Monthly Archives: October 2014
People often think that eating healthy takes way too much planning and preparation. Either they hate grocery shopping every week or don’t feel as though they have the time to do so. Luckily, the freezer can make your life much easier.
Here is a list of what nutritionist, Kristy Rao, always has in her freezer to ensure that she’s eating healthy even when she doesn’t have enough time to go to the farmers’ market:
Frozen fruits and vegetables
This is key for always being prepared to make a smoothie, even when you haven’t been to the grocery store in a while. One great thing about having frozen fruits and veggies on hand is that you often won’t even be able to find the same organic fruits or vegetables unfrozen. I freeze ripe bananas myself and buy bags of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, spinach and kale. In the summertime, I tend to have leftover watermelon, which I also freeze in chunks.
Ezekiel bread and muffins
Since I dont eat bread often, I keep it frozen. I take out a couple of slices or muffins at a time depending on how much I feel like having, so that the rest remains fresh. I choose Ezekiel bread because it’s made with sprouted grains and beans and is fully organic. Although there’s still gluten in this bread, it’s still easier to digest than traditional bread.
All you have to do is purchase BPA-free popsicle molds, blend up your favorite smoothie, and pour it into the mold to freeze. I recommend sweetening with honey or organic agave syrup.
Juice or coconut water ice cubes
I will fill my ice cube trays up with organic coconut water and freshly squeezed orange or apple juice to throw into my smoothies for sweetness. The orange cubes are also great to put into a glass of water for taste.
Organic, gluten-free waffles
I typically make my own and freeze for a rainy day, but you can also purchase these. They’re one of my favorite treats for breakfast.
Oat and spelt flour
I never use white flour. These are great alternatives, and are best kept in the freezer to keep fresh.
I love making smoothies with unsweetened acai berry packs, and usually use half a pack for a smoothie.
Coconut ice cream
This is one of my favorite not-so-guilty pleasures, because you can get organic, non-dairy and low glycemic coconut ice cream. It’s perfect for a treat that won’t make you feel terrible!
I know it sounds scary, but blue-green algae is extremely good for you, and you won’t even taste it in your smoothie!
How could I possibly risk running out? I always buy an organic bar with 70% or more cacao content.
Flax seeds are rich in Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid and fiber, nutritional beneficials it is likely your family could use more of. If you have never purchased flax seed, it is located in the baking section of most supermarkets. It is available as whole seeds or ground—finely ground flax seed yields the most nutritional benefits. Whole seeds can be ground using a blender or a coffee grinder. Here are few quick tips for adding more flax seed into your family meals.
Pancakes: Add 1/4 cup ground flax seed to your favorite pancake mix, and for extra flavor add 1 tablespoon of vanilla.
Pizza: Sprinkle 1/4 cup of ground flax seed on your favorite homemade or frozen pizza. Cook according to normal directions.
Breads: Brush dinner rolls with olive oil, sprinkle the rolls with ground flax seed, and warm them in the oven.
Breading: Add flax seed (1 tablespoon – 1/4 cup) to your favorite bread crumbs and use this mixture as a coating for tofu, fish, poultry, or pork, or as a topping for casseroles, stuffed mushrooms, and more.
Veggies: Sprinkle ground flax seed on hot vegetables just before serving OR sprinkle ground flax seed on a salad and toss with dressing.
Breakfast: Add a teaspoon of ground flax seed to yogurt, oatmeal, or granola.
Dessert: Sprinkle ground flax seed on vanilla pudding, ice cream, or apple crisp.
About the authors: Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers are sisters, the mothers of five children, and founders of Fresh Baby, creators of products such as homemade baby-food kits, baby-food cookbooks, baby-food and breast-milk storage trays, breastfeeding reminders, and child-development diaries. Visit them online at www.freshbaby.com and subscribe to their Fresh Ideas newsletter to get monthly ideas, tips, and activities for developing your family’s healthy-eating habits!
What the heck is muesli? The term “muesli” (pronounced “MEWS-lee,” as in rhymes with “loosely”) is derived from the Swiss-German word “mus” — meaning, appropriately enough, “mixture.” The mixture consists of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, fresh or dried fruit and other whole grains, like rye or barley. Admittedly, this makes muesli sound an awful lot like granola. Although both foods can be good sources of whole grains, fiber, fatty acids and protein, granola is often toasted in oil and sweetened with honey or a syrup, making it much higher in fat and sugar.
