This recipe from Feed Your Family Right! How to Make Smart Food and Fitness Choices for a Healthy Lifestyle, is a tasty twist on traditional fajitas, and a great way to incorporate healthful omega-3 fats into your diet.
Total preparation and cooking time: 1 hour
Makes 4 servings (4 fajitas)
Nutrition Information per serving:
Saturated fat 2.5g
1-1/4 pounds salmon filets cut into 1-1/2” wide slices
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoons chipotle tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
nonstick cooking spray
1 cup sliced onion
1 red bell pepper cut into 1” strips
4 whole wheat tortillas
In a large bowl, combine salmon with lime juice, chipotle Tabasco sauce, extra virgin olive oil, cumin, chili powder, salt, garlic, and cilantro. Toss together well, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. When hot, add onions and peppers and cook until softened about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove onions and peppers and add seasoned salmon, skin side down. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until crisp, flip and continue cooking for additional 3 to 4 minutes until firm inside. Serve over peppers and onions. Garnish with lime wedges and serve wrapped in heated whole-wheat tortillas.
Cook’s Tip: This dish can also be served more traditionally alongside wild rice or pasta and a colorful vegetable medley.
Source: Feed Your Family Right! by Elisa Zied, MS, RD, with Ruth Winter, MS. Wiley, 2007.
If you’d like to enter for a chance to win a VIP coupon for a free Gorton’s frozen fish item and a T shirt featuring the classic Gorton’s “man at the wheel,” you can do one of the following:
1. Follow me on Twitter. After your follow, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Fish Giveaway” in the subject line.
2. Submit a Friend request to me on Facebook.
3. Provide a quote below about how you love to prepare fish, and/or how you plan to spend Father’s Day this year.
5. You may enter the contest more than once, and can possibly win more than one coupon/T-shirt. 5 of each will be given away.
6. Winners will be selected at random on June 10th, and all prizes will be mailed to arrive in time for Father’s Day. Good luck!
Go to Gorton’s web site for recipes and more information about how to work in at least 2 weekly fish meals per week as recommended in current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. And what better time to start than on Father’s Day!
Full disclosure: Gorton’s was kind enough to send me some product samples and donate these prizes without compensation or expectation.
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I can recall back in my early childhood years frantically rushing to get out of the house, often skipping breakfast, just to find myself out of energy and unable to focus by recess time. As it turns out, I’m not alone. Today, over 18 million students go to school hungry despite the proven benefits and health aspects associated with breakfast intake. The Breakfast in the Classroom program is a relatively new intervention that provides breakfast to students where they need it most–in the hub of learning and socialization, the classroom. In this day and age, when obesity among children is a major concern, how can the implementation of Breakfast in the Classroom help improve overall health and education?
Principals of various school districts, along with teachers of schools that have implemented this program, have reported that students are usually better behaved, are more motivated to attend school, and are more focused. Of course they are! When children rush to school, they often miss out on the most important meal of the day, and often feel like they’re always playing “catch up” with their peers. Simply providing students with as little as 10 minutes to socialize and eat during morning activities may very well improve their performance, contribute to better test scores, increase attendance, and decrease disciplinary problems.
Breakfast in the Classroom often complements academics in a variety of ways. Studies have shown that children who skip breakfast are at an academic disadvantage; they have slower memory recall, make more errors, and are more likely to repeat a grade. Children who eat breakfast often have more energy and are better able to concentrate; this can improve participation and academic scores. This often leads to improvement in standardized test scores which is also associated with increased school funding.
Providing Breakfast in the Classroom also grants a myriad of health effects. Skipping breakfast may contribute to obesity in youth. Children enrolled in breakfast programs have been shown to have significantly lower body mass index (BMI) than children who skipped breakfast. These healthy breakfast meals are nutritious and provide 25 percent of the daily RDA for many nutrients including protein, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D that children may not otherwise attain. In addition to providing essential nutrients at breakfast, Breakfast in the Classroom helps kids get into a healthy routine.
These days, children are increasingly out of shape, and consuming a less than healthful diet is a contributor. If we are to help kids make better choices—starting with choosing to have breakfast, especially a healthful one—they’ll be well on their way towards reaping the many educational and physical benefits of a well-balanced and healthful diet.
Learn more about Breakfast in the Classroom at BreakfastEveryDay.org.
Also, watch this NY1 TV clip about this innovative program.click to comment
This was one of the great questions asked by someone in my son Eli’s 3rd grade class during during March’s National Nutrition Month. Here are my responses to this question and several others. Hope any of you parents out there will these will find this helpful when talking to your kids about nutrition.
How much nutrition do you need each day? EVERYONE HAS DIFFERENT NUTRITIONAL NEEDS BASED ON THEIR AGE, HEIGHT, WEIGHT, AND GENES (GENES ARE IN YOUR BODY AND THEY MAKE YOU WHO YOU ARE; THEY’RE THINGS YOU’RE BORN WITH THAT COME FROM YOUR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS). MOST 5 TO 12 YEAR OLD KIDS NEED ABOUT 1,200 TO 1,800 CALORIES A DAY TO GET MOST IF NOT ALL THE NUTRIENTS THEY NEED.
How do you know which foods have good nutrition and which ones don’t? THE FOODS THAT HAVE THE MOST NUTRITION ARE THE LOWEST FAT, LOWEST SUGAR OPTIONS IN THESE CATEGORIES: FRUIT, VEGETABLES, GRAINS, LOW FAT DAIRY FOODS, PROTEIN FOODS, AND OILS. FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE FRUIT CATEGORY, AN APPLE IS A BETTER CHOICE THAN SWEETENED APPLE SAUCE, APPLE JUICE, OR DRIED FRUIT LIKE RAISINS. ALL OF THESE ARE HEALTHFUL-BUT YOU WANT TO CHOOSE APPLE SAUCE AND DRIED FRUIT THAT HAS NO ADDED SUGAR. ALSO, AN APPLE HAS LOTS OF FIBER AND APPLE JUICE DOESN’T—AND THAT’S THE REASON WHY APPLE JUICE ISN’T AS FILLING AS AN APPLE.
