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Special Report

Supplement to MAYO CLINIC HEALTH LETTER


JUNE 2011

Beyond meat and potatoes


The art of eating well
Much like a beautiful landscape or masterful painting, good food also can please your senses with the added benefit of nourishing your body. If you regularly enjoy a variety of colorful fruits, vegetables and whole grains, youve already taken an important step toward good health. And if you need to adopt healthier habits, start now and use this Special Report for fresh ideas to kick-start your meal planning. Soon youll be eating well and enjoying every bite.

The new omnivores


Healthy eating is all about letting fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy take over the starring role on your plate and giving meat a cameo now and then. If your meals usually feature meat as the main event, it may be time to change old habits. Studies show that a plant-based eating pattern is associated with lower incidence of obesity, reduced risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and a longer life. Red meats such as beef, pork and lamb typically have more saturated fat and cholesterol than do chicken, fish and plant proteins. On the other hand, plant proteins such as beans, split peas and lentils contain no cholesterol and only trace amounts of saturated fat, if any. Theyre also much easier on your wallet. You dont have to swear off meat altogether. However, because of the health risks associated with higher cholesterol and saturated fat, its best to limit your total meat intake to less than 6 ounces a day. One 3-ounce serving is about the size of a deck of cards. Stick with leaner cuts of beef such as round or loin and skinless chicken. Because omega-3 fatty acids from fish are heart healthy, substitute two fish meals a week in place of meat.

A healthy diet can energize you, keep your mind sharp and make you feel better inside and out. As you age, you need fewer calories, but enough of certain nutrients for your body to function at its best. Be sure to include enough of the foods that supply you with these nutrients, such as: Fiber Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes all parts of plant foods that your body cant digest or absorb. Fiber is commonly classified into two categories those that dont dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber). Unlike other food components such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates which your body breaks down and absorbs fiber isnt digested by your body. Therefore, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine, colon and out of your

A few necessary nutrients

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Umami The science of flavor
Your four basic taste receptors sweet, salty, bitter and sour have a recently discovered sibling. Often referred to as the fifth taste, umami has been described as meaty or savory, lending many dishes a subtle, pleasant savor and rounding out other flavors. You may not be thinking of amino acids and nucleotides when you bite into roasted tomatoes and Parmesan cheese, but both of these foods are rich in glutamate, the chief amino acid responsible for umami flavor. High levels of glutamate, as well as certain nucleotides, determine the intensity of umami flavor in your food. Fermented soybeans and roasted tomatoes are rich in umami, which may explain the popularity of soy sauce and ketchup. Many other foods are naturally umami-rich, such as mushrooms (especially shiitake), carrots, sweet potatoes, corn, green peas, green tea, sauerkraut, nuts, cheeses, eggs, seafood and meat. Try including a few umamirich foods in your menu while cutting down on the salt. Toss some fresh goat cheese or a few chopped almonds with your vegetables or salad, or add mushrooms to your soup pot. The richness of flavor and added texture may make up for the missing salt.

