Thursday, September 15, 2011

Raising the Bar: What's a Healthy Snack on the Go?

We have all been there – between meetings running from one thing to the other. Your stomach is yelling at you, but what to have? You pull into a convenience store or grab a quick granola snack from the pantry – is it the right healthy snack? Here is an article that I found helpful with an equation to determine if your snack bar measures up. Of course, like the article says, when you have time you should always reach for the whole foods like fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds to snack on.
But let's face it, sometimes that just isn't happening!

(Sugar + Carbohydrates - Fiber) / (Fat + Protein) = The CORE Ratio (2 or under)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Time to Transition Our Seasonal Eating

This morning officially feels like fall, and with fall comes winter squash. The winter squash group includes pumpkin, acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash. Winter squash, like other richly colored vegetables, provide an excellent source of carotenes. Generally, the richer the color, the richer the concentration. They also offer a very good source of vitamins B1 and C, folic acid, pantothenic acid, fiber, and potassium. Last week I noticed them making their appearance at the farmers market – it is time for us to transition our seasonal palettes from fresh salads to hearty soups. 

Our bodies naturally know what foods they need for what season. With spring and summer we are drawn toward lighter salads and fresh fruits to cool our body temperature down. And with the cooler weather moving in for fall and winter, can't you just feel your body craving the warm comfort that stews, soups and baked dishes have to offer?

Personally, I have been a little intimidated by the winter squash. Their thick skins, how long to cook, etc. I LOVE them and want to eat more of them. Can you say healthy comfort food!?

Here is a link to a quick video on how to prepare the winter squash with three different cooking methods.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Beets, Beets, Glorious Beets

I love beets! I grew up with canned beets and still loved them...but now I buy them local and seriously, I have died and gone to heaven. It is beet season, so get to your local farmer's market and pick some up. Red beets are high in carbohydrates, low in fat and are an excellent source of folic acid and loaded with antioxidants.

We love them hot or cold – last night and today for lunch I made an arugula and beet salad to die I said...heaven!

Beet & Arugula Salad

Organic Baby Arugula (bagged at Trader Joe's)
Beets, peeled and blanched. (Fork tender)
Lite Feta Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional: Toasted pine nuts, yellow bell pepper

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chia Seeds

Gelatinous Chia Seeds
Chia seed is an ancient superfood – the little black and white seeds were once a staple of the Incan, Mayan and Aztec cultures.

"Chia" is actually the Mayan word for strength. The seeds were used by these ancient cultures as mega-energy food, especially for their running messengers, who would carry a small pouch of it with them.
Chia seeds are said to have:
  • 2 x the protein of any other seed or grain,
  • 5 x the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones,
  • 2 x the amount of potassium as bananas,
  • 3 x the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries,
  • 3 x more iron than spinach, and
  • copious amounts of omega-3 and omega-6, which are essential fatty acids
They are a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form. They are also a fabulous source of soluble fiber. The seeds absorb water and create a mucilaginous gel – they can hold 9-12 times their weight in water and they absorb it very rapidly - in under 10 minutes. Making it perfect to add to smoothies, oatmeal and the like. But they really have no flavor, so sometimes I will just take a tablespoon and swallow it down.

Some of the benefits of Chia are more energy, boosts strength, bolsters endurance, levels blood sugar, helps in weight loss and aids intestinal regularity. I definitely noticed that it helps me with the latter!

To make a basic chia gel, simply add 1/3 cup of seeds (2oz) to 2 cups of water. Stir the mixture well, to avoid clumping, then leave it in your fridge, in a sealed jar. This will yield around 17oz of chia gel and will last about three weeks.

We get our Chia Seeds at Whole Foods, but you can order them online as well.

7 Ways to Eat Smart and Lose Weight

This is a good article from

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Melon Basil Smoothie

YumseriousY! I just tried this awesome smoothie for lunch today and had to share.

Melon Basil Smoothie

1/6 of a cantaloupe
1 large handful of strawberries
1 small handful of leafy greens
1 large handful of basil leaves
1 pinch of sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Stevia or honey
water to desired consistency (about 1 cup or less)
optional: 1 Tbsp Chia Seed* (softened in water) or 1 Tbsp milled flax seed OR BOTH!

Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

*Stay tuned for more on Chia Seed and its health benefits.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Quinoa and Beet Salad

Beets...I love this wonderful earthy root vegetable! They are in season June through October, so go out and pick some up at your local farmers market – gold and red. Garden-beet is very low in calories and fat; but is very rich in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. Here is a recipe I tried for the first time over the week-end and we loved it!

Quinoa and Beet Salad

6 small golden beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/2 tsp kosher salt plus pinch and additional to taste
1/4 teaspoon sugar – I use Stevia :)
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 cups baby arugula (I used garden lettuce and it worked fine)
2 ounces crumbled feta
Freshly ground pepper

  1. In a pot with a steamer basket, steam the beets until tender, about 12 minutes. Transfer beets to a large bowl and toss with 2 tbsp each of the oil and vinegar; mix in the garlic, salt and sugar. Let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in another pot, bring the 2 cups water to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork and let cool.
  3. In a small skillet over medium heat, warm remaining oil. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Pour pine nuts and oil over quinoa and toss.
  4. Remove garlic from beets. Add quinoa and the arugula and cheese to beets and toss well. Season with vinegar, salt and black pepper to taste. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Nutrition facts per serving: (4 servings) 436 calories, 14 g protein, 50 g carbohydrate, 20 g fat (2 g saturated), 7 g fiber.