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Snacks Might Just Be the Next Hot Menu Item

Snacks Might Just Be the Next Hot Menu Item

Next year, expect snacks on snacks on snacks

On their list of top trends to watch for in 2013, the National Restaurant Association listed "half-portions/smaller portions for a smaller price." Which basically translates to: snacks.

TIME has compiled all these predictions saying the exact same thing about snacks: they're next. Restaurant consultants Baum & Whiteman called it the "Snackification of America" in a trend report, saying plenty of smaller food options willl pop up at "fast-food chains, adding impulse revenue to between-meal shoulder hours." So those impulse cheesecake pops from Starbucks when you're having a bad day? All part of their plan.

Meanwhile, Andrew Freeman & Co. says smaller menu items will be big (read: snacks) like toasties (bits of toast with delicious toppings like prosciutto), or "one-bite wonders."

The snack trend may have evolved from the increase in bar food, which has become a staple at any classy booze establishment. So expect to see more sliders at fast-casual chains, and mac and cheese bites at your local bar.


7 Low-Carb Air Fryer Recipes for Meals, Snacks and Desserts

Just because you're watching your carb intake doesn't mean you can't enjoy delicious food. And your air fryer — which makes cooking easier and healthier — is the perfect tool for prepping low-carb dishes without sacrificing flavor.

From veggie frittatas to perfectly cooked fish, these seven meals, snacks and desserts all pack under 20 grams of carbs and are a breeze to make. Try these low-carb air fryer recipes next time you're in need of a quick, mess-free meal.

Need an Easy Way to Count Carbs? Track your daily nutrients by logging your meals on the MyPlate app. Download now to fine-tune your diet today!


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Starbucks might just be Harry Potter fans' new favorite fast food chain, thanks to its Butterbeer Frappuccino. This drink, which combines three pumps of toffee nut syrup and three pumps of caramel with a Crème Frappuccino base, is truly worthy of a wizard. If you've had a few too many Frappuccinos as of late, try balancing out your indulgences with these delicious detox water recipes.


'Super Shred Diet': Week 1 Menu, Grocery List and Bonus Recipes

It's the new year, and many people have resolved to eat better and lose weight.

Dr. Ian Smith, a diet expert, appeared on "Good Morning America" today to discuss Super Shred, the diet plan he details in his new book, "Super Shred: The Big Results Diet: 4 Weeks, 20 Pounds, Lose It Faster!"

Below is an excerpt from the book that gives the first full week of the diet plan plus the list of grocery items you'll need, as well as bonus recipes for blueberry swizzle and butternut squash and apple soup.

Excerpt: 'Super Shred'

Welcome to your first week of SUPER SHRED. This is going to be an exciting journey, but before you go any further, you must agree that during the next four weeks you will absolutely give your best effort to stick to the plan, minimize excuses, and keep pushing yourself even when you're discouraged or things seem difficult. The first week is critical, as it sets up your chances for success for the remaining three weeks. This is why it is called your Foundation week. You will build upon this week, and it's important to create your good habits now so they will carry you through the rest of the program.

You are asking a lot of your body as far as achieving great results in a short period of time, so you have to give this your best. The more work you put in, the better the results you will get out. Because time is limited, you really need to hit the ground running. Each day you stick to the program is one day you get closer to your goal. Each day you overeat, skip more than one meal, or eat food that's not on the daily menu is considered a slip, and it takes you backward, away from your goal. If you slip when you are less than halfway through the week (days 1 to 3), go back to the beginning of the week. If you slip on any of days 5 to 7, just go back one day and do it again. If you slip on day 4, do day 4 again. Minor slips, such as having one extra small snack or eating your meal 30 minutes later than scheduled, do not necessitate your starting over. No one is perfect and you're not expected to be. But at this point you will know if you had a major slip or just a minor slip. Not being honest about it only affects you and your results, so you are cheating no one but yourself and the results you will achieve by the end of the week.

The table below shows a sample schedule for timing your meals and snacks. Timing is essential, as it distributes your calories in a way that keeps your fat- burning metabolism maximized and keeps your insulin hormone levels as stable as possible. Erratic hormone levels can cause weight gain, so the meal spacing structured in this program seeks to avoid hormone spikes as much as possible. Please note that this is only a sample. All of us get up and go to sleep at different times, so you have to set your schedule accordingly. If you keep in mind that the meals are 3 to 4 hours apart and the snacks are 1½ hours after the meal that precedes it, then you will be fine.

Make sure you read all of the guidelines before beginning the plan, and since they are so short and convenient, feel free to circle back at any time during the week to check on things that you might have a question about. If your question still isn't answered, err on the side of caution by eating less or not eating a food that might not be allowed on the plan. Remember, we don't have a lot of time to lose this weight, so making good decisions is critical. It's okay to set the bar high, but it's not okay to make choices that are going to sabotage your chances of success. Regardless of what that number reads on the scale at the end of this week, if you gave it your best shot, that is the best you can do and that's the most you can ask of yourself. You still have three more weeks to produce results, so don't get upset and hang your head. We all lose weight at different speeds and in different places. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. Believe! Work really hard! Smile and have lots of fun, especially during the tough times!

