Delicious Plant-based Products for Fall

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What a busy October I had! I had so much fun at FNCE and learned so much about all the plant-based offers Daiya has to offer.

It amazes me that Daiya is able to make nutritious foods that are rich in protein and are completely free of allergens. Do you know how difficult that is? For example, cashews would be an easy answer to make their products creamy and rich in protein and healthy fats, but they use no nuts of any kind!

How do they make dozens upon dozens of products that are delicious, healthy and meet your protein needs? One way is that they add pea protein to many products. They are able to do this in such a way that you can’t even taste the pea flavor at all!

It’s also so hard to find plant-based options that are convenient, but Daiya offers different renditions of cheese, sauces, dressings, yogurt and more. They make it so easy to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet throughout the day, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert

If I am rushing to get breakfast ready—no problem. I can prepare what Daiya prepared at FNCE, a yogurt parfait with their delicious Greek-style, coconut milk-based yogurts that come in plain, vanilla and a variety of fruit flavors , a handful of granola and plenty of berries. That will give all members of my family energy to last through lunchtime for sure, because each touts 6-9 grams of plant-based protein. They also make a delicious dairy-free cream cheeze spread that’s perfect for bagel lovers.

Now on to lunch and dinner, I’m going to let you in on a little secret—I LOVE pizza. I dream about it. Pizza is how I first learned about Daiya! I saw them at another trade show a while back and was immediately drawn to the fun and vibrant nature of their booth, similar to what I experienced last week at FNCE. But this time they were sampling warm, mouth-watering margarita pizza. As I savored this fantastic sample, whoa was I impressed.Seriously, this pizza competed with pizza I’ve had in Italy. And then I looked at Daiya’s tagline: deliciously dairy-free; I could not believe my eyes! It’s  a great lunch or dinner option for a busy night. A pizza and a quick tossed salad, and voila-quite a healthy option!

Another quick dinner option is to toss = whole wheat pasta , peas and carrots in their new Alfredo Cheeze Sauce! And when I want to add more cheezy, plant-based goodness to a salad, tacos or morning eggs my go-to is Daiya’s new Cutting Board Collection Shreds.

Finally, for the grand finale: dessert! You know that delicious dairy-free cream cheese spread that’s a must have for bagel lovers? Well it’s also perfect for bakers because it can be used as an alternative for cheesecakes or carrot cake frosting. A must try recipe for fall is this No Bake Pumpkin Cheezecake. But if you don’t have time to bake a cheesecake, Daiya has you covered there too! At FNCE I sampled their new limited edition Pumpkin Spice Cheezecake that’s as rich and creamy as any dairy cheesecake I’ve ever had.

Give Daiya a try—you’ll be so happy you did! Their products are available more than 25,000 grocery stores across the US and Canada, including Whole Foods, Kroger, Safeway and Publix.

For more information about Daiya, please visit www.daiyafoods.com, become a fan on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

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Beat the Candy Attack with Your Own Healthy Trail Mix

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It happens every year; your kids go trick or treating; your office mates’ kids go trick or treating and candy dishes abound everywhere! Your candy of choice calls out your name. For some its peanut butter cups, for others its Smarties or tootsie rolls. Whatever candy it is, it’s going to sabotage your nutrition goals! Fear not because I have a sweet, healthy and delicious solution for you! Make your own trail mix!

Common Components you can use in your Trail Mix:

Nuts:

These nutritional dynamos are loaded with healthy unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin E, and other essential vitamins and minerals. These should be the base of your trail mix.

Whether they’re raw or roasted, go for unsalted, unsweetened nuts to keep sugar and sodium under control.

Some of my favorites are: almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts.

Seeds:

For those with nut allergies (or just looking to mix things up), seeds provide many of the same nutritional benefits as nuts. Hemp seeds, and Chia seeds for example, are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, gamma linolenic acid, protein, zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium.

Sprinkle a handful of pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax, or hemp seeds in trail mix for an extra boost of nutrients.

Grains:

Add some complex carbohydrates to your custom blend for extra fiber, which boosts overall energy and helps to keep you full .

Choose whole grains whenever possible and avoid highly processed cereals that add unnecessary sugar and sodium.

Shredded wheat cereal, pretzels, whole-grain cereals like cheerios or chex, bran flakes, whole-wheat crackers, granola, toasted oats, puffed rice cereal, and air-popped popcorn can all add a little bit of crunch.

Something Sweet:

Lastly, t’s totally acceptable to have a little something sweet in your trail mix. This will help deter you from the candy bowl.

Dried fruit can be a great source of fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K.

Look for dried fruit options with as little added sugar and preservatives as possible.

Dried apples, cherries, cranberries, goji berries, blueberries, strawberries, apricots, raisins, banana chips, figs, pineapple chunks, mango, and dates.

Dark chocolate chips are a good source of antioxidants.

And once in a while, don’t fret adding a little bit of M&Ms.

