Greek Yogurt Heart Bites

These Strawberry and Yogurt bites were a perfect recipe that I made for a lot of valentine treats this past February! Not only do adults and teens love them, but the kids do too! This is also a simple recipe that the kids can be involved in too. This recipe was provided from Produce For Kids (http://produceforkids.com/) They have amazing recipes for kids to make on here!!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (if you want them sweeter, use vanilla)
  • 2 tbsp. honey

Directions:

  • Mix together and spread into a heart shaped ice cube tray
  • Freeze for 2 or more hours

For the exact recipe: http://www.produceforkids.com/meal-planning/strawberry-yogurt-bites

 

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*Picture taken by Danielle Colombo, RD*

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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*

Tomato & Feta Cracker

IMG_8254Looking for a quick, healthy snack? Adding vegetables to your snacks does not have to be hard. Here is a simple idea… tomato and feta cheese on a cracker! Take your crackers to work, school, or when you’re on the go!

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 Multigrain crackers (I used Triscuits)
  • 1 tomato sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp. Low-fat feta cheese
  • Italian herbs or oregano
  • Olive oil or pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Slice some tomatoes and place them in your container, then cover with plastic wrap. Crumble some feta into a pile in your container and sprinkle with dried oregano or Italian herbs. Pack your crispbread separately. When you get hungry, top your crispbread with tomato, feta and herbs, and drizzle with your stashed olive oil and freshly ground pepper.

 

 

Cucumber Pomegranate Bites

These delicious cucumber bites are packed with vitamins and nutrients. They make a perfect snack or appetizer! Not only are they simple to make, but they are colorful and something that everyone can enjoy!

cucumber bites

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 6 (1/4-inch) cucumber slices
  • 1 TBSP whipped low fat cream cheese (or any type of spreadable cheese)
  • 2 TBSP pomegranate seeds

Directions:

  • Slice the cucumber into 6 slices
  • Add 1 tbsp. cheese (ex: cream cheese, feta cheese, goat cheese)
  • Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds
  • Keep chilled until ready to serve

 

Homemade Super-Seedy Granola Bars

Looking for a high fiber, protein filled snack? These homemade super-seedy granola bars are the perfect fit! These bars are filled with delicious peanut butter and super seeds! Make extra bars, freeze or refrigerate the rest for later! A fantastic grab and go snack.

granola bars

Makes 16 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats               1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds                             3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds                               1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt                                   1 cup unsalted peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey                                         1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Line a 9 by 9 inch square pan with parchment paper or plastic wrap with enough overhang for easy removal
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, almonds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cinnamon and salt
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract until very smooth.
  4. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients and using a wooden spoon, stir until evenly  combined.
  5. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and firmly press the mixture evenly into the pan.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight. Gently lift the parchment paper to remove from pan and slice into 16 bars. Place in a freezer-safe bag to store in the fridge or freezer. Serves 16.

Nutrition Info: Serving 1 bar (45 grams) Calories: 209; Total fat: 13g; Sat fat: 2g; Sodium 77mg; Carbohydrate: 20g; Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 11g; Protein: 7g

Adapted from: Alexandra Caspero January/February 2016 Food and Nutrition Magazine

Popcorn — A Popular Whole Grain Snack

Many people don’t realize that popcorn is 100% whole grain, low in calories, and a source of dietary fiber. A 3 cup serving of air-popped popcorn has fewer than 100 calories, 1 gram of fat, 3.5 grams of dietary fiber and 2mg of sodium. However, popcorn can become unhealthy and an addictive treat if it is not eaten in correct portion sizes and/or if it is eaten out of a tub in a movie theater. A large bucket of popcorn found in your movie theater can contain more than 1,000 calories and several day’s worth of saturated fat (the bad fat!). So remember to keep it simple and stick to the correct portion size!

Try these simple ideas on your popcorn to add flavor (skip the butter!)

  • Sprinkle with chili powder and a little bit of lime juice
  • Mix it with roasted chickpeas or nuts
  • Toss it with Parmesan cheese and fresh rosemary
  • Add some heat with cayenne pepper or Cajun seasoning mix
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic and black pepper
  • Dust with cinnamon and a little brown sugar

For more information: Food & Nutrition Magazine, July/August 2015

Breakfast & Snack Ideas

If you are feeling rushed in the morning to eat breakfast, you can still make breakfast convenient and fuel your brain! Here are some examples of convenient breakfasts: Remember to always have protein with your meals (Aim for 20 grams)

  • 8 oz. skim milk, a banana and 1 Kind Bar (aim for a bar with at least 7g of protein, less than 8g of sugar and more than 3g of fiber)
  • 1 low-fat cheese stick, mini whole wheat bagel, one piece of fruit
  • Hard boiled egg (cook the night before), 1 slice 100% whole grain bread and a 6 oz. can of tomato juice
  • 6 oz. plain Greek yogurt with added granola or fruit

If you are craving a snack at night, have a snack 1 hour to 30 minutes before you need to relax or before going to bed. Limit the snack to 150-200 calories.

Examples include:

  • 3-4 cups of air-popped popcorn (lightly salted) with sprinkled cheese
  • 2 slices of cinnamon raisin bread with 1 tbsp. peanut butter/almond butter
  • 100% whole wheat English muffin with 2 tsp. jam or peanut butter
  • 5 graham crackers + 10 almonds
  • 9 triscuits + 10 peanuts
  • 1 thin slice of angel food cake topped with 1/4 cup berries

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!

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Photo credit: nutrition.answers.com

Fiber, Fiber, Fiber!

