Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1/4th of dish
Ok, I know what you’re thinking….”Really, Gina, the best? I mean, come on, how could it be the best?!”. Let me preface this post by telling you that ever since I was a young girl I have been obsessed with olives (black, green, I don’t care) and anything pickled (I can only imagine what I will crave when I’m pregnant. I have this feeling I will be making Nick go for grocery runs to get me some pickled beets. Seriously, I just know it). Last year around this time our neighbor Katie came over with an amazing quinoa salad. I took one bite and instantly fell in love. I realized it was the combination of cucumber and dill that really grabbed hold of my taste buds, and sent me to heaven on Earth (haha, like that?!). When I asked her for the recipe she basically just gave me the list of ingredients and told me she just adds everything together, without measuring. Well, as strange at that sounds, when I tried it for the first time last year, it worked! And of course when I tried it again this year, it worked again (who doesn’t love a recipe that involves zero measuring?!). Of course, I know there are a handful of people who get some anxiety when a recipe doesn’t tell you exactly how much of each ingredient to use, therefore I’ll provide some measurements for you (and I will use these to come up for an estimate for the nutrition facts).
** When you make this recipe yourself be sure to add more or less of certain ingredients, based on your own preferences. **
NOTE: If you are following a low FODMAPs diet, you’ll be pleased to know this is low FODMAPs. Enjoy!
|Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1/5th of recipe
Nutrition Highlights: Good source of protein, iron and fiber, and an excellent source of vitamin A
Other Nutrition Highlights
– The fats from the olive oil help you absorb both the lycopene and beta carotene.Do you ever eat tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc. by themselves? You should always include a bit of healthy fats to help promote the bioavailability (absorption) of their disease-fighting nutrients! Another way to promote bioavailability is to cook these foods.
Question: Which ingredient would you add more or less of, to make this recipe fit your unique taste preferences?
Do you have any recipes/foods that you believe are so freaking amazing that you have actually considered selling them? I do, and it’s my granola.
|I know this is such a tease. I’m talking about, and showing you my granola, but not giving you the recipe. I’m purposefully trying to entice you, so when you see this on your grocery store shelves you think “I HAVE TO BUY THAT!”|
When the mid-afternoon munchies come at me like a rabid beast, I know exactly where to go…my garage! Why the garage? That’s where I store my granola. It’s just so good that I can’t keep myself away from it when it’s too close to me (HINT: If you have a favorite food that you could mindlessly eat for hours on end, put it somewhere far away, like the garage, so you have to think before you dig in!).
Because I plan on selling my granola…..eventually (in my dreams really) I can’t give out the recipe. But here are the ingredients;
Old Fashioned Oats
But since I don’t blog to disappoint, I will provide the recipe for my amazing granola bars. Nick gets a granola bar in his lunch every day. Yes, I married a granola bar lover (and of course, I’m a lover myself. I could live off of granola and granola bars. Toss me in the woods and leave me with a lifetime supply of granola and granola bars, and I’d be happy).
Have you noticed how expensive granola bars are these days? Have you noticed the nutrition facts? Many are loaded with added sugars, and not so many beneficial ingredients. For this reason I decided to come up with my own granola bar recipe. I wanted my bar to have some fruit, protein, and whole grains, so this is what I came up with;
- 4 cups old fashioned oats
- 9 ounces prunes, pureed (~1-cup total, after pureed)
- ¾ cup almond butter
- ¾ cup peanuts
- 3 Tbsp. molasses
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- Combine the prunes, almond butter, and molasses in a bowl and put in microwave for about 15 seconds to get it soft. With clean hands, blend together the softened prune, almond butter and molasses.
- Combine the oats, peanuts, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne in a separate bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients to the prune/almond butter/molasses mixture, and blend to combine (with clean hands).
- Add the mixture to a square pan, then put in the fridge for a few hours to allow to slightly harden, making it easier to cut them with a knife. (I actually use one of those brownie pans that is divided into squares already, and I cut them right away, while they are soft, then I put them in the fridge to harden so I can wrap them easily).
