December 5, 2013
It's cold and dark outside and nothing sounds better than sitting on the couch in my pajamas reading a good book or watching TV. Does this frequently run across your mind during these frigid winter months? Skipping an opportunity to exercise in the winter is just so easy to do. So how do we keep ourselves from falling into the lazy day trap?
Don't let the cold dark nights get you down; you'll feel so much better about yourself when you get physical activity each day. Whether you continuously climb up and down your stairs at home, power walk at the mall, or dance a little hip hop at the privacy of your own home, you are moving and doing something!
Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
6 oz. nonfat plain Greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
8 oz. broccoli crowns, trimmed and finely chopped (about 3 cups)
8 oz. cauliflower, trimmed and finely chopped (about 3 cups)
½ (15 oz.) can no added salt chickpeas, rinsed
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
Yield: 8 servings, 1/2 cup each
Nutrition analysis per serving: 80 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 140 milligrams sodium, 10 grams total carbohydrate, 3 grams dietary fiber, 7 grams protein
November 21, 2013
It can be difficult to eat healthy all year round, but many people find the holiday season to be particularly challenging. As the weather get's colder and we get in the holiday spirit, parties and celebrations move indoors and often center on food. On top of this, many holiday traditions involve high-calorie foods: chocolate advent calendars, turkey feasts with all the fixings, gingerbread houses and more. The holidays are a time where sweets are plentiful.
Weight gain over the holidays can be a problem for some people. On top of that, people following diets for health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease can struggle to follow guidelines. For many, healthy eating goes out the window for several weeks every year.Here are some tips for having a festive, healthy and happy holiday season!
· Make a plan for your holiday feast and stick to it: If you are cooking, decide beforehand which dishes you will have and how much of each dish is enough. If you are a guest, survey the food at the buffet station. Or decide which items you want as it is being passed around; then pass on the rest.
· Skip the pre-dinner appetizers: Festive parties often have plenty of sweets and appetizers to graze on before dinner. Have a healthy snack such as a banana and peanut butter or whole wheat crackers and low fat string cheese before the party starts instead. This will save you from being so ravenously hungry that you go overboard on appetizers. You'll save calories and enjoy the main meal more, too!
· Watch out for alcohol: Alcohol contains a whopping 7 Calories per gram (carbohydrates and protein contain 4 and fats contain 9), so alcoholic beverages can add up in Calories quicker than you think. Keep drinking moderate; the American Heart Association recommends 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men.
· Pass on foods you can have any day: Certain foods, such as turkey, or grandma's famous apple crumble may only be around one day a year, but other foods on the menu are more commonplace. If you already have buttery mashed potatoes twice a week, try other holiday favorites instead and remind yourself you'll be having those creamy potatoes shortly.
· Bring a lighter dish to parties: Bring something to parties that you know is healthy; you can always eat from that if there are no other lighter options. Try recipes that lighten up other holiday favorites such as the lighter eggnog recipe below!
Quick Fat-Free Eggnog
Prep time: 10 min
Makes 24, ½ cup servings
2 cups egg substitute (do not substitute whole eggs)
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
¼ cup sugar
1 oz. rum extract (if desired)
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 cups fat-free milk
2 cups fat-free whipped topping
Beat egg substitute, pudding, sugar, rum extract and nutmeg in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Stir in milk until incorporated. Fold in whipped topping until well blended. Serve with sprinkle of nutmeg and/or garnish of cinnamon stick if desired. Keep refrigerated until served.
Nutrition Analysis per serving: 74 calories, 0.1g total fat, 1.7 mg cholesterol, 141.2 mg sodium, 12.9 g total carbohydrate, 0.0g dietary fiber, 5.0 g protein
November 11, 2013
1 (10 ounce) bag spinach leaves
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup crumbled feta
1 pomegranate, peeled and arils separated
4 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
Place washed and dried spinach in a salad bowl. Add red onion, walnuts, feta, and pomegranate arils. Toss. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss.
Yield: 5 servings
Nutrient analysis per serving: 180 Calories, 13 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 270 milligrams sodium, 11 grams total carbohydrate, 4 grams dietary fiber, 7 grams protein
October 18, 2013
We all have our pet peeves in life, and I have recently realized that my biggest pet peeve is the distribution of misinformation. It's disheartening to see all of the bogus and simply false information looming on the internet, especially pertaining to nutrition and diet. Much of the information we see and hear today can be confusing and contradicting. It can be frustrating not knowing what is fact, and what is fiction. But the worst part is not those that make up these falsehoods or turn the words of a credible expert, but rather that it is our own selves that often spread these unreliable claims. Social media, including facebook, twitter, and pinterest are pathways of sharing information, both good information and bad information. While it may be unintentional, it can corrupt our thoughts and beliefs and lead to negative outcomes. Use the following tips to help you learn how to judge the reliability of advice, particularly nutrition advice.
