Soak up some soluble fiber with Carrot Lentil Coconut Stew

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men; about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

Americans do not get enough fiber and this could be one contributing factor of the alarming rate of heart disease in our country. Fiber protects the heart!

One type of fiber is soluble; this type of fiber is found in beans, lentils, peas, oats, oat bran, and apples. Research has shown that fiber can lower LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, both of which reduce the risk of heart disease.

I have created a delicious lentil stew recipe that is loaded with soluble fiber. Don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients, they are mostly  warming spices that will give your immune system a boost—perfect for this time of year! Enjoy!

Carrot Lentil Coconut Stew using Crock Pot/Slow Cooker

      Ingredients:   

  • 2 Cups of Dry Red Lentils
  • 1 Cup of Medium Spiced Salsa (I like Newman’s!)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vegetable Oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped.
  • 3 Large Carrots, cut in half length wise and thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 Teaspoons of Turmeric
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon of Fenugreek
  • 1 Teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of lemon pepper
  • 6 cups of Vegetable Stock
  • Korean Chili sauce (you can purchase at any Asian Market)
  • 1 can of lite coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice
  • Chopped Cilantro and Unsweetened Shredded Coconut for topping/garnish

 

                Directions:

  1. Rinse lentils and soak overnight in 5 cups of water
  2. In a big soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions, carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring them until they are soft.
  4. Add the garlic, turmeric, fenugreek, salt and lemon pepper and stir for one minute.
  5. Add the salsa and bring to a boil.
  6. Stir in the lentils and vegetable stock.
  7. Transfer this concoction to a slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours or LOW for 8 to 10 hours.
  8. Stir in coconut milk and lemon, cook for 15-20 minutes on HIGH.
  9. Add a couple of squirts of the Korean Chili sauce. Mix Well.
  10. Serve in soup bowls. Garnish with cilantro and coconut.. or a swirl Korean Chili sauce.

 

 

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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

 

Busting the myth that eating healthy is expensive

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A frequent concern that many of my clients express is the fear that eating healthy is expensive. In honor of National Nutrition Month, I am going to set the record straight and share with you five ways that you can cut your healthy eating budget down big-time!

  1. Plan what you are going to shop for. When you go out grocery shopping, how often do you impulse shop? You see something prepared and think, “Wow, this is an easy dinner option!” Let me tell you something, those prepared foods are often easy to make in less than 15 minutes and they tend to cost at least 50 percent more than the cost of the ingredients! This goes for prepared meals, as well as pre-chopped fruits and veggies.
  2. Double or triple portions so that you have leftovers for the next day! Often our food budget is crushed because we eat out when we have nothing on hand at home.
  3. Look at the unit price when purchasing food. Say you see a 16 oz. jar of salsa for $3.39 and a 12 oz. jar for $2.99, you might be apt to buy the $2.99 jar because it is cheaper. However, the unit price for the 16 oz. jar is about 21 cents per ounce, whereas the unit price for the 12 oz. jar is about 25 cents per jar so the larger jar is actually cheaper, especially if you tend to eat a lot of salsa.
  4. It’s totally okay to eat frozen fruit and veggies. Produce prices soar when the food is out of season, so choose frozen (which is just as nutritious and fresh) when your favorite fruit and veggies in the produce department are expensive.
  5. Experiment with recipes that call for low-cost foods. You can make the most of your food dollars by preparing recipes that call for the following low-cost healthy foods: eggs, lentils, beans, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, canned salmon, canned tuna, and brown rice.

See, eating healthy doesn’t have to cost a fortune! Feel free to comment below if you have additional tips for my readers!

Food Choices to Reduce your Risk of Breast Cancer

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salmon fillet with vegetables and basil

Approximately one in eight women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.  And sadly, the death rate for women with breast cancer is higher than any other form of cancer except for lung cancer. While there is not a food recommendation that can guarantee that you will not develop breast cancer, I will discuss some food choices that will help keep your risk for breast cancer as low as possible.

#1: Eat Plenty of Fruit and Vegetables

Aim to eat at least five cups of vegetables and fruit a day. A recent study has found that carotenoids (nutrients) in fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Make those salads as colorful as possible; experiment with fruit and veggie combos (spinach, strawberry and a sprinkling of feta cheese; diced tomatoes, avocados, and mangoes; arugula, pecans, pears, and dried cranberries). The more colorful your fruits and veggies diet, the more variety of powerful carotenoids!

#2: Load up on Fiber

A study of 99,534 women, published earlier this year, found that those who ate more fiber in early adulthood had up to a 19% lower risk of developing breast cancer, depending on how much more fiber they ate. Some great high-fiber food choices include: apples, pears, berries, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, oats, almonds, chia seeds, and sweet potatoes.

#3: Eat Foods High in Omega=3 Fatty Acids

Several studies have suggested that the higher your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, the lower your chances of getting breast cancer. Fish is the greatest source of omega-3s. If you are not a fan of fish, consider a fish oil supplement. Other food choices that have an attractive amount of omega-3s include flaxseeds and walnuts, both of which I love adding to a bowl of oatmeal!

When you are deciding what to eat, think of the return on investment you get when you make healthy food choices. Not only does that choice help you to maintain a healthy weight, but also, it may be helping to reduce your risk of developing diseases like breast cancer. Choose the apple over the candy bar and the grilled salmon over the burger and watch your quality-of-life improve!