Happy National Picnic Day

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Like many other places across the U.S., Old Man Winter has not wanted to leave Central New York. National Picnic Day is celebrated April 23 every year because it is usually picnic weather. And how serendipitous is it that it is has actually been a sunny weekend with temperatures in the high 50s for the first time this spring! Tomorrow, April 23, National Picnic Day, is looking to be sunny and in the mid-60s!

I’m celebrating. You should too! If you fear you don’t have time, here are some quick picnic packing ideas that adults and kiddos will both love. Picnics are one of the best family bonding experiences you can have!

Whole-grain sandwiches:

Get creative with your sandwiches!

  • Choose a whole grain bread.
  • Add your protein: tuna, egg salad, nitrate-free deli meat, or hummus (great choice for vegans).
  • Load up the veggies. Lettuce and tomato are not your only veggie options. Try sliced cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, or roasted red pepper—yum!!!
  • Add your spread. You can get more original than mayo or mustard here too! I love using mashed avocado, hummus or a low-fat Goddess dressing for a sandwich spread.

Quick Grab and Go options:

Here are some great sides:

  • Olives galore. Visit your local olive bar and choose a wide variety. Have fellow picnic-goers choose which type is their favorite!
  • Air-popped popcorn. Try different types of seasoning and again, vote for your favorite type!
  • Homemade trail mix. Mix raw nuts with dried fruit and maybe some dark chocolate chips.
  • Fruit skewers. Bring along different types of fruits like bananas, strawberries, mango, chopped watermelon and cantaloupe. The kids can choose the fruit they like to make their own fruit skewers.

Drinks:

Water of course is the best option, but for a little bit of added fun, bring a couple of different 100% fruit juice options and lemon, raspberry, or lime-flavored seltzer waters. Make sure you bring cups and you can mix half fruit juice and half seltzer for a delicious fruit spritzer drink!

C’mon, go out and have a picnic tomorrow—it will be fun. You will boost your health with delicious food, family bonding and a blessed dose of vitamin D from the sunshine!

 

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Fuel your energy with fiber, healthy fats and protein

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pistachio chewy bites

Depletion. Fatigue. Lack of motivation. These are three tell-tale signs that your nutrition needs a checkup. Let’s talk about three nutrients that can tackle these feelings: fiber, healthy fats, and protein. I will share examples of each. And for those of you with busy lifestyles, I will recommend a healthy treat with all three of these nutrition powerhouses that you can grab on-the-go.

Perk up because I promise you if you apply these recommendations, you will feel like a million bucks in no time!

Fiber

Only 10 percent of Americans are consuming enough fiber every day. Fiber is essential in achieving a healthy, vibrant lifestyle. It aids in weight loss, helps lower cholesterol levels, and keeps your blood sugar levels stable. Unstable blood-sugar levels will destroy your energy!

The American Heart Association eating plan suggests eating 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. Great fiber choices include whole grains, nuts and seeds, apples, berries, peas, lentils, and beans.

Healthy Fats

Dietary fat provides you with energy, builds healthy cells, and regulates your hormones. Your brain needs fat to function properly—in fact, did you know that your brain is 60 percent fat? Studies have linked lack of dietary fat in one’s diet to depression as well as cognitive decline.

The types of fat that are super for you are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. My favorite foods that have these types of fats include essentially all nuts; olive oil in my salads and cooking; salmon; tuna; and flaxseed or chia seeds added to my oatmeal or smoothies.

Protein

Proteins are considered a major nutrient for the body; it grows, maintain and replace tissues in our body, like our muscles. Protein makes up hemoglobin in our blood, which is what carries oxygen throughout our body. A low hemoglobin level will result in low energy levels. My favorite protein choices are eggs, nuts, seeds, lean meats like chicken breast and ground turkey.

A Powerful Nutritional Punch

If you want to pack all three of these nutrients together in a healthy snack, you must give Setton Farms’ Pistachio Blueberry Cranberry Infused Chewy Bites. These all-natural bite-sized bars packed with pistachios, antioxidant-rich cranberries, coconut, and a touch of maple brown rice syrup. They are filled with protein, potassium, and fiber and have ample healthy fats as well for that precious brain of yours! Pistachio Chewy Bites is the answer for those who need a convenient fiber/healthy fat/protein snack in between meals.

For more nutrition tips, visit www.kellyschoice.org and find Kelly’s Choice dietitians’ advice throughout social media. Click here for Facebook. Click here for instagram. Click here for Twitter, Click here for Linkedin.

