Friday, November 30, 2012

Less Stress = Better Eating


This time of year it is so easy to get caught up in everything going on, and find yourself so stressed out, everything falls apart.  Here are a few ways to simplify life and focus on what is really important as we move into the new year.  You are likely to do better with your eating habits, if you aren't completely stressed out.  I promise!
 
  • Learn to say "No".  This is such an important one!  Cut back on engagements and other social get-togethers that you don't really enjoy or look forward too.  Especially this time of year, things can really pile up fast.  Before you know it, every second of every day is booked solid!  Say no to the ones you don't especially want to go to, and save that time and energy for the things that really matter and you love most.
  • Do one thing at a time.  When you find yourself multi-tasking so much that nothing gets your full attention, stop and focus on one thing at a time.  You wont enjoy the things you are doing this season if you are constantly juggling too many tasks, plus you will be exhausted!
  • De-Clutter.  Remove ten things from your closet that you haven't worn this year.  Donate them to a good cause.  Next do this too your toy room, book shelf, dresser, anything that has become over run and could use a going through.  Don't do it alone, enlist the children/teens to help you find things to donate, simultaneously organizing and helping someone in need out.  What a good lesson for the kids, and good before bringing in new toys/clothes from the holidays!


Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Q&A - Lighter Holiday Recipes


Question: How do I make my holiday recipes a little lighter? 
Answer: Family recipes are so traditional during the holidays, and we don't want to change them completely!  Here are a few tips to simply lighten them up, rather than any drastic changes.
-Skim the fat off the top of gravies and sauces.  You can either skim it easily with a slotted spoon, or if you have time, stick it in the refrigerator and let it harden up.  Then you can easily remove the hardened fat off the top.  You can also try dropping a few ice cubes in and the fat will harden up around them.
-Make sure to use non-hydrogenated oils or trans fat free margarines instead of shortening or butter.  Also, try using a light butter/margarine, Blue Bonnet's light butter comes in sticks and is very easy to substitute!
-Try adding nuts or fruits to baked goods to add some healthy vitamins and minerals.
-A few easy substitutions include:
     -Use two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute instead of one whole egg
     -Try evaporated skim milk instead of heavy cream
     -Replace half or all of the oil in a recipe with an equal amount of applesauce (apple sauce in place of oil works best in moist products, like quick breads)
 for
     -Use low-fat versions of cheese and other dairy products
     -Try finding creative toppings for casseroles, i.e. almonds instead of fried onions.

Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Does Cooking Vegetables Mean Less Nutrients?


Q&A
I hear this question frequently from my patients, and I found all these great examples on a newsletter from a dietitian site, and thought it answered it quite nicely.  I did not write all of these, but they give permission to share it.
 
Question:  Does cooking deplete vitamins and minerals?  Should I only eat raw vegetables if I want to absorb all of the nutrients?
Steamed broccoli - pic from here
 
Answer: While some foods become less nutritious with cooking, other nutrients actually will become easier to absorb.
Look at these examples:

• Heating garlic increases its potential to decrease the risk of cancer

• Heating increases the availability of lycopene, an important antioxidant that helps prevent several forms of cancer (the richest source of lycopene is cooked tomatoes)

• Steaming broccoli increases its glucosinolates, which may help to prevent cancer

• Vitamin A and potassium are not lost during canning; in fact in some foods, such as canned pumpkin, the vitamin A content actually is higher than it is in fresh foods

Here are some other tips for cooking vegetables:
• Steaming, boiling, or baking are always better than frying vegetables

• As Dr Joel Fuhrman says: "Water-based cooking as in soups, steaming, and cooking in a pressure cooker results in very little loss of nutrients and a significant increase in the absorption of phytochemicals. To fear eating a steamed vegetable or vegetable/bean soup is entirely unfounded and without scientific support."

• Always slice, chop, or crush onions to increase the formation of sulfur compounds, which helps to lower blood cholesterol and prevent heart disease (it’s best to allow cut onions to sit for 10 minutes before using them)



Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts (great appetizer!)


So, I have no idea where I found this idea.  My husband and I have been making it for years, and it always is a huge hit.  We have taken it to football parties, holiday gatherings, and many other get togethers where we are asked to bring an appetizer.  They are always gone quickly!

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
Ingredients
1 Package of bacon (either center cut or try turkey!)
2 cans whole water chestnuts
1/2 Jar Teriyaki Sauce (I use Kikkoman marinade and sauce)
ToothPicks

Directions
1. Cut each slice of bacon into thirds or fourths.  
2. Wrap each small piece around 1 water chestnut, securing with a tooth pick.  
3. Line up in rows in a baking Pan (I use a 9x13).  
4. After all are lined up, pour half a jar of the teriyaki sauce over them.  Try not to get sauce on the toothpick.  Make sure each one has some sauce on it.  (you can use light sauce, and really this is a low cal app!)  
5. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 F for 45 min.  Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 min.  

Since the recipe starts with bacon, here is a calorie break down.  Each water chest nut is between 6-7 calories, 1/4 slice of bacon (center cut or extra lean turkey) is 5 calories, and the sauce, if you use 1/2 the bottle, breaks down to about 3 calories per chestnut.  So...we are looking at most, 15 calories a piece!  How do you like that??  Enjoy!


Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Brussel Sprouts (how to get everyone to eat them!)


For some reason, I know a lot of people that dislike Brussel Sprouts.  I personally love them. But in an effort to make them more accepted by others, I have found baking them with a little lite butter and bacon does wonders.  It adds so much yummy flavor and gets others to enjoy these little nutrient packed vegetables.  

In fact, one cup has a good amount of fiber, 3-4 grams, 195% of Vitamin K needs, 125% of your needs for vitamin C, and also is a good source of vitamin A, B6, Folate, Thiamin, Iron, Potassium, and Manganese, all while being low calorie!

Image from here

So, here is how to make Brussel Sprouts a hit on Thanksgiving!
Brussel Sprouts (with Bacon) 

Ingredients

  • 2  hickory-smoked bacon slices (try turkey bacon)
  • 4  large shallots, thinly sliced (can use a red onion if you don't have time to get shallots)
  • 2  pounds  Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1/2  cup  water or chicken stock 
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, dried out (do it with your stuffing bread)
  • 3  tablespoons low fat butter (try blue bonnet or Brummel and Brown)
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Preheat broiler.
2. Cook bacon in a large fry pan over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, saving drippings.  Crumble bacon. Increase heat to medium-high. 
3. Add shallots/onions to drippings in pan; sauté for 2 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add Brussels sprouts and 1/2 cup water or stock; bring to a boil. 
4. Cover pan loosely, simmer 6 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are almost tender. Uncover and remove from heat. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper; toss to combine. 
5. While brussel sprouts are simmering, place bread in a food processor, and process until finely ground. Melt butter in small pan over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to pan; sauté for 2 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently. 
6. Spoon Brussels sprouts mixture into a 2-quart broiler-safe glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Top with crumbled bacon.
7. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over Brussels sprouts mixture.  Top with shredded parmesan. 
8. Broil 3 minutes or until golden and thoroughly heated.

You can prepare brussel sprouts the day before, except for broiling them (step 8).  Give them a quick broil on Thanksgiving to heat thoroughly.  Yay for make-ahead dishes!


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Friday, November 16, 2012

Stuffin' Muffin Recipe


I love making the traditional Thanksgiving foods with little swaps that make them so much better for you, but still classic.  Here is a twist on stuffing, making it into stuffing muffins!  I have seen this idea a few different places, and I like it for a few different reasons.  

One, its portion controlled, and that is one of the biggest challenges with the grain/carb group.   Two, you can significantly cut down on the fat by preparing them this way.  And three, everyone gets some of the yummy crunchy parts, as well as the inside soft parts, everyone wins!  This recipe is also great for anytime of the year you are wanting a Thanksgiving favorite!

I couldn't find my own picture from making these, so I found one that looks similar, this picture is from here
 
Stuffin' Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 9  cups whole wheat bread cubes (12 slices bread)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 7-8 slices Turkey bacon (get that turkey flavor in there!) 
  • 2 tablespoons low fat butter
  • 1-1/2  cups coarsely chopped red onions
  • 3  stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon dried sage, crushed
  • 2  large red or green apples, chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1  tablespoon  minced garlic ( about 4 cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1  cup  chicken broth
  • Small fresh sage leaves (optional)
  •  
    Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spread bread cubes in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until cubes are dry, stirring twice; cool. (Cubes will continue to dry and crisp as they cool.) Or let bread cubes stand, loosely covered, at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray.
    3. In an extra large fry pan, cook turkey bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels; crumble bacon. Drain fat, reserving about 1 tablespoon drippings in pan.
    4. Add butter to pan. Add onions, celery, and herbs; cook over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add apples and garlic; cook and stir for 2 to 4 minutes or until apple is just softened. Transfer to an extra large bowl.
    5. Add bread cubes, crumbled bacon, salt and pepper to vegetable/fruit mixture; toss gently to combine. Add broth and toss until moistened.
    6. Spoon about 2/3 cup stuffing into each prepared muffin cup; press to pack tightly. If desired, top each cup with a fresh sage leaf. 
    7. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until stuffing is hot and tops are light brown. Cool about 10 minutes. Carefully remove from pans; serve warm. Makes 12 servings.



    Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    Top 6 Thanksgiving Tips (for staying on track!)

    I'm starting to feel like the holiday season is in full swing.  Let me first say that I LOVE Thanksgiving.  I love all Thanksgiving foods, being with family, the gratefulness that comes with Thanksgiving, and the happy, positive energy this time of year.  I have to admit though, I do start listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies once Halloween is over.  Not that I am skipping Thanksgiving!  I just feel like it is the "Holiday Season" and I have too many Christmas movies to watch, to wait until December :)  I know some of you do the same thing!!

    I will be posting my favorite or new Thanksgiving recipes the rest of the week and into next week, for any of you that want new ideas!  Today though, I'm going to give you my top 10 tips for making sure Thanksgiving doesn't derail your healthy eating plans or diet completely.  It can be done!  


    Image from here

    1. Keep Thanksgiving to ONE meal.  Be so careful with those leftovers!  Turkey, great leftover.  Everything else?  Give away or don't take home with you!

    2. Focus on Favorites.  So there are eight different kinds of sweet potatoes to pick from?  Pick your favorite and avoid the rest.  No need to eat and include things that you don't love.  Twelve different desserts?  Pick the one you most look forward too, and skip the others.

    3. Don't Starve!  Be sure to still eat little snacks or meals through the day leading up to Thanksgiving dinner.  You will make better choices and not over indulge too much.  Also, you will consume many more calories with all the tasting and picking through the day, compared with just having a greek yogurt or something to keep you satisfied.

    4. Eat your Calories, Don't Drink Them.  You will feel much more satisfied by eating the traditional favorites on Thanksgiving than by any calories you will get from drinks.  Alcoholic drinks and sugary punches are loaded with calories with calories and will leave you much worse off.  Drink lots of water, and sip slowly any beverage containing calories.  

    5. Up the Vegetables.  Find out what vegetables (green! green beans, salad, brussel sprouts, etc) will be available, and offer to bring one.  Make sure your plate has a good portion devoted to the vegetables, and that will keep the abundance of starchy options down just a little.  

    6. Forget about the Clean Plate Club.  You don't want in that club.  If something doesn't taste good, you feel full, or satisfied, leave the rest.  You can do it.  It is just fine to get full and not finish everything on your plate. Don't keep eating when your body tells you are done.  

    There you have it, some ideas to help you stay on track.  Keep an eye out for more to come as we get closer to the big day :)  What helps you the most to stay on track during the holidays?  Share below!


    Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    And The Winner Is.....

    That was a very tight race!  You all did excellent, and I hope it was a good experience!  


    Our first place winner, with 66 points is Debbie Burningham!  She won by 3 points, way to go Debbie!

    We had 6 tie for 2nd place with 63 points, so I put all six names in a hat and drew out 2 for our 2nd and 3rd place winners... The winners for 2nd and 3rd place are: Brittney Q. and Suzanne T., nice work!!

    Honorable mention to others with 63 points include Dennis T, Heidi F, Debbie E, Holly A!

    If the 3 winners could private message me on Facebook your address I will send your prize :)  

    Thank you again to all the participants, and congratulations to those of you who finished!!  We had so many of you at 60 points, and in the 50s range, great job!  I am planning to run another challenge in the beginning of the new year, keep a look out if you want to participate again.  


    Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna