Hottest Healthy Recipes Blog: Meet Jeanette Chen

Today, I’m talking to Jeanette Chen. I absolutely love her blog called, Jeanette’s Healthy Living.  That said, I’m excited Jeanette is joining Healthy Within Network (HWN) as our resident food expert.  Her blog is my pick for the Hottest Healthy Recipes Blog.
Be sure to check it out for simple, yet amazing recipes that appeal to all your senses.  If you stock your pantry with the right healthy foods, you can whip them together in a jiffy.

Here’s a little background on how she got started:

Prior to becoming a Healthy Living Blogger, Jeanette worked in corporate finance at GE for 15 years.  But after having children, she found herself not only caring for her kids, but her husband’s ailing parents. That’s when she switched from the Board Room at the office to the cutting board in the kitchen.

While caretaking family members, she noticed what a huge role nutrition plays on how they felt each day. So, she began testing different healthy dishes and loved creating ones that were nutritious.

People began raving about her healthy recipes telling her she should blog, so she gave it a whirl.

Like me, she was a reluctant blogger. Four years ago, Stephen Meade told me to start blogging. I looked at him like he told me to extract a tooth. He said I was the Arianna Huffington of Health. I replied, Yeah OK.  I can’t do anything unless I feel it. Like a calling.  Finally, six months ago, I felt the inner calling and never looked back.

And Jeanette just won the award for TOP FOODIE MOM 2012.


My husband, Michael, who is my college sweetheart that I’ve been married to for 25 years, encouraged me to start my blog. The inspiration behind Jeanette’s Healthy Living have been all the people I have been cooking for over the years, including friends with cancer, my father-in-law who had Parkinson’s disease and lived with our family for 8 years, and my youngest son who has food allergies. While I’ve always loved cooking, out of these experiences I developed a passion for cooking that is health-focused while never compromising on the need to be full of flavor.

My blog includes not only healthy recipes, but also stories about how I’ve gotten my kids to try new foods, some of the challenges I faced when we first discovered my youngest son had food allergies, and my experience cooking for friends with cancer. My goal is to inspire people to eat healthier by realizing that eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on flavor, with the hope of helping to prevent illness and disease. My blog has lots of healthy family friendly recipes, allergy-free recipes (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free), and recipes I’ve made for friends with cancer.

Creating a healthy pantry can be daunting at first, so you can either do it little by little, or in one fell swoop. Here are a few tips:
  • Get rid of white flour and substitute white whole wheat flour which is milder in flavor than regular whole wheat flour (start off with 50% white flour and 50% white whole wheat flour in recipes, and eventually use 100% white whole wheat flour).
  • Get rid of processed foods (cookies, crackers, cereals, soda, artificially flavored fruit drinks).
  • Buy whole grain pastas (start with pasta made with 51% whole grain and eventually transition to 100% whole grain pasta) instead of regular pasta. Gluten-free options include corn pasta, quinoa pasta and brown rice pasta.
  • Buy more whole grains (a variety of brown rice, steel cut oats, rolled oats, barley, farro, quinoa, wild rice, wheat berries).
  • Buy more fruits (great in smoothies) and vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, napa cabbage, kale, spinach) to your daily diet; buy organic whenever possible to minimize pesticide exposure. Stir-frying and roasting are easy, healthy ways to prepare vegetables.
  • Buy heart-healthy nuts to snack on (walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans).
  • Add more beans to your pantry and make a meatless meal or substitute half of the meat with beans in a recipe.
  • Bump up the flavor in foods with aromatics (onion, garlic, ginger, carrots, celery), spices (my favorites include cinnamon, cumin, oregano, thyme, turmeric, chili powder, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, curry powder, herbes de provence) and herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, cilantro).
  • Buy heart healthy oils (I use olive oil) and use in place of butter when cooking.
  • Stock up on basic Asian stir-fry pantry items such as soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine. Stir-frying is a great way to make a one-dish meal with vegetables and less meat.
  • Buy hormone-free, antibiotic-free meat and seafood whenever possible.
  • Read ingredient labels; a rule of thumb I follow is that there should be a minimal number of ingredients, and everything on the label should be recognizable.
  • Avoid foods with high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial flavors, natural flavors (these still contain a lot of chemicals), hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, wheat flour (this is the same as white flour; look for whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour).
  • Also, ingredients are listed in order of dominance, so if sugar is listed first, that is the most predominant ingredient.
She gets our thumbs up for being a Top Foodie Mom.  If you are looking for easy healthy recipes while you or your kids are poolside or at the beach, be sure to check in.
Be Sure to Follow Jeanette Chen’s incredible award-winning Blog:
Also, Check out Jeanette’s son, Alex as he shows you how to make a healthy popsicle that is also a good treat for chemotherapy patients:

The family that cooks healthy together stays healthy together!! 

