Make Conscious Choices To Eat Healthy During The Holidays

With the holidays upon us, it is hard not to think about eating food and more of it. After all—There’s often more treats at work or the office that are hard to walk by and resist.

Christmas cookies

Holiday parties are popular too, and typically include tempting entrees, appetizers and sweets. There’s also Christmas dinner, with those heavy comfort foods. You know—the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, pie and more that make you feel beyond full. Many people end the year celebrating with food, as well. And what’s a New Year’s Eve party without the plates of hors d’oeuvres and sweet drinks? It is no wonder many people find it a challenge to eat well this time of year. The good news is there are ways you can eat healthy by making conscious choices.

Following are a few ideas you can try…

  1. Ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?”
    If you are finding it hard to walk past those Christmas cookies someone brought in to work, without grabbing one, stop for a minute and take a breath. Next, ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” If you do feel hungry mid-morning or afternoon, try bringing a healthy snack to work you can eat instead. If you are craving something sweet, try eating an apple, banana or some other type of fruit. Better yet— snack on some sweet vegetables, like carrots or bell peppers. If it close to lunch-time, remind yourself you will be taking lunch shortly and don’t need the empty calories from a sugar-coated cookie.
  2. Fill your plate with rainbow colored foods—
    Many parties have a variety of foods and appetizers to choose from. Why not reach for the vegetable plate first? Our eyes are naturally drawn to bright colors, so make sure you grab some bright veggies like carrots, peppers or celery, before trying some other snacks. Vegetables provide many vital nutrients your body needs and craves. Fruit is another healthful option and a good way to increase your daily intake of vitamins. Many fruits also contain fiber, which helps trigger satiety and help you feel full, so go ahead and grab a strawberry or two or some other fibrous fruit that appeals to you.
  3. Make a healthy recipe to share—
    If you need to bring an appetizer to a party, why not search for some healthy recipe you like? There are many appetizers that are easy to make and contain healthful ingredients. By making your own healthy recipe, you can rest assured there will be at least one item you will feel comfortable eating at the party. You also will be doing others a favor, by providing a healthier choice, as well.
  4. Choose healthier sweets—
    If you don’t want to deprive yourself of a few tasty treats during the holidays—don’t. It is OK to indulge from time to time. You might want to try some healthier choices for baking, however. There are many recipes these days, that use healthier ingredients. Try searching Pinterest for some recipes that use coconut flour or almond flour. You can also substitute coconut oil for other unhealthy oils, or substitute coconut palm sugar for regular sugar. Honey is another sweetener that can be a substitute for sugar. You can also look for recipes that use a smaller amount of sugar, or other alternate sweeteners, such as stevia.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

P.S. If you want to learn more about making conscious choices about eating and eating healthy, you may want to check out my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. You can download a FREE Chapter here.

Fibrous Fruit—Spotlight Health Benefits Of Clementines

In this blog post, I wanted to spotlight the health benefits of clementines.

clementines

Clementines are abundant this time of year and are a popular fruit of the season. It is no wonder grocery stores tend to stock up on these tasty gems. Many stores carry clementines in bulk quantities, especially during the holiday season, which makes them an affordable fruit. A lot of consumers like clementines because they have many health benefits, are sweet to eat and are a low calorie food. Like bananas, clementines are easy to peel, making them an easy option for an on the go snack. Clementines are loaded with a variety of vital nutrients your body needs for health, which is extremely important this time of year, when colds and flu are prevalent. In addition, clementines contain fiber, which aids in digestion and helps promote healthy gut flora (gut microbiome).

grocery store produce section

Some nutrients found in clementines include:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate

Clementines have other health benefits too. Since clementines have a significant amount of vitamin C, they help strengthen our immune system, as well as protect our skin from UV radiation. They also help build collagen and help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Clementines also have antioxidant properties that help prevent cancer and other disease. Folate found in clementines helps promote brain functioning and may help to reduce depression. Additionally, clementines contribute to muscle and bone health.

vitamin C

In my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk about how eating a healthy diet is the best way to give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs and some of the best sources of these powerful nutrients come from fruit and vegetables. In this season of giving, make sure you gift yourself by eating right. Make sure you reach for clementines and other rainbow colored food to help increase your daily intake of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.

clementines

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/clementines.html

Fibrous Fruit—Spotlight On The Health Benefits Of The Pear

In this blog, I wanted to spotlight the health benefits of the pear.

