Nutrition Facts

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    Thanksgiving Muffins- So Good You’ll Want to Gobble Them Up!

Thanksgiving Muffins- So Good You’ll Want to Gobble Them Up!

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Now for the important things!

There’s nothing better than a well-executed holiday-themed snack. But sometimes we make sacrifices where health is concerned in order to do that. But lucky for you, we have just the solution.

Are you looking for the perfect snack to make for the class Thanksgiving party or family celebration? You know the snack that features just the right balance between creativity, health, and taste? We’ve got the snack for you!

A few weeks ago, we shared our delicious Autumn Crunch Muffins with you. This week we’re tweaking that recipe a little, whipping up a delicious pumpkin frosting, and showing you how to decorate them like the mascot of Thanksgiving- the turkey!

Gobble gobble.

These are sure to be a hit with everyone, especially the little ones (and their parents!)

Let’s take a second first to talk about this icing. One word- YUM! Okay, two words. YUM and EASY. And also good for you! Did you know that just 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree has 300% of the Vitamin A we need in a day?! Vitamin A is good for all kinds of stuff- it promotes good vision, healthy hair, skin, and nails, and boosts the immune system (Vitamin C isn’t the only super hero around here.) Vitamin A deficiencies are actually the leading cause of night blindness.

If you do the math, you can get all of the Vitamin A you need in a day from less than 1/4 cup of pumpkin. (Have you headed to go get your PSL from Starbucks yet?) (I’m kidding, PSLs don’t even have real [...]

Crockpot Mexican Quinoa

CROCK POT RECIPE AHEAD!

The only thing easier than a one pot dinner, is a one CROCK POT dinner. This crock pot Mexican Quinoa dinner is a breeze to throw together, packs in a ton of nutrients, and requires little fuss- perfect for a busy week night, or great to prepare on the weekend to have for snacks and meals throughout the week!

Quinoa is a very nutrient-rich food!

In one cup of cooked quinoa, there are 5 grams of dietary fiber (important for regularity, gut health, and cardiovascular health), 4 grams of fat, and a whopping 8 grams of protein. It also has a significant amount of thiamin, riboflavin, and folate, along with magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, iron, copper, and zinc. Magnesium contributes to healthy blood vessels, riboflavin to higher energy levels, and phosphorous to developing healthy bones and teeth. Manganese is also involved in bone formation and calcium absorption. These are just SOME of the benefits that quinoa can offer you.

My favorite part about this crock pot Mexican quinoa dinner, other than its nutrient content of course, is its versatility. You can eat it as a meal, add chicken to get more protein, serve it as a snack or a side, mix it in with eggs or salad, or put it on toast mixed with avocado and cheese. And I’m sure there are plenty of other ways! What great bang for your quinoa buck. 🙂

What you need to make Crock Pot Mexican Quinoa:

2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed well**
1 can no sodium added black beans, drained
3/4 can whole kernel corn, drained
3/4 can Rotel tomatoes
1/2 can chick peas, drained
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt

**Quinoa [...]

Is Your Salad Skinny?

One of the most common meals that come to mind when you think of healthy eating or starting a diet is a salad. It’s tempting to think that anything involving a bowl of lettuce is the best choice for cutting calories, but we often don’t take into account all of the things we add to that lettuce. With the literal hundreds of different ingredient combinations you can whip up and call a salad, it can be difficult to keep track of exactly how it all ads up. If we aren’t careful, it’s really easy for that skinny salad to become not so skinny. And a fat salad just kind of defeats the purpose, right?

Listed here are a few ways that calories can sneak into that salad, along with ways to foolproof your salad.

1. Using a lot of cheese:

I know I can’t be the only one guilty of this? Sometimes I think it’s okay to put 3 big scoops of cheese on my salad…and while my taste buds might definitely appreciate it, my waist line does not. And an appropriate serving size for a salad is more like 2 tablespoons. Oops. It’s also important to pay attention to the kind of cheese you’re using- try low-fat, lower-calorie options like feta or part-skim mozzarella.

2. Wrong sources of protein:

Adding high-fat protein choices, like ham or bacon can increase the calorie count in your salad fairly quickly! Opt for a leaner source like grilled chicken breast, grass-fed beef, tuna, salmon, or even a non-meat pick like black beans or tofu.

3. High calorie salad dressings/too much salad dressing:

Have you ever looked at a bottle of Ranch dressing? I use Ranch dressing as an example because I live in the [...]

Your Child and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

You’ve probably heard a lot about omega-3 fatty acids. You know you can find them in fish and other healthy fats, and you know you need them- but you might wonder what exactly being an ‘omega-3’ fatty acid means. Well, without going into all of the science-y details, it has to do with the number and position of certain double bonds that hold the fatty acid together.

Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient. This means that we have to have them, but our body doesn’t make them so we have to make sure we are getting them in our diet. Some common omega-3’s are DHA  and EPA.

