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Healthy Eating

The Most Popular Dinner Foods in Every State



We just put it simply: dinner is often an important meal. We know breakfast is the start and lunch keeps you going on your lunch break, but dinner is just something special. It is the food that you dress up and make specific plans to meet and enjoy with loved ones. But which dishes for dinner are really the best of the best? You know how in the most popular?

The best way to find out exactly what America is cooking is to look at the data. And that means search results. Google says it all! There has been a little research to take a closer look at what people’s Google habits in each of the 50 states are all about. More specifically, what kind of dinner dishes are most sought after.

Here’s a full breakdown of which dinners are most popular in each state. Do you think you know which one is most popular in your home state? And for more, check out these 15 Classic American Desserts That Are Deserving a Comeback.


Chicken and Dumplings is the ultimate cozy comfort meal. No wonder it’s so popular in Alabama!

Fried rice with chickenShutterstock

When in Alaska, eat some fried rice.

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Burritos are great because you can put just about anything your heart desires in a tortilla. And in Arizona, it’s the best choice for dinner.

Chicken Fried RiceShutterstock

Fried rice hits again, this time in Arkansas. The great thing about fried rice is that you can add chicken, shrimp, beef, and egg – any protein will work in this dish.

Burger avocadoShutterstock

California has pretty nice weather year round, so it makes sense that those who live there grill burgers year round.

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Restaurant burger and friesShutterstock

The classic burger is the top search for dinner in Colorado too.

Beef and Vegetable StewShutterstock

No matter what time of year, a hearty bowl of beef stew is always a solid choice for dinner.

Chicken dumplings in the potShutterstock

Chicken and dumplings are back on the list. The dish can really have many of the same magical powers and core flavors of chicken noodle soup, which is probably one of the reasons it’s so popular.

green chilli stewShutterstock

This may come as a bit of a surprise, as temperatures are often still high in the sunshine. Chili is a warm, calming dish, after all. But in Florida, chili was the most wanted dinner.

Beef ragoutShutterstock

Beef stew is another meal that is often synonymous with cold weather, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat it all year round.

cast iron beef stewTatiana Volgutova / Shutterstock

And all over the country, including Hawaii.

Vegetable fried riceShutterstock

Fried rice with vegetables is a quick and easy choice for dinner. Makes sense that it is as popular as it is!

Hot dog bun ketchupShutterstock

Illinois is the only state that has really invested in a solid hot dog for dinner. However, since the pandemic, two American classics – the hot dog and the hamburger – have both seen a 50% increase in Google searches.

spicy meatloafShutterstock

Meatloaf is a bit of an old school meal, but once you find this recipe you’ll be serving it again. Like in Indiana.

Meatloaf platterShutterstock

Just make sure you avoid beating a meatloaf that is too dry. (You should avoid these mistakes!)

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Those in Kansas are big fried rice fans.

Chicken dumplings rosemaryShutterstock

Chances are you’ll find really tasty chicken and dumplings in many Kentucky restaurants.


In Louisiana, Jambalaya is (rightly!) The most popular dinner.

Cut the chicken pot pieShutterstock

The key to a delicious chicken pot pie? In addition to a perfectly flaky crust, make sure it’s filled with lots of chicken, potatoes, peas, and corn.

grilled salmonShutterstock

Maryland is known for its seafood selection, and none other than salmon has caught on.

Beef stew in a white bowlShutterstock

A beef stew is a hearty, filling meal that’s most sought after in Massachusetts.

Crock Pot Slow Cooker Beef StewShutterstock

And in Michigan too.

sloppy joeShutterstock

A Sloppy Joe sandwich lives up to its name, but that’s what makes it so memorable.

Chicken dumplingsShutterstock

Chicken and dumplings are a staple of the South, so it makes sense that it’s mega-popular in Mississippi.


If you’re still grappling with meatloaf nightmares from your childhood, it’s time to let them go. Give this classic one more shot – our retro recipe combines all the rich flavors of beef, tomato and that iconic meatloaf texture.

Vegetable bowl with fried riceShutterstock

Fried rice is at the top again, this time in Montana.


Clearly, in Nebraska, meatloaf is still a dinner idea.


