5 Simple Ideas To Plan Meals

With the obesity epidemic on the rise, many people today are interested in eating healthier to help avoid health problems down the road. That is good news. The problem is that not everyone knows what is healthy or where to start. One simple thing you can do to start eating healthier is to plan meals and make more meals at home. I know some of you might think, this is easier said than done, but all it really takes is a little meal prep, organization and a positive attitude.

Easy Meal Planning
Easy Meal Planning

For me, planning meals has always been easy. I was raised in a family of six kids, so we were all expected to help out. I was in the kitchen at a young age and learned to cook, bake and plan ahead. I know this is not the case for everyone and some of you may find cooking challenging. In this blog, I thought I  would share 5 simple ways to help you plan more meals. Remember—cooking does not have to be hard or overly time-consuming. It can be fun, enjoyable and provide a delicious experience.

Easy kitchen cooking
Easy kitchen cooking

Let’s Take A Look at 5 Simple Ways To Help Plan Meals:

  1. Spend A Little Time Each Week Looking For Healthy Recipes—

    recipe book
    recipe book

    When it comes to cooking, a little pre-planning can go a long way and can make your life easier. You can start by making a list of some meals you would like to make. If you are not sure, pull out a cookbook, or a box of recipe cards and start paging through for some ideas. You can also browse recipe blogs and websites, or take a look on Pinterest. They have thousands of ideas and you can search by themes, specific ingredients, or categories and save your favorite ones to a Pin board to easily find them again. It doesn’t really matter where you look, the point is to find some recipes that appeal to you and get you inspired to cook. Look for recipes that contain healthy ingredients such as vegetables, fruit, meat, whole grains and good fats.

  2. Make Your Grocery List—

    Alt grocery bag
    grocery bag

    After selecting your recipes, you will want to make a grocery list. Check your refrigerator and pantry to see which items you already have on hand. Write down the ingredients you need to purchase, or enter them in your phone App if you prefer to organize a list that way. There are many phone Apps available for lists. I use one called Out of Milk for my grocery list, which is easy to use and I like.

  3. Prep Food Ahead Of Time—

    Alt chopped vegetables
    chopped vegetables

    Once you have the groceries you need, you can prepare some items in advance to make things easier for your self during the week, when things are hectic. You can get your family involved and if you have kids, make sure you involve them in the process too. You can have them help chop vegetables to have on hand and ready to go for salads, stir-fries, entrees, etc. It works best to store vegetables in glass containers, so you can easily see them and know what is what. If you want to save yourself more time, you can also pre-cook some meat such as sausage , or hamburger. This way you will have it ready and waiting to just heat up and combine with the seasonings and vegetables, etc. that you need for your specific recipe.

  4. Plan On Having Leftovers—

    chicken breasts
    chicken breasts

    Many people don’t like left overs, but when it comes to meal planning, having left overs is a good idea and actually saves you time. If you are already planning to make a dish with chicken, why not cook a few extra chicken breasts? That way you can have some on-hand for a salad the next day, or some chicken tacos, etc. If one of your meals includes rice, why not make some extra rice to have on hand and ready to go for another meal. You can easily heat the extra rice in a frying pan with olive oil and add in some vegetables, and herbs and spices such as Cajun, Tumeric, Basil, etc.  This can be done with other grains too. You can also incorporate left over quinoa, or another grain for breakfast. You can add fruit, nuts, almond milk and more. Be as creative as you like and don’t be afraid to try new ideas.

  5. Keep Your Pantry Well-Stocked—

    pantry
    pantry

    When you are pressed for time, it is important to have the items on hand that you need to make your meals. It can be very irritating when you find out you are out of a staple item, such as olive oil or coconut oil, and have to stop the cooking process to run to the store to continue cooking. To avoid this hassle, make sure you keep your pantry well-stocked with items that you use every day such as salt and pepper, other seasonings, flour, vinegar, etc. You may also want to keep eggs, lemons, herbs, and other fresh items you use regularly stocked in your refrigerator. Make sure you always check your staple items before going grocery shopping. Believe me, it will save you a lot of time and frustration.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

If you are looking for more information on healthy eating, living and cooking, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, which is available on Amazon in paperback and a Kindle version.

