MyPlate Meal: Asian Style Quiche

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Have you ever had quiche with wild-rice in it? Try this recipe out and you will be in love! This recipe will pump you up with whole grains, protein, low-fat dairy, and veggies! Make it a truly MYPLATE meal by adding a side of fruit!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup low-fat or fat-free plain yogurt (Greek is best)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup green beans chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots shredded or grated
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Bragg’s liquid Amino Acids or soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon ginger powder
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • Pinch of black pepper

Instructions:

  • Prepare wild rice according to package instructions
  • Pre-heat oven to 425.
  • When oven is heating, add sesame oil to pan over medium heat and add carrots and green beans, Gradually add one Tablespoon at a time of rice vinegar and Bragg’s/soy sauce and continue to stir until beans and carrots are soft. Add the wild rice to the green bean and carrot mixture. Toss in garlic, ginger powder and sesame seeds and stir for three minutes.
  • When oven is heated, put the pie crust in until golden brown (usually 10 minutes)
  • While pie crust is browning, mix together eggs, almond milk and yogurt and black pepper.
  • Pull the pie crust out of the oven and spread the green bean/carrot/rice mixture to the bottom of the quiche, filling about 2/3 of the pie crust (you may not use all the mixture you made).
  • Next pour the egg mixture over the green bean/carrot/rice mixture until the pie crust is filled.
  • Reduce oven to 375 and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the quiche comes out clean.

 

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Healthy Choices for a Hectic Life

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Should you go Keto? Paleo? Intermittent Fasting? My answer is none of these! There is so much false information swarming around out there about how to lose weight, boost energy and improve your health, but guess what? It doesn’t have to be so complicated!

There are a few simple rules to follow that will help take your health and nutrition to new levels!

Come to my FREE Healthy Choices for a Hectic Life presentation at Cayuga Community College’s Student Lounge on Monday April 1 at 7 p.m. You will leave with a lot of tangible tips and healthy food swaps you can implement right away to improve your family’s health. Click here to signup for this free event on the the Kelly’s Choice Facebook event page.

In this presentation, I will take you through a virtual tour of a grocery store.

In the produce department, one thing you will learn is that the more colors you eat, the more antioxidants you get.

You will learn that meat is a great source of protein, but many varieties are also high in fat.

In the seafood department, you will learn why fish is important for your heart and brain and you will also learn which types to avoid due to high mercury levels.

In the bread aisle, you will learn what ingredients assure that your bread is whole grain as opposed to refined.

In the dairy aisle, I will explain why you want to choose low-fat options.

Guess what? I will even take you through the snack aisle and reveal tips to make healthy choices there as well!

Come see me on April 1—this presentation will inspire you to take your health to a higher level. You deserve it and your family does too!

 

MyPlate Power Salad

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As promised, I am providing fun MyPLate recipes for National Nutrition Month! This yummy salad has all five food groups: fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean protein.

Here’s the Breakdown:

Fruit: Blackberries

-Full of Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants

-Perfectly bittersweet

Vegetable: Kale

-Vitamin A, C, K; fiber, and even protein

-When massaged (I’ll get to this later) it takes away the harsh texture

Bonus Veggie: Butternut Squash

A great source of fiber and beta-carotene!

Grain: Barley

-Loaded with fiber, which improves digestion and controls blood sugar levels

-Adds a chewy and nutty element

Protein: Rotisserie Chicken Breast

  • Perfectly lean and loaded with protein

Bonus Protein: Walnuts and Pumpkin seeds

  • Not only rich in protein, but full of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals

Dairy: Feta Cheese

-Easier to digest than a lot of dairy, full of calcium, -salty, crumbly, cheesy goodness

As you can tell by the ingredients, this isn’t your boring house salad with cucumbers and tomatoes. It’s so much better. Try it out to get your full MyPlate meal- you won’t be disappointed!

