Monday, July 18, 2011

[Healthy] Summer Grilling

It's summer time and to me the summer months mean cooking and grilling out with friends and family. It’s a great way to cook a meal that is ideal for your waist line yet draws the attention of the crowd; after all, who doesn’t love a steak on the Barbie?

Nonetheless, lately grilling has taken the ’heat’ in the research field; with new research trending regarding carcinogens it’s tough to figure out if this cooking method is really still “good for you.”

Now, let’s not jump to conclusion and hang our spatulas forever. Try following some of my simple tips that may help minimize your risk while still enjoying your barbecue.

1. Marinating Meat. According to Cooking Light and Kansas State University researchers, marinating steaks in oil, vinegar, herbs and spices reduced carcinogens in marinated steaks from 57 to 88 percent.

2. Keep it Clean. Using a wire brush to clean or scrape the grill plates before and after use will keep from build up producing.

3. Charred. Forget the flare, we don’t need to see any tricks…just good old fashioned grilling. Reducing flames that create smoke will help reduce carcinogens as the smoke may contain much of these carcinogens. Leaner meat means less smoke. Get the black [char] marks on the meat? Scrape them off!

4. Cook to Temp. Cooking your meats to proper temperature will help reduce bacteria.

5. Reduce Time. Reduce the size of your grilling meat to reduce the amount of exposure on the grill. Smaller the better…this holds true for your waistline too.

6. Grill the Good Stuff. Go beyond meat and try grilling fresh fruits (pineapple, peaches) and vegetables. Haven't tried it before? Try the recipe below...I promise you'll write home about it ;)

Grilled Peaches with Honey and YogurtPhoto credit & Recipe adapted from:
- 4 medium ripe peaches, cut in half, pit removed
-1/2 cup honey flavored fat free Greek yogurt
- 4 Tbsp honey
- cinnamon to taste
1. Place peaches cut side down on the grill. Grill on low until soft or about, 2-4 minutes on each side.
2. Combine yogurt and cinnamon. Pour 1 tbsp yogurt over each peach half. Drizzle honey over peach and yogurt. Enjoy
131 calories, 0.1 gm fat, 31.7 gm carbohydrates, 3.4 gm protein, and 2.2 gm fiber

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Summer filled with Antioxidants

Antioxidants are naturally occurring substances found in foods that help block free radicals in our bodies thus preventing or repairing damage to body cells. These powerful components may also improve immune function and lower risk of infection or cancer. Antioxidants can be found in a variety of foods; fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, some meats, poultry and fish, tea and red wine.
The summer season is a great time to add antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to your diet. The American Cancer Society recommends eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Find one of your favorites below…
Vitamin A and carotenoids are found in squash, carrots and sweet potatoes
Vitamin C found in sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, pineapple and green pepper, also citrus fruits
Vitamin E found in nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables and whole grains
Selenium found in poultry, fish, shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs and garlic

Having trouble finding ways to nosh on fruits and vegetables during your daily routine? Here are some tips on incorporating more fruits and veggies into your diet:
Breakfast: top your cereal, oatmeal or yogurt with sliced fruit (bananas, peaches or berries).
Lunch: Use fruit as a salad topper. Pile on the veggies in your sandwich.
Dinner: Canned, fresh or frozen vegetables can make quick easy sides. Toss some veggies in your marinara sauce to pour over your spaghetti or add it to your casserole. Grill some pineapple and finish it with a sprinkle of cinnamon for a sweet, savory side dish. Virtually any vegetable is grill-able!
Dessert: Fresh fruit while a whole grain granola topped with whipped topping or over your favorite low-fat frozen yogurt.

Try this tonight...
Grilled Pork Chops with Maple Syrup Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4
Hands-On Time: 20m
Total Time: 20m

Recipe adapted from
• 4 1-inch-thick bone-in pork chops (about 2 pounds)
• kosher salt and black pepper
• 4 small sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into wedges
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon maple syrup
• 2 scallions, chopped

1. Heat grill to medium-high. Season the pork chops with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Grill until cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes per side.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Grill, turning often, until tender and slightly charred, 10 to 12 minutes. Reserve the bowl.

3. To the reserved bowl, add the syrup, scallions, the remaining oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Serve with the pork.