SUPER SHRED Week 1 Grocery List

This is a list that takes into consideration the different combinations of food and beverage items offered to you this week. Because the program has a lot of flexibility and choices, no one list can be constructed for everyone. In the list below you will find food and beverage opportunities. You can make the choices that fit your preferences and purchase accordingly. Note that there are some items that you must have. You should be sure to buy them so that you will have them on hand when the program calls for them. If you are a vegetarian, you don't need to eat the meat meals. Make appropriate substitutions, but be mindful of calorie counts.

Must: 2 lemons

Must: 6 additional servings of fruit. This can be a combination of berries and other fruits.

Serving size: 1 piece of fruit = 1 serving ½ cup of berries = 1 serving

Must: 6 breakfast meals. Choose your combination from this list.

3 cups oatmeal (1 cup cooked = 1 meal)

1 cup Cream of Wheat (1 cup cooked = 1 meal)

4 cups sugar- free or low- sugar (under 5 grams) cereal: for example, Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs, Cheerios, Fiber One (1 cup = 1 meal)

2 pancakes, preferably whole- grain (size of a CD)

1 strip of bacon (turkey or pork)

1 low- fat or fat- free 6- ounce yogurt

1 grilled cheese sandwich made with 2 slices of regular cheese on 2 pieces of 100 percent whole-wheat or whole-grain bread

Must: 6 cups green tea or hibiscus tea.

Must: 32 additional drink options for the week. Water is not included you may have as much as you want. Choose your combinations from the list below. Then purchase your choices for the week.

7 twelve- ounce cans of diet soda

21 cups of low- fat, reduced-fat, or fat- free milk or unsweetened soy or almond milk

21 cups of unsweetened iced tea

Must: 4 large green garden salads, 1 small green garden salad

Optional: You will have other opportunities to have salads. Those opportunities are listed below. You should choose which of these you want, then purchase accordingly.

3 medium green garden salads

1 large green garden salad

1 small green garden salad with turkey sandwich

Must: 12 servings

Optional: 3 servings. You will have other vegetable opportunities. If you choose them, purchase accordingly.

Serving size: 1 serving is approximately the size of your fist for a tomato, 1 serving is a medium tomato.

Must: 4 servings. Choose from the list below. But note the maximum number of servings you may have for each option.

Optional: 1 serving

Serving size: 1 serving = 5 ounces, cooked, approximately the size of a deck and a half of playing cards.

• Your maximum number of servings for this week if you choose all of the optional servings is 5 servings. Make your choices from the list below, mixing them up. Remember, you must have at least 4 servings. For example, you can choose to have 3 pieces of lean beef, 1 piece of chicken, and 1 piece of fish. But you can't have 5 pieces of lean beef. You can have 3 total.

• Choose fourteen snacks for the entire week, such as nuts, popsicles, chocolate- covered strawberries, and other items listed in chapter 7. Remember, snacks are encouraged, but optional.

7 SHRED BARs or other snack items 150 calories or less

7 bags SHRED POP popcorn or other snack items 100 calories or less

SOUPS, SMOOTHIES, PROTEIN SHAKES

Must: 1 cup of soup

Must: 12 additional servings from the items listed below. Each item must be 200 calories or less, with no added sugar. Choose the combination that you desire and purchase accordingly.

9 cups of low- salt soup (less than 480 milligrams sodium)

• Throughout the week you will have the opportunity to have the meals listed below. Choose which of them you want, then purchase accordingly. You can choose all or none of them.

2 slices of small cheese pizza (no larger than 5 inches across the crust and 5 inches long)

1 serving of lasagna, with or without meat (4 inches × 3 inches × 1 inch)

1 veggie burger (3 inches in diameter, ½ inch thick)

• These are things you might want to have on hand during the week, so stock up on them.

1 dessert of 100 calories or less

Sugar packets (helps with portion control)

1 tablespoon of grated cheese

1 slice of cheese for turkey sandwich

SUPER SHRED Week 1 Guidelines

Weigh yourself in the morning the day you start the program and make sure you record it. You will weigh yourself only once a week, so even if you are tempted, stay off the scale. Your body naturally fluctuates a couple of pounds from day to day. Measuring yourself every day could give you an inaccurate weight and unnecessarily stress you and lead you to believe you're not succeeding. Your next weigh- in will be exactly a week from your initial weigh-in. Make sure you weigh yourself in the same manner each time: if you weighed in wearing certain clothes or no clothes at all, make sure you do the same the second time around and as close to the same time of the day. Make sure you use the same scale both times, as different scales can be off by several pounds, thus destroying the accuracy of your mea sure.