Muesli, alternatively, consists of raw ingredients either eaten like cereal, with milk, yogurt or even fruit juice added right before serving, or it can be soaked ahead of time. Soaking muesli creates a texture similar to chilled oatmeal, making it an attractive breakfast option during the dog days of summer. Of course, muesli also can be heated, if desired. Muesli Fusion, a cereal manufacturer, suggests cooking a half cup of muesli with a half cup of water or milk over medium heat until boiling, stirring frequently. Alternatively, microwave equal parts muesli and water or milk on high for two minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir. Cold, hot, raw, soaked — muesli is a choose-your-own-adventure type of cereal.
According to The Kitchn, soaking muesli also might provide greater nutritional benefits because a substance called phytic acid in unsoaked grains’ outer layer joins forces with such nutrients as calcium in your body to hinder absorption. You wouldn’t want all your healthy-eating hard work to go down the drain, would you? Personally, as muesli lacks the enjoyable crunch of traditional granola, I prefer the texture of soaked muesli — even adding the milk half an hour before breakfast makes the cereal much more palatable. The oats and grains drink up the milk, becoming tender and soft, while the dried fruit rehydrates and plumps up. Yum!
The invention of this nutritious breakfast is credited to the Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner in the early 20th century, developed as a means to help alleviate and prevent disease in his patients. The original recipe allegedly consisted of oats, raw apples, condensed milk and lemon juice. Eventually muesli was mass-produced, which led to the addition of dried fruits, a very concentrated source of sugar. Some packaged varieties of muesli boast of their 50% fruit content, luring unsuspecting dieters into consuming more sugar over breakfast than they would in a chocolate bar.
Alternatively, making your own muesli and adding fresh berries or fruit is a good way to get plenty of dietary fiber without the sugar high. One cup, or 85 g, of muesli provides 6.2 g of dietary fiber, according to the USDA Nutrient Database. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends adults consume 25 g to 38 g of fiber each day. Although muesli is not a low-calorie food — a half-cup contains anywhere from 144 to 250 calories, depending on the brand and ingredients, and that does include the added calories from milk, yogurt or juice — the fiber and protein content of muesli creates a feeling of fullness to keep you going until lunchtime. The USDA reports that a half-cup of muesli contains 4 g of protein, providing 9% of women’s and 7% of men’s recommended dietary allowance. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, high-protein foods move more slowly from the stomach to the intestine, and the body uses more calories to digest protein than it does to digest fats or carbs. So, while muesli is not a light breakfast, per say, it can help end your mid-morning snack habit.
My favorite store-bought muesli is the German-made, all-natural Seitenbacher Muesli #2 (Berries Temptation), which contains no trans-fat, cholesterol, sugar or artificial colors and preservatives. Although fairly calorie-conscious, with 160 calories in a 2/3-cup serving, the inclusion of dried apples, dried raspberries and raisins does boost the sugar content to 11 g per serving — and I like to add fresh peach or banana slices to bulk it up a bit, meaning, well, more sugar. Those wanting to tame their sweet tooth and make their own nutrient-dense muesli in bulk can check out this gluten-free and vegan recipe from the food and nutrition blog Nutrition Stripped. This muesli version includes lots of good-tasting, good-for-you ingredients, like quinoa flakes, pumpkin seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, goji berries and ground cinnamon.
Making muesli is pretty fool-proof, as you can throw in your favorite nuts and fruits into the mix and almost certainly create a tasting, satisfying breakfast. You’ll never go back to boring old oatmeal again.
The garden doesn’t have to stop producing just because summer is waning. In fact, August is the perfect time to add some variety and get a second season harvest from your space. Plant these garden favorites and harvest right through the fall and have plenty to preserve for winter as well.
If you haven’t grown kale yet, there is no time like the present. Start it now and in many zones you’ll be able to harvest right through the winter months. In fact, a bit of frost will just make these tasty greens even sweeter.
Cooler temperatures are on the way, and that’s perfect for lettuce. Plant now for fresh salad greens (and reds) for weeks and months to come.
Believe it or not there is still plenty of time for another round of beans. Select fast growing varieties and get ready to preserve the bounty because beans love this time of year almost as much as I do.
Radishes are one of the fastest growing garden vegetables, usually ready from seed to table in less than a month. Plant a few rows every two weeks for fresh radishes all season.
Spinach thrives in the cooler temps of fall, and getting those seeds in the ground now will give them plenty of time to get a strong root system before the weather cools off.
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