MyPlate Power-Up Salad

Barley

  • ⅓ cup pearled barley
  • 1 cup water
  1. Bring water and barley to a boil in a pot then cover and reduce to a simmer until tender (about 25 minutes)

Butternut Squash

  • ½ butternut squash peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix squash, olive oil, salt, and pepper, in a bowl.
  3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Pour squash onto sheet and spread evenly.
  4. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes until squash is tender

Homemade Maple Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  1. Mix ingredients together in a bowl and set aside ½ mixture

Rotisserie Chicken Breast

  1. Discard skin off one Rotisserie chicken
  2. Pull off as much of the breast meat in shreds

Kale

  • 10 oz deboned and chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Cut the leaf off of the stem and chop the leafy part, throwing away the stem
  2. Add chopped kale and olive oil and salt to a bowl
  3. Massage the kale- just how it sounds. Rub the oil into each piece. It will go from a dull green to a bright and shiny green right before your eyes!

The rest

  • 2 6 oz packages of Blackberries
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds

 

  1. Take your massaged Kale and add it to a big big mixing bowl.
  2. Add in the barley, squash, chicken, blackberries, feta, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and reserved vinaigrette mixture.
  3. Toss that salad and serve it up!

*Recipe makes about 6-8 servings

Chicken-broccoli-rice Bake

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I wrote about MyPlate in my last blog. To give you a basic overview, each meal you eat should include five food groups: whole grains, lean protein, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and fruit. This Chicken-Broccoli-Rice-Bake is a one-pot meal that has all food groups, but fruit. Have a small bowl of berries with dark chocolate drizzled over it for dessert and you have one heck of a meal!

Enjoy!

Chicken-broccoli-rice Bake

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of water
  • 5 cups of brown rice
  • 3 chicken breasts chopped in small cubes
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can of lite coconut milk
  • 2 cups of broccoli florets
  • 1 cup of low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt divided
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil divided
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Combine the rice, ½ teaspoon of sea salt, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 3 cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer for 30-35 minutes. You can do this quicker with a rice cooker or instant pot!
  • 15 minutes prior to the rice finishing, add chicken to a deep pan or Dutch oven, and pan fry for 10-15 minutes over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes. If the chicken or mushrooms are sticking, add a couple tablespoons of water.
  • 5 minutes before rice is finished:
    1. Preheat oven to 350
    2. Add remaining ½ cup of water to a pot with a steamer basket. Bring to a boil. Place broccoli in basket, cover and steam for 3 minutes.
  • When rice is finished, mix in pan with chicken mushrooms.
  • Toss in broccoli.
  • Mix in coconut milk, remaining sea salt. Italian seasoning, and cheese.
  • Transfer to a casserole dish and add ground pepper to taste.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.

 

Why I recommend MyPlate over fad diets

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Are you on the Keto diet that everyone is raving about? I am not and I actually do not recommend it to my clients either because it is so easy to miss important nutrients when you focus on any fad diet. In honor of National Nutrition Month, I wanted to do an entry on my approach to nutrition.

I follow our government’s recommended nutritional plan called MyPlate. It’s the modern version of the Food Pyramid you may remember from childhood. Using MyPlate is an easy way to make sure you are reaching your health goals in the most balanced way possible.

Here’s the scoop:

The MyPlate plan focuses on what your plate should look like each meal, recommending that you have something from each of the five food groups: vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, lean protein, and whole grains.

I’ll dive deeper into those five food groups.

Vegetables

Vary those veggies! Try adding fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables to salads, sides, and main dishes. Choose a variety of colorful vegetables and prepare them healthfully by having them raw, sautéed or steamed.

Fruits

Choose whole fruits. These are nature’s candy. I love using fruit in smoothies or in my salads. I often throw an apple or banana in my purse to have as a snack when I’m on the go. The government says 100 percent fruit juice counts, but I personally recommending nixing the juice and choosing whole fruit.

Lean Protein

Choose lean meats like turkey breast, chicken breast, and lean beef cuts. Also vary your proteins with vegetarian options like beans, tofu, and nuts.

Whole Grains

So many people are kicking whole grains out of their life and it makes me mad because they are such an amazing source of nutrients and fiber—and they help give you energy! Look for whole grains listed first or second on the ingredients list—try oatmeal, popcorn, whole-grain bread, quinoa, wild rice, and brown rice.

Low Fat Dairy

Choose low-fat or fat-free milk and cheese, to cut back on saturated fat. Replace sour cream, cream, and regular cheese with low-fat yogurt, milk, and cheese.

 

There you have it. If you want to get started on MyPlate. Check out the website, it has a plethora of amazing resources!