Between normal beef burgers, turkey burgers, chicken burgers, fish burgers and even veggie burgers, there really is something for everyone.

Chicken Pot Pie

It’s safe to say that pot pies will forever remain one of America’s most popular home cooks.

Spaghetti and meatballsShutterstock

There’s one noodle dish that comes first in New Jersey. And that’s spaghetti and meatballs.

Chili grated cheeseShutterstock

In New Mexico, chili is the first choice for dinner. We can just try all of the flavors that are likely to be packed into a bite of this stuff.

Pea pureeShutterstock

Who would have thought that split pea soup was the dinner that New Yorkers couldn’t get enough of?

homemade chicken dumplingsShutterstock

Chicken and dumplings often taste best when the dish has been slowly simmered in a delicious chicken broth. We have a feeling you’ll find them all over North Carolina.

Fried rice with chickenShutterstock

There are probably plenty of local food stalls serving delicious fried rice, but if you have the time to cook your own dinner, it’s super easy to make.

cut meatloaf meatTimolina / Shutterstock

One important rule to keep in mind when cooking meatloaf for dinner? Do not make bread that is too thick.

italian chicken dumplingsShutterstock

Out in Oklahoma, chicken and dumplings are the best choices for dinner.

fried rice in the restaurantShutterstock

It is possible to make a dish like fried rice in a healthy way. You just want to make sure the add-ins are there more frequently.

Mini Chicken Pot PieShutterstock

Pennsylvania is all about the chicken and pot pie life.

Chicken pot pie biteShutterstock

And so are the ones in Rhode Island.

Chicken dumplingsShutterstock


Those in South Dakota often look for meatloaf. If you’re making it yourself, you should try the mixture before cooking the entire meal. That way, you can easily tell if there is any more seasoning that needs to be done, as seasoning is key.

southern chicken dumplingsShutterstock

Tennessee is another southern state that you’re sure to find plenty of chicken and dumpling dishes that are oh-so-delicious.

Slices of pepper jack cheese on a cutting board with a bowl of chiliShutterstock

Chili is a dinner choice that we consider the most popular in Texas. Do all of these spices and flavors come together? Yes, please!


The best part about making your own burger for dinner? You can top it with literally anything your heart desires. From a fried egg to avocado to nothing, it’s a versatile meal.

Roast Chicken with Pumpkin, Sauce and BroccoliShutterstock

In Vermont, a whole roast chicken is the most popular choice for dinner. Maybe everyone is just trying to perfect their recipe!

Chicken dumpling platterShutterstock

There’s really nothing quite like dough balls floating around in a hot broth.

Fried riceShutterstock

Washington is all about finding fried rice, a dish that tastes great whether you order it or make it yourself.

Chicken Dumpling SoupShutterstock

OK, it’s official – this dish is really popular across the United States!

Steak and potatoes on a plateShutterstock

In Wisconsin, the classic dinner combination of steak and potatoes has established itself.

Meatloaf wrapped in baconShutterstock

There’s really nothing more American than meatloaf for dinner.

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Healthy Eating

What is starch? Types, benefits, risks, and more



Starch is a complex carbohydrate. When people hear the word “starch,” they might think of high-carb foods like potatoes, rice, and pasta. However, most plants store energy as starch, including fruits and vegetables.

Starchy foods are the main source of carbohydrates for most people. They play a crucial role in a nutritious, balanced diet as they provide the body with glucose, which is the main source of energy for every cell. They also provide a range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients.

Starchy foods are also valuable ingredients in the kitchen, as they can thicken soups and sauces without adding fat.

Read on to learn more about starches, including the types, health benefits, and risks of overeating starchy foods.

Starch, or amylum, is a complex carbohydrate found in many foods, including grains, vegetables, and fruits. The main sources of starch are:

Extracting pure starch from food produces a white, tasteless and odorless powder that does not dissolve in cold water or alcohol.

Starch is a natural polymer or polysaccharide, meaning it is a long chain comprising one type of molecule. Starch is made up of glucose molecules. It can come in two forms: amylose and amylopectin.

Amylose is a linear or rectilinear polymer that scientists refer to as amorphous or solid. Amylopectin forms a branched chain and is crystalline.

