36 Healthy Snacks to Celebrate Fall

There’s something eternally comforting about the taste of fall. Hot and spicy drinks in hand-warming mugs, decadent pumpkin pies, and crisp apple streusels all offer a level of comfort unmatched by foods from any other season. Most of the dishes that scream “fall” are enjoyed around a table, with family, after hours of meticulous work peeling apples, roasting pumpkin (or, you know, opening a can…), or rolling out pie crust.  (Maybe that’s why they’re so comforting?)

But let’s get real—life’s demands aren’t always conducive to long, elaborate meals or slaving over the stove. Fear not: We have 36 healthy recipes to help you enjoy the flavors of fall any time of day, no matter how busy that schedule gets.

Maple

Photo: Kelli Dunn / The Corner Kitchen

1. Maple Pecan Oatmeal arm, gooey, and comforting, this tasty oatmeal is a great way to start the day. Vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, and a bit of brown sugar give it plenty of warm autumn flavor.

2. Banana Maple Yogurt Greek yogurt is always a great snack choice. It’s packed with protein and can be found in non- and low- fat varieties. Add sliced banana, some high-quality maple syrup, and a few chopped nuts, and you have a just-sweet-enough super-filling snack.

3. Maple Yogurt Balls This one requires some work, but we promise it’s worth it. Straining Greek yogurt to make it even thicker makes it easy to shape into perfect spheres, which you can roll in cinnamon, cover in chopped nuts, and drizzle with maple syrup. Yum!

Pumpkin

Photo: Christal / Nutritionist in the Kitch

4. Vegan Pumpkin Pie Energy Bars 
These healthy, fall-flavored bars just require four simple steps—chuck the ingredients in a food processor, blend, press into a pan, and freeze. They’re a perfect grab-and-go solution for the afternoon munchies.

5. Mini Pumpkin Pies Yes, you can enjoy classic pumpkin pie in a single-serve, Tupperware-friendly snack. Try these mini personal pies that can easily be thrown together, baked, frozen, and defrosted overnight in the fridge before toting along for a snack the next day. (Plus, they’re really great for lunch boxes!)

6. Healthier Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins We’ve all been tempted by the oozing pumpkin cream cheese muffins in the case at Starbucks—don’t even try to doubt it. But the coffee-shop versions of this fall favorite are packed with calories and fat (to take it even further, replace the oil in the recipe with unsweetened applesauce). This recipe cuts down on the unhealthy stuff, but still offers the flavor and creamy delicious texture of the pastry case.

7. Healthier Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Feel free to enjoy one or two of these cookies without any guilt: The flour is whole-wheat, the butter replaced with apple sauce, and the chocolate chips are dark (and packed with antioxidants).

8. Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal These days, it seems like anything can be added to oatmeal. And while there are some out-of-the-ordinary combos out there (poached egg and bacon anyone?), adding a scoop of superfood pumpkin puree and cinnamon spice make a perfect accompaniment to creamy oats. Add about ½ cup of canned pumpkin purée to ½ cup of rolled oats (or 1 packet of plain instant oatmeal). Throw in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, a sprinkle of brown sugar or drizzle of maple syrup, and some almond milk and voilà! Oatmeal reminiscent of the classic Thanksgiving favorite pie. Throw it in a sturdy Tupperware container and eat at any temperature when hunger pangs hit.

9. Pumpkin Yogurt Cup Ever thought to add pumpkin purée to yogurt? Neither did we—until now! Throw some pumpkin granola or toasted pepitas on top, and you have a whole pumpkin-themed snack (or breakfast). Drizzle with some agave, honey, or syrup for added sweetness. Store for up to two hours outside the fridge, or keep cold until ready to enjoy.

10. Grain-Free Pumpkin Pancakes These pumpkin pancakes are perfect to throw on the griddle in silver-dollar dollops and then refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to munch away. Eat ‘em plain or tote them along with a mini container of maple syrup or Greek yogurt for dipping.

