Root Vegetable and Bean Soup

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(Serves 4)

I have sad news for you: winter in Central New York will be here before you know it. Halloween is just over two months away and the snow has been known to start flying that early around here. But hang in there; I am going to help you get through with warming recipes.

Try this delicious soup of Toby Amidor’s when the coldness starts making its presence known. I guarantee you will love it! This is just one of several of her amazing recipes in her new cookbook, The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook. Click here to check out this new favorite cookbook of mine. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 packed cup baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 medium parsnip, chopped
  • 1 medium turnip, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium kidney beans, drained
  • and rinsed
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Stack spinach and cut in ribbons Work in batches if
  • In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil until it shimmer Add the onion, carrot, celery, parsnip, and turnip, and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the beans, and stir to combine. Add the vegetable broth, mirin, and bay leaves, and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove and discard the bay Stir in the spinach

ribbons and black pepper.

REFRIGERATE: Store the cold soup in a resealable container for up to 1 week. Reheat in a pot over medium-high heat. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Single servings can be reheated in the microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes.

FREEZE: Store the cooled soup in individual freezer-safe containers or in one large container for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a pot over medium-high heat. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Single servings can be reheated in the microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes.

 

Coconut Lime Flounder in Parchment

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Every now and then, I meet a nutrition expert that I admire. Toby Amidor is one of them. You may have seen her on Dr. Oz or quoted in Readers Digest, Redbook, Women’s Health, Oxygen Magazine, or many other publications. She is a nutrition expert extraordinaire and I am so excited about her new cookbook, The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook, which will be released in just a couple weeks!

This is one of my favorite dishes in the cookbook and it only takes 15 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook! Enjoy! For more delicious recipes, be sure to visit http://bit.ly/HealthyMealPrepCookbook.

Coconut Lime Flounder in Parchment

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup coconut cream (not coconut milk)
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium
  • soy sauce
  • 2 limes, cut into
  • 6 rounds each
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 (5-ounce) flounder or
  • cod fillets
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened, shredded coconut, divided

Instructions

  1. If cooking the fish right away, preheat the oven to 400oF.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut cream, lime zest, and soy sauce.
  3. Place 1 piece of parchment paper flat on the counter.
  4. On the lower half lay down 3 rings of lime and then a layer of 3 basil leaves. Place the fish on top of the basil and lime.
  5. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the coconut mixture over the fish and sprinkle it with 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut.
  6. Fold the parchment paper in half over the fish. Working your way around, gently roll the edge of the open sides of the paper, tucking the ends under the packet. Repeat this step for the remaining three packets.
  7. At this time, you can store the raw-fish packets in the refrigerator and cook as needed.
  8. To cook, place up to two packets on a baking sheet and roast until the fish is opaque and reaches an internal temperature of 145oF, about 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut several 3-inch slits in the packets.

REFRIGERATE: Store the uncooked packets for up to 3 days. Once cooked, transfer the fish and seasonings to a resealable container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Crazy for Cumbers Salad

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Cucumbers

A cucumber is one veggie that appeals to most people, even kids!

This low-calorie favorite is great for much-needed hydration especially this time of year–it is 96 percent water!

The water and combined nutrients in cucumbers also help to flush toxins out of your system. Research indicates that they can even help dissolve kidney stones.

Cucumbers are great for your heart too–the sterols in cucumber help to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.

And don’t forget how they help your pearly whites—read this blog where I talk about foods that literally clean your teeth and cucumbers are one of them!

Here’s the perfect summer salad for cucumber lovers!

Crazy for Cucumbers Salad

Ingredients:
– 2 cucumbers, very thinly sliced
– 1 red onion, very thinly sliced
– 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
– 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt
– 1 teaspoon of honey
– 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

Directions:
– Mix cucumbers and onions together.

– Mix the remaining ingredients together in a separate bowl, whisking them well.

– Toss the cucumbers and onions into the dressing mixture; chill for at least a half hour and serve!

Seven Tips for Vegetarians

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While my diet is pretty plant-based, I am not a vegetarian. Many of my clients are vegetarians or have children who have recently become vegetarian.  Some complain that vegetarian diets get boring or do not feel filling; parents show concern that their veggie kids aren’t getting the nutrients they need.