• Do not skip meals. Even if you're not hungry, just have something during the allotted time. You can always grab a piece of fruit or something small during your mealtime. Also, you don't have to eat all of the meal. You can eat just some of it. If you're not hungry, don't stuff yourself. Just eat a little. The key is to eat at regularly scheduled times so that your body grows accustomed to these eating times. Each week will change, so it's important to quickly adapt to the week that you're in and its related schedule. During the course of the week you should never go more than 4 hours without eating something. Your meals should be 3 to 4 hours apart. Your snacks should fall about 1½ hours after meals. If you miss a meal or snack, you can't save it and eat it later or combine them. Once that time has passed, move on and hit your next mark.

• All of your shakes and smoothies this week must be 200 calories or less. If you follow the recipes in the back of the book, they will fi t this description. If you buy them from a store, be sure of the calorie count. Also, be mindful of the serving sizes of the drinks. If the recipe makes more than one serving, be sure you drink only one at that time. If the store-bought product contains more than 1 serving, just drink the equivalent of 1 serving and refrigerate the rest for next time.

• Snacks are optional, but highly recommended. The SHRED BARs and SHRED POP popcorn are suggested for many of your snacks, as they are specifically made with all the nutritional guidelines in mind. However, you may have other snacks as long as they fall under the proper calorie count. There is plenty of diversity when it comes to snacks, so take advantage of it.

• Soups are an option, including store- bought soups. But make sure you look at the sodium content: no more than 480 milligrams per serving. Be mindful of the serving size. For the purpose of this plan, 1 serving is equivalent to 1 cup, whether you eat store- bought soup or make it fresh. You may have 1 saltine cracker with your soup.

• Consume 1 cup of water before every meal.

• You are allowed 2 cups of coffee each day, 1 cup at breakfast and the other whenever you like. Stay away from all those fancy coffee preparations- lattes, Frappuccinos, coffees that pile on the calories. A tablespoon of sugar and a little half- and- half or milk won't hurt, but don't go overboard. Keep your coffee clean.

• Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are allowed. Please be aware of added ingredients. Make sure they are either packed in water or labeled "no sugar added." The key is to have food in its most natural state with the least amount of processing. Make sure you check the sodium levels, as they can be quite high: try to keep the amount to 480 milligrams of salt for any serving of food.

• While fresh- squeezed juice is definitely preferred, you can drink store- bought juice. Just make sure it says "not from concentrate" and "no sugar added." If you're a diabetic or have trouble regulating your blood sugar, choose a different beverage option, such as water, milk, or tea.

• The program doesn't spell out alcohol choices in the beverage section, but you are allowed to have a total of 3 alcoholic drinks for the week: 2 mixed drinks or 3 light beers or 3 glasses of wine or a combination of these drinks. Note serving sizes: 1 beer = 12 fluid ounces 1 serving of wine = 5 fluid ounces (a little more than half a cup) a mixed drink has about 1½ fluid ounces of hard liquor. Also, you can't have them all in one day, so there's no saving them up for a big hit during the weekend. Liquid calories are stealthy and count just as much as food calories! And they definitely cause weight gain!

• You are allowed 1 diet soda per day if you desire. Regular soda is not recommended.

• Do not eat your last meal within 90 minutes of going to sleep. If because of circumstances you're eating late and know you're going right to bed, then consume half the meal.

• Spices are unlimited, so enjoy. Salt is not a spice. You are allowed to add no more than ½ teaspoon of salt to your food each day.

• If you are a vegetarian or diabetic or need to avoid certain foods owing to other medical conditions, it is completely acceptable to make substitutions. But make smart substitutions and be mindful of the portion sizes.

• Serving sizes: A 5- ounce serving of fish or meat, cooked, is typically the size of a deck and a half of playing cards. A serving of vegetables is typically the size of an adult's fist. A serving size of hot cereal is 1 cup of cooked cereal.

• You may have ½ pat of butter (about ½ teaspoon) with hot cereal.

• You may have 1 teaspoon of sugar (white or brown) with cereal, or ½ teaspoon of honey with hot cereal.

• If you must switch days or meals within a day for scheduling reasons, try to do so as infrequently as possible.

• If you need to rearrange your exercise regimen for scheduling reasons, it is permissible to do so.

SUPER SHRED WEEK 1, DAY 1

• 1 piece of fruit. Choose from the following, though you may choose others: pear, apple, ½ cup of raspberries or strawberries or blueberries or blackberries, banana, ½ cup sliced melon, ½ grapefruit, ½ cup of cherries.

