Fast and Filling Fall Snacks!

Hi everyone!

Happy September! Fall is closing in on us quickly…along with the beautiful foliage and harvest foods comes a busier schedule. For most people, running kids around to sports, rushing through meals, and having less time to meal prep on the weekends means their food choices become less healthy. Fortunately, we came up with some easy, tasty, and healthy snacks for the fall. It’s important to make sure you snacks include protein (whey protein powder or eggs), fiber (fruits/vegetables), and healthy fat (avocado or coconut oil) to make sure your blood sugar is nice and steady. By eating a combination of the right nutrients every 3-4 hours, you’ll experience increased energy levels, less sugar cravings, and a better overall mood. Most importantly, you prevent “hanger” (anger brought on by hunger) and keep everyone around you happier as well!

Check out this quick video of some easy snack ideas and have a wonderful start to the new season! Click here for a copy of the recipes featured in the video.

Have a great week!

Ana and Amanda

WFSB 3 Connecticut

Green Tea Ice Cubes!

green tea cubes

Green Tea Ice Cubes…Can’t Wait Until They’re Frozen!

Tea is a something I don’t drink enough of! It’s full of flavor, antioxidants, and offers the body a mellow but effective boost of energy that won’t leave your head on the desk a few hours later like coffee often times does.  I have decided that this summer I’m determined to always have a batch of iced tea in the fridge to use as a base of my smoothies or to enjoy instead of coffee. While I can’t always find 100% organic tea, I do look for brands that use minimal pesticides, “natural”/artificial flavorings, and have integrity in the way their tea is grown and packaged. Here are some brands of tea that Practical Nutrition likes:

  • Yogi (love the inspirational quotes on the tea bags!)
  • Numi
  • Choice
  • Traditional Medicinals
  • Rishi
  • Any organic, fair traded brand of tea you can find

When it gets warmer out I love having different flavors of ice cubes to throw in my smoothies or glasses of water to keep me hydrated without the boredom of plain water all the time. Also, I find when I use a green tea ice cube in my smoothies, I get an extra burst of energy from the antioxidants and caffeine in the tea. Making these nutrient dense, tasty ice cubes is super easy and can incorporate a new panel of flavors into your every day beverages!

Here’s what you do to make the iced tea ice cubes:

1. Brew a strong batch of iced tea (I use 1 bag per 4 ounces, and then when it cools I add 4 more ounces of cold water per tea bag). While still hot, add your sweetener of choice (optional). I use 1 tsp. of honey per bag of tea. Other options for sweetness include stevia, maple syrup, or coconut sugar.

To ensure the best flavor of your tea, here’s a guide for how long to steep different kinds of tea: 

  • Plain Green Tea : 1 minute
  • Flavored Green Tea: 2 minutes
  • White Tea: 4-5 minutes
  • Oolong Tea: 4-7 minutes
  • Herbal Tea: 5-6 minutes
  • Black Tea: 2-3 minutes

2. Pour the iced tea into ice cube trays and enjoy in a variety of ways: 

  • Use in smoothies to give you extra energy in the morning or before a workout
  • Put in seltzer water with some stevia for added sweetness
  • Put in a glass of water or sparkling water with some fresh berries to make a refreshing beverage
  • Enjoy them by themselves as a treat an alternative to ice cream

Enjoy the blessings of summer, take care of you, and have fun…

As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!

The PN Team :) 

Springtime Super Food (and yummy spring rolls!)

Happy Spring everyone!

For those of you reading this from the East coast, I hope you all have gotten a few moments of solar therapy this past week after a long winter! Seeing the sun shine makes me want to be more active, and it also gets me craving fresher, creative new foods. That’s why I decided to demonstrate how to make Superfood Spring Rolls on Better CT yesterday.

