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Salads & Sides

Top Keto-Friendly Salad Dressing Guide for Ketogenic Diet

There are various types of salad dressings. A lot of these dressings appear nice. However, the most popular among them contain inflammatory oils and high sugar content. Some of these dressing appears to be keto-friendly. They, however, are not free from lots of unhealthy ingredients. Due to this, lots of people struggle to get the right keto-friendly salad dressings.

This article contains a guide to help you prepare keto-friendly salad dressings that are nutritious and tasty. That being said, let’s walk through some of the tips you can rely on when purchasing keto-friendly salad dressing.

Their Ingredients Should Undergo Minimum Processing

Before going ahead to buy a keto-friendly salad dressing, you need to look through its ingredients label. This way, you can be sure it is not too far from being natural. You should always be on the lookout for keto-friendly salad dressings that have a taste that is a blend of lemon juice, spices, vinegar, fresh herbs, etc. The reason for this is dressings with this taste are generally considered to be very healthy.

Still on examining the ingredients label of any keto-friendly salad dressing you are looking to buy. Take out time to look out for added sugars, MSG, and artificial sugars. The healthiest keto-friendly salad dressings make use of lemon juice, citric acid, vinegar, rosemary extract, and salt as a preservative. You should always be careful of dressings that have BHT, BHA, and, EDTA, as their preservatives. While going through the ingredient label of dressings, one ingredient you are most likely to come across includes guar gum or xanthan gum. This ingredient is used in preventing other ingredients from getting separated and also to make dressings thicker. It is an ingredient that is generally considered to be safe.

Keto-Friendly Salad Dressings should contain very little net carbs in Each Serving

When you go through the label of a keto-friendly salad dressing, you could come across hog-carb ingredients. If you do this, you do not have to put the dressing away completely. What your target should be is to get the right net carb per serving. The implication of this is when you come across a keto-friendly salad dressing that you think contains carb ingredients that are too high, you just need to look out for the number of net carbs per serving.

The best products have about one gram of net garbs in each tablespoon.

They should have God-Quality, Healthily Fats and/Oils as Their Basic Ingredient

When looking to prepare keto-friendly salad dressings, the best oils to be used are extra virgin olive oil, MCT oil, and avocado oil. You might not get a keto-friendly salad dressing of the right quality of you make use of any oil other than these three.

When you make use of olive oil and avocado oil, you can be sure to have the right quantity of MUFAs that are good for the heart. Although olive oil and avocado oil are great, olive oil is even better. This is because its antioxidant content is more than that of avocado oil. Its antioxidant content is effective in reducing the rate at which toxic compounds are formed during processing and cooking.

Contained in MCT oil are some saturated fats. These fats are caprylic acid (C8), capric acid (C10), caproic acid (C6). These different saturated fats get converted to ketones. Once they are converted, they get burnt as fuel. This is one reason MCT oils are great when used as a salad dressing base.

All things being equal, you are bound to get better health benefits from keto-friendly salad dressings made with cold-pressed oils as against dressings made with the use of soyabean oil, canola oil, and other refined oils. The reason for this is refined oils contain a lot of omega-6s and not as many MUFAs.

How to Get Keto-Friendly Salad Dressing when in a Restaurant

If you will be preparing salad at home, it is very easy to select the right keto-friendly salad dressing. However, this is not exactly what the case is if you go to a restaurant. When eating out, you really can’t take a look at the ingredient label before making a request. Due to this, you must know what dressings are considered keto-friendly options and are safe. You should also know the things to avoid. If you have no idea what you should avoid, you will as well end up consuming what is not safe or good enough for you.

If you are looking to find how sugary a dressing is, one way to do this is by paying special attention to the words used to describe the dressing. If the dressing is described with words such as low-fat, fat-free, and light, then, there is a huge likelihood that such dressing replaces excess fat with ample carbs.

Furthermore, a lot of dressings that contain raspberry vinaigrette, honey mustard, or other sweet ingredients tend to contain sugars, as well as ingredients that are high in carbs. That’s not all. Thousand Island dressing, French dressing, pre-bottled vinaigrettes, and French dressing contain high levels of carbs.