What are healthy foods other than fruits and vegetables? OTHER HEALTHFUL FOODS INCLUDE LEAN PROTEIN FOODS (EGGS, LEAN MEATS AND SKINLESS, WHITE MEAT POULTRY, BEANS AND PEAS, LOW FAT DAIRY PRODUCTS, NUTS AND SEEDS AND NUT BUTTERS, AND OILS LIKE CANOLA AND OLIVE OIL.
How many meals should you have in a day? ALL KIDS SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST 3 MEALS AND 1 OR 2 HEALTHFUL SNACKS EACH DAY. SKIPPING MEALS IS A NO NO BECAUSE YOU WON’T HAVE ENERGY AND YOU’LL END UP EATING TOO MUCH THE NEXT TIME YOU EAT.
How many calories should a kid have per day? 5 TO 12 YEAR OLDS SHOULD HAVE ABOUT 1,200 TO 1,800 CALORIES PER DAY. MORE ACTIVE AND BIGGER KIDS CAN AFFORD TO HAVE MORE CALORIES THAN LESS ACTIVE, SMALLER KIDS. EVERY PERSON IS DIFFERENT. IF YOU’RE GROWING CONSISTENTLY ON GROWTH CHARTS (WHEN YOU GO TO YOUR YEARLY CHECK UP, YOU CAN ASK YOUR PEDIATRICIAN IF YOU ARE), THEN YOU’RE PROBABLY GETTING ENOUGH CALORIES TO HELP YOU GROW WELL AND TO STAY AT A HEALTHY BODY WEIGHT.
How many calories are in popcorn? How often should you have it? 1 CUP OF POPCORN—AIR POPPED—HAS ABOUT 30 CALORIES; OIL-POPPED OR MOVIE THEATER AND EVEN SOME MICROWAVE POPCORN CAN HAVE ABOUT 60 CALORIES PER CUP. YOU CAN HAVE UNSALTED AIR-POPPED POPCORN OR POPCORN MADE WITH A LITTLE CANOLA OR VEGETABLE OIL AS A SNACK OFTEN (3 CUPS OF POPCORN = ONE PORTION OF WHOLE GRAINS).
What should you have more of, fruits or vegetables? FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ARE BOTH IMPORTANT TO EAT, BUT I USUALLY RECOMMEND THAT KIDS EAT MORE VEGETABLES THAN FRUIT. I RECOMMEND YOU HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF VEGETABLES AT LUNCH AND AT DINNER, AND TRY TO HAVE SOME AS PART OF YOUR SNACKS AFTER SCHOOL (FOR EXAMPLE, RAW CARROTS, PEPPERS, AND CELERY STICKS/STRIPS OR OTHER RAW VEGGIES LIKE BROCCOLI OR CAULOFLOWER.) YOU CAN ALSO HAVE SOME LOW SODIUM VEGETABLE JUICE IF YOU LIKE THAT, THOUGH STICK TO NO MORE THAN ½ TO 1 CUP. YOU CAN ALSO HAVE SOME HUMMUS OR OTHER BEAN DIP AS PART OF A SNACK (YOU CAN HAVE IT ON A WHOLE WHEAT PITA, TOASTED, ON WHOLE GRAIN CRACKERS OR A RICE CAKE). HUMMUS AND BEAN DIP COUNT AS VEGETABLES (AND ALSO COUNT AS PROTEIN FOODS).
Should you have unlimited fruits? EVEN THOUGH FRUITS ARE WONDERFUL—THEY HAVE FIBER AND TONS OF NUTRIENTS, THEY STILL HAVE CALORIES. SO IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO HAVE ABOUT 1 TO 1.5 CUPS OF FRUIT A DAY (THAT’S LIKE 1 BANANA AND ½ CUP BERRIES). IF YOU HAVE UNLIMITED FRUITS—EVEN THOUGH THEY’RE HEALTHFUL—YOU WON’T LEAVE ENOUGH ROOM FOR ALL THE OTHER HEALTHY FOODS IN YOUR DIET. AND YOU MIGHT GET MORE CALORIES THAN YOUR BODY NEEDS TO BE HEALTHY AND STRONG.
How much vegetables do you need each day? MOST KIDS AGED 5 TO 12 SHOULD AIM FOR ABOUT 1.5 TO 2 CUPS A DAY OF VEGETABLES.
Is an Avocado a fruit or vegetable? AN AVOCADO COUNTS AS A FRUIT AND AS OIL. A FRUIT IS THE OVARY OF A FLOWER. ALL FRUITS—LIKE AVOCADO AND TOMATOES—CONTAIN SEEDS OF FLOWERING PLANTS. BUT UNLIKE MOST OTHER FRUITS, AVOCADO ALSO CONTAINS HEALTHY MONOUNSATURATED FATS.
What vegetable is the healthiest? THERE’S NO REAL “HEALTHIEST VEGETABLE”—ALL OF THEM PACK IN LOTS OF KEY NUTRIENTS YOUR BODY NEEDS. BUT I BELIEVE BEANS ARE AMAZING VEGETABLES BECAUSE THEY’RE THE ONLY FOODS THAT CONTAIN BOTH COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES (THEY KEY FUEL FOR OUR BRAINS AND CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM) AS WELL AS PROTEIN (OUR BODIES NEED PROTEIN TO GROW AND FIX MUSCLES AND HAVE SO MANY OTHER IMPORTANT JOBS IN OUR BODIES (OUR BODIES ARE MADE UP OF A LOT OF PROTEINS!)
Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? JUST LIKE AVOCADO, IT’S A FRUIT!
