March 27, 2013
I'm pleased to introduce guest blogger and dietetic intern at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Krystle Zuniga!
With Easter just around the corner, nearly every grocery store has eggs on sale, and I love it! I love eggs because they are inexpensive, packed with protein, and are very versatile in the kitchen. Eggs are not only a great source of protein, they also contain many nutrients such as folate, Vitamin, A, Vitamin D and choline.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association recommend consuming less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day. Cholesterol is found in animal products such as dairy, meat, poultry, pork, and seafood. Although eggs are high in cholesterol (186 milligrams in 1 large egg), eggs can still fit into a healthy diet. On days that you enjoy eggs, you may want to reduce your consumption of other animal products.
If you love eggs like I do, try using just the egg white. Egg whites do not contain fat or cholesterol but still contain protein and other nutrients. Make an omelet with 1 egg and 2 egg whites. You can also cut the fat and cholesterol in recipes by using 2 egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute for 1 egg. In baking, consider adding 1 teaspoon of oil for each egg replaced to help keep baked goods tender.
Food Safety Tip!
Raw eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella, so it is important to cook and store eggs properly. Hard cooked eggs and foods made with eggs (casserole, quiche, baked goods, etc.) should reach an internal temperature of 160°F and be stored at 45°F or below.
When dyeing and decorating eggs, hard boil the eggs first. Use only food-safe dyes and return eggs to the refrigerator within 2 hours. Using hard-boiled eggs for your traditional egg hunt? Make sure that there are no cracks in the shell because bacteria can enter through the cracks and contaminate the egg. Do not leave eggs out for more than 2 hours and refrigerate immediately after the hunt. If stored properly, these colorful eggs are safe for consumption for up to 7 days.
For a quick and nutritious breakfast, try these homemade breakfast sandwiches. These sandwiches can also be frozen and quickly reheated for an easy breakfast on the go!
1 egg or 1/4 cup egg white or egg substitute
1 whole grain English muffin
1 slice 2% American cheese (optional)
Chopped veggies of your choice (spinach, peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc.)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray. Add 1 egg or 1/4 c egg white and veggies to each muffin tin! Cook for 10-15 minutes or until egg sets. Toast muffins. Assemble egg and cheese onto toasted muffin and enjoy!
Yield: 1 serving
To enjoy later: Let sandwich cool in freezer for 1hour. Individually wrap tightly and store in freezer. To reheat, wrap muffin in damp paper towel and defrost in microwave for 1minute; then reheat again at 100% power for 1-2 minutes.
Sources: Egg Safety Center: http://www.eggsafety.org/consumers/egg-safety
Nutritional analysis per serving: Egg White Version - 175 calories, 3.5g fat, 28g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 15g protein. Whole Egg – 210 calories, 8g fat, 28g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 15g protein
March 7, 2013
Here is another fabulous blog entry from guest blogger and intern, Laura Monson!
Did you know that the month of March is National Nutrition Month®? Although you should celebrate making informed food choices every day, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have created this nutrition education and information campaign. Starting in 1973 as a week-long event, the National Nutrition Month® became a month long observance in 1980 from a growing interest in nutrition from the public. Registered dietitian day is also celebrated on March 13th.
In honor of National Nutrition Month®, here are some healthy tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
Use these tips to be healthier and thank your favorite registered dietitian on March 13th for helping you enjoy your healthy life.
Try this meatloaf recipe made with vegetables and whole grain oats!
Mouth Watering Meatloaf
1 pound ground beef
½ onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
1 cup grated carrots (about 2 carrots)
½ cup dry quick oats
¼ cup nonfat milk
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup ketchup, divided (¼ cup in meatloaf and ¼ cup in sauce)
2 tablespoons brown sugar or white sugar
Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix together the ground beef, onion, carrots, oats, milk, egg, black pepper, salt, and ¼ cup ketchup. Form the mixture into a loaf and place on pan. Bake for 50 minutes. Stir the remaining ¼ cup ketchup and sugar in a small bowl. Remove meatloaf from oven and spread the sauce over the top and sides of meatloaf. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F.