The foods I chose as this year’s “Spring Super Foods” offer your body a broad spectrum of health benefits. To name a few, they are full of nutrients that boost your immune system, help to ward off seasonal allergies, detoxify your body after a long winter, and help slim the waist line to help you get ready for summer! Watch the video below to learn how to incorporate these superfoods into your everyday life by making a simple and tasty Superfood Spring Roll!

  • Citrus: Grapefruits, lemons, or oranges any time of day! Enjoy lemon in your water, grapefruit as a side to your breakfast, or a juice orange for a dessert on a warm day. 
  • Quinoa: Use for cold or hot side dishes, on a salad, or in a Spring Roll!
  • Dandelion Greens: Throw these peppery greens into a salad, in a soup, or in a lunch wrap for an added zing to your meal!
  • Raw Local Honey/Local Bee Pollen: Put in tea, yogurt, smoothies, or enjoy a spoonful raw!
  • Walnut Oil: Use for cold foods only (not for cooking); enjoy its nutty flavor in a dressing or on top of a favorite grain dish such as brown rice or quinoa
  • Asparagus: Grilled, sautéed in a stir-fry, or put in a Spring Roll, asparagus are a hearty spring vegetable full of nutrition that will keep you feeling full for hours!

 

Springtime Superfood Spring Rolls
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • The Rolls:
  • 6 large rice wrappers (found in international section at grocery store)
  • ½ Cup (cooked) quinoa (any variety)
  • 6 grilled asparagus (grilled or roasted with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper)
  • 1 handful of dandelion greens, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 handful of mixed, Asian, or other type of greens (for "base" of spring roll)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped into small pieces
  • 10-12 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 TBLS fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 TBLS walnut oil
  • 4 TSP local honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • Grilled chicken or shrimp (optional addition for extra protein)
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 TBLS Braggs liquid aminos or Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 2 TBLS water
  • 2 TBLS honey
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Juice of ½ orange
Instructions
  1. The Rolls:
  2. Combine the quinoa, carrots, and dandelion greens into a small bowl. In a separate bowl combine the walnut oil, orange juice, chili flakes, sea salt, and honey into a dressing. Whisk briefly and pour over the quinoa salad, tossing gently. Take a spring roll and gently submerge in a shallow bowl of water for 8-10 seconds. Place on a non-stick surface (parchment paper or cutting board) and line with a thin layer of mixed greens, 1 asparagus, and a thin line of the quinoa salad. Gently fold the top half in, followed by the sides, and gently roll until mixture is tight within the spring roll. Cut in half and serve with the sweet chili sauce as a side dip.
  3. Sweet Chili Sauce:
  4. Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Serve as a dipping sauce for spring rolls, or use as a marinade for grilled chicken or shrimp.
Notes
PN RX (may vary depending on ingredients)
For 3 rolls (with ingredients indicated in recipe above): 2 free veggies, 1 carb, 1 fat

 

As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!

Ana

Raw Cacao Cookie Dough Smoothie!

Sometimes I like to have dessert for breakfast! I came up with the Cookie Dough Smoothie the morning after I made “PN Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies” (recipe coming soon!). I woke up wanting to have one of the cookies I made for breakfast. Although they taste good and have very clean ingredients, they don’t have enough protein to be considered a healthy breakfast. So, I decided to make the ingredients into a smoothie to satisfy my craving and give my body the protein it needed to start my day right.

This smoothie contains one of my favorite ingredients: raw cacao nibs (found in the health food section of most grocery stores). Cacao can be found in a powder or solid form, and is an amazing food for your body. Raw cacao is chocolate in its original, minimally processed state. If you’re used to sweetened chocolate, like most of us are, it will be a bitter at first, once you are accustomed to its unique flavor profile, just a small handful seems to do the trick in satisfying a chocolate craving. What’s in the raw cacao bean that we love so much?

