Eat Green for St. Patrick’s Day

greens

Instead of (or in addition to) wearing green and drinking green beer on St. Paddy’s Day, try something new– eating green!  Green vegetables and fruits are some of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet.

I have recently started eating more greens, with the help of this tasty recipe.  A touch of maple syrup gives a sweetness that offsets the greens’ bitter flavor.

Sweet and Sour Braised Greens

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of greens (e.g. mustard, kale, collard, swiss chard, or beet greens)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Rinse the greens and tear or chop into pieces.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium.  Add the greens and sauté for one minute.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.  Cook for 5 minutes or until the greens have wilted, stirring occasionally.

Want to learn more about the health benefits of greens?  My friend Jenny Westerkamp, RD coauthored a new book: Green Foods for Men.  Congratulations, Jenny!

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

This is a delicious winter dish.  You can make this a one-pot meal by cooking it in a Dutch oven.  Otherwise, use a large skillet and a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
Serves 4

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Ingredients:
8 oz chicken breasts
8 oz chicken thighs
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion, sliced
4 small red skinned potatoes, diced into 1 inch pieces
1 cup chopped carrots, 1 inch peices
1 cup chopped celery, 1 inch peices
1 large onion sliced
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp spices, suggested: thyme, parsley, basil, oregano

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Fill either a skillet or dutch oven with a little bit of oil and sear the chicken breasts and thighs until the outsides are a nice crispy brown.  Remove the chicken and set aside.

Add a little bit more oil to the pan and cook the garlic and onions until they become translucent. Add the chicken broth and spices.  Use a wooden spoon to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 7 minutes, stirring once in a while.

Place a layer of the vegetabes on the bottom of a baking dish. Add the chicken and the rest of the vegetables on top. Bake for 20 minutes.

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Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 330 | Total Fat: 10g | Carbohydrate: 19g | Fiber: 3g | Protein: 40g

With assistance from nutrition intern Stephanie Leung.

Dangerous Diet Traps to Avoid

Mouse_TrapTrying to lose weight?  Avoid these 5 common dieting mistakes.

Diet Trap #1: “Saving” calories for a party or event

If you under-eat throughout the day to save calories for an event, you will likely arrive very hungry which can lead to overeating.

Instead: On the day of the party, eat balanced meals so you arrive only mildly hungry. At the event, mindfully enjoy a balanced meal. When you have reached comfortable satiety, move on to other activities.

Diet Trap #2: Exercising off extra calories

If you overeat at a meal, don’t try to burn off the calories with extra exercise. Excess physical activity can lead to overtraining injuries, and make exercise feel like a form of punishment.

Instead: If you overeat at a meal, don’t sweat it! Get back to your normal routine, and trust that your body will naturally compensate for the extra calories over the next few days. Exercise regularly for health and enjoyment—not for calorie burning. If overeating occurs frequently, try to find the root cause of the problem. Are you getting enough food/sleep/relaxation?

Diet Trap #3: Eating only fat-free food

Fat is an important nutrient for good health. Eating meals with some fat makes the meal more palatable and satisfying. Fat-free desserts and condiments still contain calories and are usually not any healthier than their full-fat counterparts.

Instead: Include some healthy fats, like nuts and oils, in your diet. Enjoy full-fat versions of your favorite foods, if they taste better to you. Slow down and savor these foods, and you may find that you are satisfied with smaller portions.

Diet Trap #4: Avoiding carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the body and brain’s preferred form of energy. Eat too few carbohydrates, and your body will begin to break down muscle protein to covert it into carbohydrate.

Instead: Include adequate carbohydrates in your diet. Choose mostly nutritious foods containing carbohydrates, such as whole grains, vegetables and fruit. Some carbohydrates can come from “fun foods” like dessert and refined grains.

Diet Trap #5: Ignoring hunger

Hunger is your body’s request for fuel. Ignoring this signal will eventually backfire, and you will become ravenous.