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body. It might seem like fiber doesnt do much, but it has several important roles in maintaining health. For example, fiber: Aids bowel function Fiber increases the weight and size of your stool, softening it and adding bulk. This makes stools easier to pass and may decrease your chances of constipation and developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Lowers blood cholesterol levels Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad, cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that increased fiber in the diet can reduce blood pressure and inflammation, which is also protective to heart health. Regulates blood sugar levels Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can slow the absorption of sugar, which for people with diabetes can help improve blood sugar levels. A diet that includes insoluble fiber has been associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Helps you lose weight High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when youre no longer hungry, so youre less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less energy dense, which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food. The recommended amount of fiber in a healthy diet is about 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed. Easy ways to increase fiber are to include whole grains, fruits and vegetables at every meal. Potassium Coupled with decreasing your sodium, increasing your potassium intake may reduce your risk of high blood pressure. Other possible benefits include a reduced risk of developing kidney stones and decreased bone loss. Older adults should aim for 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium daily from such sources as sweet or white potatoes, greens, dried beans, fish, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and tomato products. If you have kidney disease or take medications, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or certain diuretics, discuss your potassium intake with your doctor. Good fats Yes, there is such a thing as a good fat. Fat provides energy and helps your body absorb vitamins. Heart-healthy unsaturated fats can be found in natural oils such as olive, safflower, canola and flaxseed as well as avocados, walnuts and almonds. Fatty fish, such as salmon or trout, supply omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids reduce your risk of abnormal heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmias), decrease triglyceride levels and slow the growth rate of artery-clogging plaques. Because even good fats are high in calories, limit your daily calorie intake of them to 20 to 35 percent. Based on a 2,000-calorie diet, this would be between 50 and 70 grams of fat a day. As a rule of thumb, 6 ounces of lean meat provides between 20 and 30 grams of fat. A teaspoon of oil provides 5 grams. Read food labels to keep track of fat thats hidden in foods. Consider your plate as an empty canvas to paint with rich colors of green, red, orange, yellow and purple. Use the freshest ingredients you can find and experiment with new dishes. Youll find that eating for health and eating for pleasure can be one and the same. On the following pages, youll find recipes to get you started.

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A midsummer nights supper

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With the abundance of summer fruits and vegetables, its easy to eat well this time of year. Fresh trout has such a delicate, appealing flavor that its well suited to preparations using a minimum of seasonings. The tangy relish here, made with roasted tomatoes, is the perfect complement. Serves 4 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved 1 teaspoon olive oil 1/4 cup chopped red onion 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon light molasses 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional) 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme 4 trout fillets, 5 ounces each Preheat the broiler. Position the rack 4 inches from the heat source. Arrange the tomatoes cut side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Broil until the skins wrinkle and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside and leave the broiler on. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the vinegar and molasses and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the mixture is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the broiled tomatoes, lemon zest, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt (optional) and the pepper. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat, set aside and keep warm. Lightly coat a broiler pan with olive oil cooking spray. Sprinkle the thyme and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional) over the fillets and place on the prepared pan. Broil until the fish is opaque throughout when tested with the tip of a knife, about 5 minutes. Transfer to warmed individual plates and serve topped with the warm tomato relish.

Broiled trout with tomato and red onion relish

Per serving: calories 259, protein 31 g, carbohydrate 10 g, total fat 10 g, saturated fat 3 g, monounsaturated fat 4 g, cholesterol 84 mg, sodium 359 mg, fiber 2 g

Sugar snap peas with fresh marjoram

To save time, look for packaged peas with their strings already removed. Serves 4 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 3/4 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed of stems and strings 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional) 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the peas and saute until tender-crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the marjoram,

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Go for savory, not salty
Most fresh food naturally contains some sodium. Canned and prepared foods often have added salt. Combined with the salt you sprinkle on your food, youre probably getting more than the recommended daily amount of 1,500 milligrams (mg), which is about 2/3 teaspoon. Limiting salt can help keep your blood pressure under control, which may reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure and kidney problems. Your taste buds may be trained to want saltier foods, but weaning yourself from salt may be easier if you try these alternatives to enhance flavor: Herbs Add dried or chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, basil, oregano, mint, tarragon or thyme to soups, salads, sandwich fillings or whatever you like. They pack extra punch to flavor, especially if theyre added toward the end of cooking. Flavor boosters Garlic, fresh ginger, citrus zest and juices, and flavored vinegars layer food with flavor and can lift it from flat to interesting. Try tossing roasted vegetables with zest or squeezing lemon, lime or orange juice on them just before serving. Salt substitutes may be an option, but some contain potassium chloride, which may be harmful to people with kidney problems or other health conditions.

