April 15, 2013

Recipe: Turkey and Quinoa Meatloaf

mealoaf

Here is another tasty quinoa recipe! This should be a likeable recipe for those that think traditional meatloaf is too heavy. Quinoa is used in place of bread crumbs allowing the loaf to be less dense. The recipe calls for ground turkey, but if you want to choose the healthiest option make sure you buy ground turkey BREAST. Just like chicken, there is white meat and dark meat in turkey, and white is the leaner option.

I like to serve this with roasted red potatoes and fresh green beans. Southern-style taste without a Southern-style waist!

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/turkey-and-quinoa-meatloaf/detail.aspx

April 11, 2013

Ibotta. You botta what?

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Any else like to EARN money grocery shopping? Um, yes please! It’s one thing to save money by couponing, it’s another to actually receive money to do what you want with. Hello, fun money fund!

I’ve already made and easy $30 with this FREE iPhone and Droid app. (Pause. This sounds like a scripted advertisement that I’ve copied and pasted into my blog. It’s really me here, Tidbits. This is pure money-saving  -earning passion speaking.)

Here’s how it works.

1. Download the app.

2. Look for offers on products you want.

3. Do whatever is required to “earn” the offer. It takes 10 seconds. It has you do things like take a poll, answer a trivia question, or share on Facebook (which it does for you).

4. Buy the products on your next shopping trip.

5. Take a picture of your receipt with your phone.

6. Receive cash (within 24 hrs) into a Paypal account. OR you can donate your earnings.

The best thing is that they advertise stuff that most people actually buy often! I have gotten deals on cheese, bread, baby food, jelly, frozen veggies, cleaning products, etc. It’s crazy how easy it is!

They just started adding new ways to earn money too. They are called “bonuses”. I like to think of them as challenges! For example, if you buy one Ibotta product each week for 4 weeks, you can earn money.

For anyone reading my blog on their phone, you can click on the link below to get Ibotta. Plus, I earn cash for anyone that signs up. Show me some love?

Sign up for Ibotta here: http://ibotta.com/r/oK2owQ

April 10, 2013

Recipe: Sweet Potato Burritos

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Think outside the box with me here! This is just another creative, nutritious, and delicious vegetarian dish that I found and cooked up for my family this week.

In order to get the most flavor, I STRONGLY recommend roasting your sweet potatoes. Cooking in the microwave is quick, but it cuts out so much flavor. I also bought dry kidney beans and soaked them overnight. Next time I will probably use black beans instead.

I used my food processor to puree the sweet potatoes and beans (separately), but left a few whole kidney beans to give it a little more texture. This was a lot faster than mashing the beans and potatoes with a fork.

IF you roast your sweet potatoes, the cheese is not necessary. I did not use cheese in mine. The roasted sweet potatoes have so much flavor that you cannot notice the cheese that much anyway (I put cheese in my husband’s). Why add the unnecessary calories?

Enjoy!

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Addictive-Sweet-Potato-Burritos/Detail.aspx?scale=6&ismetric=0

April 4, 2013

Buying Lower Sugar Beverages

I was shopping for apple juice at the store this week. I have avoided the juice/beverage aisle for my entire adult life as I never cared to waste my calories on beverages. Nevertheless, as a new mom, I find myself here.

What I came across at the store was another example of my love/hate relationship with the “diet” food market. I love the efforts to reduce the obesity epidemic in America, but I do not love all the methods in which it is carried out. I find claims made by the diet food industry and labeling on their actual products to be very deceiving and confusing to those who need them most. Unfortunately, it is a money-making industry that is growing quickly and I will not waste my efforts trying to stop it. Instead, I will help YOU avoid unnecessary traps!

Back to my shopping trip…

I was looking for apple juice. Plain old 100% apple juice. I was pleased to see that there were all sorts of lower sugar options! Natural…no sugar added…50% less sugar…low sugar. They even had “Mott’s for Tots” (juice for kids) which immediately drew my attention. It is advertised as having 40% less sugar. After checking the label I confirmed that it does, in fact, have 40% less sugar than the Mott’s Original Apple Juice. But WHY does it have less? Have you ever thought about this? Consider the ingredients of the two products.

Mott’s Original Apple Juice ingredient list: apple juice, water, apple juice concentrate

Mott’s for Tot’s Apple Juice ingredient list: purified water, apple juice concentrate, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), natural flavors

Remember that ingredients are listed in descending order according to their weight. In other words, there is more of the first ingredient than the second and so on. So basically the ingredients are just flip-flopped.

