Archive for the 'Feeding & Nutrition' Category

Nutrition-focused spring cleaning

basket of vegetables

Liz West, Wikimedia Commons. CC License.

Here are five easy ways to clean up your diet and clear out unhealthy food from your pantry.

  1. Fresh is back! Many of us enjoy comfort foods like hearty soups and warm casseroles during the dreary winter months. Now that the warmer weather is on the horizon, it’s time to switch up your plate and bring back fresh veggies. Asparagus, turnips, kale, mustard greens, lettuce, peas, and rhubarb are all looking to make a comeback this spring.
  2. Farmers’ markets. Celebrate spring by visiting your local farmers’ market. Many open in early May. Bask in fresh produce, hand-made food items and unique crafts. Meet your local farmers and learn new recipe ideas.
  3. Plant herbs. Home-grown herbs can add extra flavor to springtime dishes. Start by picking your favorite variety. Consider basil, chives, cilantro, mint, parsley, safe or rosemary as these are easy to grow. Next, figure out the best spot for sunlight and plant growth. It can be either a backyard garden plot, a windowsill planter, or even separate pots that can be kept on a patio or near a sunny window.
  4. Clean out the pantry. Making the effort to clean and organize your pantry can help you save time and money in meal planning. Start by throwing out anything that is past its expiration date, or appears stale or suspicious. Wipe down any containers that are sticky or have residue on them. For items that can get easily lost (such as packets of taco mix, oatmeal, or meal replacement shakes), place these items in a plastic bin. Put everyday items (such as lunch ingredients, snacks, and bars) at the most accessible level. Group items by category, for example grains/pasta, oils, canned items, etc. By doing this, restocking your pantry becomes an easy task.
  5. Toss the junk food. Tossing out the junk food not only keeps temptation out of reach, but it also creates more room for healthy, wholesome foods. So throw out the cookies, candy, crackers, ice cream and pastries then never look back! Keep these products out of sight and out of mind. Replace with healthier options, such as fresh fruit, pre-portioned nut mixes, tuna packets, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, etc.

– Vicky Pehling is a dietetic intern going through the Beaumont Dietetic Internship program.

Want cheap and healthy meals? Cook at home

family eating at table

USDA, Flickr. CC license.

Did you know that homemade fare is typically better for you than restaurant food? Recent research confirms that if you’re trying to save money while eating healthier, then stick close to your own kitchen.

Why?

  • Frequent dining out is with lower diet quality, more “empty calories” and higher diet costs compared to home cooking.
  • The most common culprits for restaurant meals: added fats and/or sugar, higher calories, and alcohol.
  • It’s cheaper to eat at home than at a restaurant. Food bills for those who cook at home are $273/month versus $364/month for those who eat out.
  • Home-cooked meals are healthier. Americans spend half of their food dollars on meals consumed outside the home, but only about 1 in 5 of those meals meet nutritional recommendations set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Research

Studies done in 2011 and 2013 found that:

  • Individuals who eat at home more frequently (i.e., cooking dinner at home four to seven times a week) scored higher on the U.S. Healthy Eating Index. This index assesses whether someone gets the right combination of fruit, vegetables and other nutritional elements.
  • People who cook at home also spent less overall than those who ate out more often. This includes food consumed outside and at home.

Making a positive change

Cooking at home doesn’t have to be time-consuming or require advanced cooking skills. You can keep it simple by trying to ensure that every meal is composed of half of fruits and vegetables, one-quarter of whole grains, and one-quarter of lean protein.

Check out these websites for easy recipes to prepare at home:

– Mary Ligotti-Hitch, R.D., is a registered dietitian with the Beaumont Health Center’s Weight Control Center. Did you know the Beaumont Weight Control Center offers cooking classes for kids? Learn more about these free sessions for kids age 6 and up.

References:

 

Oatmeal chocolate chip softies

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies on cooling rack

Unaltered image. Ted Major, Flickr. CC license.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light whipped butter or light buttery spread, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free liquid egg substitute (e.g., Egg Beaters® Original)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • ½ ounce (about 2 tablespoons) chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk brown sugar, sugar, butter, applesauce, egg substitute and vanilla extract.
  3. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until smooth.
  4. Fold in oats and chopped chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon batter onto the baking sheet in six evenly spaced mounds. Use the back of a spoon to spread and flatten batter into 3-inch circles. Top with chopped nuts, and lightly pat to adhere.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a softie comes out clean, about 10 minutes.