Different plants contain different ratios of these polysaccharide units. However, amylose generally accounts for a maximum of 30% of starch, with the remainder being amylopectin.

Plants create these starch polymers to store the glucose they create during photosynthesis. For this reason, starchy foods are good sources of energy.

When someone eats starchy foods, the body breaks down the natural polymers into glucose units, which provide energy throughout the body.

Aside from being part of a nutritious diet, various industries – including pharmaceutical, paper and food – use starch in their manufacturing processes.

Depending on their nutritional properties, starches belong to one of three groups:

  • Rapidly Digesting Starch (RDS): This form of starch is found in cooked foods like potatoes and bread. The body quickly converts it to glucose.
  • Slow Digesting Starch (SDS): This starch has a complex structure, which means the body breaks it down slowly. It is found in cereal grains.
  • Resistant Strength (RS): The body cannot easily digest this form of starch, and it can pass through the digestive system untouched, much like fiber. It can support a healthy intestinal flora. Experts further divide RS into four categories, including:
    • RS1 found in grains, seeds and beans.
    • RS2 made from raw potatoes and unripe bananas.
    • RS3 from foods that are cooked and then cooled, such as rice and corn flakes.
    • RS4, that’s in the bread.

Each type of food can contain different types of these starches.

People can buy different types of starch for cooking, including:

  • Potato: Raw, mashed potatoes are the source of potato starch. The liquid starch dries to a white, flour-like powder. It is gluten-free and is used in various recipes as an alternative to wheat flour.
  • Tapioca: This versatile flour comes from the crushed pulp of the cassava root. People can mix it into baked goods or use it as a thickener for soups, stews, and sauces.
  • Corn: This starch comes from the corn kernel. It can thicken recipes and is a base for corn syrup. Doctors also use it to supply glucose to people with glycogen storage disease.

There is also modified starch, a derivative of starch that manufacturers have treated to change its properties. The baking industry makes extensive use of this form of starch because it can tolerate a range of conditions, including extreme heat or cold.

Doctors recommend eating plenty of starchy foods as part of a balanced diet to provide energy and fiber and to increase feelings of satiety.


Starch is the most important source of energy for humans. The body digests starches by converting them into glucose, which enters the bloodstream and circulates throughout the body. Glucose fuels virtually every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. If there is excess glucose, the liver stores it as glycogen.

Glucose is essential for brain function. The adult brain is responsible for 20-25% of the body’s glucose usage.

Learn more about high-energy foods here.


Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate found only in plant foods. Starchy foods like corn, beets, potatoes, beans, fruit, and whole grains are plentiful sources of fiber. Although the body does not digest fiber, these carbohydrates are an essential part of a nutritious diet.

Nutritionists divide fiber into soluble and insoluble forms. Fruits and vegetables are sources of soluble fiber, which can absorb water. Soluble fiber feeds the good bacteria in the gut, slowing digestion and softening stools.

Insoluble fiber does not absorb water. Instead, it passes through the digestive system and adds bulk to keep bowel movements regular and prevent constipation. Whole grains, nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), most people in the United States do not eat enough fiber. Government guidelines suggest that adult females need up to 28 grams (g) of fiber per day, while adult males need up to 34g.

Learn more about high-fiber foods here.


Eating starchy foods can help increase satiety, which is the feeling of being full after eating.

Research shows that eating foods rich in resistant starches helps people feel full. These foods can also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce fat storage. In addition, eating high-fiber foods rich in resistant starches can help people maintain a moderate weight.

In a small 2018 study, researchers offered participants breakfast and lunch with either 48 g of resistant starch or a placebo. At dinner, participants were allowed to eat as much as they wanted. The researchers found that eating the resistant starch for breakfast and lunch significantly reduced the participants’ energy intake during that later meal.

Learn about foods that can improve satiety.

For most people, starch poses no risk or side effects. Dietary guidelines recommend a balanced diet of starchy foods.

However, people with certain health conditions, including diabetes and congenital sucrase-isomaltase deficiency (CSID), need to moderate their starch intake.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with type 1 diabetes count how many grams of carbohydrates they eat and then balance that with their insulin dose. People with type 2 diabetes should avoid consuming large amounts of carbohydrates in one sitting and instead spread them out evenly throughout the day.

Individuals with CSID must follow a special diet. People with this genetic condition cannot digest certain sugars, so they experience digestive problems when they eat certain fruits, juices, and grains. These problems can lead to malnutrition.

Starch is a carbohydrate and is a natural part of most plants, including fruits, vegetables and grains. Starchy foods are an essential part of a balanced diet as they provide energy, fiber and a feeling of satiety.

The body breaks down starch molecules into glucose, which is the body’s primary source of energy. The brain in particular requires a significant amount of glucose every day.

Starchy foods are safe for most people and do not present any risks or side effects. However, it is important that people with diabetes or CSID carefully consider their starch intake.

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Healthy Eating

Try this winter special ‘paneer stuffed ragi paratha’ (recipe inside)



Winter is the ideal time to have it parathas. Imagine the crispy exterior and soft interior, filled with your favorite ingredient and served with a dollop of butter! Yummy, right? You can eat as much delicious food as you want, but remember that it doesn’t have to be at the expense of your health.

ragi paratha stuffed with paneer is a savory twist on the classic paneer paratha, says nutritionist Nmami Agarwal. According to her, it can be served as a high-protein breakfast or consumed during lunch.

“Ragi is a healthy food, a gluten-free whole grain. It’s full of calcium, good carbohydrates, amino acids and vitamin D. Paneer – also known as “Indian cheese” – has quite a high nutritional value. It’s a good source of calcium and protein and is great for overall health and well-being,” she says, adding that the recipe can be cooked with Oleev olive oil, which “contains 80 percent monounsaturated fats (MUFA), which may help control cholesterol levels.”

The oil is “perfect for Indian cooking, including parathas, due to its high smoke point. It has the added benefits of vitamin K and vitamin E, both of which are essential for optimal body function,” says the expert.


For ragi dough

– 30 grams of ragi flour (cranberry/nagli)
– 30 grams of whole wheat flour
– 1 teaspoon of Oleev olive pomace oil
– salt to taste

For paneer filling

– 30 grams of paneer, grated
– 1 green chili, finely chopped
– A few leaves of mint (pudina), finely chopped
– ¼ teaspoon cumin powder (jeera)
– salt to taste

For cooking

– 1.5 teaspoons Oleev olive pomace oil
– Calories – 202 kcal
– Protein – 6.2 grams
– Carbohydrates – 24.8 grams
– Fats – 8.7 grams


1. Start kneading the dough by mixing ragi and wheat flour. Knead the paratha dough for a few minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
2. Next, add a teaspoon of oil to coat the dough and knead a little more.
3. Cover the ragi paratha dough and let it rest until the filling is ready.
4. The next step is to prepare the paneer filling. In a mixing bowl, combine grated paneer, green chilies, mint leaves, salt, cumin powder and mix all ingredients well.
5. Divide into equal portions.
6. Finally, add the filling to the ragi paratha batter.
7. Dust the ragi paratha dough with flour, flatten with your finger and place on a flat surface. Roll it out thinly.
8. Take a portion of paneer filling and place it in the middle. Next, gather the sides of the paratha dough and bring all sides together.
9. Remove the excess dough that popped out when you put it together. Press down on the filled ragi paneer paratha dough.
10. Dust the filled dough with a little flour and gently roll out to desired thickness and similarly do the remaining portions of paratha dough and filling.
11. Preheat the pan on medium heat and grease with a little oil.
12. Place the filled ragi paneer paratha. Cook over medium-high heat for 30 to 45 seconds and flip.
13. Drizzle a little oil on the parathas and keep pressing the ragi paneer filled parathas to cook evenly on all sides.
14. Turn a few times until both sides are properly cooked.
15. After cooking, transfer to a plate. Serve hot.

The classic way to have it is with some yogurt and achar; Do you want to try?

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Healthy Eating

The Ideal Walking Workout Smoothie Recipe from an RD



I I don’t know why it took so many of us (myself included) a global pandemic to realize the value of a good walk, but now that we’re here, I vow to never break my daily walking habit. And as research shows, we do a lot of good for our bodies when we hit the road. As Well+Good previously reported, walking for as little as 15 minutes a day can reduce the risk of stroke and improve cardiovascular health, and it can also be an effective low-impact exercise.