I just looked on the Mott’s website and saw this description of the Mott’s for Tots product:
“Mott’s for Tots…has 40% less sugar than 100% apple juice and no artificial sweeteners.We’ve blended 100% juice with purified water…”

So, the product is basically 60% Mott’s Original Apple Juice + 40% water. No artificial sweeteners are used so we can assume that this product is simply diluted apple juice. From a nutrition perspective I find that much more desirable than the full-sugar product. Most moms prefer to dilute their child’s juice with water to cut down on the amount of unnecessary sugar. So, what is the problem and what does this have to do with saving money?

Glad you asked! My issue with this product does not have anything to do with nutrition, but has everything to do with saving money (my second love). Have you ever compared the prices of these products? Shouldn’t one be less expensive if it is diluted with water (even purified water)? I think so. But it’s not. They are ALL the same price…$3.19. You will get twice as much by purchasing the regular product and diluting it yourself with tap or purified water! You will also have more control if you get in the habit of diluting juice. My goal is to gradually increase the water:juice ratio so that my child is eventually satisfied with drinking plain water.

Some of you have already figured this out. Others need to go buy a new wallet because you’ve been burning a hole in your old one! You’ve now found yourself a permanent BOGO deal. Now, what other products can you do this with?!

Your challenge has been issued…

April 1, 2013

Recipe: Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

black bean burger

A few months ago I purchased a bag of quinoa from Costco, because you should always buy something in bulk the first time with no real idea of how to use it. I just knew that my husband said if I made brown rice one more time he was going to lose his mind. I bought quinoa out of desperation for some variety and a happy husband!

I am now the proud owner of a half-used bag of quinoa and a full bag of brown rice. I have a couple of quinoa recipes to share, but for the sake of consistency in titling my recipe posts I will only share one at a time. I’m not saving the best for last either. This one is my absolute favorite!

If you followed my blog in the past, you know that we were doing Meatless Mondays in our home. I am proud to say we are now doing Meatless Monday, Tuesday, Wednesdays, and any other days I can get away with it! Neither my husband or I have any desire to be vegetarians, at this point, but we are flirting with the idea. We will likely always have meat in our diet in some form, but we are ok with it being more of a treat right now. To pacify my husband, I have to work really hard to make our meals as satisfying as a good, hearty plate of steak and potatoes.

Cue THIS recipe! The density of these burgers will leave you pleasantly surprised. Your taste buds will do a little dance too!

We’ve enjoyed these so much that I am going to make a BIG batch this week and freeze them to eat for lunch! Serve them with some Savory Sweet Potato Fries (allrecipes.com) and a salad and you have yourself an upscale value meal.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Quinoa-Black-Bean-Burgers/Detail.aspx

Variations:

  • I bought a bag of dry black beans and did it the hard way. More work but cuts the sodium to zero. Also good if you plan on making them in bulk (which is inevitable once you try them). If you don’t have the time, you can at least rinse the canned black beans to remove some sodium.
March 29, 2013

Finger Foods

My 8 month old recently learned to self-feed and now it’s ALL he wants to do! It’s very exciting, but also reminds me that with each day that passes I am losing a little more control over what he eats. Until now, I’ve been able to perfectly concoct pureed foods that contain optimal nutrition and optimal taste. Broccoli, peas, zucchini, and everything else green goes unnoticed when mixed with sweet potatoes or bananas! But as your baby makes the transition from purees to finger foods, how do you ensure that he continues to receive the best nutrition? I believe that this is the first step that many moms take away from encouraging lifelong healthy eating.

Teaching a child to eat well takes discipline. It’s also one of the first opportunities you have to teach your child discipline. I have only begun to scratch the surface in this area, but I can see that the decisions I make now will set the standard for the future. So, I’m trying to fight the good fight, and hoping to use my knowledge as a dietitian to encourage other moms to do the same.

So, here I stand, at the crossroads of Puffs and Cheerios. Now that your baby has learned to transfer that little morsel from point A to B (oh my, what a process), what should you put in front of him? Puffs and MumMums are great learning tools, but they certainly aren’t packing in much nutrition. Have you ever looked at the Nutrition Facts for Puffs?! The serving size is 86 pieces; calories per serving..a whopping 25! They are basically air. Why not let your child snack on something that offers some good nutrients!

Here are a few things I’ve had success with. There are many more I have yet to try, but maybe I’ve tried a few you haven’t.

