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In This Issue
The Truth Behind
Energy Drinks
Moroccan Lentil Salad
4 Ways to
Kickstart Your Diet
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  Issue # 34

May 2011


28 new menu items!!!!  We have been busy little bees here and have come up with a boatload of delicious new recipes to suit even the pickiest of eaters.  My top picks for the  month are Firecracker salmon, Balsamic  roasted pork tenderloin, Caribbean flank steak, Cuban black bean soup, Picnic potato and chicken salad, Moroccan lentil salad, Sausage & peppers, Lump crabmeat salad with lime zest, Blackened shrimp & scallops, Chicken chili, Black eyed pea salad, Five-spiced Cod...and one of my favorites from the past - Braised lamb stew with pignoli nuts.


The best part of the month has been testing the dishes - as you know, I am the designated taste-tester...and I LOVE MY JOB!!!  


Happy Eating!

Monica Lynn
Nutritional expert and Founder of 5 Squares

easter bunny

The Truth Behind Energy Drinks

man drinking energy drink

Energy products abound: in drinks, herbs, bars, and even goo. 

But do they do anything? 


By  Dulce Zamora

Published on WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD



If the names of today's energy products have any truth to them, vitality and endurance are readily available in bars, drinks, gels, ices, herbs, and supplements.

PowerBar. Red Bull. Amp. Gatorade. Accelerade. Super Energizer. Energice.

Well they sure sound energizing.  But are they actually any better than a candy bar or a bottle of soda? It depends on the product and its consumer, say experts, who note that the sheer variety make blanket statements difficult.

To get the full story, WebMD investigated the different kinds of energy edibles, their ingredients, and general effects on the body. Some products provide full nutritional information, while others closely guard the secrets of their proprietary blends.  But many of these products just haven't been studied very well. 

We also asked the experts whether these products really add anything to our lives.  Are we all limping through life, suffering from an energy crisis -- a crisis that unwrapping a power bar can resolve? Or does our obsession with edible energy have very little to do with good nutrition?

Energy Bars and Gels

All energy bars, goos, and ices are not created equal. Some pack in the carbohydrates, proteins, or fats. Others bring in vitamins and minerals. The flavors are plentiful, too, with cookies and cream, cappuccino, lemon poppy seed, and chocolate raspberry fudge appealing to the taste buds.

John Allred, PhD, food science communicator for the Institute of Food Technologists, shakes his head at the mention of energy products. "They are outrageously expensive for what you are getting," he says. "There's nothing magical about the ingredients."

The same nutrients could be found in a banana, yogurt, or a chocolate bar, which are cheaper options, Allred explains.

To be fair, the carbohydrate or protein composition of some energy bars and gels may provide a more sustained charge than products that primarily use sugar or caffeine. The power surge of sugar usually lasts about 30 minutes to one hour, and caffeine about two hours. The rush from sugar and coffee is usually followed by an energy low.

Energy bars and gels with carbohydrates will definitely provide a boost, as carbs are the body's preferred fuel source. It's ideal if much of the carbohydrate source is fiber, as the roughage takes longer to digest, providing more sustained energy. This can be especially helpful for people involved in endurance events. Protein-rich products can also provide staying power and strength. The nutrient helps build muscle and regulates energy production in the body.

Yet the bars, goos, and ices are no substitute for real food. "Energy bars are manufactured products," says Cindy Moore, MSRD, director of nutrition therapy at  Cleveland Clinic. "What you're missing from any kind of manufactured product are the benefits from nature -- the chemicals that aren't vitamins or minerals, but are phytochemicals -- which are still beneficial to our health..."


Read more at  WebMD


Moroccan Lentil Salad

Makes 2 servings


moroccan lentil salad


1/2 cup dry lentils
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 minced hot green chile peppers
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste



  1. Place lentils and water in a pot. Bring water to boil, reduce to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until tender.
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl combine lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, green onions, green chilies, bell peppers, lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, and salt to taste. Toss well. Chill for 20 minutes. Serve chilled.


4 Ways to Kickstart Your Diet


5 Squares™ healthy eating plan is a weight management program designed to help you manage your eating habits and achieve personal weight and health goals. We take all of the guesswork out of eating properly by eliminating the opportunity to make wrong choices.

Our expert chefs prepare guilt-free, delicious food, which is delivered right to your door before 6 a.m. Because you have your five meals for the day (3 meals plus 2 snacks), you have the power to eat the right foods, the right amount, and the best nutritional calories.
The 5 Squares monthly e-newsletter is a great resource for nutritional advice; quick, healthy-lifestyle tips; recipes; resources and special offers; and 5 Squares promotions.

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