Sneaking in Protein to your Meals

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How did you do on the No White Flour Challenge? If you want to continue to stick to that plan, protein will help you out a lot by keeping you satiated and energized. I do not mean indulging in fatty proteins though—nope I am not advocating for rich cheese and bacon! Here are my favorite ways to boost protein in my meals throughout the day!

Breakfast (The most important meal of the day):

  • Greek yogurt all the way with fruit and some raw nuts! An average serving of Greek yogurt has 17 grams of protein. A ¼ cup of walnuts (my personal favorite) adds a few more grams of protein.
  • A smoothie with skim milk, fruit and chia seeds. Ten ounces of skim milk gives you close to 12 grams of protein. Two tablespoons of chia seeds give you 6 more grams of protein (not to mention 9 grams of fiber. Check out my blog about the importance of fiber here).
  • Scrambled egg on whole-grain toast. Two eggs have 12 grams of protein. A slice of whole grain toast adds an average of 4 more grams of protein!

Lunch:

  • Treat yourself to a colorful salad with 4 ounces of chicken breast (35 grams of protein), salmon (23 grams of protein), or tuna (23-28 grams of protein).

Dinner:

  • I love my quinoa. One cup of it has 18 grams of protein. Add a half cup of green peas and you get 4 more grams of protein. Drizzle with a little soy sauce or pan fry it with a teaspoon of sesame oil and is it ever so delicious. Add a scrambled egg to it for 6 more grams of protein.
  • Do you know that lentils with some seasoning and maybe some spinach mixed in, makes a delicious vegetarian dinner. One cup of lentils gives you 18 grams of protein and the spinach actually adds a bit more too!

Try out these powerful protein choices and let me know how they work for you!

~Kelly Springer, RD, CN, MS

 

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Better than Rice & Beans

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I love experimenting with different fiber-filled whole grains during this No White Flour Challenge. Millet has a nice nutty flavor and quinoa is a personal favorite because it is a COMPLETE protein source. I wanted to add a little bit of green to this recipe so I diced up a zucchini and added it. Feel free to swap that for green pepper.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of millet rinsed
  • 1 cup of quinoa rinsed
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 cans red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 jar of organic salsa of choice (I like Newmans)
  • 1 zucchini chopped in small cubes and steamed for 5 minutes

Directions: Bring quinoa, millet and water to a boil in water. Once boiling, turn to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes. Immediately transfer grains to a big mixing bowl and fluff with a fork. Add beans, salsa and zucchini, and voila! You can add a small amount of part-skim cheddar if you are a cheese fan. Anyway you have it; this is a tasty, easy way to get in good, hearty whole grains.

 

Fingerprint Cookies—My Treat to You

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Hi there! So I have made it to the half-way point of my five-week No White Flour Challenge.

If you are craving cookies, here is a “healthier cookie” recipe just for you. Using ground almonds and oats as well as whole wheat flour, a serving of these cookies boasts five grams of protein and four grams of fiber. I am not saying to indulge in these every day because they do have sugar (from the maple syrup and jam) and they have saturated fat (from the butter).

What I am saying is that these are healthier for you than most cookies you find! They are great to make with your kids too like the ones in the photo I took above (notice the different fingerprint sizes).

Enjoy!

FINGERPRINT COOKIES

Yield: 24 cookies

Serving: 2 cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup of rolled oats

1 cup of almonds

1/4 cup butter

¼ cup apple sauce

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

½ jar all fruit jam

Directions: Grind the rolled oats and nuts in a blender or food processor.  Add them to flour.  Mix the butter, vanilla and maple syrup.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well.  Drop batter onto the cookie sheet using a spoon.  Make a finger print in each cookie and fill it with jam.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Hydration during the No White Flour Challenge

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There is a powerful “ingredient” that will help you get through the No White Flour Challenge. It’s something most of you are not getting enough of—water!

Hydration is essential for your health; whereas white flour zaps your energy, water is an amazing energizer! That’s right; not coffee, not tea, but WATER. Let me tell you how!