Yield: 6 servings
Source: Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Spend Smart, Eat Smart. http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/
Nutritional analysis per serving (1/6 of loaf): 260 Calories, 12 grams fat, 80 milligrams cholesterol, 400 milligrams sodium, 17 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram dietary fiber, 18 gram protein
February 22, 2013
Dinner time can be a nightmare when dealing with a choosy eater. Screaming, kicking, and crossing of the arms are typical reactions of a choosy eater not wanting to eat what's in front of him or her. So how should a parent help their child get through this phase without going mad?
Instead of saying, "You must take one more bite of peas before you leave the table," try "Has your tummy had enough?"
Instead of saying, "See, that didn't taste so bad, did it?" try "Do you like that?"
Remember, it may take between 10-15 times of offering a new food to the child before he or she will eat it. It's normal for them to not like new or unfamiliar foods. It's also normal to go through periods where they just don't eat much at all. Try to be patient and relax!
1 pint fresh berries (blueberry, strawberry, etc.)
3 cups non-fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup granola
½ teaspoon finely grated orange rind
Wash berries and pat dry. If using strawberries, hull and slice in half. Layer 1/3 cup yogurt into each of 4 dessert dishes. Alternate layers of fruit, granola and yogurt, ending with yogurt. Sprinkle grated orange rind on top.
Yield: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)- Calories 77 ~ fat 0 g ~ carbohydrate 16 g ~ dietary fiber 2 g
February 1, 2013
Are you wearing red today? Today is the first day of American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign. So it's time to pamper this loving organ with nutritionally sound foods your heart will appreciate. There are many heart healthy foods to include in your diet, but here are three that your heart will fall for.
1. Salmon: Salmon is a type of fatty fish that supplies higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, and may have a protective effect against heart disease. Whether canned, fresh or frozen you'll receive the nutritional benefits of eating salmon. Try adding canned salmon to a cold pasta salad or make salmon burgers by mixing canned salmon with eggs, breadcrumbs and spices. Fresh or frozen salmon that has been thawed can be seared for two minutes on each side in a couple teaspoons of olive oil and then baked in the oven at 425°F for four to 6 minutes until the flesh flakes with a fork.
2. Oats: Oats are a whole grain food with soluble fiber that can help remove the cholesterol from your body, thereby lowering blood cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease. Steel-cut oats are the least processed. But they are chewier in texture and take longer to cook. Rolled oats are whole oats that have been rolled flat. They are still whole grain, are only mildly processed, and have virtually the same nutrient profile as steal cut oats. Oatmeal is the easiest use of oats. See the recipe below for super easy pumpkin oatmeal using canned pumpkin, and try adding some heart healthy walnuts on top. You'll want oatmeal each and every morning!
3. Walnuts: Actually, the type of nut you eat isn't that important, although some nuts have more heart-healthy nutrients and fats than others. Walnuts, along with almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans, contain an unusual combination of antioxidants and heart healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids that are protectors of heart disease. Walnuts can be eaten as a snack, coarsely ground and used as breading fish, pork or chicken, or sprinkled on a salad. But nuts are high in calories and can easily lead to weight gain if eaten in large portions.
Take care of your heart by including whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids and a lot of fruits and vegetables. Aim for regular periods of exercise to improve circulation and strengthen your heart. With these tips in mind, your heart will be happy.
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup skim milk
¼ cup pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 packets artificial sweetener
2 Tablespoon raisins
Combine oats and milk in a 2-cup microwavable bowl. Microwave on High for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Stir in pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, sweetener and raisins.
Yield: 1 serving
Nutritional Analysis per serving: 330 Calories, 3.5 grams fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 110 milligrams sodium, 62 grams carbohydrate, 16 grams protein
October 14, 2012
In my junior high and high school days, we still had home economics classes. Even at that time, the days of home-ec was starting to become nonexistent in schools. I feel fortunate that I had classes that taught me how to manage a household. I was able to develop skills of self-sufficiency. With schools forced to cut programs in an effort to save money, many children our graduating high school without even knowing how to fix a homemade meal. So what can we do about it?
Get your children involved in household chores and help them become knowledgeable about healthy meals. Did you know that you can enter your child who is between the ages of 8 and 18 in 4-H? 4-H is a University of Illinois Extension program that provides a chance for children to learn new things, develop new skills, travel to new places, experience new situations, make new friends, and most importantly have fun. Children can sign up for certain projects of interest, including cooking, clothing and textiles, child development, and health and fitness. Taking a project of interest gives a child a chance to "learn by doing."