 

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

Healthy Mediterranean Chicken & Vegetable Salad

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some healthy Mediterranean Chicken & Vegetable Salad that I made over the weekend. It is easy to make and includes some greens, nutrient dense vegetables and protein that your body needs and craves. It is also quite tasty. Give it a try if you like.

Recipe: Healthy Mediterranean Chicken And Vegetable Salad

Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad_2
Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut in small pieces
  • Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 package bagged spinach
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped black olives
  • 3/4 cup feta crumbles or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Pita bread, wrap, or corn chips for serving

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Coat the bottom of a  frying pan with olive oil. Add the cut up chicken. Season with Cajun seasoning, or another favorite seasoning to taste. Saute the chicken breast in the oil, until browned and slightly crisp. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the vegetable and dill. Mix together and then add in the chicken. In separate smaller bowl, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper. Stir until well blended and then pour over the vegetable and chicken mix, stirring until the vegetables are coated.

Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad
Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad

Serve alone, or in a wrap, pita bread, or with Tostito chips. Top with the feta, or Parmesan cheese.

Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad
Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad

Enjoy!

Barb

P.S. If you are interested in other healthy recipes, as well as finding out more about living a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow a Simple Guide To Eating And Living,” which is available on Amazon.

Curiosity Killed The Cat?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a dog person rather than a cat person. It’s not that I think cats are bad, or hate them, it’s just they are different than dogs. Dogs get excited when they see you, like attention, enjoy being loved up and are known as “Man’s best friend.”

Cats on the other-hand can be fickle, temperamental and often like to keep to themselves. They also can be mischievous and can get into their fair-share of trouble. Reminds me of the saying, “Curiosity killed the cat!”

If you haven’t heard that one, it is an old proverb that reminds us of the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation.¹ While it is often good in many situations to mind your business, truth be told…sometimes it is necessary to question things or try different ways of doing something. Maybe cats are on to something? After all—how can we make progress, or get ahead, if we don’t question how things are done or why certain circumstances exist? We need to be inquisitive sometimes. That’s how we got to the moon, can visit all kinds of places on an airplane, typewriters became a thing of the past and why there are fewer and fewer land-lines installed. Yes—indeed curiosity can be a good thing!

With the obesity epidemic on the rise and countless people who have health issues related to their diets and nutrition, it is time we all become a little more curious. We need to start to question why people are getting sick and why it is that more than half of the population is over weight. What is going on? That is a difficult question to answer, as it involves problems created on many levels involving the food supply and food system, from industrialization, big business and lobbyists for farmers and drug companies influencing our government. If you look back in time however, especially the last 50 years or so, it is easy to see how our food has changed and that is a big part of the problem. Society today eats more processed foods containing artificial ingredients and preservatives than real, wholesome foods. Many people don’t know the difference either and that is scary and sad.

Michael Pollan, in his book, Food Rules an eater’s manual, tells us, “Not to eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”² Now there’s something to contemplate and something for us all to consider. Wow! I can just imagine my great grandma walking into a grocery store today. Talk about curiosity! There are literally thousands and thousands of food products to choose from. Some of our great grandmothers would be more than curious. Some of these old ladies would probably freak-out and get their bloomers all in a bunch with all of the changes and selections!

But seriously…there is so much available today they probably would be dumb-founded by the sight of it all. Just imagine if they went to buy a few simple items and found all this strange stuff lurking in the many grocery store isles like, Kraft Singles, Gogurt, or something called Hot Pockets. I mean, think about it? Kraft Singles aren’t even cheese. It’s a man-made item, which is supposed to resemble and look like the real thing. “It’s actually a pasteurized prepared cheese product that is individually wrapped in plastic. It can’t even be referred to as cheese because of an FDA rule that states that it must be at least 51 percent real cheese.”³ Yikes! I thought cheese was a dairy product and you needed a cow, or a goat to produce it?

Yogurt in a tube is another strange and somewhat ridiculous thing. It not only is loaded with sugar, it’s available in some weird flavors and promotes putting some plastic packaging in your mouth. What happened to eating with a spoon anyway and who wants yogurt that tastes like bubble gum? That sounds disgusting, at least to me!