Yield

Makes 6 servings.
(Serving size equals 1 softie. Each serving counts as 1 starch serving.)

Nutrition analysis per serving

  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 5 mg
  • Sodium: 110 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 21 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Sugars: 11 g
  • Protein: 3 g
Recipe adapted from hungry-girl.com.

– Mary Ligotti-Hitch, R.D. is a registered dietitian with the Weight Control Center at Beaumont Health Center. Learn more about the Weight Control Center

Roasted Brussels sprouts with apples: Your new Thanksgiving side

roasted Brussels sprouts and apples

image credit: Cooking Light

Why Brussels sprouts?

Brussels sprouts or “mini cabbages” are easy to cook and seriously good for you. Not only are Brussels sprouts a super food, but they make a delicious main dish or addition to any meal for any season! Whether you bake, grill, or sauté them, they are packed with flavor and nutritional benefits. They make a great side dish to any meal or special occasion.

Small, tender Brussels sprouts are usually sweeter and milder than larger sprouts, especially when cooked only until tender-crisp, not overcooked. Belgians traditionally season Brussels sprouts with nutmeg, but fruit, herbs and nuts also complement the flavor and balance the vegetable’s characteristic bitterness.

Nutritional benefits galore

Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable, which means they are rich in vitamins and minerals such as folate, vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C. They’re also rich in phytonutrients — plant-based compounds that may help to lower inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cancer. Cruciferous vegetables are also rich in fiber and low in calories, a combination that will help you feel full and satisfied without overeating.

It doesn’t take much to reap the benefits. Adults need at least 2½ cups of vegetables a day. One cup of raw and cooked veggies is equivalent to a 1-cup vegetable serving.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apples

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup diced apple
  • 8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Combine apple and Brussels sprouts in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish.
  3. Add apple cider, olive oil, minced fresh thyme, salt, and freshly ground black pepper; toss well.
  4. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until sprouts are tender.

Yield

Makes 2 servings (Serving size equals 3/4 cup.)

Nutrition analysis per serving

  • Calories: 109
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Saturated fat: 7 g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3 g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 7 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Carbohydrate: 8 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Sodium: 321 mg
  • Iron: 6 mg
  • Calcium: 47 mg

Source: http://www.cookinglight.com/entertaining/holidays-occasions/holiday-cookbook-sides/roasted-brussels-sprouts-apples-healthy-holiday-recipes

Source: http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/the-beginners-guide-to-cruciferous-vegetables

– Jessica Helmick, R.D. is a registered dietitian with the Weight Control Center at Beaumont Health Center.

Have a fun and healthier birthday party

Closeup of "Happy Birthday" candles

Cropped image. Will Clayton, Flickr. CC license.

Pizza, soft drinks, candy and cake make their appearance at most kids’ birthday parties. While these foods can fit into a healthy diet as occasional treats, these days children tend to have the opportunity to go to more parties and activities making treats a big part of their life. As parents and caregivers, how can we offer more nutritious options for birthday celebrations and still make it fun for all who attend?

Serve a platter of sandwiches cut into fun cookie cutter shapes. Try sandwiches made with whole grain bread and turkey, chicken, cheese, or veggies (cucumber/spinach/shredded carrots). Use avocado as a spread to pump up the color. Another idea would be to cut up a wrap sandwich into pinwheels. Whole wheat lawash makes a good base for a wrap sandwich.

Other ideas to accompany the sandwich platter or offered on their own include:

  • Fruit smoothies in small cups
  • Peel-and-eat edamame
  • Whole-wheat pita triangles with hummus
  • Baked tortilla chips with bean dip and salsa
  • Watermelon slices
  • Apples slices with yogurt dip (mix cinnamon into Greek vanilla yogurt)
  • Clementines
  • Baby carrots, sugar snap peas and/or mini cucumbers with low-fat ranch dip

Turn food prep into a party activity. Not only is it fun, but kids like to eat what they have made. Try:

  • Do-it-yourself personal pizzas using whole-wheat English muffins or pita bread for crust. Top with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh veggies.
  • Taco/Nacho station. Children fill taco shells or top baked tortilla chips with taco meat made with ground turkey or fat free refried beans. Add reduced fat shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and reduced fat sour cream.
  • Make-your-own fruit kabobs.
  • Layered yogurt parfaits with berries, vanilla Greek yogurt and whole-grain cereal.
  • A rainbow salad bar. Let kids choose their own salad toppings from an array of colored vegetables, including shredded carrots, purple cabbage, sliced cucumbers, grape tomatoes, etc.).
  • Mini cupcakes with frosting instead of serving a large birthday cake to trim down portion size. Have the kids ice their own cupcake and include a sprinkle/topping station.

Avoid the fuss of take-away goodie bags filled with empty calorie goodies and/or plastic toys that will most likely end up in the garbage. Instead give the children an opportunity to share a special birthday wish with the birthday boy/girl as they‘re leaving the party. This can be done by writing a wish on an index card that is placed in a decorated birthday wish box or written directly on a blown-up picture or mat of a framed picture of the birthday boy or girl.

Adapted from “Kids Eat Right” by Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD

– Mary Ligotti-Hitch, R.D. is a registered dietitian with the Weight Control Center at Beaumont Health Center. Learn more about the Weight Control Center.

Swiss oats with apples and walnuts

 

Various breakfast foods and "September is Better Breakfast Month" text

image credit: nationaldaycalendar.com

 

Breakfast is named such because you “break the fast” after a good night’s sleep. Eating within an hour of rising kick starts your metabolism, replenishes your body’s supply of glucose, and helps keep your energy levels up throughout the day.

Did you know that regularly eating a healthy breakfast may also help you lose excess weight and maintain your weight loss? When you skip breakfast, you may be more tempted to reach for a quick fix like doughnuts or Pop-Tarts; you’ll end up feeling hungry much sooner when choosing high sugar, processed foods, and that can lead to overeating throughout the day. If you start your day out with something healthy, you’re more likely to make healthy choices over the course of your day. The prolonged fasting that occurs when you skip breakfast can also increase your body’s insulin response, which can increase fat storage and lead to weight gain.

As you can see, breakfast is very important for our health and well-being!

Start the day out right with this autumn-inspired Swiss Oats with Apples and Walnuts recipe. The fiber from the oats and apples paired with the monounsaturated fat from the walnuts will help you feel fuller longer, which helps to maintain a healthy weight to lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups dry oats (quick-cooking or old fashioned)
  • 1 ¼ cups skim or plain soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 cups chopped apples
  • ¼ cups chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. The night before; stir together oats, milk, honey and cinnamon in a large bowl. Allow to soak in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. In the morning, add the apples and walnuts.
  3. Gently mix together and serve.

Yield

Makes 4 servings (Serving size equals ¾ cup.)

– Kayleigh Delaney is a Beaumont Dietetic intern with the Beaumont Health Center’s Weight Control Center. Learn more about the Weight Control Center.

 

Orange-Pineapple Cake

Closeup of orange pineapple cake

Cake Ingredients

  • 1 package (16.5 ounce) white cake mix (e.g., Duncan Hines®)
  • 3 large egg whites
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 can (10.5 ounces) mandarin oranges packed in water
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Frosting Ingredients

  • 10 ounces crushed pineapple in own juice
  • ½ of a small box (1 ounce) instant sugar free, fat free vanilla pudding
  • 4 ounces reduced fat whipped topping (e.g., Cool Whip®)

Cake Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, egg whites, applesauce, and oranges with juice on low speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour into a 13 x 9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  4. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool cake completely before frosting.

Frosting Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine the pineapple and pudding mix.
  2. Fold in whipped topping just until blended.
  3. Spread over cake.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Yield

Makes 16 servings (Serving size equals approximately 2 x 3 inch piece of cake.) Each serving counts as 2 starch servings.

Nutrition analysis per serving:

  • Calories: 180
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 240 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 34 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Sugar: 24 g
  • Protein: 2 g

– Mary Ligotti-Hitch, R.D. is a registered dietitian with the Weight Control Center at Beaumont Health Center. Beaumont Weight Control Center offers free cooking demonstrations to the community. View a list of current demonstrations here.


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