Some of My Favorite Combos:

Hiking Power:

  • ALMONDS
  • WALNUTS
  • DRIED CRANBERRIES
  • ORGANIC TYPE OF CHERRIOS
  • CASHEWS
  • PECANS
  • RAISINS

Peanut Butter Lovers:

  • BANANA CHIPS
  • PEANUT BUTTER CHIPS
  • PEANUTS, ALMONDS
  • DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS

Movie Night:

  • POPCORN
  • PEANUTS
  • M&MS
  • DRIED CRANBERRIES

Try some of these combos and make some unique signature recipes. You have so many options! It’s a great way to defeat the candy bowl and also the holiday sweets that are around the corner. I suggest making little baggies of them to bring to work, carry in your purse, etc. It is possible to overindulge so be careful not to do that. Depending on the ingredients< I recommend ½ cup to ¾ cup serving.

 

 

 

 

 

The Difference between Animal Protein and Plant Protein

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Nine times out of ten, when I get a new client, they have either tried a high protein diet, are currently on a high protein diet or are curious to learn more about a high protein diet. While protein is essential for tissue growth and repair and helpful for your cognition, digestion and metabolism, it is important to spread your protein consumption throughout the day and to incorporate plant protein into you regimen as well.

Let me highlight a couple of differences between animal protein and plant protein and give you some ways to consume protein healthfully.

Animal proteins such as eggs, meat, chicken, poultry, as well as seafood and dairy products contain all the essential amino acids you need to build proteins within your body. With the exception of dairy foods, most animal-based proteins contain few if any carbs, giving you a high percentage of your total calories from protein. Many protein-rich, animal-based foods such as red meat, egg yolks and dark-meat poultry, are also rich in zinc and heme iron, which is more readily absorbed in your body than the iron in plant-based foods.

Getting your protein from plant-based foods such as soy, quinoa, other whole grains, legumes, as well as nuts and seeds, means less unhealthy (LDL) cholesterol and saturated fat! Proteins from soy and quinoa are classified as complete proteins because they contain all essential amino acids, much like the proteins from animal-based foods.  Although not all plant proteins are complete proteins, you can still obtain all the essential amino acids by eating a variety of plant proteins during your day.

The bottom line is that you do not have to choose between animal and plant protein to maintain good health. And you don’t need mounds and mounds of it to be healthy either. Your daily protein consumption need not be bigger than a deck of cards.

Here are some healthy protein-based snack choices I recommend:

  • nitrate free jerky
  • hardboiled egg
  • cottage cheese
  • black beans and rice
  • hummus and whole wheat pita
  • Greek yogurt
  • whole wheat bread with peanut butter

I hope you found this information helpful. Keep everything in balance. Don’t consume too much of any one thing and you’ll be on your way to a beautifully healthy lifestyle.

 

The Power of Five

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How good are you at assuring that you get the five powerful foods in your diet every single day? I’m talking about protein, dairy, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains? My guess is that you may have the protein part down (specifically if it is meat), but the other groups are more challenging.

Let’s go through each group and I will provide some suggestions about how you can incorporate these essential foods into your everyday-life.

I’ll start with whole grains. Too many people turn to refined grains and this is not smart because refined grains (pasta, white bread, cookies, crackers, etc.) are devoid of nutrients. Whole grains, on the other hand, have fiber, helping you to feel full longer, not to mention protecting your heart! You are supposed to aim for 6-8 servings of whole grains a day.

  • Make sure you sandwich bread is whole grain.
  • When you cook brown rice, wild rice, or quinoa, cook extra for another meal!
  • Oatmeal is a great choice for a whole-grain breakfast.
  • There are whole grain crackers too—look at the fiber content; if there is a decent amount of fiber, it’ s likely whole grain.

Dairy isn’t too hard to work into your daily regimen and dairy is a great source of calcium and protein. Always choose low-fat or skim (otherwise, you have to worry about bad cholesterol). Use cheese as a condiment on your salads or as a flavor enhancer to your meals. Try cottage cheese or yogurt for breakfast or a snack. Smoothies made with skim milk are delicious as well.

Protein is an easy group for people. Did you know you only need 6 ounces of protein a day? My suggestion is to turn to lean options like chicken breast, lean ground beef or turkey, and definitely fish! I also recommend eggs and plant protein (nuts, seeds, beans, etc.).

As for vegetables, aim to get 4-5 servings a day! Sometimes you just do not have the energy to cook a veggie at the end of the day so stock your freezer. Frozen veggies are as nutrient-rich as fresh and they last way longer! Keep salad greens on hand and veggies that last a while in the fridge like peppers and carrots.

Fruit is the dessert of food. You should try to consume 4-5 servings of fruit a day. Always have a fruit bowl near you—at work and home! Add fruit to your lunch or dinner salads and to your breakfast cereal.

