in the news: national nutrition month

March is National Nutrition Month and I love the American Dietetic Association’s (ADA) message this year – Eat Right with Color.

I really believe in focusing on what we should be eating instead of what we shouldn’t be eating. Color is a great place to start. The ADA recommends:

To get the most nutrition out of your calories, choose foods packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients—and lower in calories. Pick fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat dairy more often. Be aware of portion sizes. Even low-calorie foods can add up when portions are larger than you need.

My translation? Make sure you are eating different types and colors of fruits and vegetables. (Notice how whole grains are typically varying colors, as well?) Salads are a great way to get a lot of veggies – both type and color – in at one sitting. Start with dark leafy greens. My favorites are spinach, herb salad mix and romaine. Then add as many other vegetables as you can. Think cucumbers; broccoli; red, orange or yellow peppers;  shredded purple cabbage; sliced carrots; tomatoes; squash;  zucchini;  sprouts and you’ve got a range of colors and a good portion of your veggie quota in for the day. Not a fan of raw veggies? Try a huge stir-fry!

Add another veggie or two at dinner, some fruit at breakfast and dessert and dessert and keep those fruits and you’ll easily surpass the measly 5 cups of fruit and vegetables recommended per day. I’d recommend more like 7-8 cups of fruit and vegetables per day and the easiest way to get them in is to make sure they are accessible  – cleaned and ready to eat! Now go, eat your colors!

Visit the ADA site for resources, quizzes, games and recipe ideas to promote National Nutrition Month.

thanksgiving 2010: spinach salad

Along with the heavy sides of stuffing and mashed potatoes, a light and healthy spinach salad is welcomed on any Thanksgiving spread. The combination is a classic one, and ever since my boss recently made it, I knew it needed a place on my table. And soon. Couldn’t your Thanksgiving plate use a little something healthy?

I’ve never prepared an entire Thanksgiving meal (and that’s probably a good thing) but I can only imagine that if you do, some of the dishes need to come together without much prep and come together quickly. So this salad is everything you want for a hectic, calorie-laden day: easy to make, a healthy dose of greens and delicious to boot!

Spinach Salad - 4 servings

  • 1 – 5 oz bag of Organic Baby Spinach
  • 1/8 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Brianna’s Poppyseed Dressing

Toss together spinach, onion, strawberries and dressing. Sprinkle walnuts on top and serve.

apple cinnamon oatmeal

Apple Cinnamon was always my favorite flavor growing up. Those two packets kept me warm enough to play in the snow and gave me a good start to the day so that I could excel in school. (I think my parents would especially agree with the excel part)

After a disappointing bowl from Caribou – I didn’t realize they squirted some sort of cinnamon syrup into the oatmeal – I came to the realization that an apple cinnamon home made version would probably be amazing. An earth-shattering flavor combonation? Not by any means, just a down-to-earth, warming bowl of oatmeal. Just what I need to get me through those Minnesota winters. And excelling at work never hurts either. ;)

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal - 2 servings

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 small apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp butter or butter alternative (I used earth balance)
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Prepare oatmeal as directed with water and almond milk mix. (I think the almond milk makes it extra creamy)

Add apples, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla to small saucepan.

Cook over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes.

Divide oatmeal in two bowls and top with apple mixture.


guest post: juicing

I met Emily through my wonderful sister-in-law Mary Beth . Emily and I have a shared interest in (obsession with?) nutrition and cooking, and when she asked me to write a guest post for A Nutritionist Eats, I was incredibly flattered. Thanks for the opportunity, Emily!

What can I say—Emily likes her wine, I like my beer (and my juice)

My interest in nutrition slowly evolved after years of dealing with Crohn’s disease. Prescription medications have a place in controlling Crohn’s and keeping it in remission, but I knew there had to be a way I could help myself from the inside. The disease affects the digestive system, so why not try to heal it through food?

Doctors recommended that I watch my fiber intake, which meant restricting fruits and vegetables. It’s tricky to limit fiber and still get all the necessary nutrients. How can a processed diet of Sprite, chicken ramen, goldfish crackers, and Jell-O help your body heal?

Enter juicing. With just 15 minutes and a pile of produce, you can get several servings of fruits and vegetables in just one sitting. There are myriad benefits to juicing. The concentrated dose of antioxidants you receive helps detoxify your body, cleanse your blood, and boost your immune system, while your stores of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are replenished. Nutrients are easily and efficiently assimilated thanks to juice’s stripped-down state. You can add variety to your diet by incorporating many different fruits and vegetables, and juice is hydrating and energizing.

A quick search online will reveal recipes for any ailment, from anemia and acne to high blood pressure and the common cold. Juicing is also a great way to find balance again after traveling or a particularly rough night of drinking. (I know we’re talking health here, but I can’t wait to juice fresh tomatoes and herbs next summer for Bloody Marys!) I find that green juices in particular help curb my incessant craving for sweets. But the fact that freshly squeezed juice simply tastes so damn good is what will make juicing part of your food routine.

You don’t have to spend much on a juicer to get started. The model I purchased is affordable and easy to clean, two sticking points for many people when it comes to home juicing.

Sometimes I juice first thing in the morning and sip on it as I’m getting ready; lately I’ve found that having juice for dinner with a handful of almonds is a perfect weeknight dinner when I’m not too hungry.

It’s fun to experiment with different combinations, especially as my cravings and available fruits and vegetables change with the seasons. I would have to say, though, that nothing beats a glass of plain grapefruit juice on a crisp January morning. The vibrant pink color alone makes me swoon, and with just one taste, you’ll wonder how you ever ate the fruit with extra sugar sprinkled on top.

Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite combinations. Energizing iron, anti-inflammatory bromelain, bone-building vitamin K, and immune-strengthening vitamins A and C—you’d be hard pressed to find a better way to start your day. And oh! the flavor…do you remember the old Hi-C flavor Ecto Cooler? Well, this is it, only without the added sugar. Welcome to your new breakfast.


Adult Ecto Cooler

  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 3 generous handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/3 bunch of parsley
  • ¼ pineapple
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ½ cucumber

 

Rinse all vegetables and cut as needed to fit into your juicer. Juice away, give it a stir, and enjoy!

Thank you Molly for making us all drool this morning, now I REALLY want a juicer! Looking forward to reading your blog soon!