11. Pumpkin Dip This one’s sure to be a hit at the next cocktail party (or as a midday snack). Mix up a few cups of vanilla Greek yogurt with some reduced fat cream cheese, a sprinkle of sugar, pumpkin purée, and spices. Refridgerate until it’s set (about three hours) and serve alongside sliced apples, graham crackers, or cinnamon sugar pita chips for a semi-sweet pumpkin-packed dip.

12. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Even after Halloween, there’s always reason to pick up a pumpkin and crack it open (just maybe not to carve scary faces)—for the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are packed with protein, magnesium potassium and zinc, making them a super healthy snack. The best part? They can be flavored however your little heart desires. Fancy a sweet treat? Throw on some brown sugar and cinnamon. Need something spicy? Add a little cayenne pepper and lime juice. Looking for a mix of spicy and sweet? Opt for a mix of sugar, cayenne, and a pinch of salt.

Pear

Photo: Aylin Erman / Glow Kitchen

13. Pear-Carrot Sweet Morning Juice
Fall comfort food doesn’t have to be heavy! Start the day on a healthy note with thishealthy, refreshing juice made from pears, carrots, lemon, and a hint of cayenne pepper.

14. Spiced Apple and Pear Cake Low-sugar (or no sugar!) cakes make great portable snacks if you’re up for prepping ahead—especially when they’re packed with fruit or veggies. This low-sugar, whole-wheat apple pear cake is full of fruit and fall spices. Plus, who doesn’t feel special when you get to eat cake midday and not feel guilty about it?

15. Baked Pears with Greek Yogurt Another star topping for our favorite Greek yogurt! Simply bake 1/2 a firm pear with some extra-special flavorings, cool, and top with plain Greek yogurt.

16. Edamame Crostini with Pears Toast up a few bits of bread and top with this protein-packed, slightly sweet topping for an inventive take on bruschetta. Edamame is packed with fiber, making it a great option for snacking, and the sweetness of the pears adds just enough depth in flavor and texture.

17. Pear Smoothie Yes, smoothies can make a great midday snack, provided you have access to a fridge or freezer. Try this protein-packed pear smoothie with cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, egg white, and protein powder for a filling snack (or breakfast).

Cranberry

Photo: Kelli Dunn

18. Spiced Cranberry Sauce  This real-deal cranberry sauce is far from the jellied version that comes in a can. Simmer cranberries, agave, and plenty of spices until they break down into a sweet, flavorful sauce that’s perfect on toast, yogurt, oatmeal, or meat.

19. Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies What can we say—pumpkin purée makes great cookies! Instead of the more classic chocolate chip addition, dried cranberries add a nice chewiness to these treats.

20. Cranberry Granola Granola is always a great option for long days away from home or the office. It’s easy to pack and keeps fresh no matter what. Try this version with dried cranberries for a slightly sweet and tart addition.

Winter Vegetables

Photo by Kate Morin

21. Butternut Squash and Feta Muffins
Savory muffins sounded weird to us at first, too. And then we tasted these bad boys. The squash is just sweet enough and the feta compliments it perfectly, adding nice pockets of cheesy goodness through the dough. Bonus: These don’t even require a pat of butter!

22. Butternut Squash Hummus Chickpeas are not the only avenue to great hummus. Roasted squash (or beets, too!) can make perfectly unique hummus. Simply combine some pre-cooked squash and add lemon juice, tahini, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Use veggies to dip for a doubly healthy snack.

23. Glazed Acorn Squash Believe it or not, something as simple as a few slices of roasted acorn squash can make a filling, healthy snack. Because the squash is packed with fiber, the slices will keep you fuller, longer. Slice, season however you like (salt, pepper, and paprika; or some maple syrup, maybe?), roast, cool, and pack in small containers to tote along for snacking.

24. Carrot Cake Smoothie Carrot cake, in liquid form? Don’t mind if we do! This simple, healthy blend of carrot, almond milk, banana, protein powder, and spices makes for a beta carotene-packed snack that can easily be stored in a sturdy container at any temperature until you’re ready to enjoy (since it’s dariy free!).