Like any form of exercise, a good walk requires the right amount of energy. When it comes to what nutrients you need for your walking workout, nutrition experts recommend eating a little differently than you would for a run or other higher-intensity hike. We spoke to Registered Nutritionist Megen Erwine, RD of Let’s Get Checked to find out what makes the perfect pre-walk snack. What’s even better is that it can be reduced to a super easy three-ingredient walking workout smoothie recipe that will soon become your new staple.

How Much Do You Need to Eat to Fuel Your Running Training?

As with any workout, proper refueling and recovery afterwards depends largely on the intensity of the activity. There is a very wide range of walks you can take, from a leisurely coffee stroll to a more rigorous, arm-pumping excursion. A slow and short walk probably doesn’t require much extra energy beyond your regular meals and snacks.

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“Always remember that your daily dietary habits will outweigh any pre-workout or post-workout fuel,” says Erwine. She believes that focusing on properly refueling for the energy expenditures of daily living prepares you for both your afternoon walk and morning meeting, late-night childcare, or whatever else comes your way. “Focus on staying hydrated and eating balanced meals and snacks that contain complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fat,” Erwine recommends. You should also support your gut health by eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and sauerkraut so you don’t have to fight the urge to pee when you’re miles from home.

For your longer, vigorous walks, Erwine says you probably won’t need too much extra fuel, depending on your goals. Since walking requires less energy than higher-intensity activities like running or HIIT, you probably won’t need to lose sleep over carbs before a long or short dog walk. That being said, it’s important to make sure you have an adequate meal before engaging in any low-intensity exercise like walking, especially if it’s for an extended period of time. “Plan for a balanced meal 90 minutes before training,” recommends Erwine. “The timing allows for the food you eat to be digested and turned into energy.”

You also avoid nausea by giving yourself a chance to digest before you exercise. If you haven’t eaten a meal within that time frame and are heading out, Erwine recommends grabbing a small, carbohydrate-based snack beforehand. “A piece of fruit is a great example,” she says.

Hydration is also key

Just as important as what you eat before your run is what you drink. Finally, staying hydrated helps your body perform basically all of its essential functions and ward off headaches, fatigue, constipation, and mood swings.

Many factors affect how much water you need, including your age, activity level, and overall health, but Erwine recommends a general fluid intake guideline of about 72 ounces per day for women and 100 ounces for men. If you’re training intensely, add more water to counteract sweat and increased hydration from energy expenditure (and yes, hydration is important in winter too!).

Overall, you should listen to your body’s thirst signals and drink before, during, and after your workout. That balanced meal you eat an hour and a half before your walk? Erwine says you should definitely include 16 ounces of water to keep you hydrated for your activity. Don’t forget your water bottle so you can sip on the go and also avoid getting in a dehydrated state. Incidentally, Erwine says that sports drinks aren’t necessary for low-to-moderate intensity workouts — water will replenish your fluids just fine. However, add one of these electrolyte-rich foods to your pre-walk meal for added benefits.

The perfect walking-working smoothie recipe

If you’re looking for a quick and healthy snack or small meal to prepare before your walk, a smoothie is an easily digestible way to fuel your workout. It’s also easy to have all the ingredients you need on hand so you don’t have to rummage around at the last minute. When designing your ideal smoothie, Erwin recommends making sure to include all three macronutrients — carbs, protein, and fat — for a well-balanced meal.

In this case, in the form of banana, Greek yogurt, and nut butter. “Just mix together a frozen banana to provide complex carbs, a cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt for protein, and a tablespoon of nut butters for healthy fat,” she recommends. If you don’t eat dairy, use soy milk or one of the higher-protein plant-based yogurts on the market, like Kite Hill’s high-protein, almond-based yogurts.

You can play with this simple formula to adapt it to your preferences and what you have on hand. Not in bananas? Sub into another frozen fruit. Your kids or roommates ate all that nut butter without you knowing? Add flaxseed or avocado for that fat boost. Just press shuffle and get ready to hit the street, treadmill, beach or wherever your stroll takes you.

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