Win Toby Amidor’s brand new cookbook

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Today is an exciting day! Toby Amidor’s latest cookbook, The Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy Cookbook: Simple Recipes to Make Healthy Eating Delicious, hit the market. This cookbook is all about eating delicious and healthy without a hassle. We caught up with Toby to chat about this awesome resource she has created. Be sure to read this whole blog because at the end, there’s a question for you to answer for a chance to win this incredible cookbook!

Kelly’s Choice:  What inspired you to write the Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy Cookbook

Toby: I’m a busy mother of three children and oftentimes I don’t have the time to shop for a ton of ingredients. I also don’t have time to spend creating complicated recipes that take hours to prep and cook. I’ve been sharing healthy, simple recipes for years on FoodNetwork.com Healthy Eats blog and various other publications I write for but I wanted to share my tips and tricks along with over 150 healthy recipes in one cookbook. Many of the recipes in the cookbook can be cooked in 30 minutes or less, in one pot or pan, in a slow cooker, or are freezer-friendly.

Kelly’s Choice: Off the top of your head, name five versatile ingredients you always keep on hand or in your pantry that readers will find often in your cookbook.

Toby: I actually have a list of SEVEN ingredients that I always have on hand that don’t count towards the 5 ingredients. These 7 ingredients are used many, many times throughout the cookbook. They include cooking spray, salt, ground black pepper, olive oil, honey, garlic, and fresh lemon (for juice and zest).

Do you have breakfast/lunch/dinner options in this book? What about dessert? Can you give us some examples?

Toby: Yes, I have options for every meal, including snacks! Sample breakfast recipes include Blueberry-Spinach Smoothie, Egg in a Hole, Banana-Chocolate Chip Waffles, and Slow Cooker Pear-Cinnamon Oatmeal. Sample lunch recipes include Green Salad with Poached Salmon, Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad with Chicken, Avocado Toast with Balsamic Glaze, Tofu Stir-Fry with Yellow Peppers, and Chicken Quesadillas. For dinner, recipes include Slow Cooker Turkey Chili, Asian Spiced Pork Loin, Meatloaf in a Pinch, Light and Simple Chicken Parmesan, Spanish-Style Chicken, and Coconut Curry Salmon.

Desserts include Coconut-Date Pudding, Berry Yogurt Trifle, Applelicious Apple Crisp, and Pomegranate Pistachio Bark.

Kelly’s Choice: How do you define healthy in terms of these recipes?

Toby: My recipes are always conscious of the ingredients selected and portion size. The ingredients used include lean protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fat, and low or nonfat milk and dairy. I do call for canned or frozen ingredients which I specify should be vegetables or legumes low in sodium or with no sodium added, and if it’s frozen fruit then without added sugar. I am also particular about how much salt I add to each dish, to help keep sodium under control. Each recipe also has the exact portion along with the calories and nutrition information. This helps many individuals keep an eye on calories or other specific nutrients.

This cookbook is no-doubt Kelly’s Choice approved! We will be giving away this cookbook to one lucky reader! In the comments below, tell us one of your go-to quick and easy dinner recipes by Saturday April 7 at 12 p.m. for a chance to win this book. We’ll ship it right to your door! Good Luck!

 

Toby Amidor’s Miso-Garlic Pork Chops

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I hope everyone had a fabulous Easter! With the busy week ahead, are you looking for a quick and easy dinner recipe? Look no further than Toby Amidor, one of my favorite dietitians! She is releasing her third cookbook tomorrow called The Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy Cookbook: Simple Recipes to Make Healthy Eating Delicious. Tomorrow, I’m posting an interview I did with her and you will have a chance to win a copy of this amazing book. Here is one of my favorite recipes from the book!

Toby Amidor’s Miso-Garlic Pork Chops

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup white miso
  • ⅓ cup sake
  • ⅓ cup mirin
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced*
  • 4 (5-ounce) boneless, pork loin chops
  • Cooking spray or 1 tablespoon olive oil*

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix the miso, sake, mirin, ginger, and garlic into a smooth paste.
  2. Add the pork chops and turn to coat all sides with the glaze. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  3. Coat a grill pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Alternatively, brush the grates of an outdoor grill with the olive oil. When the pan or grill is hot, cook the pork chops for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until they reach an internal cooking temperature of 145-degrees Fahrenheit.

I hope you enjoy this entrée as much as I did! Don’t forget to check out my blog tomorrow evening April 3, for a chance to win Toby’s incredible new cookbook!