 

 

Peanut Butter and Honey Power Muffins for National Peanut Butter Day

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Peanut Butter lovers everywhere, rejoice! Yesterday was National Peanut Butter Day!

But, but, but? Isn’t peanut butter bad for you? Peanut butter is absolutely, positively, by no means, BAD for you. Well, to be fair, eating half a jar of peanut butter wouldn’t exactly be the best thing for you, but a healthy serving size once a day provides so many health benefits.

Let’s break it down. Peanut butter comes, of course, from peanuts. Natural peanut butter (emphasis on the NATURAL) is made up of one ingredient and that’s peanuts. In case you didn’t know, peanuts aren’t even actually a nut. They’re a legume and they grow in the ground. The peanuts are roasted and ground into a paste to make the spread.

Composed primarily of fat, a serving of peanuts also packs in about 8 grams of protein, so it’s a great plant-based protein source. Keep in mind that the fat in peanut butter is monounsaturated, a good fat that can help lower your LDL cholesterol and benefit the heart in numerous ways.

Just so you don’t get too carried away, a typical serving of peanut butter consists of two tablespoons. For two tablespoons of peanut butter you’ll get about 180 calories, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and 7 grams of carbs.

This is the breakdown for natural peanut butter. Now some of you may have been raised on named brand peanut butters that were packed full of sugar and other hydrogenated oils, but today, even many named brands have natural options with just the one ingredient of peanuts!

You may have seen my blog a few months ago about the benefits of peanuts (to read, click here). All of those same benefits apply to peanut butter of course. I’ll recap some of the main points:

  • Filled with monounsaturated fats that help to lower LDL cholesterol levels and raises HDL levels
  • Decreases chances of heart attack and stroke
  • Curb appetite
  • Promote weight loss
  • Packed with Fiber

The big takeaway here is that peanut butter is filled with healthy fats. Healthy fats are essential to a healthy diet. So make sure you watch out the “reduced fat” label. In these products, where the fat is taken out, sugar and other additives are added to replace it. Natural, natural, natural, I can’t say it enough!

While peanut butter can be good on toasted whole grain bread…yuuummm, there are so many other ways to use it. Be sure to try this breakfast or snack favorite of mine that I made yesterday for the celebration!

Peanut Butter and Honey Power Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat (or gluten free all purpose) flour
  • ¼ cup oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix the dry ingredients (excluding the oats) in a bowl.
  3. Melt peanut butter and honey together in microwave at 30 seconds intervals, stirring until completely combined.
  4. Allow mixture to cool before adding the rest of the wet ingredients.
  5. Once cooled, add in the rest of the wet ingredients and mix to combine
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until well combined
  7. Spray muffin tin and add mixture to tin. Each cup should be about ¾ full
  8. Sprinkle oats over top of muffins (makes them look extra yummy)
  9. Cook for 12-15  minutes or until a fork comes out clean

 

Sensational Autumn Parfait

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Yes, it is still autumn amidst these snow flurries!

Parfait in French means “perfect.” It’s quite fitting because a parfait can be a perfect meal!

A parfait is simple, light, and delicious. You can have it for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert. It can be pretty much anything you want, but usually consists of yogurt, fresh fruit, and granola.

This is a meal I often have for breakfast because it’s quick and easy! It’s also satiating, which can help you deny those holiday treats that are flooding into your office this time of year!

I like to use Greek yogurt in my parfaits because it packs a ton of protein: about 20 grams per cup, as opposed to the 8 grams you get from a cup of milk.

To assemble your parfait, all you need are the three ingredients I listed above. You can use any kind of fruit and any type of granola, though I do recommend using a granola with a lower sugar content as many granola may seem healthy, but when you check the nutrition label they can be packed with sugar. Find a granola with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving! A great brand I use is Barley+ granola. It provides a high fiber content with low amounts of sugar per serving.

Try out this fall parfait for a yummy treat:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sweetener (maple syrup or honey)
  • ¼ cup pumpkin purée
  • ¼ cup  granola
  • 1 apple cut into small chunks

Directions:

  1. Combine yogurt, sweetener, pumpkin, and cinnamon in a bowl.
  2. Spoon a few tablespoons of yogurt into you bowl or cup.
  3. Then add a layer of granola, followed by apples.
  4. Complete this until you’ve finished your supply of ingredients and enjoy!