Most Americans are not getting enough fiber in their diets. The average adult only eats 15 grams/day, but did you know the recommendation for males is 38 grams/day and women 25g/day? Here are some great facts on fiber from Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of nutrition for WebMD.

In order to add more fiber to your diet, it’s important to add more plant based foods to your diet. This includes fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and nuts. Avoiding refined grains — such as white flour, white pasta, and white rice — and replacing them with whole grains is a great way to boost the amount of fiber in your diet.

Soluble fiber is found in beans, peas, lentils, oatmeal, oat bran, nuts, seeds, psyllium, apples, pears, strawberries, and blueberries. Soluble fiber is associated with lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, regulating blood sugar, and a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains, barley, couscous, brown rice, bulgur, wheat bran, nuts, seeds, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, nuts, grapes, and tomatoes.  One of the benefits of insoluble fiber is that it helps keep you regular, prevents constipation, and reduces the risk of diverticular disease.

Here is a sample healthy meal packed with nutrients and 37 grams of fiber:

  • Breakfast: whole-grain bran flake cereal (5 grams of fiber), half a banana (1.5 grams of fiber), and skim milk.
  • Snack: 24 almonds (3.3 grams of fiber) and a quarter cup of raisins (1.5 grams of fiber)
  • Lunch: Turkey sandwich made with 2 slices of whole wheat bread, lettuce, and tomato (5 grams of fiber), and an orange (3.1 grams of fiber)
  • Snack: Yogurt with half a cup of blueberries (2 grams of fiber)
  • Dinner: Grilled fish with a salad of romaine lettuce and shredded carrots (2.6 grams of fiber), half a cup of spinach (2.1 grams of fiber), and half a cup of lentils (7.5 grams of fiber)
  • Snack: 3 cups popped popcorn (3.5 grams of fiber)

7 Ways to Add More Fiber

Here are seven more ways to add fiber to your diet:

  1. Start your day with a whole-grain cereal that contains at least 5 grams of fiber. Look at the list of ingredients to be sure the whole grain (such as whole wheat, whole rye, or whole oats) is first on the list.
  2. Read labels and choose foods with at least a few grams of fiber per serving. A good source of fiber contains 2.5-4.9 grams of fiber per serving. An excellent source has 5 grams or more per serving.
  3. Use whole-grain breads with at least 2-3 grams of fiber per slice for sandwiches.
  4. Choose whole fruit over juice. Whole fruit can have as much as twice the amount of fiber as a glass of juice.
  5. Toss beans into your soups, stews, egg dishes, salads, chili, and Mexican dishes. Substitute beans for meat in at least one vegetarian meal per week.
  6. Experiment with international cuisines (such as Indian or Middle Eastern) that use whole grains and beans in main dishes.
  7. Make snacks count as opportunities to enjoy foods high in fiber. For instance, snack on raw vegetables with bean dip or hummus.

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For more information: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/fiber-how-much-do-you-need

Tasty Summer Treat Ideas

Are you looking to keep the weight off, but yet enjoy summer snacks during the heat? Here are some healthy options to choose from..

 

  • Smoothie: Aim for adding fresh fruit, ice, and non-fat yogurt if needed. Some places use ice cream or full-fat yogurt or add whole milk and high-sugar fruit juice, so make sure to ask or simply, make your own!
  • Iced coffee: While the coffee itself isn’t high in calories, everything added to it can quickly turn into a high calorie beverage! Save calories by opting for low-fat milk, skipping the whip cream and choosing the smallest size.
  • Frozen Yogurt: The new trendy, frozen yogurt places opening up can quickly add up to a high calorie treat! In order to keep it healthy– aim for low-fat yogurts and stick with healthier toppings like a variety of fruits or nuts.
  • Frozen fruit bars: You can buy these in a grocery store. They are a quick, already portioned, frozen treat that are about 70 calories each and aren’t too high in sugar!
  • Frozen grapes: If you haven’t tried freezing your grapes before, I suggest you give it a try! This is definitely a refreshing, healthy snack on a hot day!
  • Frozen banana bites dipped in chocolate: Craving chocolate and you like bananas? This is a perfect summer snack for everyone! Just be sure to watch your portions.
  • Grilled Pineapple: An easy recipe with only 4 ingredients: 1 20-oz can of Pineapple chunks in pineapple juice, 3 bananas, 1 lemon, and 7 skewers you can make 7 servings of a delicious treat! Instructions: Drain pineapple and slice bananas into small pieces (the same size as the pineapple). Stick pieces onto skewers and place on a plate. Squeeze lemon juice over the sticks, cover, and store in refrigerator until ready to grill. Grill at medium heat, turning every 2 minutes until slightly charred (5-7 minutes). Dust with cinnamon and enjoy! Can be served hot or room temperature.
  • Snap Peas and Warm Goat CheeseAn easy snack with only 2 ingredients: 10 snap peas and 1 oz. of goat cheese. Instructions: Melt goat cheese in microwave for 10 seconds. Be careful not to overheat because the cheese will separate. Dip snap peas in goat cheese one at a time and enjoy! You can also use this warm dip with celery, carrots, and pretty much any veggie imaginable!
  • Mango Parfait: Top plain Greek yogurt with chunks of fresh mango and a couple of tablespoons of granola.
  • Strawberry Cheesecake BitesCut out the leaves and stems of 20 strawberries and fill each berry with the cream cheese mixture. Then, roll the tops of the berries in Graham cracker crumbs.

 

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What are some of your favorite summer time treats?