1. Beans. So far I’ve used black beans and Northern beans. This takes some prep, but will last forever! I just bought a bag of each dry, soaked them overnight, and cooked them on the stovetop. I froze most of them (for our meals) and filled a small tuppeware to keep in the fridge. They are the perfect size and consistency and PACKED with nutrition.

2. Plain Cheerios. I know, nothing new here. Just wanted to note that Cheerios pack in some good nutrition starting with whole grains. I do like to use my Puffs container to store Cheerios in though…

3. Frozen Bagels. I like to keep chunks (1/4 bagel) in a ziplog bag in my freezer. I actually started using this as a teething tool, with the double bonus of adding more whole grains! Just make sure you find a bagel that has “whole grain” as the first ingredient. I also serve them fresh in pieces now.

4. Sweet Potato Fries. I’m convinced that my kiddo would eat sardines if they were mixed with sweet potatoes. So, introducing sweet tater fries as one of our first finger foods was a no-brainer. And boy were they a hit! If you go ahead and do the prep work on several sweet potatoes (wash, peel, cut) and store them in the freezer, you can just pull out a few and pop them in the microwave whenever you want them. Add a little olive oil to retain moisture.

5. Fruit. We are still working on using “gentle hands” to transfer fruit to our mouths without destroying it, but I know the taste is not an issue! Very ripe/soft fruits are best.

I can’t wait to see what else my little pincer grasp pro will eat!

October 18, 2011

Recipe: Seasoned Tilapia Fillets

Ok, so I know fish is technically still considered meat, but this is what we ate for Meatless Monday last night. The rules for Meatless Monday in our house are no meat other than fish at dinner. It’s an improvement from our diet of less lean protein choices every night.

I am not a fish lover, so I like mine seasoned to tone down the fishy taste. You can do that without frying your fish! And if you feel the same way about fish, try this recipe. It will not let you down. We served it with a side of brown rice and asparagus. Yum!

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Seasoned-Tilapia-Fillets

October 11, 2011

High Blood Pressure: The Facts

Most of my posts are dedicated to offering tips directly related to improving your diet. However, every now and then I feel the need to remind my readers WHY a healthy diet is important to you, your family, and your future. Every now and then I need to put a little fire under you (and myself). This is not what I would call a feel-good post. It may leave you feeling a little uncomfortable, but hopefully encouraged to move forward with a healthier lifestyle. After all, life is meant to be lived.

What is blood pressure?

First of all, what is blood pressure? It’s the force of blood pushing against arteries as the heart pumps blood. Just like everything in our body that keeps us alive, there is a certain balance we need to maintain. The fancy word for this is homeostasis. Our body works hard to keep everything in balance. However, certain events cause this balance to be out of whack. The longer we stay out of balance, the more damage we are doing to our bodies. Low blood pressure and high blood pressure are both dangerous, but high blood pressure is mostly caused by lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, smoking, etc.).

What is high blood pressure?

HBP, medically known as hypertension, affects 1 in 3 adults in the US. To add to the concern from these statistics, there are rarely symptoms of HBP. You could have it for years without knowing it. Unfortunately, damage to your heart and blood vessels is occurring during that time. It’s very important to get your blood pressure checked regularly. Normal is less than 120/80. HBP is anything over 140/90.

What are the risks?

As I mentioned before, if you have chronic high blood pressure, a very important part of your body is out of balance. The longer you operate that way, the faster you will wear out other parts of your body. Here’s a good example. My first car, a gracious gift from my parents that I was very thankful to have, constantly had something wrong with it. For some reason, it would just never stay in alignment. I finally gave up on taking it to get fixed and drove it around that way. If I took my hand off of the steering wheel while driving straight, I would be headed off the side of the road in about 1 second. Because of constantly having to hold my steering wheel slightly to the right, I wore out the tread on my tires in about a quarter of the time I should have. I was getting new tires WAY too often. It’s a similar, yet far more critical, thing that is happening when you maintain a high blood pressure for and extended period of time. That is why doctors immediately prescribe medication when it is discovered. Here are the risks of having high blood pressure:

Individuals with high blood pressure are:

  • Seven times more likely to suffer a stroke
  • Four times more likely to have a heart attack
  • Five times more likely to die of congestive heart failure
  • Hypertension nearly doubles the risk for heart attack, stroke, and heart failure

Now, it’s tempting to think “well, I have to die of something!”. However, these events are happening sooner than they should.

How is high blood pressure treated?

