Monday, November 24, 2014

Healthy Breakfasts for the Winter Months

--> Eating healthy and comforting meals throughout the winter months can feel like a contradiction. When snow is on the ground, and the wind is howling, most of us crave bacon, eggs, pancakes, and sticky buns. Indulging in such comfort foods during the wintertime can zap energy levels and slow you down. However, most of the satisfaction from comfort foods generally comes from the scent! During the month of December, we will be posting morning recipes for the wintertime that will fulfill the need for comfort while helping you stay on track with your health! Be sure to keep checking in!

Healthy Cinnamon Rolls for the Holiday Season

Yes, even cinnamon rolls can be made healthy while retaining all that yummy gooey goodness!


*This recipe will require 3 hours of total rising time. So plan accordingly.

Dough Ingredients:

1 packet active dry yeast

1/2 tsp. honey

1/8 cup warm water (100-115 degrees F)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup honey

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. olive oil + a little extra on reserve

1 egg

3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

Filling Ingredients:

1 cup honey

1 tbsp. molasses

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 tbsp. cinnamon

Topping (optional):

1 cup chopped pecans


*This will be all done in one large mixing bowl

Step 1: Pour the yeast into the bowl and mix in the warm water and the 1/2tsp. honey. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Now, add the almond milk, 1/4 cup honey, salt, olive oil, and egg to the yeast mixture.

Whisk gently until combined.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour. When it’s partially mixed and too thick to mix with the spoon any longer, begin kneading by hand. This will be very sticky at first, but you’ll find that the more you knead, the more the gluten starts to pull everything together. In the end, you’ll have a fairly firm ball of dough. So keep kneading (about 10-15minutes).

Coat the ball of dough in a thin layer of olive oil and set back in the bowl. Cover with a towel and let stand for 1 hour to rise.

Punch down the dough one last time, cover and let sit for 10 minutes whlie you prepare the filling.

In a medium bowl, blend all your filling ingredients together. You should have a nice, thick, molasses-like filling when you are done mixing.

On a generously floured surface, roll out your dough. Again, be generous with the flour. If you are not, the dough will stick to your counter making the rolling process a real chore. Roll the dough in a rectangle. Cut with a knife if necessary and place the cut offs in the center of the dough to be rolled back in with the rolling pin.

Pour the honey mixture into the middle of the dough.

Smear on your filling. Make sure it only touches 3 of the four sides of your rectangle.

Roll the dough, starting with the side that has the honey mixture up to the edge.

When you get it rolled almost all the way, use your fingers to “pain” some water onto the edge of the dough that does not have any honey mixture on it. Give the dough one final roll so the dough will be “glued shut” by the water.

Note: If you get to this point and feel like you should just throw the whole thing in the trash, you’re probably doing it right.

Cut the roll into approximately 1 inch strips, and place each strip in an oiled baking pan or casserole dish. You want the dish to be big enough to give your rolls a little room for rising, but so they fit tightly after rising. The recipe suggests to use a 9x13 pan. But if you have something one size smaller, go with that. If the pan is too big, all the filling will run out.

Cover the dish with a towel and let the dough rise, one last time, for 1 hour.

Preheat your oven for 375 degrees F.

If using the pecans, sprinkle them on now. Place rolls in the oven and bake for 15-18minutes.

Allow for cooling and squeeze some honey over the top of the rolls.

Nutrition Facts:

Yields: 15 Rolls / Serving Size: 1 Roll / Calories: 188 / Previous Points: 3 / Points Plus: 5 / Total Fat: 4g / Saturated Fat: 1g / Trans Fat: 0g / Cholesterol: 20mg / Sodium: 60mg /

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Smart Snacks for Your Thanksgiving Road Trip

You are in a hurry, packing the car and getting ready for the long trip ahead to spend Thanksgiving Day with the entire family. Due to last second thoughts, you forget to plan snacks for the car ride. You rapidly grab chips and candy and pour the rest of your mornings coffee into a travel mug. You stare at the road all day, eating candy and chips out of boredom, while downing your coffee to stay alert. Upon reaching your destination, you feel jittery and bloated. This is no way to feel prior to the holiday! Although it may be easy to grab snacks, such as chips and candy, with a little planning, you can snack the smart way on a road trip and arrive at your destination feeling energized.

Good grab-and-go options:
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Pre-washed fruit like apples, pears, bananas, and grapes
  • Dried fruit
  • Pre-cut raw veggies
  • Whole-grain crackers or pretzels
  • Plain popcorn
  • Peanut butter
*Tip: Pre-portion snacks into single-serving bags before you leave your home. Never bring a big bag of chips, crackers, or the other snack food on the road—it’s too easy to snack by the handful.

Benefits of a cooler:
A cooler is another great idea—being sure to keep the cooler temperature at 40degrees F. A suggestion is to use ice packs to keep the cooler cool. The following are healthful options to pack:
  • Reduced-fat cheese sticks or slices
  • Reduced-sodium deli turkey sandwiches or wraps
  • Individual containers of low-fat or fat-free wraps
  • Low-fat deli, hummus or guacamole to eat with veggies or whole-grain chips
Additional tips:
  • Steer clear of sweet and salty snacks. If you want something sweet, try a piece of dark chocolate with  fruit or a small handful of almonds. 
  • Avoid high-fat and high-sodium foods. They can make you feel sluggish and thirsty.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking seltzer water or water with a little flavor added that’s low in calorie. Another option would be to add a slice or two of lemon or lime to regular water.
  • Instead of coffee or soda, try packing a thermos of ice water or tea with sprigs of mint, slices of lemon or cucumber. The longer it sits in the car, the more refreshing it will taste.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall In Love with Pumpkin

Jack-O’lanterns are the symbol of Halloween, but don’t overlook pumpkins as a source of nutrition. Pumpkins are full of fiber and low in calorie. The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that it is loaded with an antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body. Thus, beta-carotene plays many important functions in overall health. So don’t just buy canned pumpkin for pie, keep it in the pantry to whip up some of the quick, homemade recipes listed below: pumpkin ravioli and pumpkin soup!

