404 healthy fat

Get Out Of That Winter Slump!

For us here on the East coast, it’s been a long winter! By now most of us are feeling the effects of being stuck indoors during our free time, which can lead to a lower than usual mood and perhaps even a little weight gain from the lack of physical activity. The good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel- Spring is finally here!

I had the chance to chat with Kara and Scot from Channel 3 this week about some simple foods that will help get you out of that slump….simple snacks that will boost your energy, help you shed a few of those winter pounds, and boost up that immune system so you can enjoy as many of the beautiful days to come as you can! Watch the video below to learn more!

WFSB 3 Connecticut 

 

Click Here for the Recipes!

 

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

 

Ana 🙂

Eat Like a Greek, Feel Like a God!

Practical Nutrition would like to introduce Joe Stapleton! 

Hey there everyone! My name is Joe Stapleton. I’ve been working with Practical Nutrition for a couple of weeks now and am exited to be able to contribute my first blog post! So to keep things official, I’ll start with a little about me: I’m a Master’s Student and RD to be (both to be completed in June, yippee!) with a B.S. in Nutritional Science. I’m also a NSCA certified personal trainer and love absolutely everything about health and wellness! My love of nutrition and fitness spawned from my own personal experiences in the Marine Corps, in which I learned through the rigors of military life (sometimes the hard way) just how important it is to keep our bodies functioning at an optimal level, because you never know just what life is going throw at you!

Enough about me though. Without further ado, here is some information that will hopefully help YOUR journey to optimal health  and wellness…enjoy!

One of the diets generating a lot of buzz around both the scientific and the foodie communities lately is the Mediterranean diet. Don’t let the word diet fool you though, this is no fad. The Mediterranean diet sprang from the observation that mimicking the typical diet consumed in the Mediterranean area led to a reduction in incidence of heart disease and obesity, despite the macros of the diet being high in fat and accepting of moderate alcohol (red wine in particular). Essentially, the diet consists of eating mostly plant-based foods, with the majority of grains being whole. While high in fat, the fat comes mostly from oils and nuts. Fish and poultry are emphasized over red meat, and herbs and spices are used much more significantly to flavor dishes rather than salt. The ‘Mediterranean diet Pyramid’ is shown below to give a visual representation of the relative proportions.

The one thing about this diet that we would tweak here at Practical Nutrition though would be the significance of protein. As longtime readers/clients already know, over here at Practical Nutrition we like to skew our intake a little more in the direction of lean, organically sourced (if possible) protein. Increasing the proportion of lean protein in the diet has shown benefits for the athletic population (more efficient muscle recovery), the elderly (staving off sarcopenia and bone loss), and those looking to lose or maintain their weight (through extending the period of satiety before feeling hungry again). So we love the idea of the Mediterranean diet, and the data looks great regarding its effect on many chronic diseases, but don’t forget to keep up your intake of lean protein! 

So to celebrate this fantastically simple way of looking our food, today we’re providing a recipe for a delicious chicken, green bean, corn, and farro salad with goat cheese. With the relative proportions of ingredients, the use of the ancient Tuscan grain farro, and the inclusion of goat cheese, this makes for a decidedly Mediterranean dish. Just a little aside on farro by the way: this grain reportedly was what kept the Roman Legion’s bellies full during their long marches whilst conquering southern Europe (Spartan Race fuel, anyone?), is quick to cook, and each serving provides both 7 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber, wow! It is wheat derived, but has decidedly less gluten than other wheat products, so those that are gluten conscious shouldn’t worry (for those readers that are gluten-free or Celiac, simply swap out the farro in the recipe for brown rice, still delicious!).

Enjoy!

Chicken, Green Bean, Corn, and Farro Salad with Goat Cheese
Recipe Type: Lunch/dinner
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Author: Joe Stapleton
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup semi-pearled farro
  • 12 oz skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 12 oz green beans, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups yellow corn kernals
  • 3/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 4 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Instructions
  1. Boil farro in a medium saucepan until just tender (about 20 minutes). Drain, set aside to cool.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet on medium-high. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken in skillet until golden brown, roughly 8 minutes each side. Allow to cool and cut into 3/4 inch cubes.
  3. Cook green beans in a saucepan of boiling water until crisp-tender (about 4 minutes). Drain and rinse.
  4. Mix chicken, farro, and green beans in a large bowl. Add corn and green onions.,
  5. Combine 2 tbsp oil, marjoram, and sea salt in a small bowl. Whisk in vinegar, shallot, and mustard. Pour over salad, toss to coat.
  6. Sprinkle with goat cheese just prior to serving. (this recipe is great chilled or room temperature!)
  7. To really capture that Mediterranean vibe, serve with red wine. Cheers!

