Find out the latest health and organic news from our resident dietitian, Rebecca, along with recipes, tips and more!
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Cinnamon, maple, squash, apple and pumpkin…ohhh the sights and smells of Fall. When the sweaters and scarves come out we also start changing our meal habits and food choices. Fall often brings us back to soup, casseroles and warm pasta dishes. A common misconception is that these warm comfort foods have to be heavy on the calories and light on nutrients. Here are a few simple tips to make comfort foods healthier.
1. Make a cream sauce without heavy cream. Experiment with evaporated milk or use 2%
2. Swap your noodles. Try whole wheat pasta for your spaghetti or in your macaroni and cheese.
3. Try new varieties of potatoes. Yukon gold potatoes work great for creamy mashed potatoes without all the butter. Also try chicken stock verses butter for extra creamy and smoothmashed potatoes.
4. Choose lean meat. Instead of ground beef use grass fed free range meat.
As if we needed any more reasons to enjoy this seasonal favorite. Pumpkin not only adds flavor and spice to a recipe it also adds nutrients. This bright orange squash is loaded with Vitamin A and carotenoids. Vitamin A is best known for its ability to aid in vision clarity and help fight off certain cancers. Pumpkin seeds, just like other nuts and seeds, are excellent sources of plant based chemicals that can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
One cup of mashed pumpkin is loaded with potassium. Potassium helps us keep our electrolytes balanced so muscles can recover and function properly for rebuilding. Pumpkin cooks up beautifully in pies, soup, breads, ravioli, dips and casseroles. Watch the Clearly Organic blog for a healthier pumpkin pie recipe!
Foods such as plain yogurt, sauerkraut, strong aged cheese, kombucha and pickles are great options to boost your microflora and promote digestive health. Fermented foods are considered any food that has been through a process which enables natural bacteria to feed on starch and sugar to create lactic acid. This process not only helps preserve the food it also creates beneficial enzymes, vitamins, minerals, omega 3 fatty acids and different strains of probiotic. Some nutrition experts link consumption of fermented foods to improved digestion.
If you’re new to the idea of consuming fermented foods try starting with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fermented food per day. You’ll likely find these nutrient rich foods help moderate your appetite, increase energy, support your immune system and help prevent various diseases. Over time your body will start to crave heath promoting nutrient dense foods. Consider implementing lato-fermented coleslaw, kosher dill pickles or fermented juice to your next meal.
One of my favorite ways to celebrate Fall is with a warm frothy latte. Once I realized how easy it is to make a latte at home I didn’t feel the need to limit this kind of goodness to a five dollar splurge at the coffee shop. Making your own latte doesn’t require any fancy equipment or milk foaming machines. You can mix up a latte with a jar, a lid and some strong brewed coffee.
Simply brew a strong batch of coffee or expresso beans. I like using a french press or aeropress to ensure the coffee is bold and smooth. Pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup (depending on how strong you prefer your latte) strong brew coffee into your favorite mug. Pour desired amount of milk into a jar. Secure the lid and begin shaking the milk until it’s frothy. It should double in size with about 60 seconds of shaking. Then remove the lid and microwave the milk for 30 seconds. Pour the milk into the espresso, holding back the foam with a spoon. Finally, spoon the foam on top and sprinkle with cinnamon to garnish. Your homemade latte can even be sweetened with honey, vanilla or chocolate. Watch the Clearly Organic blog for a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte!
Recently we received an online question from customer Maureen N. Her question was in regards to rice syrup. She was wondering what rice syrup is, and if a recipe calls for rice syrup what is a proper substitute if you don’t have this product? Thanks for your question Maureen, we’re happy to provide some clarity on this food.
Rice syrup or brown rice syrup are sweeteners often used in packaged foods. It is made by breaking down the starches and simple sugars in rice. When the simple sugars are separated out they are in a liquid form called maltose which is then boiled down into a syrup. Rice syrup tends to be less sweet than sugar and a little more nutty in flavor. When substituting rice syrup in a recipe it’s best to trade it out with another nectar-like sweetener such as agave nectar, corn syrup, maple syrup or honey.
Recently Clearly Organic customer Kathleen W wrote in to ask about organic smoothies. She requested more information on good protein sources for our favorite smoothie combinations. Thanks for your question Kathleen. We hope this blog post provides a little guidance for your next smoothie making endeavor.
Making the perfect smoothie requires the right ratio of produce, protein and healthy fats. When you’re making a smoothie that will serve one here is a good guide.
*1 cup of your favorite fruit. Fresh or frozen. If you use frozen you likely won’t need to add ice.
*3/4 cup of liquid. Milk, almond milk, coconut water and yogurt are great options. I think it’s wise to skip or limit fruit juices because it adds a lot of extra sugar and calories.
*1 Tablespoon of healthy fats. Such as avocado, chia seeds, milled flax seeds and nuts add nice texture and nutrition to a smoothie.
*extra boost of vitamins and minerals – add a handful of greens such spinach or chopped kale. Other boosters can be a small scoop of protein powder or a few tablespoons oats can add extra fiber.
This beautiful vegetable offers a wide variety of health benefits due to its rich mineral and antioxidant content. Beets can range in color from red to purple even yellow and orange. No matter what the pigment of this vegetable it packs a powerful nutrient punch. Beets can help fight cancer, heart disease, inflammation and stimulate brain functioning.
When you are picking a bundle of beets up at the store or farmers market look for beets that are firm, smooth, brightly colored and attached to their original fresh green leaves. Beets can be roasted, steamed or even grated and eaten raw over a salad. Almost every part of the beet can be enjoyed, the bulb, the stem and the greens. The only part that needs to be discarded is the thin stem on the bottom of the bulb. Beets can stay fresh in the fringe for 2-3 weeks if the greens are removed. Beets are one of mother natures most nutritious foods. Watch the Clearly Organic blog for more recipes featuring beets.
No matter what kind of meal plan someone follows they likely won’t see results unless they enjoy foods in the right portion size. Controlling portions is much easier said than done. The most logical way to keep portions in check is to weigh and measure your food. However, that’s tedious and pretty unsustainable for most people. Here are two simple tips to control your portion sizes.
Late summer offers the widest range of foods available during the year. Some of the most delightful fruits and vegetables are at their peak in August. Berries are still plump and juicy this time of year and fresh lettuce can still be found at the farmers market.
Here are 5 foods that are best to enjoy in the month of August.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe but onions are naturally sweet. The best way to pull out the sweetness from an ordinary onion is to caramelize. Caramelizing onions is the process of slow cooking them in a little oil until they are translucent brown and loaded with rich sweet flavor. Caramelized onions go great on sandwiches, pizza, steak, onion soup and quiche. The delightful sweet flavor can also be enjoyed alone. Caramelized onions make a tasty side dish.
When preparing your onions to be caramelized peel back all the thin outer layer and cut the onion root to tip. Place the onion slices in a thick bottomed sauté pan that’s coated with olive oil. Heat the pan on medium high until everything starts to simmer then stir, add a pinch of salt and lower the heat to medium low. The onions will need to cook about 30 to 40 minutes, on low, while you stir occasionally. The trick is to let the onions sit long enough to turn slightly brown but stir before they burn or dry out. I like adding a little water to the pan about half way through to ensure the onions don’t dry out. The process takes time and practice, but the delicious result is a crowd pleaser.