Let me dive into some tips that can help you maintain a vegetarian diet that is fun and healthy!

  1. Be sure to get enough protein

My number-one question for all vegetarian diets is: Where do you get your protein from? If you are a vegetarian and feel sluggish at all, it may just be that you are not getting enough protein. Protein feeds your muscles and your blood.  Consider it the fuel that keeps you moving.

Sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans include beans, nuts, nut butters, peas, tofu, tempeh, and some whole grains like quinoa. Low-fat dairy (Milk, cheese, Greek yogurt for example) and eggs are also good protein sources for lacto-ovo vegetarians.

You may have heard that you need to eat a combination of proteins in each meal to get complete proteins, but that is not true as long as you have a decent amount of protein in every meal.

  1. Eat the colors of the rainbow

One way to assure you are getting enough nutrients is to eat as many colors of fruits and veggies as possible. This blog goes into detail of what nutrients are found in each color.vege-1-1

  1. Try a new recipe each week

You don’t need to eat a salad every day to be a vegetarian. There are so many fantastic vegetarian recipes out there. Hop on to Google or Pinterest and you will certainly find hundreds of easy recipes to try!

  1. Be careful with refined flour and sugar

It’s so easy to become a junk food vegetarian. Try not to rely too heavily on boxed food; the refined flour and sugar can spike your blood sugar and cause inflammation throughout your body.

  1. Check out fortified foods

While I just told you to be careful about packaged food; there are some healthy options like whole-grain bread. Look for foods that are fortified with vitamins to give you a boost in nutrients. If you are lacto-ovo vegetarian, milk is often fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

  1. Pump some iron

Sadly, your body doesn’t absorb iron from plants as well as it does from menuts2at so it is essential that you get plenty of high-iron vegetarian foods in your diet such as beans and legumes, dried fruits, molasses green vegetables, and whole grains. Many cereals are fortified with iron just make sure that the cereal of choice is low in sugar (5 grams or less) and high in fiber ( 4 grams or more) as well.

  1. Consider a vitamin B-12 supplement

Getting enough B-12 is very difficult in a vegetarian diet. I highly encourage vegetarians to take a B-12 supplement.

If you have any questions about a vegetarian or vegan diet, please feel free to email our team and we’ll help you out!

By Kelly Springer, RD, MS, CDN

 

 

Nutrition Advice for the Sandwich Generation

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Each year, more adults face the difficulty of having to take care of their parents in addition to their children all within one household. This is known as the sandwich generation. How can you meet the varying nutritional needs of everyone without going crazy?! I’ve got you covered!

Focus on hydration for everyone. Water is the key to nutrient absorption. It flushes out toxins for the times when convenient meals like pizza “pop up” with your busy schedule. It increases energy and keeps the skin clear too (great for anti-aging and teen acne). Make water fun by infusing it with cucumbers, mint, lemon, lime, or strawberries!

Have a salad a day. Green veggies are so important for the health of all your family members! It’s not too hard to throw together a salad with greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and carrots. Hello antioxidants!

If the kiddos don’t like salads, slice up some of the cucumbers and carrots and let them dip them in ranch dressing or hummus. If you use cherry or grape tomatoes in your salads, those are easy for dipping too.

Keep a fruit bowl. Kids, elderly adults, and busy working moms and dads get hungry at different times. Keep a colorful fruit bowl so everyone can help themselves to something healthy between meals. Include apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, and specific seasonal fruits (peaches and nectarines in summer months and pears in fall months).

Don’t skip breakfast! Mornings can be hectic for the sandwich generation. Breakfast is critical for setting the stage for a healthy day (and life really). And kids need breakfast to be able to concentrate in school. Several studies have proven that consistent breakfasts increase children’s academic performance and behavior in school. Keep easy breakfast options on hand. Greek yogurt with fruit and a low-sugar granola is an easy breakfast option. Whole grain toast with banana and nut butter is a yummy option as well.