• Choose one of the following:

1 cup of sugar- free cereal with low- fat, reduced- fat, or fat- free milk or unsweetened soy or almond milk

2 egg whites or 1 egg- white omelet with diced veggies prepared with cooking spray or a little oil or butter

Optional: 1 piece of 100 percent whole- grain or whole- wheat toast (½ pat butter or ½ teaspoon jelly)

Must: 1 cup of green tea or 1 cup of hibiscus tea (dash of sugar acceptable)

Must: 1 cup of water

Optional: 1 cup of fresh juice or 1 cup of coffee (no more than 1 packet of sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk or half- and- half)

• 1 SHRED BAR or 1 cup of grape tomatoes or 1 medium sliced red bell pepper with ¼ cup guacamole or another item 150 calories or less

• 1 SHRED POP popcorn or 2 medium kiwis or 1 cup of blueberries with 1 tablespoon of whipped cream or another item 100 calories or less

• Choose one of the following. Your choice must not exceed 200 calories no sugar added.

1 cup of soup (no potatoes, no heavy cream). Good choices are chicken noodle, vegetable, lentil, chickpea, split pea, black bean, tomato basil, minestrone. Always be careful of sodium content!

• Choose one of the following:

Unlimited plain water (flat or fizzy)

1 cup of unsweetened iced tea

1 cup of juice (not from concentrate)

12-ounce can of diet soda (no more than 1 per day)

1 cup of low- fat, reduced- fat, or fat- free milk or unsweetened soy or almond milk

• 1 large green garden salad (4 cups of greens). You may include a few olives, shredded carrots, and ½ sliced tomato or 5 grape tomatoes. Only 3 tablespoons of fat- free dressing, no bacon bits, no croutons.

• Choose one of the following. Try to choose a different beverage from the one you chose in meal 2.

Unlimited plain water (flat or fizzy)

1 cup of unsweetened iced tea

1 cup of juice (not from concentrate)

12-ounce can of diet soda (no more than 1 per day)

1 cup of low- fat, reduced- fat, or fat- free milk or unsweetened soy or almond milk

• 1 cup of water before eating

• Choose one of the following:

5-ounce piece of lean beef (grilled or broiled)

5-ounce piece of chicken (baked or grilled, not fried, no skin)

5-ounce piece of fish (baked or grilled, not fried)

5-ounce piece of turkey (not fried, no skin)

• Choose one of the following. Try to choose a different beverage from the ones you chose in meals 2 and 3.

Unlimited plain water (flat or fizzy)

1 cup of unsweetened iced tea

1 cup of juice (not from concentrate)

12- ounce can of diet soda (no more than 1 per day)

1 cup of low- fat, reduced- fat, or fat- free milk or unsweetened soy or almond milk

Amount of exercise today: minimum 40 minutes. If you want to do more, all the better! Work as hard as you can! The key is to avoid doing steady- state exercise such as walking on the treadmill at the same speed and same incline for a period of time. Instead, try to vary your speed, your incline, the distances you cover. The goal here is to do high- intensity interval training.

Option 1: Do the SHRED 27 Burn workout DVD.

Option 2: Choose two of the cardiovascular exercises below, for a total of 40 minutes of exercise.

Walking/running outside or on treadmill

Stationary or mobile bicycle

200 jump rope revolutions

20-minute treadmill intervals

Zumba or other cardio dance workout

From SUPER SHRED: The Big Results Diet, by Ian K. Smith, M.D. Copyright © 2013 by the author, reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Press, LLC.

BONUS RECIPES

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 red onion or other sweet onion, peeled and chopped
1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup cubed, peeled apple (Fuji or Gala)
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 cups low- sodium chicken stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup fat- free evaporated milk
Salt and pepper

In a large saucepan or pot, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the nutmeg on the apples and add to the saucepan. Stir constantly for 2 minutes. Add the squash, stock, and cumin, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until the squash is tender. Transfer to a food processor or blender, add the evaporated milk, and purée until smooth. Return to saucepan and let simmer on very low heat for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Total prep time: 25 minutes

Blueberry Swizzle

Ingredients

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
6 ounces fat- free plain or vanilla yogurt
½ cup apple juice (not from concentrate)
1 medium ripe banana, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons honey
8 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. This recipe makes multiple servings drink only one at this time.


Raspberries

Shutterstock

Raspberries may be small, but they're awful mighty—think of them as nature's magical weight loss pill. Packing more fiber and liquid than most other fruits, they boost feelings of satiety without doing any damage to your waistline. Eat them solo or throw them in Greek yogurt for creamy, more protein-rich healthy snacks.


Build Your Own

Delicious and made just for you. Choose your style and add your favorite toppings.

Bowl/Li'l Bowl
(122&ndash2122 cal)

Burrito/Li'l Burrito
(252&ndash2522 cal)

Taco
(52&ndash2302 cal)

Quesadilla
(612&ndash2507 cal)


Snacks for kids recipes

Try these kid-friendly snacks for lunchboxes or as an after school treat – we have healthy, delicious ideas for children of all ages.

Rainbow fruit skewers

These vitamin-packed fruit skewers are a simple, colourful and fun way to get kids to eat fruit. They'll love helping to make them too.