Personally, I don't believe that I would have gone into the field of Nutrition to become a Registered Dietitian without my experiences in 4-H. It not only taught me the skills needed to succeed in the kitchen, but it also gave a shy girl the confidence to speak and teach others in a public setting. To learn more about 4-H, visit our Illinois 4-H website, or call your local extension office.
If your children are not at the age to enroll in 4-H, check out other resources to connect them to nutrition and health. I recently came across a really neat website called ViviLeDish. Designed for 3-8 year olds, this dynamic website includes over 200 child-friendly recipes, including some from celebrity chefs like Guy Fieri, Food Network's star host of "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives." This is a great tool to help children learn different types of produce. And I especially love that it teaches children that certain foods should be "sometimes" food and others can be "anytime" food. Meet Vivi and her pantry full of healthy foods and fun activities to bring the all-important home economics back into the lives of your children.
You and your children will love this easy dessert recipe. It's what I believe Vivi and I both would call a "sometimes" dish!
5 caramels, unwrapped
1 tablespoon milk (skim or 1%)
2 tablespoons granola cereal
Combine caramels and milk in 1-cup glass measure. Microwave (high), uncovered, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until caramels are melted, stirring once. Cool slightly. Peel and slice bananas into 2 individual serving dishes. Pour caramel mixture over bananas. Sprinkle each with granola. Serve warm.
Yield: 2 servings
Nutrients Per Serving: 248 Calories, 4 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 52 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams dietary fiber, 62 milligrams sodium, 1 milligram cholesterol
October 5, 2012
Some people claim they are either born with a taste for sweet or a taste for salt or savor. I've come to believe that on the day I was born, I was asking for the nurse to squirt chocolate in my baby bottle. Controlling my sweet tooth isn't always easy, but I've found some tricks that I thought I would share.
There will be times that you will overindulge, but don't beat yourself up over it. Go back to these tips to help the everyday struggle of managing your sweet tooth. And remember; you are a role model for your children. Pass down good and sensible eating habits!
Chocolate Banana Bread
½ cup margarine, softened
½ cup Splenda®
½ cup sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
¼ cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
¼ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup finely chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix together margarine and sugars very thoroughly. Add eggs, bananas, milk, and vanilla; stir well. Add rest of ingredients and mix until just barely combined.
Pour batter into a greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan; cool completely before wrapping for storage.
Yield: 14 servings, 1 serving = 1 slice
Nutritional analysis per serving: 198 Calories, 8 grams total fat, 27 milligrams cholesterol, 247 milligrams sodium, 27 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram dietary fiber, 4 grams protein
September 7, 2012
School is now in session, which means its back to routine for parents and kids. But with the craziness of getting everyone ready in the morning, breakfast often gets overlooked and shoved aside. Don't let it! I've told you before that breakfast if truly the most important meal of the day; well, it is! You and your kids need to fuel up to get your brain and body ready to learn and be productive. And it doesn't take as long as you think to get a good hearty breakfast on the table.
Check out my previous post, "Choose Breakfast for a Healthy Start" for some easy breakfast ideas. And if you're tired of the ole' cold cereal and milk, try "Cinnamon Quinoa with Peaches." This protein powered recipe is in the American Heart Association's new Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook and is perfect for a cooler weathered morning. You might be thinking, "Who has time for a slow cooker meal for breakfast?" However, slow cookers are great to turn on as soon as you get up in the morning. And by the time you and the family are ready to head out the door, your slow cooker breakfast awaits you. Just make sure to choose recipes that only take 1-2 hours and do any prep work the night before. This recipe uses a simple sauce made with fat free half-in-half, sugar and vanilla extract. Whip it up the night before and store in the fridge until the next morning to save some precious time in the morning. The recipe uses frozen peaches, which are simple and easy to thaw, but feel free to use fresh peaches while they are in season!
If you are unfamiliar with quinoa, this is the perfect introduction to one of the most nutritious foods around. Even though we consider it to be a whole grain, it's actually not a grain but rather a seed. It's high in fiber, high in quality protein, and is a good source of vitamin E, folate, magnesium and phosphorus. Quinoa cooks much like rice does and can be used in many dishes that call for rice. But it's so versatile that it can even be used in a sweeter dish. Give it a try and let me know if you like it!
