Sunday, October 28, 2012

Start a New Tradition - Clean Thanksgiving Dishes!

Every week leading up to Thanksgiving I am going to give you one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes!  Why do you have to eat the calorie/fat laden green bean casserole, or make your Mom's rice a la butter booty?  You DONT!  You can make delicious dishes that are lean, clean and best of all - taste GREAT!

Cranberry Almond Rice Pilaf:

1.5 cups brown rice (try the brown sticky rice at Asian stores - awesome!)
3/4 cup chopped onion (can buy pre diced at grocery store in produce section)
1/4 cup chopped green onion/scallions
3 TBS fresh cilantro
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 cup Fresh cranberries, rinsed
1 whole orange
1 TBS Stevia
1 TBS cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3 cups low sodium chicken broth (try Pacific Foods brand - VERY low sodium and great taste!)

Pre-Heat oven to 375.  In a bowl, mix together cranberries, zest of 1/2 the orange, juice of one orange, stevia, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes until cranberries become soft and begin to bubble.

In a large stock pot, spray with cooking spray and cook onion until translucent on medium high heat - about 5 minutes.  Stir in rice and stir until rice is slightly toasted - about 3 minutes.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, turn heat to low and cover the rice allowing to simmer about 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

Remove from heat and add cilantro, green onion, almonds and cranberries.  Serve warm or chilled!

Serves 8

Serving: 1/2 cup prepared pilaf

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories 148
Fat 4.4g
Carbs 23.8g
Protein 4.3g

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thanksgiving and Holiday Nutrition SURVIVAL

But Why? 
This is my "favorite” (insert sarcasm) phrase this Holiday season:

'I am scared I will gain weight over Thanksgiving because I know I will overeat.'....But why?

'I have to make all the traditional thanksgiving foods'....But why?

'I always gain weight from Thanksgiving to New Years'...BUT WHY DO YOU HAVE TO?

You Don't.

Keep in mind, Thanksgiving is one meal.  Not 4 day's worth of overindulgence and inactivity parked in front of the couch watching football.  Am I saying you can't enjoy yourself?  Absolutely not.  But remember....the Holidays are not an excuse to ransack everything you have been working so hard towards!

The average American consumes 5,000-8,000 calories and 230 grams of fat on Thanksgiving in ONE SINGLE MEAL!  That's 4-6 days of calories and a whole week of fat for someone on a 1500 calorie a day nutrition plan!  Even scarier...the average American gains 7-10 pounds from November-January.  And with all the football game and parade watching that ensues, it all adds up to larger than normal amounts of inactivity and extra pounds on the scale.

If you recall from previous posts, I tell my clients to eat clean all week and allow themselves one cheat meal per week to look forward to, keep them sane, help keep their nutrition plan on track and help keep their metabolism fired up.  So - most people obviously will want to use Thanksgiving as their cheat day - GREAT!  Keep your portion sizes of all the Holiday indulgences to a NORMAL portion size. There is absolutely no reason to fill your body up with that many calories in one meal or one day!  Think about it:  3500 calories = 1 pound.  If you are in a 1,000 calorie deficit each day with a combination of calorie cutting and exercise, that adds up to 7,000 calories and 2 pounds lost in a week.  On the flip side, if you consume 7,000 calories or more in ONE DAY and are not being active...guess what happens?  Yup - fat is gained and stored!  Our bodies simply cannot process and digest this much food or calories at once - leaving much of it to turn into fat stores! This doesn't even take into consideration the 2-3 days of noshing on leftovers and continuing the calorie gorging.

What can you do?  So you are going to your Aunt Betty's for Thanksgiving and you know she will cook all the butter laden, gravy soaked fixin's....have some!  But eat normal portion sizes!  You don't need to pile you plate full.  Stock up on salads, vegetables and white meat turkey, stay away from the buttery potato's, rolls and desserts if they tempt you too badly - or just have small portions of them.  Pay attention to your body - when it says you are full, stop eating!

If you are cooking - why not try some new healthier recipes?  My family always makes traditional dishes like baked sweet potato slices with marshmallows, brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans and pineapple; mashed potato's and gravy and buttery rolls But last year, my Mom and I decided on a new menu: roasted turkey stuffed with herbs and spices and lemon juice; a roasted vegetable medley with red potatoes, sweet potato's, bell peppers, onions, parsnips, carrots and brussel sprouts; brown rice; salad; and baked apples with cinnamon, stevia and walnuts.  How delicious does that sound?  And it's all low cal, low fat and healthy!  Who says you have to follow all the 'old traditions' - make some new ones!