Which food group is Gatorade in? IT’S NOT REALLY IN A FOOD GROUP! IT’S MADE OF WATER AND SUGAR. THE CALORIES COUNT AS “EXTRA CALORIES,” AND KIDS CAN HAVE ABOUT 120 TO 160 EXTRA CALORIES A DAY FROM ADDED SUGARS (SUCH AS SODA, CANDY, GATORADE, FRUIT PUNCH, COOKIES, CAKE, CHOCOLATE AND OTHER SIMILAR FOODS) AND SOLID FATS (BUTTER, SOUR CREAM, CREAM SAUCES AND THINGS LIKE THAT.)
How much sugar do gummy bears have? 11 GUMMY BEARS HAVE ABOUT 100 CALORIES AND 15 GRAMS OF SUGAR. THAT’S ABOUT HALF THE ADDED SUGAR KIDS SHOULD HAVE IN AN ENTIRE DAY!
What food group is chocolate in? CHOCOLATE IS NOT IN ANY FOOD GROUP! IT COUNTS AS “EXTRA CALORIES” (BEYOND THE CALORIES YOU’LL FIND IN FOODS FROM THE HEALTHY FOOD GROUPS) AND HAS FEW NUTRIENTS. KIDS CAN AFFORD ABOUT 120 TO 160 “EXTRA CALORIES” FROM SWEETS AND TREATS EACH DAY. ONE REGULAR SIZED CHOCOLATE BAR (LIKE A HERSHEY BAR) HAS ABOUT 210 CALORIES.
How many times a day or week should you have sweets? I ENCOURAGE MY SONS TO HAVE UP TO ONE A DAY (AND I TRY TO DO THE SAME). WE TRY TO KEEP OUR PORTIONS TO NO MORE THAN ABOUT 100-150 CALORIES A DAY. SOME FAMILIES LIKE TO SAVE TREATS FOR ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK OR FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS. I THINK THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO KEEP TREATS SMALL (2 OR 3 SMALL COOKIES, ONE SMALL DONUT, ½ BAG OF CANDY, ONE SODA, ONE SMALL CHOCOLATE BAR) AND TO MAKE SURE YOU EAT ALL THE HEALTHY FRUITS, VEGETABLES, AND OTHER FOODS YOUR BODY NEEDS TO GROW WELL EACH AND EVERY DAY.
How much oil should I have per day –a lot or a little? THINGS LIKE OLIVE OIL AND CANOLA OIL, MAYONNAISE, AND OILY SALAD DRESSINGS COUNT AS “OILS.” A GOOD RULE OF THUMB IS 3.5 TO 5 TEASPOONS A DAY. 1 TEASPOON OF OIL EQUALS: 1 TEASPOON OF OLIVE OIL OR CANOLA OIL OR OTHER VEGETABLE OIL OR MAYONNAISE; 1 TABLESPOON OF LIGHT OR LOW FAT MAYONNAISE; 2 TABLESPOONS LOW FAT SALAD DRESSING. AVOCADO, NUTS AND SEEDS, NUT BUTTERS AND OLIVES ALSO COUNT AS SOME OILS.
What category is ice cream in? ICE CREAM COUNTS A LITTLE BIT AS DAIRY/MILK BECAUSE HAS SOME CALCIUM FROM THE MILK, BUT IT MOSTLY COUNTS AS “EXTRA CALORIES” –IT HAS LOTS OF FAT AND ADDED SUGAR.
Are eggs for breakfast good for you? EGGS ARE TERRIFIC! THEY CONTAIN PROTEIN TO FILL YOU UP, AND THEY HAVE A LITTLE VITAMIN D (THAT HELPS YOUR BODY ABSORB CALCIUM). EGGS DO CONTAIN CHOLESTEROL, FAT, AND SATURATED FAT, SO YOU DON’T WANT TO HAVE MORE THAN 1 EGG A DAY OR ABOUT 7 EGGS A WEEK. THAT INCLUDES EGGS USED TO MAKE FOODS (LIKE CAKE, MUFFINS ETC) AND EGGS THAT YOU’LL EAT FOR BREAKFAST.
Is homemade French toast good for you? IT DOES CONTAIN EGG, AND IF YOU USE WHOLE WHEAT BREAD, IT CAN ALSO GIVE YOU HEALTHY WHOLE GRAINS. BUT JUST BE CAREFUL NOT TO PUT TOO MUCH BUTTER AND SYRUP ON IT!
If you eat a sandwich for lunch should you have any more grain for the rest of the day? IF YOU HAVE WHOLE GRAIN BREAD (LIKE WHOLE WHEAT BREAD), THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST ONE MORE WHOLE GRAIN (3 CUPS POPCORN, 5 SMALL WHOLE GRAIN CRACKERS LIKE TRISCUITS®, ½ CUP BROWN OR WILD RICE OR WHOLE WHEAT PASTA. MOST KIDS CAN HAVE UP TO 4 OR 5 GRAINS A DAY.
Which is better for you sardines or tuna? THEY’RE BOTH GREAT FOR YOU, BUT SARDINES HAVE MORE HEALTHY OMEGA 3 FATS AND LESS MERCURY THAN TUNA. MY BEST ADVICE IS TO MIX UP THE TYPES OF FISH YOU EAT SO THAT YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS WHILE LIMITING THINGS LIKE MERCURY (WHICH WE WANT TO LIMIT IN OUR DIETS). MOST KIDS WHO EAT TUNA SHOULD AIM FOR NO MORE THAN 6 OUNCES A WEEK.
How much meat should you have in one day? MEAT IS PART OF THE “PROTEIN” GROUP. KIDS SHOULD AIM FOR 3 TO 5 OUNCES A DAY OF FOODS IN THE PROTEIN GROUP. 1 OUNCE EQUALS 1 OUNCE BEEF/POULTRY/FISH, 1 EGG, ½ OUNCE NUTS OR SEEDS, 1 TABLESPOON PEANUT BUTTER, ¼ CUP BEANS (BEANS ALSO COUNT AS VEGETABLES).
