Not so Fat Tuesday Tips

9 Feb

Not so Fat Tuesday Tips

Fat Tuesday has arrived! It’s the hedonistic last hurrah before Lent begins tomorrow.

Today I had the opportunity to go on the San Diego Living show to demonstrate ways to celebrate Fat Tuesday without sacrificing your figure. Check out some my Mardi Gras diet makeover tips:

 

Get Your Good Fats On

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  • Not all fats are created equal. A study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology found that corn oil, like Mazola, helps lower cholesterol more than extra virgin olive oil
  • I love cooking with corn oil because of both its taste and nutrition benefits: corn oil has a very mild flavor profile and it also contains more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than other cooking oils (4 times ore than olive oil and 40% more than canola oil!)
  • This Orange Rosemary Skillet Chicken Thighs with Wilted Kale recipe from Mazola.com is a great way to incorporate these good fats and to dress up a weeknight dinner just in time for Mardi Gras

 

Ply Your Guests with Pomegranate Juice

POM Wonderful

  • Forget those boozy, slushy Hurricane drinks that will pack on the pounds. This year I’m serving my drinks with a pomegranate juice base
  • Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice is 100% pomegranate juice, with no fillers or additives, no added sugar or preservatives and plus it’s gluten free
  • An 8 oz serving of 100% pomegranate juice contains juice from 2 whole pomegranates. Serve it up with alcohol, or without: check out the Pomtini recipe here or the Spiced Pom Cider recipe for a nonalcoholic offering

 

Practice the Pistachio Principle

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  • Snack calories can creep up on you, which is why I prefer to serve pistachios at my parties. Two preliminary studies suggest that eating in-shell pistachios may offer a visual cue about how much has been eaten, potentially curbing calorie intake.
  • Pistachios are one of the lowest-fat, lowest-calorie snack nuts. There are 49 pistachios in a 160 calorie serving (1/2 cup in shell or 1/4 cup out of shell), not to mention these guys are a good source of protein and fiber, tasty on their own, roasted and salted, or in delicious flavors like sweet chili and salt and pepper.

 

Sweet Scarletts to Seal the Meal Deal

Sweet Scarletts

  • I have a nasty sweet tooth, but I’ve found these wonderful Sweet Scarletts Texas Red Grapefruits can curb my cravings with their incredible flavor
  • Half of a medium grapefruit gives me 100% of my daily vitamin C, and they’re naturally fat, cholesterol and sodium-free in just 60 delectable calories
  • Tonight at my Mardi Gras party I’ll be wrapping up the festivities with bruleed Sweet Scarlett grapefruits with brown sugar for dessert.

 

Disclosure: I have a financial relationship with the brands featured in this post and the segment.

Buffalo Wing Popcorn

6 Feb

Buffalo Wing Popcorn

Need a last minute Super Bowl snack that will rock your Super Sunday with fiber and fire? Look no further than Buffalo Wing Popcorn.

This spicy caramel popcorn from Bon Appetit is the easiest, most delicious way to incorporate that timeless whole grain: popcorn.

Popcorn by itself has 4 grams of fiber in 3 cups of air popped popcorn. Once you add all this butter and sugar though….you don’t wanna know!

Buffalo Wing Popcorn

Ingredients

  • Nonstick spray
  • 8 cups plain, popped popcorn (made from 1/2 cup kernels)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Original sauce
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Coat parchment paper and a large bowl with nonstick spray and add popcorn to bowl. Set aside baking sheet.
  • Bring sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally, until caramel is a deep amber color, 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove from heat; stir in hot sauce and butter (mixture will bubble vigorously). Return to a boil and cook another 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in salt, baking soda, and cayenne. Working quickly – and carefully because the caramel is very hot – pour caramel mixture over popcorn and toss to coat.
  • Spread popcorn on prepared baking sheet and bake, tossing once, until dry, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool.

 

 

Falling Back in Love with Fiber

27 Jan

Falling Back in Love with Fiber

In a New Year filled with weight-related resolutions, fiber is finally gaining some fans.

A story published this week in the Washington Post touted “Fiber: The least sexy weight-loss tool“.

Fiber might not be sexy – and even “gross and gassy” as the article’s authors proclaim -  but it’s a key component of a well-balanced diet.

Why All the Fuss About Fiber?

As a Registered Dietitian, I often hear clients complain about all of the foods they “can’t” or “shouldn’t” eat. When asked why I focus on fiber, I always respond that in a world of “eat less” messages, fiber is the rare positive part of our diet since it’s the one thing we can all stand to eat MORE of.

In case you need a reminder to fall back in love with fiber, here’s a quick list of the benefits of maintaining a high fiber diet:

  • Fiber helps promote satiety – the feeling of fullness – and feeling full more frequently means less over-eating and better chances at reaching and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Fiber helps lower heart disease risk – fiber works full time to clear bad cholesterol from your bloodstream and even tells your liver to make less internal cholesterol
  • Fiber helps regulate blood sugar – high fiber foods take longer to digest than their refined counterparts, working to stabilize blood sugar levels – an important consideration for people with diabetes
  • Fiber is linked to better bowel health – a high fiber diet is tied to lower rates of certain types of cancer, including colon cancer, not to mention less digestive disorders such as constipation and hemorrhoids.