25. Butternut Squash and Apple Soup  This velvety, veggie-rich soup is just what the doctor ordered for a chilly fall afternoon. Make a big batch on the weekend and heat it up with crackers, whole-wheat bread, or rice for a quick, warming meal.

26. Broccoli and Cheese Bites A recent revelation: Muffin tins are our snack-making friend! Whip up a mix of eggs, milk, broccoli, and cheese, bake in muffin tins, and refrigerate until ready to eat. These bites are packed with protein from the egg and offer a healthy serving of superfood broccoli.

27. Fennel, Apple, and Raisin Salad We know this sounds strange, but just trust us. Fennel bulb’s lightly licorice flavor pairs perfectly with slightly sweet raisins and tart apples for a refreshing and healthy snack. The flavorful, citrusy dressing is just enough to add some moisture and tang without making the salad soggy after sitting for a while.

Apple

Photo by Jordan Shakeshaft

28. Apple Chips
We promise: with this one, patience will pay off. After slicing apples as thin as you can get ‘em, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at a low temp (200 degrees) for a few hours until the slices have slightly curled and they’re perfectly crunchy.

29. Apple Pie Dip Betcha didn’t think apple pie could come in dip form, too! Simply chop up a few apples and mix with some lemon juice, brown sugar, apricot preserves, and cinnamon. Then, prep some cinnamon-dusted tortilla wedges and use to dip!

30. Mini Caramel Apples These little guys are almost too adorable. While caramel apples often masquerade as the healthy option sold at carnivals and the like, the gigantic apple beneath that inch-thick coating of sticky caramel and crushed up candy bars does not redeem this option. But when scaled down (significantly) this favorite fall item can be a healthy choice (in moderation). Take a melon baller to your favorite type of apple, and remove as many full spheres as possible. Stick in a toothpick, dip in some caramel (or dark chocolate!), roll in some chopped nuts, let them set, and enjoy as a teeny tiny snack.

31. Apple Cheddar Cheese Bread We all know the classic apple pie accompaniment is a slice of nice cheddar cheese. So here’s another way to enjoy that sweet n’ salty baked combo!  Plus, since they’re mini loaves they make the perfect treat to snack on in bits throughout the day. Plus, they pack a healthy dose of protein and fiber!

32. Apple Pie Protein “Ice Cream”  Whip up a batch of this easy recipe for a healthy dessert or a protein-packed post-workout snack. Blend together apple, banana, spices, almond butter, protein powder, and almond milk until smooth. Freeze the mixture until it reaches the consistency of frozen yogurt and then scoop!

33. Baked Apple Halves Sliced and half, cored, and topped with an oat-n’-brown sugar mixture, and baked, apples can be a hearty fall snack any time of day. Plus, they can be prepared in a big batch, or done one by one. The benefits? Fiber from the apples and oats, and satisfying that sweet tooth with the bit of brown sugar (or maple syrup, if that’s your thing).

34. Applesauce Cookies These cookies can actually pass as breakfast, too. Made simply from bananas, oats, applesauce, vanilla, ground flax seed, and dried cherries, there’s really nothing even remotely naughty in this recipe. Bake up a batch and store in the freezer until a crazy hectic day hits. Take a few out to defrost on your desk until snack time.

35. Apple Pecan Buckwheat Bake Bake one of these individual cakes in the morning to bring along until snack time. This recipe is a great way to fill a baked-good craving without overloading on sugar and fat. In fact, these mini bakes have nearly none of that stuff—just 1 tablespoon of honey to sweeten!

36. Cheddar Apple Mini Sandwich Here’s a new use for crackers: make mini sandwiches! Layer small slice of apple and cheddar cheese between two healthy crackers and stack ‘em tight in a Tupperware container. Worried about the crackers getting soggy? Pack the apple, cheese, and crackers separately and stack when that tummy starts grumbling.

Beyond the Pie

Why pumpkin should be put to use in your diet.

‘Tis the season for all things pumpkin. Between October and December the flavor of pumpkin is infusing everything from pies and breads to coffees, teas and ice creams. Rare is the holiday reveler who considers the nutritional value of all that pumpkin—which is unfortunate, because the orange gourd is packed with nutrients.

Technically considered fruits rather than veggies, pumpkins “add fiber, antioxidants such as alpha- and beta-carotene, and vitamin C” to your diet, says Courtney Mosser, a dietitian at Florida Hospital Celebration Health.

Our bodies convert carotenoids into vitamin A, “which is good for the eyes and skin,” Mosser says. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs to work properly, according to the National Institutes of Health, while vitamin C is essential for growing and repairing the body’s tissues as well as maintaining bones and teeth. We all know that fiber helps maintain bowel health, but it can also lower cholesterol and control blood sugar. 

Even pumpkin seeds are nutrient rich, says Mosser, who likes to bake them in sweet batches with cinnamon and nutmeg, and in spicy batches with chili powder. 

“All seeds are a good source of protein and healthy fats,” she notes, “but pumpkin seeds are good for magnesium and zinc. Magnesium helps with blood pressure and glucose control, and zinc is really good for immune system support.”

Mosser stocks up on canned pumpkin during the holidays so she can reap its benefits throughout the year—in smoothies, in oatmeal and in other healthful recipes that are the best way to make the most of pumpkins’ nutritional wallop.

The sugar in the goodies ingested during the holidays counteracts the nutritional advantages of the pumpkin, Mosser says. All that pumpkin flavoring “is just to make us feel like the holidays.”

Self-professed “pumpkin diva” Marci Arthur also cooks with pumpkin year-round. The founder of the Orlando cooking school Truffles and Trifles says pumpkin is among the most versatile of foods.

So why don’t more of us use pumpkin during the other nine months of the year? “Because a lot of people say ‘That’s for pumpkin pie,’” Arthur says. “I think that’s why people get sick of it. It’s an overload in a certain kind of area; mostly you’re talking about a very sweet taste.”

So Arthur makes a point of exposing her students to the variety of recipes they can prepare to add the good-for-you gourd to their kitchen repertoires.

“Pumpkin adapts itself to flavors and complements other flavors,” Arthur says. “You can use it for fancy food, for country-type food, as an appetizer, in main dishes, side dishes and desserts.” Not to mention soups, soufflés, risotto and lasagna.

“That’s what shocks people,” Arthur says. “Pumpkin is not pumpkin pie; pumpkin is a million things.”

Eat a Rainbow: Functional Foods and Their Colorful Components

Have you ever heard that it is important to “eat a rainbow” of foods? This may be a good way to think about your diet because numerous functional foods can be recognized and grouped together by their color.  Functional foods are foods or dietary components that may provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition. Examples can include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fortified or enhanced foods and beverages and certain dietary supplements. This fall, dive into the color of the various functional foods listed below and unlock the health benefits that may already be on your plate. An easy way to get more functional foods on your plate is to fill half of your plate with some of the colorful fruits and vegetables mentioned below.

Orange/Red

Whether you think of a blazing fire or an early morning sunrise, orange and red are two of the most vibrant colors in the spectrum.  Orange foods such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, squash, and cantaloupe, include a plant compound known as carotenoids. Carotenoids include beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A has many roles within the body: it helps support the function of white blood cells (which is important for a healthy immune system), promotes bone growth, and helps to regulate cell growth and division. Vitamin A and two other types of carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, are also important for healthy vision.

Also a carotenoid, lycopene is found in red foods such as tomatoes and tomato products, watermelon, and grapefruit.  The main benefit of lycopene is the maintenance of prostate health.

Green

No, you don’t have to drive a hybrid or tend to your own victory garden. By simply adding more green vegetables to your menu, you can proudly say, ‘I’m going green!’

Try new veggies such as bok choy, mesclun, turnip greens, kale, or watercress while revisiting some old favorites like broccoli, collard greens, romaine lettuce, and spinach. This will put you well on your way to the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  Dark green vegetables are a functional food component powerhouse!  Included in the long list of nutrients found in these veggies are potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C.

Blue, Purple, Crimson, Brown

It may seem like a stretch to group these colors together, but humans have been doing it for centuries!  Before conventional methods of dying fabrics, berries and teas were used to color the finest hand-woven fabrics for royalty.  Now that these foods are no longer needed to color clothing, foods that are blue, purple, crimson, and even brown are gaining popularity due to the fact that they contain flavonoids. Berries, cherries, red grapes, red wine, dark chocolate, cocoa and some teas are good sources.  Flavonoids are beneficial to our health because they may contribute to the maintenance of proper brain function and blood flow.

Tan

Tan is not usually the most exciting color in the spectrum, but tan colored foods still come packed with many health benefits. Whole wheat breads, cereals, and pastas that are higher in fiber are usually tan in color.  The insoluble fiber found in wheat bran, corn bran, fruit and vegetable skins, and whole grains may contribute to the maintenance of a healthy digestive tract and reduce the risk of some types of cancer.  Another type of dietary fiber is called beta glucan.  This component can also be found in tan foods such as oat bran, oatmeal, oat flour, barley, and rye.  Beta glucan-containing foods may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

White

Just because a food is white, doesn’t mean that it isn’t nutritious.  In fact, white foods such as low-fat (1%) or fat-free milk, yogurt, and some cheeses are packed with vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus.  These vitamins and minerals aid in bone health and may help us maintain a healthy body weight.  Yogurt also contains probiotics, which are bacteria that confer a health benefit, like promoting digestive health or supporting immune function. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends getting three servings of dairy products every day.

Yellow

When you think of yellow foods, fat may not be the first to come to mind, however, after considering butter, margarine, olive oil, and vegetable oil, yellow is a common thread!  Recent dietary guidance recommendations suggest that the type of fat that you consume can affect your health in various ways. While it is important to consume a diet that is low in saturated and trans fats, certain types of unsaturated fats such as linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and linolenic acid (an omega 3-fatty acid) are essential for life and have to be consumed through the diet. These fats are important for proper growth in children, healthy skin, and to help regulate cholesterol.  Fat is also needed for transport and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as carotenoids.

Research continues to tout the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce the risk of heart disease and promote brain health and vision. Two examples of omega-3 fatty acids include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Oily fish from cold waters, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and trout are especially rich in EPA and DHA. You can also find DHA and EPA in certain fortified foods and beverages and dietary supplements.

Just by remembering to “eat a rainbow,” you can increase your intake of nutrients and healthful food components.  So, the next time you reach for one of the above mentioned foods, remember that it is not only bursting with color and flavor but that it also contains a component that may improve your health.
Go to our Hot Topics page to see tips for including all these colorful functional foods in meals and snacks.

For more information about functional foods please see the following resources:

www.foodinsight.org/foodsforhealth

 

Good Fats . . . your new best friend

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Have you heard the term omega-3 fatty acids before?

Well, we are going to explain this term to you and tell you how and why you need to increase your intake of this essential fatty acid. Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for human health but cannot be synthesized by the body. We have to get them through foods, such as salmon, tuna, halibut, herring, mackerel, algae, krill, green leafy plants, walnuts, chia seeds and Brazil nuts.

salmon

Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, growth, development, production of hormones, and blood clotting. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Because of their high concentration in the brain, omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain memory and performance.

Most children are deficient in the omega-3 essential fatty acids. These vital nutrients are crucial building blocks of child development and play key roles in every aspect of health, including brain and eye function.

**Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, dry skin, poor memory, mood swings, depression, poor circulation and heart problems.

On the other hand, omega-6 fatty acids are also essential but have a tendency to promote inflammation in the body if consumed in large amounts. It is important to have the proper ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the diet.

The typical American diet tends to contain 14 – 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, which encourages inflammation and disease production, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and arthritis.  

