Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Food food food’ Category

There has been a lot of buzz in nutrition world lately about the “Microbiota” or the world of living organisms in your gut.  Good gut health is being studied for everything from obesity, diabetes, IBS, Parkinson’s ,Brain behavior, mood and more.

We still have a lot to learn but we do know that its important to have a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in your intestines.  A key component to that is getting enough probiotics and the prebiotics that support them in your diet.

—Probiotics contain live cultures of specific strains of bacteria and confer health benefits to the host.

—Some Probiotic-Rich Foods are:

  • —Cultured dairy products (yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir)
  • —Cultured non dairy products (soy/coconut yogurt, kefir)
  • —Fermented beverages (kombucha)
  • —Fermented grains (tempeh)
  • —Fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, beets, pickles etc)
  • —Fermented soy (miso, natto, soysauce)

Look for products that say “live cultures” vs foods that are pickled in vinegar or pasteurized.

—Prebiotics are nondigestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth of bacteria in the GI tract which are beneficial to the health of the body.

Some Prebiotic rich foods are:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Leeks
  • Artichoke
  • Bananas
  • Tomatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Legumes

And you get bonus points when you combine both together- for example a banana with yogurt.

Now go feed your gut!

probiotics in yogurt

Read Full Post »

Taking a long road trip this summer or flying to Europe?  Here are some handy healthy snacks ideas to make sure you don’t give-in to the Cinnabon at the airport (880 kcals for the classic!) or Doritos at the gas station…and of course bring a refillable water bottle wherever you go too!

I also like to travel with my own herbal tea bags for the decadent taste of home (decaf chai for me please).

Non-Perishable Suggestions:

• Energy bars: Make your own or look for low sugar (<10g),high fiber(>3g). A few brands to try: Kind bar, Larabar, Kashi, FiberOne or Luna/Cliff bar.

• Plain or low sodium almonds, peanuts, cashews, soy nuts, mixed nuts, etc without added oils. Keep servings to a small snack sized baggie (pre-make several as necessary).

• Dried fruit (mix with nuts for a protein boost)

• Pistachio seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds with shells- this will keep your hands busy (bring an extra baggie for empty shells)

• Trail mix- homemade or from the store, keep the serving to a snack sized baggie

• Canned fruit (in water not syrup and remember to bring a spoon!)

• Instant oatmeal packets (low sugar ideally). Top with handful of nuts for an extra protein boost and/or dried fruit for added sweetness.

• Peanut, almond or apple butter with whole grain crackers ( like Akmak or Wasa). I like Justin’s single serve nut butter

• Air popped popcorn  or microwave popcorn (look for low fat, “natural” brands”)

• Brown Rice cakes;flavored (sweet or savory) or plain and spread with peanut, almond, nut butter.

Perishable Suggestions (pack a soft cooler bag with a ice-pack):

• Low fat string cheese or wedge cheese and whole grain crackers

• Apple slices with snack sized packets or containers of nut butter

• Mini Pita and hummus sandwiches-add lettuce and tomato too or eat with baby carrots

• Mini or scooped bagel. Spread with light cream cheese, cottage cheese or peanut butter and whole fruit low sugar jam.

• PBJ on whole wheat bread (>3g fiber per slice)

• 6 oz low fat yogurts, I like greek yogurts in the lowest sugar flavor possible or plain with berries.

• Protein roll ups-roll up turkey, roast beef or light cheese, wrap and pack in plastic

•  Hard boiled eggs

•  Cut up veggies with low fat dip (you can find this prepackaged in many local supermarkets)

• Hummus with cut up veggies, pretzels or pita chips

• Unshelled edamame (Trader Joes sells these fresh or find them in the freezer section and thaw on the road

• Homemade low sugar whole wheat fruit muffins

Read Full Post »

I talk with my clients a lot about “mindful eating” and the key tenant of slowing down and noticing if you are really hungry.  Another part of it all is thinking of meals and food as a gift and treating your eating time & place as a wonderful opportunity for ritual.  We already surround lots of other rituals with food but what about surrounding the food itself in rituals.

