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Welcome to The Dietitian's Corner by Best Choice!

Find out the latest health and organic news from our resident dietitian, Rebecca, along with recipes, tips and more!

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Smart Snacking

Snacking is a daily ritual for many Americans. Therefore, it can be a habit that provides energy and motivation or it can be a trouble spot in your day. Smart snacking is very important especially if you follow a meal plan of 4-6 smaller meals each day. Making snacks nutrient rich with vegetables, fruit, protein and whole grains can boost your metabolism and provide essential vitamins and minerals.

Here are some suggestions to keep in mind next time hunger strikes.

  1. Always incorporate a fruit or a vegetable at snack time. This will provide your body with more nutrients. Instead of crackers and cheese try apple slices with cheese or cucumbers & cheese.
  2. Try to limit eating snacks that only incorporate one food group. Providing your body with the right ratio of nutrients, and calories, will keep you energized and help with weight management. Snacks that include protein tend to be more filling and satisfying. Try 1/4 cup of cottage cheese with half an avocado, or pear slices with 1/4 cup ricotta cheese. Both of these options have a hearty supply of protein and fiber while being 200 calories or less.
  3. Think outside the box. If you find yourself eating the same foods week after week, even if they are healthy foods, try to mix up your options. Snacking on veggies doesn’t always have to be baby carrots and celery. These are wonderful vegetables but try to mix up your snack veggies with asparagus, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, edamame, red cabbage, zucchini and fresh green beans. By diversifying your foods and food groups you are more likely to eat the appropriate portion, and it keeps you from binging on fats and sugars.
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Popcorn

If you’ve walked down the chip aisle recently you might have noticed a surge in a particular snack item? Packaged popcorn has a growing presence at the grocery store and in shopping carts. Recently, popcorn has gained more popularity and some good press. It has a wide variety of health benefits. The outer layers of popcorn are a good source of protein, iron and phosphorus. Popcorn is naturally plant derived so it contains polyphenols, an antioxidant that can help rid our bodies of impurities. The main reason I’m an advocate for popcorn consumption is that it can be an excellent alternative to calorie laden chips that don’t offer our bodies any nutritional value.

Making popcorn at home can be a fun and easy project for the whole family. All you need is 2 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Olive Oil, 1/4 cup popcorn kernels and a little sea salt. Using a 2 quart sauce pan with a lid or a Dutch oven, add oil and kernels and toss so oil is coating all the kernels. Heat the covered pot on medium heat and wait for the magic to happen. It takes several minutes for the first kernel to pop but once it does slightly crack the lid to release steam then gently shake pot occasionally while cooking to allow for even heat distribution. Once popping slows down and diminishes remove lid and turn off your stove top. Add your desired amount of sea salt and enjoy a healthy snack!

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Detox

Feeling a little sluggish after the holidays? Then perhaps it’s time to clean up and detoxify your diet. Detoxification of a meal plan is really about taking a break from certain foods and cleaning the body from the inside out. By removing or eliminating toxins in your diet you can start fueling your body with healthy nutrients that can protect you from disease and restore your natural ability to maintain optimal health and wellbeing.

Our bodies were not meant to absorb the large quantities of additives, chemicals and toxins that we are exposed to on a consistent basis. Therefore, by taking a set period of time to consume only fresh natural foods we can remind ourselves, and our digestive system, how good it feels to obtain all our vital nutrients through whole foods. During a detox or cleansing program try to base your food choices on real foods such as: fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean proteins especially fish and most importantly drink plenty of water.

Before starting any new meal plan or exercise routine it’s wise to consult your doctor or medical professional. Many people find that detoxing their diet can be easy and delicious. There’re many different guidelines and programs to follow when you are looking for the right plan for yourself so be sure to work with a medical professional to find the plan to works best for you.

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Resolution Time

Millions of Americans make a health related New Years resolution each year. Whether it’s eating better, kicking the smoking habit or getting to the gym more often, each of these goals are a worthy cause. Which is exactly why they are the most common New Years resolutions. No matter what your goals are for 2016 here are three simple tips to accomplish them in the new year.

  1. Track your progress. You can do this with a journal or on a piece of paper. The most important part is to regularly keep tabs of your progress, to have an honest conversation with yourself about where you’re at and where you want to be.
  2. Ask for help. If you want to workout more and eat better perhaps a personal trainer or health coach could guide you in making a plan that works best for your lifestyle. If you’re trying to kick a bad habit an accountability partner can keep you motivated and they can be a great support system.
  3. Celebrate every success. By celebrating your short run successes you allow yourself to have more fun accomplishing your goals. It will also help build your confidence and commitment to achieving your year long goal.
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Hot Cocoa

Hot chocolate is a wintertime right of passage. It warms your soul when you come inside after a winter activity and it can brighten your spirits on a cold snowy day. The first chocolate beverage was believed to have been created by the Aztecs thousands of years ago. Until the 19th century, hot cocoa was even used medicinally to help treat stomach diseases and liver ailments.   Hot chocolate has changed substantially from the original bitter drink. It comes in many varieties today with different levels of sweetness and thickness.

