4 Smart Superbowl Swaps

After the holiday madness, most of us made a resolution to start the new year on a healthy note.  We are only one month in and with Super Bowl weekend quickly approaching, many of us will be thrown off track by the endless buffets of fried foods, chips and dips.  You don’t have to deprive yourself during the big game, just make sure to practice intuitive eating and consume foods in moderation. Pay attention to portions, and always stock up on proteins and fresh fruits and veggies since they will help keep you satisfied longer!  If you are hosting the party or looking for something to bring, why not try a few of these healthy alternatives to traditional Super Bowl Sunday favorites that everyone will love and will not have you missing the extra fat and calories!

Broiled Buffalo Wings

INGREDIENTS
Serves 10

2 pounds chicken wings, split at the joint 
(~20 wings)

1/4 cup of your favorite hot sauce

Dash of cayenne pepper

1 clove garlic

METHOD

Place wings into a large pot and fill the pot with cold water to cover the wings by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes. While chicken is boiling heat your broiler to HIGH. When done, drain and place chicken wings on rimmed cookie sheet. Broil 6 inches from element or flame for 5 to 6 minutes per side. The skin should blister and brown. You will notice that the skin appears to be crispy. While chicken is in the oven, combine hot sauce, cayenne pepper, and garlic in small bowl.  Set aside. Put chicken wings into bowl or dish and toss with hot sauce to evenly coat.

Serving Size: 5 wings, 240 calories, 12 g fat, 4 g carbohydrates, 27 g protein, 1 g fiber

Broccoli and Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes

INGREDIENTS
Serves 8 

8 large baking potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 pound broccoli florets (approx 5 cups)

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups grated low-fat Cheddar

1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1/4 cup skim milk

Salt and pepper

 Preheat oven to 375°F. Rub potatoes with 1 Tbsp. oil; pierce with a knife. Bake until tender, 1 hour and 30 minutes. Steam broccoli until tender, 5 minutes. Drain; rinse. Pat dry and roughly chop. In a skillet over low heat, warm 1 Tbsp. oil. Sauté onion until soft, 10 minutes. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Let potatoes rest until cool enough to handle. Set oven to 350°F. Cut top 1/4 inch off potato. Scoop out flesh. Mash potato flesh. Mix with remaining ingredients. Fill potato shells with mixture; bake 30 minutes.

368 calories, 6.0g fat, 10.4g fiber, 64.4g carbohydrates, 16.4g protein

Chili Lime Tortilla Chips

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

12 6-inch corn tortillas

Canola oil cooking spray

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

METHOD 

Position oven racks in the middle and lower third of oven; preheat to 375°F. Coat both sides of each tortilla with cooking spray and cut into quarters.
3. Place tortilla wedges in an even layer on 2 large baking sheets. Combine lime juice and chili powder in a small bowl. Brush the mixture on each tortilla wedge and sprinkle with salt. Bake the tortillas, switching the baking sheets halfway through, until golden and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.

90 calories, 1.0g fat, 17.0 g carbohydrates, 3.0g fiber, 2.0 g protein

Cucumber Salsa

Serves 8

 INGREDIENTS

2 cups finely chopped seeded peeled cucumber

1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomato

1/4 cup chopped red onion

2 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and chopped

4-1/2 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro

1 garlic clove, minced or pressed

1/4 cup 0% nonfat Greek yogurt

1-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1-1/2 teaspoon lime juice

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

METHOD

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and serve with toasted pita wedges or tortilla chips.

12 calories, 0.1g fat, 1.8g carbohydrates, 1.0g protein

 

A Plant Powered Lifestyle

Sharon Palmer, who is also a Registered Dietitian, recently sent me a copy her new book, The Plant Powered Diet. (We’re also giving away one copy to a lucky reader.. for details read on!) While incorporating research studies, an array of informational charts and recipes, Sharon’s book comes down to one main point:

EAT MORE PLANTS!

After a few pages and a chapter or two in, it became clear that despite the title, this is not a typical “how-to diet book.” In fact, the author does a great job of not labeling any foods good or bad, but does an excellent job of providing an abundant amount of information, allowing readers to make his or her decisions about which plant-based foods are best to eat. From shopping organic, cooking, dining out, and teaching you how to calculate your protein needs, Sharon has covered nearly every topic or question you might have about eating more plant-based foods.

Nearly every holiday is centered on the 4 F’s: family, friends, fun and food! Quite often, the day is centered on the latter. For many, a turkey, chicken or roast beef is a focal point of the holiday meal. This year however, I challenge you to power the holidays with a more plant-based approach.  Whether you’re a committed omnivore, vegetarian or vegan, try incorporating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains into the holiday festivities! With family gatherings and parties, take advantage of this holiday season by using it to expose your loved ones to more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

A great takeaway from this book is that vegetables, fruits and whole grains can be incorporated into many dishes, savory or sweet. They can act as substitutes in your favorite dishes or shine on their own. The important thing to remember is that this shouldn’t be view as a temporary diet, but rather a lifestyle change. Change doesn’t begin overnight but it can be a start! Begin by trying one new vegetable every week, or simply ensuring you are eating vegetables throughout your day, whether in your meals or snacks.

Here are 3 of our favorite tips from Sharon’s book, that can help steer you in a healthier direction:

1. Stem-to-Root Eating — One of our favorite sustainable tips from the book, Sharon emphasizes consuming every part of the plant. Sometimes we lose site of the best parts of a plant that are very much still edible. Instead of tossing out your broccoli stalks, kale stems or beet tops, give it a second chance to become a tasty part of your meal!

2. For any favorite recipe, try substituting a whole plant fat like avocado for refined oils — In cakes, you can substitute half the amount of butter or even a mayonaise-like spread with pureed avocado.

3. For dessert recipes, try substituting whole fruit for added sugar instead — “Use the natural sweetness of fruits to sweeten breads, cookies and desserts while gaining a serving of antioxidant-rich fruit.”

For a chance to enter into our giveaway for a copy of Sharon Palmer’s The Plant Powered Diet, click here!

5 Candies That Won't Spook Your Blood Sugar

Or Send Your Children Into A Crazy Tizzy!!

 

 

1). Annie’s Organic Orchard Strawberry Fruit Bites

One pack of these fun fruit snacks are a great option for your trick or treating tots!

http://www.annies.com/products/Organic-Orchard-Fruit-Bites

 

 

2) YummyEarth Organic Lollipops

Enjoy 3 lollipops!! http://www.yummyearth.com/

If you want quantity, you can lick three of these pops without worrying about your blood sugar.

 

 

3). Tootsie Pop

http://www.tootsie.com/health.php?pid=168

Want something to crunch and chew?? Choose a tootsie pop.

 

 

4). Lindt Chocolate

http://www.lindtusa.com/product-exec/product_id/44/category_id/5/nm/Excellence_85_Cocoa_Bar

Fix your chocolate craving with 4 squares of Lindt’s 85% cocoa bar.

 

 

5). Hershey’s Chocolate Bar with Almonds

http://www.hersheys.com/pure-products/hersheys-milk-chocolate-with-almonds-bar/standard-bar.aspx

Yes, you can eat a bar of chocolate with almonds. The best option is to eat half of this and save the rest for another day.

 

 

Energy Bars: The On-the-Go Nosh

In today’s society, we are constantly on the run. If we’re not students rushing to class, parents rushing to pick up their kids or dropping them off, then we’re probably rushing to meet our friends or medical appointments. Sometimes, we are so busy and exhausted that many of us just do not have the time to sit down for a bite. So what happens to those of us who finally sit down but are crunched for time? Whether consumed as a snack or meal replacement, many of us opt for an energy bar. With so many options, which bars give a healthier boost? Here are 5 of our favorite energy bars for an on-the-go nosh:

1. Zing

This gluten and soy-free bar is so tasty, we almost forget it’s an energy bar. With about 20 grams of carbohydrates per bar, Zing may be ideal for those who have diabetes, have celiac disease or food intolerances.

2. LaraBar

These bars generally contain less than 8 ingredients and are made of fruits, nuts and spices. Flavorful, but some varieties can contain up to 14-17 grams of sugar so beware. However, we do love the sweet and saltiness of the Roasted Nut Roll, which at 7 grams of sugar per bar, contains half the amount of sugar than the others. The raw nuts make this bar a tasty choice for those following a raw food lifestyle.

3. Kind Bars

These bars are generally made with about 10 rather simple ingredients, many which include nuts, honey, puffed rice and dried fruits. The use of whole, not ground nuts, contribute to the texture and “homemade” feel.

5. Health Warrior Chia Bars

Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids! When we discovered that these vegan bars were made with chia, we were glad to see them successfully added to more foods! Every bar is 100 calories and contains 4 grams of sugar. With 15 grams of carbohydrates, these chia bars may be ideal for someone who has diabetes.

In spite of a hectic schedule, the busy individual should never feel like they need to rely on energy bars to meet calorie or nutritional needs. Although energy bars can be incorporated as a healthy part of a meal structure, there’s nothing quite like fresh or wholesome foods.  Moreover, many of these bars appear nutritious but can have hidden levels of high sugar, additives, carbohydrates and calories. Keep in mind that many of these energy bars were created for athletes, and not for those who do minimal to no exercise.  If given the option between an energy bar or meal when crunched for time, it is best to grab a quick meal. However, if there’s absolutely no way around to grabbing a quick meal (let’s face it, sometimes that’s just not practical) follow this bar code when searching for an on-the-go chew:

  1. Keep it simple – Don’t be tricked by the word “energy bar.” When it comes to figuring out the nutritional value of an energy bar, a consumer’s best bet may be to first scan the back for a list of ingredients, then look at the nutrition label. If there is a long, running list of unfamiliar ingredients that you are unable to pronounce, another bar may be a better option.
  2. Consider your energy and activity needs – Think about your activity for the day. If you will be going on a long run, you may chose a bar with a different nutritional content than an individual who will be doing minimal activity.
  3. Create your own, healthy & homemade energy bars – If you have time, consider making a large batch of bars ahead of time. Not only are they easy to make, but you will also know exactly what ingredients went into them. You can even make them ahead of time and store them for an easy, on-the-go chew! For an even easier and quicker recipe, try packing a homemade trail mix.
  4. Think outside of the box – If you’re looking for energy bars to be your meal replacer, consider grabbing a Greek yogurt and enjoy it with a banana or top it with fresh berries.

 

Laura's Lunches

Here are three recipes to get you or your kids hungry for lunch. The three lunch ideas are all diabetes friendly. So whether you have diabetes or just want to prevent diabetes, use these recipes for lunch time options. They are all lunchbox safe too. No spoiling with this unpredictable weather. Find the third recipe on Laura’s mom blog MDIO Chicken Burritos — this recipe has been featured by Disney as well.

Hummus and Pita Wedges with a Side of Veggies and Milk


1 Whole grain pita (cut into wedges)
Sabra hummus
½ sliced apple hint – squeeze lemon juice on apple slices so they don’t turn brown
½ sliced carrot
¼ sliced orange pepper
1 small 8 oz. box of aseptic organic 1% milk 

Pb&J With A Side of Cheese and Fruit

Natural peanut butter and banana sandwich on Ezekiel sprouted bread, toasted

Hint: change to sunflower butter or almond butter if peanut free school; use 1 tbsp nut butter and ½ banana
A laughing cow cheese (in the wax)
¾ cup strawberries
1 glass of water

Chicken Burritos with a Side of Fruit and Soy Milk
1 whole wheat tortilla
1 oz. chicken
¼ cup beans
¼ c cooked, chopped spinach
A side of salsa for dipping (2 tbsp)
2 clementines
8 oz. unsweetened Silk soy milk

What's on our "Q"?

 The Skinny on Shakes for People With Diabetes

With so many meal replacements on the market, but how do you pick
which one is best? Taste shouldn’t be the only determining factor. It can
be important to consider the sugar, carbohydrate or even protein content.11 Nutritious, Kid-Friendly Finger Foods

Who doesn’t love meatballs? Check out this easy to follow recipe made
from lean turkey breast, which helps turn this usual calorie fest into something
a bit healthier. And while your at it, make sure to check out the Mango Tango Tortillas!

Jet-Set With Your Picnic Basket! Fun Theme Ideas for Lunch

Themed picnics are a great way to incorporate entertainment, flavor, and
even education into a family outing. Add a clever theme to your picnic by
incorporating foods from another city or, better yet, from around the world!

Also in “Q”: Remember to tune in for Restaurant Week 2012 recommendations, this Wednesday AM on CBS’s W1NY!!

 

Low Cost, Effortless Lunches

Healthy and Effortless Pack Ups

By Carlo Pandian, Guest Blogger

I’m not sure how Japanese mothers find time to create the mini-masterpieces for their children called Bento. To us that means packed lunch – but the Japanese take the cultural tradition of ‘presentation’ to the extreme with these works of art. Shaped to resemble teddy bears, pandas or cartoon characters kid’s packed lunches in Japan not only manage to look incredible but they’re even full of all kinds of foods to fuel healthy, energetic kids. I could probably knock together a Telly-Tubby mashed potato sculpture if I was pressed, but this level of dedication is beyond me, especially at half six in the morning! In my case, I’m afraid that quality, not presentation, is difficult enough to achieve on a daily basis. For those of you who sympathize, here are three packed lunch ideas to turn the kids away from crisps and chocolate. These are focused on three essential ingredients for mums; cost, effort and vegetarian/healthy options.

Vegetarian, Low Cost and Low Effort Ingredients

A vegetarian packed lunch is a good idea to include in your weekly pack-ups even if you and the kids are not full-time vegetarians. With health warnings about the risks of too much red meat in our diets ringing in our already overloaded brains, it makes sense to include a vegetarian choice now and then. It also adds variety to the menu – which is half the battle.

• Hummus is great source of protein and energy and can be added to wholesome pita bread with green salads. Tasty and slightly messy this should appeal. Add chunks of cucumber for additional sources of five a day. A fruit Fromage Frais can be included for dessert along with grapes and a milk.
Cost is on everybody’s mind at the moment and pack ups are the original money saving lunch idea, which have been common for centuries. Low cost doesn’t mean unhealthy. The following are useful ideas:

• Toasted sandwiches fall into the low cost options. Tuna with canola oil mayo or low fat cheeses are excellent fillings. The toasted effect keeps the bread from getting too mushy for our picky kids. Whole grain pasta is another great, low cost buy to keep handy. Beans or vegetables can be added to make a tempting pasta salad and this can be prepared and packed in advance.

As mentioned, half six in the morning is not a good time to design and implement a food sculpture. Half six in the morning is the time for battling with the cat over the familiar issue of her food and your coffee. For those with several kids to coax downstairs as well, effortless pack ups are a godsend.

• Pita breads are an excellent pocket lunch and unlike bread they don’t need cutting! I use them a lot. Fillings can include bean salads, or egg salads and green salads. Teach your kids to love dried fruit like apricots, at an early age and brook no resistance; they’re healthy and preparation is limited to taking them out of the packet. String cheeses are just as easy and a great source of protein and calcium.

These of course are just a few ideas, but some of the ingredients, particularly pita bread and pasta are fantastic basics for a range of easy lunches. Your imagination is the only limit. Keeping packed lunches varied can be a chore of a task, but using staples as mentioned above and varying the ingredients daily can help to break away from the boredom of meat based sandwiches! Keeping kids interested is, as we all know, more than half the battle.

 

Author

Carlo is a freelance writer and blogs about food, culture and technology covering everything from grocery shopping to contemporary art. He loves gardening and can’t stay a week without his fruit boxes and Italian wine. Carlo loves to eat with his niece, Clotide.

What’s In Your Coconut Yogurt?

 

So Delicious Dairy Free Plain Coconut Milk Yogurt

So Delicious Plain Coconut Milk Yogurt is one of the many yogurt options for people with lactose intolerance or an allergy to dairy. I love yogurt! Yogurt, especially greek yogurt and soy yogurt are two of my favorite foods to eat as part of my breakfast, lunch or snack. When choosing an alternative to dairy yogurt, you may find a long list of ingredients. Below find a breakdown of the coconut milk yogurt ingredients and what each means for your health.

Ingredients: ORGANIC COCONUT MILK (ORGANIC COCONUT CREAM, WATER, GUAR GUM, XANTHAN GUM), ORGANIC EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, PECTIN, CHICORY ROOT EXTRACT (INULIN), TAPIOCA DEXTROSE, ALGIN (KELP EXTRACT), MAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, ORGANIC RICE STARCH, LOCUST BEAN GUM, LIVE CULTURES, CARRAGEENAN, DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, VITAMIN B12.

  • ORGANIC COCONUT CREAM: A product very similar to coconut milk but contains less water. It is a smooth, thick liquid made from fresh coconuts. It is thick and very sweet and has a paste-like consistency.
  • WATER: H2O
  • GUAR GUM: A gum found in the endosperm of the guar plant. It is used in desserts, baked products, ice cream and other products due to its ability to stabilize and gel.
  • XANTHAN GUM: A microbial exudates gum produced by Xanthomonas campestris. It is used as a thickening and stabilizing agent.
  • ORGANIC EVAPORATED CANE JUICE: Like regular sugar, it is a sweetener made from sugar cane,  but the juice does not undergo the same degree of processing that refined sugar does. Therefore, unlike refined sugar, it retains more of the nutrients found in sugar cane.
  • PECTIN: It is produced commercially as a white to light brown powder, mainly extracted from citrus fruits, and is used in food as a gelling agent particularly in jams and jellies. It is also used in fillings, medicines, sweets, as a stabilizer in fruit juices and milk drinks, and as a source of dietary fiber.
  • CHICORY ROOT EXTRACT (INULIN): A complex carbohydrate that is a polymer of fructose. It is not digested so it contributes fiber and can be combined with carrageenan to create a creamy texture.
  • TAPIOCA DEXTROSE: A simple sugar derived from the tapioca plant.
  • ALGIN (KELP EXTRACT): A product used to form gels and films. It is a gum with mannose and guluronic acid as its principal components and with numerous salts resulting from the presence of sodium, potassium, and ammonium ions.
  • MAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE: A food additive that provides a source of magnesium.
  • TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE: A food additive that provides a source of calcium.
  • ORGANIC RICE STARCH: A commercially refined starch derived from rice. It is used as a thickener and stabilizer.
  • LOCUST BEAN GUM: From the seed of evergreen trees, it gels with xanthan gum  and helps stabilize products such as ice cream, bologna, and sauces. It can replace up to half the starched used for thickening. It also enhances fiber content.
  • LIVE CULTURES: Living organisms, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which convert pasteurized milk to yogurt during fermentation. These may act as probiotics and help improve gastrointestinal health.
  • CARRAGEENAN: A seaweed extract that has the ability to interact with protein to aid in the stabilization of products. It is easily cross-linked with other gums.
  • DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE: A food additive used for protein stabilization.
  • VITAMIN B12: Added vitamin.

Recipe of the Week: Fast Fajitas

This fajita recipe is one of my favorite recipes to make a quick, healthy, and well-balanced dinner.