The best way to assure you get the power of five in your day-to-day life is to go for combinations, like these in your meals:

  • Strawberry spinach salad
  • Tarragon chicken salad
  • 3-bean salad with kale
  • Fresh mozzarella and tomato salad
  • Healthier cobb salad
  • Blueberry overnight oats
  • Scrambled eggs with veggies
  • Hard- boiled egg
  • Berry and yogurt smoothie

And skip the candy bar or cookies for your snack! Look to the power of five. Here are more than a dozen options:

  • Mixed nuts
  • Trail mix
  • Edamame poppers
  • Hummus dippers
  • Greek yogurt and granola
  • Tuna and whole grain crackers
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Popcorn
  • String cheese
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Greek yogurt & berries
  • Dried fruit
  • Frozen watermelon kiwi or grapes
  • Melon kabobs
  • Cherry tomato & cheese kabobs
  • String cheese
  • Whole grain cereal dry

I hope these suggestions help you! The power of five is the best way to assure a balanced and healthy life!

 

 

Settle your Milk Confusion

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17134291469_71480bd560_oThere are so many different types of milk on the supermarket shelves; it’s confusing as to which one you should drink, right? You may like a certain type in your coffee, but a different type on your cereal. Some may not settle right in your stomach; some may settle just fine.

I will review the differences with you in this blog.

Cow’s Milk

Let’s start with cow’s milk and I will explain the differences between whole, 2 percent, and skim.

An 8-ounce glass of whole milk has 8 grams of saturated fat and 150 calories per cup, while the same amount of two-percent milk has 5 grams of saturated fat and 120 calories per cup; the same amount of skim milk has no saturated fat and only 100 calories. All of these types of milk have about 8 grams of protein per 8-ounce serving.

This means that skim milk is best for your waistline.

However, 2 percent and whole milk have more calcium and vitamin D for your bones. Vitamin D is fat-soluble so you need the fat in two percent and whole milk to absorb this superstar vitamin!

And then you have the cholesterol to think about; with more saturated fat, there’s more cholesterol!

Lastly, you may very well be lactose-intolerant and unable to handle any type of cow’s milk!

Don’t fear! I have more types of milk to review!

Sheep or Goat Milk

Both of these types of milk are friendlier on the stomach, but they have a strong flavor that some find hard to acclimate to. I do recommend trying them for their rich nutrition!

Plant-Based Milks

There are a plethora of plant-based milks. The only one with a decent amount of protein is soy, but keep in mind that soy is a common food allergy. Also, go organic with soy, otherwise, there’s a strong chance that it is genetically-modified.

Almond milk is a popular choice; it is a good choice of vitamin e and magnesium, low in fat, and has a pleasant, sweet taste. The texture is nice and late too.

Coconut milk is becoming quite trendy. It is low in carbs and rich in lauric acid; this converts to monolaurin in your body, which helps your body fight bacteria and viruses.

Rice milk has a nice taste; it doesn’t have much nutritionally, but is great for people who have nut allergies!

Hemp milk is the only plant-based milk with a good amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, the GOOD FATS, which your brain indulges in!

There you have it…just a few of the milk choices you have! Which will you choose?

 

 

 

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

 

 

Simple Solutions for your Morning Workout Recovery

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I know, I know. Your workouts are crammed into your already hectic life. You have finally mastered the art of getting to bed early so that you can rise with the sun and squeeze in your daily workout. But once you finish, you don’t have time to prepare an elaborate breakfast; you have to shower, shave, dress, and look your best for the day ahead!

But listen to me, after a workout, your muscles are damaged and depleted. In order to build the strength that you are seeking, you need to feed those depleted muscles with glycogen. The best way to do this is to consume a breakfast that has a 2:1 carb to protein ratio. An ideal amount of protein is 10-18 grams. This will shuttle plenty of glycogen to your muscles and energize you for the day!

I hear ya! You don’t have time to calculate these numbers AND eat on top of it. That’s what you have me for! Here are my top-3, quick and easy breakfasts for workout recovery (and they’re a great way to start your day even if you don’t work out in the morning)

#1: Almond butter on whole grain toast with two types of fruit

A banana is one of my top choices and then for the second type of fruit, I usually choose something seasonal. In summer, berries are my favorite. Make sure your bread’s first ingredient is whole ground wheat or sprouted wheat; if it simply says wheat flour, it is not truly whole grain! And spread on that almond butter generously—think two tablespoons…that’s some yummy fiber, protein, and healthy fats for you!

#2: 3/4 cup Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup granola and a handful of fruit        

Nothing beats Greek yogurt with granola and blueberries! Watch out for sugar in both the yogurt and granola. I usually buy plain Greek yogurt to minimize the sugar and there are plenty of granola varieties with less than 10 grams of sugar. Muesli is a good option instead of granola as well.

#3: A Succulent smoothie

Mix 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 cup of frozen berries and a scoop of chocolate whey protein powder.

If you’re like me, you may not like messing with a blender in the morning, so make your smoothie the night before and store it in a mason jar of smoothie shaker cup and you can even have it on the go the next morning.

What’s the best part about these three recovery breakfast options? You can use mix and match the fruits to come up with entirely different choices every day

By Kelly Springer, RD, MS, CDN