A to Z healthy Eating

Are you getting all the vitamins and minerals you needs to keep your body healthy? To keep the body moving healthy and thriving, it needs to proper balance of nutrients . Although you can get most of these nutrients from supplements, it is better to get them from foods. Check out which foods you should eat to get the nutrients your body needs.

Vitamin A: plays a huge role in immunity, reproductive health, and vision. The highest amount of vitamin A comes from yams. Other foods that have vitamin A, include, spinach, fish, milk, eggs and carrots.

B6: Helps to metabolize foods, stabilize blood sugars, help form hemoglobin, and makes antibodies to fight disease. One of the richest foods with B6 is garbanzo beans. Other foods include, sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts, fish, chicken, dried fruit and bananas.

B12: This vitamin is very important for the nervous system, formation of DNA and red blood cells. Animal products are usually the best source of B12, such as, clams, salmon and tuna. However, there are other sources of B12, such as, nutritional yeast, fortified breakfast cereals and fermented foods, such as, algae, spirulina, seaweed and nori.

Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant. It is also important for protein metabolism and synthesis of neurotransmitters. Sweet bell peppers are the greatest source of vitamin C. Citrus is also high in vitamin C, kiwi, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cantaloupe.

Calcium: The most abundant mineral in the body. It helps to fortify teeth and bones, blood vessel and muscle function, and cell communication. Dairy foods contain the most calcium. Choose low fat dairy that are fortified with calcium, or dark leafy, such as, kale and chinese cabbage, and fortified cereals.

Vitamin D: The sunshine vitamin, helps to absorb calcium. It is also very important for immunity and mental wellness. Best derived from fatty fish, such as, swordfish, salmon, and mackerel. You can also get vitamin D from fortified dairy (yogurt and milk), and fortified breakfast cereals.

*make sure the breakfast cereal you choose is whole grain and has less than 8 grams sugar per serving.

Vitamin E: Powerful antioxidant. Protects the cells from free radicals, Improves immune function and healthy blood vessel function. Wheat germ is an excellent source of vitamin E. Sunflower seeds and almonds are also high in vitamin E.

*Only a few Tbsp. of nuts and seeds are necessary. Eating too much nuts and seeds can cause weight gain due to excess calories and fat.

Folate: Most important for pregnant women or women of childbearing age. It also helps form new tissues and protein formation. Folate is found in most green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and dairy foods.

Iron: Proteins in the body use iron for transport of oxygen and cell growth. Most of the body’s iron is found in hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to ALL the cells in the body. Heme iron is found in animal products, non-heme iron is found in lentils and beans.

Vitamin K: Very important for coagulation or blood clotting. Without it your body would not be able to stop bleeding. Green leafy vegetables are the best source.

Lycopene: Important antioxidant. May guard against cancer if eaten on a regular basis. Tomatoes are the best source, however, they must be cooked tomatoes. Watermelon is also a great source.

Lysine: Amino acid that helps the body absorb calcium and form collagen for bones and connective tissue. Protein rich foods, such as animal products, as well as, nuts, legumes and soybeans.

Magnesium: Important for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Some of these include, muscle and nerve function, keeping heart rate strong and keeping bones strong. Wheat bran has the highest amount of magnesium. When you process grains you lose the magnesium benefit. Choosing whole grains is your best option. Cashews and green vegetables are also high in magnesium.

Niacin: A B vitamin. Helps convert food into energy, aids in the digestive system, and allows the nerves to function properly. Dried yeast is the best way to get niacin, however, PB, or peanuts, and chicken are great sources.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Very important for brain health and reducing inflammation. There are two categories of Omega 3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA). ALA is found in vegetable oils, green vegetables, nuts and seeds. EPA and DHA is commonly found in fatty fish.

Potassium: Essential electrolyte, needed to control activity of the heart. Also used to build protein and muscle and helps break down carbohydrates into energy. Potassium is found is many plant foods, including, melon, avocado, strawberries, bananas, potatoes and many more.

Riboflavin: Also part of the B family. An antioxidant that helps the body fight disease, create energy and produce red blood cells. Breakfast cereal is very high in this vitamin, make sure you choose a lower sugar variety.

Selenium: A mineral with antioxidant properties. Helps regulate thyroid and improve the immune system. Brazil nuts are a great source, and you only need about 8 nuts. 3oz tuna is also a great source. Take caution not to over eat selenium, or over supplement, too much can cause selenosis, which can cause, fingernail loss, skin rash, hair loss, fatigue and irritability.