Keep the meat lean! No offense against our parents’ generation, but many of them favor fatty meats like roasts, chicken thighs, burgers, and such. Get them hooked on lean meats! Use chicken breast and ground turkey often. Try to include fish as much as possible—fish consumption helps with heart health and may also help to combat Alzheimer’s Disease. Red meat is okay sometimes—just choose lean cuts like sirloin and with ground beef, your best option is 95/5, which means that 95 percent of the meat is lean.

Try to have sit-down family meals a couple times a week. It’s hard for everyone to eat together with busy schedules. Meals together keep family members connected and that’s so important with so many people under one roof. It lessens the stress and keeps everyone engaged!

Don’t let the sandwich generation stress you out! There are easy ways to stay healthy and happy. Take a deep breath and try implementing some of my suggestions. It will get easier, I promise!

 

 

Get your Kids Excited about Eating Healthfully

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My girls love to eat healthy and this warms my heart. I have many clients who tell me that their kids are picky eaters or that they have no interest in trying new and healthy foods. Well, here are some tips they may just excite your kids about eating healthfully.

Play a game in the supermarket

Have each child pick out three snacks that they think are healthy to add to your cart. Getting them involved in the shopping process helps spark their interest in healthy eating. Empower them to make good food choices.

Get creative with cooking and let them help!

I make my girls whole grain pancakes that look like Mickey Mouse or a bowl of oatmeal with a smiley face made with raisins…little things like this get kids excited to eat healthy! There are great recipes out there that are kid-friendly and fun too—check out this website to give some a whirl.

Our government has some pretty awesome kids’ recipes too! Check them out!

Go for colorful

Kids are attracted to vibrant colors. I keep red, green, and yellow peppers on hand. My girls eat them like an apple. You can also cut them into strips and use ranch or hummus as a dip for them.

I keep frozen grapes and berries in the freezer. The perfect healthy snack or dessert. We also use them in smoothies.

Make up cool names for veggies

A 2009 study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that kids are more likely to eat food with cool names. Introduce them to power peas, x-ray vision carrots, or dinosaur trees (broccoli).

Grow your food

Kids love playing in the dirt! Easy to grow veggies like beans and tomatoes will excite them! Tomatoes in particular grow well in containers too—no big yard needed!

Eat together

Research shows that families that eat dinner together typically have healthier diets that are higher in fruits, vegetables, and calcium and lower in saturated fat.

Try these ideas out with your kiddos! I find that it actually keeps me on top of my nutrition too!

 

 

Celebrate Blueberry Month with Me

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Yay for blueberries! According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, July is Blueberry Month. Go pick some at a local you-pick farm! Freeze a whole bunch of them and then you will have nutrient-dense blueberries to use for months ahead. Here are just some of the reasons that I love blueberries.

Blueberries contain more antioxidants than almost any other food. In fact, they help protect against oxidative damage. What’s that you ask? It’s a process that takes place every day at the cellular level; in short, it’s a fancy way to say “aging.” So, consider blueberries a great anti-aging food choice.

I have a great example of how blueberries counteract oxidative damage. In a 2007 study, 168 research subjects were instructed to drink one liter (34 ounces) of a mixture of blueberry and apple juice, every day. At the end of the study, oxidative DNA damage due to free radicals was reduced by 20 percent.

Oxidative damage to the brain creates problems like dementia and Alzheimer’s. A recent study examined elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment. The researchers gave each subject blueberry juice every day. After 12 weeks, they had seen improvements in several markers of brain function

These antioxidants that I speak of also help to lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, making blueberries an awesome choice for your heart health.

Also, blueberries contain salicylic acid—the natural version of aspirin. Salicylic acid is known to thin the blood and reduce pain. I know so many older adults who take an aspirin a day for their heart. I think that making good food choices is the best way to protect your heart.

Blueberries are also high in lutein; this phytonutrient is particularly helpful when it comes to your vision.

Aging isn’t just marked by wrinkles on our skin; our organs age as well.

We often forget of all of the amazing things that are happening to our body on a cellular level and I think it’s so awesome that we can make good things happen to our cells with our food choices. One thing is for sure, blueberries will always be in my food repertoire!

Blueberries are a superfood choice to keep you energized and young inside and out!