Can eating badly make you die earlier? EATING WELL AND HAVING JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF FOOD–NOT TOO MUCH AND NOT TOO LITTLE CAN HELP YOU BE HEALTHIER, FEEL BETTER, AND HELP PREVENT DISEASES AND HEALTH PROBLEMS THAT PREVENT YOU FROM DOING THINGS YOU WANT TO DO IN LIFE. YOUR BODY NEEDS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF AND FUELED PROPERLY JUST LIKE THE ENGINE OF A CAR– YOU HAVE TO PUT IN THE HIGHEST QUALITY FUEL TO GET THE BEST PERFORMANCE. IF YOU EAT WELL AND STAY ACTIVE, YOU’LL HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF LIVING A LONG AND HEALTHY LIFE.
Is there a question your kids have asked you about nutrition that you could not answer? Leave your question below–you may see it answered in an upcoming blog or article.
For more information about how to eat healthfully, or to sign up for my free e-newsletter, THE ZIED GUIDE, please sign up on the right side of my home page at www.elisazied.com.
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Are you looking to curb mindless eating and slash your overall calorie intake painlessly? And I mean with zero pain?
The tip below (not to mention so many others) from the new book, The Skinny Rules: The 101 Secrets Every Skinny Girl Knows, by registered dietitian Molly Morgan, may help you do just that. Of course being ‘skinny’ is not something I feel people should aspire to (though admittedly, during the course of my life, I too have succumbed to wanting to be more slim—especially when I was an overweight teenager and young adult.) I also believe that no matter how hard someone works to lose weight and get in shape, he or she won’t necessarily become thin, skinny, or slim from their efforts—genes and so many other variables factor in to what our ultimate body shape and weight are and will be. That being said, Morgan’s tips throughout her book are common-sense with a twist, and can help all of us–especially those who have trouble keeping their weight down–eat and live more healthfully and reap the many benefits of doing so.
Here’s an excerpt of my favorite tip from The Skinny Rules…..
Skinny Rule #15: Watch Your BLTs
No, not bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches… bits, licks and tastes! This helpful tip comes from a Skinny cousin of mine, Kristie Kinderman: Every bit, lick and taste adds up quickly when you’re watching your calories. So think twice (and even three times) before you have that extra bite, lick or taste!
If you want to challenge yourself, try this fun little exercise. Keep a scrap of paper in your pocket for an entire day and every time you take and extra bite, lick or taste of something, jot it down. At the end of the day try to estimate how many extra calories piled up thanks to those little BLTS. To estimate how many calories are in a small amount of food, go to www.nutritiondata.com. It is an amazing online database of nutrition facts that lets you see how many calories are in different serving sizes of various foods. To start, go to the web site and in the upper right-hand corner of the home page, type in a food name and then click Search. You will quickly be able to see how many calories are approximately in a bit, lick or taste. Choose the one-ounce serving size from the drop-down menu for the food you’ve selected and it will give you a rough idea of how many calories were in that taste. Of course, depending on how many bites, licks and tastes of the food you had, the amount of calories will differ. And while I’m not calling you a big mouth, the calories may also vary depending on the size of your mouth!
This Skinny rules is especially important because people don’t take the calories from those BLTs into account, but they do add up! Maybe it’s a few extra bites while you’re preparing dinner, followed by the lick of a spoon when you’re cleaning up or a small taste off your friend’s plate at a restaurant. Each of these seemingly innocent and perhaps even mindless acts adds calories. Controlling calorie intake is a delicate balance and nixing the extra bites, licks and taste can and will make a difference in your weight.
Check out some approximate calories that come from just a small 1-ounce bite, lick or taste:
Lick of peanut butter: 165 calories
Lick of frosting: 116 calories
Bite of Cake with frosting: 103
Few Bites of French Fries: 93
Taste of Chicken Wing: 60
Excerpted with permission from The Skinny Rules, by Molly Morgan, RD, CDN.
If you’d like to enter to win a free copy of The Skinny Rules (generously donated by Molly herself), share your thoughts about this post below; or share a tip that has helped you keep weight off/prevent weight gain. A winner will be announced on Wednesday, May 11th. (When you leave a comment, please email me your email address (with “book giveaway” as the subject line) at email@example.com (p.s. your email address will only be used to contact you if you’re the winner and for no other purpose.)
Full disclosure: I requested and was provided with a free copy of The Skinny Rules by the author, Molly Morgan.click to comment
Going gluten-free–avoiding foods that contain this certain type of protein–has become a popular trend over the last few years. While many who cut gluten out of their diets do so because of sensitivities or because they’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, others have begun to do so because they think it’ll help them cut calories and lose weight, or even get healthier.
The popularity of The G-Free Diet by The View co-anchor and GMA contributor Elizabeth Hasselback*, and the estimated $2.6 billion in sales of ‘G-Free’ foods in the U.S. in 2010 (not to mention 30 percent growth between 2006 and 2010) show us that gluten-free foods may become, in many ways, more of a rule than an exception for many.
Because May is National Celiac Awareness Month, and because many ask me about the gluten-free trend, I asked my colleague and friend Rachel Begun, a registered dietitian, to share some information about Celiac Disease as well as her personal experiences as someone with the condition.
EZ: What exactly is Celiac Disease (CD) and how common is it?
RB: According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, Celiac Disease (CD) is a lifelong inherited autoimmune condition that affects both children and adults. When people with CD consume foods that contain gluten, it creates an immune-mediated toxic reaction that damages the small intestine and doesn’t allow food to be properly absorbed. Even small amounts of gluten in foods can affect those with CD and cause health problems. Damage can occur to the small bowel even when there are no symptoms present.