A HUGE tip – COOK ONLY ENOUGH FOR YOUR FAMILY ATTENDING!  Then you wont have a fridge full of tempting, unhealthy Holiday food to wreak havoc on your waistline and healthy eating!  Look up the ‘yields’ in the recipe and only cook for the amount of people coming!  The recipe yields 16 but you have 8 coming?  Cut it in half!

If you are the cook and plating up the delicious Holiday fare – plate up everything for your family in proper portion sizes!

Get out and exercise - make it a family affair!  Like the Turkey Trot 5k race on Thanksgiving morning – they are done in most towns -  for you Denverites:  If you don't have a Thanksgiving day 5k in your neighborhood - get the family together for an after dinner walk, play a fun outdoor game like flag football, challenge each other to an obstacle course at the park - just get moving and make it fun and enjoyable with each other!

We have one body - be thankful for it and reward it with good and healthy choices this Thanksgiving!

Stay tuned for Healthy Thanksgiving recipes to come!

In Health,

Thursday, October 11, 2012

But Frozen Greek Yogurt is Good for You because its GREEK Yogurt...Isn't It?

Good for You?

First let's define what is good for you:  Any food that has some benefit to your body, can process through your body easily, is clean, free of chemicals, free of processed ingredients, devoid of added sugars, excessive saturated fats and additives.  Any food that increases benefits to your body like antioxidants, energy inducing complex carbohydrates, muscle building lean protein, detoxifying healthy get the picture!

I LOVE Greek Yogurt - and I suggest it to my clients in their meal plans because it has excellent protein content and is a GREAT replacement in many recipes for mayo, sour cream even butter and oils!

But when I suggest Greek Yogurt, I suggest PLAIN Greek yogurt - with no added sugars and sweeteners.  Whats the difference?

1 individual Fage Plain Greek Yogurt (6oz):  
100 calories
0g fat
7g carbs
7g sugar (naturally occurring from lactose)
18g protein

1 individual Honey Mango Plain Greek Yogurt (6oz)
120 calories
0 fat
18g carbs
29g SUGAR!!
13g protein

Honey is natural right?  Yes its natural but that doesn't make it 'good for you'.  Your body will still process this as a sugar.  And remember - your body can only process 30-35g of sugar PER DAY.  Which means - one yogurt - and you are done!  No milk (there are lactose sugars), no fruit (there are natural fructose sugars), no restaurant eating (sugar added into SO many things) - etc.  Any more sugar past your 30-35g and it will store as fat stores.

Remember that ALL yogurt with fruit has additives unless otherwise stated - the Fage honey mango has not only mango sugar, honey sugar but also straight up table sugar added!

So why would 'Frozen Greek Yogurt' be any different?  Its actually WORSE in most cases.  It is a great marketing effort to make you believe it is 'Good for You' - when in fact, its glorified ice cream with protein.

Ben and Jerry's Frozen Greek Yogurt - Strawberry Shortcake (1/2 cup serving):
180 calories
5g of fat (3 of it saturated)
28g carb
23g sugar
6g protein
....hmmmmmmmm 23g of sugar for a half cup?  But thats not good for me? Nope.

Oikos Frozen Greek Yogurt - Blueberry (1/2 cup serving)
100 calories
0g fat
21g carbs
20g sugar
6g protein

Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Smoothie Pouch:
140 calories
0g fat
30g carbs
18g sugar
4g protein

Wait a second....6g protein?  Thats not that much....sounds like we are being DUPED!  Yup - you guessed it.

By comparison - most national ice cream brands you buy in the store have between 13-16g of sugar per half cup.  So the Frozen Greek varieties above have MORE sugar than regular ice cream!

Don't get me wrong - if you prefer the flavor of Greek Frozen Yogurt to Ice Cream - by all means, have a sweet treat and indulge!  But don't mistake 'Frozen Greek Yogurt' as a healthy alternative to other frozen delights - its simply an ice cream with the same amount of sugar (and sometimes MORE) and a tiny boost of protein.

I'd rather have some low fat, no sugar added ice cream with some berries - see a great alternative below:

1/2 cup Edy's No Sugar Added Ice Cream w/ 1/4 cup fresh berries:
140 calories
3g fat
18g carbs
6g sugar
3g protein

Remember - always be an informed consumer - all of the nutritional information is made available to you via the internet on all of the ice cream brands sites as well as many calorie content sites!  Be good to your body - and it will reward you :-)

Happy and HEALTHY eating!