What I Ate This Week #3

This week we had a good mix of new-to-us recipes and old classes. Here’s what was in the mix:

Saturday– Chicken Curry with Naan

During our honeymoon in South Africa, Michael and I took a cooking class in the Bo Kaap area of South Africa. We learned a lot about the history of Cape Town and the different languages and cuisines that make up its culture. We went to the instructor, Lekka’s house and made chicken curry, samosas, and roti. Making it again took us right back to our wonderful honeymoon.

SundayCilantro Lime Drumsticks with Sweet Potato Chips

drummies

Chicken is great, but plain chicken breasts can be so boring! These drumsticks were so flavorful and easy to make! We typically make sweet potato fries, but decided to cut them like chips and I’m so glad we did! They had an awesome crunch.

Monday-Whole Wheat Pesto and Tomato Pizza with Caesar Salad

pizza

One of my favorite tips for staying healthy is making high-fat and high-calorie foods healthier. This pizza was made with homemade, whole wheat pizza dough and topped with pesto, low fat mozzarella, and tomatoes. My brother was over for dinner so with the pizza we had salad with his favorite dressing.

TuesdaySmoked Sausage with Potatoes and Sauerkraut Ale

We had sauerkraut in the fridge leftover from a lunch we made the week before, so to use it up we made this recipe with chicken sausage.

Wednesday– Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl

I have nothing against carbohydrates, but to mx it up I made burrito bowls with cauliflower rice. All you need to do is chop up cauliflower florets, pulse them in the food processor, then sauté them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. To the bowls I added black beans, salsa, Greek yogurt, avocado, cheese, tomato, pepper, and onion.

ThursdayCrock Pot Creamy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

tom-soup

Crock pot meals are so great because you toss ingredients in the night before, start the crock pot in the morning, and have dinner ready by night time! Paired with a grilled cheese, this was the perfect comfort food dinner.

Thoughts on Juice Cleanses

Continuing my thoughts on popular fad diets, here’s my take on juice cleanses and why you should stay away.

green-juice-769129__340

Background: Juicing became popular in the past decade as many high-profile celebrities endorsed juice cleanses as a way to lose weight and “detox” the body from harmful toxins. Most juice cleanses last between 3-14 days and consist of a variety of fruit and vegetable based juices meant to be drank over the course of the day.

The Good: The juices tend to come from organic fruits and vegetables, so your body is getting a ton of vitamins and minerals without the pesticides you get with conventional produce. Because the diet is low in calories, weight loss usually does occur.

The Bad: During weight loss, people lose a mix of fat and muscle. Getting enough exercise and eating sufficient protein helps maintain muscle mass (which will keep metabolism high) so that mostly fat is being lost. Juice cleanses are very low in protein and typically discourage exercise, which favors a loss in muscle mass. Juice cleanses also claim to rid the body of harmful toxins, however the liver and kidneys do a perfectly good job of doing that naturally. Ironically the diet is low in fiber, which does help remove harmful waste from the intestine. The lack of both protein and fiber, which help keep a person feeling full, will keep dieters hungry and cranky through the juice cleanse. After the juice cleanse is over, dieters typically put the weight back on quickly. A juice cleanse does not teach a person how to eat better and after a couple days the weight comes back on.

The Bottom Line: You do not need a juice cleanse to lose weight or remove toxins from the body, and it can actually be harmful and counterproductive to do so. If you want to avoid putting harmful compounds into your body, focus instead on eating organically and sticking to lean meats and fish, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Almond Joy Granola

Granola is usually thought of as a healthy food, but most store bought granolas are loaded with added sugar and high in calories. This almond joy granola combines my favorite flavor combination, chocolate, almond, and coconut, without the sugar content of store bought granola. It features coco powder, which is loaded with antioxidants and is a good source of fiber. Enjoy with milk, yogurt, or on its own as a healthy breakfast or snack.

granola

Almond Joy Granola

Ingredients

  • 3 cups oats
  • 2 cups slivered almonds
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • ¼ cup coco powder
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 6 Tbls. Honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.
  2. Add oats, almonds, flaked coconut, and coco powder to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Pout coconut oil, honey, and vanilla extract into the bowl. Stir to combine. Spread mixture onto baking sheets.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes and let cool. Makes 7 cups.