About 1 in 133 Americans have CD, but of those, only an estimated 3 percent are diagnosed; that means about 97 percent of people with the condition walk around undiagnosed, not knowing they have the condition and not getting the proper dietary and lifestyle treatment they need to manage the condition. Symptoms of CD vary among individuals, but if left untreated it can lead to:
o Nutrition deficiencies and their associated conditions, including anemia and osteoporosis
o Neurological disorders
o Liver and thyroid conditions
o Infertility (men and women)
o Intestinal lymphomas and other GI cancers
o Other autoimmune diseases, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
A strict gluten-free diet is the only treatment for CD–easier said than done since gluten is omnipresent in our food supply, cross contamination in restaurants is highly prevalent, and standardized gluten free labeling on food packaging has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA.)
EZ: What exactly is gluten, and what foods contain it?
RB: Gluten is the common name for the proteins found in specific grains that are harmful to people with CD. Gluten is found in all forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn and faro) and in rye, barley and triticale. All of these must be eliminated in the diet of someone with CD. And although oats do not specifically contain gluten, they can become contaminated in the manufacturing process; I encourage people with CD to consume only certified gluten free oats.
Question (EZ): When were you diagnosed with CD?
Answer (RB): I was diagnosed in 2009. I am a classic example of a person with CD who was misdiagnosed for many years. Like so many others, I was told I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Question (EZ): What were your symptoms?
Answer (RB): My whole life I’ve had a “bad stomach” and suffered repeatedly with symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, cramping and bloating. Then my symptoms started getting much worse. I was extremely lethargic all the time, sleeping too much and experiencing what I now know to be “brain fog.” When I had three stomach virus-like episodes within a month, I knew there was something else going on. I wasn’t eating dairy, so I knew it wasn’t lactose. I began an elimination diet and, when I put gluten back in my diet, I noticed the more severe symptoms returned. That’s when I went to a GI specialist. Initial blood tests showed I was deficient in iron, B12 and carnitine. My doctor then tested me specifically for CD and that’s when I found out I had the condition.
Question (EZ): I understand that eating out can be a real challenge for those who have to eliminate certain foods–and such pervasive ones like that including bread and pasta. Having eaten with you, I know that having a conversation with the waiter or the chef at a restaurant, is often needed (and not so bad–especially if they’re cute!) What do you and recommend others with CD do when they eat out?
Answer (RB): Whenever possible, I call the restaurant ahead of time to let them know that I have CD and that I have to completely avoid coming into contact with wheat, rye, barley and oats. Prior to going to the restaurant, I review the menu so I can get an idea of the items I would like to have and which are generally less likely to have gluten or be contaminated so that I can focus my questions on these items. At the restaurant, I clearly communicate to the waiter that I have to avoid gluten and when ordering I ask very precise questions to know all of the ingredients in the dishes I am interested in, as well as exactly how they are prepared and whether they can be made with sterilized cookware, utensils and surfaces. For example, eggs and omelets are generally gluten free, but not if they are made on the same grill on which pancakes are made, which is common in diners. In such a situation, I would ask that they be prepared in a pan that has been cleaned. If the waiter or chef cannot confirm what ingredients are in a dish or how it is prepared, I err on the side of caution and don’t order it. There have been times when I’ve (politely) walked out of a restaurant due to not feeling comfortable about eating safely.
Question (EZ): How do you eat at home?
Answer (RB): Eating at home is much easier, as I know exactly what goes into my food. While I’ve always enjoyed cooking, I do so much more now than before being diagnosed. My husband is really supportive and has offered to be completely gluten free in the house, but I don’t want him to have to miss out and encourage him to keep some of his favorite gluten-containing items on hand. To make sure I am safe:
- the counters are always wiped down after a gluten-containing item is prepared
- we have two toasters and two sets of pots and pans, one for gluten free foods and one for gluten-containing foods
- we do not share jarred and spreadable items, like butter, jams, nut butters and hummus; instead, we purchase two jars of the same product and print out a gluten free label to put on one
- gluten-containing items are placed on the bottom shelf of the pantry so that they don’t contaminate gluten-free items
This sounds very restrictive, but it’s really not. It’s more about getting into a routine and sticking to it. In fact, we have been able to explore cooking with so many new foods and probably eat a wider variety now than before I was diagnosed.
Question (EZ): Do you think people who don’t have CD or certain sensitivities should go gluten-free? What are the perks/perils of doing so?
Answer (RB): There are some people without CD or non-Celiac gluten sensitivity that swear they feel better without gluten in their diet. If that’s the case, then good for them and they should avoid gluten. I say that with a big caveat, however. I think taking gluten out of the diet is often confused for taking highly processed gluten-containing foods out of the diet and, yes, anyone taking processed foods out of the diet and replacing them with wholesome, natural foods is going to feel better. That isn’t an effect of removing gluten from the diet, it is the result of removing low nutrient foods from the diet! For those taking gluten out of the diet (both processed and natural foods) because they think it is a magic bullet for losing weight or being healthier, that just isn’t so. Unlike their gluten-containing counterparts, many gluten free products on the market aren’t enriched with iron and B-vitamins, are made with starch fillers devoid of fiber and trace minerals, and contain more fat, sugar and calories. The perks come when people begin adding more naturally gluten-free foods like fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean cuts of meat and poultry, fish, beans, nuts and seeds into their diets. The perils come when the diet is heavy in highly processed gluten-free foods.
Question (EZ): What are your favorite resources for those with CD to help them better understand and get a better handle on the condition in the real world?
Answer (RB): There are so many great gluten free resources, but the ones I use on a regular basis include:
The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Living – Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University
Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide – by registered dietitian Shelley Case
The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide – Triumph Dining
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (disclosure: I am an Ask the Dietitian expert and consulting dietitian for NFCA)
Gluten Free Recipe Websites
EZ: Can you share a favorite recipe?
RB: Here’s a delicious one (if I say do say so myself) for ChocoCocoNut Cookies. It shows you that you can be gluten-free and still eat deliciously and healthfully.
These cookies are gloriously rich and satisfying without containing any refined grains, gluten, dairy or refined sugar. A great way to indulge while feeling good about what you put into your body.
These cookies are gluten free and dairy free.
2 cups walnut pieces
1⁄2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 egg whites, whisked until frothy
1/8 cup plus 3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup coconut flakes
1⁄2 cup large semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a cookie sheet. Grind the walnut pieces and cinnamon in a small food processor to a flour-like consistency. Mix the walnut cinnamon mixture with the eggs, honey and vanilla extract to make a batter. Mix in the coconut flakes. Batter should thicken. If desired, toss in chocolate chips. Drop equal-sized portions of batter onto cookie sheet. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until edges start to brown.
Makes 12 cookies.
About Rachel Begun, MS, RD, CDN:
Rachel Begun, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and accomplished food and nutrition communications professional. She provides food and nutrition marketing, communications, education and spokesperson expertise to food companies, retailers and foodservice/hospitality providers, as well as to schools, camps and health organizations. Rachel also provides gluten-free/allergy-friendly counsel to private clients and educates the public via speaking opportunities and writing, including her own blog, The Gluten Free RD.
*I have not read the book The G-Free Diet, and my mention of it here is not meant to be an implied endorsement.
If you have celiac disease, please share your tips for eating and living in the real world.click to comment
Did you know that, according to a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids aged 8 to 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day on ‘entertainment media’—watching tv or movies, listening to music, and playing video games. They also were found to spend another 2 hours texting or talking on the phone.
Unfortunately, more sedentary behavior (and less active play) usually means a higher risk of being overweight or obese. Screen-Free Week is an initiative that kicks off today, April 18, to promote more healthful lifestyle behaviors for busy parents, teachers, and those who work with and/or care for kids to find active alternatives to screen time.
Here are some screen-free gems–tips and resources to help you help the next generation move more and sit less. Even if you don’t completely turn off the screens in your home or workplace, you can replace some of the time you’d otherwise spend in front of a screen to be more active and reap the many benefits physical activity can provide.
*WeCan! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition), a science-based national education program from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), helps children ages 8-13 stay at a healthy weight. WeCan! offers several materials to help caregivers and families encourage children to become more active. Some tips to get active include:
*Walk your children to school –I do this as much as possible and find it a wonderful way to connect with my kids);
*Go for a half-hour walk instead of watching TV –you can walk home from school or take a half hour walk with your family right before or after dinner);
*Play with your kids at least 30 minutes per day –you can do this all at once, or divide it into 2 15 minute periods if that works with your schedules—some is better than none, and taking this time to simply play is a great way to take a break during an otherwise hectic day);
*Dance to music with your kids –one of my favorites—AND we often laugh a lot when we dance because my husband and I look so ridiculous when we shake our booties.)
For more GET ACTIVE tips, go here.
To reduce screen time:
*Set screen time limits. Create a house rule that limits screen time to two hours every day.
*Talk to your family. Explain to your kids that it’s important to sit less and move more.
Find more tips to REDUCE SCREEN TIME, go here.
How do you and your family spend your active time? Share your tips for cutting screen time and moving more.
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Earth Day fell this past week on April 22nd, 2011. To celebrate today and every day, here are Jackie Newgent’s “8 Eco-Rules” and tips for simply and painlessly becoming a greener eater-or an “ecotarian:”
1. Prepare plant-based meals. Try to include a fresh fruit or vegetable in every recipe. Fill half of your plate with produce when possible.
2. Be an energy-wise cook. Let small appliances rule. A toaster oven works just like a regular oven, but more energy efficiently-using only about half of the energy of a conventional oven. And due mainly to faster cooking times, the microwave oven can reduce energy use by about 2/3 (maybe more!) compared with the conventional oven.
3. Eat by season. The United States is a big place, so aim to mostly use produce that’s in-season in your own local area (or, better yet, your own garden!) for the greenest fruit and veggie experience. If a fruit or vegetable is available at your local farmers’ market, that’s a good sign of seasonality.
4. Enjoy the great taste of fresh foods naturally. Try “earth-style” on for size, too. Use every edible produce part-skin, seeds, and all-whenever possible to create less waste and add eco-flair. Make sure to scrub skins and outer peels well first. And when you want to boost flavor of your cuisine, reach first for fresh ingredients, like grated citrus zest, fresh herbs, even mushrooms (or truffles, if you’re lucky!).
5. Go organic and eco-conscious when you can. Going organic is an investment into your health-and the health of the planet. It means fewer pesticides and other possibly toxic chemicals end up in the food that you eat-and in the surrounding ecosystem and environment as a whole. To help you decide which foods are most important to choose wisely, check out Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen produce list.
6. Buy locally when logical. To get to your table, foods use fossil fuels, contributing to climate changing pollution. Keep this in mind: The average distance a food needs to travel to get to a farmers’ market is less than 60 miles. That’s quite a difference from what the average food travels from farm to plate … about 1500 miles!
7. Practice the 4R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle. Buy and use only what you need. Wash and reuse what you can-as long as it’s safe to do so. Consider other ways to use something other than how it was originally used. (For instance, a used can of soup may be repurposed as a chopstick holder or pencil container.) Recycle everything allowable … but don’t try to recycle what’s not recyclable. (Ask your local municipality for recycling guidelines for your area.)
8. Be realistic. Being a 100% sustainable eater is not sustainable. Find your own sustainable “sweet spot.” If you think you’re about 75% green, shoot for 80% as your next goal. Small steps do make a difference.
How do you go green in your kitchen?
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Today Show nutritionist Joy Bauer was kind enough to share two scrumptious recipes–one for Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and one for Frozen Hot Chocolate–from her recent cookbook, Slim and Scrumptious. Can you say Yum?!
