Spicy Wild Blueberry Cacao Smoothie

Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Have your 2017 nutrition goals been going as planned? Were improving your snacks part of your goals, or should they have been? Do you eat to adequately refuel and recover post-workout? Or, are you following some crazy plan and getting sick of the same foods over and over?


Whether you have or haven’t been feeling satisfied with food lately, I have got a wildly delicious smoothie for you! When it only takes one minute to make, there’s no excuse. 🙂 It also may end up in your rotation on repeat as I have had it 3 times since I perfected it last Friday.

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2017 Eat More Not Less Produce Challenge


Whenever I am asked my opinions on My Fitness Pal type tracking apps, counting calories, using Weight Watchers and using a food scale to measure each gram of what you’re eating each day, my response is always the same. Do you want to be putting effort into those things for the rest of your life? Because that is the habit you build by engaging in those behaviors.  Continue reading

Wild Blueberry Apple Spiced Slow Cooker Oats

Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Wild Blueberries and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. 

Since college, whenever I am back at my parents in CT for Thanksgiving I run the Thanksgiving day 5k. I started running it with friends and then years later, my parents joined in too. Having a bowl of warm oatmeal has always hit the spot for me in cold weather but, it’s also my must-have pre-race breakfast! I throw different fruits and nuts or seeds in my oats all of the time and most often enjoy them pre-race with an easy ripe banana and spoonful of peanut butter now. Growing up, however, my oats would be topped with plenty of brown sugar, maybe enough to negate the soluble fiber’s positive effect on my blood sugar. When I think of the holidays, having oats mixed with more sugar on apples for a delicious apple crisp comes to mind! Continue reading

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Pie

I realize I should have posted this pre-Thanksgiving but if you are like me and continue eating pumpkin through the rest of winter, you can enjoy this recipe for the rest of the holiday season!

We traveled to Jacksonville, FL for Thanksgiving this year to spend the holiday with my in-laws. While everyone is very supportive of my dairy allergy and choice to not eat meat, I hate to ask for dishes to be altered – it makes me feel too high maintenance. While we had plenty of dairy free side dishes, I didn’t want to feel left out during appetizers and dessert. In addition to packing some pistachio stuffed dates and Treeline cheese spreads, I thought I’d make a dairy free pumpkin pie. In my searches I continually saw tofu as an ingredient. While I hated it just a couple of short years ago, I have grown to love tofu and am better at cooking it on my own but, using it in desserts has never worked well for me. So, I scrapped any recipes I had found and threw together a cashew base and sweetened with dates with a little cocoa added in for fun! Continue reading

Spice Up Your Life! Flavor without the Salt and Sugar

For many people, Halloween marks the start of a loooong holiday season. While we should first remember that holidays are just that, a single day, I know that everyone is tempted during November and December by the overabundance of foods and snacks we should have in moderation, and excessive high calorie beverages. Thanksgiving is fast approaching, so I thought it would be fitting to make my next post of the holiday season about how to decrease the salt and sugar in food by adding flavor in other ways! Instead of all of the sodium and sugar, you can add so much nutrition with the antioxidant powers in spices and herbs.

While sodium is often demonized for its impact on high blood pressure, the truth is many people do not see a blood pressure impact due to salt consumption. That doesn’t mean it isn’t impacting your health though. The minimum sodium recommendation is 1500 mg per day and most Americans are eating closer to 4000 mg. At this level of intake, research shows a negative influence on bone health, kidney health and even type II diabetes risk. Foods you may not expect to be very high in sodium include cheese (sorry, that is why it’s your favorite type of dairy), packaged bread and dough, and meat. Another hidden source? Those low calorie frozen meals that claim to make you “lean”, “smart” and “healthy” and attract your attention with their green labels. Healthy choice soup at 100 calories per cup? Sounds great! With the 1300 mg of sodium? Not so great!

