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Metrowest Nutrition

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Grill Meets Salad

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Looking for a healthy alternative for the grill?  Think salad.  It's definitely not the first food you'd think of tossing on the fire but it's definitely one of the best things I've tried.  I was out to lunch recently and out of curiosity ordered the 'grilled romaine hearts'.  The salad came topped with chopped onions, grilled grape tomatoes, applewood smoked bacon and gorgonzola cheese and was dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. Grilled shrimp was the perfect addition.  It was absolutely delicious and I plan to attempt to reproduce the recipe at home.  Let me tell you, this is a salad that won't leave you missing your burger!  Find some other great grilled salad recipes here.  

2 Great Green Smoothies

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Looking for a fresh, healthy twist on your summer breakfast or a cool boost in the afternoon?  Try one of these nutrient-packed green smoothies, each with slightly different personality and nutrition profiles.  Packed with B vitamins, these energy boosters are a great way to recharge without the caffeine. 

Kale-Pear Smoothie (makes 2-3 servings)

1 banana

1-2 cups kale, cut, large rib removed

1/2 pear

1 cup grapes

1 orange

1 scoop veggie protein powder

1 cup water (trade a 1/4 c for apple juice if you'd like)

2 cups ice

Mix in blender and enjoy!  You've just had your day's worth of folate, potassium, vitamin C and oodles of other vitamins and minerals.  Plus it's got fiber and a protein to help fill you up and balance blood sugar.

 

Avocado-Melon Smoothie

1 ripe, fresh avocado

1 cup honeydew melon chunks

juice from 1/2 lime

1 cup fat free milk

1 cup fat-free or lowfat yogurt

1/2 cup apple juice or white grape juice

1 TBSP honey

This sweet, creamy smoothie is a great alternative to ice cream adding the benefits of potassium, B-6 and folate along with the calcium.

 

 

 

 

Earthly Delights

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jackie Ballou, MS, RD

To my delight, my boyfriend’s mother recently made me up a bag of fresh vegetables to take home.  The delectable leaves, roots and flowers inside were anything but ordinary. 

She told me one of the vibrant looking leaves was an herb called amaranth.  I was surprised, for I knew amaranth to be a gluten-free, nutrition powerhouse of a grain (technically speaking, a seed), containing protein and fiber.  What I was not aware of was the nutritional value and versatility of the leaves of this same plant, which produces the seeds I am more familiar with.

Upon doing a bit of research, I found out that amaranth leaves are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K and are also a good source of the minerals, calcium and manganese.  The leaves of this plant can be used as a substitute for spinach.  The more mature leaves should be cooked (stir frying or sautéing with a olive oil and some garlic works well) while the younger, more delicate leaves may be used raw in salads.  Similar to kale, it can also be added to soups and stews.

In admiring, learning about and tasting amaranth leaves, I got to thinking about the abundance of exotic plant foods found at farms and farmers’ markets.   And furthermore, what an opportunity lies in exploring these treasure troves with kids.  I can’t think of a better way for children to explore a new food in its entirety than picking out a new fruit or vegetable, taking it home, preparing it, and sampling it. 
To plan your next fruit and veggie treasure hunt, find the closest farmers market or pick your own farm at mass.gov: http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/index.htm

Sources:
www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org
www.seriouseats.com

Cranberry Couscous Salad

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Looking for a tasty and healthy dish for the summer?  Try this versatile cranberry couscous salad.  It's a great side dish but also complete enough to be a meal itself.  This low glycemic salad is nutrient-packed with lots of fiber, protein, B6, folate, vitamin E and healthy mono-unsaturated fats.  It's delicious hot or cold which makes it great for dinner parties or cookouts.  You can also substitute other grains for the couscous; Quinoa is particularly good and packs in more protein as well.  Enjoy! 

Cranberry Couscous Salad

Eat Healthy in No (or Little) Time

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Want to eat healthy but short on time?  Here are a few tips to streamline healthy eating for you and your family.