 

raw cacaoScreen shot 2014-05-16 at 7.10.41 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The combination of important minerals such as Magnesium and Iron, fiber, healthy fat, and antioxidants have countless health benefits:

  • By providing minerals that most people are deficient in, raw cacao may help decrease sugar/carbohydrate cravings
  • Raw cacao promotes a healthy digestive system with all the fiber it adds to the diet
  • Contains “theombromine”, a protein that stimulates the central nervous system, which relaxes smooth muscles and gives the body a gentle boost of energy and feeling of “bliss” we often get from eating chocolate (without the added sugar and ingredients from processed chocolate!)
  • Improves overall mood and may help fight depression due to its ability increase the bioavailability of Serotonin to the brain

Have we convinced you to try out some Raw Cacao yet?! Check out the recipe below and let us know what you think!

Raw Cacao Cookie Dough Smoothie!
 
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Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 packet "stevia in the raw" or other natural sweetener (honey or maple syrup)
  • 2 TBLS (15 grams worth) unflavored whey protein (we use Standard Process)
  • 2 TBLS raw cacao nibs
  • 2 TSP vanilla extract
  • 2 TBLS coconut flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2-3 ice cubes (more if you like it icier)
  • ¼ cup water, or more to desired consistency
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in blender. Blend until the smoothie has reached your desired consistency. Enjoy!
  2. Note: I usually add spinach and/or another leafy green to my smoothies. Since this is more of a "dessert" smoothies, I decided to leave it out. When I don't get greens in at breakfast, I make sure to be extra conscious of getting them in later in the day!
Notes
PN RX:
1 Protein, 1 Fat, ½ Carb

As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!

Ana and Amanda :)

Quick and Tasty Wheat Free Pasta with Veggie Marinara

Sometimes I crave a good old pasta and marinara sauce dinner! It’s hard to find a recipe that is tasty AND health promoting. Having a bit of high quality protein, veggies, and healthy fat is the best way to make sure you leave a meal feeling energized and satisfied. Amanda and I  have been loving this Gluten Free Black Bean/Mung Bean Pasta lately (like most of our suggestions, you can find this pasta in the Gluten Free section at most major grocery stores). This pasta, combined with this clean and simple homemade high protein marinara sauce, is the perfect alternative to the typical “refined” white pasta you grew up on- and will taste better too! Enjoy!

Quick and Tasty Wheat Free Pasta with Veggie Marinara
 
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Try this quick and easy pasta dish when you're craving pasta or something with an Italian feel! Feel amazing and light after you eat it as it's full of fiber, B Vitamins, and protein!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ Bag Black Bean Spaghetti*
  • Sauce:
  • ½ Bag Ming Bean Spaghetti*
  • 6 and ¼ cup water
  • 1 Jar Organic, No Sugar Added Tomato Sauce (made with olive oil)
  • 1 Small Can (6 oz.) Organic Tomato Paste
  • 4 TBLS Italian Seasoning (We like the brand Frontier Organics)
  • ⅛ Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Handfuls Organic Spinach
  • 1 Cup Raw Mushrooms
  • 2 TBLS Chopped Garlic (fresh or from the jar)
  • 1 Avocado (for garnish) and Pint Organic Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Pound Baked Free Range Chicken, Chunked
  • Any Other Vegetable You Love!
  • * Find Gluten Free Black Bean or Mung Bean Pasta at most major grocery stores or local health food store!
Instructions
  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in medium pot. In the mean time, combine olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, and mushrooms in a medium sized skillet on the stove top at medium heat. Allow to sit on stove for about 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are slightly browned and softened. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, Italian seasoning, and spinach to the skillet. Once water is boiling, add dry Black Bean/Mung Bean pasta to the water and allow to boil for about 7-10 minutes until soft, "pasta like" consistency is reached. Drain the pasta when finished and set aside. Allow your sauce ingredients to simmer for about 10 more minutes or until mixture has come to a slow boil, and the spinach has cooked down/is well combined into sauce. Add chicken chunks (or other desired protein) to the sauce until they are warm throughout, and serve over the Black Bean/Mung Bean pasta. Top with chunks of avocado and cherry tomatoes- enjoy!
Notes
PN RX for ¼ of the sauce and 1 Cup Pasta: 2 Carbs, 2 Fat, 1 Veggies, 1 Protein

Hawaiian Cinnamon Breakfast Bowl!

