The Big Game is on this weekend and whether you are in it for the football, the commercials, or the halftime show, I know food will also play a large role in you Super Bowl experience. The traditional tailgate fare of nachos, burgers, pizza, chips, and deep-fried delicacies is not exactly health food. I’m not trying to set you up with a spread of baby carrots, celery, and hummus (although that IS delicious) but just because it’s a party doesn’t mean you have to make the worst possible food decisions. Portion control should always be your #1 strategy, but these cleaned up snacks look great too!
If you’re feeling extra fancy, and have some time to spare, homemade baked chips are a great vehicle for dips of all kinds! You can get creative here and use other veggies: beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes also make tasty chips.
Mini Cauliflower Pizza BitesPoor Cauliflower. It rarely gets the love it deserves. When was the last time you had really great cauliflower dish? This is a genius use of the cruciferous veggie, and you may even get the picky eaters in the room to eat it!
It can be really challenging to make good decisions when you are at the grocery store. It’s hard enough to choose between, virgin, extra virgin, or organic olive oils that are all basically the same, much less decipher the food marketing campaigns companies use to entice you. This is why I’m currently in LOVE with the Fooducate app. It takes out a lot of the detective work that comes along with making healthy choices. (And it’s free!)
You can either scan a bar code, enter it manually, or search for a product by name. Each product in the Fooducate data base is given a letter grade. The really cool part is that each entry gives you the product highlights (both good and bad) so you can easily find the facts about added sugars, trans fats, artificial colors, and misleading serving sizes that food manufacturers don’t necessarily want you to see. You’re also given a list of alternatives you can look for if the original product isn’t really as great as it seemed at first.
I’ve found this app to be especially useful when buying things like cereal and yogurt: products that are always touting their health benefits, maybe a little too loudly.
I’m brand new to this iPhone app thing, so I’d love some comments about any health and fitness apps you like to use!
One of the most common reasons my boot campers and personal training clients say they have difficulty sticking to their nutrition plans that they don’t have time to cook. With just a little bit of planning, taking advantage of the evening or weekend afternoon when you do have some time spend in the kitchen, you can make several meals at once. I’m not talking about eating the same leftovers for days, either. In the video below, I’ll show you can get a main dish salad, a soup, and a quiche out of a couple trays of roasted beets and carrots. Please leave a comment if you have any big batch cooking tips to share!
Oat Flour Pie Crust
1 1/2 c oat flour, plus additional for work surface
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 c low-fat milk
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1. Preheat over to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder.
2. In a spouted bowl, whisk together milk, egg yolk, oil, and vinegar. Slowly pour ½ of the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly and repeat with the remaining liquid. The mixture will be partially crumbly, but will stick together when squeezed.
3. Dump dough out onto a well-floured surface. Squeeze dough together into a singular mound and pat it down together into a disc.. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out until 12 inches in diameter. Transfer dough to 9 inch pie dish. Gently press dough into the edges of the dish and up the sides. Fold excess dough under and pinch, creating a roughly 1/2 inch rim. Using your fingers, or with the tines of a fork, crimp entire rim. Poke Dough all over with fork to create stream holes.
4) Transfer to over and bake 20 minutes, until edges and center are just golder. Remove dish from over and cool completely before using.
VARIATIONS: Substitute 1/4 cup of oat flour with 1/4 cup unsalted nuts of your choice, finely chopped or ground.
The US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services released the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 last week, but it contained few surprises. The report urged Americans to reduce their portion sizes, reduce their intake of refined carbohydrates, added sugars, sodium, and solid fats, and increase their consumption of whole grains, vegetables, and other nutrient dense foods. Overall, it is hard to argue with the recommendations (perhaps except for the HUGE push to consume more low-fat dairy products, even in the face of lactose intolerance) but whether or not Americans will follow them is another story. You can get the full report here.
Some of my favorite statistics included in the report:
Alcohol is the #5 top source of calories for adults! It is right below soda. Grain based desserts like cakes and cookies are #1. Whoa. That’s a ton of calories consumed with no nutritional value. A diet centered on whole grains, fresh produce, lean protein sources, and healthy fats will provide all the health supportive nutrition you need while helping you maintain a healthy weight.
Less than 5% of American adults get the recommended 30 minutes of light to moderate activity a day. Exercise does not have to occur in 1-2 hour blocks in a concrete gym. You can add a 10 minute walk to the end of your lunch break, actively play with your kids for 10 minutes, and add another 10 minute post dinner walk (which will also aid your digestion) and reap most of the health benefits of exercise. This type of activity will probably not leave you with rippling muscles and 15% body fat, but it will lower your risk of all sorts of lifestyle-related diseases.
Solid fats and added sugars account for about 35% (around 800) of the calories the average American consumes every day. A much more reasonable percentage would be somewhere between 5-15%, according to the report. Beverages alone account for about 450 of those calories. Think about this, a pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories. If you cut out 700 of these solid fats and sugar calories (you can even keep some in my hypothetical example!) you could lose 10 pounds in less than 2 months!
What’s your take on the updated guidelines? Do you think they will have any effect on people’s behavior? What about on your own dietary decisions?
I am originally from the Midwest and every Fall I get a little nostalgic for fall foliage, apple orchards, corn mazes, sweaters and stew. So imagine my excitement when I discovered a pumpkin patch here, on this very island!! I must say that the Waimanalo pumpkin patch was not at all like the farms I grew up with, but I did get to walk through some corn fields and went home with a lovely squash.
At home I cut off the rind, removed the seeds for roasting, and cubed all the pumpkin flesh. I roasted two pan’s worth for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees. When it was done, I had enough pumpkin for several meals. It really helps to plan ahead for leftovers like this, that way, later in the week when I don’t have time to cook, or just don’t feel like it, I have some options that I can throw together and have a delicious, healthy meal with practically no effort. For example, I combined some of the leftover pumpkin, along with some lentils I had cooked, paprika, coriander, some goat cheese, leftover chicken, and baby spinach and made a killer salad for lunch a few days later. It was awesome! Doing just a little more work when you’ve already psyched yourself up to cook can go a long way in helping you stick to a healthy eating plan.
I also made a really tasty soup and some savory muffins. I really like muffins like this for breakfast or as a snack. They give me more sustained energy than their sugary counterparts, help keep me satisfied because of the high amount of protein and fiber, and aren’t likely as a scone to send me down the dark sugar binge path. Now keep in mind that I made my muffins with whole wheat flour; regular refined white flour does not impart all this nutritious goodness, and is in fact recognized just like sugar in your body.
I just got home from my Las Vegas trip, and I’m super excited to be back on the island. Lucky for you I shot a couple videos for you while I was gone that I will be posting this week. This first one is about how to make reasonable food choices while you travel, especially during the actual journey part of your trip. Airports are full of fat trap landmines, but a teeny bit of planning can help you avoid falling into one of them. I would much rather indulge in something special when I arrive at my destination that tastes amazing and is something I really want than blow through a day’s worth of calories eating a stale over sized sandwich in an airport terminal.