Because high blood pressure is so dangerous, it is almost always treated immediately with blood pressure lowering medication. However, this does not have to be the long-term treatment plan. Medication is expensive and often times has it’s own side effects. In almost all cases, high blood pressure can be treated with lifestyle changes including smoking cessation, diet, and exercise. Those that are overweight are able to lower blood pressure simply by dropping weight. Others require a reduced sodium-intake. Either way, it is entirely possible to get off of the medication. Suggestions for treatment:

  1. Smoking cessation: call a free quit line and/or visit a website such as floridaquitline.com for free counseling and materials
  2. Exercise: join a gym, hire a personal trainer, find a workout partner, set accountability in place
  3. Diet: see a Registered Dietitian for counseling or advice on a proper diet to follow, follow the DASH diet

You will not go without suffering in this life, but don’t choose to suffer. There are many things you cannot avoid, but there are many you can. Let’s do what we can to live this life to the fullest and enjoy what has been given to us! Take what control you can of your health!

Visit my website, http://www.kellycurrierrd.com, for my services. I am available to do remote counseling through Skype.

October 10, 2011

Meatless Monday Recipe: Sweet Potato, Carrot, Apple, and Red Lentil Soup

Meat contributes heavily to the percentage of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet. It is well known that individuals following a strict vegetarian diet have reduced risk for obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, some types of cancer, and yes, type 2 diabetes. Do you have to be a vegetarian to be healthy? No. Does cutting back on your meat consumption have potential to improve your health? YES!

Take the Meatless Monday challenge. I picked Monday only because it starts with an “M”. You can pick whatever night works for you. I will help you out by posting recipes under the category “Meatless Monday Recipes”.

First up, Sweet Potato, Carrot, Apple and Red Lentil Soup. Follow the link below to the recipe! We are having this for dinner tonight, but I cooked it last night. It’s the perfect fall recipe!

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sweet-potato-carrot-apple-and-red-lentil-soup/detail.aspx

June 15, 2011

Fiber up!

When it comes to dietary fiber there is no controversy and no room for debate. Fiber is good and fiber is needed in your diet. More fiber. The average American undershoots the target by at least 10 grams daily. The Institute of Medicine recommends greater than 38 grams (men) and 25 grams (women) for those aged 50 or younger. It recommends 30 grams (men) and 21 grams (women) for those older than 50. The average American gets 15 grams. Why is fiber so important?

Fiber contributes to good health in many ways. It helps prevent and treat constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis; decreases blood cholesterol levels; and helps to control weight by adding bulk to meals without contributing calories (i.e. enhances earlier satiety). One of the newer and encouraging discoveries is fiber’s role in immune health. Fiber may help to decrease inflammation which is an underlying contributor to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. So how can you increase your fiber intake? Here are some great sources of fiber.

1. Whole grains : when it comes to bread, cereal, rice, pasta, granola bars, and crackers, go whole grain. Replace all refined (white) bread products with whole grains. Great sources of whole grains include barley, buckwheat, oats, rye flour, millet, quinoa, wild rice, wheat flour, bulgur.

2. Bran: found in many grains, bran is very rich in fiber. Sprinkle it over foods such as cereal, cookies, and salads. Different types of bran include oat, wheat, corn, rice, Fiber One bran cereal, All-Bran cereal, and Fiber One chewy bars.

3. Beans: One of the greatest sources of fiber, beans can easily be incorporated into meals or even replace meat in soups and dishes. High fiber beans include lima, fava, black, garbanzo, lentils, kidney, navy, white, french, yellow, and pinto. Most beans have about 15 grams of fiber per cup.

4. Berries: Berries contain several small seeds and therefore contain more fiber than other fruits. Berries are great to serve over cereal or oatmeal. I usually purchase frozen berries and thaw them out in the microwave. This way I am able to purchase in bulk without have to worry about them going bad before I eat them. Remember, frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh! Stock up on raspberries, blueberries, currants, strawberries, boysenberries, and blackberries.

5. Peas: Cow (blackeyes), split, green (frozen), etc. are a great source of fiber.

6. Nuts and seeds: almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, brazil, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, flaxseed (contains 8 g/oz).

7. Brassica vegetables: These include kale, cauliflower, savoy cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and red cabbage.

8. Potatoes: for the most fiber, eat the skin! This is where you find the biggest health benefits.

9. Fruit: all fruits are good sources of fiber. Again, eat the skin if possible.

Which of these can you easily incorporate into your diet? With fiber, you want to increase slowly to reduce gas. For most people, gas from increased fiber intake usually subsides if a higher fiber intake is slowly reached and maintained.

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