I don’t think I need to convince you that most people need to reduce their sugar intake, too! The American Heart Association recommends adult women consume no more than 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons of added sugar each day and that adult men consume no more than 38 grams, or 9 teaspoons, of added sugar each day. For reference, one container of Yoplait strawberry yogurt has 26 grams! The average American adult, according to NHANES data is eating over 20 teaspoons each day. Imagine how much higher it gets during the holiday season! This does not just effect your waistline but is also linked to mood disturbances, depression, altered appetite, headaches, skin problems, and poor attention span.

I am a self-proclaimed foodie and love not only cooking and food but also baking and treats. Here are some tips on how to lighten up your favorite dishes while reducing your sodium and sugar intake. Attached are some fact sheets on the health benefits of herbs and spices, too.

Cooking:

Use low sodium broths in soups, stews, and even mashed potatoes. If you live near a Trader Joe’s, their low sodium vegetable broth has more flavor than any full sodium broth on the market! I have tried many!

Reduce salt in recipes by half and add extra garlic and/or pepper

Switch to using a pepper grinder to have a stronger flavor so you don’t miss the salt

Don’t use salt substitutes! Real salt is better for you than the chemicals in the substitute!

Use 100% pure maple syrup or honey instead of sugar to sweeten holiday side dishes

Try new fresh herbs to heighten flavor

Baking:

Use only Âľ of sugar listed in recipe and add an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract

Omit salt if the recipe calls for baking powder or baking soda

Use organic granulated sugar It isn’t bleached like white sugar so you are getting more nutrients

Swap brown sugar for coconut sugar + 1 tablespoon of molasses (both are more rich in vitamins and minerals)

Use 100% pure maple syrup or honey to sweeten

Add cinnamon and ginger to your holiday recipes for festive flavor instead of topping with sugar

Here are 3 holiday recipes of mine. The first is a great soup that you have have as a holiday app or on a cold day, the second a Thanksgiving side dish and the other a nice party snack or treat.

Potato Leek and Kale Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts and Cranberries


Maple and Chia Candied Pecans and Walnuts

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Spelt and Oat Pumpkin Muffins

Happy Autumn! While I waited until it was truly fall in late September to start enjoying fall foods, I am completely embracing and enjoying fall tastes with apples, winter squash, and of course pumpkin. I do have to say though, that while at Trader Joe’s last week, the amount of processed pumpkin foods on every end cap and stand in the store was scarier than anything I will encounter on Halloween.

Anyway, I am so excited to share this recipe! While I love my gluten free almond meal pumpkin muffins, the texture of these new ones really hit the spot with Sunday brunch this past week. I actually adapted it from a pumpkin cookie recipe and originally intended to put chocolate chips and nuts inside the batter but was distracted with other food prep. I am happy I forgot because the drizzled chocolate and crushed maple chia nuts on top add a little crunch to the light, fluffy and tender  texture of this delicious pumpkin spice muffin.

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Cancer Prevention with a Healthful Lifestyle

Modified from my original post on newtownathletic.com.

According to the American Cancer Institute, in 2015 an estimated 1,658,370 new cancer cases will be diagnosed with 589,000 dying from the disease in the United States.  National expenditures for cancer care in the United States totaled nearly $125 billion in 2010 and could reach $156 billion in 2020.

Cancer though, is not an inevitable consequence of aging and life. The World Health Organization reports that at least 1/3 of cancer incidences are preventable. As a Registered Dietitian, I travel to several large nutrition and exercise physiology conferences each year, and in multiple instances have heard oncologists speak, reporting they believe up to 50% of cancer cases in the US are preventable through lifestyle modification. As shown by the American Institute for Cancer Research below, 1/3 of Breast cancer incidences are preventable and up to 50% of colon cancer incidences.

cancer-prevention-bubbles

As a Registered Dietitian, I truly believe that real food is medicine. While the $37 billion supplement industry convinces many that high doses of nutrients and compounds will solve or prevent health problems, many times they are accelerating disease or bringing about health concerns. With degrees in both nutrition and exercise physiology, I also recognize though that one must have an active lifestyle with a healthful diet to achieve optimal health. As our nation has become more developed Americans have become less healthy, with the majority of deaths being attributed to chronic disease.