Serving Size: ¼ cup

130 calories, 8g fat, 3g saturated fat, 3g fiber, 4g sugar, 3g protein, 3% calcium, 4% iron

What I Ate This Week- #2!

Time for another edition of what I ate this week! We had a lot of good meals this week, so without further ado:

Saturday- Hummus and guacamole

We were at our friends’ house for the Patriot’s game so I made hummus and guacamole to share. Besides that, we snacked on buffalo chicken dip, pizza dip, Regina’s pizza, and cupcakes!

Sunday- BBQ chicken sandwiches with green bean fries

Most BBQ sauces are loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup, so I prefer to make my own. I made a double batch of this BBQ sauce and froze half for another time. I used some of my homemade vegetable broth to make shredded chicken in the crock pot, and tossed it with the BBQ sauce. The green bean fries on the side were excellent! They reminded me of onion rings. If you have kids who are picky eaters, this would be a great way to get them to eat more vegetables.

Monday- BBQ chicken chilaquiles

chilaquiles

Recipe coming soon!

Tuesday- Sweet potato and black bean enchiladas

enchiladas

I prepped the enchilada sauce and filling on Monday, and had Michael put them together on Tuesday since I was working late. I used this recipe but replaced the butternut squash with sweet potato. They were a little spicy, but I cooled them down with a big dollop of Greek yogurt (a much lower calorie and lower fat alternative to sour cream!).

Wednesday- Salmon Caesar salad

Since I close the gym on Wednesdays, I made the salad earlier in the week and brought it to work with me. I used this Caesar dressing recipe (minus the anchovies, plus some capers). My brother hates all dressings except this one, so you should give it a try!

Thursday- Asian chicken soup

soup

Again, I made this earlier in the week and just had to heat it up on Thursday night! Meal prep is everything, especially when work gets crazy!

Friday- Out to eat after the Bruins game!

 

Happy Sunday everyone! Keeping my fingers crossed for a Pat’s win today!

Sundried Tomato, Mushroom, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Frittata

We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it can also be the busiest time of day. When I have to be up extra early, I’ll prepare breakfast the night before so it’s ready for me to microwave and eat in the morning. This frittata recipe is easy to make, and can be made ahead of time for breakfasts throughout the week. Leftovers can also be frozen for later on.

frittata

Sundried Tomato, Mushroom, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Frittata

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 3 oz. sundried tomatoes
  • 6 oz. spinach
  • 12 eggs
  • 5 Tbls. Nutritional yeast (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray an 9×11 baking dish with cooking spray
  2. Spray a sauté pan with cooking spray and mushrooms. Cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add chopped spinach to the sauté pan and cook until wilted. Spread sautéed vegetables, along with sundried tomatoes, evenly on the bottom of the baking dish.
  3. Crack eggs into a large bowel. Add nutritional yeast, pepper, basil, and oregano. Whisk until combined. Pour evenly over vegetables.
  4. Crumble goat cheese on top of dish.
  5. Bake for 30 minute and slice into 6 pieces. Serve immediately. If freezing, wait until cool, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer.

Serving Size: 1 slice (1/6 of recipe)

248 calories, 13,5g fat, 4g saturated fat, 3g fiber, 20g protein, 77% vitamin A, 15% vitamin C, 15% calcium, 22% iron, 112% thiamin, 48% niacin, 42% folate, 98% riboflavin, 80% vitamin B6, 21% vitamin B12

What I Ate Last Week

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” When it comes to healthy eating, meal planning is the number one thing you can do to set yourself up for success. It can be time consuming to come up with a meal plan every week, but it will end up saving time and money in the long run by preventing unnecessary trips to the grocery store, mindless wandering around the store, and buying too much or too little food. For me, the hardest part of meal planning and deciding what to eat each week. In case you need some inspiration, here is what we had for dinner last week and why.

