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Pistachio-Crusted Whitefish

May 22, 2019
Ingredients:

• 2 large eggs
• ½ cup chopped cilantro
• 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 cup chopped Nichols Farms California Pistachio Roasted Kernels
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
• ¼ teaspoon chili powder
• 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
• 4 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• Dash of ground black pepper
• 1 pound of whitefish such as cod, haddock, tilapia, etc.

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a small baking sheet or line the sheet with parchment paper
2. Whisk the egg, cilantro, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl
3. Chop the pistachio kernels in a mini food processor into fine pieces
4. Mix the pistachios, cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl
5. Dip fish in egg mixture, coating well on both sides, then coat the fish with the pistachio breading. Place fish on the pan. Repeat this step with each piece of fish.
6. Bake fish in the oven for 15-20 minutes

Serve the fish with some wild rice and plenty of vegetables. Enjoy!!!




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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!

Ingredients:

• 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)

Instructions:

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.

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Grocery Shopping on a Budget

January 21, 2019
There’s no denying that, grocery shopping is a chore, and Americans often rate it as one of their least favorite weekly activities. Now grocery shopping on a tight budget, that’s even a bigger headache and challenge for millions of Americans. But it doesn’t have to be this way. For less than $5 dollars a day, the average person can receive all the nutrients they need for overall health. Below is a list of nutritious, budget friendly foods that can make your next shopping trip a little bit easier.

1) Whole wheat bread. Most people are afraid of eating bread these days, but they don’t have to be. Bread is more than just carbohydrates; it also can be a significant source of protein. Two slices of whole wheat bread can contain up to 2 ounces of protein (14 grams). Combine this with peanut butter or lean protein (turkey) and you have yourself a protein powerhouse sandwich. And whole wheat bread cost around 11 cents per slice.

2) Peanut butter. I just love this stuff and eat it regularly. It’s a good source of protein and vitamin E and costs about 12 cents per serving. I also love the versatility of peanut butter. Spread it on toast, dip carrots or apples in it for a tasty snack, or… if you adore Reese’s peanut butter cups like me, you can spread a teaspoon of peanut butter on a small piece of dark chocolate and make your very own homemade, lower calorie version of a Reese’s. It’s delicious!

3) Canned tuna. A protein powerhouse with a high amount of omega 3 fatty acids. It’s easily transportable and generally has a long shelf life. Canned tuna costs around 45 cents per serving and can be used to make tuna salad, added to casseroles for protein, or simply eaten by itself if that’s your thing.

4) Eggs. Hands down, eggs are the cheapest, and easiest way to get all your essential amino acids for the day. And at 16 cents per egg, they really are incredible. You can scramble them for dinner, eat them hard-boiled for snacks, make egg salad, or you can get even fancier in the kitchen by making a quiche or a frittata.

5) Pasta. Many people fear pasta these days. Again, this is unnecessary. Pasta, like whole wheat bread, is more than just carbohydrates. It also can contain a significant amount of protein per serving. It costs about 12 cents per serving, and can be used to make delicious soups, casseroles, or enjoyed traditionally as pasta with red sauce.

6) Spaghetti sauce. Most people are unaware, that cooked tomatoes contain more lycopene (a rich and powerful antioxidant) than raw tomatoes. It cost about 20 cents per serving so stock up on spaghetti sauce or have those mason jars and fresh tomatoes ready to make your own homemade delicious spaghetti sauce.

7) Rice. Costs about 10 cents per serving and is extremely versatile. It also pairs well with dried beans.

8) Dried Beans. You can easily consume 3-4 ounces of protein and a large amount of dietary fiber from a simple ½-1 cup portion of dried beans. They cost about 12 cents per serving and can be combined with vegetables and other dishes for satisfying meals.

9) Milk/Yogurt. Traditional cows milk will cost about 25 cents per serving and contain a full serving of calcium along with a decent amount of protein. Yogurt will cost a bit more than milk, however you receive the benefit of probiotics that help promote gut health. To save additional money, consider buying unsweetened yogurt as it often tends to be cheaper.

10) Fruits and Vegetables. Never feel bad about buying frozen fruit and vegetables. They often are higher in nutrients compared to fresh and are readily available throughout the year. To save money, also buy what produce is on sale that week as it tends to cost significantly less than the produce that isn’t on sale. Canned fruit and vegetables are also a solid option. For canned fruit, avoid purchasing any items with the word “syrup” on the can, and for canned vegetables feel free to rinse the vegetables in water to remove any additional sodium from preservation. If purchased wisely, fruits and vegetables can cost about 25 to 75 cents per serving.


Now ,this list is missing healthy items such as olive oil, salad dressings, and condiments as these items are also necessary and important for health and enjoyment. And I know that bag of chips or that box of cookies generally still finds its way into the shopping cart. However, I feel this list of 10 foods can be a good foundation to build a healthy diet from, while still being budget friendly. The cost of consuming all these foods while factoring in a 2,000 calorie diet comes out to being around $4.00 per day. And remember, portion sizes not only benefit the waistline, but also benefit your pocket book.

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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!

Ingredients

• 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

Instructions

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
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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”.



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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”.
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