Why should you eat breakfast?
A balanced breakfast is important because...
Amanda's Breakfast Ideas (~Amanda Obinque, RDN, CD)
Nutrition per Muffin: 80 calories; 3g Fat; 4g Protein; 9g Carbohydrates; 1g Fiber; 155mg Sodium
Nutrition per 1/2 Cup: 240 calories; 12g Fat; 6g Protein; 27g Carbohydrates; 4g Fiber; 50mg Sodium
Nutrition per Serving: 310 calories; 9g Fat; 21g Protein; 37g Carbohydrates; 16g Fiber; 89mg Sodium
~Leah Swanson, RDN, CD
Let’s Talk Bones
Bone is a living, growing tissue, composed mainly of a protein called collagen, which allows our bones to be flexible. In addition to collagen, calcium phosphate, a mineral, provides the bones with strength and stability. This is important since our bones provide structural support for our bodies.
Our bones protect many of our vital organs such as the heart, liver, lungs, brain and spinal cord. They also play an important role in the regulation of calcium and blood sugar.
Throughout our life, our bones are continuously being broken down and rebuilt. As we age more bone is broken down than is replaced, making it important to build and maintain strong bones early in life.
Facts on Osteoporosis: The Most Common Bone Disease
Poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, low body weight, smoking, overconsumption of alcohol, certain medications, advanced age, being female, ethnicity (Caucasian and Asian women are at higher risk) and family history.
Other health conditions that can increase your risk of osteoporosis include asthma/allergies, cancer, Cushing’s disease, diabetes, hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, lactose intolerance, lupus, liver or kidney disease, lung disease, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
This Rooibos - Turmeric Latte has become my go-to afternoon drink on rainy PNW days. With a different composition of antioxidants than green tea and none of the caffeine, rooibos is a fantastic herbal tea option. We also now have some great research on the positive health benefits of turmeric and I love that I can get this into my normal dietary intake rather than as a supplement. For the milk portion, I have been using a blend of oat and hemp milks. The plain oat milk provides plenty of sweetness and the hemp milk provides a nice blend of unsaturated fats. By themselves, they don't work well for my tastes (the oat is too sweet and the hemp is not sweet enough), but together is pure latte synergy. Top with a dusting of your favorite spice compliment (cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger) and savour a cup of spicy bliss.
So, we’ve made it through the first month of 2018.
How are your New Year’s Resolutions going?
If you just expelled a huge sigh of exhaustion, you are not alone. Many people become frustrated with the drudgery of working out consistently.
Many think about quitting a new eating pattern due to feelings of deprivation. And with Amazon algorithms pushing purchasing recommendations your way, eyeing that new overpriced gadget you cannot afford is a lot easier than it used to be.
This next month is when things tend to fall apart if you fail to reflect on your resolutions. Remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing, and come up with a healthy, cost-effective reward to treat yourself for making it through the second month of the year. Planning ahead, getting in front of your oppressive frame of mind, and allowing yourself to accomplish short-term goals is essential for your long-term success. You just need to continue your resolutions long enough for them to become lifestyle habits. Don’t quit now!
I wasn’t simply assuming you all had resolutions related to exercise, nutrition and saving money. That would be wrong of me. Rather, I did some research and found out that the most popular New Year's resolutions in the USA for 2018 are to eat healthier, get more exercise, and save more money, according to a YouGov poll. Assuming you Sound Dietitian blog post readers find yourselves working on these resolutions, I have a new recipe to share with you that will ensure you kill these three birds with one stone. To be clear, that’s a figure of speech. Please don’t think I’m actually encouraging the killing of any birds :)
To eat healthier, eating more fruits and veggies is a good place to start. To fuel yourself before a workout and/or help repair muscle after a workout, protein and carbohydrates are essential. To save some green ($), purchasing low-cost ingredients and making food at home is your best bet. So what recipe can help you do all that? A SMOOTHIE of course! If you are feeling up for it, try making this cost-saving, nutrient-packed smoothie for breakfast, a snack, or as an accompaniment to a meal (depending on how many calories you expend during the day). It will cost you approximately $0.87 per 16-oz per serving, or $1.31 per 24-oz serving. That is because the recipe uses a combination of fresh, frozen and canned ingredients. Check out the recipe below.
I went shopping at Safeway in Queen Anne to purchase all the ingredients. See shopping list below.
Crockpot cooking is something short of a miracle, isn’t it? If you’re not quite sold, here me out. You can rummage through your cabinets, pantry, refrigerator and/or freezer, find a bunch of ingredients that work well together, throw all the ingredients into a pot AT THE SAME TIME, put on a lid, turn a knob to the heat setting you desire, and ...wait for it…. you can forget about the food cooking and get important things done like work, errands, new year's resolutions or the essential netflix binge in your pajamas on a Sunday afternoon. If you cannot appreciate the miraculous nature of cooking an amazingly tasty, hot meal while getting a long list of “to-do’s” done, without having to slave over a stove for hours, then you must eat out a lot :)
But in all seriousness, crockpots are my absolute favorite kitchen gadget right now. I just recently made a three bean ground turkey chili in my crockpot at home. In an effort to be cost-effective, I choose to use all canned ingredients instead of buying fresh produce. In some cases, this kind of a swap can compromise flavor. However, in the case of the magical crockpot, it doesn’t matter if you use fresh ingredients or canned varieties, the deliciousness factor of the meal remains the same- lip-smacking, aw’ing and oh’ing goodness. Yes, the crockpot cooking method had a lot to do with the flavorful end-product, but a couple simple techniques I’ve learned over the past couple months helped make the chili something special.
So what are these “simple techniques” I’m talking about? I’ll tell you. USE SPICES! Don’t be afraid of spices, and don’t cut corners by leaving them out because you don’t want to buy them at the store. Spices bring out the natural flavors within the ingredients while simultaneously infusing their own flavor profile into the food. Second, BROWN GROUND MEAT before adding it to the crockpot. This adds nice texture and flavor to a crockpot meal (I did this with the ground turkey when making my chili). Lastly, allow adequate TIME for all the flavors in your recipe to mingle in the crockpot (on average, 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hrs on low). I gave my chili time to rehearse its flavor profile and it sure did make for a beautiful performance in my mouth when I gobbled it down.
With all this talk about crockpot cooking techniques, I almost forgot to share my most recent experience using a crockpot… wait, I guess four crockpots would be more accurate. Last Thursday at Verdant Community Wellness Center in Lynwood I helped lead a Crockpot cooking class. It was a hit! We made four simple, nutrient-dense recipes: salsa chicken, salsa lentils, fajita vegetables and brown rice. Now, most people don’t have four crockpots laying around their house to be able to pull this off, so don’t think your underprepared for crockpot cooking if you only have one in your home. This was a cooking class meant to boast the versatility of a crockpot. That’s the only reason we made several recipes at once.
Are you bummed you weren’t a part of the Crockpot cooking class? Although I can’t give you a time-machine to go back and attend the class, I can grant you the next best thing! Fire up those crockpots, below are the recipes for each dish we prepared in the class. And since I’m in the recipe sharing mood, it only seems fair to share the three bean ground turkey chili recipe I was bragging about. Here ya go: http://ifoodreal.com/instant-pot-chili/. Hope you enjoy all these recipes as much as I do!
Peace, love and crockpots,
Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again. Time to lace up your sneakers and get ready for the November-December marathon, filled with dark and cozy days; calendars over-spilling amidst the uproar of yuletide spirit. Obstacles of dangerous desserts, meat mountains and conniving cocktails lay before you. How does one make it out unscathed?!
It is important to remember that as much as you’ll be giving to others - do not forget to give back to yourself! This includes nurturing your body with nutritious food, getting plenty of rest, maintaining physical activity, and staying hydrated. It’s understood that what should feel like second nature to us is sometimes very hard to maintain during the holidays. But, it is possible.
Although a Thanksgiving feast has its staples of roasted turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pie, it doesn’t always have to be a day of excessive caloric and sodium intake. There are plenty of ingredient swaps and preparation tips to make the holidays healthier, without sacrificing the taste or your top-chef reputation among family members. That way the focus is off of the food, and instead on time with our loved ones.
Here are some tips and tricks for swapping all the time - not just during the holidays.
Swapping for Fat
Swapping for Eggs
Use 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of one egg in most baking recipes. Some sources say to mix it with 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, for leavening.
Use 1/4 cup of mashed banana (from about half a banana) instead of one egg when baking. Note that this may impart a mild banana flavor to whatever you are cooking- is this ever a bad thing? I’ll leave that to you.
Can also be used as an egg substitute! Simply mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds (or meal) with 3 tablespoons of water and set aside for 5 minutes. Use in place of one egg.
Aquafaba is the name given to the water from a can of chickpeas. I know what you’re thinking: ‘what kind of dark magic is this’?! And I am here to tell you that it truly works, and has no taste. 3 tablespoons of chickpea or white bean juice is all you need to replace an egg. It even makes a foam when whipped, just like an egg white! You’ll never look at bean water the same again.
Swapping for Sugar
Eggs can be a great source of protein for growing kiddos! Eggs can also be tons of fun to cook and bake with.
Get young children involved in the kitchen with simple tasks like cracking eggs, beating yolks and whites with a fork, or peeling hard-boiled eggs. Older kids can gain skills working with a heat source to cook eggs or may enjoy learning about the more complex scientific functions of eggs in a combination recipe, like angel food cake! Whether your child is 6 or 16, you can find a task for all skill levels when working with eggs.
This past weekend at Verdant Community Wellness Center, we had an eggscellent kids cooking class and had a blast preparing the tasty recipes below. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
Getting Started with Easy-to-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs
English Muffin Mini Egg Pizzas
This recipe is so delicious and could easily be enjoyed any time of the day – fancy Saturday breakfast, quick afternoon snack, protein-packed dinner on the go, you name it! This recipe requires just a few simple ingredients and less than 10 minutes of prep. Yield: 2 mini pizzas
Nutrition (for 2 mini pizzas)
Nutrition: (per egg muffin)
Nutrition: (for one fritter)
100 calories, 3 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrate, 3.5 grams fat (1 g saturated, 1.5 g monounsaturated, 0.5 g polyunsaturated), 230 mg sodium
Recipe adapted from: https://www.jessicagavin.com/crispy-vegetable-fritters-with-avocado-yogurt-sauce/
Learn More, and Get Crackin’!
Eggs and Food Safety
All About Eggs and Baking
What is a Whole Grain?
Why Choose Whole Grains?
Mix it Up!
There is a whole world of whole grains to choose from! Check out this list of A-Z grains compiled by the Oldways Whole Grains Council.
Where Can I Find These Grains?
Italian Farro and Vegetable Salad
This colorful, versatile salad uses farro, a grain commonly used in Italy. The recipe was adapted from a cooking class taken during a study abroad in Florence, Italy! Feel free to have some fun and swap in different seasonal veggies for the ones listed. You can even experiment with different grains! Want an extra punch of flavor? Try a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to finish off this beautiful, nutritious dish!
~Leah Swanson, RDN
It’s that time of the year! The weather is slowly starting to change, backpacks replace beach bags, and lunchboxes are pulled out of hiding.
Does packing your child’s lunch feel like a chore? Do you feel uninspired? Packing lunches shouldn’t be a burden! Keep reading for some nutritious, delicious, and quick back-to-school lunch ideas.
Thinking about packing an item from each of the food groups can simplify menu planning. It also ensures that your child is getting a variety of nutrients. Bento boxes are a trendy way to pack lunches this year and make a great visual for packing each of the food groups! However, any Tupperware or container will work just as well.
Do you have to get all food groups in your child’s lunch every single day? No! Aim for 3 to 4 food groups in each meal. Other meals and snacks during the day should round out your child’s diet.
The two broad food categories that you should include in each meal and snack are carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates will provide energy for your child right away and the protein will make that energy last until their next meal or snack! Foods that are a good source of carbohydrates are fruit, grains, starchy vegetables, and dairy products. Check out the “mix & match” list below for protein ideas!
Where do sweets fit into the equation? It’s okay to pack a little treat once in a while! The bento box visual is a great way to keep the portion size in check.
How much does my kid need?
Every child has different calorie and nutrient needs depending on their body type, age, and activity level. Check out the links to MyPlate to determine about how much your child should be eating from each food group per day.
Want more individualized help? Meet with a Dietitian!
If you are packing perishable items in your child’s lunch (milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, deli meat, etc.), you should include two cold sources to keep those items at a safe temperature until lunchtime. These cold sources can be ice packs, frozen juice boxes, etc. If you are packing something that needs to stay warm, use an insulated container.
Check out more on safe lunchbox packing tips from Foodsafety.gov.
Mix & Match!
Have some fun mixing and matching from the food groups! Check out the ideas below to get started.
What are Dietary Supplements?
Supplements include anything from vitamins and minerals to herbs, enzymes, drinks, and energy bars. They can come in the form of tablets, capsules, gels, powders, liquids…you name it!
Do Your Research
Be wary of health claims. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Third Party Verification and Independent Quality Assessment Seals
Although not fool-proof, picking a supplement with any of these seals will provide an “extra set of eyes” when selecting a supplement. These are independent groups that test for quality, meaning they make sure the supplement contains what is says it contains and that it doesn’t have dangerous contaminants. Don’t mistake this seal for proving safety or effectiveness!
“Natural” does NOT mean “safe.”
A Dietitian’s Point of View
Always attempt to get the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need from food first. In fact, food contains fiber and many other substances that supplements don’t necessarily provide that have a positive impact on our health. Eat a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein throughout the week to pack a punch of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
On the other hand, not all supplements are dangerous and there are times that supplements may be appropriate and beneficial. For example, it is recommended that pregnant women take folic acid supplements or that someone following a vegan diet take vitamin B12. Just remember, talk to your Dietitian or Doctor before trying a new supplement!
~Leah Swanson, RDN
A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!