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?

IMG_9908

*Picture taken by Danielle Colombo, RD*

Fruit Lady Bugs

lady bugs

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!

Obesity Health Crisis

“Obesity is a bigger health crisis globally than hunger, and the leading cause of disabilities around the world, according to a new report published Thursday in the British medical journal The Lancet.

The report revealed that every country, with the exception of those in sub-Saharan Africa, faces alarming obesity rates — an increase of 82% globally in the past two decades. Middle Eastern countries are more obese than ever, seeing a 100% increase since 1990.

And for the first time, noncommunicable diseases like diabetes, stroke and heart disease top the list of leading causes of years spent sick or injured. On average, people are plagued by illness or pain during the last 14 years of life.”

All of these problems are all tied to obesity. We need to change this! It’s all about awareness and education– we can stop this together!

obesity

For more information: http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/13/health/global-burden-report/index.html?hpt=he_c2 Danielle Dellorto, CNN

Think Smart, Think Water!

A conclusion of new research by T. Bettina Cornwell of the University of Oregon and Anna R. McAlister of Michigan State University have found that water could change the way we eat.

60 US young adults and 75 US children were surveyed about their food and beverage intake in this study. Older participants favored the combination of soda served with salty, calorie-dense foods rather than soda and vegetables. Preschoolers ate more raw vegetables, either carrots or red peppers, when accompanied with water rather than when accompanied by a sweetened beverage.

“Serving water, McAlister said, could be a simple and effective dietary change to help address the nation’s growing obesity problem, which has seen increasing number of diabetes cases in young adults and a rise in health-care costs in general.”

It’s important to start teaching children to drink more water instead of tasty, high calorie drinks. The earlier children start learning to drink more water with their meals, the more they associate this habit into their lifestyle rather than high-caloric beverages.

For more information visit: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120514122844.htm

Downsizing Candy Bars, But Will We Eat Less?

Mars candy bars will soon stop selling chocolate bars in portions larger than 250 calories, but will this stop the amount the public is consuming?

On Tuesday, February 14th, Mars Inc. made a promise to “fix” it’s chocolate products so no portion is more than 250 calories by the end of the year 2013. In other words, this means that chocolate bars will get smaller and some bars will be divided into 2 servings in one package to make it more known to the public that there is more than one serving of chocolate in one package. Studies have shown that eating from smaller packages increases awareness of portion size.

In my opinion, I believe that this a very good idea. I believe that we need to be more aware of the portion sizes we are eating. Chocolate is okay to eat in moderation, as long as we can limit our portion sizes. I think this will open people’s eyes up to what they are consuming while on the other hand, I’m sure people will still eat more than their supposed to be eating without looking at the nutrition facts or even the package.

What are your thoughts? Ideas? Comments? Will this make you consume less chocolate? Or will it make you buy double to equal what your used to eating?

1,081-Calorie Bacon Milkshake.. Seriously??

Jack in the Box has just brought out a new product, the bacon milkshake. It’s not actually made with real bacon, however just real vanilla ice cream, bacon-flavored syrup, whipped topping and a cherry… interesting. Some people are actually loving this milkshake, where others think it is not appetizing at all. Bacon shakes are apparently not new because there are recipes all over the internet where some shakes use actual bacon! Fast food companies are using all different techniques to surprise us. For example, KFC’s Double Down (two fried chicken fillets, surrounding two slices of cheese, two slices of bacon, sauce and no bun) and Domino’s Pizza’s Mac-N-Cheese Breadbowl pasta, where everything sits inside a big bowl of dough!

One 16-ounce bacon shake weighs in at 773 calories, 28 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat and 75 grams of sugar. A 24-ounce size comes out to be 1,081 calories, 37 grams of saturated fat, 3 grams of trans fat and 108 grams of sugar. This simply amazes me. What do you think about this? Is it worth it to you to spend all of these calories, fats and sugars on one bacon milkshake? Is this appetizing to you?

Think this product is a bit strange, here are some other food products bacon flavored:

  • Novelty candy retailer Archie McPhee produces some of the wackiest bacon products around. Bacon-flavored gumballs, mints, and jelly beans top our list. After you’re done munching on all of the bacon candy, be sure to clean your teeth using the bacon dental floss!
  • Vosges  the gourmet chocolatier managed to incorporate applewood bacon into chocolate bars ranging from milk to 62% dark.
  • Bacon cupcakes
  • Bacon Mayonnaise (Baconnaise)
  • Das Foods developed a maple bacon lollipop.
  • Bacon ice cream
  • The Kernel Encore Gourmet Popcorn company made its special corn kernels coated with cheddar cheese and seasoned with smoky bacon powder. Thanks to the folks at Kernel, now you can satisfy your bacon craving at the movies.

Enriched vs. Fortified, Tell Me The Difference!