13 Hot & Healthy Chinese, Japanese & Thai Choices

1.  Brown rice

2.  Summer rolls

3.  Soybeans steamed in water (rather than oil)

4.  Lobster sauce

5.  Shrimp Lo Mein

6.  Broccoli (stir-fry veggies, light on oil)

7.  Snow peas

8.  Peppers

9.  Steamed veggie dumplings

10.  Soft or Plain tofu (not deep fried)

11.  Request a sprinkling of chopped peanuts, almonds or cashews inside or outside your sushi roll

12.  Request crispy salmon skin in your sushi roll

13.  One Chinese or Thai dish can serve 3 people, so split your dishes

14.  Steamed vegetables

Green tea is a good choice too.

HEALTH.COM “Lean to Go”  

Be sure to check out the full article here:,,20579042,00.html


Enjoy!  Stay healthy. ~Maria

Health Benefits of Sushi


SushiSushi Nutrition Facts – Health Benefits of Sushi

English: Western Sushi found at Wegmans Superm...
Image via Wikipedia

For a person with normal health, sushi has many health benefits. All dishes (excluding eel, and some fusion style sushi) are low in saturated fat and high in protein. There may be a slight load in carbohydrates in thick sushi rolls, but it is negligible for nigiri sushi since they are small in amount.

High content of fish oil is the main health factor which promotes a healthy cardiovascular system. The hikarimono, or shiny fishes (mackerel, Spanish mackerel, sardine, Pacific Saury) contain the highest amounts of EPA and DHA omega3 fats. (Ironically they are the least expensive fishes). These fishes are also high in vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant.

Nori contains a great source of minerals found in the ocean and vinegar acts as an important factor in promoting cell metabolism. People who use vinegar frequently (to dress salads, blend with soy sauce, or drink in small amounts (please refer to rice vinegar in choosing the best ingredients) have lower percentages of body fat.

Unfortunately, people with type I or II diabetes should stay away from sushi, and stick to sashimi. Individuals with high blood pressure must limit their use of soy sauce (see: how to eat sushi).


Sushi bento, with the sashimi on the top.
Image via Wikipedia









Many types of sushi ready to eat.
Image via Wikipedia

Here’s a breakdown from Men’s Health on the healthiest and unhealthiest sushi options:

Healthy Sushi

Brown rice
Brown rice is increasingly becoming an option on sushi menus. This deviation from traditional sushi comes with health benefits: Brown rice maintains many of the nutrients lost while processing white rice (iron, vitamins B1 and B3, and magnesium). The bran layer of brown rice grain contains the fiber that lowers cholesterol and helps in keeping you regular. The fact that brown rice takes longer to break down in the body means it has a lower glycemic index, so it stabilizes and maintains blood glucose levels instead of causing rapid spikes.


The brown rice in sushi will still be wrapped in nori, the black layer that keeps sushi rolls together. Nori is dried seaweed and contains a dictionary’s worth of health benefits: It’s high in many vitamins and minerals including iodine; zinc; calcium; vitamins A, E, C, and K; fiber; and protein.

For those who like spice, wasabi is a healthy sushi condiment. This hot green paste is Japanese horseradish and is usually served alongside sashimi. It is a smart pairing because wasabi may help protect you from food poisoning due to its antimicrobial properties. It may prevent platelets from forming blood clots, asthma and cavities, but contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t “clear the sinuses.”

A healthy sushi ingredient that does relieve sinus congestion is ginger. Served in a pickled form, it’s used to cleanse the palate after each piece of sushi. Ginger contains the compounds gingerols and shogaols. These oils stimulate digestive juices and neutralize stomach acids, which is definitely a plus when you ingest raw fish. Maybe you’ve had to fetch a ginger ale for your partner suffering from morning sickness, and that’s because Japanese researchers have found that ginger may be responsible for blocking the body’s reflex to vomit. Ginger can also lower cholesterol levels and limit blood clots in the same way aspirin works in the body.

Of all the raw fish you could eat, mackerel sashimi is a healthy sushi choice. Mackerel is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. The small size of the fish means it’s low in mercury. It is also a high-protein fish; there are 25 grams of protein in a 4-ounce serving, and only 160 calories. This healthy sushi choice also contains selenium, which works along with omega-3s to neutralize free radicals.

Unhealthy Sushi

Bluefin tuna
Deep red bluefin tuna is a popular sushi ingredient, but unfortunately it’s one of the unhealthiest fish to eat, raw or otherwise. It has among the highest mercury contents, not to mention chemical PCBs. Eating bluefin tuna is also bad for the environment: Due to overfishing, bluefin is now being replaced on many sushi menus with more common (and inexpensive) yellowfin or albacore tuna.

Tobiko sushi
Tobiko sushi is made full of eggs — fish roe and quail eggs. Those quail eggs, however, are an unhealthy sushi choice. Similar to chicken eggs, quail eggs are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. There is also the risk of salmonella poisoning since the eggs are eaten raw. There is folate in quail eggs, but that won’t do you any good if you get sick.