When looking to purchase the best keto-friendly alternatives, always be on the lookout for chunky bleu cheese, and ranch dressing. Although these are good alternatives, they could contain oils of lower quality and also more carbs than you expect. It might be difficult to get this information when at the restaurant. Due to this, you should carry out your research before ever heading to the restaurant. If you fail to come across a trusted option, you can head to restaurants with a keto-friendly salad dressing. When you do this, you are certain you will not be consuming anything that your body does not want.

What are the Best Keto Salad Dressings?

There are lots of top quality keto-friendly salad dressings in the market. However, if you must get value for your money, you will need to buy the best keto-friendly salad dressings.

Some of the best keto-friendly salad dressings you can buy include;

  • Skinny girls dressings
  • Great Value Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  • Great Value Blue Cheese Dressing
Categories
Salads & Sides

California Steak Salad

Flank steak is my new favorite protein. It’s relatively low in saturated fat (compared to other cuts of meat), it’s versatile, on the less pricey side, and boy does it taste delicious.  Even without a marinade, flank steak is just tasty.  For Mother’s Day this year Nick made this California Steak salad for me, my mom and his mom.  It didn’t disappoint. California Steak Salad 2

California Steak Salad

Author: Modified from Cooking Light

Serves: 4 salads

Ingredients

  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 3 medium heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 (10-oz) container arugula and spinach (or 5-oz each)
  • 16 oz. salt and pepper seasoned flank steak
  • 1 ripe peeled avocado, sliced
  • ½ cup thinly sliced basil
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • ¼ cup reduced fat blue cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray and heat the flank steak to your desired temperature (I like medium rare, which took about 6 minutes per side). Set aside.
  2. Combine oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add tomatoes, toss gently to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the arugula and spinach.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the flank steak.
  4. Divide the tomato/greens mixture among 4 plants; top evenly with steak, blue cheese, toasted almonds, and avocado.

Notes

This is a low FODMAP recipe.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: ¼th of recipe Calories: 550 Fat: 30g Saturated fat: 8g Carbohydrates: 13g Sugar: 5.5g Sodium: 550mg Fiber: 7g Protein: 38g

This weekend we have guests coming over and I’m making another version of this salad, with skirt steak and peaches.  I sense this is going to be the summer of steak salads.  I am ok with that!

Categories
Salads & Sides

Tofu “Egg” Salad, Simple and Baby Approved

I’ll be the first dietitian to admit I’m an egg addict.  You probably know the research goes back and forth as to whether or not eggs are good, bad, ok in moderation, and so on and so forth.  I think currently the research stands at “They are good for you unless you have uncontrolled cholesterol and then you should just stick to two yolks a week”.  Anyway, I eat more than two yolks per week and I’m not too worried.  I started feeding eggs to Paige around six months and she loved/loves them, but I figured I should probably limit her consumption since, well, she’s barely a year old (and what’s the research say about little infant livers and cholesterol or saturated fat? I don’t really know).  I found this great recipe for a tofu “egg” salad.  I made it for myself but thought Paige would love it too.Tofu “Egg” Salad, Simple and Baby Approved 4

I know this photo doesn’t exactly scream, “Eat me I’m delicious!”. Sorry. It looks like egg salad though, right??

I’m still not really able to eat a lot of tofu, as it upsets my stomach (it’s a shame, really, because I love it!).  The only time I was able to eat endless amounts of tofu (and yes, I did) was when I was pregnant.  I’m still searching for any evidence that links pregnancy to reduced IBS symptoms.  I swear that was the case with me.  I didn’t care a thing about foods that normally caused me discomfort (such as FODMAPs).  Tofu is actually low FODMAPs so if you’re following a low FODMAPs diet you should be ok with this recipe (just be warned it might still cause symptoms regardless of whether it’s a FODMAP).  I can only eat it in small amounts (ie: 2-3 Tbsp).Tofu “Egg” Salad, Simple and Baby Approved 5

Tofu “Egg” Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 container Extra Firm silken tofu (strained)
  • Light mayo (or Veganaise for egg-free/vegan version)
  • Mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped onion **
  • Celery, chopped **

Instructions

  1. With a fork, start mashing the tofu in a medium bowl. Add the mustard and mayo until you reach your desired “egg salad” consistency. Use more or less as you please. Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as the celery and onion (or chives). Really, you decide how you want your salad!
  2. Serve in lettuce cups, on toast, on a bun, plain with a fork, or on a rice cake (this is what I did for Paige, my 10-month-old daughter).