Okay, so now we know what they are, but why are they good for us?

While omega-3’s are pretty well known for their benefits to the heart(like lowering the risk of coronary heart disease and the amount of “bad” cholesterol), they have a lot of other MEGA benefits as well. They can also help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of certain cancers and arthritis. They can help increase bone strength and decrease the chances of developing osteoporosis. They are also crucial for cognitive development in children and infants in the womb, as well as for eye health and helping the body absorb other nutrients. Some studies have even shown that omega-3’s can help slightly improve ADHD symptoms and depression in children.

Recommended Adequate Intakes vary at each stage of childhood:

0 to 12 months: 0.5 grams/day
1 to 3 years: 0.7 grams/day
4 to 8 years: 0.9 grams/day
9 to 13 years (boys): 1.2 grams/day
9 to 13 years (girls): 1.0 grams/day
14 to 18 years (boys): 1.6 grams/day
14 to 18 years (girls): 1.1 grams/day

A lot of people tend to add [...]

Incredible Hulk Juice (or a Clean Green Smoothie for Mom)

If you are subscribed to our INDULGE in Nutrition monthly newsletter you got to read all about National Nutrition Month(NNM) which has been going on throughout the month of March. The theme for NNM this year is “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle,” and that is exactly what we have been trying to give you the resources to do! There have been a lot of green things in this kitchen this month- we hope you are loving it. And more importantly, we hope you are teaching your kids to love it!

Before we move on to Easter fun on this blog, we wanted to share one more green recipe! Green smoothies are quick and very easy to personalize. They are also packed full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients (all in one drink)! Here are some of the benefits of the ingredients in this particular smoothie:

Dark, leafy greens: Baby spinach, romaine lettuce, and kale- These all promote good blood clotting, healthy vision, immune function, and skin and bone health. The fiber content improves digestive function (hello roughage)! They have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes, improve muscle strength, lower the risk of certain types of cancer, detoxify the body, and act as anti-inflammatory agents. They are also good for women hoping to get pregnant (thanks to the folate content).
Green apples: Can lower your risk of chronic diseases, promote weight loss, and regulate blood sugar. It also is very good for your heart!
Celery stalks: Thanks to it antioxidant content, celery can help us have healthy cells, blood vessels, and organs. It reduces inflammation, can be soothing to our nervous system, regulates pH in the body (no one wants to be acidic), and lowers blood pressure and LDL(“bad” cholesterol. And [...]

Pasta-Free Spaghetti

At INDULGE in Nutrition, we like to bring you meals that pack in the health benefits, but that don’t take hours of preparation. That’s exactly what this Pasta-Free Zucchini Spaghetti has to offer.

Not only is this bright green member of the squash family a tasty alternative to wheat spaghetti noodles, but it is also full of plenty of nutrients that can have a great impact on your health. Some of those include:

Feeling fuller for longer thanks to the fiber content
Possible weight loss
Healthy skin
Lowered blood pressure
Lower cholesterol
Reduced risk of heart attack and/or stroke
Anti-inflammatory effects on the body- good for joints, the respiratory system, and other inflammatory diseases
Cancer fighting properties

And those are just some of the benefits! You can also bake it, sautĂ© it, eat it on salad, add it to casseroles, or just enjoy it by itself with a nice dip. Today- we’re spiralizing it!

You can find a vegetable spiralizer on Amazon or in most stores- they are affordable, super easy to use, and very useful! Plus, it’s fun!

First you take raw zucchini and stick it in the spiralizer, then just begin twisting. Long “noodles” will start to form. You can pull the zucchini out when your noodles get long enough, and then start over. Two zucchini took me about one minute to spiralize.

Then heat olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini to the pan and add your seasoning (I used Herbs de Provence and it was magnificent.) Sauté for 3-5 minutes, until the zucchini is soft and bright green.

Remove from heat and add pasta sauce and ground beef for spaghetti, a light alfredo sauce, or a small amount of cheese. OR leave [...]

Jack-O-Lantern Citrus and Granola Parfait

Did you know that even if you get the recommended amount of calcium in your diet, you might not be absorbing that calcium? If you’re not absorbing calcium (through your intestines and into the blood), then your body can’t use it. Calcium is most known for strong bones and teeth, but it also helps with muscle contraction and nerve function, blood vessel constriction, and insulin release. It can play a role in preventing certain types of cancers, bone diseases, and high blood pressure. But it can only do all of these things if it is first being absorbed into the blood.

It’s a well-proven, but not so well known fact that Vitamin C (and others) increases absorption of calcium. You can find Vitamin C in foods like oranges, mangoes, berries, pineapple, watermelon, and many more. Try incorporating some of these foods with your calcium containing foods (yogurt, cheese, fortified cereals, almond milk, leafy greens, and salmon) to get the most bang for your calcium buck. 😉

A great recipe to try out this vitamin/mineral pair is this Jack-o-lantern Citrus and Granola Parfait! Start Halloween morning off in a right (and fun) way this year by making this cute halloween themed breakfast before the kids head off to school. This recipe feeds 2 but can easily be multiplied to fit your needs.

 

What you’ll need:

2 Large Navel oranges
1 c Greek Yogurt – use plain, or look for lower sugar options like Yoplait 100
1/2 c granola (I used ‘Honey Gone Nuts’ granola from HEB’s Bulk section, but any will work)
10-12 rasperries
1/4 c mixed nuts and dried fruit
Optional: honey or agave for topping

How to do it:

1. Slice the top part of a large orange off (about 1-1.5″ down)

2. The peel of the [...]

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    What Does Your Steak Eat?

What Does Your Steak Eat?

People say, “you are what you eat.” But an even truer statement is, “you are what you eat eats.” This is something we often don’t think about when picking out our meats. We tend to think that meat is meat no matter what the label.

Generally speaking, there are grass-fed cattle and grain-fed cattle. Cows that are grass-fed are left to live off the land until the time of slaughter, but grain-fed cows are fed corn or grain-based feeds to fatten them up faster. They are also given hormones and drugs to speed up the fattening process even more. Yuck!

This difference in diets of cows also affects the nutrient composition of their meat (and our food!) Grass-fed beef has fewer grams of fat, and since fat has 9 calories/gram, it has less total calories too. While the content of omega-6 fatty acids in each kind of beef is pretty similar, grass-fed beef has a much higher content of Omega-3 fatty acids and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). Omega-3 and CLA are both known for their healthy effects on the heart. Omega-3 fatty acids are the “good fats” we hear about and can help lower chances of high blood pressure and heart attacks, and CLA is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

A common misconception is that Omega-6 fatty acids are less important or not as good for you as Omega-3’s. This isn’t true! We actually need Omega-6’s too, but the typical American gets way more than we need! (Our ratio of Omega-6:3 averages 20:1-15:1, when the AHA recommends 1:1 – 5:1). Grass-fed beef contains the Omega-6 we need, with a much better ratio of Omega-3 to balance it!

Grass-fed beef also contains more Vitamin A, [...]

Sugar and Its Contribution to Childhood Obesity

Indulge In Nutrition has been doing our part in helping spread awareness of childhood obesity during the month of September. Our September newsletter featured background information on Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, fit tips, and recipes. The month’s blog posts have also brought you back to school tips to keep healthy and active, along with a yummy recipe for Carrot & Oat Cookies!

This week, we wanted to educate you on the added sugars you may not even know you (and your little ones!) might be consuming.

“Added sugar,” as you could probably guess, is just what it sounds like – any sugar added during processing or preparation that is not naturally occurring.

The CDC reports that in 2008, boys consumed an average of 16.3% of their calories from added sugars, while girls consumed an average of 15.5% of their calories from added sugars. As kids age, that percentage goes up. These number have declined since 2008, but still remain higher than the recommended intakes by health organizations.

Some of the concerns of consuming so many added sugars is that our kids are replacing more nutrient dense foods with those high-energy added sugars (also called “non-nutritive calories.”) There are also studies that show there is a relationship between increased of consumption of added sugars and obesity. Not to say that sugars cause obesity, but they may contribute to obesity and all of its negative health effects.

You know the common places for added sugars- junk food, desserts, sodas, sweetened drinks, and candy. But what about all of that HIDDEN added sugar? Added sugars (and their non-nutritive calories) are hiding in all kinds of food we don’t even know about. Products like: dried fruits and raisins, ketchup, other sauces, and dressings, “fat-free” products, fruit and vegetable juices, and [...]

Are You Drinking Your Green Tea the Right Way?

When I was in high school, my mom started making me green tea lattes before school every morning.

It was a nice sweet treat, a little filling, and provided a little bit of caffeine to start my day out. I never thought much about what I was consuming, and then green tea seemed to be a hot topic in the health world- everywhere I looked, I saw a new article telling us to sip on green tea throughout the day for a number of different benefits that range from a revved up metabolism to clear skin to more energy. And while a hot cup of brewed green tea does have some great benefits, what if I told you that you were missing out on the best benefits of all?
When we brew a cup of tea, we generally steep the leaves in hot water and throw them away. But when we drink our tea this way, we are actually throwing away the most beneficial “part” of the tea— the leaves!

The benefits of green tie lie in the leaves and can’t be extracted by water. So what’s a girl to do in a situation like this, you ask? No, you don’t have to start eating your tea leaves…

I present to you, Matcha.
  

Matcha is a green tea powder, made in Japan from plants carefully grown and protected in the shade. At harvest,the leaves are collected and then steamed, air-dried, and ground into a fine, chalky, vibrant green powder.

Due to the careful growing, harvesting, and preparation processes (and the fact that Japan doesn’t import a lot of its tea) this powder can be somewhat expensive. However, it lasts much longer than a traditional box of tea bags because the serving [...]