I was on ABC10 TV out of Sacramento yesterday to show their viewers (a.k.a. Easter bunnies) how to pull together a ‘healthy Easter basket’. Hmmm…. that’s an oxymoron, you say. Believe it or not, options outside of solid chocolate bunnies, Peeps and sugar-coated sugar do actually exist.
Here are my five basic principles when it comes to “healthify-ing” this tradition.
- Include plant-based foods and plant-based colorants.
- Load up on whole grains.
- Use healthy fats.
- Cut back on sugar.
- Swap out milk chocolate with dark chocolate.
All the recipes for the treats on the show will be featured in my upcoming book, “Athletes in Aprons“. 😀
Oat & Berry Bars: These whole-grain, gluten-free bars are made with oat flour and rolled oats layered with an organic berry purée sweetened with just apple juice.
Chocolate Chip Cookies: These cookies will surprise you! They’re made with garbanzo bean and fava bean flours, oat flour, zucchini, dairy-free dark chocolate, and organic unsweetened applesauce. Gluten-free.
Fudge Brownies: These fudge-y treats are made with whole wheat flour and… spinach. Really! Their moist richness comes from just a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, unsweetened applesauce, and golden ground flaxseeds. You have to taste ’em to believe they’re not loaded with hydrogenated fat and white flour.
Banana-Date Granola: Most granolas are made with lots of oats, sugar and fat. Here’s a no-sugar/no-fat-added granola (no kidding!) made with a base of protein- and Continue reading
Posted in Antioxidants, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Healthy, Lifestyle, Longevity, Nutrients, Tips & Techniques
Tagged Easter basket, Easter treats, fresh produce, gluten-free, healthy treats, Karen Owoc, Mellisa Paul, Sac & Co, whole grains
If you’re looking for a healthy edible platform for your NuttZo™ Seven Nut & Seed Butter or savory wild salmon salad, try Mary’s Gone Crackers® Super Seed Cracker! I like them dunked in fresh guacamole, but you can try them with your favorite salsa or dipped in some melted dark chocolate. Mmmm! But don’t get me wrong, they’re great naked right out of the box too!
I consider most crackers as bits of baked flour, butter or hydrogenated fat, and salt — pretty empty of any noteworthy nutrients. But these crispy Super Seed Crackers were a nice surprise. They’re made with real whole ingredients and are organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan.
Ingredients: Whole grain brown rice, whole grain quinoa, seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, poppy, brown flax, and brown sesame), filtered water, sea salt, sea weed, black pepper, herbs. No added sugar or oil.
One serving (13 crackers) contains:
- 160 calories
- 200 mg sodium (a little over the 1:1 ratio of calories to sodium, but pretty close)
- 3 grams of dietary fiber
- 1 gram of saturated fat
NOTE: On our last Superfood Friday (featuring broccoli) in cardiac rehab, these crackers got the thumbs up when sampled with the ‘broccamole‘ that I made. So, the next time you roll out your favorite dip, give these crackers a try. Let me know what you think! 😀
Fit Tip: This just in… One of my cardiac patients told me that he bought a box of Super Seed Crackers at Costco after reading this post. He paid $7.99 for a 20-oz. box. I bought my 5.5 oz box at Sprouts for $4.99. Thanks for the tip, Dirk!
If you’re a cardiac patient, dieter or diabetic on a low-carb eating plan and you CRAVE pasta, House Foods® Tofu Shirataki is a tasty (and gluten-free) alternative you can get excited about. It has a unique texture, but it’s still very ‘noodle-like’ and satisfying to the pasta-deprived palate.
Shirataki noodles are Japanese slippery glass noodles made with konnyaku (a member of the Japanese yam family). “Tofu Shirataki” is made by blending tofu and the flour of konnyaku to soften the texture and make it more appealing to traditional pasta fanatics.
So if you’ve missed eating noodles, you can eat them now — guilt free. I have to agree with the products’ marketers on this one in that Tofu Shirataki is a “pasta lover’s dream”. It has little flavor on its own which makes it a versatile element in any dish. They’re packed in water and there are four different shapes to choose from: fettuccine, elbow, angel hair, and spaghetti. (I prefer their larger, flat fettuccine shape over the spaghetti.)