Notes

** If you are following a low FODMAPs diet, celery is safe as long as you stick to ¼ medium stalk, or less (celery contains polyols). Instead of using onion, use the green portion of green onions for this recipe (or chives).

Clearly this week’s post was a lazy post. The photos are awful and the recipe is simple, but hey, it’s tasty so that’s all that matters, right?  I’ll be back next week with the third post about my experience with Baby Led Weaning.  See you then!

Categories
Salads & Sides

Avocado Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

When I was pregnant I craved Mexican food.  Seriously, anything with beans or avocado (or cheese) was something I would eat. Of course now, no longer pregnant, I still love good Mexican food, but it’s not quite the same love.  Avocado, however, will always be one of those foods that I crave.  They may even make it to my top five favorite foods list (you know, that list of your five foods you’d bring to a deserted island).

Avocado is great on its own, but topped with a good vinaigrette and surrounded by pine nuts and tomatoes?  Even better.  Actually, avocado is the “new miracle food”, in case you didn’t know (side note: I hate it when articles or any headlines call foods “miracle foods”.  So Dr. Oz).

Avocado Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

Author: Adapted from the Lemonade Cookbook

Serves: 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and cut into chunks **
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (or grape), halved crosswise
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Juice of 2 to 3 limes
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced **
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions

  1. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well (trying not to mush the avocados!).
  2. In a blender make the vinaigrette; mix the lime juice, maple syrup, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend on medium speed for a few seconds, and then reduce the speed to low. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until emulsified. Pour into container or a jar and mix in the cilantro.
  3. Pour about ¼th cup of the vinaigrette onto the avocado and tomato salad, keeping the rest refrigerated for another day (it’s tasty on fish, FYII!). Toss gently and add more salt and pepper if you want. Serve chilled.

Notes

** If you are following a low FODMAPs diet keep in mind that avocados aren’t low FODMAPs. They may be safe if you stick to ¼th avocado or less (specifically for those who are sensitive to polyols) but this salad will provide more than that amount. Also garlic should be omitted and replaced with a garlic or Tuscan olive oil (instead of plain olive oil) if you are sensitive to fructans.Avocado Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette 7Paige also enjoyed this masterpiece of a salad.  I gave some to her without the small pine nuts, and as she typically does with avocado, she took it to the face!Avocado Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette 8See you next week with a simple roasted red pepper sauce for fish and other proteins.  It’s a great sauce for low FODMAPers and gluten free’ers (yes, that’s a term, right??).

Categories
Salads & Sides

Greek Marinated Chicken Salad with Grapes and Butternut

I was in Los Angeles back in April for a wellness conference.  While there I had the opportunity to eat at one of their new food concepts; a “Modern Cafeteria Style” eatery called Lemonade.  I had actually received their cookbook from the University of Southern California, who had paid our school (OSU) a visit back in February.  They sent us each a copy of the Lemonade cookbook.  I’d briefly glanced at it but didn’t learn to appreciate it until after experiencing the place for myself.Greek Marinated Chicken Salad with Grapes and Butternut 10The first recipe I tried was this chicken salad with grapes and butternut squash. I quickly learned that their recipes are the complete opposite of what I typically like; ie: they are long and tedious!  I tried hard to cut corners with this recipe but there were still a lot of steps (the recipe below is a modified, shortened version of the actual recipe.  You’re welcome).  In the end, it was worth it.

