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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Healthier Dessert - Cranberry Oat Squares




Looking for a delicious, healthier dessert? Try these Cranberry Oat Squares! They are pretty easy to mix together and there are lots of ways you can switch them up - for example, try dried cherries or diced apricots instead of cranberries.

Cranberry Oat Squares

Serves 16

Ingredients - CRUST:
1 cup white wheat flour*
1 cup oats*
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons orange juice
Cooking spray

Ingredients - FILLING:
1 1/3 cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)
3/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons white wheat flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

*Substitute almond flour and choose gluten-free oats to make these gluten-free

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare a 11" X 7"-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. To prepare crust, in a medium mixing bowl combine the white wheat flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda. Stir well to combine.

3. Add the butter and juice over flour mixture, stirring until moistened (mixture will be crumbly). Reserve 1/2 cup the oat mixture (to crumble on the top). Press remaining oat mixture into the bottom the prepared baking dish.

3. To prepare filling, in a medium bowl combine: dried cranberries, sour cream or Greek yogurt, granulated sugar, white wheat flour, vanilla, and egg white. Stir the mixture well. 

4. Spread the cranberry mixture over prepared crust; sprinkle reserved oat mixture evenly over filling. Bake at 325°F for 40 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool completely in pan and slice into bars.

Option: Cherry-Oatmeal Bars: Substitute dried cherries for the dried cranberries.

Nutrition Facts (per bar): Calories 135, Total Fat 4.6 grams, Saturated Fat 2.5 grams, Sodium 68 milligrams, Cholesterol 10 milligrams, Carbohydrates 21 grams, Fiber 1.3 grams, Protein 1.7 grams


Friday, March 6, 2015

Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy eating can taste great and it doesn't have to be complicated. Here are some fun tips, recipes, and facts to help you and motivate you to bite into a healthy lifestyle!


Roast veggies and fruits - Cooking vegetables and fruits can actually increase the bio-availability of some nutrients. For example, researchers have found that cooked tomatoes actually have more absorbable lyopene as compared to raw tomatoes. Specifically, heating tomatoes for 30 minutes at 190.4 degrees (the temperature of soup simmering on a stove) boosted the levels of absorbable lycopene by 35 percent. For more information on this, click here, to read a recent article from the Washington Post.


Try this super quick recipe from my book, Skinny-Size It, Bake Apple Pie Parfaits that features roasted apples! 

Baked Apple Pie Parfaits
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:
2 medium McIntosh, Golden Delicious (or other varieties good for baking) apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 ounces low fat vanilla yogurt
¼ cup KIND Healthy Grains Maple Walnut Clusters with Chia & Quinoa (or similar granola with 130 calories and 3.5 grams fat or less per serving)

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Place the apple slices in a small mixing bowl, add the agave nectar and cinnamon, and toss to coat. Transfer the apples to a baking sheet.
3. Bake the apples for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are tender.
4. Serve the baked apples over vanilla yogurt and garnish with the granola.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 230 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 65 milligrams sodium, 53 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 39 grams sugar, 5 grams protein

Skip the fried foods new study shows that the more fried foods that you eat, the more your risk
for heart failure increases! In fact, men who had fried foods just one to three times per week had an average of 18-percent increased risk of developing heart failure. That risk jumps to 25-percent higher risk when fried foods are eaten four to six times per week. 

Skip chicken wings and instead try my quick, easy, and tasty DIY Crispy Chicken Fingers recipe that I shared with Men's Fitness. 

March is National Nutrition Month! Stay tuned for more tips throughout the month! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Are All Fats Created Equally?


In some ways yes, all types of fat have 9 calories per gram, but nutritionally some are better than others. The basics: The two healthiest types of fat: monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated. The one type of fat to limit overall intake of is saturated fat. The one type of fat to avoid is trans fat. 


Monounsaturated fats: This type of fat has been linked to decreasing fat around the waist, to boosting healthy (HDL) cholesterol levels, which is a good thing for heart health, and to controlling blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes,

Food sources of monounsaturated fat: almonds, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, and avocado.

Research link: A new study (January 2015) found that when on a diet, those that included avocado daily improved their blood cholesterol levels more than those that followed a diet lower in fat. 

Polyunsaturated fats: Popular types of polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Both omega-3 and omega-6 are linked to positively helping heart health and cholesterol levels. Generally, most people consume plenty of omega-6 fats it is typically the omega-3 foods that need to be an area of focus. 

Food sources of omega-3: fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines), flax seeds, flax oil, walnuts, hemp seeds, and chia seeds (Pictured left). 