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
“My kids jump at the chance to order chicken lettuce wraps from restaurant menus, so I was thrilled when I perfected this scrumptious version that I can make at home for less. It has all the punch of the original but with a lot fewer calories, less fat and sodium, and still a hearty dose of protein. Loaded with vegetables and chicken and spiced with ginger, garlic, cilantro, soy sauce, and rice vinegar, it’s sure to please kids and adults alike. When I discovered how a manual food chopper made quick work of chopping all the veggies, I was amazed — and a true convert to this handy kitchen device. (Carefully pulsing the ingredients in a food processor works equally well.) Be sure you use soft, pliable butterhead lettuce, such as Boston or Bibb, for the lettuce cups. I promise, everyone will have fun scooping the chicken mixture into the lettuce and eating this out of hand — it makes for a perfect kid-friendly meal!” ~Joy Bauer
4 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely diced
3 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons grated or finely minced fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chicken (at least 90% lean)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup bottled Chinese plum sauce
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon hot chili paste, such as sriracha (or to taste)
¼ cup unsalted roasted cashews, chopped
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish (optional)
1 head Boston or Bibb lettuce
1. Liberally coat a large skillet with oil spray, and preheat it over medium-high heat.
2. Add the carrots, celery, bell pepper, water chestnuts, scallions, ginger, and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until veggies soften slightly, about 5 minutes, adding a tablespoon of water at a time as necessary to prevent scorching.
3. Reapply oil spray if necessary, and add the ground chicken to the skillet. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink, breaking the meat into a fine crumble with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Season with the salt and pepper.
4. Add the plum sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili paste and stir to coat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until heated through.
5. Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the cashews and cilantro. Allow mixture to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
6. Clean the lettuce and break off 12 individual leaves (trim away stem end of leaves if they are tough). Fill each lettuce cup with roughly ½ cup of the chicken mixture. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired.
Serves 4. Serving Size: 3 lettuce wraps
Calories – 298
Protein – 27 g
Total Fat – 9 g
Saturated Fat – 2 g
Cholesterol – 80 mg
Sodium – 610 mg
Carbohydrate – 34 g
Fiber – 5 g
Frozen Hot Chocolate
“Serendipity is a stylish ice cream parlor on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that has been in business for decades and is known for its over-the-top Frozen Hot Chocolate. By my own calculation, each overflowing glass of Serendipity’s “fro-ho” packs in 925 calories, 48 grams of fat, and 100 grams of sugar. (Clearly I was slurping this up before making a career in nutrition!) I was determined that this cookbook should include a slimmed-down version of this NYC classic…and here it is! This sweet, frothy treat will satisfy your chocolate cravings for only 150 calories and with virtually no fat. Don’t forget to try the variations, as they’re equally indulgent (the peppermint version tastes like mint chocolate chip ice cream!).” ~Joy Bauer
½ cup chocolate syrup
1 cup nonfat evaporated milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups ice cubes
Reduced-fat whipped topping or dark chocolate shavings (for garnish; optional)
1. Combine the chocolate syrup, evaporated milk, vanilla, and ice in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
2. Pour into glasses, and garnish with a dollop of whipped topping or a sprinkling of chocolate shavings if desired.
Mexican Hot Chocolate: Add ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate: Substitute ¼ teaspoon mint extract for the vanilla extract.
Serves 4. Serving Size: 1 generous cup
Calories – 150
Protein – 5 g
Total Fat – 0 g
Saturated Fat – 0 g
Cholesterol – 3 mg
Sodium – 85 mg
Carbohydrate – 32 g
Fiber – 0 gclick to comment
My blog on food addiction called Might As Well Face It, You’re Addicted to Food…Or Are You? recently posted caloriecount.com. I had to keep it short, of course, but would be remiss if I didn’t share more on the topic from the oh so brilliant David Katz, MD, Director, Yale University Prevention Research Center and Editor in Chief, Childhood Obesity.
When asked if he believes in the actual concept of ‘food addiction,’ Katz said “I don’t think it matters whether or not food addiction formally qualifies as a ‘physiologic’ addiction.” He went on to describe ‘addiction’ as “A word we invented to describe a particular experience that involves 1) wanting something very badly; 2) wanting or needing more of something the more of it you get; and 3) developing withdrawal symptoms when you stop getting the thing you want or need.” According to Katz, “The common experience with food is that it can certainly satisfy the first two and possibly the third. People want, need, and crave sugar, salt, perhaps fat, and starch. The more sweet and/or salty food people consume, the more they tend to want, need, and crave it.” He adds “While there’s no clear withdrawal ‘syndrome’ per se, many people do experience unpleasant effects when they wean off the food elements we most associate with addiction.”
Katz then went on to say “If there’s clear evidence that dietary elements are being manipulated in a way that exploits an ‘addiction’ comparable to that with nicotine, it might serve—like in the case of tobacco—as an iron clad argument for more regulation. Findings from brain imaging studies can certainly contribute to the idea that people can become addicted to food.
Katz says we know too well that our diets pack in too much sugar and too much salt. He adds “We already know that people like/want/crave sugar and salt, and that the more people have, the more they tend to prefer it.” He feels we don’t really need brain imaging studies to establish a robust basis for action and that the mandate is already there.
Katz says some people might benefit from knowing if, in fact, they have an actual ‘food addiction’ –but for those who want to improve your diet, and don’t find doing so to be too tough a challenge, knowing whether or not they have a food addiction is irrelevant. Katz believes the true value in defining ‘food addiction’ is the role that may play in advancing public policy—not personal progress.