Greek Marinated Chicken Salad with Grapes and Butternut

Ingredients

  • 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt **
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 onion, grated **
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced **
  • Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ Cup + 2 Tbsp. olive oil, separated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 5 cups precut butternut squash cubes **
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. honey **
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup red grapes, halved
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds **

Instructions

  1. The day before you want to serve this dish, mix the first 8 ingredients (only 1 Tbsp of the olive oil) with a whisk in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture into a plastic bag and add the chicken. Zip the bag and place in the fridge for at least 24-hours.
  2. Either the day before or the day of serving this dish, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the squash on a large baking sheet and drizzle with about 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and roast until nice and tender (~15 minutes). Take out the squash and allow to cool before using in the salad.
  3. Either the day before or the day of serving this dish, make the vinaigrette. Do this by combining the vinegar, ½ cup olive oil, lemon juice, honey and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl and whisking until well combined.
  4. Once the chicken has marinated for at least 24-hours, take out and cook on a grill or grill pan for ~10 minutes on each side (cook to 160 degrees). Take off grill, allow to cool and then cut into ~1-inch cubes.
  5. In a nice serving dish, once ready to serve, combine the cooked squash, the chicken, the grapes, the parsley, the almonds and the vinaigrette, mix well and serve!

Notes

** If following a low FODMAPs diet, you can modify this to be lower FODMAPs. Do not use garlic or onion in the chicken marinade, but instead using a garlic-infused olive oil and omit the garlic and onion. If you are really lactose intolerant this is not the best dish, but most people who are lactose intolerant can handle about 12 g of lactose in a sitting, and therefore this dish would be a safe choice. Next, butternut squash contains FODMAPs but not at amounts of ¼ cup or less. You can reduce the amount of butternut used in the recipe, or simply serve yourself less butternut squash when making your own plate. Next, omit the honey or replace with maple syrup. Lastly, the amount of almonds in this dish shouldn’t be cause for concern (they only contain significant FODMAPs if consumed in amounts of 10 or more).

Nutrition Information

Serving size: ~1/4 of recipe Calories: 500 Fat: 26g Carbohydrates: 35g Fiber: 5g Protein: 37gGreek Marinated Chicken Salad with Grapes and Butternut 11I made this for a dinner event I attended and didn’t really know how to serve it.  I thought about it and there are plenty of ways this could have been served; on top of spinach, romaine, even pasta!  Of course you could also eat it without anything, just serve as is.  I bought some hearty pita bread and served it wrapped in the pita (it would also work well in whole grain pita pockets).Greek Marinated Chicken Salad with Grapes and Butternut 12See you next week with a triple chocolate mousse recipe.  It’s one of those recipes that tastes like it took hours to make, but was so easy even a kitchen novice could make it!  And yes, it was from the Lemonade Cookbook.  They do have some simple recipes after all!

Categories
Salads & Sides

Chopped Kale Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette

Have you noticed that kale is the new cauliflower?  In other words, it’s found in just about all new recipes these days because it’s the cool thing to eat.  Who knew kale (or cauliflower, for that matter) would ever be “cool”??  I work for a large University and when I see these young “Millennials” scarfing down kale I can’t help but smile.  Of course, more often I see them scarfing down Gerneral Tso and pizza, but still, our last round of “Limited Time Offerings” included a pizza/flatbread with KALE!  To think we actually put it on the menu because it was a request.  I get goosebumps.Chopped Kale Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette 14Here is where I would tell you the multitude of benefits of kale, but instead I’ll provide the link to the “World’s Healthiest Foods”, which explains the health benefits in detail, and also summarizes them nicely.   Please make note that just about all fruits and vegetables are listed on this website of “Healthiest Foods”, because in truth all fruits and vegetables are healthy and should be consumed whenever possible.  Ignore those stupid adds that try to fool you into thinking bananas or avocados or carrots aren’t good for you. They lie.  Also stop focusing on those “Special Superfoods”, because in my opinion all fruits, veggies and seeds fall into that category.  Why just focus on the few that have marketing to back them up?!

I will point out one benefit of kale that I believe to be widely unknown; it’s ability to bind bile acids in your GI tract and therefore possibly aid in reducing cholesterol.  Cool, right?  So, here is the salad I made for Easter brunch this year.  Overall everyone really enjoyed it (other than my uncle’s friend who apparently doesn’t like ginger.  Oh well).