A moment of thankfulness before the meal.  A toast.  The perfect dinner music and an open window with a breeze coming in.  A nicely set table with cloth napkins and candles, even if it’s just for you.  A beautiful arrangement on your plate with a balance of texture of color, even if its just yesterdays take-out with some fresh tomatoes added on the plate rim. Want more? Learn to turn your carrot hunks into flowers or heck– just sprinkle real edible flowers ad libitum.

One client shared her gorgeous meal photo with me and agreed that she fills fuller now that she has an eye “full” and is slowing down.

Sharing her colorful camera phone pic with you and hope are inspired– I know I was!

Read Full Post »

Tonight was one of those nights.  I was tired after work and uninspired to cook/shop or even deal with food at all.  I knew we had some leftovers, boiled baby potatoes and string beans along with a side of grilled asparagus (some gorgeous early spring ones) but we had eaten the fish portion of the dinner last night.  A small round white light bulb went off.  Eggs! After contemplating making a quiche (too much work for the mood I was in) I just heated the pile of leftovers up in one big pan and served them with light fluffy scrambled eggs with some herbs and a splash of milk (all cooked in the same pan…less to wash).   A bit odd for dinner at first, but then I put some French music on and savored in the time dinner didn’t take to make.  Literally 10 minutes to heat up and scramble.

Eggs aren’t just for breakfast!  They are a great source of protein (~6g per egg or about 10% of your daily needs) as well as vitamins A, D and B12, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin (antioxidants) and the nutrient choline.  They last a while in the fridge (2-3 weeks at least) and take very little time to cook.

Of course there is the cholesterol thing (an egg contains ~ 215 milligrams of cholesterol) but I tell my clients not to be afraid of eggs since the cholesterol is still under the recommendation of <300mg/day).  If you are watching your weight, you could do the egg white thing and get all the protein without the ~5 grams of fat contained in an egg yolk. A large egg is 70 calories.

And by the way, don’t get too overwhelmed in the egg section.  While you can choose organic, fertile, free-range, different sizes and brown or white, there is no nutritional differences between them.

Got more egg questions?  Check out the American Egg Board FAQs or a handy guide from the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA/eggs)

Read Full Post »

Taught a great class last night at 18 Reasons about healthy meal planning and I wanted to share some key tips with all of you…

Tips for Healthy Meal Planning
•    Look ahead for extra-busy days and plan something quick for those days
•    During the week, plan simpler meals: one-pot meals, broiled or roasted meats, steamed vegetables, salads, fresh fruit desserts. Save sauces and multi-step meals for weekends.
•    Have a cook swap with your friends/co-workers or make cooking a meal together the fun activity you do one night (with a glass of wine?)
Efficiency tricks:
o    Read ahead in the recipe- so you can plot out what to be cutting while oven pre-heats, or chop 1 Cup of carrots when two recipes each call for ½ Cup.
o    Brown extra ground beef for dinner to use in another dish, like tacos, later in the week.
o    Cook two more chicken breasts and then cut some up for another meal such as stir-fry with vegetables and brown rice. Freeze or Refrigerate.
o    Cook extra rice, put it into a container, and refrigerate or freeze. On a busy night, microwave it, stirring occasionally, until heated through, then use as you would fresh.
o    Chop a whole onion or several cloves of garlic, even if you only need part of it right now. Store the rest for another meal.
o    Grate extra cheese and store it in a zippered plastic bag in the freezer.