Pepper & walnut hummus with veggie dippers

Pack in the vegetables with this quick-to-make dip blitzed with sweet roasted red peppers and served with courgette, celery and carrot batons

Fruit & nut yogurt

An energy-boosting breakfast pot that makes a great alternative to cereal and will keep you full until lunch

Turkey & pepper pittas

Kids will love this tasty snack-supper, and we bet they'll never know it's superhealthy too

Instant frozen berry yogurt

Three ingredients and two minutes is all you need to whip up this low-fat, low-calorie yogurt, which is ideal for eating after exercise

Healthier flapjacks

A healthier version of traditional fruit and nut bars packed with seeds, oats and agave syrup – perfect for snacking and lunchboxes

Lemon & coriander hummus

Hummus is so easy to make and beats shop-bought varieties every time. Try it with vegetable crudités in your packed lunch

Mango & banana smoothie

Cool down this summer with a fresh and fruity smoothie

Peach Melba smoothie

Blend peaches, raspberries, orange juice and fresh custard into a fruity, creamy shake that's low in fat

Spiced apple crisps

Keep hunger pangs at bay by snacking on healthy dried fruit - this version bakes Granny Smiths with cinnamon

Sweet & spicy popcorn

Ready in under 10 minutes, this snack is great eaten warm or stored as a snack to stave off hunger between meals

Turkey & avocado toast

Layer up creamy avocado with protein-rich, low-fat turkey for a great energy-boosting healthy snack

Almond butter

If you think there's no spread quite like peanut butter, try this version, sweetened with honey, as an energy-boosting snack

Frozen fruit sticks with passion fruit & lime drizzle

On a hot day you'll be glad of this fruity, frozen snack that is low-fat and a great source of vitamin C – perfect for kids

Easy spring rolls

Make these simple spring rolls with the children – fill pastry parcels with chicken, prawns and veg and serve with a homemade dipping sauce

Apple crunch

A super simple vegetarian snack that's healthy, 1 of your 5-a-day and sure to beat hunger pangs

Banana, honey & hazelnut smoothie

A delicious, dairy-free smoothie that makes a satisfying snack or filling breakfast drink, made with soya milk, fruit, warming nutmeg and chopped nuts

Dried fruit energy nuggets

Give your energy levels a real boost with these nutritionally-balanced healthy fruit bites


18 Quick Vegan Snacks for When a Piece of Fruit Just Won’t Cut It

String cheese and crackers. Yogurt and fruit. Hard-boiled eggs. Jerky. While these healthy snack suggestions are great, most of them don’t account for those of us who don’t do the whole animal products thing.

But it’s far from slim pickings when it comes to vegan snacks. We’re here to dig you out of your hummus-and-carrots rut with vegan recipes that take less than 10 minutes to put together.

Because really, when that mid-morning crash, afternoon slump, or post-dinner pang hits, who wants to wait longer than that?

1. Tropical cashew no-bake snack bars

In just 10 minutes, you can satisfy your munchies and feel like you’re on a beachside vacation. Packed with coconut and dried pineapple on the inside, and topped with a lime-infused coconut icing, these are basically piña coladas on a plate.

2. Watermelon pizza

A more wholesome take on dessert pizza, this pretty pie replaces both the crust and the toppings with fruit and swaps out dairy in favor of coconut yogurt. Even if you do polish off the whole thing, you’ll still have room for dinner.

3. Panfried cinnamon bananas

Share on Pinterest Photo: Dizzy Busy and Hungry

A banana alone makes for a great energy spike, but why not jazz it up a bit, especially if it only takes 5 extra minutes?

Sprinkle your slices with cinnamon sugar (or use coconut sugar, if that’s what’s in your pantry) and skillet-cook them until gooey and warm. Snack time just became special AF.

4. Peanut butter jelly apple nachos

Whether you’re looking for a grain-free alternative to a PB&J sandwich or a sweet substitute for chips, these “nachos” hit the spot.

Apples provide a nice fiber base, while the peanut butter and jelly drizzle doesn’t even compare to the processed cheese-in-a-can.

5. Pumpkin cake pops

Yep, pumpkin is on this list because, little known fact, it’s actually considered a fruit! Who knew?

And before you dismiss cake pops as a dessert, not a snack, check out this recipe. Free of butter and made with grain-free coconut flour and pumpkin purée, these make for a healthy snacking option that lets you have your cake and eat it too.

6. Easy vegan pistachio granola

It may be granola, but this particular recipe is anything but basic. Not only does it need a fraction of the time in the oven than most granola recipes, but it opts for lesser-used pistachios instead of the usual almonds or walnuts for a pop of color.

7. Turmeric snack bites

Date and nut balls are staples in the healthy snacking world, but a decent pinch of turmeric makes these particularly helpful in the anti-inflammatory department. Kocaadam B, et al. (2017). Curcumin, an active component of turmeric (Curcuma longa), and its effects on health. DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2015.1077195

You won’t really notice it though because the big tablespoon of cocoa powder makes sure that all you taste is chocolate.