Making a cocoa mix at home can be fun and easy. Also, by making your own blend you avoid consuming extra trans fats, preservatives and genetically modified foods. My favorite one cup hot cocoa mix involves: 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 Tablespoon sugar, a pinch of salt, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup milk. Microwave the milk for 1 minute then whisk the ingredients together. I love a frothy beverage so I blend the ingredients together in my mini blender.

If you desire a dry ingredient mix that you can keep on hand to use whenever the snow flies, here is a recipe that can make up to 16 servings and can keep for several months in an airtight container.

3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 cup Clearly Organic Sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Then transfer to an airtight container. Use about 2 Tablespoons per 1 cup hot water depending on your desired level of sweetness for your cocoa.

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Eggnog Sweet Bread

2 1/4 cups Clearly Organic All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Clearly Organic Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 Clearly Organic Eggs
1 cup eggnog
3/4 cup Clearly Organic Sugar
1/2 cup Clearly Organic Butter, melted
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium size mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate mixing bowl beat together eggs, eggnog, sugar, butter and vanilla. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until evenly distributed. Pour batter into a loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

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Soft Molasses Cookies

2 1/4 cups Clearly Organic All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon Clearly Organic Cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon Clearly Organic Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 teaspoons Clearly Organic Butter, softened
1/3 cup Clearly Organic Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Clearly Organic Granulated Sugar
1 large Clearly Organic Egg Yolk
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Vanilla
1/2 cup dark molasses

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, pepper and salt. Set aside. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla then continue beating until ingredients are well distributed. Then add molasses and continue beating on medium low speed. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Slowly add flour mixture a cup at a time while beating on low. Then give dough a final stir to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. Roll dough,1 tablespoon at a time, into balls and place on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Only bake one cookie sheet at a time. Place in preheated oven and bake for 11 minutes. Cookies may look underdone when you take them out, but allow them to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing.

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Holiday Baking

Many people have family traditions of baking cookies, candies or breads around the holidays. These time honored traditions are a great way to connect with loved ones and cultivate creativity in the kitchen. During the month of December we’ll be highlighting delicious holiday treats. Cookies and sweet breads are my favorite holiday foods, to eat and share! I’ll be baking up several festive creations that you could serve at your Holiday party or share with your family and friends.

Any recipe is only as good as its ingredients. Be sure to have fresh baking soda, baking powder, eggs, flour and sugar in your pantry. Fresh oil, butter and coconut oil are also great to keep on hand for last minute holiday baking. By cooking up your own holiday treats you’re limiting the amount of extra preservatives, artificial ingredients and food dies that are often found in store bought desserts. It’s also possible to create mostly organic treats in your own kitchen by choosing base ingredients that are USDA certified organic. Let the baking season begin! Have fun preparing, sharing and enjoying your favorite holiday treats.

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Healthy Alfredo Sauce

This flavorful sauce goes great with Clearly Organic Whole Wheat Rotini, broccoli and sautéed shrimp. It also makes a delicious white sauce for a homemade pizza with spinach and garlic. The possibilities are endless with this easy to make healthy Alfredo sauce.

1 Tablespoon Clearly Organic Olive Oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup Clearly Organic Milk
1/2 cup Clearly Organic Chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2-4 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon pesto
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil and minced garlic in a large sauté pan over medium heat, stirring quickly to ensure it doesn’t burn. Add milk and broth, continue stirring. Begin adding 1 Tablespoon of flour at a time. Stir with a whisk to reduce clumps. Add salt & pepper, pesto and cheese. Stir and let simmer for 3 minutes. If the sauce is too thin add more flour, if it looks too thick add more milk. Add sauce to your favorite mix of vegetables and noodles.

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Beer Bread

This flavorful bread goes great with your favorite homemade soup, especially tomato soup and chili!

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Clearly Organic Sugar
1 (12oz) beer or 7-up/Sprite
3 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Butter, melted (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add flour to a mixing bowl and sift. Add baking powder, salt and sugar to flour and stir. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour beer (or soda) into mixture. Stir until all moisture is absorbed, batter may still have a few lumps. Add batter to greased loaf pan and, if desired, pour 3 tablespoons melted butter over the top before baking to add a rich buttery flavor. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

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