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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. ūüôā

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 [...]

Autumn Crunch Muffins

As a parent, I feel like you’re always looking for ways to sneak whole, nutritious foods into your little one’s diet. And why wouldn’t you be? The toddler and early school years are such important years in so many areas, and most notably in physical and cognitive development. The vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your child consumes during these years build the foundation for the rest of their life!

But getting said nutrients into said child, is often times more of a task than we would like- especially if your child isn’t used to it. If your kiddo LOVES veggies, then way to go! If your kid doesn’t- it might not be your fault. We all have natural taste tendencies that we are born into this world with (sugar and fat being two big ones!), and sometimes vegetables just don’t make the cut. Especially when you’re a child and you don’t understand what all of those vegetables can do for you.

So we improvise.

We food sneak. What I mean by this is, we find ways to incorporate more fruits and veggies into the food we serve our kid, without letting them know it’s in there. Some days your kid just isn’t going to eat a carrot- and that might make for a frustrating meal. But if there is one thing I’ve learned about kids, it’s that they dislike something one day and they love it the next (make up your minds, right?!) But in the meantime, what if you found a way to get them to eat a carrot with them being none the wiser?

That’s exactly what you can do with INDULGE in Nutrition’s Autumn Crunch Muffins.

First of all, who doesn’t love a good muffin? Seriously. People [...]

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 [...]

INDULGE in Nutrition’s 5 Best Weight Loss Tips

It’s the end of April, which means summer is quickly approaching (despite what the weather may be trying to get us to believe!) And the impending summer brings with it visions of building sand castles with the little ones, wading in the cool water, barbecues and picnics with loved ones, and…those shorts. Or maybe that swim suit or tank top that fits just a little too snug for comfort (literally).

We know it comes with the territory- having babies and being responsible for a human life is a huge job that seems to leave little time for thinking about yourself, much less taking time to spend 5+ hours a week in the gym and the kitchen. And it’s honestly probably not something you think about (or should be thinking about) right after child birth. You have babies to nurse, toddlers to feed, a house to clean, maybe a career to further, and relationships to maintain- and it’s too easy to get lost in the mumbo-jumbo of weight loss.

In today’s world, there is¬†a LOT of contradicting information and a lot of fad diets telling you how to lose weight, and it can be overwhelming.¬†But here at INDULGE in Nutrition, our goal is to help you separate fact from fad and give you science-based information that you can actually apply in your life.¬†Fitting into your pre-baby skinny jeans or weighing 120 lbs. isn’t the goal here-¬†¬†the goal is to be healthy, happy, and full of energy to play with those kiddos! Here are 5 of our BEST factual weight loss tips to help you¬†do that, just in time for summer fun! (And fitting back into those cute shorts is just an added bonus ūüôā )

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, saut√© 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 [...]

Healthy Pan-Grilled Chicken and Squash Nuggets

After a fun¬†weekend filled with friends, Halloween parties, Aggie football, and too much candy (oops!), my alarm went off way too soon on Monday morning. I’m sure this is every weekend for you moms! You know the days I’m talking about- the ones where you hit snooze one too many times, leaving you running late.

On days like that, having a grab and go meal or snack for the kids (and yourself) is a life saver! Sunday is my favorite day to prep all of my food for the week, and that normally lasts me until Thursday (my busiest day when I’m not home to cook.) Being able to have a healthy snack ready to grab on Thursday morning as I’m headed out the door keeps me from having to buy fast food, and is great on my tummy, body, and¬†my dad’s bank account. ūüėČ

One of my favorite grab-and-go’s to make are Pan-Grilled Chicken and Squash Nuggets. They are easy, have two main ingredients, and can be personalized based on your taste. These nuggets are another way you can sneak in vegetables to your child’s diet, too! You can use ground chicken or turkey, although the chicken is more visually appealing. You can also use zucchini instead of squash, or any other moist vegetable. Season according to personal preference.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb ground chicken
1 c shredded squash (1 whole squash makes about 1 cup of shredded squash)
olive  oil for pan
spices and herbs of choice (I used garlic salt, italian seasoning, cumin, and chili powder)

Recipe:

1. Shred squash into a medium sized bowl. Heat a pan over medium heat and add olive oil.

2. Add ground chicken to squash and mix well.

3. Add seasoning.
4. Using hands [...]

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. ūüėČ

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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    Fuel Up the Right Way This Week – 6 Easy Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Fuel Up the Right Way This Week – 6 Easy Healthy Breakfast Ideas

This week we wanted to share with our readers an assortment of quick and healthy breakfast recipes from some our favorite blogs on the web. These posts can all be converted into make ahead, grab and go breakfasts, or are quick to throw together in the mornings. They feature a fruit or vegetable, are minimally processed, and have no or low sugar. What more could you ask for?

 

This Creamy, Dreamy Tropical Smoothie recipe from My Recipes is quick to create. The only sugar comes from the yummy pineapple and the healthy greek yogurt! You could easily add spinach or kale to get an extra serving of veggies in your kids to start their day off with.

 

Looking for something a little more savory, but still just as easy? Mary at Barefeet In The Kitchen has created a delicious¬†Bacon, Potato, and Vegetable Breakfast Hash. You¬†could personalize this recipe to include your family’s favorite vegetables. Simply chop your vegetables at the beginning of the week (I do all of this on Sundays),¬†refrigerate¬†them¬†in an airtight container to keep fresh, and just throw it all in a skillet each morning with eggs and seasoning.

If you’re looking for a make ahead muffin, Sugar Free Mom, Brenda, has a great recipe for you!¬†Sugar Free & Dairy Free Carrot Zucchini Muffins¬†are a breeze to make and freeze or store in an airtight container to use throughout the week as breakfast, lunch box additions, or after school snacks. The muffins use vegetables as their star, are made with clean ingredients, and also have a gluten free option!

 

4-Ingredient Almond Butter Cookies¬†from Melissa at My Whole Food Life can be made using any kind of nut butter, and can trick your kiddos into thinking they’re [...]

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    Childhood Obesity Awareness Month + Easy Carrot & Oat Cookies

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month + Easy Carrot & Oat Cookies

If you’ve gotten a chance to read our September newsletter (subscribe here), you know that September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

Studies and statistics tell us that over 17% of the nation’s children and teenagers were considered obese in 2012- a figure that is increasing every year. These kids have an increased risk for Type 2 Diabetes, heart diseases, several types of cancers, joint problems, sleep apnea, asthma, and high blood pressure. They are also likely to experience a lowered self-esteem and social discomfort.

Those numbers and facts are frightening, to say the least. So what can you as a parent do to help fight childhood obesity in your own home?¬†If your child is overweight or obese, it is important¬†to¬†scale back¬†their calories (mostly from added fats and sugars) but to also allow them enough calories for normal growth and development.¬† Find ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and nuts and legumes into your daily menu. Kids aren’t¬†famous¬†for their vegetable intake, but there are ways to sneak it into their food without them knowing.

My mom is notorious among our friends and family for her Vegetable Cakes.¬†She uses box cake mix, eggs, water, and tons of grated vegetables like squash, zucchini, carrots, and cabbage.¬†¬†People LOVE¬†them! The trick is that she doesn’t tell them what kind of cake it is until after they try it (and love it).

Today I want to share a similar recipe for a cookie chock-full of veggies with no sugar (besides that from natural ingredients).

I’m not sure if more of this dough went in my mouth or in the oven, but they taste great either way. This is one cookie you DON’T have to feel guilty about ūüôā
Natural Carrot & Oat Cookies

What’s At the End of Your Rainbow?

This week we’re mixing up the usual kid’s snack to incorporate LOTS and LOTS of VEGGIES!

Even adults tend to mostly consume fruit as our main source of produce. Let’s face it- it tastes better to most people, especially children.

However, vegetables provide us with so many essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that we just cannot get from fruits alone. The vegetable we’re making our superstar this week is…. BELL PEPPERS!

Bell peppers are slightly sweet, crunchy, and crisp. They make a great snack when eaten raw or a nice addition to a meal when sautéed.

One medium-sized bell pepper contains 159% of the Vitamin C you need in a day. It also contains 15% of the Vitamin B-6, and 8% of the Vitamin A you need. They are high in carotenoids that support the immune system in various ways, and antioxidants that support heart health and good vision.

Try this lucky treat to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day AND help your little one fill their tummy with yummy bell peppers while simultaneously sneaking in nutrients.

How to Make It:

Just slice the ends off of your bell peppers and then slice the remainder into rings. Cut the rings a little more than half way across to get an arch.

Next, whip up some yummy guacamole (I like to use 2 avocados and one roma tomato, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little cumin).

Fill a container with the guac, and then take two cauliflower florets to use as your “clouds.” Stick the cauliflower florets into the guacamole and then place the bell pepper arches like shown above.

Wasn’t that easy?! Mine, not so much. I made a bit of a mess(I felt like I was 4 making this snack), but once I got the hang [...]