Tofu shirataki has the following nutrients per 4-oz. serving: Continue reading
More and more gluten-free products are taking up valuable real estate on grocery and health food store shelves. This is great news for people who suffer from celiac disease and cannot eat foods that contain gluten. But many people who do not have the disease perceive a gluten-free diet as healthier and for that reason, gluten-free diets have become a growing lifestyle trend.
Why Go Gluten Free
This diet excludes all foods that contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, malts, and triticale. The G-free up side is that this diet is essential for people with celiac disease or a gluten allergy or sensitivity. By eliminating gluten from the diet, many popular processed snack foods, cookies and cakes that are high in calories and void of nutrients are off limits. Note that opting to drop junk food from your diet alone can make your feel better, but it’s not necessarily because you’ve eliminated gluten. Continue reading
The Gluten-Free, Paleolithic (Paleo) and Raw Food diets have become trends, movements and lifestyles, but before you embark on any of them, here’s where they hit and where they miss.
This diet excludes all foods that contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, malts, and triticale.
The G-Free Up Side: This diet is necessary for people with celiac disease or a gluten allergy or sensitivity. By eliminating gluten from the diet, many popular processed snack foods, cookies and cakes that are high in calories and void of nutrients are off limits.
The G-Free Down Side: Many gluten-free products are not fortified or Continue reading
As a follow-up to the Southwestern-style Quinoa and Black Beans, here’s a nutrient-dense, protein-packed salad to try. It’s fresh in taste, texture and color with a hint of Asian flavor.
- 1 lb. raw shrimp, frozen or fresh (41-50 shrimp/pound)
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
- 5 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. ginger, grated
- 1 1/2 cups frozen edamame, shelled
- 1 c. scallions, sliced thinly and diagonally (about 1 bunch)
- 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced small
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 4 1/2 tsp. tamari (or soy sauce), reduced-sodium and gluten-free
- 1 tsp. Aji-Mirin (sweet cooking rice seasoning) – can be found in the Asian foods of the supermarket with the rice wine vinegars
- 4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 3 cups water
- Salt to taste (optional)
1. Place in a mesh strainer and rinse well with water:
- 1 1/2 c. quinoa, uncooked
2. Toss in medium bowl. Set aside and let marinate.
- Shrimp, raw (remove shells if necessary)
- 2 1/2 tsp. tamari
- 1 tsp. ginger, minced
- 1 tsp. Aji-Mirin
- 1 clove garlic, minced Continue reading
The frozen food industry has evolved as a greater number of consumers want and need more nutritionally sound foods. Frozen meals are handy and can rescue many busy parents with ravenous kids or seniors who are alone and can’t get to the grocery store often. You can stock up on healthy meals and get a nutritious entree from the freezer to the table in the time it takes to prepare a side dish. By supplementing with a fresh salad or soup, you can serve a well-rounded meal in minutes — a big change from the original classic TV dinner.
Gluten-Free: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, malts, and triticale. A gluten-free diet excludes foods containing gluten and may exclude oats as well. People on gluten-free diets want the same convenience of frozen food. There are now a variety of gluten-free frozen pizzas and meals available, such as Italian pastas, bowls, and Thai, Mexican and Indian dishes. Be sure to check the label to ensure that the food is prepared in a gluten-free facility. Continue reading
Quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”) has gained recognition and popularity as a gluten-free grain alternative and valuable vegetarian source of protein. As a breakfast, side dish, salad, or dessert, quinoa is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various cuisines.
Quinoa is rich in B vitamins like other grains, but it’s actually an edible seed and a relative to spinach, beets and Swiss chard. Quinoa is unique in that it contains all nine essential amino acids making it a complete (whole) protein. This protein-dense food originated in the Andes Mountains of South America and was a sacred staple in the diet of the ancient Incan culture.
If you’ve never tried quinoa before, here’s a great recipe to try for your first experience! This dish travels well and can be eaten hot or cold. Enjoy it as a side or wrap it in a warm tortilla with avocado and shredded raw cabbage or lettuce for a satisfying meal. Continue reading
Posted in Anti-cancer, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Healthy, Longevity, Recipes | Entrees, Recipes | Sides
Tagged black beans, gluten-free, protein, quinoa, vegan, vegetarian