Homemade Almond Butter

Do you know how easy making your own nut butter can be? I LOVE making my own nut butters because they are so easy to make and you only need one ingredient… your favorite nut! Some suggestions are peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc. The list goes on! All you need is a food processor to blend the nut together for several minutes. They will become hot in the food processor and if the consistency remains thick, you can add a little vegetable oil to it (you don’t need a lot!) What better way to add some nut butter to your sandwich or to enjoy as a dip and you can create your very own jar?

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*Picture taken by Danielle Colombo, RD*

Fruit Lady Bugs

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This is a great one for the kids! Looking for something creative for your kids to make? Why not make a lady bug? This recipe is easy for anyone to make! All you need is chocolate frosting, a blueberry, and a strawberry! In order to draw in the legs, I used a white paper plate for the background in order to see them clearly. These make excellent snacks and the kids can get involved in making them too!

Gut Microbiota

A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains allows beneficial bacteria to dominate and inhibits the growth of  harmful strains. Here are some general tips for helping microbes in our body, however more research is needed on what the optimal solution is:

  • Focus on fruits and vegetables: A plant based diet rich in vegetables, fruit, legumes and high in dietary fiber and polyphenols seems to help the microbiota. These foods offer prebiotics.
  • Fermented foods may affect microbiota by influencing the gene expression of the bacteria that already exists. Yogurt and kefir are both naturally fermented foods with live active cultures and sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and raw vinegar are high in Lactobacillus bacteria.
  • Garlic and leeks contain natural sources of prebiotic inulin.
  • Focus on minimum processed foods and limit sugar and unhealthy fats.
  • Consider taking a probiotic supplement (L. acidophilus, L. reuteri, B. longum and B. bifidium) — during and after antibiotic use to help manage antibiotic-induced diarrhea. Antibiotics kill all bacteria (good and bad!), so it is helpful to take probiotic supplements two hours before or after taking antibiotics.

Food & Nutrition May/June 2015. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Turn Your Halloween Candy Into A Nutritious Treat!

The average American eats 24.7 pounds of candy each year. Most candy contains high quantities of sugar with nothing but calories and no nutritional value. Here’s a quick little breakdown of Halloween candy calorie content that might make you rethink opening that wrapper this year …

Starbursts: 8 pieces = 160 calories — instead you could be eating one medium apple with 1 tbsp. of peanut butter!

York Peppermint Patties: 3 miniatures = 150 calories — instead you could be eating 3 cups of air-popped popcorn with 1 tbsp. of Parmesan cheese

Brach’s Candy Corn: 19 pieces = 140 calories — instead have a 6 oz. low fat yogurt with half a cup of blueberries and you will still be saving 20 calories.

Reese’s King Size Peanut Butter Pumpkins: 2 cups = 350 calories — instead try eating a nutritious meal of 6 oz. of grilled chicken, 1 cup of green beans, 2 tsp. of butter, 1 small tossed salad with 2 tbsp. of low-fat dressing,

Caramel Apples: 1 apple = 250-350 calories — instead you could be eating a whole meal of 2 oz. of tuna fish with 2 tsp. of light mayonnaise, with one 4 inch pita with 1/2 cup of spinach. This all could be served with an apple and 1 oz. of baked tortilla chips!

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate: 3 snack size bars = 190 calories — Instead you could be eating 10 baby carrots and 2 tbsp. of hummus and save yourself 20 calories.

Tootsie Rolls: 6 pieces = 140 calories –instead reach for a whole grain English muffin with 1 tablespoon of fruit spread and you will still be saving yourself 10 calories!

Skittles: 1 regular pack = 250 calories — instead you can eat an entire meal of 1 egg, 1 slice of whole wheat toast with 1 tsp. of butter, and 1 cup of strawberries.

calsPhoto credit: www.redbookmag.com

Can We Really Call This “Stuff” Food?

I was just on http://www.buzzfeed.com (awesome website by the way!) and happened to come across a link to 12 fast food items that have a disgusting amount of ingredients.

Here’s a quick breakdown for you..

  1. Dunkin Donuts pumpkin pie donut — around 50 different ingredients (you may want to rethink your “sweet tooth” on this one!)
  2. Burger King french toast sticks — 82 different ingredients (think again when you’re craving a breakfast food, you’re better off making your own french toast!)
  3. McDonald’s filet-o-fish — 101 different ingredients (think you’re making the right choice by choosing fish? Think again…)
  4. Taco Bell’s Doritos loco taco — 72 different ingredients (if only they advertised all the ingredients on this new product in their commercials.. maybe it wouldn’t be so popular!)
  5. Subway Italian sub — 95 different ingredients (we might think that we’re making a healthy choice going with Subway.. I mean come on, Jared Fogle lost so much weight from eating sandwiches from here!)
  6. Starbucks birthday cake pop — 60 different ingredients (what a great present to give someone for their birthday… a cake pop filled with massive amounts of ingredients.. enjoy that for a birthday present why don’t ya!)
  7. McDonald’s chicken Caesar salad — 69 different ingredients (hmm… who knew a salad could have SO MANY ingredients?!)
  8. KFC pot pie — 208 different ingredients!! (but it’s not fried…)

