Tired of Salads? Try This!

Salads can be very boring.  In fact sometimes I find that I stop eating them because they’re not appealing.  I know it’s surprising to hear that from a dietitian!  Well the other night, my husband requested salad and I came up with a winning combination that left both our taste buds and tummies satisfied!

In the Mix:

  • Arugula
  • Carrots
  • Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Avocado
  • Chickpeas
  • Wheat berries

I dressed my salad after I took the photograph.  I used a little bit of Annie’s Goddess dressing thinned out with balsamic vinegar.  I absolutely love this salad dressing but be careful because it’s quite calorically dense at 120 calories per serving.  A little goes a long way!

Have you ever had wheat berries before?   I bought hard red winter wheat berries from my local supermarket (Fairway) and simmered them in water for about 1 hour until they had the right chewiness texture to them.  They are so delicious!

Wheat Berries Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup cooked):

150 calories, 1 gram fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber and 6 grams protein

What’s your favorite salad combination?  Have you ever had wheat berries before?


Another Kitchen Staple: Coffee

My morning cup of joe is probably what gets me out of bed in the morning.  Well that and my 6 month old daughter “telling me” that it’s feeding time.

I gave up coffee during my pregnancy.  Not that you have to, but it sort of made me nauseous and I was able to phase it out and had a few decaf lattes when I was craving a warm drink.  However, sleepless nights as a new mom got me back into my old habit and I’m here to tell you it’s not a bad thing to drink coffee!

Why I love coffee:

  • There’s something ritualistic about a morning cup of joe
  • I love the taste of good coffee (bad coffee is just…bad!)
  • It gets me going in the morning

Why coffee is good for you:

  • some studies have shown that coffee drinkers are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.
  • some studies have also shown that coffee drinkers have a lower incidence of some cancers, heart rhythm problems and strokes.
  • it contains antioxidants which can fight off the bad free radicals roaming in your body.

The downside of coffee:

  • There are a few substances in coffee that have been shown to slightly increase cholesterol.  Filtered coffee removes these substances but they are not removed in the french press or espresso drinks.
  • It may make you jittery, anxious and irritable
  • It can disrupt your sleep

Bottom Line:

  • Don’t become a coffee drinker just to reap the benefits.
  • If you are a coffee drinker, do so in moderation: 1-2 cups/day
  • Watch out for the coffee add-ins: the milk and creamers and sugar can turn this rather good beverage into something very unhealthy.  Choose fat free or low fat milk and limit sugar.
  • Make your own coffee you will save a ton of money and you will help save the environment by not using the throw away cups!

Tomorrow’s Post: Can You Drink Coffee while Breastfeeding?


A Staple In My Kitchen: Hummus

I think a lot people are curious as to what is inside a dietitian’s fridge.  I like buy a variety of foods to keep things interesting, however, there are definitely staples that I almost always have.

Today’s highlight is: Hummus!

Hummus is a spread that is made of chickpeas, tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.  There can be variations of hummus with additions of roasted red peppers, spicy peppers, extra garlic or lemon juice, and many more.

Why do I love hummus?

  • The flavor is amazing
  • It’s made from healthy fat (olive oil and tahini)
  • It’s filling due to protein (chickpeas), fiber (chickpeas) and healthy fat (olive oil and tahini)
  • It is incredibly universal

Here are my favorite ways to enjoy hummus:

  • As a spread on a sandwich (if you substitute hummus for mayo you will 60-80 calories per tablespoon!)
  • As a dip for vegetables, crackers or pita
  • As a salad dressing (thin with vinegar)

My favorite kind is Sabra…but do note that it has more calories and fat than the others.  That’s why it tastes so yummy!  It has about 80 calories per serving verse the 40-50 calories that most brands have.

Nutrition Tidbit:

  • Even though hummus is a health food you can definitely overdo it!
  • Each container has 8 servings, which adds up to 320-640 calories for the whole thing!
  • Portion out a proper serving on a plate and then dip away.

What’s your favorite type of hummus?

Should You Drink Juice?

I get this question all the time:  “Should I drink juice?”

The answer is two-fold.

100% fruit juice has a lot of the nutrition components of actual fruit.  You are getting various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  If you love juice then you should stick to 100% fruit juice – avoid any fruit drinks and fruit cocktails that are artificially flavored water instead of actual juice.  There’s nothing wrong with 100% fruit juice…you just have to be mindful of calories!

Calories in 8 oz of Juice:

  • Orange Juice: 110 calories
  • Grapefruit Juice: 100 calories
  • Apple Juice: 120 calories
  • Cranberry Juice: 140 calories
  • Grape Juice: 160 calories

Juice is fabulous for athletes and those looking to gain weight because you can add in a lot of extra calories without filling up.  However, juice might not be the best choice for those looking to lose weight or those with diabetes or other sugar sensitivites.

Juice does not fill you up as much as fruit will.  Why is this?

Juice is missing the fiber that the fruit has! So the next time you have the opportunity to choose orange juice or an orange for breakfast, choose the fruit.  You’ll feel more full and have consumed less calories!

Calories Saved If You Choose Fruit over Juice

  • 1 medium orange instead of a 1 cup of juice: 50 calories
  • 1/2 grapefruit instead of 1 cup of juice: 60 calories
  • 1 medium apple instead of 1 cup of juice: 25 calories
  • 1 cup cranberries instead of 1 cup of juice: 100 calories
  • 1 cup grapes instead of 1 cup of juice: 60 calories

There’s a good chance you will save even more calories because it’s easy to drink more than 8 oz of juice!  But you probably won’t sit down to 2 or 3 oranges at a one time!

If you have a really hard time giving up juice, my recommendation is to lighten it up.  Take 2 oz of juice and mix it with 8 oz of water or seltzer.  You will get accustomed to the less sweet taste over time.

Do you drink juice on a daily basis?

Halloween Sugar Coma?

Are you feeling completely exhausted this morning?  Did you totally overdo it on the halloween treats this weekend?  If so, do not give into depriving yourself today to makeup for it!

You may be thinking:

  • I’m going to skip breakfast because I’m not hungry and I need to save calories
  • I’m going to have a salad for lunch
  • I’ll skip my afternoon snack
  • I’ll have a frozen dinner tonight
  • I’m going to hit the gym hard!

If these are your thoughts, you may want to rethink your plan.

By skipping meals and eating very lightly but working out hard you are going to be starving, lightheaded and without energy by the evening.  Then all your plans to “be good” will go down the drain.

Start the day off well.  Remember some less healthy choices one day does not unwind an entire week of good eating.  It’s ok, move on!  Here are some tips for the day:

  • Do not skip breakfast!  If you’re not hungry have something small like a piece of fruit with a few nuts.  Try to get in some fiber and protein.
  • Have a balanced lunch: vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and some healthy fat.
  • Enjoy a healthy afternoon snack: an easy idea would be low fat cheese plus a piece of fruit.
  • Finish with a healthy but satisfying dinner: a big salad to start, lean protein, whole grains and vegetables.
  • One thing you can do is skip the treat today since you did have enough this past weekend.  Forgo the wine, the extra bread and the sweets that you may normally partake in.

You’ll feel so much better tomorrow morning if you follow these tips!

What was your favorite halloween treat?

For me it was the buckeye I had at a halloween party last night.  Buckeyes are chocolate peanut butter balls…so yummy!

Here’s a photo of Hannah dressed up as a cow

Roasted Radishes

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of radishes in my CSA basket.  I was simply washing, slicing and eating them in salads, but that got old pretty quickly!  So I decided to try to roast them, which is my favorite way of preparing vegetables.

I washed and sliced the radishes and placed them on a baking sheet with some olive oil, salt and pepper.  Baked at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes and they were fantastic!  The pepperiness of the radish faded and a sweetness came out from the caramelization.  I added the them to a salad, and I loved the warm vegetable on top of cold lettuce leaves!

Radish Nutrition Information (1 cup raw)

  • 19 calories
  • 0 grams fat
  • 4 grams carbohydrate
  • 2 grams fiber
  • 1 gram protein
  • They are a very good source of vitamin C, Folate, and Potassium

Have you ever tried roasted radishes?

To Breastfeed or Not

As a new mom I’ve learned how much pressure new moms feel to breastfeed.  As a dietitian breastfeeding was something I always wanted to do since I know how great it is for mom and baby.  However, it does not always go as smoothly as everyone hopes.  Luckily, Hannah is a good eater and we haven’t had any issues thus far.

The pros of breastfeeding for baby:

  • optimal nutrition
  • it’s easy for the baby to digest
  • strong immune component for baby
  • reduced risk of respiratory infection, gastrointestinal infections, asthma, obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, hypercholesteremia and childhood lukemia
  • reduced rates of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
  • promotes bonding with mother
  • reduced rates of allergies and intolerances
  • helps promote proper jaw and teeth development
  • may increase intelligence and school performance through adolescence

The pros of breastfeeding for mom:

  • it’s free and doesn’t involve any preparation
  • promotes strong bond with baby
  • helps shrink uterus
  • helps mom return to pre-pregnancy size sooner
  • reduces postpartum bleeding
  • decreased risk for: type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression
  • improved bone density

Even though there are so many benefits of breastfeeding it does not mean that formula is bad!  You have to make the right choice for your own lifestyle, comfort level and medical situation.  Some women just don’t produce enough milk.  Some babies are not able to latch on properly.  Some women are not around their babies enough to do so and pumping may not be realistic.  Whatever your reason is, it’s important not to feel guilty if you are not able to breastfeed.

Since I have returned to work part-time I pump enough milk to provide Hannah with breast milk even when I’m not home.  I also give her bottles when we’re out in public which makes me more comfortable.  Again you have to do what is right for YOU!  This has been working really well for us and I hope to continue doing this till she is at least 6 months and I’ll evaluate at that point whether I want to continue or not.

Coming up in my next post:  The breastfeeding diet!

I’ll leave you with a couple photos from our recent trip to Bermuda.