Sunday: Stuffed Pepper Soup

Sunday was super cold, so soup was a perfect dinner. I’ve made this recipe a few times now and it’s easy and delicious. The best is that the leftovers are even better! Instead of serving the soup over rice, I just mix everything together in the pot and left the rice soak up some of the broth.

Monday: Out to eat!

My friends and I checked out City Tap in the Seaport for dinner and drinks. We split the charred Brussels sprouts and whipped ricotta to start and I got the salt roasted beets, and spicy baba ghanoush as my meal. Everything was delicious!

Tuesday: Shakshuka

I was working late Tuesday so I needed a meal I could make ahead of time and would come together quickly. I prepared everything (except the eggs) in a cast iron skillet before work, and left it for my husband to finish Tuesday night. We had a little leftover so I had it for breakfast the next morning with toast.

Wednesday: Sea Scallops with Sherry and Saffron Couscous and Asparagus

We have a huge jug of sherry wine left over from a recipe I made earlier this year as well as some whole wheat couscous I got from Trader Joe’s, so I found this recipe that utilized both! We didn’t have saffron, so I used a pinch of turmeric instead for some extra color.

scallops

Thursday: Pan Seared Chicken Breasts with a Spinach, Pear, Pomegranate Salad with Feta

I work late on Thursdays too, so I wanted a meal that would be quick and easy for my husband to make. His take: it was easy to make and really delicious (and I agree).

Friday: Baked chicken with Artichokes and Tomatoes

The chicken breasts in the grocery store I shop in come in packages of 2 lbs. or more, so to use up the rest of the raw chicken we made this chicken dish. I served it with couscous for a veggie-packed meal.

baked-chicken

 

Hope you had a good weekend! Enjoy your eats this week!

How to Make your Own Vegetable Broth

Did you know that in the US 30-40% of the food supply is wasted? This is food that has taken valuable resources to produce, meaning unnecessary chemicals, energy, land, and freshwater have been wasted in the process. Furthermore, food that ends up rotting in landfills produces methane, a toxic greenhouse gas. In fact, food waste accounts for 16% of methane emission in the US. My husband and I do everything we can to reduce food waste in our house. Meal planning, utilizing leftovers, and re-purposing food scraps are just some of the ways we keep food from ending up in the trash.

This past summer, I was looking up recipes for chicken broth so we could use the bones from a chicken we had roasted. Most of the recipes called for carrot sticks, garlic cloves, celery stalks, and onion halves. I didn’t want to waste these vegetables by making a broth, so instead I started saving vegetable scraps until I had enough to make a broth. Whenever I chopped up onions, tomatoes, carrots, celery, or any other vegetable I would save the ends or other bits and pieces  didn’t use. I would throw these scraps into a Ziplock bag in the freezer until I had enough. In this particular broth I had basil stems, cucumber, leeks, sweet potato skins, while potato skins, onion, red peppers, celery, scallions, tomato, and garlic, but you can use almost any vegetable. Stay away from cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) however, because they can make the broth bitter. Beets should be avoided to if you don’t want your broth turning bright pink. Here’s what you do:

 

Vegetable Broth

Ingredients

  • Variety of vegetable scraps (I use enough to fill a 1 gallon Ziplock bag)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Black pepper or peppercorns
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Pour vegetable scraps and bay leaves in a large pot.
  2. Fill pot with enough water to cover the vegetables. Add pepper and salt.
  3. Bring the water to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for at least an hour.
  4. Use a strainer to transfer broth into a storage container. Broth can be refrigerated or frozen for use at a later date.

*Notes: You can also make this in a crock pot. Let cook on high for at least 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

Thoughts on Weight Watchers

Time and time again, people come into my office explaining how they’ve had success in the past with X,Y, or Z diet, but inevitably the weight has piled back on again. But is a diet really successful if the weight doesn’t stay off in the long term? Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to break down common diets and explain how they’re helping, or hurting you.  First off- Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers 

Background: Weight Watchers bases their program on participants counting SmartPoints, which are allotted based on the height, weight, and sex of the person. These SmartPoints are based on the calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein in a food. Dieters earn FitPoints for exercising which they can swap for food, or not if that’s what they prefer. Weight Watchers leaders run weekly meetings where dieters are weighed in and weight loss topics are discussed as a group.