Pro tip: It’s not in this recipe, but it’s a good idea to add in a pinch of black pepper to the mix. The piperine in pepper increases the bioavailability of turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, by a heck of a lot — 20-fold, to be exact. Patil VM, et al. (2016). Quantum chemical and docking insights into bioavailability enhancement of curcumin by piperine in pepper. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpca.6b01434

Research shows that for every teaspoon of turmeric, you’ll want 1/10 teaspoon of pepper. Shoba G, et al. (1998). Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-957450 In this case, a pinch (or about 1/8 teaspoon) should be just fine.

8. Honey almond popcorn

Forget the butter-drenched buckets at the theater or the super-processed stuff at the fair. With a few tablespoons of sweetness (use maple syrup if honey isn’t in your diet) and light and tasty coconut oil, this sweet and sour batch is as delicious as kettle corn, but better for you.

9. Salted almond and honey snack bites

For an alternative to cookies, try these no-bake, oat based bites, where almonds and almond butter pack in healthy fats to make them highly satisfying.

Note that the dark chocolate drizzle on top adds a bit of time to the recipe, but as with most things chocolate, it’s totally worth it. Swap in maple syrup for the honey if you follow a strict vegan diet.

10. Healthy vegan chocolate chip cookie dough

Not only does this recipe require just 5 minutes to satisfy your cookie craving, it also uses one of our favorite legumes, chickpeas, instead of flour for a protein boost.

Just be sure to use dairy-free dark chocolate chips to make it vegan. Bonus: You don’t have to worry about salmonella since this cookie dough is egg-free.


60 Picnic Food Ideas You Need to Try

It's time to break out the picnic basket and the checkered blanket!

As the weather grows warmer and the days grow longer, there's often one goal in mind for those who have spent the cold winter months holed up at home: getting themselves (and if they have them, their children) outside. And given that most people have spent the better part of the past year in Covid-related lockdowns and quarantines, spending ample time outdoors feels more pertinent than ever before. And while there are a number of summer activities one can do to get outside and get their body moving, from a simple walk outside to attending summer camp, there's arguably nothing better than enjoying a warm-weather picnic.

Figuring out what to pack for a picnic isn't always easy, though. Thankfully, there are a slew of picnic menu ideas for couples and families to choose from. From picnic sandwich recipes to deliciously cold finger foods to easy-to-pack desserts, there's no end to the number of picnic food recipes to choose from. You can even pack some summer cocktails. Of course, some healthy salad recipes and organic wraps are also a great foods to take on a picnic.

Whatever you decide to pack in your picnic basket, you'll love these picnic food ideas.


10 Most Famous American Fast Foods

­It's a fast paced world we live in. Thanks to the Internet, information is available in an instant, stocks can be traded in real time with the click of a button and you can buy just about anything you can think of on the spot (with overnight delivery). Digital cameras render crystal clear photographs ready for viewing in a single second. Cell phones put us in touch with anyone we want nearly instantly. Americans simply don't like to wait. The same can be said for how we eat. Since the first fast-food chain, White Castle, opened in 1921, Americans have grown accustomed to getting the food we want in short order.

Fast-food has since spread, with more than 30,000 McDonald's restaurants alone located around the world. McDonald's is the undisputed king of fast-food, serving 52 million people a day in more than 100 countries [source: McDonald's]. That's a lot of Chicken McNuggets. In an article in Rolling Stone magazine in 1998, a survey of American schoolchildren revealed that 96 percent of them could identify Ronald McDonald -- only Santa Claus ranked higher at the time. The same article claimed that McDonald's famous "Golden Arches" had become more widely recognized around the world than the Christian cross [source: Schlosser].

Of course, all this fast-food has led to a problem -- obesity. In 2004, the National Center for Health published a study on obesity in the United States. Between 1962 and 2000, the percentage of obese Americans swelled from 13 percent to 31 percent [source: CDC]. It's probably no coincidence that fast-food restaurants saw tremendous growth as well. The National Bureau for Economic Research published a report in November 2008 that stated that childhood obesity could be cut by as much as 18 percent if fast-food ads were banned [source: Reuter's].

Obese or not, people love their fast-food favorites. That's why we're going to take a look at 10 of the biggest selling fast-food menu items in America on the following pages.

It may feel like a newer franchise, but Subway actually started out in 1965 as a means f­or co-founder Fred DeLuca to help pay for college. Since then, DeLuca has been able to pay for a lot more than tuition fees. In 2006, he was named by Forbes Magazine as number 242 on the list of richest Americans, with a net worth of about $1.5 billion [source: Forbes]. In 2008, Subway celebrated being in business for 43 years. The sandwich chain has grown from a single shop to more than 30,000 franchises in 88 countries around the world [source: Subway].