“Enriched” and “Fortified” are both terms that refer to vitamins and minerals that have been added to a food product to add more nutrients. Enriched means that the nutrients were added back to the food product after being lost during the processing procedure. On the other hand, fortified means nutrients are added to a food that weren’t there to begin with. For example, milk is fortified with Vitamin D to help our bodies absorb milk’s calcium and phosphorus. Orange juice is also usually fortified with calcium and vitamin D. The FDA also passed a law in 1998 to require the addition of folic acid to enriched breads, cereals, flours, corn meal, pastas, rice, and other grain products to help with folic acid deficiencies, especially during pregnancy.

Common enriched foods include breads, cereals and white flour. These food products provide nutrients making them more nutritious. Some enriched foods, however can be over processed and loaded with sugar. Enriched foods have had fiber and nutrients removed during processing, so sometimes it is better to choose a less processed alternative. This is why it’s important to read food labels! White rice is often enriched, that is why brown rice is a more nutritious alternative that gives you more fiber. Also, many cereal brands are now enriched or fortified with vitamins and minerals that look appealing to the eye, however these cereals are also usually packed with high sugar and preservatives.

So remember, there is a difference between enriched and fortified foods, and it doesn’t always mean that the product is healthy. You must read food labels, especially ingredients, to make sure the products you are consuming do not have too much sugar or processed ingredients! Keep in mind that enrichment and fortification are here to help us make products more healthier… however choosing natural foods with natural vitamins and minerals in them are a much better alternative!

 

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, Lacto-Vegetarian, Vegan Meal Plans

Are you a lacto-ovo vegetarian, a lacto-vegetarian or a vegan who is looking for some food options or meal plans? Some meat replacements that are useful are tofu, seitan, beans, quinoa, nuts, any soy products, eggplant, portobello mushrooms, legumes, tempeh, hummus etc.. These are all high protein foods packed with valuable nutrients. Here are some more options for you to choose from…

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Meal Plan (2,400 calorie diet)

Breakfast:

1/2 cup orange juice (calcium fortified)

1/2 cup cereal

1 egg

1 slice of bread

1 tsp. margarine

1 cup ( 8 oz.) milk

Lunch:

2-3 oz. meat alternative

1/2 cup potato

1/2 cup vegetable

1/2 cup-3/4 cup salad

2 tbsp. salad dressing

1 serving bread

1 tsp. margarine

1/2 cup fruit

1/2 cup (4 oz.) milk

Dinner:

2-3 oz. meat alternative

1/2 cup rice

1/2 cup vegetable

1/2-3/4 cup salad

2 tbsp. salad dressing

1 serving bread

1 tsp. margarine

1/2 cup fruit

1/2 cup (4 oz.) milk

Snack:

1/2 cup soy nuts

1/2 cup fortified tomato juice

Lacto-Vegetarian Meal Plan

Breakfast:

1/2 cup calcium fortified orange juice

1/2 cup cereal

1 egg

1 serving bread

1 tsp. margarine

1 cup (8 oz.) milk

1 cup coffee/tea

Lunch:

2-3 oz. meat alternative

1/2 cup pasta

1/2 cup vegetable

1/2 cup-3/4 cup salad

2 tbsp. salad dressing

1 serving bread

1 tsp. margarine

1/2 cup fruit

1/2 cup (4 oz.) milk

Coffee/tea

Dinner:

2-3 oz. meat substitute

1/2 cup brown rice

1/2 cup vegetable

1/2 cup-3/4 cup salad

2 tbsp. salad dressing

1 serving bread

1 tsp. margarine

1/2 cup fruit

1/2 cup milk

Snack:

1/2 cup soy nuts

1/2 cup fortified tomato juice

Vegan Meal Plan

Breakfast:

1/2 cup fortified orange juice

1/2 cup oatmeal

2 slices whole wheat bread

2 tbsp. peanut butter

1 cup fortified soy milk

2 tbsp. raisins

Lunch:

6 oz. lentil soup w/ 1/2 cup brown rice

4 sesame seed crackers

1 cup raw spinach

1/4 cup shredded carrots

2 tbsp. chopped mushrooms

2 oz. tofu

2 tbsp. low calorie dressing

1 fresh apple

1 cup fortified soy milk

Dinner:

2 burritos: 2-6 inches soft corn tortillas

1 cup pinto beans

3/4 cup shredded lettuce

1/2 cup diced tomato

2 tbsp. diced onion

1/4 cup salsa

1/2 cup broccoli

1 tbsp. margarine

1/2 cup fruit cocktail

1 cup fortified soy milk

Some Information:

A lacto-ovo vegetarian restricts all dietary sources of animal protein except dairy products and eggs. This is the most common type of vegetarian diet and is the easiest to prepare.

A lacto-vegetarian diet restricts all dietary sources of animal protein except dairy products.

A vegan diet restricts all dietary sources of animal protein.