3 Day Sample Menu for 2 people:
Night before- leave 7 Cups White Beans out to soak
Day 1
Bfast- Make big batch of oatmeal (2C), serve ½ C each with nuts & fruit, refrigerate 1 C
Lunch- Salad (pre-washed) with canned fish/beans, veggies, WW crackers
Dinner- Make big pot of simple white beans (7C), save bean liquid (1 C for bean dip),set aside 4 Cups to make Kale/Sausage/Bean Ragout (7C) (Recipe to come this week), Enjoy Ragout (3.5 C). Refrigerate the rest of the beans (2 C) and Ragout leftovers (aprox 3.5 C left). Cut up raw veggies enough for 2 days and put in ziplock baggies.
Day 2
Bfast- ½ C each Oatmeal from Day 1 w freshly added fruit & nuts
Lunch- Leftover Ragout (1 ¾ C each), side of cut up raw carrots & celery (“Crudite”)
Dinner- Make big pot of brown rice (4 C), serve 2 C of it with protein (fish, chicken, tofu etc), steamed veggies (fresh or frozen). Set aside 2 portions of protein. Make a rice  salad (try this one) with leftover 2 C rice. Blend remaining White Beans (2 C) with olive oil, lemon, parsley to make dip/spread for crudite or sandwich filling
Day 3
Bfast- WW Toast, nut butter, piece of fruit
Lunch- 2C Rice Salad, leftover protein on top, with Crudite and Bean dip
Dinner- Make a big pot(~14C) of Lentil stew (try this one), serve 2 C each w pre-washed salad, crusty WW bread.  Reserve 2 C for tomorrow’s lunch w sandwich, Freeze 4 Cups for future.

Menu Planning Resources:
Free:
www.simpleskillet.com (weekly menus- including budget, kid freindly,low carb, diabetic, vegetarian- plus shopping list)
www.eatingwell.com (28 Day diet meal plans at 1200, 1500 and 1800 kcals or customizable plans)
www.rachelraymag.com (weekly menu + shopping list)

www.familyeats.net (local Bay Area mom cooking healthy for her family of four, weekly menu+ shopping list)
Subscription:
www.myfoodmyhealth.com (specializes in health conditions and food allergies)
www.mealeasy.com (health conditions etc)

Here is a Weekly Meal Planner to fill out.  Feeling intimidated? No need to fill out the whole thing, just start with a few days or even just dinners. Give it a try!

Let me know of any time saving tricks you use, recipe/meal planning sites you love or just give a shout-out if you support planning to cook more for fun and health.

Have to chop garlic? Chop enough for several recipes and refridgerate

 

Read Full Post »

A while back while I was back in New York City for a week, I had the opportunity to visit Mario Batali’s new “Eataly” Food Emporium whose tagline is “We Sell What We Cook & We Cook What We Sell”.  Despite all the buzz, I was not prepared for the enormity of the space, the sights, sounds, smells and people that were packed in like finely cured sardines.

The 50,000 square foot space was originally the “Toy Center Building” housing various toy dealers and showroom as well as a private dining club deep in the bowels of the building.  The dining club, “200 5th Ave”, served elegant food to exclusive members with white glove waiter service.  Eataly was built in 2010 in NYC (but has several other stores around the world) to “taste and take home” delicious food and also to educate the public (they have an extensive class schedule as well).

You don’t need to be a member to dine here at one of the TWELVE food areas/mini-restaurants.  There is a coffee vendor, gelateria, pastries, a sandwich shop, pizza/pasta, fish place, salumi stop, rotisserie and even a vegetable restaurant (my favorite) which only serves vegetable dishes (some with grains, cheese but no meat anywhere) and serves them in high style (beautifully and with wine).

“Le Verdure” mini-restaurant gets its star-of-the-show vegetables from the produce section three feet away. Where tomatoes glisten and rub elbows with exotic neighbors like starfruit and buddha’s hand.   Sharing a corner of the kitchen space for Le Verdure and facing the produce area is a “Vegetable Butcher”.  This lovely person’s job is to prep vegetables in to easy to cook packets (sold at a premium of course) and to enthusiastically explain how to cook with these precious vegetable jewels.  While I was there Mr.Veggie Butcher was prepping baby artichokes (discard out leaves, chop down middle) and pontificating on how to cook them (in skillet with olive oil, salt/pepper and finish with a splash of lemon).

Additionally there are shopping areas for all sorts of other products (cheese, bread, meat, pastries, pasta etc) and the array is outstanding.

You might be wondering what I am doing talking about a high-end grocery/food shop, but I wanted to share the experience and especially the admiration for vegetables that this store has.

So don’t be shy, try a new vegetable today. Even if you don’t have the Veggie Butcher to talk you through it…I am sure you can find something on YouTube.

See a map of Eataly NY here.

Read Full Post »