While medical technology is saving many people through cancer screenings and treatments, wouldn’t it be great to prevent needing treatment in the first place? We hear of antioxidants in the media as if they are some magic potion that we can only get in a bottle or pill at a health food store. These compounds come from the foods that have always been on this earth and should be the foundation of our food intake. Making changes to your current eating pattern is not as hard as it sounds, but education on not only how to change, but why to change is necessary to have the motivation to transform your current habits.

As we raise awareness of cancer and support research for a cure in October, let us also raise awareness of and practice the eating habits that can prevent this terrible disease! I will be presenting â€ś10 Tips to Reduce your Cancer Risk” at The Newtown Athletic Club on October 22 at 7 PM. The NAC makes all seminars free to the community. The seminar will cover how antioxidants fight the development of and progression of cancer as well as how to boost intake of antioxidant nutrients with simple diet and lifestyle changes.

Reserve your spot here!

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Why Say Bye to Summer? Bake Some Zucchini!

Why does labor day make everyone bid farewell to summer and start eating and drinking only pumpkin containing foods? In Newtown, PA it is going to be 95 degrees and there is still an abundance of zucchini. So while everyone else is blogging about pumpkin, I am going to support everyone trying to hold on to summer as well as anyone that still has a pile of zucchini to use! If you’re getting sick of zoodles & zucchini bread try this quick gluten and dairy free baked zucchini I threw together this past week.


Ingredients:
1 lb zucchini (organic or non-GMO verified), sliced thin and halved or quartered
1/2 Cup nutritional yeast, like Bob’s red mill brand
1/4 Cup organic flax seed, ground
1 tbsp italian seasoning or choice fresh herbs, chopped
olive oil to drizzle

Directions:

Set oven to 375 degrees
Mix nutritional yeast, flax and herbs together
Lightly drizzle the bottom of a glass or ceramic baking dish with olive or avocado oil
Lay zucchini on the dish and sprinkle mixture over top. Continue to layer like this until you’ve used up all of the zucchini.

Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

When removed from heat, the zucchini should be cooked through and tender while the topping should be slightly crispy.

Plate as a side dish, add to a cooked whole grain, or throw on top of a salad and enjoy!

What is your favorite way to use zucchini? I love to hear of new creative recipes, too!

Purple Power Smoothie

Shhhhh, don’t tell your kids… There’s a full serving of mixed greens in this post-exercise purple powerhouse!

Or you can tell them after. I’m not usually into “hiding” veggies and healthy ingredients in dishes because I want kids to learn to enjoy and want the healthy food. However, if you are trying to take control and get your children off of a cycle of picky eating, hiding first and then telling them once they love it is the next best option!

We have had a few hot days in the Northeast and I was just craving something cold yesterday after spin and yoga. We had some local mixed lettuces, looking pretty in purple & green, but a salad just sounded awful ( <– extremely abnormal feeling for this girl). So I put the greens to good use with some organic frozen fruit, almond milk and garden of life raw protein. Don’t worry if you don’t have the latter on hand though, because this will work with some yogurt and vanilla extract too. See both options below!

Purple Power Smoothie (GF, V & DF option)

Ingredients:

1/2 C frozen cherries (I get Cascadian Farm brand in bulk at BJ’s)
1/2 C frozen wild blueberries
1/2 C frozen sliced peaches (can sub mango)
1 C packed spring mix
1 C milk or unsweetened non-dairy milk (I like Silk brand cashew or almond)

1 scoop garden of life original raw protein or
1 C siggi’s, plain yogurt or plain greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract + milk or water as needed for blending

Directions:
Add all ingredients to whatever blending tool you have whether it be a fancy vitamix, kitchen aid blender or tiny magic bullet.
Tip: If using bullet type blenders, for best consistency and easiest blend, I recommend putting fruit in first, topped with yogurt or protein, then greens and milk/liquid.

Pulse until smooth and enjoy!

This is a great post-workout blend of carbs & healthy protein. If you’d like to turn it into a meal, I recommend adding a tablespoon of chia or hempseeds and using an extra total 1/2 C of fruit, 1 C of greens and 1/4-1/2 extra scoop or protein or extra 1/2 serving of yogurt.

Nutrition Information Per Serving
(for garden of life & almond milk option)

Calories: 230
Total Fat: 3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: .5 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 35 g
Fiber: 9 g
Sugar: 20 g (all from fruit, none added)
Protein: 20 g

Sodium: 195 mg 13 % Potassium: 330 mg 7 %

Vitamin A: 17%       Riboflavin: 39 %    Niacin: 20 %
Vitamin B6: 21 %    Vitamin B12: 125%
Vitamin C: 89 %      Vitamin D: 30%
Calcium: 48 %         Iron: 32 %             Zinc: 11 %
Magnesium: 4 %

**vitamins & minerals are listed as % daily value; you may need more
than 100% each day if you’re an athlete, have a deficiency disease, or other medical concern

 

Easy, Creamy, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Hummus has been super popular for years and I don’t see it going away anytime soon! While it is a healthful snack or spread, you are spending way too much money on it! This recipe can give you 4 times what you’ll get in a store bought container for a lower cost and with a better, fresher taste. Even if you think you can’t cook, it is so easy that I promise you can do this! Since red pepper is one of the most popular flavors, I figured it was a perfect one to post.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (GF, V, DF)

Ingredients :

2/3 C Roasted red peppers (I buy organic jarred or roast my own!)
1.5 cans or 3 cups soaked garbanzo beans
1.5 tablespoons tahini
3 cloves garlic
Black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup warm water

*Purchasing tip: If I do purchase canned, I buy beans at Trader Joe’s because they do not contain BPA. A risk of using canned foods is that the cans are lined with the carcinogenic chemical BPA. If you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, click here for brands that are BPA free.

Directions:
-Add all ingredients except the water to your food processor.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus // Eatreallivewell.com

-Pulse for 30-60 seconds. If the mixture is very thick and difficult to blend, add 1/8 cup of water. If you use canned beans, you are less likely to need to add the water. Pulse for another 30-60 seconds and then gauge if you think you need the remainder of the water.
-Pulse an additional minute or until mixture is very creamy.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus // Eatreallivewell.com
-Add to a serving dish or pour into a storage container and enjoy within a week!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus // Eatreallivewell.comShown above on the right with black bean dip on the top and cashew cheese dip on the bottom. Who doesn’t love a variety of dips for your veggies?! Looking for another fun dip? Try my spicy sweet potato hummus or my dairy free creamy spinach & artichoke dip.

Since my home only consists of myself and my husband, I sometimes will freeze half for next week if we won’t be having anyone over. Just throw it in the fridge a day before you want to eat it 🙂

Real Ingredients with Real Benefits:

Garbanzo Beans, aka “chickpeas”, contain protein, fiber, manganese, folate and even some iron.

Tahini which is a paste made from sesame seeds, is an ingredient in the hummus you buy at the grocery store that you maybe never knew was in there. It provides great flavor but also gives you some protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and plant sterols. Vitamins and minerals in tahini include thiamin (a B vitamin), vitamin E, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc.

Red Bell Peppers provide you with tons of Vitamin C (even more per serving than citrus!), lots of Vitamin A and fiber as well as Vitamin E, B6 and potassium. Phytochemicals include lycopene (associated with reduced risk for prostate cancer & heart disease) and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are great for eye and cardiovascular health.

Garlic provides the phytochemical allicin and sulfides which are linked to improved immunity and respiratory health and act as antibacterial agents.