Oh and the Hot Pockets! Austin Powers may have made them popular, but Great Grandma would probably be thinking she is buying something to help her iron her clothes with a name like that, instead of some sort of processed bread product. They’re actually processed pizza bites that are loaded with corn syrup, imitation butter, cheese and a whole bunch of other stuff. What is L-Cysteine hydrochloride anyway? I don’t know either. Make sure you read the food label before buying this one item.

In my new book, Wholey Cow A simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little bit about the importance of reading food labels and taking care of your health. We all need to pay more attention to them and notice more what we are eating. Make sure you look at the number of ingredients and notice what they are. If the list is long you may want to look for a similar item with fewer ingredients, as there is less of a chance of eating a bunch of preservatives or food additives.  If the list contains a lot of ingredients with hard to pronounce words, you’re probably better off not buying the product. You can look for something that has more natural ingredients, or opt for something else altogether, like an apple, banana, or some carrots.

Now there’s a thought! Let’s all try and get a little more back to the basics and be more like the cat when we choose our food because if we don’t, our lack of curiosity just might kill us.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹”Curiosity Killed the Cat.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Apr. 2017. Web. 25 May 2017.

²Pollen, Michael. Food Rules and Eaters Manual. New York: Penguin, 2011. Print.

³”The Dirty Truth About Kraft Singles You Might Not Want to Know.” Spoon University. N.p., 23 July 2015. Web. 30 May 2017.

Coconut Whipped Cream—A Little Dab Will Do Ya!

In this blog post, I wanted to share a recipe for some coconut whipped cream.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always liked whipped cream. In fact, I like to add it to my chai tea in the morning.

While many people purchase Redi Wip because it is convenient and quite tasty, keep in mind it is a processed food that contains sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and more. It also has some questionable ingredients like carrageenan, that really are not good for you, which you should try to avoid. I’m not saying I never use the stuff because I have and do, but I came across a recipe on Pinterest for some coconut whipped cream that I really like.  It is better and healthier for you too and contains some healthy fats (MUFAS).  I started making it earlier this year, after my daughter gave me an Isis Whipped Cream Dispenser in January for my birthday.

I love it and this particular recipe works great in it! You can find one on Amazon, or some other department stores, if you are interested in buying one.

Here is the recipe…

Coconut Whipped Cream
  • 1-14 ounce can of full fat, unsweetened coconut milk chilled in the refrigerator overnight. (I used Whole Foods 365 organic brand, but you can use other brands.)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, gently melted
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons of high-quality vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
    (or to make it with less sugar and use 1/4 tsp. to 1/2 tsp. stevia extract. This is how I make it. Play around with the amount of stevia and add to your taste. Feel free to add more, or less. )
 

 

To make the whipped cream, whisk together all the ingredients in a mixer for several minutes, until well mixed. It should be thicker like a mousse, but still a little runny.  Pour the mixture in the whipped cream dispenser, carefully following the instructions. Place the dispenser in the refrigerator to use later, or gently shake and dispense on your favorite fruit, in your tea, or special dessert. It is quite tasty and my dogs love this version too!

Just a little dab for the boys! They love it too and always seem to end up with some on their nose.

Note: This mixture can also be chilled and then gently whipped for a soft, creamy “mousse” as well, if you don’t have an whipped cream dispenser.

Enjoy!

Barb

10 Iron-Rich Foods To Sustain Your Energy…

Did you know that iron deficiency anemia affects more people than any other condition?¹

That’s right! For some of you that may be surprising or alarming, given the fact that many people aren’t aware of the symptoms or the condition. I was one of these people, that is until a few years ago, when I was diagnosed with it myself and had to deal with the ailment. In my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, which is available on Amazon, I talk a little bit about the causes of iron deficiency and how it lead me on a path to learning more about nutrition. I also talk about how eating a healthy diet and living a healthy life-style can help with a host of health problems, including vitamin deficiencies. In this blog, I wanted to share some information on 10 iron-rich foods that can help sustain your energy, whether you are iron deficient, or not.