Imagine you are a car for a moment. You have gasoline, but you are in major need of an oil change. Gasoline is your food. Oil is water. You are not going to perform optimally without water. This is the primary reason that mild dehydration is the number one cause of daytime fatigue. Sadly, what most people do when they feel this fatigue is they reach for something with sugar or caffeine, which will give them a temporary energy boost, but only dehydrates them more…for all of you taking my NO White Flour Challenge, THIS could instigate cravings for your favorite white flour “treat.”

Two thirds of your body weight is water. Water is critical to all the body’s systems, including the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and muscles. Water is necessary for your body to digest and absorb vitamins and nutrients. It also detoxifies the liver and kidneys, and carries away waste from the body. Your brain is mostly water—drinking it helps you think, focus and concentrate better. As an added bonus, your energy levels are also boosted and your cravings for WHITE FLOUR dissolve, seriously!

So how much water should you be drinking? The general rule of thumb is to have half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, aim to have 90 ounces of water. Some people may need more than half their body weight in ounces, especially if they are active.

There are two easy ways you can tell if you are dehydrated. The first way is to check out your urine! A large amount of light colored, diluted urine probably means you are hydrated; dark colored, concentrated urine probably means you are dehydrated.

You can also use the pinch test! Dehydration often reduces skin elasticity, so doctors often use this skin test to quickly check for dehydration.The best part is that you can do it yourself: Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and pull it upwards. Your skin should snap back rapidly. If your skin maintains its pinched shape for a few seconds and drops slowly, you may be dehydrated.

So, drink up my friends! Carry a water bottle around with you. Try to at least drink a big glass before breakfast; and finish another glass in between breakfast and lunch; go for another one in between lunch and dinner, and have another one after dinner (but not too close to bedtime)! Watch your energy soar and watch your cravings diminish!

 

 

Why white flour zaps your energy and makes you feel like crud

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I hope you are all enjoying the No White Flour Challenge. Are you feeling more energized? I hope so!

Reflecting on my impetus to do this challenge, I realized that I never really revealed at length exactly why white flour is so evil, Let me explain…

What Is white flour?

White flour is wheat flour that has been stripped of its two healthiest components (the bran and the germ). The bran is where the fiber is so when you take that away, you have no way to feel satiated. B vitamins are lost in the manufacturing process of creating white flour so sometimes fortified vitamins are added (this is often the case with cereal) and sometimes they are not.

The harm caused by white flour

Do you notice that it is way easier to over consume bread, crackers, are cookies than it is to consume something like brown rice, quinoa, or another whole grain? That is because refined white flour requires little chewing. So the over consumption is a part of the problem.

And the more white flour you eat, the more insulin your pancreas has to release to manage the glucose from the white-flour products. It stores as fat (especially around your waistline); it slows your metabolism; it can lead to migraines and headaches, brain fog, and an overall sluggish feeling. Long-term, it can lead to Type-2 Diabetes, heart disease, and a plethora of  inflammation-provoking ailments.

Do you have to avoid white flour all the time?

No, actually you do not, but a challenge to avoid it for a certain of period of time (in my case—five weeks) is a wonderful thing to do. Consider it like a white-flour sabbatical. When you go without it, you’re retraining your brain to crave healthy choices.

When you do decide to have, say a slice of pizza or a cookie, or anything made with white flour after the challenge, chew it slowly and savor it so you don’t over consume it. You may even notice that you won’t even want the whole thing.

Keep up the great work and stay tuned for some recipes on my next few blogs during this challenge.

 

 

Healthy Snacks during the No White Flour Challenge

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I have been asked a lot of questions about how to maintain the No White Flour Challenge over the past week and perhaps the most frequently asked question is, “What do I do about snacking?” I know, I know, plain ol’ fruit and veggies can get boring, but you can “spice it up,” literally! This entry will give you some ideas of how to do that.

A lot of times, the white-flour food you crave can be combated if you choose a non-white-flour food with a similar texture, so I will categorize some snack choices based on texture.

Crunchy Snacks:

These crunchy snacks are way healthier than the crackers or chips that you tend to fill up on when craving a snack. Yes, I do have some fruit and veggies on this list, but they are oh-so-flavorful with the condiments or spices that I add.

– Carrot sticks, snap peas, green beans, celery, bell peppers with hummus

– Popcorn…pop it yourself…lightly salt it, and guess what? It’s a whole grain!