· If it is an article online, check to see if it posted on a credible website. News sources with names such as "Poor John Doe's News" or "Huffy Puffy Post" (yes, I made these names up) contradict scientific integrity. Look for credible news sources, including those from educational or government institutions.
· Some web sites will have links to other online sites, which may have supporting data. Check these websites for credibility.
· Look to see when the website was updated last. A reliable website is updated often in order to offer the most current advice.
· Ask yourself who wrote it and why? Look for the author's qualifications. You may be able to identify them as a qualified nutrition expert by reviewing their credentials and their affiliations. Also, look at why it may have been written. There may be an ulterior motive, such as selling a product. Also, some companies may conduct their own research and report only the findings that make them look good, resulting in bias.
· If you are questioning a certain study, you probably should! If the study only includes 40 or 50 people, it may not represent the rest of the population. Also, you should question how many studies have been done on that same subject. It takes numerous studies of repeated findings and years of scientific research to reach a true conclusion. This is why health organizations and governments may appear to be conservative.
Remember, poor research is not just found on the internet but can also be spread through television, newspapers and magazines. Television reporters and authors of magazine and newspaper articles have limited time and space for their stories and articles. Some of them will report on only bits and pieces of information while leaving out other specifics. Don't simply believe everything you read; put on your thinking caps and seek out credible, research-based nutrition expertise. With these tips in mind, you are now ready to spread reliable information, and stop the spread of untrustworthy advice!
You'll love this spread! Try it in a pita with grilled steak and onions or serve with pita chips.
Roasted Eggplant Spread
1 medium eggplant
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup red onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat broiler. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and slice a few holes in eggplant to allow it to steam. Broil eggplant for 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes with tongs. Skin should be charred and flesh should be soft. Transfer to a cutting board. Place lemon juice in a medium bowl. Cut eggplant lengthwise and scoop out flesh into the bowl, tossing to prevent discoloring. Add oil and stir until it is absorbed. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve with pita chips or as a sandwich spread. Refrigerate leftovers.
Yield: 12 servings
Nutritional Analysis per ¼ cup serving: 75 Calories, 6 grams fat, 6 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 129 milligrams sodium
October 3, 2013
If you have a picky eater at home, I'm sure you feel like the dining table is a battle zone when it comes to getting the kids to eat their vegetables. However, don't give up! Studies show that it could take up to 10 tries for a taste preference to develop. Presenting foods, especially vegetables, with a wide variety of textures, flavors, smells, and temperatures from infancy can speed up the process.
Vegetables are packed with fiber, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals that can help your child feel more energized, focused, and overall more healthful. This colorful food group doesn't deserve to be left as an afterthought when preparing a meal and only end up as a boring pile of food pushed to the side of the plate. Keep in mind your child is allowed to have preferences, and they may be a part of an elite group of "super-tasters." About a quarter of the population are super tasters who can detect a bitter taste from many cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage.) Despite all these obstacles, there is a way to outsmart your little veggie-detectors.
Here are a couple tips and tricks to get your child to try vegetables they may grow to love:
Try to be inventive, get the kids involved, and keep in mind how much time it'll save on the battlegrounds!
Here's a recipe for a seasonal vegetable you can try and conquer:
Cheesy Faux-Crust Pizza
Prep + Cook time: 30-35 minutes
1 medium sized head of cauliflower (yields 2-3 Cups once chopped)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
¼ cup no-sugar-added marinara sauce
½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Place a pizza stone or baking sheet in an oven, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. On a cutting board, place a large piece of parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking oil.
Wash and pat dry the head of cauliflower, and cut off the florets (won't need the stems). Toss the florets into a food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds, or chop until it resembles a crumb consistency. Place 2-3 cups of cauliflower crumbs into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 4 minutes, covered. Allow the cauliflower to rest until cool enough to touch.
Spread the cauliflower out onto a paper towel and wrap it up in a dish towel. Ring it as hard as you can to get as much water out as possible. In a large mixing bowl, add the dry cauliflower and parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and egg. Mix together with clean hands. Move your "dough" onto the oiled parchment paper and make a tightly formed ½ inch crust.
Slide the crust from the cutting board onto the hot pizza stone/baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven spread with marinara sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake for another 6 minutes until cheese has melted.
Yield: 1 (10-12 inch) pizza, 4 Servings
Nutrition Analysis per serving: 100 calories, 3 grams total fat, 50 milligrams cholesterol, 480 milligrams sodium, 6 grams total carbohydrate, 2 grams dietary fiber, 12 grams protein