Let’s take a look…

  1. Spinach—

    Spinach is rich in many minerals and nutrients that are beneficial to your body. It contains non-heme iron, which is the type of iron found in plant-based foods. When I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, I started eating a lot of this leafy green, as I needed to consume a certain amount of iron-rich foods. I also added spinach to my morning smoothies, as well as other main dishes I would cook. Many people enjoy spinach salad, but this powerhouse vegetable can be added to many entrees. Try adding it to your spaghetti sauce, chow mein, lasagna, stir-fries and more for added energy and nutrients.
  2. Kale—

    Kale is another green that is rich in iron. In fact, kale contains more iron than spinach. (Kale contains 6 % iron, where spinach contains 5%.) Kale is also rich in fiber and other vitamins including vitamin A, B6, C, folate, calcium, copper and more. Kale has a unique taste and a texture that is course and dense. Some people like kale salads, while others may mix it with other greens. Kale can also be added to smoothies and can be eaten raw or cooked. It can also be added to other main dishes for an added boost of vitamins and minerals. I enjoy kale, as well as spinach. Give it a try if want to add more nutrients to your diet.
  3. Black Beans—

    Black Beans are not only good for you, but taste great. It is no wonder they are a popular food in many cultures. They are rich both in iron and fiber and also contain plenty of protein. They also contain other valuable vitamins and minerals including calcium and manganese and have trace amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for you. Black beans have a dense texture and can be eaten alone, or added to other entrees or dishes such as rice or quinoa. I like to add black beans to taco meat and rice. I also like to eat black beans as a side dish. They are delicious heated with a little spinach, onions, tomatoes, and spices including tumeric and cajun. Give it a try if you like, or come up with your own favorite recipe.
  4. Beef—

    Beef is rich in heme iron, which is found in animals and attached to proteins. If you happen to be iron deficient, heme iron is the best source of iron for your body. That is why I eat beef several times a week. Growing up, I ate a lot of beef, but as I got older, I kind of got tired of it. Over time however, my body began to let me know I needed to add more of it back into my diet. If you enjoy beef, know that you are getting a healthy dose of iron, as well as other vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind that a serving of beef, or other meat should only be the size of your fist.
  5. Chicken—

    Chicken also contains heme iron and other vitamins. It is a popular choice for many consumers and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Many people enjoy it as a main entree, or use it in other dishes such as pasta, enchilada’s, stir fries, etc. Chicken is also a healthy addition to salads and various side dishes. Again—Keep in mind that a serving of chicken should also be the size of your fist.
  6. Eggs—

    Eggs have been a  staple in the diets of many consumers for years. It’s not surprising, as eggs contain protein, carbohydrates and fat. They are also a good source of choline and iron, which is found in the yolks. Eggs contain a healthy mix of both heme and non-heme iron, making them unique. Eggs can be prepared in a variety of ways and are a popular breakfast item. I like to add a variety of vegetables and meat to my eggs to enhance their flavor, as well as their nutritional value. Feel free to add whatever vegetables you enjoy with your eggs to help boost their nutritional value.
  7. Nuts—

    Nuts are a great snack food and are not only delicious, but nutritious. It is no wonder they are a  a popular snack choice for many consumers. Nuts are loaded with many healthful nutrients too including protein, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium and copper. They also contain healthy fats (MUFAS), which your body needs and craves. Many nuts are also rich in iron, which helps deliver oxygen to your cells. It is especially important for those with iron deficiency anemia and works to prevent it as well. I enjoy almonds, cashews and other varieties of nuts daily. Make sure you grab a handful of nuts to snack on to enjoy their health benefits.
  8. Strawberries—

    Strawberries are a popular fruit and enjoyed by many consumers. They are sweet, delicious and loaded with a variety of vitamins and minerals. They actually are considered a super food since they are nutrient dense and promote well-being. Strawberries contain vitamin C, which helps promote eye health and immunity. They are also rich in fiber, which helps aid digestion and contains some iron, which helps to carry oxygen throughout your body. Snack of this tasty fruit and enjoy its many healthy benefits.
  9. Apricots—