That being said, for those who think they may be addicted to food, Katz offers a few suggestions. He encourages people to use ‘skill power’ instead of ‘will power’ to dial down exposure to food components—like sugar and salt—that may someday prove to be addictive; reading food labels to identify stealth sources of added sugar and sodium and to replace usual picks with lower sugar, lower sodium options. Katz adds “When you systematically remove sugar or sodium from your diet, it won’t be long before you find the taste of things you used to love to be too sweet or too salty.” He recommends you ask yourself if you turn to food to fight stress, boredom, loneliness, or anxiety. If you find the answer is yes, he recommends finding non-food ways to manage stress or seeking out a stress management to empower yourself.
He sums things up by saying “A food ‘addiction’ must be viewed in the context of what else is going on in your life.” He adds “We are not helpless victims—we can direct our behaviors where we want them to go.” Says Katz. He says we can practice more healthful habits, get used to them—we may even find that health and vitality can be addictive too! The better you feel, the more positive reinforcement you have to take better care of yourself. Smart words from a smart man, I’d say.
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Here are some terrific recipes to help you eat when your expecting in style! They’re from the great book, Feed the Belly: The Pregnant Mom’s Healthy Eating Guide by Frances Largeman-Roth, RD.
Mornin’ Sunshine Parfait
I love parfaits because they are ridiculously easy to make, but they’re pretty enough and girly enough to feel like a special treat. I like making them for weekend guests, or just for myself when I need a little pick-me-up. You’ll need parfait glasses or wine glasses for serving.
Prep: 5 minutes
Makes 4 servings
Baby Bonus: It tastes like you’re having dessert for breakfast, but it has a healthy 13 g of protein to build Baby’s muscles.
Momma Must-Have: Cool, creamy, and delightful. An easy way to entertain for brunch if the in-laws happen to visit.
1½ cups fresh berries, preferably a mix of blueberries,
raspberries, and blackberries
2 cups low-fat Greek yogurt
½ cup Hippie-Chick Granola or your favorite granola
4 teaspoons honey
1. Place about 1 tablespoon of berries in the bottoms of 4 glasses
(enough to cover bottom of glass). Then, spoon about ¼ cup of
the yogurt into each glass. Top with a little of the granola.
2. Repeat layering the fruit and yogurt. Drizzle 1 teaspoon honey
over the yogurt layer, and top each parfait with the remaining
granola. Grab a spoon and dig in!
Calories 202; Fat 4 g (Sat 1 g, Mono 0 g, Poly 0 g); Cholesterol 5 mg; Protein 13 g;
Carbohydrate 29 g; Sugars 20 g; Fiber 3 g; Iron 1 mg; Sodium 46 mg; Calcium 93 mg
This packed-full-of-goodies granola is wickedly tasty, but has all the goodness you’d expect from your local health food co-op. It’s great as a topper for less tasty cereal, and it’s perfect for adding a bit of crunch to yogurt or ice cream. Pack some up for on-the-go treats in snack-size zip-lock bags.
Prep: 8 minutes
Cook: 23 minutes
Makes 6 cups of granola (12 1/3-cup servings)
Momma Must-Have: Skip the high-fructose corn syrup, tropical
oils, and preservatives that you’ll find in many commercial brands
of granola. This one gives you 3 g fiber per serving, plus heart healthy almonds and pumpkin seeds.
½ cup oat bran flakes
2 cups old-fashioned oats
¼ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
¼ cup dried currants or raisins
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup dried tart cherries
¼ cup flax seeds
½ cup honey
1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a baking sheet or jelly roll pan with
cooking spray; set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the bran flakes, oats, almonds,
pumpkin seeds, currants, cranberries, cherries, and flax seeds.
3. In a small bowl, combine the honey and melted butter, and pour over the oat and fruit mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
4. Spread mixture onto the prepared pan, and bake for 23 minutes or until golden. Cool on the pan, and break into pieces
with a spatula. Store in an airtight container (I like a glass jar)
for up to a week.
Calories 228; Fat 10 g (Sat 4 g, Mono 1 g, Poly 0 g); Cholesterol 13 mg; Protein 5 g;
Carbohydrate 30 g; Sugars 16 g; Fiber 3 g; Iron 1 mg; Sodium 7 mg; Calcium 22 mg;
Folate 3 mcg; Beta-Carotene 104 mcg; Potassium 21 mg
Love That Bump Lemonade
Many women told me that they couldn’t get enough lemonade during their pregnancies, so I wanted to develop a lemonade recipe that was easy and not overly sugary. First, you’ve got to use fresh lemon juice: the concentrate just doesn’t cut it. Then you’ve got to sweeten it. This one’s made with agave nectar, which I find really delicious. If you prefer sugar, heat the same amount of natural sugar with a cup of water on the stove until you get a syrup. This “simple syrup” then gets mixed with the
lemon juice and water.
Prep: 10 minutes
Makes 8 8-ounce servings
Momma Must-Have: This tart beverage may just help nix your
morning sickness—at least for a while.
8 ounces fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)
½ cup agave nectar
64 ounces of cold water (8 cups)
Mint sprigs (optional)
1. After you’ve juiced all the lemons, set them aside. Place the agave in a heatproof container, and microwave it for 30 seconds. It should be nice and liquidy. If not, put it back in for another 10 seconds (don’t do it for a full minute, or else it will get scalding hot).
2. Whisk the warm agave nectar into the lemon juice. At this point, you can use the honey-agave mixture as a concentrate, making aserving at a time and keeping the rest in a covered container in the fridge. Add ¼ cup of the concentrate to either cold water and ice for lemonade—sparkling water is a nice twist—or hot water for a soothing lemony beverage. Or you can add it to a big pitcher (filled up the rest of the way with the cold water), add a mint sprig (optional), and pour yourself a refreshing glass.
Calories 71; Fat 0 g (Sat 0 g, Mono 0 g, Poly 0 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Protein 0 g;
Carbohydrate 20 g; Sugars 17 g; Fiber 0 g; Iron 0 mg; Sodium 1 mg; Calcium 10 mg;
Folate 7 mcg; Vitamin C 14 mg
What are your favorite pregnancy recipes? Do share!!click to comment