– Kale chips…preheat oven to 350…grab a bunch of kale, de-stem it, chop the leaves, brush olive oil on the leaves and place in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt on them and bake for 12-15 minutes. Way better than chips

– Roasted chickpeas—so crunchy and fun. Check out the recipe on my website

– Organic corn tortilla chips with salsa. No white flour here, but with corn, you want to make sure it’s organic, otherwise it’s likely that it is genetically engineered!

What about cake…or cookies…or BROWNIES?

There are actually some whole grain flours you can use…or even non-grain flour like almond flour to make cake-like treats.  Try quinoa flour, brown rice flour, almond flour, or buckwheat flour.  Even whole wheat flour is an acceptable flour to make with.

Did you know that you can also make sweet treats with beans?! I kid you not. Check out the brownie recipe made with black beans that I posted on my website.

Even Harvard University School of Public Health is a proponent of making sweet treats with beans. Check out the delicious lemon-chickpea breakfast muffins! Yummier than cake!

If you are a cookie lover, you will love this “healthier” chocolate chip recipe using coconut oil and whole wheat flour.

Try these snacks anytime you are craving a white flour “delight.” If you don’t have time to bake, there are some whole grain treats you can buy at the store. There are some sweet Kind Bar flavors that combat my cookie cravings—try the Dark Chocolate Nuts + Sea Salt flavor!

Feel free to add your healthy snack ideas in my comment section below and keep rocking my NO White Flour Challenge!

 

 

Fill up on Fiber!

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As part of the NO WHITE FLOUR Challenge, I want to pass along some info. about fiber. When you consume fiber, your body is so happy! Fiber helps prevent so many ailments. Here are just a few of the positive effects of flour: it can help reduce your LDL (BAD) cholesterol; it can help prevent Type-2 Diabetes; it improves your bowels, and reduces your risk of many intestinal issues like diverticulitis and even colon cancer. It helps with weight loss because it fills you up.

Because of the way fiber fills you up, your cravings for those pestering processed foods will diminish. This is why I want to talk about fiber as part of the no white-flour challenge. You should aim for at least 30 grams of fiber a day. Here are some of my favorite high-fiber food choices and their fiber content.

  • Nuts & Seeds
    • Pine Nuts: 24 grams per ¼ cup
    • Ground Flaxseed: 16 grams per ¼ cup (great in yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies)!
    • Almonds : 8 grams per ¼ cup
    • Pistachios: 6 grams per ¼ cup
    • Walnuts: 4 grams per ¼ cup
    • Brazil Nuts: 4 grams per ¼ cup
    • Sunflower seeds: 3 grams per ¼ cup
  • Whole Grains
    • Amaranth: 12 grams per ½ cup
    • Barley: 8 grams per cup
    • Faro: 8 grams per cup
    • Teff: 6 grams per cup
    • Quinoa: 5 grams per cup
    • Brown Rice: 4 grams per cup
  • Leafy Greens
    • Turnip Greens: 5 grams per cup
    • Mustard Greens: 5 grams per cup
    • Collard Greens: 5 grams per cup
    • Spinach: 4 grams per cup
    • Swiss Chard: 4 grams per cup
  • More Veggies
    • Acorn Squash: 9 grams per cup
    • Peas: 7 grams per ½ cup
    • Brussels Sprouts: 6 grams per cup
    • Jicama: 6 grams per cup
    • Broccoli: 5 grams per cup
    • Cauliflower: 5 grams per cup
  • Beans & Legumes
    • Navy Beans: 19 grams per cup
    • Adzuki Beans: 17 grams per cup
    • Lentils: 16 grams per cup
    • Kidney Beans: 16 grams per cup
    • Black Beans: 15 grams per cup
    • Lima Beans: 14 grams per cup
    • Chickpeas: 12 grams per cup
  • Fruit
    • Raspberries: 8 grams per cup
    • Black Berries: 8 grams per cup
    • Pears (1 medium size): 6 grams
    • Blueberries: 5 grams per cup
    • Orange (1 medium): 4 grams
    • Apple (1 medium) 4 grams

How’s that for you? Almost 40 food recommendations to help you through the NO WHITE FLOUR Challenge! If there are foods you have never heard of; head on over to my website for recipes that incorporate them. I’ll be adding more recipes throughout this challenge!