 

Gluten/Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Covered Rice Cakes

It’s a pretty snow day here on the east coast….which in my mind automatically translates  into “stay in my PJs all day and taste test some yummy new recipes!” Even though it’s not February yet (national chocolate month, and national heart health month!), I was looking to make something chocolatey that I would feel really good about eating (and give me some extra energy to shovel the 24 inches of snow off the walkway!).

These dark chocolate covered rice cakes really hit the spot…I used Lily’s baking chips, which contain no sugar, are certified organic, and absolutely delicious! Here in CT you can get them at TFC Health Foods in Farmington for a great price.  I also used Lundberg’s brown rice cakes, which also are certified organic, and a super “clean” grain that gives this treat a nice crunchy texture. We don’t do tons of grains here at PN, but when we do have them we like to make sure they’re gluten free, as unprocessed as possible, and consumed in a moderate portion.

When I have a treat I avoid eating something that will drain my energy or cause me to “crash” 15 minutes later- that’s why I love having unsweetened dark chocolate and treats with no refined, white sugar in them.  Having a way to nip the sweet tooth in the bud  is important…that’s why I’m planning on keeping a few of these chocolate covered rice cakes in baggies at my desk as a mid day pick me up, sure to help beat the winter blues!

Enjoy a sweet little indulgence…have an amazing week!

Ana and Amanda 🙂

Gluten/Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Covered Rice Cakes
Author: Ana
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • 10 Brown Rice Cakes (we use Lundberg brand)
  • 4 TBLS Coconut Oil
  • 1 Package Unsweetened Dark Baking Chips (we use Lily’s brand)
  • Toppings as desired (sea salt, coconut flakes, nuts/seeds, cacao nibs, etc.)
Instructions
  1. Line a baking pan with wax paper.
  2. Put the coconut oil and chocolate chips in a medium sized pot on medium/high heat. Stir continually until the chocolate is melted and well combined (take off of the heat as soon as it is melted).
  3. Use tongs to dip each rice cake into the chocolate sauce and lay on the wax paper lined baking pan (I broke each rice cake in half so make more servings- this is up to you).
  4. Sprinkle toppings on top as desired (I used coconut flakes)
  5. Allow to cool in fridge for about 2 hours, and then store in a plastic baggy or container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  6. Sampling while making these IS permitted.
  7. Enjoy!
Notes
PN Rx: [br]2 fats and 1 carb per 1/2 cake

 

 

Lemon Cookies (Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Sugar Free/Soy Free)

lemon cookies

Are you looking for a healthy holiday treat to share with family and friends that isn’t packed with sugar? I recently made these AMAZING lemon cookies. I grew up eating the lemon squares made from the box that were absolutely delicious so I have always had a soft spot for lemon desserts. I decided to attempt a lemon cookie using almond flour, eggs, and lemon juice/zest and couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. I brought these cookies as a dessert on Christmas Eve and my entire family loved them. Not to mention they are super simple and easy to make. These will definitely be a holiday staple! Enjoy!

 

Lemon Cookies (Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Sugar Free/Soy Free)
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12 cookies
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Almond Flour
  • 2 large Organic Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 cup Xylitol
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix until combined. It will make a thick cookie dough-type batter.
  3. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and separate batter into 12 cookies. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  4. Store in airtight container in fridge or freezer.
Serving size: 1 cookie Calories: 130 Fat: 11g Carbohydrates: 4g Protein: 5g

 

Dark Chocolate Cherry Holiday Parfait

Everyone loves sweets during the holidays- and most of us love chocolate! It’s normal to crave a little something sweet, even after a healthy meal. Our bodies need certain minerals found in natural sweeteners, for example, magnesium found in unsweetened cocoa and zinc in maple syrup. It’s important to eat natural, unprocessed sweets that satisfy your taste buds, unlike white, refined, packaged, sugary foods that are hard to stop eating once you start. Having some of these basic sweeteners on hand is a must for me:

  • 100% real maple syrup
  • Raw, local honey
  • Fresh/frozen fruit
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 70% or darker chocolate
  • Stevia
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes (even though they don’t have a direct sweet taste, they contain minerals and healthy fat that can help combat a sugar craving)

Honoring your bodies nutrient needs with whole foods and not depriving yourself what your body is looking for is key to succeeding in your overall wellness. Check out this delicious recipe for a quick, simple, and visually pleasing dessert option for yourself or your guests this holiday season.

