Get Smart n’ Get Snackin’…

Are You a Smart Snacker?  Here are a few of my tips to help you navigate through the snack drawer.  Be aware of those processed, store-bought ‘treats’ and opt for your own homemade, nutritious snack packed with vitamins and nutrients to keep you happy and healthy all day long.

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Traveling for the New Year? Pack some of my portable snacks to keep your tummy satisfied whether you’re in the car, on the plane or train…these healthy nibbles are sure to keep your taste buds happy and your belly trim…just in time for the New Year.

Happy New Years Eve!

Be Mindful of Why You are Eating.

Are you stressed? Thirsty? Not eating enough? Ask yourself these questions before you dig in.  Be sure to keep healthy snack options in your office for a quick go-to when you’re in need of a quick fix.  When eating your meals, plate it,  sit down and savor your food…chew each bite and relax.  Plating your food and sitting down will give you visual of how much you have consumed. Many of my clients eat breakfast standing up, lunch at their desks and dinner in front of the television, this will not only disrupt your digestion, but leaves you unsatisfied and yearning for more!

Portion Control.

Know your weaknesses and your triggers.  If you’re known to eat a box of cereal or cookies in one sitting-reach for your Ziploc bags as soon as you purchase these foods and make yourself portion controlled snacks.  This way, when you are in the mood for cereal or cookies, you can easily reach for one bag, sit down, put it on a plate or in a bowl and enjoy your snack without mindlessly over-doing it.

Don’t Skip Meals.

We all know the most important meal of the day is a hearty breakfast.  Be sure to follow up with a mid-morning snack, a filling lunch, an afternoon nibble and a nutritious dinner.  Do not skip meals; this will only set you up for failure.  Keep your blood sugar steady and your body and brain fueled by eating a 3 balanced meals with 2 snacks each day.  This may not work for everyone, many of my clients prefer to have 3 meals and a dessert or they have learned that eating mini-meals throughout the day works for them.  Whatever works for you is what you should stick to-we’re all different people with different needs, therefore the is no cookie cutter way of how many meals and snacks you should be eating each day.  Just be sure that you feel energized and satisfied; if you are hungry, reach for a smart, healthy option.


Decipher Between Snacks and Treats.

Those ‘100 calorie’ packs that you see in the food store are not snacks–they’re treats! Take a looksy at the nutrition facts and ingredients- you’ll be surprised by the amount of sugar and additives in each little pouch.  Instead of reaching for processed treats, opt for a more nutritious whole food option such as a whole grain cracker with cheese, a small Greek yogurt with apple slices or a banana with nut butter.


Don’t Wait Until Your Tummy is Rumblin’.

I encourage my clients to eat every 3 to 5 hours.  If you let yourself go any longer, you can damage your day and set yourself up for an overeating fest.


Reach for Lean Protein, Good Fats, Fruits and Veggies.

When you eat a snack of protein, healthy fat and produce you can achieve a satisfied feeling rather than reaching for a sugar-laden treat.  Try pairing a nut butter atop celery, a few slices of cheese with an apple or a handful of pistachios and grapes.


Cook in Bulk for Easy Prep.

Purchase store bought rotisserie chicken and you can easily toss it into your morning omelet, afternoon chicken salad sandwich and evening pasta  dish.  On a Sunday evening, try to cook up a batch of inexpensive pantry staples such as potatoes, rice, pasta and beans.  Store leftovers in the fridge for the week in Tupperware containers, therefore when you are ready to eat, you can simply reach for these precooked foods and whip up a nutritious snack meal in no time.


Have Fun, Get Creative
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Eating should not be a chore; take a look at my On-the-go-Snacks and More Snacks for healthy ideas between meals.  Don’t be afraid to try new things, instead of a peanut butter and jelly white bread sandwich, opt for a whole grain bread with all natural nut butter and jelly without added sugars.

Take a look at Cooking Light Magazine’s ’10 Healthy Habits in 2010′ for some great ways to kick off your New Year on the right foot.

In The News…

A&P Features Printable Coupons

Safety of Food Spotty at Airports

Gluten-Free Menus Make Their Way to Small Towns

USDA Program Aims To Simplify Foods’ Nutritional Values

Have a safe and enjoyable New Years Eve!

Product Review: Enjoy Life Foods

A big thank you to my friends over at Enjoy Life Foods, who sent me a wonderful package of their delicious granolas!

Enjoy Life Foods has a vast array of yummy products, all of which are free of the eight most common allergens: No Wheat/Gluten, Dairy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Egg, Soy, Fish or Shellfish.  Moreover, all Enjoy Life products are made without casein, potato, sesame and sulfites!  Aside from their granola, Enjoy Life also provides trail mix, cookies, bagels, chocolate chips and chocolate bars.

Cinnamon Crunch

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Cranapple Crunch

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Very Berry Crunch

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After reviewing each of these yummy flavors, my clients and I most enjoyed the Cinnamon Crunch Granola, which is packed with a burst of cinnamon and adds a delightful crunch atop salads or yogurt parfaits with fruit.  Enjoy Life Foods Granola is perfectly satisfying when eaten right out of the bag, too.  Many of my clients admit to stashing a bag of granola in their desk drawer for a mid-afternoon snack.  Not too sweet, not too salty, these tasty granolas add a wonderful crunch when combined with other cereals, baked into muffins and added to your homemade trail mix!  Enjoy Life Foods is a wonderful brand- I love how each product is free of the most common food allergens-this is great news for myself and many of my clients who suffer from food allergies and intolerances.

So, go ahead and enjoy your life with Enjoy Life Foods…aside from the granola, Enjoy Life Foods offers other allergen- free products.  So, go ahead and pick up some Enjoy Life Foods products at your nearest health food store or Whole Foods Market-they are surely worth the trip!  Enjoy Life Foods are great for any age (I am living proof—I love the brand), however, I encourage many of my clients to purchase these foods for their young children with allergens/intolerances because the taste is so ‘real’ and kids will not feel deprived or ‘odd’ when they cannot enjoy what the other children at school are eating–because they’ll have their very own fabulous allergen-free foods!

Believe me, if you or a loved one suffers from food allergens/intolerances or simply avoids these ingredients-Enjoy Life Foods will do wonders for your snacks and meals…and your pantry will be thrilled to finally see some fun, healthy products stocked and ready for your enjoyment!

Have you ever tried Enjoy Life Food products? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience and which products you have tried.  Your comments are of great value to many of my clients and I thank you all!

Simply Satisfying Swaps

Here are a few tricks of the trade from my healthy kitchen to yours…read on for some great alternatives to your pantry staples.

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  • Swap your traditional mayo for plain Greek yogurt.  My favorite brands are Chobiani, Fage and Siggi’s.  These yogurts are a perfect substitution to mix into your typical tuna salad or spread onto your sandwich.  Moreover, Greek yogurt is a great source of calcium, probiotics and protein–these benefits out way the typical sodium-laden mayo.

Here are a few other ways to swap Greek yogurt into your meals and snacks.

-When making a veggie dip, substitute for sour cream by using 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with lemon/lime juice, Nu-Salt and pepper, as well as dried herbs and spices of choice.

-Toss a salmon, chicken, pasta, or tuna salad with Greek yogurt and a dollop of Dijon with a few dried cranberries.

-Use Greek yogurt when marinating your choice of protein (Seitan, Tofu, Tempeh, Chicken, Turkey, etc.) By simply combining yogurt with a dash of balsamic vinegar, herbs/spices and sesame seed oil will make your mouth water and impress your guests at your next BBQ.

  • Add fruits and vegetables to everything.  By filling up at every meal with these antioxidant packed, water-dense foods–you’ll reap nutritional benefits and a ton of filling fiber.  This will not only increase the volume of your meals but it will leave you feeling healthy and satisfied.

Here are a few of my favorite tricks for adding in more fruits and veggies.

Pile veggies on that sandwich! Add any fruit or veggie such as roasted red peppers, collard greens, kale, sprouts, sliced apples and pears.

-No matter what type of  ‘salad’ your menu is calling for (chicken, tuna, pasta, potato, etc.), add in fresh red grapes with pine nuts, toss in fresh pineapple chunks with blueberries, finely chopped red bell peppers, mushrooms and zucchini, or toss in red onions, shallots, cherry tomatoes and black olives.  Any of these fruits and veggies will jazz up your ‘salad’ whether tossed in alone or all together.  Have fun and experiment with different flavor combinations such as diced apples with walnuts into your tuna salad or black olives with yellow corn in your potato salad.  Don’t forget to drizzle some balsamic vinegar along with fresh lemon or lime juice over the final product-this will ensure a lasting zest to any dish!

-Add orange, lemon, lime zest to top any dish including omelets, meats, grains, salads and oatmeal!

-In the mood for a pizza? Simply swap your pepperoni for grilled veggies with extra tomato sauce! Take a peak at some of my favorite pizza recipes on my Recipe page.

-Break out your blender! You know it’s hiding behind your bowls in your pantry–so break it out and explore the endless opportunities of creating delicious smoothies.  Simply blending a few ice cubes with fresh fruits and vegetables along with a dollop of Greek yogurt will leave you satisfied whether it’s for breakfast, dessert, or just an afternoon snack to cool off from the heat. I like to combine 1 cup Greek yogurt, with a banana, spinach, lime juice and a drizzle of honey!

  • Eat what you crave.  Have fun playing Martha Stewart in your kitchen and start experimenting with healthier variations of your favorite treats!  Check out my On-the-Go Snacks Category for more snack ideas.  Just be sure your snack is a nice combo of healthy fats, carbs and protein to keep you satisfied and your tummy happy.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to indulge with healthier and more nutritious options.

-Sub in dark chocolate for milk chocolate and you’ll get a nice dose of antioxidants and richer flavor with each bite!

-Alternate with non-dairy options such as rice milk, hemp milk, soy milk and coconut milk in your recipes.

-Try a non-dairy frozen treat with brands such as Toffutti , Soy Dream, and Rice Dream.

-Create a delictable dessert by starting with a whole wheat or gluten free tortilla, then spread with peanut butter and add a few dark chocolate chips along with a drizzle of honey.  Wrap up the wrap and place into the microwave for 20 seconds. Enjoy this warm, delicious treat that packs in antioxidants from the honey and dark chocolate as well as a nice dose of protein from the nut butter.

-Bananas are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth.  Simply dip the banana  into melted dark chocolate and coat with crushed peanuts. 

-French toast is a breakfast favorite of many of my clients, however, try dipping your bread into egg whites and serve with Greek yogurt and berries.

-Toss in berries and crushed walnuts in your favorite pancake and waffle recipe for a heart healthy does of Omega 3’s as well as antioxidants.  Drizzle with organic honey and a nice spread of nut butter for a well rounded meal.

-Enjoy Greek yogurt drizzled with agave nectar or  honey, chocolate chips and slivered almonds for a colling treat!

-Make your own frozen juice bars. Simply use pop-sickle Tupperware holders and create your very own natural fruit juice…pour into the tray and once they’re frozen you can enjoy a delicious fresh squeezed juice ice pop!

-Enjoy a bowl of organic apple sauce with a few peanuts, a sprinkle of cinnamon, all spice, numeg and Greek yogurt.

-Slice and core apples, place into a deep dish and cover with cinnamon, honey, lemon juice and water. Enjoy these freshly baked apples with granola for a decadent dessert.

-Dried fruit stuffed with nut butter.  Some of my clients enjoy dates stuffed with almond butter…I like dried apricots with cashew butter and dipped in melted dark chocolate. Give these a try-I assure you they will satisfy your sweet tooth in a pinch!  Experiment with different dried fruits and nut butters such as dried cranberries, cherries, pears, apples and bananas to name a few and simply dip into warm dark chocolate or for a protein boost dip into warm almond, cashew or peanut butter.

-Mix together a warm cup of oats with 3/4 cup of steel cut oats, cashews, unsweetened coconut and golden raisins.

-Toast up a delicious afternoon hold-me-over snack with your favorite bread.  Toast bread and top with natural nut butter, thin sliced apples and a drizzle of honey.

-Chop up quick crudities of raw veggies with a side of hummus, guacamole, and salsa dips for your afternoon ‘at-your-desk’ pick me up.

-Pair together a piece of all natural turkey breast with hummus and red bell peppers for a satisfying protein boost.

-Reach for those filling, high fiber crackers and top with 1/4 cup black beans, a dollop of Greek yogurt, salsa and melted SoyaKaas soy cheese.

-For your 3PM blood sugar drop, pack a fresh piece of fruit with a few slices of SoyaKaas soy cheese and raw almonds.

-Try topping your bran crackers with an all natural apple butter and a handful of tasty macadamia nuts.

-Reach for a bag of frozen edemame, heat up in the microwave and top with Eden Organic Pasta Sauce and a hit of melted soy cheese.

-Make a dip with mashed avocado, chili powder and Greek yogurt; pair with veggies and crackers for a pre-dinner appetizer.

-Make your own trail mix with carob chips, granola, puffed rice, almonds and dried fruit.  Pack into individual serving sized Zip-lock bags for easy go-to-snacks for the office or when out running errands between meals.

  • Switch up your cooking methods–choose a unique and tasty broth for a flavor boost.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to switch up broths when cooking.

Use tea bags while cooking.  I love using my green tea bags when making my chicken-not only is it delicious, but I enjoy all of the healthy antioxidants as well.

-Use low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock.  You can find delicious low sodium varieties in your local health food store, which are organic and quite flavorful.

  • Move over blender, reach in that pantry for your Cuisinart.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to puree foods with my handy, dandy Cuisinart.

-Hummus. Enough said.  Puree chickpeas, white, black or kidney beans with a dash of tahini and vegetables of your choice…puree well…and poof-your very own homemade hummus.  My favorite hummus recipe is black olives, chickpeas, fresh basil and roasted red peppers.  Enjoy with pita wedges for a fabulous appetizer.  Be sure to check out my Recipe Pagefor more of my homemade hummus recipes.

-Casseroles.  Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Fond memories (or shall I say nightmares of mom’s weird casseroles back in the ’80’s”…no, no, no…these casseroles are even more delish…simply puree parsnips, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, etc. with bran  crumbs, a dollop of Greek yogurt and some orange zest for a nice side dish.

  •  Spice n’ Herb it up! Condiments can do wonders–Get zesty with new flavors.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to incorporate condiments and herbs n’ spices.  Be sure to check out my Condiments of Choice Page and Product Reviews Page for more ideas.

-Cinnamon is fabulous. Enough said.  Add it to your morning oatmeal, sprinkle it into your chicken salad, dash a bit into your yogurt with some nuts and granola.

-Salsa, salsa, salsa…and I’m not talking about the dance! Add salsa to your morning omelet, afternoon crudites, pile it onto your sandwich or jazz up your salad, and don’t forget to use it with your homemade tacos and burritos.  My favorite salsa is Amy’s Organic Black Bean and Corn—it is a hearty, chunky salsa with an amazing taste and a must for any dish!

-Mustard is a great choice to spread onto any sandwich, bun or wrap–the flavors and varieties are endless…

-Wheat free low sodium tamari sauce is a wonderful way to substitute your soy sauce sans the gluten!

-As I mentioned above, lemon and lime juice add a pungent flavor to any dish and marinade.  Adding this juice to spices, mustard and Greek yogurt will make a wonderful sauce in place of a heavy cream sauce.

-Vinegars can do wonders.  I love buying organic white balsamic vinegars–experiment with purchasing different vinegars and see what your taste buds have been missing!   

-My favorite herbs are fresh cilantro and basil, not to mention dried thyme, rosemary and oregano.  Top any dish with these delicious herbs instead of processed, calorie laden sauces.  It’s a cheap and easy way to add great flavor to your meals—my father has always grown a beautiful garden in our back yard with a wonderful array of herbs that we use for cooking.  Thanks dad for getting me hooked on healthy, antioxidant packed fresh herbs!  I can’t wait to see your garden this summer.

-Whip up a quick marinade at your next BBQ using tamari, fresh garlic and grated ginger–lather on top of veggie kabobs and throw ’em on the grill for  serious BBQ flavor!

I hope you enjoyed a few of my Healthy Food ‘Swaps’ …do you have any swaps that you use in your meals and snacks?

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Tips for Including Flax Seed into your Day

Flax seeds contain fiber, lignans and essential fatty acids that can improve your health as well as prevent diseases such as certain cancers.  You can buy the flax seeds whole and grind in a coffee grinder everyday.  Read on for simple ways to add these nutritious seeds to your foods such as soups, baked good and salads.

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Flax seed is full of Omega 3’s, fiber, and antioxidants.  You can easily purchase various mill and grind sizes of flax seed depending on what type of food you wish to incorporate it with, be it for baked goods, snacks, cereal, etc.  For instance, you may want a powder consistency for a beverage or a larger grind size for visual appeal to bring out the whole-grain ‘look’ on a salad, corn chips, crackers or in baked goods.

Here are a few of my tips for using flax seed in your favorite dishes:

  • Bake into your favorite scones, muffins, cookies, breads, and other baked goods
  • Mix with fresh fruit into your yogurt
  • Add to your home-made trail mix, trail bars or popcorn
  • Mix  into your favorite burger or meatless patty recipe
  • Add to your wraps, sandwiches and salads by combining with mayonnaise or mustard
  • Stir into your warm or cold breakfast cereal
  • Sprinkle into your pancake and waffle mix
  • Combine with breadcrumbs when coating the eggplant or chicken (in your Parmesan meals)

Surprisingly, flax seed can be used in place of eggs in pancakes, waffles, cookies, scones, and muffins.   You can simply substitute 1 tbsp. ground flax seed for 1 large egg in addition to 3 tbsp. of water in any recipe.  Please note that the texture of your baked goods will be slightly altered and will appear and taste more “gummy” than if you had used the egg.

Do you use flax seeds?  If so, share with us tips on how you incorporate them into your diet.

On-the-Go Snacks

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We all know the feeling…it’s 3pm…your blood sugar is catapulting…you’re getting light headed…you need Something-but steer clear of the vending machine and try some of these great Go-To Snacks when you need a little pick me up …

  • Cottage cheese and an apple sprinkled with cinnamon
  • Butternut Squash Fries (see my recipe)
  • Sweet Potato with Greek Yogurt or Cottage Cheese
  • Low fat yogurt with berries and nuts mixed in
  • Crisp bread with salsa and humus
  • Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries, wheat germ, and flax seeds
  • Cup of frozen grapes and 10 almonds
  • Honey-Broiled Grapefruit with walnuts
  • Crisp Bread with (or almond butter or cashew butter)
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Agave drizzled Tofu
  • Pickled Beets (Cooked Beets, Balsamic vinegar, scallion, salt)
  • Eggplant chopped with Greek Yogurt and Mint
  • Frozen Grapes
  • Radishes with Greek Yogurt and Scallions
  • Dried Figs
  • Peanut Butter ontop of Celery with Flax Seeds sprinkled on top
  • Whole Wheat English Muffin with melted cheese and tomato
  • Fennel with Oil and Lemon
  • Dried Fruit and Nuts
  • Air popped Pop Corn
  • Brown Rice Cakes with Agave Nectar
  • Steamed Veggies and Guacamole
  • Baked Sweet Potato with Vegan Grated Cheese and Greek Yogurt
  • Nori and hummus
  • Brown Rice Cakes and Nut Butter (Almond/Cashew/etc.)
  • Radicchio, Peanut and Raisin Salad
  • Bell Pepper with Cottage Cheese
  • Ham-Wrapped Cantaloupe
  • Deviled Egg (Made with Veganaise or Greek Yogurt)
  • Grape Tomatoes and Chickpeas
  • Greek Yogurt with Prune Butter
  • Dried Apricots and Pumpkin Seeds
  • Light Popcorn (use coconut oil to pop in a covered pan)
  • 2 Large Bavarian Hard Pretzels with hummus
  • Wheatgrass
  • Sprouted Date Bread with Jam
  • Organic Dark Chocolate Chips or Carob Chips
  • Olives
  • Pickled Vegetables: Pickles, Daikon, Beets, Lotus Root
  • Tabouli and Hummus with Whole Wheat Bread
  • Oysters
  • Sardines
  • Steamed vegetables with Tamari/Shoyu or Umeboshi Vinegar
  • Whole Grain Tortilla Chips and salsa/guacamole
  • Sauerkraut
  • Organic Cheese
  • Rice Pudding
  • Pureed Soups
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Coconut Milk
  • Puddings made with Silken Tofu, Avocado or Mashed Banana
  • Almonds and Dark Chocolate
  • Agave Nectar, Sunflower Seeds, Peanut Butter on Bran Cracker
  • Fresh Fruit with Greek Yogurt
  • Roasted Cauliflower with chili powder and hummus
  • Cup of steamed veggies with Parmesan cheese
  • Cantaloupe with cottage cheese and soy nuts
  • Slice of whole grain bread with humus
  • Pureed vegetable soup
  • Handful of nuts
  • Poached egg with tomato and whole wheat toast
  • Humus and organic fresh pita wedges
  • Banana and Greek yogurt mixed with honey
  • 1/2 cup rice porridge with nuts
  • Apple with 2 Tbs. organic peanut butter
  • 15 Almonds- Dry roasted/unsalted/sprinkle with cinnamon
  • Banana with 2Tbs. organic peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup steal cut oats made with warm water or soy milk
  • 1 String cheese with bran crackers
  • 1/2 cup Trail mix
  • Smoothie: Ice, Banana, Soy Milk, add any nuts/fruits/veggies of your choice
  • Dried Fruit
  • Serving of edamame
  • 1 toasted Organic English muffin with 1 Tbs. nut butter
  • Oatmeal Pancake: Rolled Oats, canned pumpkin, egg whites (mix together and put into microwave), top with Greek Yogurt and almonds.