So, you might want to think again when you go into a fast food restaurant! Even though something may be lower in calories or look like a healthier choice, look closer at the ingredients listed on a food product. Do your research. This is your body, your child’s body. We only get one body to live in. Why wouldn’t we feed it the nutrients it needs? Don’t give in to temptation and advertisements. Stick to simple, fresh, wholesome foods. We don’t need all of this “fake” food to survive.

no-fast-foodPhoto credit: robertdaylin.wordpress.com

Exposing Children to Veggies

Parents may have a hard time getting their children to eat vegetables, but just remember that when we are born, we have a blank palate and need to be exposed to different tastes. The foods a child is repeatedly exposed to will shape their preferences and habits. If a child is rejecting a certain vegetable, don’t worry because children may need 10-15 different exposures to accept a new food. Also, exposing your child to a garden can be a positive experience– both in learning where their food comes from as well as encouraging healthier eating. Adding vegetables to a certain dishes, like soups or casseroles, is also always a good way to “sneak” in some vegetables that kids might enjoy.

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Stay Motivated As The Weather Gets Cooler

It’s that time of the year again when we tend to eat more calories because of holidays, weather, and social gatherings. Do not get discouraged! There are plenty of  healthy “fall foods” that are packed with nutrients. Here are a few tips:

  • Soups can be great for you if they’re based around vegetables and not made with cream or cheese. Also, it’s important to watch your serving sizes!
  • If you are a fan of stew, make vegetables your main focus and go light on the meat and potatoes
  • Be conscious of what you’re eating and never eat out of a bag or box. Take the right serving sizes with you on your plate, bowl, to the table etc.
  • Many of us can’t live without pizza– and that’s fine. Just stick to one slice and add nutritious toppings (mainly vegetables) to get the nutrients you need while making you fuller
  • Instead of an apple pie, try apple crisp! Bake your apples and lightly dust them with cinnamon
  • The weather in the fall is extremely perfect for activities outdoors– hiking , riding bikes, walking (just to name a few) Get out there and enjoy the weather before the winter months ahead!

fall students walkingPhoto credit: school.eecs.wsu.edu

Grocery Shopping When We’re Hungry=No, No, No!

Grocery shopping when we’re hungry is not a healthy way to approach food shopping and will most likely result in buying foods that we weren’t aiming to buy in the first place– wasting MONEY, CALORIES, and TIME! (I’m guilty of this!)

Eating a light snack before grocery shopping or after eating a larger meal such as breakfast, lunch, or dinner is key. We will see numbers go up on the scale from buying foods we were tempted to eat when we were hungrier (and these foods are most likely not healthy options!) Keep it simple, stick to a list, aim for FRESH foods!

It’s extremely important to have a list with us at all times and ONLY buy what is on that list.  We should all get into a habit of writing down foods during the week that our families can agree on and only stick to those foods. Aim for a time in the day that works best to go grocery shopping– when we are relaxed and our tummies are feeling full!

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Photo credit: www.writeonnewjersey.com

Do you have any suggestions/tips/comments on grocery shopping?

Get The Energy You & Your Family Need

We all have heard that eating breakfast is the best way to start our days and get our metabolisms going. But what should our plates look like in the morning to give us the most energy and brain power? The answer is protein and fiber.

Protein and fiber helps us feel full longer, but remember it’s all about having a balanced plate. We all have different appetites and taste buds in the morning, so here are some great options to choose from!

Eggs are a great source of protein, calcium and vitamin D. And don’t forget to add some fiber-rich vegetables to your eggs as well! It’s helpful to add whole grains to our breakfasts such as whole grain toast, whole grain cereal, whole grain pancakes, etc. Low-fat dairy products (as well as soy based products) are also a plus in the morning. Using fresh fruit to put into plain low-fat yogurt is an excellent way to incorporate fruit (another excellent source of fiber) into the diet while getting protein from dairy products. Adding granola, nuts, or seeds to breakfast foods is also a way to get more protein and help us get the energy we need throughout the day! So let’s stop feeling sluggish, and feed our bodies the nutrients it needs!

**These are also great energy snacks to keep in mind for your work days/school days/everyday days!

Protein

Photo credit: nutrition.answers.com

What To Eat For Breakfast

People who skip breakfast tend to weigh more than those who eat breakfast. It’s important to eat a breakfast that is rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Protein and fiber help slow digestion to keep you full until your next meal.

Eggs, milk, yogurt, nut butters, and seeds are all good examples of protein filled foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds are loaded with fibers. Eating a breakfast burrito with eggs, cheese and veggies is an excellent choice. Also, eating at least one serving of fruit or vegetables at breakfast is a good way to start the day!

Remember to keep in mind that sugary cereals and sweet rolls will leave you feeling hungry by mid-morning.. so aim for a protein-fiber packed meal to keep you going!

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