Food sources of omega-6: vegetable oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil. 

Saturated fats: Generally, saturated fats contribute to increased cholesterol levels and mainly come from animal foods like cheese and red meat. Other sources of saturated fat include tropical oils like coconut and palm oil. It is important to note that it isn't necessary to skip saturated fat all together, rather limit it to about 10-percent of your calories or less per day, for example, if you have 1800 calories per day that would equal 20 grams of saturated fat or less. 

Food sources of saturated fat: cheese, butter, whole milk, red meat, coconut oil, and palm oil.

Trans fat: A majority of the trans fat we eat comes from processed foods. On a food label, many nutrition facts panels today will ready "0" grams of trans fats. Although, if you look at the ingredient list, partially hydrogenated oils are listed, which are trans fats. This can happen because if there is less then 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, federal labeling rules allow the value to round down to "0" grams (See example to the right). Bottom line, the goal is to AVOID trans fat so skip those products too that have partially hydrogenated oil listed in the ingredients!

Food sources of trans fat: mostly from commercially prepared/processed foods like donuts, cakes, and cookies.

Help your heart an place emphasis on monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fats! Keep your saturated fat intake in-check and avoid trans fat all together. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

5 Top Product Picks to Kick-off 2015

Do you ever see products at the grocery store and wonder are they really healthy or if they are really worth the price? Here are some of my top product picks to kick-off 2015! This is a round-up of products that are truly healthy, worth trying, and (at least in my opinion) delicious. If you try any of these products, let me know if you liked them!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Giving Thanks

Children at the A2S after school program, enjoying a hot meal.

This holiday season, I would like to say a special thank you to everyone for their support, love, and kindness over this past year! 


Did you know? In Nigeria approximately 26% of children under five years old—more than a million children— suffer from malnutrition. To spread thanks, check out the A2S Meal-A-Thon campaign to provide hot meals to children in Nigeria. 

This campaign was started by my cousin's husband, Andrew Lovedale. a former Davidson basketball player and Benin City native. In 2013 the Meal-A-Thon started and enabled 26,400 meals of hope to children in Benin City, Nigeria this year. 

The Meal-A-Thon campaign needs to raise $40,000 to sustain its daily feeding program for 2015. Click here to make a contribution and help provide a warm meal to the children from Andrew's hometown. 

These meals allow children to learn and play with focus, resulting in better work and quality across all aspects of their daily lives. The mission of A2S is to empower youth and their communities to achieve positive change through Christian-based athletic and educational programs in Nigeria. 

For more information about A2S, click here.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cooking with Kids!

Check out this infographic from Cabot filled with great ideas for cooking with your children! Cooking With Kids Infographic
Presented By Cabot Cheese

Thursday, October 23, 2014

During Workouts: What and When to Eat and Drink

To keep your body fueled during workouts, for the most part, it's pretty simple... stick with water. 


During games and practices sip water throughout to keep hydration levels up. Aim for 8 - 16 fluid ounces (175 - 237 mL) for water* every 15- 20 minutes during exercise. 

How much to drink during workouts varies based on duration of activity, body size, muscle mass, sweat rates, and temperature.

The overall goal is to minimize weight lost during workouts to one-pound of less of body weight. Generally, always drink before you are thirsty because by the time you are thirsty, you are already under-hydrated by about 1-percent. Sipping fluids throughout workout, games, and practices is the best bet to staying hydrated. 

When to switch to a sports drink: If you are exercising longer than one-hour continuously or in extreme heat, then swapping to a sports drink and adding in some additional fuel makes sense.

When exercise is longer than one-hour, plan to have about 30 - 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour coming from food and fluids.  

Quick easy-to-pack foods for during exercise:
- Raisins (34 grams carbohydrates per small box)
- Honey stinger organic energy chews (about 38 grams carbohydrates)
- Gatorade (21 grams carbohydrates per 12 oz)
- GU energy Gel (22 grams carbohydrates per pack)
- Pretzel sticks (20 grams carbohydrates  for 9 pretzels)
- Banana (23 grams carbohydrates for a small banana)
- Coconut water (11 grams carbohydrates for 8 fl ounces)

Check the Nutrition Facts of the products that you are using to adjust the portion sizes and/or quantities to meet the 30 - 60 grams goal, as the nutrition content of products varies. 

If you are training for an event, like a 1/2 marathon or triathlon, always first check what foods and fluids will be available during the event and try those products during pre-event training sessions and workouts to ensure that you can tolerate the products! Never try something new in a game or during a race.

Check out the recent blog post, Before Workouts: What and When to Eat and Drink. Stay tuned for refueling tips!