- Cut into 12 or 24 bars.
|Wrap them up and save them in the fridge or freezer.|
And I’ll admit it, I’m just as addicted to these bars as I am to my granola. Maybe I’ll sell these one day too. Who knows. But until then, make them, and love them, and get back to me so I can hear how much you enjoy them! Oh, and P.S, don’t tell your kids or hubby, or whoever, that these are made with prunes. Nick loved these until I told him they were made with prunes. Darn it. He still eats them though
One of my favorite snack foods to discuss with clients are chips! Of course not all chips are healthy, and in fact most of them aren’t healthy at all. A couple months ago I found this article on CookingLight.com, which listed the top ten most healthy chips.
I don’t always agree with these articles, but this one was written by an RD (making it much more credible, in my opinion) and I agreed with each and every one! Here are some of the chips that were listed;
- Popchips; Salt & Pepper
- Terra Chips; Plain Sweet Potato ** I would argue that all Terra Chips are a healthier alternative to regular potato chips. I tell clients about these quite often **
- Food Should Taste Good; Blue Corn Tortilla Chips ** I’m also a fan of their sweet potato flavor, and olive flavor…..YUM! **
- Kettle Brand; Baked Potato Chips with Sea Salt
- Sunchips; Original
- Miguel’s Organic Gluten Free Dippers (this was not on the list, I added it!)
Many times when I’m trying to explain to people that a certain chip is actually healthier than others, they look at me in disbelief because the fat content is typically still really high. So, what do I consider a “healthier” chip?
- Low sodium (under 140 mg per serving)
- Under 1 gram of saturated fat, and of course ZERO trans fat
- 2 or more grams of fiber
- Good source (10% of DV, or more) of some type of vitamin or mineral; such as vitamin A in the Terra chips
When people tell me they eat pretzels for a “healthy snack” (ahem…DAD!), I try to nicely explain to them that there is zero health benefit from pretzels (and no, I could care less if they are baked and not fried);
QUESTION: What’s your favorite chip? Healthy…or not, I guess I don’t care for this question. My favorite chips are Doritos! The chips I eat most often would be Terra sweet potato chips, and also the veggie chips I buy in bulk at the store.
Think you should start a gluten-free diet to help you lose weight? Think again! Recently the gluten-free industry was “warned” about the nutritional content of their foods. Read this article for the full details.
Gluten free foods tend to be lower in fiber, protein, iron, and calcium, compared to their gluten-filled counterparts. This is because many of the grains and other ingredients used to replace wheat flour are low in these nutrients.
I’ve noticed a majority of the gluten-free products actually contain more sugar. No thanks.
So the bottom line is that a gluten-free diet may help you lose weight, but not because gluten causes us to gain weight, it’s actually because you will likely end up eating less in the long run (or at least until you get used to the new diet!). Do I suggest this? Not at all, unless you really need to go gluten-free for medical reasons.
The good news for Celiac sufferers is that companies might start using more buckwheat flour (a whole grain, which does not contain wheat) in their products, which will significantly impact the nutrition of these products.
Corn (whole is best)
** Oats (oats are only gluten-free if the package indicates they are gluten free) **
Rice (brown is best)
The ingredients in most of Mary’s Gone Crackers products contain quinoa, brown rice, flax seeds, and sesame seeds, which all provide some type of health benefit. I highly suggest checking out some of these products!
Question: I don’t think anyone should go gluten-free unless they have to, but gluten-free products can still be enjoyed by anyone, so what’s your favorite? Personally I really like the above products, and Bob’s Red Mill’s wheat-free flours.
Today’s Dietitian has really been making me happy lately. They recently posted a fabulous article, which talked about label claims. Here are some terms you may have wondered about at one time or another;
1) “Made with expeller-pressed oil”; this means the oil was extracted from its source (typically a nut or seed) by a crushing mechanism, as apposed to a chemical method, which typically uses hexane to chemically extract the oil. Hexane is a petrochemical that is apparently used also for paint diluent. Yuck!
2) “Stoneground wheat flour” or “100% stoneground wheat”; Similar to the term “natural” there really isn’t a legal definition for this term. Stoneground wheat is supposedly created by grinding flour solely in stone mills, as apposed to the more commercial method of using a roller mill. Since there is no legal definition for this term companies can claim their product contains “stoneground wheat flour” even if it has only gone through the stone mill once, then was completed using a roller mill. Tricky.