Thiamin: Actually called B1, thiamin is important for turning carbohydrate into energy. Dried yeast is an excellent source of thiamin, also high is pine nuts.

Zinc: Helps with immune function, also important for helping improve taste and smell function. Most zinc is found in animal products, such as, beef and chicken, oysters have the most zinc then any other food.

vitamin:mineral

 

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Keeping Meal Prep Simple

Meal preparation is the key to healthy eating. Too many people get overwhelmed with how to meal prep.  Meal prep should be simple, healthy and doable, week after week.

Follow these guidelines for healthy meal prep: 

Have a plan of action: This means know what you are going to need to prepare, therefore, you can go to the store and purchase what you need.

Batch cooking works best: My family and I batch cook. This means we cook several different foods and then put these foods together to create meals throughout the week.

Cook the foods that take the longest first.  For example, if you are baking rice that takes 45 minutes to cook, put it together and throw it in the oven so it cooks while you prep the other foods.

Avoid spending more than 90 minutes in the kitchen 2 times per week. My goal is to prep for 60 minutes, 2 days per week. It is doable and it does not get old. Spending too much time takes away from your day. Eventually, you will get burned out and stop food prepping.

 

Vegetables

  • Buy in season.
  • Prepare the vegetables: Wash them, peel/cut, if needed (such as carrots)
  • Cut into bite size or cooking size pieces. Place vegetables in quarter or gallon bags for easy grab and go snacks.
  • Roast vegetables. Heat oven to 450. Place assorted veggies on baking sheets with olive oil spray, salt and pepper. Bake until desired tenderness.
  • BBQ vegetables: If you are BBQ-ing chicken or fish, grill vegetables as the same time. Use lower heat for the vegetables or place vegetables on the top baking rack of the BBQ.
  • Steam vegetables: Clean, cut and throw vegetables in pan with a steamer basket and steam until slightly tender.

* Store all vegetables separate in individual containers or pre package vegetables with your meals. Cooked vegetables are good for up to 3 days.

Prepping Grains

  • Grains usually require stove top or oven or rice cooker. Most grains take any where from 10-45 minutes to prepare.
  • Figure out  which grains you need for the week.

- Easy Oatmeal: Soak oats in containers or glass jars for up to 3 days. Place oats, cinnamon, vanilla, protein powder and your favorite variety or milk or use water. This is a great grab and go! Add you favorite fruit and/or nuts and you will have an easy and healthy breakfast.

- Boil whole-wheat pasta al dente. Place cooked pasta in covered container or place cooked and cooled pasta into a ziplock bag and freeze. Toss pasta in olive oil and when you are ready to enjoy take frozen pasta out of bag and add to hot water for a few minutes.

- Baked rice: This is a great idea for a quick and easy side dish.

1 1/2 cups brown rice

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. olive oil

2 1/3 cup water or broth

Bring broth or water with oil and salt to a boil. Add rice to pre sprayed casserole dish, once water starts to boil, add water mixture to rice in casserole dish. Cover with 2 layers of foil and bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes.

Quinoa: Easy to prepare. 1 part quinoa, 2 parts water. Combine, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and allow liquid to be absorbed. Quinoa is great for veggie bowls or chicken and vegetable bowls. Quinoa and eggs is a great breakfast idea, just scramble the two together and add your favorite veggie.

Keep healthy homemade muffins on hand. These are great as an addition to a breakfast meal, use as a snack or use for after a workout. Use applesauce in a recipe instead of oil. Reduce flour a bit and add a scoop or two of protein powder.

Beans: Dry beans are so inexpensive and very simple to prepare. Rinse and soak overnight. If I meal prep on Monday, I will rinse and soak my beans on Sunday evening. Soaking the beans will give them a more tender texture it will also decrease the enzyme, making the beans less likely to cause gas.

Place soaked beans in slow cooker, add water or broth until the beans are covered by about 1/2-1 inch. I love adding garlic powder and cumin. Place on high and cook for about 4-5 hours or until tender.

Place cooked beans in a shallow container. Allow beans to cool and store in fridge for up to 3-4 days or freeze for about 2 weeks.

These beans can be used for burritos, a side dish, quinoa/bean bowl, mash and make into a mexican pizza, add to chili or other casserole type dishes.

Protein

  • Purchase protein that is on sale.
  • Figure out which proteins you need to go with your meals for the week.