I just got back from an amazing trip visiting some friends and family on the Big Island of  Hawaii. Eating fresh, local foods and learning about tropical region medicinal foods and herbs were the two main themes. 99% of my food was from a local source or grower. Consistently eating plants grown without the use of chemicals and consuming protein from animals fed their proper diet immediately brings an abundance of  life and energy to your body.  Whether it was coconut oil from local coco’s, a star fruit I picked from the back of my cabin, or an avocado from a friend’s backyard, I was always snacking on a high fiber, life giving treat! One thing I did a lot of over there in between exploring some delicious new foods was surf! I needed a quick, high protein snack for before I jumped in the water so I could maximize my time in the waves (after all, I wanted to get in as much water time as possible after the 15 hour journey from winter in Connecticut!). Breakfast bowls are big in Hawaii, and I’ve actually posted a recipe involving a blueberry smoothie as a base of a breakfast bowl as a post surf meal in the past. But since I didn’t always want to use the blender on this trip, I adapted this simple yet tasty version of a breakfast bowl that all of us can  enjoy back here on the mainland but still bring back the flavors and aloha from the island!

Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 11.12.16 PM

A beautiful rainbow on a flat day over a favorite surf spot- Pohoiki’s 2nd Bay, Big Island, Hawaii

Hawaiian Cinnamon Breakfast Bowl!
 
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Enjoy this high protein, energizing treat as a snack, breakfast, or frozen as a sweet treat at night!
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup 2% Plain Greek Yogurt (I like Fage brand)
  • ½ Cup Frozen Mango Chunks OR ½ Cup Fresh Organic Papaya
  • 3-4 Sliced Strawberries
  • ¼ Avocado Diced
  • Pinch of Alfalfa Sprouts (get those greens in as much as you can!)
  • 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  • 1 Tsp. Local Honey (optional)
  • 2 Scoops Whey Protein (optional- 15 grams protein)
  • 1 TBLS Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
Instructions
  1. Put yogurt in bowl (mix in protein powder if you are using it), and top with sliced fruit, sprouts and avocado. Sprinkle with cinnamon, sea salt, and coconut flakes. Drizzle with honey and enjoy while thinking about a place or person you love!
Notes
** "Dry mix" of cinnamon, coconut flakes, and sea salt can be mixed in advance to save time
*** PN RX: 1 protein (2 if using protein powder), 1 fruit, 1 fat

The Hidden Health Secrets Of Hemp Seeds!

Discovering hemp seeds was a game changer for me. If you’re looking for a plant based protein, hemp has it all. On top of containing all of the amino acids our body needs (making it a “complete protein”), they have a perfect ratio of omega 3:omega 6 fat’s which keeps inflammation down in the body and helps our brain, heart, mood, and joints.

Its always good to remember that hemp is different from marijuana. Both hemp and marijuana come from the mother plant Cannabis Sativa. The main difference between the two is that hemp does not contain the active chemical “THC” which causes the effects of marijuana use. This is why consuming hemp seeds or any other hemp products will not affect any type of drug test.

The unique nutritional profile and diverse flavor potential hemp contains makes it something that I always have in my cabinet. The video below should help you understand a bit more about this super food and offer some practical tips on how to use it!

Honey Lime Shrimp Tacos with Bacon Coleslaw!

Who doesn’t love tacos? They are delicious and low maintenance! Plus, you can stuff them with nutritious meat and veggies. You really just can’t go wrong! This is one of my favorite recipes that I have made to date! I love shrimp and definitely love bacon so it was a perfect pair. It is served in a corn tortilla, which also makes it gluten free. Check it out!