Stoneground wheat is meant to sound less processed, similar to “steel cut oats”, which are oats that have been cut rather than rolled. Are they any better for you? In my opinion not really. They may contain a bit more protein and soluble fiber, but I’ve found that this really depends on the brand.
3) “X grams of whole grains per serving”. Ok…so what? This means nothing to those who don’t know how many grams of whole grains they need each day. There are 16 grams of whole grains per serving of whole grain, and we need three servings per day. So that means we need a minimum of about 48 grams of whole grains each day. If a product claims to have “8 grams of whole grains per serving”, that’s half of a full serving of whole grains (eight grams is half of sixteen), and about one-sixth of your daily needs (eight is one-sixth of forty-eight).
These chips provide a little over a serving of whole grain, in one serving of the chips.
4) “High in antioxidants”. This is the one that gets to me the most. Have you ever picked up a snack bar or a sugary cereal and seen this claim loud and clear on the box? Vitamins A, C, and E are all antioxidants, which just so happen to be added to most processed foods. Because of this, many processed foods make the claim that they “contain antioxidants” or are “high in antioxidants”. It’s not a lie, but are these products the best way to get antioxidants? Not at all! Antioxidants work synergistically with other compounds in the food (many times phytonutrients, or plant nutrients), which is what gives them their disease-fighting potential. In these highly processed cereals, snack bars, and even juices, those phytonutrients are typically non-existent, therefore there is no synergism potential.
The best way to get antioxidants is from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, not a snack bar that has had them added, and especially not from a supplement that supplies you a mega dose of antioxidants.
Wild rice contains vitamin E, which is a very powerful antioxidant. Scientists haven’t even figured out half of the phytonutrients in whole grains, which may be working with vitamin E to help it provide its vast array of benefits to our bodies.
The same is true when it comes to fruits, vegetables, and fish. We know about many of the healthy components, but not all. There is a symbiotic relationships going on here that you simply can’t mimic with fortified foods and supplements.
Including fortified foods, vitamin water, and multivitamins with >>100% of the daily value (DV) of several antioxidants is not in anyone’s best interest. Consuming all these antioxidants from unnatural sources can in fact create a pro-oxidant situation in your body. To read more about this I highly suggest reading the book Superfoods Rx by Steven Pratt, MD and Kathy Matthews (see the link on my Amazon Widget to the right).
Are you one of the 9 out of 10 people in America who are not reaching the minimum recommendation for whole grains (the minimum rec. is 48 grams of whole grain, or 3 servings, per day)? Are you one of the 4 out of 10 Americans who consumes less than one whole grain product in a two week period?! (Source: Today’s Dietitian Magazine)
Why are whole grains so important? Check out this article to find out.
A while back I posted a day of my eats and I realized I wasn’t getting enough servings of grains, according to MyPlate, which recommends that I consume about 6 servings of grains per day. I was (and still am) getting closer to 4 servings of grain, which is fine with me, as I think 6 servings is too much for my needs, personally. I was reaching the minimum amount of whole grains (3), so I still felt confident that I was eating right.
*** If you go to MyPlate and find out how many servings of grains you need, just take half of that and that’s how many servings of whole grains you should consume each day. ***
Apparently in 2009 there were about 3000 new products released with whole grains, compared to year 2000, which had only about 164 new products released with whole grains. In addition, many restaurants (including fast food) are jumping on the bandwagon and including whole grains on their menus. So we no longer have an excuse to not reach our whole grain goal.
It’s a fact that most American’s consume a majority of their whole grains at breakfast. I know I do!
I always look for the Whole Grains Stamp on my grain products. If a food has 8 grams of whole grain, or more, it can bare this symbol. LOOK FOR IT!
Whole Wheat products
QUESTION: What’s your favorite whole grain and what are some ways you make sure to get them in your diet? While traveling for training I struggle to eat very healthy and I have found it hard to consume 3 servings of whole grain. An item I have been buying a lot is sushi made with brown rice. It’s definitely helped me reach my 3 serving goal!
I’m on my way back to Pittsburgh tomorrow morning, for my last week of training (well, sort of). As I said in my last post I will be starting at another store in Columbus (yeah!) at the beginning of August.