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lemon juice and zest, salt (optional), and pepper and toss gently to mix. Serve immediately.
Per serving: calories 59, protein 2 g, carbohydrate 7 g, total fat 2 g, saturated fat 0 g, monounsaturated fat 2 g, cholesterol 0 mg, sodium 155 mg, fiber 2 g

Brown rice pilaf

Per serving: calories 156, protein 3 g, carbohydrate 25 g, total fat 5 g, saturated fat 1 g, monounsaturated fat 2 g, cholesterol 0 mg, sodium 221 mg (or less), fiber 2 g

Invest in the pistachio oil if you can. Its flavor is so intense that just a bit makes this light side dish taste incredibly rich. Serves 8 1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) brown rice, rinsed and drained 2 cups water 3/4 teaspoon salt (optional) 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads or ground turmeric 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice 1 1/2 tablespoons pistachio or canola oil 1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped In a saucepan over high heat, combine the rice, water, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt (optional) and the saffron. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and keep warm. In a small bowl, combine the orange zest and juice, pistachio oil, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional). Whisk to blend. Pour the orange mixture over the warm rice. Add the nuts and apricots and toss gently to mix and coat. Serve immediately.

Eating the Mediterranean way

Typical fare for countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea such as Italy, Greece and northern Africa focuses on vegetables, fruits, nuts, olive oil and whole grains, along with small amounts of meat and dairy products. Traditional eating patterns in this region are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular and other diseases. You need not include persimmons and figs with every meal to eat in the Mediterranean style. Just make the freshest fruits and vegetables available a regular part of your diet. With its little florets, broccoli rabe looks like broccoli. Because the stems can be bitter, some cooks discard them. Here, theyre included, and their bold flavor is softened with garlic, olive oil and a bit of salt. Serves 4 1 pound broccoli rabe, tough stem ends trimmed 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar Trim the tough ends of the broccoli rabe stems, then cut the stems into 1/2inch pieces. Coarsely chop the leaves and leave the small florets whole.

Broccoli rabe with toasted garlic

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In a large nonstick saute or frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a small bowl and set aside. Add the broccoli rabe stems to the pan and saute until the stems are slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Add the leaves and florets and saute until the leaves wilt and the florets are tender-crisp, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, the pepper and the sauteed garlic. Drizzle with the vinegar and toss to mix. Serve immediately.

Per serving: calories 72, protein 3 g, carbohydrate 6 g, total fat 5 g, saturated fat 1 g, monounsaturated fat 4 g, cholesterol 0 mg, sodium 167 mg, fiber 0 g

Grilled pineapple

Pounds and calories


It takes about 3,500 calories over your daily calorie needs to gain a pound of body fat and approximately 3,500 calories under your daily calorie needs to lose a pound of body fat. A few extra calories here and there start to add up. By eating just 100 extra calories a day, you can gain up to 10 pounds in one year. Conversely, by eating 100 fewer calories a day, you can lose 10 pounds in one year. Once youve calculated how many calories you need a day, read food labels and become an educated calorie counter. Once you get used to it, its not as hard as you might think. Burn off a few extra calories by moving more. Youll feel better, and combined with calorie counting, its the best way to avoid those stealthy pounds.

Brushed with a citrus marinade and placed over hot coals, pineapple develops a smoky sweetness. You can grill the fruit several hours ahead of time and wrap it in aluminum foil until ready to serve. Serves 8 For the marinade: 2 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves To make the marinade, in a small bowl, combine the honey, olive oil, lime juice, cinnamon and cloves and whisk to blend. Set aside. For the pineapple: 1 firm yet ripe pineapple 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes, or metal skewers 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional) 1 tablespoon grated lime zest Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill or broiler. Away from the heat source, lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source. Cut off the crown of leaves and the base of the pineapple. Stand the pineapple upright and, if using a large, sharp knife, pare off the skin, cutting downward just below the surface in long, vertical strips and leaving the small brown eyes on the fruit. Lay the pineapple on its side. Aligning the knife blade with the diagonal rows of eyes, cut a shallow furrow, following a spiral pattern around the pineapple, to remove all the eyes. Stand the peeled pineapple upright and cut it in half lengthwise. Place each pineapple half cut side down and cut it lengthwise into 4 long wedges. Slice away the core. Cut each wedge crosswise into 3 pieces. Thread the 3 pineapple pieces onto each skewer. Lightly brush the pineapple with the marinade. Grill or broil, turning once and basting once or twice with the remaining marinade, until tender and golden, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the pineapple from the skewers and place on a platter or individual serving plates. Brush with the rum, if using, and sprinkle with the lime zest. Serve hot or warm.

Per serving: calories 79, protein less than 1 g, carbohydrate 15 g, total fat 2 g, saturated fat less than 1 g, monounsaturated fat 1 g, cholesterol 0 mg, sodium 1 mg, fiber 1 g

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The benefits of popcorn
Research shows that among snack foods, popcorn contains polyphenols, which are excellent antioxidants. Antioxidants have been discovered to fight cell-damaging free radicals, which may play a role in causing cancer. Popcorn is also a whole grain and a good source of hearthealthy fiber. Half of the grains that you eat should be whole grains, but Americans typically eat just 15 percent. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, you need five to six servings of grains a day. Three cups of popped popcorn equal one serving of grains. Just dont let the movie theater make it for you. Movie theater popcorn is generally loaded with calories, sodium and saturated fat, not to mention expensive. Invest in an air popper, then experiment with a few of your own toppings.

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Black bean salad
Makes about 8 servings, 1 cup each 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, diced 1 1/2 cups frozen yellow corn, microwaved for 3 minutes 2 bunches green onions, diced 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped into small pieces 1 4-ounce can diced green chilies Dressing: 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons sugar 2 teaspoons ground cumin 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon ground coriander 2 teaspoons canola oil Juice of 1 lime 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper Zest of 1 lime Tabasco sauce (see below) In medium bowl, combine salad ingredients. In small bowl, mix dressing. For mild dressing, add 3 tablespoons (T.) Tabasco green sauce. For a medium-hot dressing, add 3 T. Tabasco green sauce and 1 teaspoon (t.) Tabasco red sauce. For a hot dressing, use 2 T. Tabasco green sauce and 1 to 2 t. Tabasco red sauce. Fold dressing into salad. Serve cold.

Per serving: calories 212, protein 12 g, carbohydrate 39 g, total fat 2 g, saturated fat 4 g, monounsaturated fat 1 g, cholesterol 0 mg, sodium 211 mg, fiber 12 g

Spicy beef kababs

This inventive dish combines bulgur wheat with lean ground beef and spices for a zesty kabab with a tangy sauce. For an appetizer, shape the mix into balls, saute lightly and serve with cocktail picks. Serves 8 2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 cups fine-grind bulgur 1 1/2 pounds very lean ground beef 1/4 cup very finely chopped pine nuts 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 16 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes, or metal skewers 2 cups fat-free plain yogurt 1/4 cup tahini 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest 2 teaspoons dry mustard 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

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For more information
Most of the recipes in this Special Report are from The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook, published by Mayo Clinic Health Information and Oxmoor House, and winner of the 2005 James Beard award. A version of the cookbook is available for sale at bookstores everywhere and from the Mayo Clinic Bookstore at: http:// bookstore.mayoclinic.com

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Place the onions in a blender or food processor and process to puree. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a 2-cup measuring pitcher, pressing firmly with a rubber spatula or the back of a wooden spoon to extract all the juice. Discard the solids. Add the lemon juice and enough water to measure 1 1/2 cups liquid. In a large bowl, combine the onion juice mixture and the bulgur and soak for 10 minutes. Add the beef, pine nuts, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the salt, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and pepper to the bulgur and stir to mix well. Using a little less than 1/3 cup for each kabab, form the beef mixture into 16 sausages, each about 4 inches long and 3/4 inch in diameter. Thread onto the skewers. If the mixture is too crumbly, add water 1 tablespoon at a time, just until it holds together. Cover the prepared skewers and refrigerate until ready to cook. Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill or broiler. Away from the heat source, lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon zest, mustard and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and refrigerate. Place the kababs on the grill rack or broiler pan. Grill or broil the kababs, turning as needed, until evenly browned, about 8 minutes. Drizzle with the yogurt sauce and garnish with the cilantro.
Per serving: calories 301, protein 24 g, carbohydrate 22 g, total fat 13 g, saturated fat 4 g, monounsaturated fat 5 g, cholesterol 32 mg, sodium 458 mg, fiber 5 g

On the sweeter side

Nature provides the sweetness for these desserts and proves you can satisfy a sweet tooth and still not break the calorie bank. Make a double batch of this spicy, sweet ginger sauce and refrigerate it for up to three days. Spoon it onto angel food cake or fresh melon. If you cant find red currants, use peach slices or strawberries. Serves 6 For the sauce: 4 cups strawberries, hulled and halved 1/4 cup fresh orange juice 3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract To make the sauce, in a blender or food processor, combine the strawberries, orange juice, ginger and vanilla. Process just until blended. Pass puree through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a small bowl, pressing on the solids with a spatula or the back of a wooden spoon to extract all the juice. 2 cups blackberries 1 cup raspberries 1 cup fresh red currants Fresh mint leaves for garnish In a large bowl, toss together the blackberries, raspberries and currants, mixing well. Transfer to a serving bowl or individual bowls. Spoon the ginger sauce over the berries and garnish with the mint. Serve immediately.

Mixed fresh berries with ginger sauce

Per serving: calories 82, protein 1 g, carbohydrate 20 g, total fat 0 g, saturated fat 0 g, monounsaturated fat 0 g, cholesterol 0 mg, sodium 2 mg, fiber 5 g

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Sauteed bananas with caramel sauce
With a glaze of caramel sauce, this banana dish is a sweet ending to any meal. Rich-flavored walnut oil lends an exotic accent. Serves 6 For the sauce 1 tablespoon butter 1 tablespoon walnut oil or canola oil 1 tablespoon honey 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar 3 tablespoons 1 percent low-fat milk 1 tablespoon dark or golden raisins To make the sauce, in a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the oil, honey and brown sugar. Cook, stirring continuously, until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Stir in the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and then cook, stirring continuously, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the raisins. Set aside and keep warm. For the bananas: 4 firm bananas, about 1 pound total weight 1/2 teaspoon canola oil 2 tablespoons dark rum or apple juice Peel the bananas, then cut each crosswise into three sections. Cut each section in half lengthwise. Lightly coat a large nonstick frying pan with the canola oil and place over medium-high heat. Add the bananas and saute until they begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Add the rum to the pan, bring to a boil, and deglaze the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until reduced by half, 30 to 45 seconds. Return the bananas to the pan to rewarm. To serve, divide the bananas among individual bowls or plates. Drizzle with the warm sauce and serve immediately.

Fresh tomato crostini


Tomatoes and basil make a perfect pair anytime, especially in the summer when theyre at the peak of freshness. Serves 4 4 plum tomatoes, chopped 1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella, diced 1/4 cup minced fresh basil 2 teaspoons olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 clove garlic, minced Freshly ground pepper 4 ounces crusty Italian peasant bread, cut into 4 slices and toasted Combine tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, oil, vinegar, garlic and pepper in a good-sized bowl. Cover and let stand 30 minutes. Divide tomato mixture with any juices among the slices of toast. Serve at room temperature.
Per serving: calories 158, protein 7 g, carbohydrate 19 g, total fat 6 g, saturated fat 2 g, monounsaturated fat 2.5 g, cholesterol 9 mg, sodium 265 mg, fiber 1.5 g

Per serving: calories 146, protein 1 g, carbohydrate 27 g, total fat 5 g, saturated fat 1 g, monounsaturated fat 1 g, cholesterol 5 mg, sodium 25 mg, fiber 3 g

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