Enjoy!

Ana and Amanda

Dark Chocolate Cherry Holiday Parfait
Author: Ana
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein (sweetened with stevia- or use plain and add 1 packet stevia, or 2 tsp maple syrup or honey)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the cherries and cacao nibs. Combine well until a thick, pudding-like texture is reached. Add more almond milk if the mixture is too thick and more coconut flour if it’s too thin.
  2. Add a layer on the bottom of a parfait cut, followed by a layer of dark frozen cherries, and continue to do this until the mixture is used up. Top it off with a layer of dark cherries, cacao nibs, and a pinch of coconut flakes as a “snow like” topping for winter. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Notes
PN Rx: 2 fats, 1 protein, 1 fruit per serving


Shepherd’s Pie

Hi Everyone!

I  have gotten a lot of requests for a Shepherd’s Pie recipe after I posted a picture of it last week so here it is! This recipe is definitely under the comfort foods category. It has tons of flavor and is a deep, warm dish. The best part is that because I used mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes it leaves you feeling light and satisfied.

 

Enjoy!

Amanda

 

shep pie 2

Shepherd’s Pie
Recipe Type: Comfort
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 3lb Organic Grassfed Beef (www.tfchealthfoods.com has great discount meat)
  • 5 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • 5 large Carrots (I like the multi-colored carrots from Trader Joe’s)
  • 4 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped Green Beans
  • 1 large head of Cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp Organic Butter
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Chili Pepper Sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add in all of your chopped vegetables and cook covered until the carrots are soft. Place vegetables in a large glass baking dish (9″x13″).
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, fill the bottom of a large sauce pan with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil.
  4. Chop up your head of cauliflower (I like to do this over a sink because it is SUCH a mess) and place inside of a steaming basket in the large sauce pan. Steam for 5-8 minutes or until soft.
  5. Add your meat to the large pan and cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain the fat from the pan and add beef to vegetable mixture in glass baking dish.
  6. Once cauliflower is done steaming, grab your blender/food processor and in 1-2 batches (depending on the size of your machine) add cauliflower, butter, almond milk, and salt and pepper. Blend until you get a thick, creamy mixture.
  7. Before adding the mashed cauliflower to your beef and veggie mixture, add 1/2 a cup of Trader Joe’s Chili Pepper sauce and mix until everything is coated.
  8. Spread your mashed cauliflower on top of the meat and veggie mixture. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until your cauliflower is slightly browned.

Red Curry Meatballs (Crockpot)

Tonight I will be hosting a holiday potluck at Talcott Family Chiropractic at 6:45pm. Everyone is welcome to join and bring a healthy, tasty dish. We have some people bringing dishes like beef stew, organic salad, and apple crisp to name a few. We will be talking about how to stay healthy during the holidays and sharing good food. I made these delicious Red Curry Meatballs. They are very low maintenance but absolutely delightful.

Holiday Potluck at Talcott Family Chiropractic

Location: 230 Farmington Ave Farmington, CT 06032

Time: 6:45pm-7:45pm

Everyone is welcome!

Red Curry Meatballs (Crockpot)
Recipe Type: Lunch/Dinner
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • For the Meatballs:
  • 3lb Organic Grassfed Beef
  • 2 tbsp Ground Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 large Organic Egg
  • 1 large Onion, diced
  • Sea Salt
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 6oz can Organic Tomato Paste
  • 1 14oz can Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tbsp Curry Powder
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat and add all ingredients for the sauce. Bring to a simmer then lower the heat.
  2. Combine all ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl (except for the meat) and mix well. Add in your ground beef and mix with your hands until fully incorporated.
  3. Form the meat mixture into small meatballs and place inside a crockpot.
  4. Pour sauce on top of meatballs and cook on low for 8 hours.

 

Buffalo Chicken and Egg Muffins

Hello everyone!

I wanted to share a delicious and simple recipe that I have been making to have as meals or snacks. These egg muffins are great as an afternoon pick me up. They fill you up with protein and the healthy fat from the eggs leaves you feeling satisfied. Just pack them up in your lunch box and you will be all set!

Here is a link for the silicone muffins cups that I mentioned in the instructions. They are so worth buying. I use them all the time and nothing ever sticks. They are also great to make your own Reese’s with. Just melt dark chocolate and place in the bottom of the muffin cup. Then add 1/2 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter and pour a little more chocolate on top. Place in the freezer and if you used those silicone cups they pop right out.