1.  Plan Ahead

Planning is key to eating healthy with limited time.  Invest 15-30 minutes a week into planning meals and your grocery list.  Think of 2-3 breakfast and lunch options and 3-5 dinners.  After you decide what's on the menu, make up a grocery list.  If you have a smartphone, keep a list of items you need each week and add or subtract as needed.  Many grocery stores offer delivery for a small additional fee of $5-10 (or free if you have a coupon).  Use the time you would have spent at the store for planning. 

2.  Stretch Foods

Choose foods that you can use over multiple meals.  For example, a rotisserie chicken can be dinner tonight and chicken salad to top your greens for lunch tomorrow.  Side dishes such as the edamame succotash recipe on our site (Edamame Succotash) are great for leftovers.

3.  Modify Convenience Foods

Prepared foods are typically high in fat, calories and sodium and low in fiber and nutrients despite their convenience and palatability.  Nonetheless, when pinched for time, they can make good starters for a healthier dish  Adding veggies, lean proteins and/or grains to convenience foods helps boost their nutritional quality without a lot of prep time.  Veggies like cooked spinach and broccoli make great additions to prepared pasta sauces and macaroni & cheese.  Or, take store-bought potato salad, typically loaded with mayo and give it a healthy and  appetizing  makeover  by adding a couple additional skin-on potatoes (5 minutes in the microwave) and/or some peas along with a little extra seasoning.  The same can be done with pasta salad; add some whole wheat pasta, beans and a cut-up red pepper and you've substantially improved a nutritionally blah food. 

4.  Plan For and Utilize Leftovers

Buy extra meat, fish, poultry or veggies when grilling and find recipes to use the leftovers in.  Grill up some grass-fed beef and use the extra for steak & cheese subs the next day; use a whole wheat baguette with some leftover grilled veggies and a little cheese and you have a well-balanced and delicious meal.  For another idea, use grilled chicken in a pasta recipe like this one from Pioneer Woman (one of my favorite sites for recipes by the way) Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta.

5.  Simple Salads

Keep ingredients for easy-to-make salads on hand.  For a base, use pre-washed, bagged greens or wash your greens right when you get them home so they're ready to go when you need them.  Add some grape tomatoes, shredded carrots, beans, edamame, olives, sliced beets and/or some nuts and you'll have a salad with absolutely no slicing or dicing.  For added protein, boil some eggs and store them in the fridge.  That extra grilled meat comes in handy for this too.  Berries, mango and avocado are great additions to summer salads too but may require a little extra work.  Having all the ingredients ready to go and visible increasese the chance you will use them. 

 

 
 

Homeade Luna Bars

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

 Nutrition bars are a popular treat. They are a great grab-and-go option for breakfast paired with some fruit, or a good mid-day snack. While there are many healthy options on the market, why not take a stab at making your own?

Some recipes involve a long list of ingredients, but these Homeade Luna Bars are quick, simple and most importantly delicious! The recipe calls for crispy rice cereal, and if brown rice cereal is used they are a great source of whole grains. The nut butter provides a good source of healthy fat and the chocolate is an extra treat! (Don’t forget the antioxidants found in dark chocolate!) If you choose to add protein powder you can increase the protein content of the bars and add some extra vitamins/minerals to accommodate whatever your needs may be. 

Overall these bars are a great alternative to store bought and provide a tasty grab and go option.

'Cocunut Cream Kale', a recipe for the kale-averse

Monday, November 21, 2011

I picked up a small helping of this dish today at Wegmans figuring I'd give it a try (and doubting the rest of my family would).  It was absolutely delicious!  I was so happy to find the recipe online.  I like kale but often find it a little too bitter even with all my doctoring up.  The coconut milk in this recipe adds a little sweetness and a lot of creaminess.  If you've never tried kale and are skeptical, this is the recipe you should start with.  It's suitable for ovo-vegetarians and vegans as well.

Wegmans Coconut Cream Kale

The nutrition benefits of kale are amazing which is why it receives a 1,000 out of 1,000 on the ANDI Scale at Whole Foods.  It's loaded with vitamin A, K, C, iron and folate.  It also a great amount of fiber and B vitamins.  It's the ultimate multivitamin.  Honestly, after eating it, you may notice a visible improvement in your skin within a couple hours.  Test it out!