Chicken

 Grill or roast or pan cook. Cut into smaller sizes. This will make cooking quicker. If the chicken is super thick, filet out and cook. Keep your seasoning simple. Salt and pepper works great. You can also grab Italian dressing and marinate the night before.

Keep chicken in ziplock bags or individual containers. Cooked chicken can also be frozen. Freeze and when you are ready to eat, place in fridge to allow to thaw about 8 hours before eating.

Turkey

Ground turkey can be cooked in a skillet. Ground turkey can be added to chili, casserole type dishes or add to spaghetti sauce for an easy Italian meal.

Prepare turkey patties and use during the week. Add whole oats and a bit of egg and your favorite Italian seasoning to spice up. Dice patty and add to a rice and vegetable bowl or use the patty on a whole wheat sandwich flat or wrap in butter lettuce. Patties are a great grab for an easy meal.

Fish

Bake fish: Bake at 350 until fish is cooked through. Allow fish to cook while your grains are cooking and your vegetables are steaming. Fish is best seasoned with lemon and fresh herbs.

Grill fish: While you are grilling your vegetables, grill your fish. Pre portion your fish and keep in small containers. Use grilled fish on top of your favorite salad, use for fish tacos or enjoy fish with quinoa or rice with roasted vegetables.

Pan “fry”: Heat skillet pan and spray with nonstick spray or add a touch of canola oil. Pan cook your fish with onions and bell peppers. Fish will cook this way about 5 minutes each side.

Boiled eggs: Boiled eggs are a great snack, great addition to breakfast or easy to make into egg salad on whole grain bread for lunch. I also like to use boiled eggs on top of a salad with beans and leftover vegetables.

Other Tips:

  • Keep fresh fruit on hand. Wash and pre portion your fruit.
  • Keep unsalted nuts in small containers. Portion nuts into 1/4 cup serving sizes.
  • Greek yogurt is a great grab and go snack or an easy breakfast. Toss in your favorite frozen fruit and enjoy with a homemade muffin.
  • Whole wheat or organic corn tortillas are great to keep on hand. Add your favorite protein or spread with hummus and add vegetables. My favorite is a whole wheat tortilla with natural nut butter and sliced bananas for a grab and go breakfast.
  • Keep canned beans and 90 second brown rice packets on hand for easy meals.
  • Try ONE new recipe per week. Look for recipes that have 10 ingredients or less and take less than 30 minutes to prepare.

healthy pantry

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Throwing a Healthier Super Bowl Party

Throwing a Healthier Super Bowl Party

 

January 1st has come and gone.  With the New Year usually come promises to make the “new year” healthier. However, Super Bowl is only a week away and the last thing you want to do is let go of your healthy habits.   Try and maintain your healthy eating habits at your super bowl party.

Prepare to eat healthy while enjoying your favorite team with the following healthier ideas:

 

Snacks

Whole-wheat crackers with spinach and artichoke dip (see recipe below)

Raw vegetables with a spicy hummus dip

Baked mozzarella cheese bites with spaghetti sauce

White bean dip (see recipe) with baked pita slices

Baked sweet potato fries with chipotle ketchup

Raw vegetables and Guac-aedamole (see recipe)

Shrimp cocktail with whole-wheat crackers spread with laughing cow light cheese

Fruit skewers with yogurt dip

Layer dip with mini corn tortillas

Kale chips

Garbanzo shooters (see recipe)

Sweet potato chips (see recipe) (serve with any healthy dip)

Eats

Mini turkey or vegetarian burgers (serve on whole-wheat dinner rolls)

Pita pizza’s with vegetables and reduced fat feta cheese

Chili (lean turkey or beef or vegetarian) (serve on top of baked chips)

Mini tacos (fish, ground turkey, lean ground beef or chicken) A vegetarian option would be bean tacos

Quinoa pizza bites (see recipe)

Cauliflower buffalo bites (see recipe)

Chicken Salad (made with light mayo, mustard and fat free Greek yogurt, diced celery, dried cranberries) serve with butter lettuce

Spinach salad with sliced eggs, white or kidney beans, sliced tomatoes, sliced black olives (drizzle with Italian dressing)

Mini Hummus sandwiches on whole-wheat or sprouted bread, dress with fresh lettuce and tomato slices

Drinks

Infused water: Infuse your water with a variety of fruits. You can also infuse water with lemon slices and mint leaves.

Flavored teas. Purchase flavored hot tea. Brew tea and serve over ice.

Kombuchua (a healthy beer alternative)

Iced coffee drinks: Brew coffee and flavor with vanilla and almond milk. Serve coffee over ice.

