety of fresh and frozen
produce, organic foods and more to help
stock a healthy pantry.
Nut eaters in the study were also thinner
than non nut eaters!
Purchasing tips: Choose butters without
added sugar or partially hydrogenated oils.
Cooking ideas: Drizzle over popcorn or
apples for a flavor-infused snack. Outside the
nut butter world, almonds make high-quality
flour for those trying to avoid gluten.
Why? Legumes are king when it comes to
reducing your risk for heart disease and diabetes. They’re also low on the glycemic index,
making them a perfect food for individuals
watching their blood sugar.
Purchasing tips: Buy dried legumes and
soak them overnight. If that’s too labor intensive, buy low-sodium canned legumes and
rinse them in a colander before use.
Cooking ideas: Add to anything and
everything. Substitute legumes for rice (think
garlicky spinach over lentils for dinner) or
mash them into a delicious bean burger for a
healthy cookout alternative. Use them as a topping in tacos, or add to stews for extra fiber.
Canned Alaskan salmon
Why? Canned wild salmon gives you the
benefits of omega- 3 in an affordable form during the off-season for wild fish.
Purchasing tips: Look for labels that specify “wild Alaskan.” These fish are better for the
environment and never farmed.
Cooking ideas: Canned salmon is delicious in salads, omelets and casseroles. If you’re
feeling more adventurous, make wild salmon
cakes or salmon fried rice. C
Costco member Kristin Kirkpatrick is the
manager of wellness nutrition services at the
Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.
In our digital editions
Click here to see a video about
how common epilepsy is. (See
page 14 for details.)