Instead: Listen for your body’s hunger cues and honor them by eating a satisfying, balanced meal or snack.   This basic form of nourishment and self-care is more important than sticking to a prescribed calorie budget.

“Beet” the Day Smoothie

Mixing vegetables into a smoothie is a quick and easy way to get them into your diet. Nitrates in beetroot juice may enhance athletic performance. The nitrates reduce the amount of oxygen your muscles need, giving you more stamina.

Beet vegetable

 

If your blender isn’t powerful enough to cut through raw beets, roasting them is a great way to soften them and intensify their sweetness. To roast, scrub the beets and dice them into 1/2 inch chunks.  Scatter onto a baking pan and roast for 30 min at 400 degrees F.

“Beet” The Day Smoothie
Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/4 cup beets, chopped
1 1/2 cups kale, chopped
1/4 cup diced carrots
1 cup frozen fruit
1 cup non-fat milk
1/4 cup greek yogurt

Directions:

Put everything into blender. Blend and drink.

Nutritional Facts:

Calories: 300 | Total Fat: 2g | Carbohydrate: 60g | Fiber: 9g | Protein: 15g

Kale and Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken

This elegant dish is surprisingly simple to make.

Kale and Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken
Serves 2

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Ingredients:

1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp fresh thyme or seasoning of your choice
1 oz light cream cheese
2, 6-oz chicken breasts
2 cups kale cut into strips
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook garlic and onion over medium-high heat until the onions look glassy. Add the thyme, kale, salt and pepper.

While that is cooking, butterfly the chicken breast and set aside*. Once the kale is tender and dark green, transfer the ingredients to a bowl and mix in the cream cheese.

Place half of the mixture in each breast and roll it up like a burrito. Place the chicken on an oiled baking sheet with the seam side down to prevent it from unrolling while its baking. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 30 minutes.

*Butterflying meat is a technique used to thin out and enlarge the surface area of meat. Simply lay the chicken breast on the cutting board and with the knife parallel to the cutting board, cut the chicken in half horizontally.IMG_0084

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Nutritional Facts:
Calories: 320 | Total Fat: 9g | Carbohydrate: 15g | Fiber: 2g | Protein: 41g

With assistance from nutrition intern Stephanie Leung.

Beef and Tofu Pad Thai

This lighter version of the classic Thai favorite was inspired by the recipe in Cooking Light: The Food Lover’s Healthy Habits Cookbook by Janet Helm, RD.  I love the beef/tofu combo in this recipe, but you can substitute chicken, shrimp or any other protein you prefer.  Fish sauce can be found in the ethnic isle of your local grocery store.

Beef and Tofu Pad Thai
Serves 5

Ingredients:
12 oz uncooked flat rice noodles
1 lb extra firm tofu
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion
1 lb lean beef strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
Juice from 2 limes
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain.
  2.  Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes. Squeeze with a paper towel to remove excess water.
  3. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, beef strips, tofu and garlic until beef is cooked through.
  4. Mix sugar, soy sauce, peanut butter, lime juice, fish sauce and Sriracha in a bowl.
  5. Add sauce mixture, rice noodles and basil to the sauté pan. Stir to combine.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 710 | Total Fat: 27g | Carbohydrate: 79g | Fiber: 5g | Protein: 42g

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With assistance from nutrition intern Stephanie Leung.

Vegetable Stir Fry

These vegetables have an Asian flair and pair nicely with Honey-Soy Glazed Salmon and brown rice.

Vegetable Stir Fry
Serves 2

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Ingredients:
1 large onion sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 and 1/2 cups zuchinni, chopped
Handful of green beans, ends chopped
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Directions:

Sauté the garlic and onion in a bit of oil over medium-high heat until onions are translucent. Add the bell pepper, zuchinni, and green beans, and soy sauce. Cook until the green beans are tender.

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Nutritional Facts:
Calories: 100 | Total Fat: 1g | Carbohydrate: 20g | Fiber: 5g | Protein: 5g

With assistance from nutrition intern Stephanie Leung.