Subway stands alone as the largest sandwich chain in the world and operates more stores in the United States, Canada and Australia than McDonald's does. How does this kind of growth translate into sub sales? In the United States alone, Subway sells almost 2,800 sandwiches and salads every minute. The company's Web site also touts another interesting fact -- if all the sandwiches made by every Subway store in a year were placed end-to-end, they would wrap around the Earth at least six times. No word on how many millions of gallons of mayonnaise that means.

9: Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich

­Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy is probably best known for two things: He's credited with inventing the boneless chicken sandwich and his restaurant chain is closed on Sunday. It's unthinkable today to imagine a life without the chicken sandwich, but in 1946 it was all about the hamburger. It's also hard to believe that a corporation that has annual sales of more than $2 billion each year would close down one day a week. Cathy's dedication to his Christian faith has kept the Sabbath wide open for his employees since day one.

Originally a shopping-mall-only restaurant, Chick-fil-A expanded to freestanding stores in 1986 and now operates more than 1,300 franchises in 37 states. The menu has branched out somewhat over the years, adding salads, nuggets and wraps, but the restaurant's bread and butter (literally) is still the original chicken sandwich. Its beauty is in its simplicity -- a pressure-fried chicken breast with pickle slices on top, served between a buttered bun [source: Chick-fil-A].

­Pizza may be Italian in origin, but it has become a truly American food because of how popular it is in the United States. In 2007, the total pizza sales in America nearly hit $37 billion and as of July 2008, there were more than 75,000 pizza stores sliding pies into the oven. Independently operated pizzerias make up a slim majority of these totals. The chain Pizza Hut stands as the largest and most successful franchise with almost 14 percent of the total chain sales at a total of $5.1 billion in 2007 [source: Pmq.com].

­The original Pizza Hut was opened on campus at Wichita State University in 1958, but didn't become a franchise until the following year. The company now operates almost 15,000 units in the United States alone. The chain is known for its all-you-can-eat pizza and salad buffet and for putting some unusual spins on the classic pie -- crusts stuffed with cheese that you're supposed to eat backwards, "The Insider," which is kind of like a pizza sandwich and another concoction called "The P'Zone." Pizza Hut is the number one seller of pizzas in the United States.

­Fried chicken is known as a staple food of the Southern United States, but its appeal is clear all over the world. In 1930, in the throws of the Great Depression, a man named Harland Sanders opened a fried chicken restaurant in the front room of a gas station in Corbin, Ky. The Sanders' Court & Café would grow and expand as the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchise and become the most popular chicken restaurant on Earth.

­As of 2008, KFC operates more than 11,000 restaurants in more than 80 countries. Founder Colonel (honorary) Harlan Sanders first began selling his famous "Original Recipe" chicken with its 11 herbs and spices in 1940, and the iconic bucket came along about 17 years later. In 1969, KFC became a publicly traded company, and in 2006, the company sold more than one billion chicken dinners [source: KFC]. Even though KFC was doing well on its own, it joined YUM! Brands, Inc., in 2002 to become part of the largest restaurant group in the world. KFC's partner chains include Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, both listed on this top 10.

If small, square hamburgers are your thing, then you're probably a fan of either Krystal or White Castle. Both fast-food chains are known for the small hamburgers that customers gobble down several at a time. Since White Castle is the original, we'll give them the nod in this case. Walter Anderson and Billy Ingram partnered up in 1921 to create the first fast-food hamburger restaurant, selling their signature "Slyders" for five cents each. The restaurant's name matches the look -- each White Castle restaurant looks like a white castle.

In 1949, White Castle made a change that would end up being its legacy. It made five holes in each square patty and cooked the meat on top of a bed of diced onions. The burger never makes contact with the griddle and is cooked by the steaming onion. The holes allow for a faster, more even cook. The buns are placed on top of the meat to soak up extra flavor as well. Add a slice of dill pickle and you have an American institution -- the Slyder.

Even though White Castle only has 382 stores as of 2009, it sells 500,000,000 Slyders a year and has served 16 billion since 1949. It was the first to reach one million burgers sold and then the first to reach one billion [source: White Castle].

­Not many fast-food restaurant founders have been as visible as Wendy's Dave Thomas was. In a bold marketing move, Thomas became the face of the franchise on TV commercials in 1989, and continued doing so until he passed away in 2002. The first Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers restaurant was opened by Thomas and co-founder John Schuessler in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio. It was important for Dave from the beginning that Wendy's be a cut above its competitors in terms of food quality. If you look closely at the famous logo, you'll see the words "Quality is our Recipe" above the red-haired pigtails the company's mascot "Wendy" wears.

You won't find a heat lamp with a rack of burgers sitting beneath it at a Wendy's. Each "single" hamburger is made-to-order. The classic burger is a 4-ou­nce, square patty served on a bun with your choice of toppings -- lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion and whatever condiment you fancy. Wendy's ranks third on the burger chain list behind Burger King and McDonald's, with more than 6,500 locations worldwide. In 2006, Wendy's had total revenues of almost $2.5 billion and employed 57,000 people [source: Wendy's].