If you drink alcohol, choose a mixer without sugar. Try and use seltzer water or a light soda with splenda or stevia.

 

Spinach and Artichoke dip (2 options)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups white beans (or 15 oz. can, rinsed and drained)

1/4 c sesame seeds

1/2 c steamed spinach, chopped (thawed if using frozen)

1 15 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed

2 t Italian Seasoning herbs

2 T olive oil

1-3 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/4 t salt

 

Directions

1. In bowl layer sesame seeds then white beans (Important to put sesame seeds on bottom so they don’t fling everywhere), use immersion blender to mash beans and seeds together.

2. Add remaining ingredients and blend with immersion blender.

 

or Try this versions

Creamy Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 heaping cup artichoke hearts, marinated and sold in glass jars + reserved some of liquid (about 2-3 Tablespoons)

1 1/2 c white beans

1/4 c sesame seeds

1/2 c steamed spinach, chopped (thawed if using frozen)

1/4 t Salt

Blend all ingredients following directions above.

White bean dip

  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation

Place cannellini beans in bowl, and mash with fork; set aside. Heat a small pan over medium heat; add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and let it warm. Add garlic, and chopped fresh sage leaves. Stir constantly for 4 minutes or until garlic is brown and sage is crispy. Pour hot oil over beans; stir. Garnish with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, and add salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and store in fridge up to 1 week.

Layer dip

Layer the following ingredients

1-2 cups mashed beans or canned fat free refried beans

½ cup reduced fat cheese

½ cup homemade guacamole

1-cup fat free plain Greek yogurt

1 cup salsa

2 cups diced tomatoes

¼ cup scallions

¼ cup sliced black olives

Guac-aedamole

  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (like Cholula)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced

DIRECTIONS

  • Combine all ingredients except for the tomato in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Add the diced tomato and stir gently.
  • Cover and chill.

Serve with toasted pieces of pita, whole-wheat crackers, or veggies.

 

Baked mozzarella bites

  • 12 sticks part-skim mozzarella string cheese (cut in half)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Marinara sauce, for serving

DIRECTIONS:

Remove wrappers and cut cheese in half to give you 24 pieces. Freeze cheese until hard and frozen, about 30 minutes.

In three separate shallow dishes, place egg, flour and breadcrumbs, each in their own dish. Whisk egg. To breadcrumbs dish, add panko, parmesan and parsley.

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Dip frozen cheese sticks in flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg, then coat with the crumbs. Repeat for each cheese stick, placing them on the lined baking sheet. Freeze on sheet at least 15 minutes, or until ready to bake (this is a must or they will melt before the crumbs get golden).

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange oven rack in the bottom third of your oven.

Bake 4 to 5 minutes, turn sticks over, and bake an additional 4-5 minutes, watching sticks closely so they don’t melt. Serve hot with marinara sauce

Kale Chips

  • 1 large bunch Tuscan kale (10 to 12 leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon oilve oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 275°F.
  • Remove stalks and ribs from kale. Rinse and dry leaves.
  • Toss leaves in a large bowl with olive oil. Sprinkle leaves with sea salt and ground pepper.
  • Arrange leaves in a single layer onto a baking sheet.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until crisp.

Transfer and let cool onto a wire rack or paper towels.

Garbanzo Shooters

  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons of spice mixture (a curry, Morrocan, or Mexican spice mixture works well)

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Drain and rinse chickpeas in a colander. Pat dry.
  • Toss chickpeas in a medium-sized bowl with olive oil, sea salt, and spices.
  • Arrange chickpeas on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until crispy. While baking, shake pan or stir chickpeas to avoid burning.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl.

If desired, sprinkle and toss with more spices.

 

Sweet potato chips

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Cumin, paprika, and sea salt to taste
    • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
    • Using two baking sheets, toss the sweet potato slices with the oil, cumin, paprika, and sea salt.

Spread the slices evenly over the trays, and bake for 10 minutes. Flip them over, and cook for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

 

Fruit skewers with yogurt dip

Place assorted fruit on mini skewer sticks. Flavor plain fat free Greek yogurt with honey or agave, cinnamon and a dash of vanilla.

 

Quinoa Pizza Bites

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped (or 2 tablespoons dried)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Spaghetti sauce for dipping

DIRECTIONS

  • Place the quinoa and two cups of water in a covered pot. Bring to boil and then simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix together all ingredients, except pizza sauce, in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Distribute mixture into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top (one heaping tablespoon each), and press down gently to compact.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve warm with sauce for dipping.