The following foods provide approximately the same amount of protein as does 1 oz. meat (7 grams protein)

  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup regular or soy milk
  • 1 oz. cheese
  • 1/3 cup mixed nuts
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup legumes
  • 1/4 cup soy beans
  • 1 oz. processed soy protein
  • 1/4 cup tofu
  • 3/4 cup yogurt

All vegetarians should ensure adequate calcium for development and maintenance of strong bones. In place of dairy products, choose abundant amounts of dark leafy greens (kale, mustard and turnip greens, collards) bok choy, broccoli, legumes, tofu processed with calcium, dried figs, sunflower seeds, and calcium fortified cereals and juice. The following foods provide approximately the same amount of calcium as does 1 cup of milk (300 mg)

  • 1 cup calcium-fortified soy milk
  • 1 2/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup collards
  • 3 cups cooked dried beans
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 3 pieces enriched cornbread

Iron is also important to keep in mind. When consumed along with foods rich in Vitamin C, plant sources of iron are absorbed better. Some examples of high iron foods include legumes, dark green vegetables, dried fruits, prune juice, blackstrap molasses, pumpkin seeds, soy nuts, and iron-fortified breads and cereals.

Vitamin B12 which is only found in animal foods, is not much of a concern for vegetarians who consume eggs and dairy. Vegans should include vitamin B-12 fortified foods such as fortified soymilk and commercial breakfast cereals and/or a B12 supplement in their diets. Vitamin B12 is also found in Brewer’s yeast.

The primary source of Vitamin D is found in dairy products where most are fortified with it. The other main source is sunlight exposure. Foods containing vitamin D are fortified cow’s milk, soy milk, rice milk or nut milk. Supplementation is needed for those who don’t consume milk products and/or spend little time in the sun.

Zinc can also be a concern because most zinc is found in animal foods. Wheat germ, nuts, and dried beans can all be included in your diet to help boost your zinc!

The Affect of School Foods on Children

About 17% of children between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Are children being fed well in schools? By changing food policies in school facilities at an affordable price, will this help with childhood and adolescent obesity?

Michelle Obama has made new nutrition rules for school meals to help with the high rate of childhood obesity. Schools must offer more vegetables, fruits and whole grains however, there is concern about the cost of these fresh foods. For the first time, the Department of Agriculture is setting calorie limits on school cafeteria meals. For example, for kindergarteners through fifth grade, lunch meals must contain no more than 650 calories on average. This limit goes up to 700 calories for grades six through eigth grade and 850 for calories for grades 9-12.

Schools that participate in these lunch and breakfast programs next school year, won’t be able to serve whole milk and must offer non-fat milk. Flavored milk will also only be available if it is non-fat. This is geared toward lowering the amount of saturated fat a child consumes during the day. One source of saturated fat the agency wasn’t able to cut down on is the french fry. Schools will be required to offer students ¾ to one cup of vegetables, plus ½ to one cup of fruit, a day. That is about double the amount they have been required to offer. However, students will only be required to put about half that amount on their trays in fear of children simply throwing away what wasn’t wanted. Also, by the 2014-15 school year, all grain products must be whole-grain, the agency said.

I believe that this is a wonderful step in the right direction. Of course school costs will go up, but in the end it will be worth it if it could help fight against childhood obesity. In the long run, these small steps can teach children the proper way to eat and get into the habit of putting nutrient dense foods into their bodies rather than high fat, high sugary foods.

Wouldn’t it be great to stop childhood obesity? Do you think this a step in the right direction? Thoughts? Comments?

Burning Fat!

Want to know some quick facts to burn fat?.. Here are a few.

  • Green tea isn’t only known for its cancer fighting benefits, it may also help boost your metabolism! A study published in the December 1999 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that those who drink green tea three times a day saw their metabolic rate increase about 4%. This could also mean that an extra 60 calories are burned a day equaling about 6 pounds a year lost!
  • Weight training is also a great way to burn fat. A pound of muscle burns up to 9 times the calories of a pound of fat! Weight training also increases your resting metabolic rate.
  • Eating iron is also important. If you don’t get enough of this mineral, your body can’t get enough oxygen to your cells, which results in a slower metabolism. Some foods that are rich in iron are lean meats, chicken, fortified cereals and nuts!
  • Drink more water! A new German study has shown that when you drink 17 ounces of water within a certain amount of time, your metabolic rate shoots up by about 30%. By drinking 1.5 liters of water a day, you can burn an extra 17,400 calories a year which is about a 5 pound weight loss, just by drinking more water!
  • Avoid alcohol as much as possible! Alcohol slows down your metabolism by depressing the central nervous system.
  • Add high intensity moves to your workout! Studies show that high intensity interval training burns more fat than regular aerobic exercise.
  • Say bye to stress! Learn to deal with stress and relax! When you are stressed, the hormone cortisol stimulates your appetite, slows down your metabolism and encourages fat storage! Find an activity that lowers your stress level such as yoga, listening to soothing music, take deep breaths, exercise! — and do it everyday!
  • Do not skip breakfast! Almost 80%  of people who successfully keep weight off have breakfast! Your metabolism slows as your sleeping and starts back up again once you eat again.
  • Aim for 5 small meals a day rather than 3 large ones. Try not to go more than 4 hours without eating. Having snacks throughout the day will trick your body into thinking it is constantly eating so your metabolism won’t slow down.

Want more ideas? Visit this website!