Chopped Kale Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale, finely chopped (any type of kale will do)
  • Fine grain sea salt, to taste
  • 1 cup chopped snow peas, fresh **
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and ribboned
  • 1 small red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup edamame (fresh or frozen, thawed) **
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced into small chunks **
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted sunflower seeds
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Handful of basil, chopped
  • DRESSING INGREDIENTS:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp low-sodium tamari or soy sauce **
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced **

Instructions

  1. Use a chef’s knife to remove the tough ribs from the kale, then discard them. Chop the kale leaves into small, bite-sized pieces and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the kale with a dash of sea salt and use your hands to massage the kale by scrunching up the leaves in your hands and releasing until the kale is a darker green and fragrant. Toss the remaining salad ingredients with the kale.
  2. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together all the ingredients until emulsified. Toss the dressing with the salad and serve.

Notes

** If you are following a low FODMAPs diet you can make the following modifications; omit either the snow peas or the avocado (because both contain polyols and they may have a cumulative effect if eaten together in amounts that exceed the limit per the Monash University phone app). I chose to omit the snow peas, and stuck with the avocado. If you use the snow peas, reduce the amount to ½ cup, if you use the avocado reduce the amount to ½ avocado. Next, omit the edamame (I made mine without edamame and it wasn’t missed). Lastly, instead of using garlic in the dressing, omit it and replace the flavors by using a garlic-infused olive oil.
** If you are following a gluten free diet use Tamari instead of soy sauce.

I made this recipe again the following week and packed it in my lunch for a couple days.  One day I added some baked salmon and I seriously thought I had died and gone to heaven.Chopped Kale Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette 15See you next week with a post about traveling while on a low FODMAPs diet!

Categories
Salads & Sides

Marinated Kale Salad with Apples and Oranges

The following post is sponsored by The Canned Food Alliance. I am grateful for the opportunity to highlight a product that I truly and legitimately enjoy and use on a weekly basis.Marinated Kale Salad with Apples and Oranges 17

As a dietitian I’ve sort of been wired to teach people that “fresh is best”.  But then, what are canned foods doing in my diet?   Perhaps the “fresh is best” slogan no longer holds true.  After all, canned foods fit into a healthy diet, and they fit well.  Canned (and frozen) foods have been processed in a way that actually locks in their nutrients, and in some respects they could even be considered a more nutrient dense choice than some fresh fruits and veggies (yes, I said it, gasp!).  Both canned and frozen fruits and veggies are picked at their peak ripeness, cooked, blanched, and either pressure canned or frozen. Signed, sealed, delivered, without further nutrient loss.  Fresh fruits and veggies, while also chock full of nutrients, start to lose their nutrition as soon as they are harvested, leave the farm, and travel for (sometimes) days on end before ending up on your supermarket shelves.  Yes, many of their nutrients are still intact, but these loses aren’t an issue at all with canned produce. I’ve been using canned foods to increase my intake of fruits and veggies for many years. After all, it’s not always easy practicing what I preach (and by that I mean making half my plate fruits and/or vegetables), but with canned foods it is much easier. If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know about my past obsession with canned pumpkin (don’t remember? Check out this post, Pumpkin Breakfast Parfaits).Marinated Kale Salad with Apples and Oranges 18

February is American Heart Month, and as you may or may not have known it’s also Canned Food Month (hence the post), but most importantly, it also happens to be the month my husband and I decided to pay a visit to our new friend; Baby Finn! Our friends Amy and Matt had a baby in mid-January and we stopped by the other day with a heart-healthy meal for the new family; Chia Meatballs (shhh, don’t tell them there was chia in there) and a Kale Salad with Oranges and Apples.  The chia meatball recipe can be found on my Facebook page (and, might I add, the delicious sauce was made from canned diced tomatoes, one of my favorite cabinet staples).  The Kale and Orange Salad recipe can be found below.

Marinated Kale Salad with Apples and Oranges

Ingredients

  • For Dressing:
  • 4 Tbsp canned mandarin orange juice *
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For Salad:
  • 3 to 4 cup finely chopped kale leaves (toss the tough ribs)
  • ½ cup canned mandarin orange slices
  • ½ medium red apple (Gala or Red Delicious), chopped *
  • -21 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  2. Place the kale in a medium bowl and drizzle the dressing on top. Toss a few times until well coated with the dressing. Let the kale sit for about 10 minutes, tossing often to re-coat with the dressing. Add the remaining ingredients, toss again, divide between two plates and serve.