Pear

Pears are a popular choice for many consumers, especially in the fall when they are abundant. Like the banana and apple, pears are convenient to eat and are quite tasty. They are sweet and have a soft, appealing texture. Pears are loaded with many nutrients that help your body function optimally too.

Some nutrients in pears include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • And more

Pears grow on trees that produce a high energy, nutrient dense fruit. While pears do contain some natural sugar, they are one of the lowest calorie fruits available. Pears contain right around 100 calories, making them a popular choice for many people, especially those looking to lose weight. Pears contain a healthy amount of fiber, which is beneficial for the digestion process. The high fiber content, which helps make you feel full, coupled with an assortment of vitamins and minerals, makes the pear a perfect food choice and delicious snack.

pear tree

There are other health benefits of the pear too. Pears are an anti-inflammatory food and can help boost your immune system, which is great, especially for those suffering from arthritis and autoimmune diseases. Pears also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and are beneficial in the prevention of a number of different forms of cancers. In addition, pears help improve blood circulation and may help build your red blood cell count, making them a good choice for many, especially those dealing with iron deficiency anemia.

Pears come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. In fact, there are approximately 3000 different species of pears available world-wide.  Wow—that’s quite an assortment. Some varieties look similar to the apple, where others have more of an elongated look and still others have several color tones, making them unique.

pear varieties

Pears can eaten for breakfast, enjoyed as a snack, or mixed in your favorite smoothie or bowl with other healthy ingredients. There are many possibilities.  Some people enjoy baking with pears too. Pears make a tasty pie, cobbler, crisp, muffins and more.

Make sure you reach for this nutrient dense fruit, while it is in season to enjoy its many health benefits.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/pears.html

Jolly, Rajan Singh. “The Nutritional And Health Benefits Of Pears.” HubPages, HubPages, 3 Jan. 2016, hubpages.com/health/The-Nutritional-And-Health-Benefits-Of-Pears.

5 Ways To Boost Your Smoothie!

Smoothies have become a popular choice for breakfast these days and why not?Many people are concerned about their well-being and are looking for ways to eat healthier. Smoothies provide a quick, easy way to include a variety of healthy, whole food ingredients in your diet. They also can be fun to make, as there are many options and combinations you can try. While many people use protein powder and fruit, there other selections you can add to your smoothie mix to add more vitamins and boost your nutrient intake to make it better for you. In this blog, I wanted to share 5 ways to boost your smoothie. Let’s take a look…

Learn 5 Ways To Boost Your Smoothie:

Boost Your Smoothie

  1. Greens—Many people naturally add a banana or another type of fruit to their smoothie, but adding vegetables, especially greens, is a great way to boost your nutrient intake. Try adding a handful of spinach, or kale to your smoothie for some added vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin B6, iron and more. When I was dealing with iron deficiency anemia, smoothies became a staple in my diet. Many protein powders contain a healthy dose of iron and when you add greens and other vegetables, it boosts the iron content even more. In my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little about the importance of eating vegetables at every meal and how adding more greens to my breakfast smoothie helped improve my energy level. As an added bonus, I became less prone to getting sick. Make sure you experiment with adding more greens to you diet to experience a boost in your nutrient intake and health too.
    spinach greens
  2. Super Foods—Why not start your day with an added boost of energy? Super foods are foods that are considered nutrient dense and extremely beneficial to the body. Try adding super foods such as coconut oil, maca powder, cacao nibs, or chia seeds to your morning smoothie to help improve your well-being.  Super foods can help make you feel super good and super energized and who doesn’t like an extra kick-start to get the day going? Try adding one or 2 to super foods to your smoothie to see how they make you feel. As you go along, you can try more or mix them up and see how your energy improves.
    coconuts
  3. Protein—Over the last several years protein powders have become extremely popular and many people like to add them to their smoothies. There are many options when it comes to protein powder including, whey, vegan and bone broth varieties.  Make sure you choose one that works best for you and look for a good, quality brand, (one without a lot of additives and sweeteners).  If you are not a protein powder fan, try adding peanut butter, another nut butter, nuts or seeds to your smoothie to get your morning dose of protein. Play around and see what you like best.
    peanut butter
  4. Healthy Fats—Avocados are another nutritious item you can add to your smoothie. Avocados contain healthy fat and fiber your body needs and craves. Try adding a half of avocado to your mix to not only get some good fat, but some extra vitamin C, E, potassium and more. You can also add cashew butter, peanut butter, almonds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
    avocados
  5. Spices—You can also add a variety of spices to your smoothie to enhance the nutrient content and flavor. Try adding cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, nutmeg or ginger to your smoothie. Many spices contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help promote good health. Some of them also contain warming properties, which are especially beneficial during the winter months.Try adding some fresh ginger to help fight a cold, the flu, or aid in digestion.
    ginger

Thanks for reading and happy smoothie making!

Barb

P.S. If you are looking for more ways to improve your health and live a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. You can grab a FREE chapter here to preview.

Fibrous Fruit—Spotlight On Health Benefits Of Apricots

In this blog post, I wanted to spotlight the health benefits of apricots.

Apricots
Apricots

Like the banana, apricots not only are a sweet, tasty fruit, but are loaded with a variety of healthful nutrients. Did you know that the apricot is considered one of the healthiest fruit in the world?¹ That’s Right! The apricot has many health benefits.

Apricots contain vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K. They also contain potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper and are a great source of fiber. In addition, they contain a healthy dose of iron, which helps carry oxygen and blood throughout your body and is vital for muscle and brain health. When I developed iron deficiency anemia a few years ago, dried apricots became a staple in my pantry.

Dried Apricots
Dried Apricots

In fact, in my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little bit about how I developed iron deficiency anemia and how it lead me on a path to learning more about nutrition and eating healthier foods, such as apricots. They are a sweet treat and make a healthy snack. They also are an iron-rich food source which helps to sustain your energy.

Apricots not only help with anemia, but are useful for a number of other ailments including indigestion, constipation, and aid in heart health. They are also beneficial for lowering cholesterol, can help with eyesight deterioration and are beneficial for your skin.

Heart Health
Heart Health

Apricots are related to plums, but look more like a small peach. Apricots have a soft, fleshy texture with an outer protective skin and are grown on trees. While it is not clear where apricots originated, they date back to ancient times and were popular in China, Armenia, Greece, Rome and India.

Apricot Tree
Apricot Tree

Make sure you enjoy this tasty fruit and its nutritional benefits while it is in season, or the dried version throughout the year!

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹Nandy, Priyadarshini. “8 Amazing Apricot Benefits: The Nutritional Heavyweight Among Fruits.” Food.ndtv.com. N.p., 19 Apr. 2016. Web. 16 May 2017.

²”10 Impressive Apricot Benefits.” Organic Facts. N.p., 01 June 2017. Web. 17 July 2017.

Red White And Blue Spiked Berries

With The Fourth of July just around the corner, I thought I would share a recipe for some Red White And Blue Spiked Berries I made the other weekend. Although this dessert is spiked with a little wine, it does include some healthy berries and slivered almonds, which contain protein, good fat and other healthful vitamins and antioxidants. Before I share the recipe however, I thought would share a little story.

Fourth of July
4th of July

I know I just wrote a blog on 5 Simple Ideas To Plan Meals, but I wanted to share an experience I recently had with meal planning. The other weekend, I had my sister and a friend up to the lake. As I was thinking about what we should have for our meals, I thought it might be fun to try some new recipes from a cookbook that my daughter gave me the other year. Although I like to try new recipes from time to time, when I cook I typically wing it and make meals with the food I have on hand, or change recipes up a bit to make them healthier. I thought this particular weekend however, it would be good to practice a little meal planning of my own. Anyway—we picked out 4 recipes from my cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Healthy in a Hurry, to make including the Wine Spiked Berries With Ricotta. We then made a grocery list of the things we needed to buy that I didn’t have on hand and made our way to the store for the rest of the ingredients.

berries
berries

The one day we made 3 recipes from the book and for breakfast the next morning we used the Turkey Arugula Frittata recipe, but we decided to change it up a bit and create a Healthy Breakfast Spinach Tomato Sausage Frittata version instead. It turned out to be delicious. Maybe you saw my blog on that one?