What will your pumpkin turn into after Halloween?

Friday, October 28, 2011

What are you planning to do with your pumpkin after Halloween?  Thinking of throwing it out?  Think again.  This favorite fall decoration is also packed with nutrition and flavor.   It's dark orange color yields high levels of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that wards off inflammation in the body.  Pumpkins are also loaded with zinc, potassium and fiber which help prevent heart disease, cancer and other illnesses while making you feel great.  In addition to it's nutritional benefits, pumpkin is an essential ingredient in autumn cuisine inspiring recipes from soup to pie.  Here are a few of our favorites:  

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Caribbean Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Raisin Muffins
Pumpkin French Toast

NOTE:  Even though some of these recipes call for canned pumpkin, you can puree your own cooked pumpkin.

Looking for more creative uses for that over-sized gourd on your front steps?  How about a facial?  I happened to walk but a spa a couple weeks ago and dismissed the sign advertising a pumpkin scrub as seasonal marketing.  This was before I did a little research.  Turns out pumpkins are high in alpha-hydroxy acids which are used frequently in anti-aging skincare products.  High levels of zinc and vitamin A add even more benefits to skin.  This link provides some ideas for pumpkin skincare including face masks and cracked heel balm.  Pumpkin Skincare.  

Lip-Smackin', Toe Tappin' Healthy Mac & Cheese!

Thursday, August 04, 2011
Looking for a healthy comfort food?  Then this mac & cheese recipe is a must-try.  Leave it to Eating Well to masterfully makeover this classic comfort food.  It received rave reviews from my family.  My toddler gave it a resounding "yum, yum, yay" and a hearty clap.  Even my husband who claims to hate spinach went back for seconds... and thirds.  A dish I thought would provide several days of leftovers was gone in two meals.  What makes this dish so yummy yet healthy?  For one, some of the high fat cheese was replaced with lowfat cottage cheese resulting in a creamy, smooth texture.  The fiber count was increased by using wheat macaroni (and you won't notice the difference, I promise!).  I used whole wheat breadcrumbs too which tasted great.  The spinach sandwiched in the middle adds iron, folate and more fiber.  If you're trying to get your kids to eat their greens, this is the way to do it!  I suggest doubling the portion and freezing half so you can get some extra mileage out of your culinary efforts.  This one's certainly going to be a staple in our household and I hope you find it to be one in yours. 

Eating Well - Healthy Baked Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

Is Your Toddler Getting Enough Iron?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Iron is an essential nutrient for toddlers.  Yet, it's often deficient in their diets.  Unfortunately, the foods toddlers typically prefer (i.e. crackers, yogurt, cheese and fruit) are not great sources of iron.  A pediatrician recently mentioned that many parents misperceive milk as a source of iron in their kids' diets.  Although iron is found in most animal protein sources, milk is an exception to this rule.  Plus, toddlers that drink more than the recommended amount of milk per day (16oz whole milk) are at greater risk of iron deficiency since too much calcium can hinder the absorption of iron.

Why is iron so important for kids?  First and foremost, it's essential to the metabolic processes required for growth and development.  It's also required for oxygen transport throughout the body and helps immune function by protecting the body from oxidative damage.  Our muscles require oxygen to function properly.  Why do you think Popeye got such a boost from his spinach?  It's a great source of iron.  Although, not often a popular one with kiddos.

How can you ensure your toddler gets enough iron?  Toddlers need 10mg of iron a day.  Iron-rich foods that may appeal to pre-schoolers include dried beans (black beans, kidney beans, lentils), meat, dried fruits and nuts, soybeans and tofu, egg yolks (cooked into food), iron-fortified cereals and to some extent, pasta.  For more foods high in iron, check out this list at www.wholesometoddlerfoods.com.

For meals high in iron, consider pasta with ground turkey/beef sauce, three-bean salad or mix some tuna or ground beef into macaroni and cheese.  High iron snacks include dried cranberries, edamameor kidney beans, fortified cereals and bars and crackers with peanut butter.  Molasses is another great source of iron.For an iron-boose at breakfast, try these Molasses Bran Muffins


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