Notes

* NOTE: If you are following a low FODMAPs diet, keep in mind that apples aren’t low FODMAPs. However, for most people a couple slices is well tolerated. Also, when looking for a canned mandarin orange to use for this recipe, watch out for any with high fructose corn syrup, which isn’t low FODMAPs. Look for a canned mandarin that is not sweetened with HFCS (I used one that is sweetened with Sucralose, or Splenda. You could also use one sweetened simply with sugar).Marinated Kale Salad with Apples and Oranges 19Marinated Kale Salad with Apples and Oranges 20

This salad was a hit.  While I was making it all I could think of were ways I could modify it to fit certain times of the year.  For example, wouldn’t it be great as a holiday salad with pomegranate, cranberries and canned pear?  I’d probably add walnuts in that case, instead of sunflower seeds.  I was also thinking about how this salad could go from a side dish to a main dish by adding beans for protein and fiber, or canned protein like salmon or chicken.  That’s the great thing about canned foods; they take little prep and they are an easy way to add variety to your diet and fill in nutrient gaps. Adding beans to any meal can boost heart-healthy magnesium and fiber (two nutrients Americans tend to lack), whereas adding fruit such as mandarins or grapefruit can boost vitamin C.  If you’d like more simple salad recipes, similar to the one above, or more complex, check out the recipe stash at MeatTime.org.  They also have recipes for soups, desserts, dips, and just about anything you can imagine.Marinated Kale Salad with Apples and Oranges 21

Before I head out I want to share some things about canned foods and FODMAPs, because I’ve sort of become a low FODMAPs blogger.  One of the reasons I’m so keen on canned foods is because FODMAPs are all water-soluble so cooking and especially high-pressure canning can help get rid of them (i.e.: it’s been hypothesized that FODMAPs can leach out into the water, so straining the cans could potentially strain out many FODMAPs in foods like canned lentils).  Regardless of if you are following a low FODMAPs diet or not, it’s still a good idea to strain your canned goods, especially vegetables, as this can reduce the sodium up to 36 percent.  If you strain and rinse you can reduce the sodium by up to 41 percent. You could also simply buy low sodium or reduced-sodium canned vegetables.  As for sugar, I’m not exactly sure how much you can reduce the sugar by straining and rinsing, but it certainly would help.  You could also start by purchasing fruits in “light syrup” vs. “heavy syrup”.

So in celebration of American Heart Month and Canned Food Month,remember canned foods do fit into a healthy and balanced diet.  Use them to your advantage, put away the excuses, and start building that healthy balanced plate!Marinated Kale Salad with Apples and Oranges 22

Of course, you could always be like Paige and get your fiber from paper. It’s her newest obsession. “Mommy, fiber is good for my heart!”

Categories
Salads & Sides

Greek Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Spaghetti is a starchy food. In other words, it contains a lot of carbohydrates per serving (about 42 grams, to be precise, and that’s in a serving according to the label, not a typical American serving, which is twice that amount).  Spaghetti squash on the other hand, is not starchy.  It’s one of the few winter squashes that is actually in the category of non-starchy vegetable, with only seven grams of carbohydrates in one cup.  Heck, eat two cups if you must, it’s only fifteen grams, still only one-third the amount found in one serving of spaghetti.  Not only does spaghetti squash have very few carbs, but it also has a lot of nutrients, per calorie, therefore making it a nutrient dense food (as most vegetables are, really).Greek Spaghetti Squash Casserole 24I try to take advantage of this time of year as much as possible, and purchase as many spaghetti squash as aI can.  I just can’t get enough!  We tried growing them in our garden this year, but failed miserably.  One day we will have spaghetti squash in our garden, you just wait.  Until then, I get it from the store and look for fun recipes to create, such as this casserole. It was so simple and delicious, I’ve made it several times since first discovering it.

Greek Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped **
  • 1 clove garlic **
  • 1½ cups chopped tomatoes
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. sliced green or black olives
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped basil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheet.
  2. Place spaghetti squash with cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance (NOTE: You could also put both halves in a microwave for ~12 minutes, instead of using the oven). Remove squash from oven and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warmed through.
  4. Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.

