Vegetables

Frankentoast- a scary delicious Halloween treat!

Looking for a yummy, healthy Halloween breakfast or snack for the little ones (and you?) Well we have the perfect thing- Frankentoast!

First of all, Frankentoast’s big star is avocado.

Avocado is so silky and smooth, and so delicious! It can be added to a lot of meals (even smoothies and cake!) since it takes on the flavor of whatever you put it with. I love avocado, egg, and Mexican Quinoa toast for breakfast!

It also has SO many health benefits. It has “good” fat (these are monounsaturated fats) that is associated with cardiovascular health. It also is thought to help with blood sugar control, inflammation, and satiety. Satiety has benefits on weight control because you’re fuller for longer, and may consume less calories later in the day. (But remember- it IS high in fat content, so intake should still be controlled.)

Besides avocado, the other ingredients are whole grain bread, black beans (both good sources of fiber!) and American cheese slices (a great source of calcium to build strong bones.) The fat and fiber content will work to keep you and your kiddo full, while also providing them with a great flavor!

Ingredients:

1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup black beans
American cheese
Whole grain toast

Directions:

1. Toast your bread and smear the avocado slices onto the toast.

2.Mash your black beans with a spoon until they look like this! This was really hard for me, but I bet it will be a lot easier for you, since you’ll probably warm the beans up first. ūüėČ

3. Cut your cheese into 1 inch wide circles for the whites of the eyes.

4. Now place some of the black beans onto the top of the toast, long-ways, to create Frankentoast’s “hair.” (It always grosses me out [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Honey Gone Green Muffins

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, there’s a GREAT excuse for all of your food to be green- and it’s a good way to get some yummy greens in your little one’s diet. Celebrate the day with tons of green food, and see if you can introduce some new flavors and favorites for your kids.

To help out with that, we’re bringing you another green recipe this week. Last week we made Spinach Pizza Crust! This week, there was so much spinach left over that I decided to use it for Honey Gone Green Muffins! Don’t let the fact that the secret ingredient in these is spinach make you think that they’re not absolutely delicious. It’s similar to a green smoothie, in the fact that the spinach flavor is completely masked. You get all of the health ¬†benefits of the spinach, with no compromise on the taste.

Spinach is a great source of Vitamins A, C, K, and E, magnesium, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and zinc, among others. And being so low in calories (7 calories per cup), makes it very nutrient dense. Aside from all of the vitamins and minerals in this leafy green, it has notable phytonutrient content- phytonutrients are antioxidants that protect against yucky free radicals in the environment, and act as anti-inflammatories and cancer fighting agents.

Long story short (kind of)- it has numerous health benefits, can brighten up a smoothie (or muffin!), makes a beautiful salad, and it’s flavor can easily be masked by other ingredients.¬†If you’re trying to find a new food to experiment with- make it spinach. And try out these Honey Gone Green Muffins while you’re at it!

Recipe for Honey Gone Green Muffins:

Yields 2 dozen mini muffins [...]

Go Green With Your Pizza this St. Patrick’s Day

You know what I love? Pizza. A big, gooey, cheesy, greasy pizza! Dipped in ranch dressing. But pizza isn’t a food you can eat every day. I mean, you can. But what’s that saying about everything being permissible, but not everything being beneficial? Yeah, I think that applies here.

Except, PLOT TWIST:

Spinach Crust Pizza! (Yes, pizza can be healthy!) Similar to cauliflower crust pizza, I give this pizza my official stamp of approval. The crust only has 3 ingredients, and you can personalize the toppings to meet your taste. Another fun idea could be to incorporate a weekly pizza night into your family’s routine. One night a week you bake a couple of healthy crusts, and have a “pizza bar” set up in your kitchen where the little ones can help create, everyone gets to personalize their pizza, and maybe you’ll even discover some new taste preferences in the process.

Your healthy, tasty pizza bar can include anything- different kinds of cheeses, healthy sauces, bell peppers, onions, different cuts of meat, mushrooms, spinach (too much spinach isn’t a thing), avocado, black beans, broccoli- the list goes on and on! Get creative and get cooking!

Spinach crust:

Ingredients:

2 cups of spinach
1 egg
1 8 oz. bag of mixed Italian cheese
Salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs of choice

Directions:

1. In a food processor or good blender, pulse the spinach until it is a smooth paste. I HIGHLY recommend a food processor. The blender takes a little while (trust me), but it can be done. Pulse, pulse, pulse until the spinach is nice, moist, and paste-y.
 
2. Add the egg and seasonings of your choice in- I used salt, pepper, Pizza Seasoning and Herbs de Provence. Pulse some more. Add in [...]

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 [...]

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

 

 

 

Don’t forget your fresh vegetables when you go to the store to do your Christmas dinner grocery shopping! In the midst of all the cans (cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of celery- it never ends!), bread, and sweet foods we buy to stock up for Christmas Day, a fresh vegetable tray can be a good change of pace. And this is a veggie tray your little chef will love to help out with! (Just make sure to keep an eye on the tooth picks!)
what you’ll need:

– 3-4 heads of broccoli for the base of your tree

– a handful of cherry tomatoes

– squash or bell peppers, diced

– styrofoam cone, or blocks of styrofoam

– 1 long wooden skewer

– toothpicks

1. If using styrofoam blocks, cut them into the shape of a pyramid.

2. Stick a wooden skewer down the middle to hold everything in place.

3. Trim the heads of broccoli and stick a toothpick in the center of individual florets, as shown, and stick them into the Styrofoam. I found it was easiest to start form the bottom.

 

 

4. After the “tree is done” stick toothpicks into the tree where you want your big “ornaments”(tomatoes) to go. 5. The stick the tomatoes onto the toothpick.

6. Do the same with the squash.

7. I thought it would be a nice touch to add a vegetable star on the top of the tree. (Much easier said than done!) I managed to get a decent looking one with a little trimming.

This can be set in the refrigerator until ready for serving and set with some carrots and cheese cubes for a complete appetizer tray!

Merry Christmas,

Indulge In Nutrition!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

How To Bake Spaghetti Squash

I had never made spaghetti squash until this week — it’s now my new favorite meal when I don’t have time for a lot of fuss.
Spaghetti squash is a great alternative to pasta and really allows you to enjoy the flavors in your sauce or topping you choose.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, grab your squash and check out this quick one minute video on how to prepare spaghetti squash.