ALT Spinach Tomato & Sausage Frittata
Healthy Breakfast—Spinach Tomato & Sausage Frittata

Anyway—I have to say the weekend, the meal planning and the food, all turned out great. We all helped out with the food prep and had a good time doing it. Oh— and the Wine Spiked Berries, which we added strawberries and almonds to were delightful. Here is the recipe for my version.

Red White And Blue Spiked Berries

Spiked Berries
Spiked Berries
  • 1 large orange
  • 1-1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup plus sugar, plus 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 cups mixed strawberries, blueberries and blackberries (You can also use raspberries or another type of berry.)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tbs. Grand Marnier liqueur
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup slivered almonds

Using a sharp paring knife, cut two 2- to 3-inch strips of zest from the orange. Using  a grater, remove 1 tsp. finely grated zest from another section of the orange. Reserve the orange for another use.

In a small saucepan, combine the wine, the 1/2 cup sugar and the orange zest strips and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is reduced to about one-third, (simmer about 10 to 15 minutes). Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool.

Put the berries in a bowl. Remove the zest strips from the syrup and pour over the berries.

In a food processor or mixer, combine the ricotta, Grand Marnier, vanilla, grated orange zest and the 2 Tbs. sugar and mix until smooth. Spoon the berries with some syrup into glasses or small bowls and layer with the ricotta mixture. Top with slivered almonds and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Enjoy and Happy 4th!

Barb

Source:

{“isAjaxComplete_B004SOPF1I”:”0″,”isAjaxInProgress_B004SOPF1I”:”0″} Karen Ansel (Author) › Visit Amazon’s Karen Ansel Page Find All the Books, Read about T. “Healthy in a Hurry (Williams-Sonoma): Simple, Wholesome Recipes for Every Meal of the Day Hardcover – April 3, 2012.” Healthy in a Hurry (Williams-Sonoma): Simple, Wholesome Recipes for Every Meal of the Day: Karen Ansel, Charity Ferreira: 9781616282134: Amazon.com: Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 June 2017.

Nutrition: Red Light, Green Light—An Easy Way To Code Food

When it comes to nutrition, many people today are confused, and rightly so. There are literally thousands and thousands of food products to choose from, each with their own packaging claims. While many processed foods are tasty, convenient and easy to prepare, not all of them are healthy and provide the nutrients that your body needs and craves. It is hard to know which ones are good for you. What consumers really need is an easy way to code food, so they can make better choices.

processed foods
processed foods

Recently I posted something on social media asking people to look back at their childhood to find an exercise they might like. As I was thinking about this and my own childhood, a simple game we used to play growing up, called “Red Light, Green Light” popped into my head. It was a fun running game, where one kid was the stop light and called out colors to make you stop or go. Anyway—the name of the game stuck with me and got me thinking this might be an easy way for people to decipher their food purchases. Like the colors of a stoplight, we can divide food into 3 simple color groups.

Stop light
Stop light

Red Light Foods—
Red light foods are those foods that are highly processed and contain a lot of additives and preservatives. If the ingredient list starts out with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, etc., you should take a hard look at it and decide if the product is something you really want to buy. Typically red light foods such as potato chips, have a long list of ingredients, many of which are to hard to pronounce. Most people don’t have an idea of what these hard to pronounce ingredients really are, which is scary when you think about it. It is nice to know what you are ingesting, especially if it could have some negative affect. You should try and avoid red light foods when possible. If you do eat them, try eat them more on occasion, or sparingly.

potato chips
potato chips

Yellow Light Foods—
Yellow light foods are foods that are minimally processed. Think bagged vegetables, salads, nuts, seeds, raisins, etc. Some of these types of foods may have several ingredients, but don’t typically contain a long list of other additives or preservatives, so they are considered safe. You can feel comfortable buying these foods. You should shoot for foods with 5 ingredients or less, when possible. If they have a few more it is ok, just try and avoid foods that have a long list of ingredients.

bagged nuts
bagged nuts

Green Light Foods—
Green light foods are whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, bulk nuts or seeds and meat. These foods come from the earth and provide our bodies with the nutrients it needs to function optimally. Think greens, berries, quinoa, cashews, pumpkin seeds and chicken. Our bodies need the nourishment these types of foods provide to function properly and optimally. You should try and base your diet around whole foods. Make sure to eat plenty of vegetables, protein and include good fats in your diet.

whole foods
whole foods

If you are interested in finding out more about eating healthy and living a healthy life-style, my new book, Wholey Cow a Simple Guide To Eating And Living,” has more valuable information. It is available on Amazon and I offer a Kindle version too.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Food Fortification—Friend or Foe?

You may have noticed when you are out grocery shopping, that some processed foods are fortified with certain vitamins and minerals. But why is that and is fortification good for you? That is a good question. Let’s start by by defining food fortification.

“Food fortification is a process where nutrients are added to a food product where it did not actually occur.¹ Some examples of fortification include adding vitamin D to milk, calcium to orange juice or adding omega-3 fatty acids to eggs.

“Fortification is a common practice and is supported by both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. It is not a bad thing and is used to intentionally increase the essential micronutrients in foods whether they were originally there before processing or not.”²

In my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, which is available on Amazon, I talk a little bit about food fortification and what to look for when buying packaged foods.

Many consumers these days get confused while out shopping because there are so many products to choose from. Many products also contain various packaging claims that often promote one or two nutrients in the product, such as iron or calcium. While getting extra iron or calcium can be good for your diet, eating added sugar, hydrogenated oil, and other chemicals or preservatives is not. That is why it is so important to read those food labels. If there are a bunch of other ingredients listed, many of which you can’t pronounce, you are probably better off finding some other food choice.

Remember—a diet rich in whole foods is the best source of nutrients for your body. Make sure you choose wisely.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹”Food Fortification.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 07 May 2017. Web. 11 May 2017.

²Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. N.p.: Barbara Rodgers, n.d. 26. Print.

Recipe: Easter Fruit Pizza

Happy Easter!

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some Easter fruit pizza. It is pretty easy to make and quite festive.

Easter Fruit Pizza

First Layer:

1-1/2 cups butter
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Mix ingredients together and press in an egg shape on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Let Cool.

Second Layer:

8 oz. package cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh strawberries

In a mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and strawberries. Spread the mixture over the cooled egg shaped crust.

Third Layer:

Top with fresh fruit. You can use any variety you like and be creative in the design. For my Easter egg, I used kiwi’s, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, mango’s, pineapple, raspberries and oranges.

Enjoy!

Barb

 

Make Smarter Choices By Using The New Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce!

With the obesity epidemic on the rise, many consumers today are concerned and are wondering what they can do to improve their health. Over the years, a lot of people have got in the habit of eating out several times a week or more. Thankfully, some people are discovering that a healthier choice is to make more home cooked meals. Eating at home allows you to choose healthier ingredients, as well as serve more properly proportioned meals. Meal-prep doesn’t have to be complicated either and starts with a list of wholesome ingredients that you can easily have on hand.

In my upcoming book, I talk a little about making smarter choices when out grocery shopping. If you stock your refrigerator and pantry with healthful, whole foods, the more apt you are to eat better. Look for plenty of whole foods when you are out shopping, especially good quality fruits and vegetables, if possible. Organic produce is always your best bet, as it grown without pesticides and harsh chemicals. If you are price conscious, conventional produce is fine and a much better option than filling your grocery cart with chips, crackers, soda pop and other junk foods.

If you are concerned about pesticides in produce, you might want visit the website for the Environmental Working Group (EWG). They offer a Pesticides in Produce list, which you can download for free. The guide provides information on which types of produce are the most heavily sprayed with chemicals.

They also offer another list, which outlines 15 different types of produce that are considered “clean” and safe, as they aren’t heavily sprayed.

The EWG just recently updated their lists, so I wanted to pass them along.

Here is the new 2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce from the EWG:

Dirty Dozen

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6.  Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11.  Sweet Bell Peppers
  12. Potatoes

Clean 15

  1. Sweet Corn
  2. Avocados
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage Asparagus
  5. Onions
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangos
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew
  12. Kiwi
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Grapefruit

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/