Notes

** If you are following a low FODMAPs diet omit the garlic and onion. Replace the flavor by using a Tuscan or garlic-infused olive oil, instead of plain, and add chopped chives instead of the onion.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: ⅙th of casserole Calories: 130 Fat: 9.5 g Saturated fat: 3.6 g Carbohydrates: 9.1 g Sugar: 2.5 g Sodium: 271 mg Fiber: 1 g Protein: 3.7 g Cholesterol: 17 mg

Nutrition Highlights: Under 150 calories, good source of vitamin A (10% Daily Value), calcium (12% Daily Value), and vitamin C (15% Daily Value)Greek Spaghetti Squash Casserole 25If you’re thinking it’s not much like a casserole, you’re right.  It wasn’t even made in a casserole dish. But, the recipe was called a casserole, so … it’s a casserole.  It was actually much easier than a casserole, so that’s a plus.  Nick and I chowed down on this for a couple nights.  It tasted great jazzed up with some grilled chicken too (or topped with a dollop of Plain Greek yogurt. Yeah, I said it).  But no, these two extras weren’t necessary. This dish was divine.Greek Spaghetti Squash Casserole 26Stay tuned for Friday’s post, which will be a highlight of my Top Ten Weight Loss/Management Products and Foods.  Spaghetti squash might just be on that list.

Enjoy your day!

Categories
Salads & Sides

Pomegranate Glazed Carrots with Pistachios and Chives

You know, when you cook certain vegetables, such as carrots, they are actually more healthy than when eaten raw.  It’s true.  By cooking vegetables, like carrots, the beta carotene becomes more bioavailable.  And we all need and want beta carotene in our lives, as it can act as a free-radical scavenger and help prevent chronic diseases.  This is of course why I brought this dish to our Thanksgiving dinner.  I was thinking of my family. Yes, I’m the thoughtful daughter.  They were thankful for me this year. Obviously.

Pomegranate Glazed Carrots with Pistachios and Chives

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced (1/4th inch)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses or concentrate **
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ⅓ cup salted pistachios **
  • 2 Tbsp. snipped fresh chives

Instructions

  1. Combine carrots, water, pomegranate molasses, honey, butter, cinnamon and salt in a large skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and cook until the carrots are just tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is a syrupy glaze, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pistachios and chives. Serve warm.

Notes

** Pomegranate, honey, and pistachios contain FODMAPs. Honey can be replaced with maple syrup in this recipe, and the pistachios can either be added and then avoided when eating, or replaced with walnuts. The pomegranate glaze shouldn’t be replaced with anything. Two tbsp. in 8 servings shouldn’t be enough to cause problems. You could reduce the about to 1 Tbsp. if you are really sensitive to oligos.

** If you do not own or cannot find pomegranate molasses or concentrate, you can make your own by simmering 4 cups of pomegranate juice in an uncovered saucepan over medium heat. Cook until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 45 to 50 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: ½ cup Calories: 119 Fat: 5 g Saturated fat: 2 g Carbohydrates: 17 g Sugar: 6 g Sodium: 241 mg Fiber: 3 g Protein: 2 g Cholesterol: 8 mg

Nutrition Highlights:   Under 150 calories, good source of fiber, vitamin C, and excellent source of vitamin A.

You know pistachios are such a great nut for the holidays.  I feel like they just make any dish an automatic “holiday dish”.  Do you remember these pistachio stuffed dates I made last year?  If you’re looking for a good appetizer or even dessert for your next holiday gathering, check out those dates.  Amazing.  But of course pistahios go with savory dishes too, such as these carrots (although this was more like a savory sweet dish, the best of both worlds).Pomegranate Glazed Carrots with Pistachios and Chives 28

So, back to the carrots, I don’t know about you but I’m a huge fan of cooked carrots. Huge.  I actually went through a phase where I was buying carrots in the 5 lb. bags, shredding them, cutting them, and roasting the, and eating them within a week.  I’d much rather eat cooked carrots than raw carrots, how about you?  So this side dish really hit the spot.Pomegranate Glazed Carrots with Pistachios and Chives 29

Enjoy!  And have a great weekend. Any fun plans??  I’m going to a friend’s house this evening for a fun girl gathering, then this weekend Nick and I are putting up the tree and possibly going to the Zoo to see Christmas lights (and Santa, of course).  Happy Friday!