Cinnamon Quinoa with Peaches
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well under cold running water and drained
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups fat-free half-and-half
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups frozen unsweetened peach slices, thawed and sliced or diced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, dry-roasted and coarsely chopped
Lightly spray the slow cooker with cooking spray. Pour in the water. Stir in the quinoa and cinnamon. Cook, covered, on low for 2 hours or on high for 1 hour, or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Just before the quinoa is ready, in a small bowl, stir together the half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla until the sugar has dissolved. Spoon the quinoa into bowls. Top with the peaches. Pour in the half-and half mixture. Sprinkle with the pecans.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 254 Calories, 7 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 65 milligrams sodium, 42 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 10 grams protein
August 17, 2012
Lately, I have been on an avocado kick. I've discovered that this fruit (yes it is a fruit!) is well more than the star of guacamole. It has lifted my sometimes boring salads, salsas and sandwiches to a level of tasty goodness I would never have expected. If you and your family haven't explored all the options the avocado can give, you're missing out!
First of all, while avocados may have quite a bit of calories (just one fifth of a medium avocado has 50 calories), it's not without reason. Avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fats, and these are the good fats that may help decrease cholesterol levels. Avocados also provide numerous vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals making it a healthy addition to anyone's diet.
Even infants, toddlers and kids tend to love the taste of avocado. Their smooth, creamy consistency makes them especially appealing to babies. But of course, we adults love them, too. Avocados can be blended into a smoothie, scrambled into eggs, or spread on top of a whole grain bagel or slice of toast for a serving of fruit for breakfast. Try them on your favorite sandwich, burger or salad for lunch. And add them to pasta or puree them into a dip for shrimp or chicken wings for the perfect dinner meal. Plus, you can replace half the fat in your favorite baked dessert with equal amounts of fresh avocado to increase your fruit intake, while providing a healthier source of fats.
Like apples, avocados are susceptible to oxidation and turn brown when sliced and exposed to air. To prevent this, place avocado in an airtight container or wrap tightly with plastic wrap after sprinkling on a small amount of lemon juice or ascorbic acid (Fruit Fresh®). Avocados will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Guacamole with Homemade Tortilla Chips
8 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chili powder or other seasonings (optional)
3 tomatillos, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
1/3 cup onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded and coarsely mashed
3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon salt
Makes 16 servings: 2 tablespoons guacamole and 4 chips
Nutritional analysis per serving: 57 calories, 2.6 grams of fat, 1.2 grams of protein, 0 cholesterol and 189 mgs of sodium.
August 7, 2012
I recently picked up a single serving container of Dannon® Strawberry Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt at our local market. However, I made the big mistake of not looking at the Nutrition Facts Label before purchasing. Excited to dig in, I grabbed a heaping spoonful and ate. But that one bite felt like it would put me in a sugar coma if I continued to eat! Once I looked at the label, I realized it contained 26 grams of sugar for just a 6 oz. serving.
Being a dietitian, I already know that both yogurt and fruit contain natural sugars. But I also know that this particular yogurt could not have 26 grams of natural sugars. So the rest must be added. I looked on the ingredients list and sure enough, "sugar" is the third ingredient listed, followed by fructose syrup and high fructose corn syrup. But wouldn't it have been easier if I could have just read the Nutrition Facts label and seen exactly how much "added sugars" were in there?
The FDA wants to study how consumers would behave when their food labels include how many "added sugars" the product contains. While some organizations, such as the American Heart Association, support the addition to the food label, others prefer the food label not change. The National Dairy Council, for instance, believes that adding "added sugars" to the label will lead to more confusion and that people will ultimately miss out on nutritious foods that have sugars added to them to make them tasty. I believe they are talking about chocolate milk here!
The Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate.gov recommend that we limit our intake of added sugars. But how do we do that if we don't know how much added sugars are in the products we're eating?
So what do you think? Do you want to see how much added sugars are in the products you eat? Do you think it will cause more confusion? In the meantime, here are some tips to help you avoid too many added sugars in the diet:
If you haven't had muesli, you must try this! It's a great way to use up plain yogurt!
1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup unsweetened or fruit-juice-sweetened cranberry juice
6 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats, (not quick-cooking or steel-cut)
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon wheat germ
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Nutrition Analysis Per 2/3 cup serving: 209 Calories, 4 grams fat, 4 milligrams cholesterol, 37 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, 190 milligrams sodium
May 20, 2012
It's that time of year: fresh grown strawberries are in season! And lucky for me, my mom just brought some over from her garden. Now my brain is racing to figure out what I should do with them. Should I make them into a pie or use them as a topping for shortcake? Both sound tempting, but there are all sorts of strawberry dishes to make, and many of them can be low in calories.
Of course, lightly smashing them with a bit of artificial sweetener can make a delicious topping for angel food cake or non-fat frozen yogurt. But you can also try a savory dish by making a strawberry salsa and pairing it with salmon or grilled chicken. A strawberry spinach salad can make a wonderful side dish or stand as an entrée. How about strawberries for breakfast? Top your cereal with the juicy fruit for a hint of sweetness. Or mix it with low-fat yogurt and bit of granola for a crunch. And you're kids will love a strawberry smoothie for breakfast or an after school snack.
When selecting strawberries, whether at the store or in the garden, pick bright red berries and leave the caps on. Removing the caps may tear the cells of the berries, activating ascorbic acid oxidase, an enzyme that destroys Vitamin C. Check for signs of mold growth. Even if just one berry is moldy, you should throw the whole thing out. Mold spores can have root threads and travel throughout the entire package of berries.
When shopping for strawberries, or when picking them fresh out of the garden, make plans to use them soon. Strawberries generally only keep for 2-3 days. Store berries in a loosely covered container in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Like most fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, it's best not to wash them until ready to use. Washing produce before storing may promote bacterial growth and speed up spoilage. If you don't plan to use the strawberries within a few days, consider freezing or drying them. For step by step directions, go to the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
For starters, I'm planning on making this delicious breakfast shake in the morning... Of course, the way these strawberries are disappearing, I'm just hoping there will still be some left to make it!
Fruit 'N' Yogurt Breakfast Shake
1 med. banana, peeled (very ripe)
¾ cup pineapple juice
½ cup low fat vanilla yogurt
½ cup strawberries, remove stem and rinse
Yield: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving) – 170 Calories, 1.5 grams fat, 40 milligrams sodium, 38 grams total carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber
April 27, 2012
I'm sure I don't have to tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But I'm going to. Because it is! Years and years of research show a multitude of benefits from eating breakfast. But sadly, breakfast is often a meal that is neglected or skipped. Do you and your children take the time to eat breakfast every day?
After a good night's sleep and many hours without a meal or snack, your body needs to refuel. Most importantly, your brain needs a fresh supply of glucose, its main energy source. So if you expect your child to do well in school or your own self to succeed at your job, eat a hearty breakfast! This doesn't mean that you need to make eggs Benedict or homemade Belgium waffles. Here are some easy, breakfast ideas:
Yes, even leftovers can do if you're just not a traditional breakfast-food-type person. And if you're just not hungry in the morning, start with something light, such as a slice of toast and then have a mid-morning snack like yogurt or a hard-boiled egg. If you're always scrambling to get out the door and you just "don't have time for breakfast" set the alarm just 10 minutes earlier! But if you have to, plan on a breakfast that is mobile. For instance, sip on an instant breakfast shake, take a carton of yogurt, a baggie full of grapes, or whole grain crackers and low-fat string cheese. Your child may want to take advantage of the School Breakfast program. Remember to be a good role model and eat breakfast, too!
Try this super easy oatmeal. And use quick oats for a quick breakfast!
Banana Bread Oatmeal
1 ½ cups fat-free milk
1 ½ tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup quick or old fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
1 medium-sized ripe banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans (optional)
In medium saucepan, bring milk, brown sugar, spices and salt to a gentle boil (watch carefully); stir in oats. Return to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Cook 1 minute for quick oats, 5 minutes for old fashioned oats, or until most of liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
Remove oatmeal from heat. Stir in mashed bananas and pecans. Spoon oatmeal into two cereal bowls. Top with yogurt, sliced bananas and pecan halves, if desired.
Yield: 2 servings
Nutrients Per Serving: 379 Calories, 15 grams protein, 9 grams fat, 63 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams dietary fiber, 405 milligrams sodium, 4 milligrams cholesterol