Fast Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas via survivalcommonsense.com

 

Fast Fajitas
1 tbspn canola oil
3 scallions sliced along their width
2 large cloves of garlic, pressed
3/4 lb. thawed thin cut chicken breasts – sliced
1 cup frozen unsalted corn
1 bag frozen mixed peppers
6 whole grain tortillas (~ weight ~59 grams/wrap, 30 grams carb and 4 grams/fiber)
½ cup sour cream (dairy or non dairy)
1 cup salsa (bean salsa or a tomato salsa)
Makes 6 fajitas – 2 adults and 2 kids

  1. Heat 1 tbspn canola oil over low heat. Add scallions. When scallions are tender can add the chicken slices. When the chicken is slightly pink in the center, add the frozen corn, peppers and garlic. Sauté until the veggies are cooked and warm.
  2. Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 20 seconds or over the sauté pan.
  3. Spread 1 tbspn sour cream down the center of each tortilla. Then spread 1 -2 tbspn of salsa over the sour cream. Then spoon the chicken pepper combo down the center of the tortilla. Roll and serve while hot.

Laura’s Favorite Tools: Williams Sonoma All Clad 12-18” sauté pan and Pampered Chef Garlic press

Mom's Universal Snack List For School

Snack Ditty from Eco-Ditty

 

So it seems many schools have a suggested snack list. Moms keep asking what is appropriate for snack and how do you make a balanced snack choice. In honor of National Nutrition Month (Get Your Plate In Shape), here is my recommended snack list. You can modify if your school follows Kosher or Allergy Free guidelines. Happy Snacking!!

Suggested foods that are ideal for health and growth:

Organic and or local foods especially dairy and fruits; No added sugars are highly encouraged. Please try to buy products with sugar as the third ingredient or more, no preservatives and no artificial colors.

 

The children often enjoy participating in the shopping for their snack week. Let them help you choose snacks for the week. Try to purchase seedless varieties when possible especially for the 2’s and 3”s. Older children may be open to varied textures and more robust flavors.

 

Refer to Web MD’s To Buy or Not Buy, Organic: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/ss/slideshow-to-buy-or-not-to-buy-organic

Chemicals in our food: http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm

 

Please remember to bring enough snack for ___ children for the entire week.

 

Snacks: We recommend serving a healthy protein and or healthy fat (real cheese, hummus, edamame), and 1-2 carbohydrates, 1 whole grain (spelt pretzels, multi grain cheerios), and 1 fruit or vegetable equivalent (organic apples, clementines, carrots). There must always be a fruit or a veggie option on a daily basis.

 

Beverage: Water only.

Protein/Fats: Choose 1/day to serve

Real Cheese:  Mozzarella, Cheddar (the sticks tend to be very popular)

Hard boiled eggs,

Hummus, Guacamole

Edamame

Greek yogurts (Oikos), Yogurt Squeeze (Stonyfield or Horizon, no Danimals)

Olives

Soy Butter, Sunflower Butter (class specific)

 

Carbohydrates: Whole Grains: Choose 0 -1/day to serve

Ak-Mak crackers, Wholegrain crackers (Kashi), Kalvi Rye Crackers

Baked Tortilia Chips, Kale Chips

Multigrain Goldfish

Multigrain cheerios or cereal

Whole Grain Rice Cakes

Whole Wheat Matzos

Natural Air Popped Popcorn (Bearitos and Naked Popcorn)

Spelt, whole wheat or whole grain pretzels (Snyder’s, Annies Organic)

 

Carbohydrates: Fruits and Vegetables: Choose 1/day to serve

Organic Apples

Unswtned organic applesauce

Bananas

Organic Blueberries

Carrots

Clementines

Cucumbers – peeled and sliced, seedless

Dried fruit with no added sugars and or oils

Organic Grapes

Melons – seedless

Organic Pepper Slices

Organic Strawberries

Salsa

String-beans

Organic raisins

Or any fruit/veggie your child loves!