Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites

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Bacon can be a controversial topic when it comes to the nutrition community. I personally feel that bacon has gotten a very bad name and is unrightfully associated with many health problems like heart disease. The true culprits are refined sugar, processed food, trans fats, and lack of activity. That being said, bacon is still more processed than if you purchased fresh, grassfed steaks or pastured pork chops. For this reason, I think it should be eaten in moderation (2-4 slices),  no more than 2-3 times a week. Another controversy around bacon is the discussion of how harmful nitrites and nitrates are for our bodies. Many people do not know this but we get more nitrites from vegetables than cured meats like bacon. Chris Kresser, an integrative medicine doctor, has a great article on nitrates and nitrites on his website here:  http://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-and-nitrite-myth-another-reason-not-to-fear-bacon.

One fun fact from his article:

“It may shock you to learn that one serving of arugula, two servings of butter lettuce, and four servings of celery or beets all have more nitrite than 467 hot dogs.”

Most bacon that says “nitrate free” does in fact contain nitrates, however, they are from celery root or beets and usually have even more nitrates and nitrites than regularly cured bacon. This is why whenever you are buying bacon the main concern should be to get organic, pastured bacon rather than only worrying about whether or not it has nitrates and nitrites because all types will.

Overall, I think bacon has a place in a healthy diet, like most foods, when not eaten in excess. These are a really great appetizer to have at a party or family get together and are very low maintenance  to make. Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • 4 large sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1lb bacon, cut strips in half
  • tooth picks to keep bacon in place
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. While oven is preheating, cut sweet potatoes into small cubes about 1.5-2 inches. Cut bacon strips in half and wrap each sweet potato cube with half a bacon strip. Use tooth picks to keep bacon in place.
  3. Cover baking sheet with foil and place bacon wrapped sweet potatoes on there spread out evenly.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until sweet potatoes soft and bacon cooked to your liking.
  5. Be careful of tooth picks when eating this delicious treat!

How to stay on track during the holidays.

Practical Nutrition Tips for a Thinner Thanksgiving (And Day After Damage Control!)

Staying healthy during the holidays doesn’t mean forgoing taste or depriving oneself of holiday goodies. The key is knowing when to splurge, and how to get back on track!

A. Thanksgiving Day

1. Start with a hearty breakfast, hydrate, and exercise
1 cup plain Greek yogurt with papaya and 2 Tbsp. walnuts
Cup of Hot Lemon Water

2. The Meal: The Secret of First’s and Second’s
Appetizers: Have 5 veggies for every cracker or chip; for every drink have 2 glasses of water; dilute drinks with seltzer- make it a “spritzer”; ¼ cup nuts
Main Meal: One serving (1/4 cup) of starchy veggies, grains, stuffing, gravies, sweets
Seconds: Salads, steamed veggies, plain protein
Drink cup of mint tea in between dinner and desert
Deserts: Unlimited fresh fruit; total desert to size of palm (2 small slivers of pie, 1 cookie)
“Calorie Culprits”: Chips, crackers, drinks, toppings, fried food, dressings, gravy, dips

B. Day After Damage Control

1. Focus on high protein breakfast, healthy fat, snacks, potassium, exercise, and hydration
Eggs, avocado, coconut water, celery, water, beets, kale

2. Pre-portion leftovers in muffin tins or snack baggies to avoid over indulgence:
Protein: size of palm
Grains/stuffing/starchy veggies: ½ cup
Salads: 1-2 cup
Fats/Gravies: 1-2 Tbsp.
Deserts: ¼ cup or ½ size of palm

3. Day After Detox Salad
Enjoy your leftovers the day after Thanksgiving in a health promoting salad that will “get things moving” in your body, and help you stay on track for the rest of the weekend! Find the recipe below in the meal plan.

Day After “Damage Control” Meal Plan for 2

Day After Thanksgiving “Damage Control” Meal Plan (for 2)
Avoid snacking on leftover sweets throughout day; focus on a high protein breakfast
Enjoy unlimited veggies and lots of water throughout the day to help satisfy cravings and curb sweet tooth

8 am Breakfast: Turkey Scramble
4 whole organic eggs
½ cup chopped turkey
2 cups spinach
2 Tbsp. dried rosemary
1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil

Over medium heat, sauté spinach in coconut oil. Whisk together eggs, rosemary, and turkey in mixing bowl. When spinach is hot and cooked down, pour egg mixture into skillet and scramble for 3-4 minutes or until eggs are cooked throughout. Serve with a ½ of a grapefruit and cup of hot lemon water.

11am Snack: ¼ cup mixed and medium apple

1pm Lunch: Detox Salad
2 cups chopped kale (raw)
½ cup chopped sweet potatoes (raw or baked)
2 Tbsp. dried rosemary
1 cup diced turkey breast
½ cup fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped celery
½ diced avocado
2 large red bell peppers; cut off top and scrape out inside seeds

Toss together kale, sweet potatoes, rosemary, turkey breast, cranberries, celery, and avocado. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and lightly combine until all ingredients are coated. Split mixture in half and serve inside of the bell peppers.

4pm Snack: Leftover celery and carrot sticks dipped in ¼ cup hummus with ¼ avocado

7pm Dinner: Thanksgiving Dinner Round 2

Choose 1-2 pre portioned servings of protein, 1-2 servings of pre portioned carb/grain/starchy veggies, 1-2 pre portioned fats, and 2-3 pre portioned greens/salads. Follow with cup of mint tea.

Desert: 1-cup fresh fruit with one pre portioned leftover desert