    While there are many varieties of fruits, the apricot is considered one of the healthiest in the world.² It is loaded with healthful nutrients and has many benefits. Apricots contain vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and contain plenty of fiber. They also contain a healthy dose of iron, which is a vital element for muscle and brain health and also works to regulate body temperature. Although I like apricots, it wasn’t a fruit a bought a lot of. When I developed iron deficiency anemia however, I began buying dried apricots to snack on. They are sweet and make a healthy snack.
  10. Pumpkin Seeds—

    If you are looking for a crunchy, tasty snack, why not try some healthful seeds such as pumpkin seeds? They are good for you and packed with a bunch of feel-good nutrients. Pumpkin seeds contain a variety of nutrients including magnesium, manganese, zinc, protein, and copper. They are also high in fiber and are a good source of iron and omega 3 fats.  You can eat them alone, or add them to yogurt, smoothies and more.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹Wpadmin. “22 Shocking Iron Deficiency Anemia Statistics.” HRFnd. N.p., 23 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 May 2017.

²Nandy, Priyadarshini. “8 Amazing Apricot Benefits: The Nutritional Heavyweight Among Fruits.” Food.ndtv.com. N.p., 19 Apr. 2016. Web. 16 May 2017.

³”9 Amazing Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds.” Mercola.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2017.

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: Easy Vegetable and Chicken Flatbread Pizza

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some flatbread pizza I made the other day. It is easy to make, includes some healthful ingredients and is quite tasty. Give it a try if you want.

Easy Vegetable and Chicken Flatbread Pizza

  • 1 package Stonefire Tandoor Baked Naan or similar flatbread
    Note: (Gluten free flatbread can also be used.)
  • 1 jar pizza sauce (I used an organic brand, but use what brand you like.)
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1 small purple onion (sliced)
  • 1 medium size fresh tomato (sliced)
  • 1-2 chicken breasts (cut in chunks, or cubes)
  • 2 strips bacon
  • 1 small can black olives (2.25 oz.)
  • Basil seasoning
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cajun seasoning
  • 1 small package shredded Mozzarella cheese or other favorite variety. (I usually buy a block of cheese and shred it myself.)

In a large frying pan coated with olive oil, saute the chicken and add the Cajun seasoning.  Pour the mix in a bowl, when thoroughly cooked. Using the same pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Pat off any excess grease and cut the bacon into small pieces in the same bowl as the chicken. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the 2 flatbread crusts on to the parchment paper. Spoon the pizza sauce over the flatbread. (I only used enough sauce to cover the flatbread, but add as much as you like.) Place the spinach on top of the flatbread to cover the crust. Next spoon the chicken, bacon mix on top. Season the mix with the basil and garlic seasonings. Add the shredded cheese over the top. Add the black olives and then the sliced onion.

Note: Feel free to add any other vegetables or other healthy ingredients you like and make it your own!

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Add the sliced tomatoes and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Let cool a bit and then serve warm alone, or add a fresh garden salad.

Enjoy!

Barb

 

6 Metabolism Boosting Foods…

When it comes to weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight, metabolism plays an important role. Anytime you eat anything, your body goes to work to process the food and nutrients that you’ve ingested. Our metabolism converts the food we eat into fuel for energy, which is needed for everything we do, from walking to running to thinking to working. That is why it is so important to eat the right foods. In this blog, I thought I would share some foods that will help you boost your metabolism.