Categories
Salads & Sides

Prevention RD’s Halibut with Cold Cucumber Salad

A little over five years ago I started reading a blog written by a dietitian named Nicole. Nicole’s blog always made me laugh (sometimes out loud, literally).  I always learned something new when I read her blog and she’s one of those bloggers I always had a secret desire to actually meet (like a celebrity!). One day I learned that she and her husband would be moving to Columbus.  I about died!  For two wonderful years my husband and I were able to get to know Nicole (ie: Prevention RD) and her husband Mark (ie: Mr. Prevention) and while they no longer live here (so sad) I’m proud to say we still have a special part of them in our kitchen…….Prevention RD’s Halibut with Cold Cucumber Salad 31

If you haven’t ordered Nicole’s cookbook yet, what in the world are you waiting for?!  The price is right, at just over fifteen dollars, and the plethora of sinfully healthy recipes that you get in exchange are worth every penny. Go ahead, buy it.  I’m waiting.

I have already marked/tabbed about fifteen pages, and counting, of recipes I plan on making eventually.  But the first one I chose was the Halibut with Cold Cucumber Salad. After all, it’s the perfect “Summer is coming to an end, so I should take advantage of all summer has to offer before it’s too late” recipe!Prevention RD’s Halibut with Cold Cucumber Salad 32

I think everyone who writes and/or blogs about food aspires to be as good at making food look as irresistible as Nicole does.  I thought about just using her photo, along, on this blog post, and not sharing my own.  But, while Nicole definitely has a true talent for food photography, I don’t think I lag too far behind (please hold your comments to yourself!).

Close?Prevention RD’s Halibut with Cold Cucumber Salad 33

Well as you can see I took out the red onions and used chives instead, just to make this FODMAPs-friendly.  But of course you can use red onions, as the original recipe suggests.  And if you’re not willing to spend $25/lb. on your fish (yes, halibut is not cheap, but oh my gosh it’s worth every penny. It literally melts in your mouth) you could use cod or tilapia I’m sure.  This cold cucumber salad would go with just about any light/mild fish.Prevention RD’s Halibut with Cold Cucumber Salad 34

Halibut with Cold Cucumber Salad

Source: Prevention RDs Everyday Healthy Cooking

Serves: 4

Ingredients

4 (5 oz.) halibut fillets

1/4 tsp. salt and pepper, divided

1 cucumber, seeded and diced (I used English cucumber)

1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced (I used one of the thousands of Romas from our garden)

3 Tbsp. red onion, chopped **

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Arrange halibut on the baking sheet, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake 10-12 minutes.
  2.  Meanwhile, combine cucumber, tomato, onion, vinegar and oil in a small bowl.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3.  Serve halibut hot with cucumber salad over top.

**NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPS diet omit the red onion and replace with chives.  Also, add more onion/garlic flavor by using a Tuscan or garlic olive oil, if you wish.Prevention RD’s Halibut with Cold Cucumber Salad 35

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1 serving
Source: CalorieCount.com

NOTE: These are slightly different from the facts in Nicole’s book. But overall, very similar. I’m sure we used a different program, or perhaps entered different products into our analysis.

Nutrition Highlights:  Excellent source of iron and vitamin C.  Also, this recipe provides ~2.2 grams of EPA/DHA, per serving (form the halibut, of course).Prevention RD’s Halibut with Cold Cucumber Salad 36

 Nick and I pretended like we were at dinner with Mark and Nicole as we ate this amazing meal (haha, jk, we aren’t that strange, but that would have been nice!).  We enjoyed every morsel and are both looking forward to many more Prevention-inspired recipes.

 QUESTION:  What’s the last cookbook you purchased?  Have you used it at all?  I’ll be honest, I rarely use cookbooks anymore, but Nicole’s? You better believe it’s my new food bible.

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd