Let Them Eat Cake… for Breakfast?!?

Lemony Blueberry Quinoa BreakfastYou probably wouldn’t even dare to think about eating cake for breakfast, right?  But many of the common grab and go breakfast are sugar bombs. You might as well have grabbed that slice of cake and called it a day. Starting your day off with sugar whether it is from a slice of cake or one of the common sugar bomb breakfasts below can be very problematic for several reasons:

  • Sugary foods spikes your blood sugar, leading to a quick crash that results in fatigued and moodiness.
  • Sugary foods although can taste great, do not sustain appetite and leading us to be hungry, usually within 30 minutes.
  • Sugar triggers the brain similar to other addictive drugs thus creating uncontrollable cravings for sugar all day.

Sugar Bomb Breakfast

When picking breakfasts food you want to make sure it passes the Altman Rule. Fiber and protein are key ingredients for keeping both your blood sugar and cravings in check!

 Altman Rule = grams of fiber + grams protein > grams of sugar

There are hundreds of Altman Rule approved grab and go breakfasts out there, it just take a little time and some creative thinking to have all the flavor without all that unnecessary sugar.  Low sugar Breakfast

If you have the time, nothing beats homemade breakfast.  Quinoa a traditional dinner side or lunch salad has become one of my new go to grains for breakfast. After this long winter I have been craving the taste of summer. Nothing says summer like blueberries and lemons, hence the my new breakfast creation Lemony Blueberry Quinoa Breakfast. This is an awesome dish because it can be served hot or cold, made ahead of time and you can use fresh or frozen blueberries.  This recipe has all the sweet taste without all the sugar. One serving has 271 calories, 7 grams of fiber, 12 grams of protein and only 7 grams of sugar. This is definitely an Altman Rule approved breakfast. Homemade or grab and go, be sure to avoid those sugar bomb breakfasts!

 

Lemony Blueberry Quinoa Breakfast

Ingredients:IMG_9883

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cup skim milk or water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp Chia seeds

Steps:

Step 1: Rinse quinoa to help remove bitterness.

Step 2: Heat milk or water over medium heat until warm. Add quinoa and salt and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat.Ingredients:  •	1 cup quinoa •	2 cup skim milk or water •	1 tsp salt •	1 Tbsp maple syrup  •	Zest of 2 lemons  •	1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)  •	2 Tbsp Chia seeds   Steps:  Step 1: Rinse quinoa to help remove bitterness.  Step 2: Heat milk or water over medium heat until warm. Add quinoa and salt and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat.  Step 3: Add zest of 2 lemons. Stir in maple syrup and chia seeds.  Step 4: Divide in to 3-4 containers. Gently fold in blueberries. Enjoy!

Step 3: Add zest of 2 lemons. Stir in maple syrup and chia seeds.   Lemony Blueberry Quinoa Breakfast

Step 4: Divide in to 3-4 containers/bowls. Gently fold in blueberries. Enjoy! Lemony Blueberry Quinoa BreakfastLemony Blueberry Quinoa Breakfast

 

Posted in Altman Rule, Breakfast, Brunch, Quick & Healthy | Leave a comment

Quick & Healthy: Veggie Packed Quinoa Meatloaf

Veggie Packed Quinoa MeatloafWe all know portion control is a major contributor to managing our weight. I have yet to cross paths with anyone who loves to weigh and measure every bite of food that crosses their lips. This I find is particularly true when it come to home cooked comfort foods like meatloaf, quiches, chicken pot pie, lasagna etc… My portion control quick trick for yummy comfort foods is the Remekin.  A remekin is small bowl used for baking and serving an individual portion of food. Ramekins can be made out of any heat-proof material, and are most often made out of porcelain, pyrex or something similar. They can come in any size, but are most often found in 4-, 6- or 8-ounce volumes.

I love remekins, let me count the ways:Ramekins

  1. no more guessing portions sizes for a recipe
  2. they can be baked or microwaved
  3. excellent to portion control snacks foods like popcorn, crackers, fruit etc
  4. leftovers are easy to pack up for lunch the next day
  5. easy clean up, just soak or place in the dishwasher
  6. Very inexpensive, set of 4 for $8.00
  7. Make all your dishes look like they came from 5 star restaurant
  8. they are tiny and cute, essentially make a tiny portion of a bigger meal look yummy

Some of my favorite go to remekin recipes are: Eggplant Parm Quiche and Veggie Pot Pie! My latest remekin creation is Veggie Packed Quinoa Meatloaf. This recipe is great because the quinoa keep the lean ground turkey nice and moist, and it is an easy way to slip an extra serving or two of vegetables into a main dish. Popping the meatloaf into a remekin makes a home cooked dish look elegant and ensures your not too generous with when you slice a large piece of meatloaf for yourself (come on, you know we all do it!)

Veggie Packed Quinoa Meatloaf

Serves 8
IngredientsVeggie Packed Quinoa Meatloaf
 1 package lean ground turkey (20 oz)
 2 cups cooked quinoa
 2 Tbsp olive oil
 2 cloves garlic
 1 medium onion
 1 large carrot
 3 stalks of celery
 1 orange pepper
 3 cups spinach
 1 egg
 2 Tbsp Soy sauce/Worcestershire
 2 Tbps ketchup
 2 Tbps Chia seeds
 Salt/Pepper to taste

Steps:

Step 1: Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.Veggie Packed Quinoa Meatloaf

Step 2: In food processor mince garlic, onions, carrots, celery, peppers and spinachVeggie Packed Quinoa Meatloaf

Step 3: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion; garlic cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced carrot, celery, pepper and spinach, cooked until soft, about 5 minutes.Veggie Packed Quinoa Meatloaf

Step 4: Stir the turkey, cooked quinoa, vegetable mixture, Soy/ Worcestershire, egg, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. Then add 2 Tbps chia seedsVeggie Packed Quinoa Meatloaf

Step 5: Place meatloaf mixture in 8 greased Ramekins and rub ketchup on top of the meatloaf. Bake 350 degrees for 40 minutes, until fully cooked. Veggie Packed Quinoa MeatloafVeggie Packed Quinoa Meatloaf

Posted in Dinner, Lunch, Quick & Healthy, Weight Loss | Leave a comment

More Veggies Isn’t Sexy?!?

sexy veggiesNutrition now a days is a hot topic and many even consider it a “sexy” topic in the blogosphere. 2015 started off with a bang with a great debate amongst my colleagues, “if dietitians are sexy?”

Bite My Words started this much needed discussion with her post “Sorry, dietitians aren’t Sexy” which was followed by a strong rebuttal tittle “I Respectfully Disagree: Some of Us Dietitians Are Sexy, And That’s Okay” from Abby Langer.  These post went viral in the dietitian world with invigorating debates, facebooks posts, hashtags and tweets about if dietitians and the topic of nutrition should be sexy? I was enticed by the very strong opinions from my colleagues and the back and forth banter that occurred. And just when sexy debate had really left my mind, what pops up in my newsfeed, “Why Sound Nutrition Advice Just Isn’t Sexy” by  Toby Amidor  in US New and Word Report Health. All of these post were amazing and I respected all the strong points each of these dietitians have made.

So for the past 3 months I have been thinking about “am I a “sexy” dietitian? And does that matter?”  I still have no clear answer on this one, because I think just like beauty, this is in the eye of the beholder. Although I do think sex appeal has it’s place in nutrition, because it is the way to grab someone’s attention. But what you do after you have someone attention, I think that’s where dietitians need to continue to differentiate themselves from other non-RDN health professionals. The part that is often overlooks by the public (and due to no fault but our own) is dietitians base their advice on science, rather the latest fad or hot topic.

However science also can only take us so far. Dietitians are trained beyond the science of nutrition. We are trained as behaviorist, chefs, entrepreneurs, managers and the list goes on. All of these additional skills we bring to the table are keys to helping our clients and the public choose what is best for them and their bodies.  We are the best of both worlds, brains and beauty (“sexy”) and we need to continue to promote that we can individualize change based on science!  I may be a nerd but that is pretty sexy and very appealing if you ask me.

So I am personally ok with using buzzwords and phrases like superfoods, energy boosting, top 10 health foods etc… if that grabs the public attention in this flood media market and get someone to eat more veggies or consider changing their eating habits. Heck we even have research on how certain buzz words influence our food behaviors. (Check out Brian Wanskin)  If call my Quick & Healthy recipe today “Sexy Zucchini Zoodles with Spicy Turkey Sauce”  to get someone to eat more vegetables and give zucchini a shot, why not use this science to our advantage and the public’s as well.  If “sexy” words get public to seek out more dietitians, I am all for it because I am 100% confident that after we grab their attention, what we do as dietitians next is what is really “sexy” and makes us very different from other non-RDN health professionals.

Quick & Healthy: Sexy Zucchini Zoodles with Spicy Turkey Sauce

Ingredients:
 1 packaged ground lean turkey
IMG_9433
 3 cloves of garlic minced
 2 carrots chopped
 1 onion chopped
 1 green pepper chopped
 1 red pepper chopped
 3 cups spinach
 1 can diced tomatoes
 3 Zucchini
 2 Tbps olive oil
 2 Tbps red pepper flakes
 1 tbsp herb de provence
 1 tbsp basil leaves

Step 1: Chop and mince, garlic, onions, peppers, and carrots.
Step 2: In large skillet over medium heat, at 2 Tbps olive oil and cook vegetables until tender.Zucchini Zoodles
Step 3: add ground turkey, cook thoroughly.Zucchini Zoodles
Step 4: Add 1 can diced tomatoes. Add seasonings.Zucchini Zoodles

Step 5: Using a Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer or mandolin- turn zucchini into noodles. In a large skillet heat up olive oil and stir fry the Zoodles until soft.Zucchini Zoodles

Step 6: Just like pasta place cooked Zoodles on a 8 inch plate, scoop large serving of Spicy Turkey Sauce. Add fresh grated parmesan reggiano. Enjoy! Zucchini Zoodles

 

Posted in Dinner, Quick & Healthy, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Quick & Healthy: Chicken Breast Served Over Roasted Tomatoes & Chickpeas

Chicken Breast Served Over Roasted Tomatoes & ChickpeasWith all this talk of “low” carb diets  being the best method for weight loss, made me stop and think about where the majority of carbohydrate intake comes from. Typically side dishes like rice, potatoes and pastas is where our carb overload starts. One of my favorite quick fixes to lowering carbohydrate intake of any meal is to use beans and lentils as a substitute for pasta, rice and potatoes. This swap gives your meal that extra protein punch, with high fiber on the side. Whenever I do this the meals is so much more filling and satisfying. Also with this recipe you could skip the chicken all together and now you have a lovely vegan meal that you could serve over hearty salad greens like baby kale or spinach.

For this recipe I swapped out roasted potatoes for Chickpeas.  Chickpeas are another one of those superfoods.  One cup of chickpeas provides you with 12g fiber and 15g protein. But this beans is not just about fiber and protein, which is amazing for appetite control  but theses beans are rich in vitamins. minerals and phytochemicals or saponins, which are extremely helpful in the prevention of breast cancer and osteoporosis. At your next meal try swapping our your transnational carb loaded side for a protein and fiber packed bean!

Chicken Breast Served Over Roasted Tomatoes & Chickpeas

 

Ingredients:Chicken Breast Served Over Roasted Tomatoes & Chickpeas

  • 6 Tbps Olive Oil
  • 4 cloved of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red peperflakes
  • 1 tsp cayne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp paprika (favorite Chicken spices)
  • 4 Chicken breast with skin, deboned
  • 2-3 cups grape tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 oz) (strained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • Salt/pepper to taste

 

Steps:

Step 1: Heat oven to 450 degrees. Whisk olive oil (5Tbps), garlic, pepperflakes, cayne pepper, cumin and paprikia together.Chicken Breast Served Over Roasted Tomatoes & Chickpeas

Step 2: Place Chickpeas and grape tomatoes in a large bowl. Pour olive oil mixture over and coat completely. Chicken Breast Served Over Roasted Tomatoes & Chickpeas

 Step 3: Place chicken breast on a roasting pan, rub 1 tbps olive oil all over the chicken breast. Then add the chickpeas and grape tomatoes to the pan. Chicken Breast Served Over Roasted Tomatoes & Chickpeas

 Step 4: Sprinkle pan with cilantro.  Plan pan in over set at 450 degrees and cook for 20-30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Enjoy!  Chicken Breast Served Over Roasted Tomatoes & Chickpeas

Chicken Breast Served Over Roasted Tomatoes & Chickpeas

Posted in Dinner, Lunch, Quick & Healthy, Weight Loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Much Sugar is Too Much?

Eat Less Sugar Sugar, sugar is every where, the headline on the latest news story, all over our social media feds, featured in documentaries like Fed Up and most importantly in your food! So I think we all have gotten the message, we eat too much sugar. In fact we eat about 22 tsp of added sugar per day, the equivalent to about 350 calories per day. It is very important to make the distinction between added sugars and sugars that occur naturally in foods like fruits and vegetables. Added sugars is exactly what it sounds like, sugar the food industry will add to foods to make your food appear more tasty and more addicting, so you keep coming back for more. 

The American Society for Nutrition published a paper in 2011 showing American are starting to get the sugar bomb message, at least when it comes to what we drink.  According to this study, sugar consumption went down by 23% between the years 2000 and 2008, mainly because people drank less sugar-sweetened beverages.

But what about everything else in your day? Is there hidden sugar lurking? You betcha! So what are you going to do about it? I say take one of the most effective awareness exercises yet, The No Added Sugar Challenge. The No Added Sugar Challenge, was created to help make you aware of all the “health” food you are eating that is actually just junk food in disguise. The idea behind this challenge is to commit for 2 weeks to avoid all added/hidden sugars in your life. I am not asking you to never eat sugar again, but I guarantee during these 2 weeks you eyes will be opened to some poor food choices that you probably thought were healthy!  

Here are the The No Added Sugar Challenge, 10 Commitments: 

  1. No desserts of any kind

  2. No added sugar drinks

  3. No sugar substitutes such as Splenda, Stevia, Equal (they don’t have calories but they do cause the same food cravings that sugar does)

  4. No refined carbs (white bread, white potatoes, white pasta, white rice, etc.)

  5.  Read the label every package, the food must pass the Altman Rule or have 2g sugar or less per serving.

  6.  No sweet condiments. (ketchup, salad dressing, etc.)

  7.  No alcohol

  8.  Avoid restaurant food, limit yourself to 1 time eating out this week

  9.  If it occurs in nature, it is ok (enjoy any fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, brown rice, etc.) 

  10. Dairy contains some natural sugar. Low fat milk is fine. Unsweetened and low-fat yogurt with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving is fine.

I’ll be honest the first few days of The No Added Sugar Challenge, you are not going to feel great. You will probably get a headache, maybe feel a little tired and grouchy. But after those first 2-3 days, most people report feeling amazing, more energy, better sleep, less bloated and more in control around food. From there it is up to you what part of the The No Added Sugar Challenge, you would like to keep in your daily lifestyle, but based on how you feel I bed you will slash your daily intake of added sugar in half! 

 Eat Less Sugar

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Superfood Salad… Quinoa Salad with Corn & Edamame

Quinoa Salad with Corn & EdamameMy last few post have been about the power of Superfoods and importance of getting the right balance of protein with my 40-30s Rule. When we think protein we often think meat, poultry and fish. However plant based proteins are not just for our vegetarians and vegans. My Quinoa Salad with Corn & Edamame happens to combine 2 of my favorite superfoods that also happen to be packed with protein, QUINOA and EDAMAME! 

What make Quinoa so SUPER? 

Quinoa is derived from the seed of a plant that is related to spinach. It is a gluten free grain that also happens to be a complete, vegan source of protein. Because of this many people have refereed to it as the world’s healthiest food. Here are a few fun facts about why you want Quinoa in your diet: 

  • One cup cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.
  • The year 2013 was actually called “The International Year of Quinoa” by the United Nations (UN).
  • It has a gentle nutty, pleasingly earthy taste, with a crunchy texture that still manages to be light.
  • University of Milan found that quinoa was effective at controlling appetite and helping study participants consume less food throughout the day.
  • Quinoa is very high in all 4 minerals that the modern diet is lacking in Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc and (for women) Iron.
  • Using quinoa instead of typical gluten-free breads and pastas significantly reduced blood sugar, insulin and triglyceride levels. 
  • Quinoa is high in fiber, protein and has a low glycemic index. These properties have all been linked to weight loss and improved health.

What make Edamame so SUPER? 

Edamame is just a fancy name for young soy beans! They have been popular in China and Japan for thousands of years and are now available in most grocery stores throughout the United States. Edamame are sold fresh, frozen, as individual soybeans and in the pod. Edamame is one of the few plant sources of complete protein and our a powerhouse of nutrition. Here are a few fun facts about why you want to include Edamame in your diet: 

  • Half-cup serving of shelled edamame provides 11g protein and 9g fiber. 
  • The name is Japanese for “twig bean”. 
  • Edamame has a high concentration of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that your body can convert to EPA and DHA, compounds linked to lower blood cholesterol and a decreased risk of stroke and heart disease.
  • They are appreciated for their sweet, mild and slightly “beany” flavor
  • Soy protein may help reduce insulin resistance, kidney damage, and fatty liver in people with diabetes. 

Quinoa Salad with Corn & Edamame

Ingredients:Quinoa Salad with Corn & Edamame

  • 1/3 cup dry quinoa
  • 3 ears of corn
  • 1 ½ cup edamame
  • 1 16 oz can black beans
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

Dressing:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil 

Preparation:

Step 1: Prepare quinoa according to package (typical adding 2/3 cup water and bringing to a boil and then simmer covered for about 15 minutes)Quinoa Salad with Corn & Edamame

Step 2: Chop all vegetables, cilantro, green onions, bell pepper and garlic.Quinoa Salad with Corn & Edamame

Step 3: Prepare 3 ears of corn, and cut off the cob.Quinoa Salad with Corn & Edamame

Step 4: Rinse and strain black beans. Combine corn, black beans and edamame in a large bowl.Quinoa Salad with Corn & Edamame

Step 5: Add red pepper, cilantro, green onions, garlic and prepared quinoa.Quinoa Salad with Corn & Edamame

Step 6: Whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad. Chill for an hour to allow flavors to develop.Quinoa Salad with Corn & EdamameQuinoa Salad with Corn & Edamame

 
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
Posted in Dinner, Lunch, Meatless Mondays!, Quick & Healthy, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What to make of this call for following a Low-Carb Diet?

“What the heck am I suppose to eat? I watched Forks Over Knives and thought being a vegan would be the cure for all my alignments and weight problems. Then at my gym I saw my workout buddy lose 30 pounds fallowing Paleo and eating like a caveman.  My doctor told me Atkins died from eating too much meat so I better fallow a low fat diet. Katie Couric said sugar is going to kill me in the documentary”Fed up.” I did a 5 day juice cleans and 2 weeks later I was 10 pounds heavier than when I started. I’m just afraid to eat and am ready to just throw my hands up in the air and say forget it! ” 

To be honest this is a typical conversation that I have on a daily basis with many of my clients coming to see me for weight management. Recently this conversation has been happening more due to the latest piece published in The New York Times titled “A Call for a Low-Carb Diet That Embraces Fat.”  Who wouldn’t be frustrated with all that mixed nutrition messaging that we get day in and day out. From our facebook news feeds to the lead store on CNN, we are bombarded with snippets and soundbites of the next miracle diet, and if we want to be thin and live forever we better get on board!

Guess what, I bet ALL those ways of eating and diets work for someone out there. Even more I bet there is research (maybe not good research, but research) to support every diet we have heard in the news recently. I have personal experience with this “frustration” as well.  I have clients that are vegans that walk through my door shocked they have pre-diabetes and then I’ll have another client eating a diet of just red meat and potatoes, who has never exercised a day in his life, and has the lowest cholesterol I have ever seen walk though my door next.  Explain that one!?!

Well science is trying to! I tell my clients, nutrition is powerful but also to keep in mind it is a “young” science that is changing everyday and we don’t understand the whole picture completely to give you a “final” answer of exactly how to eat. One area of nutritional science that I think has the potential to help us find this “final” answer is Nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics is the study of how foods affect our genes and how individual genetic differences can affect the way we respond to nutrients (and other naturally occurring compounds) in the foods we eat. This may explain why their is so much variation in success from one eating style to the next. Right now this science is still in it’s infancy but I think is potential for prevention could be infinite.

In the meantime what are you suppose to do? I jokingly say to my clients we are doing our own individualized clinical trail and you are our main subject. My method which I call the “40-30s Rule” I use with many of my weight management clients. It is all about finding a balance between your ratios of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.  Many of my conclusions I have draw are inspired and based on the research of Stefan M. Pasiakos a researcher at U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine and Dr. David Ludwig a pediatrician and endocrinologist at Children’s Hospital, Boston. Also the Zone style diets also align greatly with this principle.

Most people don’t get the right ratio of protein in their meals, and often end up loading up on carbs (around 60%). This leads to spikes blood sugar, intense hunger, cravings and the body storing the extra sugar as fat. All of this can occur, resulting in uncontrollable weight gain despite eating less calories. Blood Glucose Control

40-30s Rule implies: 

  • 40% of your calories should come from complex carbohydrates
    40-30s Rule

    40-30s Rule

    • 3g fiber or more per serving
    • Whole grains, not processed
  • 30% of your calories should come from lean proteins
    • Lentils, beans, fish, poultry, seeds, and nuts
  • 30% of your calories should come from healthy fats
    • Plant based fats: avocados, nuts, oils
    • Fatty fish: salmon, tuna, sardines

No matter what food principles you fallow: Vegan, Paleo, Pescetarian, the 40-30s Rule can always apply. This is not a NO carb diet this is a smart carb lifestyle that is balanced with lean proteins and healthy fat. That is the message that I preach the most, eat what’s right for your body and everything can fit especially if you can choose whole, unprocessed foods.

40-30s Rule

 

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