Let’s take a look at…

  1. Spinach—Spinach and other dark leafy greens are loaded with nutrients, that help fuel your body. Spinach is high calcium, which helps your body maintain a high metabolism. In fact, eating calcium-rich foods such as spinach has been shown to double your fat-burning potential when consuming up to 1300 mg. of the mineral a day. It is no wonder Pop Eye looked slim and trim and muscular. Spinach is not only nutrient dense, but tastes great and can be prepared in a variety of ways.
  2. Grapefruit—Grapefruit and other citrus fruits contain large amounts of vitamin C, which helps regulate your blood sugar. When your blood sugar is stable, you are more likely to feel good, have more energy and feel alive. When your blood sugar fluctuates too much with spikes of high and low, you may feel tired, worn out or sluggish. To avoid insulin spikes, make sure you include grapefruit and other citrus fruits in your diet for a healthy dose of vitamin C.
  3. Broccoli—Broccoli is another vegetable loaded with vitamins and minerals. Broccoli is high in the vitamins C, A and K. In fact, broccoli contains twice as much vitamin C as an orange and is also high in calcium. It also contains selenium, folate and a healthy dose of fiber, all of which help your body to maintain a healthy metabolism.
  4. Almonds—Almonds contain both fatty acids and plenty of fiber, both of which will help your metabolism. Almonds and other nuts contain monounsaturated fatty acids, MUFAS, which are good fats that your body needs to move and uses for fuel to function properly. The natural good fats in almonds help spark your metabolism. Grab a handful or 2 of almonds for a snack to aide your and fat-burning.
  5. Apples—Apples are loaded with fiber and help your body feel full. They also help prevent your body from absorbing fat. Apples contain other vitamins including B and K. They also contain magnesium and potassium. Reach for an apple as part of healthful breakfast, or snack.
  6. Green Tea—Green tea is one of the best things you can consume to speed up your metabolism. Green tea is rich in phytochemicals, especially flavonoids and EGCG, which help protect your body from disease. They also contain other antioxidants that help with metabolism.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

“Top 10 Foods That Boost Metabolism.” Health Ambition. N.p., 29 Mar. 2017. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

“Metabolism.” KidsHealth. Ed. Steven Dowshen. The Nemours Foundation, June 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Busch, Sandi. “Does an Apple in the Morning Speed Up Your Metabolism?”LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 23 Aug. 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Danielle Braff, Linda Melone, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), and REDBOOK Editors. “15 Surprising Tricks for Boosting Your Metabolism.” Woman’s Day. N.p., 13 Oct. 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

 

 

Oh Sugar—How sweet it is?

Most people love sugar. It is sweet, delicious, enjoyable and tempting! For many people it is hard to pass up a chocolate chip cookie, piece of cake or donuts at the office.  After all—They often satisfy a sweet tooth and provide a sense of comfort. The problem is that sugar has addictive properties, and we have become accustomed to it in just about everything. Yes—everything!

In my upcoming book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating and Living, which will be available on Amazon soon, I talk a little about how sugar is included in almost everything processed today. Years ago, our diets didn’t include much for sugar, as most people ate whole foods, which came from the land and sea. Today, grocery stores are packed with processed foods and most contain sugar in one form or another.

To help you become more aware of what you are eating, in this blog, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at a few varieties of yogurt to compare their ingredients and sugar content. I don’t eat yogurt too often, but the other day I came across one I decided to try, as it had a lower sugar content than most varieties.

Let’s take a look…

Chobani Simply 100:

This is the one I tried. It only has 6 g of sugar, which is quite a bit lower than most yogurts available. It contains both cane sugar and stevia, which is a natural sweetener. I thought it tasted pretty good and because of the low sugar content, I will probably try it again.

Chobani:

This Chobani yogurt is a popular one and tastes good. It contains 15g of sugar, which is a fair amount, but pretty common for yogurt. It contains cane sugar and other natural sugars from the fruit. Here is the link to the Chobani site, if you want to look at the full ingredient list.

Yoplait:

Yoplait yogurt is another popular choice and comes in a variety of options, each with their unique ingredients and sugar content. Their original variety contains 18 g of sugar, which is a little higher than the Chobani brand. Their light version contains only 10 g of sugar, but contains both sugar and sucralose (an artificial sweetener).

Here is the link to the Yoplait site, if you want to look at the full ingredient list for the original version or the light version.

Oikas:

Th Oikos brand has 12 g of sugar for this particular flavor. It also contains cane sugar, plus a number of other ingredients. Here is the link for ingredient list for their strawberry variety. I couldn’t find the pomegranate raspberry variety, but figured it would be similar.

Dannon Light & Fit Greek:

This yogurt only has 7 g of sugar, but contains fructose and sucralose (an artificial sweetener), which I wouldn’t recommend. It has other ingredients too, that I wasn’t sure exactly what they were. I personally would avoid this one.

As you can see, the sugar content and other ingredients vary quite a bit from brand to brand. Keep in mind that some varieties contain cane sugar, some contain aspartame, some contain sucralose, and some contain stevia, or a combination of sugar and stevia. Make sure you read the food labels before choosing a variety that is right for you.

Thanks for reading!

Barb