Makes 24 mini muffin bites.

Cauliflower bites

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon melted butter
  • 2/3 cup hot sauce

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 450ºF. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, water, garlic powder, and salt. Whisk together until smooth.
  • Toss cauliflower into garbanzo batter, making sure to coat each piece completely, then place battered cauliflower on a lightly greased, nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, tossing halfway through.

In the meantime, combine melted butter and hot sauce in a large bowl, regularly stirring. When cauliflower is done, remove it from the oven and gently toss it in the hot sauce mixture. Place cauliflower back on the baking sheet and cook for an additional 25 minutes until it becomes crispy. Allow cauliflower to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

healthy super bowl

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Baked Banana Oatmeal

Want to try baked oatmeal? This is a great recipe on the go. You can make it ahead of time, cut and enjoy! This recipe makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

  • 2-3 large bananas (about 1 1/2 cups/350g mashed banana)
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I used 60 calorie almond milk)
  • 1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups oats
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Optional: add in ~1/4 cup honey/maple syrup/agave if you like things sweet or whatever mix ins you like! (I added in 1 Tbsp. agave)

Heat oven to 350. Add liquid ingredients, then add dry ingredients. Allow mixture to sit for about 15 minutes to thicken. Pour into 8×8 pan and bake 25-30 minutes.

Enjoy!

banana slices

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Healthy and Easy side Dishes

Ok, so you are making chicken or fish for dinner… but what are you going to pair with these foods? A lot of times people end up eating chicken and vegetables because it is easy and they do not know what else to pair with their “main” dish.

Let’s be honest, are you planning? Are you preparing? Are you really ready to be healthy and embrace nutrient dense foods? Most people will eat a light and healthy dinner and then end up over eating “snacks” or “treats” after dinner because they did not balance their meal well.

Check out some of these side dishes that are easy and delicious and can even be made into the main course.

Green bean and Potato Salad with mustard thyme dressing

  • 2/3 lb. redskin potatoes (about 4), clean and dice
  • 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. minced red onion
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions: Fill a pot with 1 inch water and fit with steamer basket. Add potatoes to steamer basket and bring water to boil. Cover and steam for about 10 minutes. Add beans and then steam for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, mustard, onion, thyme, salt and pepper. Transfer, beans and potatoes into a large bowl, toss with mustard mixture. Add fresh parsley.

*Makes 2 servings

Smoky Black Bean Salad

  • 3 1/2 cups black beans (no salt added canned) or fresh cooked beans
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. grape seed or olive oil

Directions: Preheat broiler and bring the oven rack to the highest position. Place peppers in a pan lined with foil. Place peppers on rack, broil, turn often, until skin is blistered and blackened, about 10-15 minutes.

Transfer peppers to a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside, until cool enough to handle. Hold pepper under running water and carefully peel off the pepper skin. Dicd pepper into 1 inch pieces.

In a large bowl, combine, peppers, beans, carrots and cilantro. In a separate bowl, mix together lime juice, dijon, and salt, slowly whisk in the oil. Pour on top of pepper and bean mixture. Stir to combine and garnish with cilantro.

* serving size 1 cup

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Mash

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1 pound of cauliflower florets
  • 3 Tbsp. milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh chopped parsley

Directions:

Peel and cut sweet potato into 1 inch cubes. In a large steam basket, steam sweet potato and cauliflower. Vegetables and potatoes will take about 10-12 minutes to steam.

Place cauliflower and potatoes in a large bowl and smash with milk. Stir in the Greek yogurt, garlic powder, salt and pepper. If too thick, add in 1 Tbsp. milk at a time until desired thickness. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Garlic Mushroom Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

Add 2 cups of water to a large sauce pan. Add quinoa and cook according to package directions. Set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet pan, add mushrooms, garlic and thyme. Stir occasionally, season with salt and pepper. Stir in Quinoa and serve immediately. Garnish with parmesan cheese.

quinoa spoon

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The different types of vinegar

There are quite a few types of vinegar on the market and most people do not know which vinegar to purchase. Hopefully you find the following vinegar information helpful.

Vinegar is a great calorie way to add flavor to your meals

Apple cider: Adds a tart, slightly fruit flavor. Really great for salad dressings, marinades, and chutneys. Great to keep on hand. May slightly discolor vegetables.

Homemade apple cider vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. agave
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. shallots (diced)

Combine first 6 ingredients, whisk together. Slowly add the oil and whisk as you pour the oil into the vinegar ingredients. Lastly, mix in shallots.

Red and white wine: Red wine is a great way to marinate beef or pork, white wine is great for chicken and fish. Great for making salsas, vinaigrettes and sauces.

Balsamic: Sweet and sour flavor. Compliments salty food, such as, feta or parmesan cheese. Great with sweet foods, such as, strawberries and blackberries. Makes a great dressing for dark leafy greens.

Mustard balsamic marinade:

  • 2 Tbsp. mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. paprika

Combine all ingredients, use as a marinade.

Coconut: sharp flavor and slightly yeasty flavor. Used in Thai and Indian cooking for marinades and sauces.

Malt: Very strong in flavor, slightly lemony. Great for pickling.

White: Strong and tangy flavor, commonly used for pickling. Also, used as a cleaning agent. Does not work well for cooking.

Ume Plum: Used in Japanese cooking, salty and fruity flavor. Best used in salad dressings and dipping sauces.

Chili Plum Sauce: 

  • 1 1/2 cups plum sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups Thai style chili sauce
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 3 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce or liquid amino acids

Whisk together until blended. Makes about 4 cups.

Rice: Asian cooking staple. Light flavor, perfect for salads, or on sushi. Read the label carefully, some may have high sugar content.

vinegar variety

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Build a better Breakfast

2016 is here! I hope you are ready to eat healthy. This year’s trend is all about simple and easy ways to make your meals easy. Meal prepping can be a pain if you do not practice and get a regular routine going. The more you do it, consistently, the easier it will be.

Check out some of these delightful and simple breakfast meals: 

Pecan Maple Oatmeal

In a lare saucepan, bring 3 1/4 cups water and dash of salt to a boil. Stir in 2 cups oats and 1 sliced banana. Reduce heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for about 3 – 5 minutes. When the water has been absorbed into the oats, remove from heat and stir in another sliced banana, 1-2 tsp. stevia or splenda or sugar, 1/4 cup diced pecans, and drizzle of maple syrup. Sprinkle each 1 cup serving with cinnamon on top.

If you would like to prepare the oatmeal the night before. Place oats in a container, that has a lid. Add water or almond milk until the oats are completely covered. Add sliced bananas, cinnamon and sweetener. Soak overnight, covered. It the morning heat the 1 cup serving and then top with diced pecans.

*Easy and delicious

Whole wheat English with Sliced Eggs 

Toast a whole wheat English muffin. Top each side of the English muffin with 1 wedge laughing cow light cheese, divided. Pre boil eggs and sliced 2 boiled eggs (one on each English muffin) and enjoy!

Spinach and Green Chile Omelet

In a saucepan, add 1/4 can diced green chiles and about 1 cup spinach. Beat together 1 egg and 2 egg whites. Add beaten each to green chiles and spinach, once spinach is slightly wilted. Allow egg to cook long enough that it is able to flip. Flip omelet and cook. Fold omelet in half and top with salsa. Serve with a corn tortilla.

Make ahead Breakfast Quiche

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet, on medium-high, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add 2 cup chopped mushrooms, 3/4 cup roasted or raw and diced peppers, 1/2 cup jarred artichoke hearts (drained), and 1/2 cup finely chopped green onion. Cook vegetables until softened. Spray nonstick spray in cup cake baking cups. Divide vegetables among the cups. Beat 6 eggs and divide among baking cups. Bake for 25 minutes  or until eggs are set. Remove and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Store in zip lock bag. Heat up or enjoy chilled.

Breakfast Banana split

Makes 4 servings

Place 2 banana halves in a shallow dish or bowl. Place 1/2 cup cottage cheese on the center of the bananas and top with 1 1/2 tsp. fruit preserves and 1 Tbsp. peanuts.

Enjoy!

breakfast banana split

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Selenium – An important Mineral in Your Diet

When eating foods, I feel it is important to focus on choosing foods with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Selenium, is a nutritionally essential mineral of the diet. It has been shown to help with reproduction, thyroid support, metabolism, DNA synthesis, and protection against oxidative damage and infection.

* If you are often sick, adding more nutritionally rich foods into the diet will help your immune system. Stop taking supplements and start eating nutrient rich foods.

* Selenium from food is more effective than selenium supplements.

Most adults need about 50-60mcg grams per day. 

Sources of selenium include, poultry, seafood, eggs, breads, grains, and most plant based foods depending on the soil. Nutrient rich soil will yield produce with more selenium.

Selected food source of Selenium 

Brazil Nuts (1oz 6-8 nuts)            544mcg

Tuna, yellowfin (3oz)                    92mcg

Halibut, cooked (3oz)                   47mcg

Sardines, canned in oil, 3oz         45mcg

Shrimp, 3oz                                    40mcg

Pasta, enriched, 1 cup                   37mcg

Turkey, boneless, cooked (3oz)  31mcg

Cottage cheese, 1% fat, 1 cup       20mcg

Brown rice, cooked, 1 cup            19mcg

Egg, boiled (1)                               15mcg

Puffed wheat cereal, 1 cup          15mcg

Bread, whole wheat, 1 slice        13mcg

Baked beans, vegetarian, 1 cup  13mcg

Oatmeal, 1 cup cooked                13mcg

Spinach, cooked, 1 cup                11mcg

Milk, 1% fat, 1 cup                       8mcg

Yogurt, low fat, 1 cup                 8mcg

Lentils, boiled, 1 cup                  6mcg

What does 50-60mcg look like in your diet?

Breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal made with milk. Add your favorite nut.

Lunch: Hummus and turkey sandwich (2oz) with fresh spinach, tomatoes and bell pepper slices on whole wheat bread.

6oz low fat yogurt

Small fruit

Dinner: 1 cup brown rice

3oz Grilled or baked Halibut

15 asparagus spears

* This simple and delicious meal has a whooping 133mcg Selenium

brazil nuts

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Preparing a healthy pantry for 2016

Are you ready for the new year? Maybe your unhealthy problem is the food that is in your pantry. Having the healthy essentials are necessary for healthy meals. Take the month of December to prepare for a healthy 2016.

Top 15 pantry basics: 

Brown rice: Full of fiber and flavor. Cook your brown rice with chicken or vegetable broth for more flavor. I love baking rice.

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 2 1/3 cup water or broth
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Bring water, salt and olive oil to a boil. Add brown rice to a baking dish. Add boiling water to rice and cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Enjoy.

Whole wheat pasta or quinoa pasta: Pasta is a great source of carbohydrate. Most people are scared of pasta because it is full of carbohydrate. The secret is choosing healthy sauces and portion control. Limit portion to 1 cup servings. Add lean protein to pasta and add lots of vegetables.

Whole oats (not instant): Oats contain soluble fiber, this fiber may help reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Oats are a great breakfast addition or a great binder in your lean turkey meatballs.

Chicken or vegetable broth: Always have broth on hand. Very useful to make healthy homemade soups or cook beans. Great way to add moisture and flavor.

Chia seeds/hemp seeds: Great to add to oatmeal, smoothies, cereal, yogurt or muffins and pancakes. These cute little seeds pack a punch of protein and fiber.

Whole wheat pancake mix/buckwheat pancake mix: healthy pancakes are great for breakfast or use as a snack. I love adding applesauce or smashed bananas to my whole wheat pancake mix. I also add protein powder, cinnamon and vanilla and eggs. Add water or milk until a pancake consistency and make into pancakes. These are great to pop in the toaster on a rushed morning. Top with natural nut butter instead of sugar filled syrup.

No salt added canned beans: any variety. Great way to add protein and fiber to your meals.

Nuts: almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, pecans. Nuts are full of healthy fats, protein and fiber. Just watch your serving size. Nuts tend to be packed with nutrition but also full of calories and fat.

Organic popcorn: Great as a snack. Popcorn can be easily popped in a paper bag without butter or oil. Popcorn is a great carbohydrate rich food that has healthy fiber. Plus, it is filling and low in calories. It is a great crunchy snack.

Canned diced tomatoes: These are great for a quick spaghetti sauce or chili. It is always great to have canned tomatoes on hand. Choose the variety without salt added. Canned tomatoes have lycopene that fresh tomatoes do not offer. Lycopene can protect the heart from disease and may prevent several types of cancer.

Canned tuna: Choose packed in water variety. Tuna is a great way to add protein to your meals. Limit tuna to 6oz per week to limit mercury.

Quinoa: A complete protein, source of carbohydrate full of fiber. Quinoa is actually a seed even though nutritionally it is similar to a grain. Prepare just like you would a rice. Eat instead of a rice. Perfect for vegetarian meals or use as a side dish.

Flavored vinegars: Red wine, white wine, rice wine, apple cider and balsamic vinegars are a few to keep on hand. These vinegars can be made into flavorful salad dressings.