 

shrimp tacos

Honey Lime Shrimp Tacos with Bacon Coleslaw!
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Ingredients
  • 2lb extra large frozen shrimp
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • Corn tortillas
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • 10oz Fage Greek Full Fat Yogurt
  • 1-2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce (2 is pretty spicy)
  • 1.5 cups cabbage coleslaw mix
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • .5 cups chopped cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp bacon fat
Instructions
  1. Thaw shrimp then let marinate in juice of one of the limes, honey, cumin, and chili powder.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bacon on foil on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until crispy.
  3. Combine yogurt, coleslaw veggies, peppers, juice of one lime, cilantro, apple cider vinegar, and crumbled bacon in a bowl and mix well until combined.
  4. Add in 3 Tbsp of liquid bacon fat and mix well.
  5. Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add in shrimp when hot and cook for about 2-3 minutes each side until pink.
  6. While shrimp are cooking, place corn tortillas (as many as you want) on cookie sheet in oven and bake for 1-2 each side.
  7. Place 5-6 shrimp in each taco and top with 2 Tbsp of coleslaw.
Notes
PN Rx for 2 small corn tortillas with 5 shrimp and 2T of coleslaw in each:
2 Proteins, 2 Fats, 1 Carb

 

Roasted Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes

Try this delicious take on sweet potatoes! They’re sweet, tasty, full of good nutrition, and easy to make in bulk for your busy week!


Roasted Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes

 

Recipe Type: Sweet Potatoes

Author: Brendan

Serves: 8


Ingredients


  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (I used white sweet potatoes too!)

  • 3 tbsp virgin coconut oil

  • 1-2 tbsp cinnamon

  • Add salt to taste


Instructions



  1. Preheat oven to 350 F

  2. Cut sweet potatoes into ~1 inch cubes and empty into a large mixing bowl

  3. Add cinnamon

  4. Add liquid coconut oil – you may need to run hot water over the jar for a few minutes

  5. Quickly mix all the ingredients – be sure to evenly distribute the coconut oil before it solidifies again

  6. Pour onto a baking sheet

  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender

  8. Enjoy! :)

Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 233 Fat: 10 g Saturated fat: 5 g Unsaturated fat: 5 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 34 g Sodium: 530 mg Fiber: 5 g Protein: 3 g Cholesterol: 0 g

Pomegranate Salad!

Sweet, salty, crunchy, savory, refreshing, and disease preventing all in one…how can you go wrong?! The health benefits of pomegranates are endless! As we know they are full of antioxidants– they are one of the highest foods on the ORAC list. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity…the effectiveness of a food to fight off free radicals in your body, helping to keep your cells healthy and happy. Www.oracvalues.com will show you other foods to consume more of to boost antioxidant action in your body. Pomegranates are also are full of fiber, immune boosting vitamins and minerals, hydration, and help to curb sugar cravings. I had an extra pomegranate laying around from a lecture antioxidants I did last week, so figured I would get creative with a colorful and flavorful salad. After a bit of scrounging around in the kitchen to make something out of nothing, heres what I came up with. Not bad for on a whim…this will definitely be a staple for me as a beautiful side salad around the holidays.

Pomegranate Salad!
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Side Salad
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Seeds and juice of 1 pomegranate (split in half and carefully scrape out seeds, seperating seeds from the fibrous rind)
  • 4 cups organic baby spinach
  • 2 TBLS sesame oil
  • 1 TBLS olive oil
  • 4 TBLS toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 TBLS raw honey
  • 2 TBLS crushed walnuts
Instructions
  1. Separate out 2 TBLS of pomegranate seeds for garnish. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, putting dry ingredients in first and topping with oils and honey. Gently shake until spinach is well coated and sesame seeds are evenly dispersed. Dish out onto 4 plates and garnish with extra pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!
  2. PN Rx: 1 cup of salad= 2 free veggies and 2 fats