The Good: In Weight Watchers, nothing is off limits. The idea that anything can be included in moderation is an idea that I’m completely behind. If you don’t allow treats in moderation it is inevitable that one day you will end up binging on the foods you’ve been restricting, so learning how to work these indulgences into a balanced eating patterns is essential.

Weight Watchers helps people become more aware of what, and how much, they are eating by having dieters measure portions and logtheir food. The accountability of tracking points paired with the social support of Weight Watchers meetings is motivating for people and has been shown time and time again to be successful weight loss tools, which is why Weight Watchers is so popular with dieters.

The Bad: Weight loss is the sole measure of success in Weight Watchers. Leaders are not required to have a background in nutrition, so they are not trained to give individualized nutrition advice or counsel people with medical conditions. Leaders do not inquire about the quality of food being eaten or whether disordered eating habits are used, which can lead to poor diet quality and unsafe dieting.

Logging points encourages people to keep a strict eye on their food intake. Many people have success tracking their food, but it doesn’t work for everyone. I’ve spoken with many people who have done diets like this only to become obsessed with food and dieting. As a dietitian who is trained to recognize these behaviors, I can steer clients away from this thinking and suggest other weight loss methods, but this isn’t the case at Weight Watchers.

The most concerning thing about Weight Watchers is the products they sell to their customers. The company sells a variety of baked goods, ice creams, and candies as well as endorses many other food brands. While low in points, these products are highly processed and loaded with empty calories. These are the ingredients in Weight Watchers Salted Caramel Brownie Bliss:

 

Powdered Sugar, Water, Sugar, Semisweet Chocolate (Unsweetened Chocolate, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor), Enriched Wheat Flour Bleached (Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Palm Kernel Oil, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Corn Syrup Solids, Inulin (Chicory Roots), Invert Sugar, Glycerin, Soybean Oil, Caramel Color, Chocolate Liquor, Dextrose, Egg Whites, Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate), Milk, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Nonfat Milk, Pea Fiber, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Sorbate, Red 40, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Xanthan Gum.

 

Notice the long ingredient list here (27 without even considering the ingredients of ingredients)! Sugar, cleverly disguised by words like “corn syrup solids” can be found in 6 different places. Many ingredients are foreign to most people. Have you heard of potassium sorbate or xanthan gum? There is nothing redeeming about this food product, yet Weight Watchers encourages its consumption.

The Bottom Line: Weight Watchers addresses weight loss but not necessarily healthy eating. The program lacks the individual guidance needed to craft a weight loss plan that is healthy, personalized and sustainable. For millions of dieters who have lost weight only to gain it back using Weight Watchers, it is time for a change. Try meeting with a dietitian who has substantial knowledge about the science and psychology of weight loss and can work to create an individualized weight loss plan. In addition, focus on whole foods instead of highly processed “diet” foods.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

With the NFL playoffs starting today (go Pats!), there is no better time to try out a new healthy appetizer! This spinach artichoke dip is low in calories and fat, but high in protein, calcium, vitamin A and C. Serve with whole wheat crackers, pita bread, or carrots for a delicious and nutritious snack that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

spin-dip-rotate

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and chopped
  • 12 oz. spinach, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray
  2. Spray a sauté pan with cooking spray and add onion. Cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 1 minute.
  3. Add chopped spinach to the sauté pan and cook until wilted.
  4. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Transfer to baking dish.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information

For 1/16 of dip: 53 calories, 2g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 1g fiber, 5.5g proetin, 43% DV vitamin A, 13% DV vitamin C, 14% DV calcium, 4,5% DV iron

Notes

Adapted from: http://www.skinnytaste.com/hot-spinach-and-artichoke-dip/

New Year, New Blog!

Welcome to KristinTroyRD.com! There are a lot of fitness and nutrition blogs out there, but as a certified personal trainer and registered dietitian, I wanted to provide a professional, reliable, and unique perspective on the world of fitness and nutrition. Stay tuned for delicious recipes, perspectives on popular nutrition topics, and tough workouts to get you in shape!