Lovers of deep-fried goodies live by the motto, “if it aint fried, it aint food.” Tempura is the usual sushi menu choice for those averse to raw fish. Both seafood and veggies can be served with tempura, meaning deep-fried in tempura batter. The batter consists of water, flour and eggs. Frying anything raises the total calorie and total fat content.

Soy sauce
Soy sauce is a high-sodium condiment served with sushi, making it an unhealthy sushi ingredient. Anyone with high blood pressure or following a low-sodium diet should not eat soy sauce. Despite the fact that it’s made from soy beans, the sauce does not contain soy isoflavones and has negligible amounts of vitamins and minerals, except sodium (Na+). One tablespoon of soy sauce has 1,006 milligrams of sodium — nearly half the recommended daily value.

sushi sensibility

The next time you head out for sushi, don’t assume you’re doing your body a favor. Although Japanese cuisine is among the healthiest in the world, Western preferences have added all sorts of unhealthy elements to sushi (cream cheese, anyone?), and some of sushi’s most innocent-seeming ingredients, like tuna, can take their toll on you if ingested in large quantities. Remember that the more veggies in your sushi, the better off you’ll be, and when in doubt, order the mackerel, and load up on the wasabi.


Registered dietitian Zannat Reza says sushi, like any meal, can be healthy if you choose wisely. Here are some of her Sushi eating tips:

• Many rolls are low in protein, which may bring on hunger pains two hours after eating. Reza suggests augmenting your sushi roll with a small, plain latte or a small yogurt.

• Look for sushi made with minimal ingredients and be wary of the rolls with the yummy extras, such as mayonnaise, barbecue sauce and tempura. These, of course, add extra fat and sodium to the meal.Women who are pregnant and who are breastfeeding and young children should avoid fish high in mercury, including tuna, king mackerel and orange roughy.

• Like all takeout food, sushi can sometimes be high in sodium. Reza points out that even the otherwise healthy brown rice California roll has 750 mg of sodium, about half of what your body needs in a day.

• Soy sauce is laced with sodium. One tablespoon contains about 1,000 mg of sodium, so Reza suggests going light on the soy or skipping it all together.Verdict: Sushi can be a diet delight or a diet disaster — depending on what you pick.

Brown rice California roll

This is the classic Cali roll — that’s imitation crab, rolled with avocado and cucumber and sprinkled with sesame seeds — made with nutty brown rice.  SERVING SIZE 9 pieces CALORIES 310 FAT 6 grams SODIUM 740 mg PROTEIN 7 grams CARBOHYDRATES 58 grams (4 grams fibre)

Verdict: Reza likes this roll’s calorie content and its dose of heart healthy avocado and fibre-rich, whole grain brown rice.

The veggie version — carrots replace the ‘crab’ — also gets two thumbs up. The roll contains similar amounts of calories, fat, protein and fibre, but has 240 mg less sodium. Multi-grain salmon avocado rollPink pieces of salmon and wedges of avocado rolled in nori and multi-grain rice.  SERVING SIZE 9 pieces CALORIES 330FAT 7 grams SODIUM 520 mg PROTEIN 15 grams CARBOHYDRATES 51 grams (7 grams fibre) 

Verdict: This is superhealthy sushi. Reza notes the 15 grams of hunger-busting protein is higher than most other rolls, while the 520 mg sodium is lower than many rolls. The avocado and salmon also make it a heart health booster, while the addition of multi-grain rice — and with seven different kinds of grain, including rye berries, purple barley and black japonica rice, it is truly multi-grain — adds an impressive 7 grams of fibre.

Volcano roll.  For those unfamiliar, this is a roll of cucumber, avocado and cream cheese topped with, among other things, spicy tuna, panko and two kinds of mayo. SERVING SIZE 5 piecesCALORIES 560FAT 29 gramsSODIUM 810 mgPROTEIN 16 grams CARBOHYDRATES 60 grams (3 grams fibre)

Verdict: This is sushi at its most decadent. Five bites of food contain one quarter of your daily calories, half the sodium your body needs in a day and more fat than two large chocolate sundaes from Dairy Queen. Yikes.

Chicken udon soup Pieces of chicken and thick udon noodles float in a savory broth with baby bok choy, broccoli, carrot and seaweed. SERVING SIZE 1 bowl, about 200 grams CALORIES 250FAT 1 gramSODIUM 5,970 mgPROTEIN 14 gramsCARBOHYDRATES 15 grams (1 gram fibre)

Verdict: By looking at the ingredient list, the soup’s minimal calories and fat and its 14 grams of belly filling protein, you would probably guess this is a comforting and healthy meal. Unfortunately, the 5,970 mg of sodium quickly renders this meal a dietary danger. The salt-soaked soup — the equivalent of 150 shakes with the salt shaker! — has four times more sodium than your body needs in a day.


Men/Women Calories: 2,500/2,000 Fat: 60 to 105 grams/45 to 75 grams Sodium: 1,500 to 2,300 mg Carbohydrates: 281-325 grams

(Souce: The Dish, Megan Ogilvie)


Sushi Deluxe at Sushi Ten
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