 What are the Health Benefits?

-Vitamin A: helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth, skeletal muscle and soft tissue, and mucus membranes. Known as retinol for producing pigments in the retina, thus, promoting good vision.

-Fiber: normalizes bowel movements, helps maintain bowel health, lowers cholesterol levels, and helps control blood sugar levels, aids in achieving healthy weight

Recipe: Pumpkin Ravioli          Serves 6           Serving size: 4 ravioli


            1 cup canned pumpkin

            1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

            ¼ teaspoon salt

            1/8 teaspoon black pepper

            6 wonton wrappers

            1 teaspoon salt

            ½ cup chicken broth

            1 ½  tablespoons unsalted butter

            Chopped parsley


            Combine pumpkin, Parmesan, ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper. Spoon about 2 teaspoons pumpkin mixture into center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten edges of dough with water; bring 2 opposite sides together to form a triangle, pinching edges to seal. Place ravioli into large saucepan of boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt; cook 7 minutes and drain in a colander. Place chicken broth and butter in pan; bring to a boil. Add ravioli, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with parsley.

Nutrition Facts:

            Calories: 162              

            Fat: 5g (sat. 4g, mono. 1g,  poly. 0g)               

            Protein: 6g              Fiber: 2g                                 

           Cholesterol: 17mg         Sodium: 505mg

           Calcium: 102mg

Recipe: Pumpkin Soup            Serves 6           Serving size: 1 cup


            1 tablespoon butter

            1 cup chopped onion

            3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

            ½ teaspoon curry powder

            ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

            ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

            2 garlic cloves, crushed

            1 cup peeled and cubed (1/2 inch) sweet potato

            ¼ teaspoon salt

            2 14.5 oz. cans fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

            1 15 oz. can pumpkin

            1 cup 1% low-fat milk

            1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

            2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)


            1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in flour, curry powder, cumin, nutmeg, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add sweet potato, salt, broth, and pumpkin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool 10  minutes.

            2. Place half of pumpkin mixture in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining pumpkin mixture. Return soup to pan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat 6 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring often. (Do not boil.) Remove from heat; stir in juice. Garnish with chives, if desired.

Nutrition Facts:

            Calories: 121              

            Fat: 2.8g (sat. 1.6g, mono. 0.7g, poly. 0.2g)

            Protein: 5.1g                  Carbohydrates: 19.7g

            Fiber: 3.5g                    Cholesterol: 7mg

            Sodium 565mg              Calcium 85mg


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Freshen Up Summer With Lemon Water!

Enjoy summer gatherings without the guilt! Lemon water can serve as a healthy alternative to other high caloric beverages. Lemon water has zero calories - making it a flavorful drink without all the excess calories.

Why Lemons?
Lemons are packed with nutrients, such as vitamin C, B-complex, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.

Note: Because lemon juice can be hard on the enamel of the teeth, it’s important to dilute it with water of any temperature. It is recommended to drink lemon water first thing in the morning, and wait 15 minutes to have breakfast. This will help to fully receive the benefits of lemon water:
What are the benefits?

1. Gives the immune system a boost - Lemon juice is full of vitamin C. When we are stressed, the level of vitamin C in the body is first to go. This is why it is recommended to take in additional vitamin C on stressful days.

2. Excellent source of potassium - Lemons are high in potassium, making it good for heart health, as well as brain and nerve function.

3. Aids digestion - Lemon juice encourages healthy digestion by loosening toxins in the digestive tract, and helps to relieve symptoms of indigestion including heartburn, burping, and bloating.

4. Cleanses the system - Lemon juice helps flush out the toxins in the body by enhancing enzyme function and stimulating the liver.

5. Freshens breath - Lemon juice is known to aid in relieving toothaches and gingivitis. Because the citric acid can erode tooth enamel, it’s recommended to hold off on brushing teeth after drinking lemon water or brush teeth before drinking it.

6. Keeps skin blemish-free - The antioxidants in lemon juice can help to decrease blemishes and wrinkles too! It can be applied to scares and age spots to reduce their appearance, and because it is detoxifying the blood, it will maintain the skin’s radiance.

7. Assists in weight management - Lemons contain pectin fiber, which assists in fighting hunger cravings. In addition, it is a calorie free beverage without the hidden/additional sugar additives that other drinks contain.

8. Reduces inflammation - When lemon water is consumed on a regular basis, it can decrease the acidity of the body, where disease states occur. It removes uric acid in the joints, one of the main causes of inflammation.

9. Gives a energy boost - Lemon juice provides the body with energy when it enters the digestive tract and helps to reduce anxiety and depression. The scent of lemons alone is known to have a calming effect on the nervous system.

10. Helps cut out caffeine - Replacing morning coffee with a cup of hot lemon water can help one feel refreshed without the mid-afternoon crash.

11. Helps fight viral infections - Lemon water, warm, is very effective in diminishing viral infections and especially sore throats. The lemon juice also boosts the immune system, while simultaneously fighting off the infection completely.

So this summer, enjoy the freshness and the simplicity of lemon water, while attaining its benefits and omitting additional calories and sugar additives hidden in other beverages.