Have a great weekend!

Amanda

Buffalo Chicken Oregano and Egg Muffins
Recipe Type: Breakfast/Snack
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • .75lb of Organic Free Range Chicken Breast
  • 6 large Organic Free Range Eggs
  • 1/2 an Onion, chopped
  • 1/8 cup Frank’s Red Hot
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken breast seasoned with black pepper in a baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
  2. Once the chicken is done (or if you are using leftovers) place in a large bowl and shred with 2 forks or chop up with a knife.* Add your 1/8 cup of hot sauce to the chicken and mix until all pieces are coated.
  3. Whisk eggs in a small bowl and add garlic powder, oregano, and onions. Mix until even distributed.
  4. Fill silicone muffin cups halfway with egg mixture then fill the rest of the way with shredded buffalo chicken.
  5. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Check at 20 minutes to see if browned on top. Bake for a few more minutes if not.
Serving size: 1 muffin Calories: 76 Fat: 3g Carbohydrates: 1g Protein: 11g
Notes
*I usually end up using chicken that I had made in the beginning of the week. You could also prep chicken ahead of time in the crockpot and just add a little liquid (1/8 cup water, 1/8 cup Frank’s Red Hot). Then after 8 hours on low you have delicious shredded buffalo chicken.

Red Pumpkin Curry

I saw some recipes for a red thai curry that I have made before and then decided to combine two of my favorite things: curry and pumpkin. Because why not?! It’s getting a little cooler out and I have found that soups are extremely convenient for quick meals. They are a great way to switch it up from salads. I heat up the soup on the stove then add in shredded chicken that I make at the beginning of every week and veggies. My favorite veggies to add to curries/soups are kale and shaved brussel sprouts. They give it great texture and are packed with important vitamins and minerals. This recipe is the perfect amount of spicy and sweet. Enjoy!

 

Red Pumpkin Curry
Recipe Type: Soup
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 7-8
Ingredients
  • 1 can Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk
  • 4 cups Organic Chicken Broth
  • 2 tbsp Red Curry Paste
  • 2 tbsp Roasted Curry Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp Ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Roasted Pumpkin or 1 1/2 cup Organic Pumpkin Puree
Instructions
  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add in coconut milk, broth and curry paste. Mix until paste is completely incorporated.
  2. Add in all of your spices now then your fish sauce, garlic and onion.
  3. Add in the roasted pumpkin and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Now get out your blender and pour the mixture in there in a few batches. Puree everything so you get a nice smooth texture.
  5. Once you have pureed your soup now is the perfect time to add in some leftover protein (chicken, ground beef, white fish) and veggies.
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 70 Fat: 3 Carbohydrates: 9 Protein: 2

Creamy Pumpkin Soup (Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free)

It’s that time of year! EVERYTHING is pumpkin flavored and packed with sugar, which is sad because pumpkin is delicious. That is why I have been recreating my favorite fall pumpkin recipes and this soup is one of them.

I love pumpkin for many reasons:

  • Packed with fiber and complex carbs but not too many so it helps fill you up without spiking your blood sugar
  • Contains Vitamin A and antioxidants in its beautiful orange color as well as B Vitamins
  • It can be savory OR sweet! This is my favorite thing about pumpkin. You can bake it in the oven with butter, salt and pepper or blend it in a soup with coconut milk and cinnamon. It can cure any craving!

This soup makes 10 cups! You can make the whole batch and freeze half or share with friends and family 🙂

Enjoy,

Amanda

 

Creamy Pumpkin Soup (Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free)
Recipe Type: Soup
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 3lb Cubed Sugar Pumpkin
  • 1 Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
  • 4 Organic Carrots, Chopped
  • 1 Organic Apple, Chopped
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 4 cups Organic Chicken Broth
  • 2 tbsp Organic Maple Syrup
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Sage
  • 1 can Light Coconut Milk (I like Trader Joe’s brand)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pumpkin on tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil on it. Chop up onion, garlic, carrots, and apple and place around pumpkin. Bake for 45-60 minutes.
  2. Once the veggies are cooked, heat up a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in coconut oil and all spices. Stir 1 minute.
  3. Add in chicken broth, maple syrup and vegetables. Mix and bring to a boil then reduce to low.
  4. In batches, pour the soup mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour smooth soup mixture back into the large sauce pan on low. Add in the can of coconut milk and mix until all incorporated.
  6. Your soup is now ready!
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 131 Fat: 6 Carbohydrates: 21 Protein: 2