The chain is also famous for its chocolate version of the milkshake, the Frosty. It was one of the original five menu items and remains a top seller. Dave Thomas wanted to make a milkshake so thick you had to eat it with a spoon and he was pretty successful -- Wendy's sells about 300 million each year [source: Hentges].

4: Arby's Roast Beef Sandwich

­Each category of fast-food chain restaurant has its "best in show." There can be only one best selling sub sandwich, one best burger, one best taco. In the middle of the hamburger craze in 1964, Arby's found its niche in the land of roast beef. The Raffel brothers opened the first Arby's Roast Beef Restaurants in Boardman, Ohio. Beef was a big hit with the burger chains, so the Raffels decide that instead of grinding it up, they'd slow roast it and slice it thin. The name Arby's comes from spelling out the initials R.B. -- for Raffel brothers, not "roast beef."

Arby's operates more than 3,500 restaurants in the United States and Canada, and the chain's most popular sandwich is still the signature roast beef sandwich. The beef is sliced fresh for each sandwich and customers can top it themselves with the famous Arby's and Horsey sauces. In 2008, Arby's purchased Wendy's for $2.34 billion, forming the third largest fast-food company in the world.

­Just like Arby's cornered the roast beef market, Taco Bell has carved out a spot as the number one Mexican fast-food restaurant chain. If you've ever stopped and wondered just what the heck a "taco bell" is, you'll be glad to know that a man named Glen Bell started the franchise and named it after himself. He started the chain in 1962 in California at a time when Mexican food was pretty out of the ordinary in America. The first franchis­e opened in 1964 and now, the company boasts more than 5,800 restaurants in the United States, Canada, Guam, Aruba, Dominican Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Asia, Europe and the Philippines [source: Taco Bell].

­The popular chain serves about 2 billion customers a year and perhaps not coincidentally, also sells roughly 2 billion of its signature tacos. The franchise plows through 3.8 billion tortillas, 62 million pounds of pinto beans, 106 million pounds of cheese and 295 million pounds of ground beef a year [source: Taco Bell]. It made revenues of $6.8 billion in 2005, part of that coming from the million burritos it sells each year. Add in quesadillas, nachos and some signature spins on Mexican classics, like double-decker tacos (a soft flour tortilla wrapped around a hard shell corn tortilla taco) and odd items like the "Crunchwrap Supreme" and you've got a gut pleasing late-night drive-thru destination.

­Burger King isn't quite the king -- that distinction resides with McDonald's. But BK has a solid grip on the number two spot, with 11,200 franchises. You can find Burger King franchises in the United States and 69 other countries around the world. Burger loving entrepreneurs James McLamore and David Edgerton started BK in Miami, Fla., in 1954. The Whopper became their signature burger in 1957. One thing that distinguishes Burger King from its competitors is the fact that the burgers are flame broiled instead of cooked on a griddle. The idea was to give the meat that home-grilled taste.

­The Whopper is a one-quarter pound beef patty between a sesame seed bun with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup and sliced onion. Of course, it is Burger King, so you can always "have it your way." This is the advertising slogan from 1974 that the chain is still most well-known for. The BK Web site claims that there are actually 221,184 possible ways you can have it your way. Even though it's a distant second place to McDonald's, total sales of all the Burger Kings are still massive BK restaurants in 2007 surpassed the $13 billion mark [source: Burger King].

­There can be only one. One top dog, one that stands head and shoulders above the rest. One that transcends the mundaneness of a mere fast-food chain to become something else altogether -- the s­ymbol of a country, the face of an industry: McDonald's. If you're American, the name itself conjures up an embarrassingly high number of familiar images and memories.

The McDonald brothers started the franchise as a hot dog stand in 1937 and changed things up in 1948 by making the switch to burgers and fries made using a speedy and efficient assembly line system. Things took a fortuitous turn when the McDonald brothers met a milkshake machine salesman named Ray Kroc. Kroc was impressed with the operation and asked to be included as a franchise agent, splitting profits with the brothers for growing the chain. Kroc opened the first franchise in 1955 in Des Plaines, Ill., and the rest is fast-food history. He bought the brothers out for $2.7 million in 1961, and the franchise has grown to operate more than 31,000 stores in over 100 countries [source: McDonald's].

The Big Mac is the most popular fast-food item on Earth. The famous jingle from the 1975 TV commercial taught Americans the ingredients for the Big Mac -- two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onion on a sesame seed bun. In 2004, Mickey D's celebrated the fortieth birthday of the iconic burger. The company sells an astonishing 560 million Big Macs each year, even though they're only available in 13,700 of the franchises [source: Friedman]. People love the Big Mac, some so much that it's become almost an obsession. A man in Fond Du Lac, Wis., claimed he ate two Big Macs a day, every day since 1972. That makes 21,292 Big Macs as of August 2004. And, how many trips to the cardiologist?