Dry Herbs: bay leaves, dill, dried sage, dried thyme leaves, oregano, tarragon, and Italian seasoning blend. Dry herbs add flavor without salt to your meals.

Natural nut butters: Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter. Just make sure they are natural. The only ingredients should be nuts and salt. There will be oil at the top when you purchase these. Just stir the oil into the paste and store in the fridge. Nut butters are high in protein and healthy fats. Limit nut butter to a few tablespoons per day if you are watching your weight.

Top 10 vegetables for your fridge:

Broccoli slaw: great easy and simply way to get your vegetables. Add to salads or use for a stir fry.

Edamame: Great as a snack, or use on a salad. Full of protein and fiber. Edamame are soy beans and enjoyed by many.

Carrots: Baby carrots are great, but the large carrots tend to have more flavor and crunch.

Spinach: Spinach is great to add to soups, salads, eggs, casserole dishes and several recipes. Spinach is high in fiber and vitamin K. Spinach is also high in iron. Use spinach instead of lettuce on your sandwiches.

Zucchini: This vegetables is mild and a great addition to any dish. Use zucchini in stir fry’s or in your favorite pasta dish. Zucchini is great roasted and used as a side dish.

Onions: Brown onions, white onions, yellow onions and red onions. Onions add a ton of flavor and contain very little sodium. Onions are high in antioxidants and help boost the immune system. Onions can be used in a variety of dishes.

Radishes/diakon radishes: Crunchy and full of flavor. Radishes are great to keep on hand. Eat raw or pickle radishes and add to your favorite sandwich or salad.

Sweet potatoes/yams: These potatoes are starchy, meaning they contain carbohydrate. They are a great source of fiber and healthy energy. Use in place of rice or pasta. Bake sweet potatoes and yams, and freeze in freezer bags.

Green beans: Versatile with a mild flavor. Roast, BBQ, steam or enjoy raw. Green beans are great as a side dish, added to soup or chopped and added to a casserole.

Kale: It is a super food. Add to soups or salads. Full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A and iron. Kale is a great food to keep on hand.

Refrigerated Goodies: 

Local free range eggs: Eggs offer high quality protein. Free range mean that the chickens spend most time outdoors for at least part of the day. Instead of being cooped up. It is easy to make eggs into a healthy dish when you are in a rush and need a quick meal.

Frozen berries: Great to keep on hand to add to yogurt, muffin recipes, pancakes and smoothies. Berries contain antioxidants that can help protect against several types of cancer and diseases.

Greek yogurt: High in protein and calcium. Yogurt also contains active bacteria that will boost your immune system. Yogurt can be eaten by itself or you can use plain yogurt as a great replacement for sour cream.

Low fat dairy milk or almond milk: Fortified with calcium, great beverage to add calcium into your diet.

Lean protein: Lean ground turkey (7-10% lean)

Boneless skinless chicken breast

Tofu (firm or extra firm) or baked tofu

* It is best to use animal protein as a condiment. Animal protein has been linked to inflammation. Choose lean protein wisely.

healthy pantry

 

 

 

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Getting Back on Track the Day after Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has come and gone. You may have over eaten, oh well, it is done… time to get back on track. One day of over eating will not cause weight gain, however, several days of over eating and physical inactivity will add up on the scale. Try and avoid holiday weight gain, instead, focus on weight maintenance. Enjoy your holiday meals, but keep these tips in mind! 

- Do not skip meals the day after. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner

- Go through leftovers and toss anything that you may over eat again.

- Get your fitness back on. Don’t ignore the gym because you are ashamed that you over ate… instead sweat, sweat, sweat!!!

- Focus on quality foods. Fill your plate with lots of healthy vegetables, choose lean protein and of course high fiber carbohydrates.

- Avoid grazing. You are not a cow! Focus on meals.

- Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate some more. Most people think they are hungry, but the body just drink a sip or two or 64oz of water. Hydrate up!

- Shop Smart and Stock up Properly. Plan to eat healthy and you will eat healthy. Living off of leftover turkey will only last so long. Plan to go to the store and purchase healthy food items that will fuel and fill you.

- Avoid restaurant eating. Restaurants fill their foods with fat, sugars and salt. If you eat out often, your taste buds become “tainted”. Then, when you do eat at home your food tastes bland. Prevent tainted taste buds by eating at home!

- Don’t forget to weigh in once weekly. Don’t let weight gain get out of control. Knowing your weight will help keep you on track.

- Enjoy the holiday’s and savor each bite. Be mindful of your meals.

 

strong

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