Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
February 9, 2019
Yes, you can make America’s classic family comfort food in an Instant Pot. And for the best part, it’s super duper easy and delicious. It takes only a few simple steps and you and your family can enjoy mouthwatering mac and cheese in as little as 10 minutes. Now that’s worth throwing away those boxes of highly processed Kraft Mac and Cheese!
• 1-16 oz. box of elbow macaroni. Consider buying whole grain macaroni for the additional fiber
• 4 cups of water of chicken broth. The chicken broth adds a little more flavor to the mac and cheese
• 3 Tablespoons of butter
• Any desired seasonings such as garlic, parsley, pepper, salt, hot pepper sauce
• 1 cup of whole milk
• 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (or any cheese you desire)
1. Add the water to the Instant Pot
2. Pour in the entire box of macaroni
3. Cut the butter into chunks and place it on top of the macaroni
4. Add any desired seasonings. I generally use garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley
5. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set to sealing. Cook on the pressure cooker setting for 5 minutes. Do a quick release when finished cooking.
6. Pour in the milk and the cheese. Mix well. Enjoy!
To enhance the nutrition of the dish, try adding some vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, or peppers. You could also try adding some cooked protein such as chicken, tuna, or turkey for a more complete meal.
Are Pumpkins and Gourds More Than Just Decoration?
October 1, 2018
As a decorative front porch ornament or a relaxing and homey fireplace mantel accent piece, pumpkins and gourds are more than just eye appeal. Yes, I’m talking about the edible benefits of adding some green, orange, and yellow colors into your diet. Feeling intrigued, yet?
Pumpkin and gourds are a type of winter squash that are a significant source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. This nutrient density better supports the immune system, as well as benefiting the heart. Pumpkin and gourds are also high in the antioxidant beta-carotene, which supports eye health and helps to prevent the development of cancer. They're also low in calories (approximately 50 calories per serving), which can be a delicious addition to a weight management plan.
The types of pumpkins bred for Jack-O-Lanterns may be a little less flavorful and a bit stringier than pumpkins bred for pies, however any type of pumpkin or gourd is edible and usable for more than just decoration. If a pumpkin or gourd has been sitting on your porch but is still firm and intact with no evidence of insects or animal tampering, then these can be safely used for cooking. However, once a pumpkin has been carved, it needs to be discarded after use to avoid the potential for contracting food borne illness.
You’ve eaten pumpkin pie before, but what are some other fun recipes for you to try? Some recipe ideas for incorporating more pumpkin and gourds into your diet include:
Pumpkin chocolate Greek yogurt
Blueberry pumpkin oat muffins
Baked Parmesan pumpkin fries
Squash cheesecake bars
If you make or have made some delicious recipes with pumpkin or gourds, feel free to share your ideas below or comment on my Speaking of Nutrition Facebook page. Happy Decorating and Happy Cooking!!!
Cilantro-Lime Quinoa with Black Beans
May 5, 2018
This is a super easy, gluten free recipe that goes great with any Mexican dish-tacos, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, quesadillas, etc. It’s also a great side dish to serve with those grilled summer kabobs, and it pairs well with a spinach salad for an easy, healthy lunch. Enjoy!
• 1 cup of quinoa
• 2 cups of vegetable broth (You can use water if you don’t have vegetable broth, however, I think the broth gives more flavor)
• 3 garlic cloves
• 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
• ½ cup fresh cilantro
• 1 (15oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
• ¼ teaspoon granulated Swerve sweetener
• salt and pepper to taste
1. In a medium sized pot, add the broth and the quinoa. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes, or until all the broth has evaporated
2. Remove from heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes
3. Remove lid and fluff quinoa with a fork.
4. Stir in garlic, lime juice, cilantro, black beans, Swerve
5. Season with salt and pepper as desired
6. Serve warm
March 24, 2018
Frittatas are super easy to assemble, and are a delicious and nutritious way to get your greens first thing in the morning. It's a versitale dish where the possibilities for flavor combinations are endless. Now you have another reason to enjoy Sunday mornings!
• 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 Tablespoon salted butter or Ghee
• 10 large eggs
• 1 cup of purple onion, chopped
• 1 cup of baby portabella mushrooms, chopped
• 6 cups baby spinach
• ½ cup artichoke, chopped
• 1 cup of tomatoes, chopped
• ½ cup of crumbled feta cheese
• Fresh basil leaves for garnish
1. Preheat the oven broiler to high heat
2. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk until all the yolks are
broken up. Set aside
3. Add olive oil and butter to a heated cast iron or stainless steel skillet. Sauté chopped onions and mushrooms until soft
4. Add spinach and artichoke and sauté until spinach has wilted. Should only take 1-2 minutes.
5. Spread the vegetable mixture evenly over the bottom of the skillet. Pour the egg mixture on top
6. Cook the frittata on the stove until the egg sides stiffen and the bottom is starting to brown.
7. Place the skillet in the oven for a few minutes until the frittata finishes cooking and starts to brown on top. You may need to add a cover or a sheet of foil on top to prevent it from browning too much
8. Remove from oven and top with chopped tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, and fresh basil
9. Serve immediately
Recipe makes approximately 7 servings
Total calories: 230 calories
Fat: 13 grams
Carbohydrates: 10 grams
Dietary Fiber: 4 grams
Protein: 13 grams
Go Further With Food with Meal Planning!
March 11, 2018
Cooking is fun! Eating is enjoyable! Meal planning is hard! I, a registered dietitian nutritionist, have struggled with meal planning. I would get this great meal idea in my head, buy the ingredients, and then change my mind or forget what it was I was going to cook. However, after years of trial and error, dedication, and practice, I'm now starting to get the hang of it. Below are some tips I want you to know regarding meal planning that will help make the whole process a little bit easier.
1. There isn’t a perfect meal planning system. I know this may shock you, but it’s true. There are so many different ways to plan meals and no one way is superior over the other. It comes down to practice, patience, and personal preference. My advice:
• Whether it be digital, a home delivery service, or old-fashioned paper and pen, pick one system and try it out for at least a month before quitting.
• Proper meal planning takes time. It’s about developing new habits that will last
• Give the system time to work; you can always tweak it later.
2. It’s not just about what you want to eat, it’s about what ingredients you have available. Food is expensive and I don’t want to see anyone waste it. Meal planning is about making use of what food you already have at your disposal and not always relying on recipes that require you to buy more food. It’s about knowing what to do with the leftover chicken from last night’s dinner. Remembering that you have frozen broccoli and asparagus in the freezer. Thawing a package of ground beef so you are prepared to cook a meal in the coming days. The great challenge of meal planning comes from being able to utilize your resources.
3. Meal preparation doesn’t have to start at night. Nights are busy. There is homework to get done, school events and basketball games to attend, and TV shows to watch. You don’t have time to wait until the last minute to start meal prep. Think about what you can accomplish on weekends or in the morning to reduce the time spent preparing meals. Maybe it’s grilling some chicken breast for lunches during the week, washing a head of lettuce for salads, or setting out all the spices and herbs you need to make that new recipe. Don’t underestimate what you can accomplish during 5-10 minutes of meal prep. Your goal should be whenever you start making dinner, you’re already halfway done.
4. Mondays are for easy meals. If you’re like me, then you hate Mondays. On Mondays stick to basic meals you’ve made a million times. If you dare try a new recipe on Monday make sure it has 5 or less simple ingredients. This is not the time to try that new multi-step, multi-ingredient recipe. Give yourself every chance to succeed and this means taking it easy at the beginning of the week.
5. Establish meal themes/templates. When following a theme or meal template most of the work is done for you. Assign a food theme to each/or few days of the week to help narrow down ideas. Common themes used are taco night, pizza night, rice night, Asian night, egg night, etc. You can also get more creative by doing crockpot night, soup night, meatless night, etc. There are so many themes/templates to choose from that you shouldn’t be bored with your meals.
Baked Butternut Squash Chips
January 27, 2018
• 1-large butternut squash
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Fresh or ground sage
• Fresh or ground rosemary
• Fresh or ground basil
• Grated parmesan cheese
1. Cut off the top of the squash and remove the peel
2. Slice the squash into thin chip like pieces using a mandolin or a knife. They should be about 1/8 inch thick
3. Boil a small pot of water. Place the chips in the boiling water for about 5-10 minutes
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
5. Pat chips dry with paper towel
6. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
7. Spread the chips on the parchment paper
8. Coat the chips with extra virgin olive oil
9. Season with sage, rosemary, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper
10. Bake in the oven for 10-20 minutes depending on your oven
11. Remove from oven when crispy and add additional seasonings, as desired
12. Serve immediately and store leftovers in an sealed container
Vegan Vegetable Soup
January 6, 2018
This delicious vegan vegetable soup is a excellent way to add volume and bulk to meals, without consuming a bunch of extra calories. Plus…it’s versatile and highly nutritious. Enjoy!
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 32oz. carton of vegetable broth. Buy an extra carton of broth in case you need extra.
• 1/2 of a red onion, diced
• 3 celery stalks, diced
• 3 medium carrots, diced
• 1 small head of broccoli, broken into florets
• 1 cup chopped tomatoes
• 2 cups spinach, de-stemmed and torn in pieces
• 6 stalks of asparagus
• 1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
• a handful of pea pods, any type, halved if large
• several mushrooms, sliced
• 1 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
• fine-grain sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1. Heat olive oil in pan. Gently sauté the shallot and garlic for a few minutes until softened.
2. Add the broth to the pan, along with the onion, celery, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, and asparagus. Sauté for several minutes until vegetables are soft. Add the pea pods, purple cabbage, and mushrooms. Sauté a few minutes longer.
3. Add turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
4. Add any extra water or broth if too much evaporates.
5. Pour into bowls and serve.
Recipe produces 6-8 servings
Low Carb Cinnamon Butter Cookies
December 14, 2017
Low Carb Cinnamon Butter Cookies
These cookies are simple and easy to make when you’re looking for something healthier and lower in sugar than traditional cookie recipes. It uses only 5 natural ingredients that are commonly found in the majority of grocery stores.
• 2 cups of blanched almond flour or almond meal flour
• 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
• ½ cup of erythritol or Swerve sweetener
• ½ cup melted salted butter or unrefined coconut oil
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the almond flour, cinnamon, and sweetener. Set aside
3. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, eggs, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly using a hand held mixer. Mix until smooth and that all visible lumps have disappeared
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients. Mix thoroughly with the hand held mixer. Mix until smooth and that all visible lumps have disappeared.
5. Using a tablespoon or a cookie scoop, place cookies individually on the cookie sheets.
6. Place cookie sheets in the oven and bake for 10-20 minutes at 300 degrees. About halfway, take the cookies out of the oven and press down gently with a fork on the center of the cookie. Place cookie sheets back into the oven.
7. Remove the cookies from the oven and place them individually on a cooking rack or parchment paper
8. Allow to cool before eating
9. Store cookies in an airtight container. Cookies can also be frozen for later use
Serving size: 1 cookie. Recipe makes approximately 20 cookies
Fat: 9.5 grams
Carbohydrate: 3.72 grams
Dietary fiber: 1.3 grams. Net carbs: 2.42 grams
Protein: 3.07 grams
Quit Throwing Away Those Broccoli Stems
December 3, 2017
Broccoli… it’s often considered one of the world’s healthiest foods due to it’s abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that enhance health and fight disease. It’s enjoyed worldwide in a variety of dishes and cuisines, and it’s versatility and great taste makes this a cruciferous vegetable that shouldn’t be ignored. Broccoli florets or the broccoli crown are what’s most often used in recipes as they are more aesthetically pleasing, while the less desirable, but yet highly nutritious broccoli stems are almost always thrown in the trash. The broccoli stem is just as nutritious as the broccoli crown, and is simple and easy to prepare and cook. In fact, one broccoli stem contains more vitamin C than an orange, and each stem contains only 32 calories. And with food prices on the rise, eliminating any food waste is often an effective and necessary step in making your grocery dollar go further. To help expand your nutrition and culinary knowledge, I provided a few easy and nutritious ideas for eating and benefiting from broccoli stems, instead of just filling your trash can:
1) Spiralize Broccoli Stems Into Broccoli Noodles-I spiralize a lot of veggies, especially because I live the low carb life and spiralizing veggies allows me to enjoy a variety of pasta and casserole dishes without consuming excessive carbohydrates. All you need is a good spiralizer and within minutes you can have several cups of broccoli noodles that can be a great substitute for pasta in many traditional dishes.
2) Broccoli Chips-Use a mandolin or food processor to cut the broccoli stems into slices. Place broccoli slices into a bowl and drizzle with oil and desired spices. Mix throughout and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes at 400 degrees.
3) Broccoli Broth-Cooking broccoli stems on low heat creates a delicious and highly nutritious broth that enhances the flavor of soups, stews, and a variety of other dishes.
4) Broccoli Stem Fries-Peel and slice broccoli stems into long sticks resembling French fries. Place broccoli sticks on a greased baking sheet and coat sticks with olive oil and season with desired spices/herbs. Place baking sheet into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
5) Broccoli Stem Soup-Yes, its possible to make a delicious and nutritious soup where the main ingredient is a broccoli stem. Most recipes for broccoli stem soup is pretty easy and can serve as a great way to add volume to meals without a lot of added calories.
I hope these nutritious recipe ideas make you think twice about throwing away your broccoli stems. There are numerous ways to consuming broccoli stems that provide an added health benefit. For additional help on recipe modification or how Speaking of Nutrition, LLC can help you reach your health goals, contact Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“A healthy lifestyle takes confidence, knowledge, and persistence to achieve, but never disappoints when it finally arrives”.
Eggplant and Sage Stuffing
November 19, 2017
Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. Not only is it a time to give thanks and express gratitude for our blessings, but it’s also about enjoying good food while having entertaining conversations with family and friends. My favorite dish at Thanksgiving is the stuffing. Although I’m not that big of a ‘bread person’, my aunt Kathy has always made the most delicious stuffing. However, in my quest to improve my health and the health of Americans however, I’ve discovered a new and satisfying way to enjoy stuffing without all the sugar and carbohydrates. The key ingredient to this successful outcome is eggplant. Yes, this highly nutritious and versatile vegetable provides a fantastic alternative to traditional homemade stuffing in both flavor and texture. While I will always love eating my aunt’s homemade stuffing at Thanksgiving, I’m happy to know that healthier alternatives exist for those who are interested.
• 2 cups celery, chopped
• 1.5 cups onion, chopped
• 1 medium eggplant peeled and cubed, 4 cups
• 1 stick of salted butter
• 2 cups chicken broth
• 1/4 cup of ground sage
• 1 Tablespoon dried rosemary
• 1 Tablespoon celery seed
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 2 eggs, beaten
• black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a medium size baking dish
2. In a large cast iron skillet, melt ½ of the stick of butter. Sauté the celery and onion until celery is tender and the onions are translucent.
3. Add in the eggplant and the remainder of the butter. Sauté about 4 minutes
4. Pour in the chicken broth. Simmer until some of the liquid has evaporated
5. Add the ground sage, dried rosemary, celery seed, and cumin to the mixture. Simmer a few extra minutes.
6. Remove half of the eggplant mixture from the skillet and transfer to a blender
7. Add the eggs to the blender and blend until smooth
8. Add the eggplant puree to the eggplant skillet mixture. Mix together
9. Stir in fresh ground pepper
10. Pour mixture into the greased baking dish and cover
11. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Enjoy!
This recipe can be made 3 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, heat the stuffing in the oven until warmed through.
Serving Size: ½ cup. Recipes makes approximately 10 servings
Fat: 1.5 grams
Carbohydrates: 6.37 grams
Fiber: 2.4 grams. Net carbs: 3.97 grams
Protein: 2.4 grams
Perfect Party Punch
September 29, 2017
I love a good party, and I love a good punch. So naturally, I’m going to love drinking party punch. However, I don’t love consuming the excessive amount of calories and sugar that’s commonly found in traditional punch recipes. So I created a simpler, healthier version that’s lower in calories and sugar, while maintaining abundant taste and flavor. I created this recipe using strawberries, lemons, limes, and oranges, but it’s easily modifiable based on individual preference. This Perfect Party Punch is a healthier alternative for those living with diabetes, or for anyone else who strives to limit added sugars in their diet. Cheers!
• 4 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries
• 2 lemons
• 2 limes
• 2 Tablespoons Swerve confectioner’s sweetener
• 5-6 drops of liquid Stevia
• 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon orange zest
• 3-12oz cans of lime sparkling water
• 1-12oz can of orange sparkling water
• 1 naval orange
• Fresh mint leaves for garnish
1. Clean strawberries and remove stem.
2. Add strawberries, juice from the lemons and limes, Swerve, and Stevia to a blender. Blend together until smooth.
3. Add in the heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and orange zest. Blend together until smooth.
4. Add mixture to a large punch bowl and stir in the sparking water.
5. Top off with fresh slices of orange and strawberries. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Total Fat: 6.1 grams
Carbohydrates: 2.7 grams
Protein: 0.28 grams
For more tips on creating recipes that address your individual nutrition needs or for additional nutrition education, feel free to send me an email under the "Contact Us" tab.
" A healthy lifestyle takes confidence, knowledge, and persistence to achieve, but never disappoints when it finally arrives."
Vegan Queso Dip
September 24, 2017
It’s game day, and who doesn’t love sitting in front of the TV, eating a big plate of nachos, while watching your favorite team attempt a victory? I know I love eating nachos, but what I don’t love is eating excessive calories and experiencing intestinal discomfort that sometimes happens from traditional nacho recipes containing large amounts of meat and cheese. I’m not vegan, but I wanted to create a vegan queso dip for my clients who are vegan, while also providing alternatives for anyone else who wants to “lighten up” their snacks or “think outside the box” from their traditional cuisine. This queso dip is not only delicious, but also versatile. If you’ve never tried vegan food, your first bite of this queso dip may taste a bit different, as vegan queso will have a slighter sweeter taste compared to dairy varieties. Different doesn’t necessarily mean bad or unappetizing…just interesting and unique. I hope you enjoy this queso dip and that you’re inspired to explore more vegan options in your diet.
• 1 ½ cups raw salted cashews
• ½ cup + 1 Tablespoon tapioca flour
• 2/3 cup nutritional yeast
• 2 ½ cups unsweetened cashew or almond milk
• 3 Tablespoons avocado oil
• 1/3 cup lemon juice
• 4 Tablespoons pickle juice
• 1 Tablespoon white miso paste
• 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
• 3 teaspoons onion powder
• 2 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
• 2 tablespoons garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon ground sea salt
• 5-6 drops of stevia glycerite. May add more if prefer a sweeter taste
• 1-4.5oz can of mild green chilies
• 1-10oz can of mild Rotel
• Dash of cayenne pepper if you desire a spicier queso dip
• Fresh cilantro for garnish
1. Fill a medium sized saucepan with water. Bring the water to a boil on the stove over medium heat. Add in the cashews and cook for 10-15 minutes or until softened. To avoid cooking the cashews they can be soaked in water overnight.
2. While the cashews are cooking, add the remaining ingredients (minus the green chilies, Rotel, and cilantro) to a high-powered blender.
3. Drain the cooked cashews in a strainer to remove excess fluid
4. Add the cashews to the blender. Blend the queso on high for about 1 minute. It’s normal for the queso to look watery at this point.
5. Add the queso to a large saucepan or small stockpot and place on the stove over medium heat. Heat queso throughout while stirring regularly to avoid burning. The queso will go from watery to a clumpy appearance, and then smooth. When the queso resembles the look of cheese sauce, you will be finished.
6. Stir in the green chilies and the Rotel. Place queso on tortilla chips and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh cilantro, a dash of cayenne pepper, or any other desired toppings.
7. The remaining queso can be stored in a jar and kept in the fridge for up to a week. It reheats well and tastes great on potatoes and other vegetables.
8. If you desire a sweeter taste, you can add a few more drops of stevia glycerite. Some people also prefer to add more salt to the recipe.
Hodgson Mill....Premium Quality Whole Grains
August 12, 2017
This past week, I had the opportunity to visit the Hodgson Mill headquarters in Effingham, IL. I have to admit; I live in IL and had no idea that Hodgson Mill products were created in a small rural town about an hour east from where I grew up. If I knew about this information sooner, I can guarantee I would have already made the trip. Below, I will discuss some of the delicious whole grain products you can purchase from Hodgson Mill as well as some of the health implications of eating whole grains.
Whole grains…should you eat them or should you avoid them? The subject of whole grains is a heavily debated topic in the nutrition field. People who are low carb advocates say you don’t need to eat whole grains in a healthy diet, while people who are vegan say you can’t live a long and healthy life without sufficient whole grains. Who is correct? Well I can tell you that both sides of the whole grain argument have valid truths. It’s true that you technically don’t need whole grains to live or produce glucose; our bodies are able to burn fat for fuel in the absence of significant carbohydrates in the diet and this can be done in a healthy, nutritious way. However, being a person who has followed a low carb diet with tremendous success, I do believe there are wonderful benefits to eating whole grains at times to enhance health. One of the biggest reasons why I think everyone needs to eat some whole grains from time to time is to promote better gut health. A lot of research is showing a strong correlation between gut health and increased risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, and type 2 diabetes etc. The microbes that are created from eating whole grains enhance the good, healthy bacteria in the gut. While research is still ongoing in this area, the results look promising. As I said before, I am a person who has followed a low carb diet for various reasons and I don’t intend on drastically increasing my carb intake based on the latest gut research. However, a few times a week I have added a small serving (1/2 cup) of whole grains to my diet to promote better gut health while still minimizing carbohydrate cravings and blood sugar fluctuations. Which whole grains do I eat? Well you will have to continue reading to find out.
Hodgson Mill offers a variety of whole grain products. You can find various ready-to-eat cereals, oatmeal, and pastas as well as pancake, cake, bread, and flour mixes for those who like to get a little creative in the kitchen. I have personally tried the Ancient Grain Medley, Brown Rice and Quinoa, Sorghum with Rosemary and Garlic, and Organic Cracked Kamut. I eat a ½ cup portion of these products as a side dish to accompany my protein, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables at my evening meal. You simply bring 1-2/3 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan, add 1 cup for example of Ancient Grain Medley, and within 15 minutes you’ll have a delicious and nutritious whole grain that’s approximately 150 calories and 2-4 grams of fiber per serving.
I personally haven’t tried the pancake, biscuit, and bread mixes, but I know several clients and registered dietitians who really enjoy them and eat them regularly. I have created a few recipe ideas using the Hodgson Mill bread and biscuit mixes so look for those results in the near future. Hodgson Mill also offers numerous gluten free products for those who are celiac or avoid gluten to reduce inflammation. You can order all products online at www.hodgsonmill.com. You can also go online to www.hodgsonmill.com and type in your zip code and they will send you a full list of stores within a 50-mile radius of you location where you can buy the products. They also have great customer service so please don’t hesitate to reach out for questions or comments.
If you’ve personally tried some Hodgson Mill products, feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below. You can also check out my Instagram page at username: speakingofnutrition for more information.
And always remember… “ A healthy lifestyle takes confidence, knowledge, and persistence to achieve, but never disappoints when it finally arrives”.
Meez Meals...Reclaim Your Dinnertime!
July 26, 2017
Meez Meals is a Chicago based company that sells DIY meal delivery kits that are delivered directly to your door with all ingredients chopped, prepped, and measured to make healthy cooking easy and fun! A representative from Meez Meals reached out to me last week and asked if I would sample some of the products and provide my feedback. As a dietitian, I certainly love food and love to cook, so I was very excited and pumped for this opportunity, and surprisingly…I have never tried a DIY meal delivery kit before. Sure, I see and hear commercials constantly for companies such as Blue Apron, HelloFresh, GreenChef etc. and many of my clients have used or currently use a home delivery meal service and I think it’s wonderful and innovative. I personally have never pulled the trigger for myself, not because I think they’re bad or unnecessary in our time demanding, unhealthy society, but because I’ve always enjoyed my time in the kitchen as cooking is therapeutic for me. Well thanks to this positive and enjoyable experience from Meez Meals, this dietitian may soon jump on the DIY meal delivery bandwagon with much delightment, ease, and creativity as it provides me with another beneficial tool in maintaining my unwavering lifelong commitment of good nutrition and overall health.
Meez Meals provides you the opportunity to select meals that are customizable to you and your dietary needs/preferences. Whether you’re gluten free, vegan, or have allergies to tree nuts, etc. Meez Meals has got you covered. I selected the All American BBQ Chicken Burrito, Farmers Market Salad, and the Ultimate Oreo Cheesecake. A recipe card accompanied each item as well as simple cooking instructions that turned my meal into a delicious and satisfying experience. Also included on the recipe card are the nutrition facts (including Weight Watchers Smart Points) and a dinner hotline number to call for questions/concerns. Below I discuss each item in greater detail.
All American BBQ Chicken Burrito:
This item took me approximately 30 minutes to cook and included 5 items: cabbage and carrot slaw, cage-free chicken breast, flour tortillas, coleslaw dressing, and BBQ sauce. I ordered enough for 2 servings and it was plenty for 2 people, especially if you eat additional side items such as a salad or dessert. I really enjoyed this item and found it provided a different and refreshing taste to my normal dietary cuisine. I would certainly order it again.
Farmers Market Salad:
This was my absolute FAVORITE item that I ordered. I love salads and can generally be quite picky in the types of salads I eat, but this salad certainly delivered and surpassed my expectations. The ingredients included: Arcadian lettuce blend, Persian cucumbers, sugar snap peas, green beans, red and yellow peppers, and Green Goddess dressing. It tasted so fresh and contained huge amounts of vitamins, minerals, and an abundance of antioxidants and phytochemicals. I also fell in love with the Green Goddess dressing and will find a way to make my own version in the very near future. The only negative I will say about this item (and it’s not really a negative) is that I would have preferred the peppers to be chopped or sliced smaller than what was presented. The slices were a little large for my personal taste, however I understand that many people enjoy eating large slices of red and yellow peppers so “to each his own” I guess!
Ultimate Oreo Cheesecake:
Cheesecake… you are the great love of my life! I adore sweets and cake is my absolute favorite food, but I have embraced the low carb lifestyle for several years so I really only ordered this item for my family to enjoy. I am not a dietitian that encourages sweets or baked goods very often in the diet as I find many people struggle with moderating sugar, however I am not opposed to the occasional treat now and then. This item included 3 ingredients: Eli’s Original Cheesecake, Oreo cookie crumbles, and caramel sauce. The only prep involved was drizzling caramel sauce over the cheesecake and topping it with Oreo cookies. I only had one bite of the cheesecake and I can tell you that it tasted amazing. My dad’s birthday is today and he reported that he very much enjoyed his piece of Ultimate Oreo Cheesecake for breakfast this morning.
My first experience into the world of DIY meal delivery kits was exciting, intriguing, and highly enjoyable. Meez Meals provides a variety of meal options that can accommodate any number of dietary needs/preferences. Another advantage of Meez Meals is there is NO COMMITMENT OR SUBSCRIPTION to try it out and experience the process. If you try it once and for some reason don’t like it, you can rest assured knowing that you only paid for that one experience. I don’t know about you, but that is a huge advantage in my opinion.
We live in a fast paced, stressful, and often unhealthy society. Clients are always asking me “ How can I plan my meals during the work week?” While meal planning is still going to be required with this approach (you still need to take time to log onto the website and select your menu), it can really provide an easier avenue and solution to meal planning while keeping your diet healthy, nutritious, and most importantly…delicious! While you may or may not feel you need this service every week, I encourage you to keep Meez Meals in mind when you have a super busy week filled with homework, kids activities, work deadlines, and other life demands that can negatively impact your eating habits. Because after all, an organic, cage-free All American BBQ Chicken Burrito, and a super nutritious, organic Farmers Market Salad will certainly be preferable… and sometimes necessary… than another stop at your local area drive-thru.
For more information on Meez Meals, you can access their website at www.meezmeals.com. You can also see my pictures of the experience on Instagram at username: speakingofnutrition. Feel free to share any of your experiences with the DIY meal delivery kits in the comments section below.
Black Rice: The Forbidden Rice
July 19, 2017
Black rice is considered a popular super food and was once only consumed by royalty and emperors in Asian cultures. Black rice is actually a purple grain that is cultivated throughout Asia. Its dark, rich color contains numerous health benefits, which makes it a far superior choice compared to traditional white, brown, and basmati rice. One-half cup serving of black rice contains 160 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. Black rice is also a good source of iron so it’s a great addition to the diet for vegans and vegetarians who rely on plant based foods for protein. Below are some additional health benefits of black rice:
1) High in Antioxidants: The outermost layer of black rice is high in anthocryanin-a powerful antioxidant known to fight diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Black rice contains the highest amount of anthocryanin compared to other whole grains.
2) Can Help the Liver with Detoxification: Studies have shown that black rice can help detoxify the body due to its high antioxidant content. These antioxidants help the liver function more effectively by removing toxins from the body.
3) Source of Fiber for Digestive Health: Fiber aids proper digestion, which is why many people need to aim for eating 25-35 grams of fiber per day. One ½ cup serving of black rice is 2-3 grams of dietary fiber. Combine this with large amounts of high fiber vegetables at your next meal and it will certainly help boost your fiber intake.
4) Protects Heart Health: A few studies have shown that black rice has reduced dangerous plaque build up in arteries. This is from the large amounts of anthocryanins found in black rice and it helps reduce LDL cholesterol.
5) Reduce Blood Sugar and Prevent Diabetes: Black rice is a whole grain that is considered low on the glycemic index. Foods lower on glycemic index have less impact on blood sugar when digested. People with diabetes, or those trying to prevent diabetes, can greatly benefit from eating foods lower on the glycemic index.
6) Naturally gluten free: Black rice is a safe whole grain for those who have celiac disease or choose to avoid eating gluten to control inflammation.
Let me know if you have tried black rice and feel free to share your cooking and eating experiences in the comments below. Black rice has a rich, nutty flavor, which adds a dynamic flavor and dimension to many dishes compared to traditional rice. If you give black rice a try, I don’t think you will be disappointed with the outcome.
“A healthy lifestyle takes confidence, knowledge, and persistence to achieve, but never disappoints when it finally arrives”.
Nutritional Yeast...Where Have You Been All My Life?
July 7, 2017
Nutritional yeast is a magical substance found in the bulk or supplement section of health food stores. It’s an inactive yeast made from sugar cane and beet molasses and provides amazing flavor and variety to those who follow the vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free, and paleo diet. Nutritional yeast is wildly known for its delicious, cheesy flavor and replaces milk-based cheeses in most standard dishes; which is a welcomed alternative for those who avoid dairy.
On average, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast provides 60 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrate (4 grams coming from dietary fiber). A serving also provides 9 grams of protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids the human body cannot produce. Since vitamin B12 can be of concern for those who are vegan, nutritional yeast does not contain a significant source of vitamin B12 unless it’s been fortified. It does contain 180%, 160%, and 140% the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin B6. Since it’s a dry product, it’s best to place it in a mason jar with the lid tightly sealed to keep moisture out. As long as nutritional yeast stays dry, it can last for 2 years.
Nutritional yeast is a vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly ingredient. You can find numerous recipes, cooking tips, and suggestions for using nutritional yeast when you explore websites, blogs, and cookbooks proving it’s possible to eliminate dairy from the diet, without sacrificing flavor and enjoyment. Below are some simple ways you can incorporate nutritional yeast into your diet:
1) Sprinkle it on popcorn or snack mixes for added flavor and zest
2) Add it to soups and stews for increased flavor, texture, and thickness
3) Stir into mashed potato or mashed cauliflower dishes
4) Add a teaspoon to bean dishes for enhanced flavor
5) If you enjoy eating pesto, adding nutritional yeast to your next batch will certainly not disappoint
6) Make decant macaroni and cheese, lasagna, and appetizers without missing the traditional flavor and taste of cheese
7) It’s a terrific salt alternative for those who are salt sensitive or following a salt-restricted diet
If you have any additional ideas or questions for using nutritional yeast, feel free to comment below. If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
“ A healthy lifestyle takes confidence, knowledge, and persistence to achieve, but never disappoints when it finally arrives”.
Prosciutto Wrapped Greens
July 2, 2017
Prosciutto, an Italian thinly sliced ham that’s used in many dishes and appetizers, is considered one of the best-known Italian foods with a history that dates back to pre-Roman times. Prosciutto is often added to Italian salads since it pairs well with fresh greens and olive oil. This recipe incorporates the same concept of a salad but the greens are wrapped around a slice of prosciutto instead of eaten with a fork. Feel free to experiment with different seasonings and ingredients than listed below, as I sometimes add thin slices of avocado to these wraps for an interesting twist. This recipe also makes a delicious, healthy appetizer for a party or small gathering, or it can be prepared ahead of time for an easy snack during the busy week.
• 4 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
• 2 teaspoons of red-wine vinegar
• 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 2 teaspoons rosemary
• ½ lb. arugula or fresh greens. (I normally buy the pre-washed brands
to save time)
• ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
• 4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
• 12 thin slices of prosciutto. (Most pre-packaged brands of prosciutto
will be thinly sliced. If you shop at an Italian meat market, ask the butcher for thin slices that resemble the packaged brands)
1). In a small bowl, combine the oil, red-wine vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and rosemary. Mix well.
2). Add the arugula to the bowl and mix throughout so all the arugula is covered well with the dressing. Sprinkle in the black pepper and Parmesan cheese, mix thoroughly. Taste the arugula to see if it’s seasoned to your liking. Sometimes, I add additional black pepper, rosemary, and Parmesan cheese to enhance the flavor. Set aside.
3). Take a cutting board or a clean flat surface and lay down a slice of prosciutto. (Be careful taking the prosciutto out of the package to avoid tearing)
4). Place a generous portion of the arugula mix on one end of the prosciutto. Slowly roll up the arugula until you reach the other end of the slice. Continue these steps for the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately or place wraps in a sealed container and store in the refrigerator.
Serving Size: 1 wrap
For additional tips and ideas, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"A healthy lifestyle takes confidence, knowledge, and persistance to achieve, but never disappoints when it finally arrives".