Finding Your Fiber Sweet Spot

If you are looking for a legitimate way to improve your diet, aim to get 30 grams of fiber per day. Keeping in mind that the average American eats only 12-15 grams per day, as a nation we have some serious fiber homework to do.

The best way to get your 30 grams per day? Aim for 5-6 grams of fiber each time you eat. If you can put down 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day, 5-6 grams per eating incident will get you to 30 in no time.

And which types of foods are the most fiber friendly? Well, considering that the only foods that naturally contain fiber are plant foods, try to eat more plant and less animal foods, focusing on:

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds

Putting more plants and 30 grams of fiber per day in your system is a great way to get your health up to speed here in 2016.

 

Auld Lang Fiber Snacks

29 Dec

With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, you may be banging your head on the kitchen counter deciding what to serve family & friends for the final festivities.

But don’t fret just yet – I’ve teamed up with Kohnstamm Communications to bring you a quick rundown of some high fiber foods that will blow your guests’ mind this New Year’s Eve:

Among Friends Baking Mixes

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Looking for a homemade treat without the hassle? Among Friends hand-crafted baking mixes include gluten-free brownie, cookie and cake mixes that are loaded with whole grains and great flavor. Check out ‘Liv it Up Chocolate Cake Mix with its brown rice flour, gluten-free whole grain oat flour and 3 grams dietary fiber per delicious serving.

 

Angie’s Boomchickapop

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Fiber and fun collide in Angie’s Boomchickapop – an addicting, gluten-free, non-GMO popcorn snack. With flavors like Holidrizzle and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, you’ll love the way these simple ingredient snacks grace your plate. Check out the Lightly Sweet Popcorn flavor for 3 grams of fiber per 120 calorie serving.

 

Biena Foods

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Craving a crunch but over nuts? Biena Foods‘ protein-packed chickpea snacks are the answer. My personal favorite is the Cinnamon Crunch flavor, slightly sweet but super savory – and 5 grams protein, 6 grams fiber per 120 calorie serving to boot!

 

Grainful

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Are you seeking a smarter side? Grainful makes mouthwatering entrees and sides made with 100% whole grain steel cut oats.  Whip up one of these heart-healthy dishes like Tomato Risotto, Cheesy Oats, Jambalaya or Madras Curry (with 5g fiber!) that will torque your tastebuds.

 

Way Better Snacks

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Sprouted grains are going to be all the rage in 2016! Why not get a head start with Way Better Snacks’ delicious gluten-free chips in fantastic flavor profiles such as Sweet Chili, Sweet Potato and the special holiday edition Oh My Sweet Punkin’ Cranberry? Not only are sprouted grains easier to digest and increase nutrient availability, but these Way Better Snack chips also pack 3 g dietary fiber or more per serving.

 

For more tips on holiday entertaining, check out my “Give Guests What They Need – And Want” post available here.

 

Disclosure: I have a financial relationship with Biena Foods and Way Better Snacks; I was not paid for any product mentions in this post. Thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. 

Greger’s 5:1 Fiber Ratio Rule

18 Dec

Greger’s 5:1 Fiber Ratio Rule

A colleague recently turned me on to the daily videos published by Michael Greger, MD of nutritionfacts.org.

Dr. Greger’s entertaining video snippets do an outstanding job of summarizing the vast amount of published nutrition research, delving into what the studies really say (and don’t say) – and saving you a boatload of time by not having to navigate the peer-reviewed published articles in journals yourself.

I was intrigued by a video this week called “The Five to One Fiber Rule” – which basically advocates for every 5 grams of carbohydrate aim to get at least 1 gram of dietary fiber.

 

 

Example of a food that meets the 5:1 fiber rule – Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Bread - it has 15g carbohydrate and 3g dietary fiber for a perfect 5:1 ratio:

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Now, to be fair, Greger certainly isn’t the first one to advocate a carb:fiber ratio (see previous post on Harvard’s 10:1 ratio); but as a hard-line plant-based diet guru, he gets strict on the quality of your carbs.

This 5:1 ratio rule helps eliminate junky carb foods that start with the first ingredient including the word “whole” and then contain, as Dr. Greger puts it, “corn syrup and a chemistry set”.

Greger is one of those rare doctors who definitely gets it when it comes to fiber, highlighting a number of research studies extolling the benefits of more dietary fiber. These benefits include:

And just how can the medical community help lower chronic disease risk with diet? Another study highlighted in Gerger’s video implores clinicians to, “Enthusiastically and skillfully recommend that patients consume more dietary fibre.”

You do that by eating more whole plant foods:

  • Getting soluble fiber from oats, nuts, seeds, legumes and most fruits
  • Getting insoluble fiber from whole wheat, wheat bran, brown rice, other whole grains and most vegetables

If you’re interested in more of Dr. Gerger’s refreshing takes on whole foods and nutrition research, check out his information-rich site at nutritionfacts.org or his new book “How Not to Die” (…review coming to the fiber blog soon!)