Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hunt's Canned Tomatoes are Good for You - I Hate When My Mother Is Right

I am a picky eater. Way, super, drove my mother crazy, picky.

An article published in the March/April 2011 American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine titled “Tomato Consumption and Health: Emerging Benefits,” demonstrates the significant nutritional advantages of increasing tomato consumption. Emerging research underscores the relationship between consuming tomatoes and tomato products with reduced risk of certain cancers, heart disease, ultraviolet light-induced skin damage, osteoporosis, and other conditions.

Don't get me wrong. I like tomatoes. Raw ones, tomato sauce, tomato soup, whatever. Just not cooked tomato chunks. Icky. My mom always said they were better for me than the raw kind. I didn't believe her. According to this article, my mother was right.

Did you know tomatoes are good for your heart? (It’s easy to remember because they’re red.) They are low in calories, but rich in nutrients like potassium, fiber and the POWERFUL antioxidant called lycopene.

Apparently, the lycopene in canned tomatoes, like Hunt’s, is easier for your body to use than from raw tomatoes, and you get seven times more lycopene from canned tomatoes than from the raw version.

A few fun facts about Hunt's tomatoes:
- All of Hunt’s tomatoes are grown in California and are 100 percent natural.

- Hunt’s tomatoes come in lots of varieties, including No Salt Added.

- Tomatoes are a superfood!

In fact, because tomatoes are so nutritious, the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans say people should try to eat one more serving of them each day. Don't believe me? Read this.

So, in my attempt to eat better (down 35 pounds and still have a few more to shed) I altered one of my mom's age old recipes to make it even better for me using Hunt's tomatoes and my handy little mini chopper. (I'm still not eating chunks, no matter how good they are for me.)

Mom's Super Healthy Spaghetti

Cook 1 pound of the leanest hamburger you can get with 1/4 cup chopped onions. If you prefer ground turkey, that would probably work as well.

Drain the fat. (I blot mine to make sure it's all gone.)

Add 1 can of Hunt's no salt added canned tomatoes (mine are blended in my mini chopper) and tomato sauce. Liquid should equal 40-48 oz depending on how many people you are feeding and how saucy you like your pasta. If you prefer to add an additional can of non blended tomatoes, feel free.

Toss in 2 bay leaves, salt and pepper, garlic powder or salt (skip the regular salt if you use garlic salt), Italian seasoning, and oregano. I like to add a little chili powder, but I'll leave that up to you.

Mix and simmer.

Cook 1 pound of spaghetti (I like to use a whole grain or whole wheat) as directed.

Drain, stir in meat sauce and serve immediately.

Super delish and sure to please your picky eaters.

Who would you dedicate a heart healthy recipe to? Come up with something of your own or be like me and change up a fave recipe to make it a little more healthy for those that you love.

**I was compensated by Hunt's, but all opinions and the recipe are my own**