*Don’t like pork? Try it with poultry! Any changes to the recipe may alter the nutritional information

Nutritional Information; Per Serving; Calories 403, Calories From Fat 142, Fat 16g, Sat Fat 4g, Sodium 739mg, Cholesterol 92mg, Carbohydrate 27g, Sugar 10g, Fiber 4g, Protein 36g

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Making the Most out of a Pasta Portion

Pasta portions are small (1/4 cup), unsatisfying, high in calories and carbohydrates.

Am I the only one that goes overboard with pasta portions?! Whenever I eat pasta I love to make the most out of my pasta portion by adding tons of vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, spinach (greens), zucchini, squash, etc) and/or lean protein (beans, lean ground meats) to my serving. This way you add 'bulk' to your pasta without adding all the additional calories. Even still, you'll be adding plenty of fiber and nutrients- It's a much more satisfying portion and [it] won't leave you lingering for seconds ;)
Tonight I made whole wheat rotini with sun dried tomatoes, spinach and lean ground beef

Thursday, June 9, 2011


to this...
Have you seen this yet? This is the USDA's latest and greatest way of delivering our most basic nutrition tips to live by. This made headlines last week as it was launched world wide! Taking the place of the old MyPyramid, the new MyPlate has been launched to help any distorted or misinformed thoughts on the nutrition guidelines set forth by the USDA, etc.

What is MyPlate all about?
- Enjoying your food within moderation; watching portions/eating less.
- Increase your fruit and veggie consumption. Half of your plate should consist of fruits and veggies.
- Increase your whole grain consumption.
- Instead of the milk group, it is now dairy. Increase your intake by choosing fat free or low fat milk.
- Goodbye Meats & Beans, Hello Protein! Practice good protein intake with lean choices.
- Reduce your sodium intake; be mindful of sodium-laden food choices like soup, bread and frozen meals.
- Water, water, water. Less sugary drinks.

What do you think about the changes?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Down and out...but back again! Tips!

I'm back just in time to gear you up for the hot weather...

Smart Snacker Meets Cocktail Party

Its spring time and summer is rolling in- beach parties, weddings and dinner parties with friends shouldn’t keep you from feeling great in your bathing suit!
Let me help you navigate your way through your next cocktail party. Cocktail parties are always exciting because you get to dress up, eat tons of good food, socialize and drink a favorite cocktail. Sometimes we may feel a little uneasy prior to the affair when the thought of “eating tons of good food” sets in. Or maybe this feeling sets in after it’s too late and you’ve already done the damage. Well, let’s assess the situation; once you’ve done your homework here and find yourself navigating through your party, you will realize you can have tons of fun, indulge and that number [on the scale] will still remain the same.

Let’s get started!

-Don’t arrive with a monstrous appetite. Have a small snack consisting of a complex carbohydrate, lean protein and healthy fat (i.e. banana with peanut butter) prior to the event. This will take the edge off and you’ll be less likely to scarf down food before you can even say hello to the host!
-Don’t skip meals. This is a rookie mistake. People think they are doing themselves a favor by saving up their calories from breakfast and lunch to splurge at dinner. It definitely doesn’t work like that. Please, for the love of not skip meals. Earlier in the day just watch your choices and portions.
-Walking apps. Choose wisely, pick one and be done. Try to avoid the fried items (i.e. coconut shrimp)
-Factor in the liquid. All alcohol has carbohydrates and thus has calories. Stick with the lower calorie options; light beer or diet soda/soda water with vodka (vodka tends to be the lowest [liquor] in calories).Try drinking a sparkling water in between drinks to cut back as well. Daily Alcohol recommendations for moderation: no more than 2 drinks for men and no more than 1 for women (1 drink= 12 oz beer, 5 oz wine, 1.5 oz liquor) per day.
-Don’t set up camp by the food. In other words, don't be the person guarding the chip bowl otherwise, you will keep putting your hand in the bowl (we’ve all done it). Instead make it more about socializing and catching up with friends. Out of sight, out of mind; that visual cue won’t be there to tempt you.
-Focus on the nutrients. Look for the healthier options; scopes out the fresh vegetables, dishes containing vegetables, and if there’s fresh fruit eat that as your dessert.
-Plan. You know your coming to the party so mentally prepare. You have the will power; just put it into action...I know you can do it!
-When in doubt, plan it out. Offer to bring a dish. This way you know you have at least that healthy option. Bring a light dip, veggie tray or fresh fruit dessert.

Remember, it only takes an extra 250 calories/day to lead to a ½ pound gain by the end of the week. You’ve worked so hard; don’t let this one event drag you down!