Did you know April is National Alcohol Awareness Month? While there are several noted health benefits associated with moderate alcohol consumption, in particular with cardiovascular health, many Americans are unaware of what “moderate” intake refers to. Here are the official guidelines:
The definition of “1 drink” depends on the type of drink. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a standard drink is one that contains 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. One recommended serving is as follows:
- 12 oz beer/wine cooler (keep in mind specialty beers with a higher alcohol content will have a smaller serving size)
- 8 oz malt liquor
- 5 oz table wine
- 1.5 oz of 80-proof distilled spirits, such as gin/vodka/whiskey
Keep in mind also that the recommendations on alcohol intake differ between men and women. For men the guideline is up to 2 drinks per day & for women the guideline is up to 1 drink per day. Anything more than moderate drinking can be harmful to your health, including an increased risk for high blood pressure, liver disease and certain type of cancer. Check with your doctor to make sure drinking alcohol does not interfere with any medications or current health problems you may have.
And what about alcohol content and cooking? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, if the food is uncooked, the alcohol content will remain the same. If the alcohol is added to boiling liquid at the end of cooking, ~85% of the alcohol may remain. For braised foods (foods cooked covered in liquid at temps below boiling in a covered pot) only ~5% of the alcohol remains after 2.5 hours of cooking. A flambé (flamed) dish may retain ~75% of its alcohol content.
For more information and a toolkit sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., click here. Remember to make healthy and safe choices if you choose to drink alcohol, and do so in moderation!
Kristine Van Workum, RD, CSSD, LDN
LifeShape Registered Dietitian & Owner of Brevard Nutrition (www.brevardnutrition.com)
April 2014 Recipe: Taco Pizzas - * Great for celebrating Cinco de Mayo! *
⁃ 8 small corn tortillas (6 inches in diameter)
⁃ 2 tablespoons canola oil
⁃ 4 scallions
⁃ 3 cloves garlic
⁃ 1 tablespoon chili powder
⁃ ½ teaspoon ground cumin
⁃ ½ teaspoon dried oregano
⁃ ½ teaspoon salt
⁃ ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⁃ ¾ pound lean ground turkey
⁃ 1 ear fresh corn or 2/3 cup corn kernels
⁃ ½ cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
⁃ 1 cup canned low-sodium pinto beans
⁃ ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
⁃ 3 ounces pepper Jack cheese (3/4 cup grated)
⁃ ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
⁃ Preheat the oven to 425F
⁃ Brush the tortillas on both sides lightly with 1 tablespoon total of the oil. Place them on 2 baking sheets and bake until crisp, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven, leaving the tortillas on the trays.
⁃ Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Thinly slice the scallions, keeping the dark greens separate, and mince the garlic. Add the scallion whites and light green parts to the skillet and cook until translucent, 2 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute more.
⁃ Place half of the scallion-spice mixture in the bowl of a small food processor and set aside. Add the turkey to the remaining scallion-spice mixture in the skillet and cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon, until it is cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, if using an ear of corn, cut the kernels off. Add the corn kernels and tomato sauce to the skillet with the browned turkey and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes.
⁃ Drain and rinse the pinto beans and add them, along with the chicken broth, to the food processor. Pulse until smooth, scraping the sides once or twice if necessary. Grate the cheese.
⁃ Spread 2 tablespoons of the bean mixture on each tortilla and top with about ¼ cup of the turkey mixture. Sprinkle a heaping tablespoon of cheese on top and bake until the bean puree is warmed through and the cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the scallion greens. Cut each pizza into quarters with a sharp knife or pizza cutter and serve each with a dollop of the sour cream.
Makes 4 servings; Per serving (2 pizzas): 510 calories; 22 g total fat (7 g sat fat); 65 mg cholesterol; 47 g carbohydrates; 36 g protein; 8 g fiber; 540 mg sodium