Benefits of Omega-3 Foods

  • Reduce inflammation throughout your body
  • Keep your blood from clotting excessively
  • Maintain the fluidity of your cell membranes
  • Lower the amount of lipids (fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides) circulating in the bloodstream
  • Reduce the risk of becoming obese
  • Improve the body’s ability to respond to insulin
  • Help prevent cancer cell growth

Symptoms and Conditions that Indicate a Need for Omega-3 Foods:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Joint pain
  • Depression
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are found naturally in:

  • Oily fish (sardines, salmon, mackerel, anchovies, black cod)
  • Spirulina
  • Green-lipped mussels
  • Flaxseed oil and ground flaxseeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Krill oil
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Wheat germ

Take a look at these ways to increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids and decrease omega-6 fatty acids.

How to Increase Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake:

1. Eat 1-2 portions of wild fish per week

  • wild salmon, mackerel, cod, sardines, and anchovies
  • choose smaller wild fish to decrease ingestion of mercury and dioxins

2. Increase omega-3 fatty acid foods

  • Green-lipped mussels
  • Flaxseed and krill oil
  • Brazil nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Wheat germ
  • Spirulina (found in green powders)

3. Take a daily omega-3 supplement

  • Try Nordic Naturals Omega-3  found in Whole Foods or online at www.amazon.com
  • Supplementing your children with Nordic Naturals fish oil  is a safe, pure, and effective way to give your child’s mental and physical well-being a nutritional head start. They have tasty, patented, natural fruit flavors that will please even the pickiest palates and leave many kids asking for more!
  • Most OTC fish oils are already rancid and will not improve your omega-3 fatty acid levels. Most companies say that they produce superior omega-3 fish oil but cannot prove it. The only objective proof of fish oil purity is third-party analysis that verifies adherence to strict standards.

Nordic Naturals meets every one. It is the ONLY fish oil that we recommend and you can purchase it in Whole Foods, Sprouts, many supplement stores and amazon.com.

Eat more omega-3 fatty acid foods and take a supplement daily!

For more information, please go to www.superfitsolutions.com.

To follow us on facebook, like us at http://www.facebook.com/SuperFitSolutions

 

Easy Ways To Get Your 5 A Day

easy-ways-eat-more-fruits-vegetables-1024x768Eating a large variety of fruits and vegetables as part of your diet provides your body with an abundance of essential vitamins and minerals. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help prevent a host of conditions including heart disease and stroke, some types of cancer, as well as diverticulitis.

Traditionally we’ve been told we should consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, but that amount varies depending on a range on factors such as age, weight, and physical activity levels. The CDC has a useful fruits and vegetables calculator that lets you calculate how many servings of fruits and veggies you should be consuming each day. The USDA has set the serving size of vegetables to be approximately half a cup. The exception to this is leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce, where a serving size is equivalent to 1 cup. For sliced fruit and berries, 1 serving is the equivalent to half a cup; however 1 whole piece of fruit, such as a banana or orange, counts as a single serving.

Aiming for 5 servings a day is a good place to start, but sometimes it can be hard to incorporate this into your diet. Here are 10 easy ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your everyday meals and snacks.

  1. Start your day with a smoothie: It’s easy to incorporate multiple servings of fruits and vegetables into your diet in just one smoothie. The Internet is full of delicious smoothie recipes, find one you like and switch it up by adding ingredients like spinach, kale, or blueberries.
  2. Add berries to your morning oatmeal: Instead of buying flavored oatmeal, buy the plain variety and add fruits to boost your intake of essential vitamins and minerals. We love blueberries and banana with a tsp. of maple syrup or honey.
  3. Veggies and eggs: Sautéed vegetables pair well with eggs. Add sautéed peppers, spinach, and mushrooms to an omelet or scrambled eggs to easily boost your vegetable intake.
  4. Add side salads to evening meals: Instead of just having your regular pasta or pizza for dinner, add a yummy side salad to your evening meals. Side salads will fill you up more quickly, meaning you eat less of the “bad stuff”, and they provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Side salads don’t have to be boring and can actually be a delicious addition to your meal. Try matching salads with the cuisine you are eating, if you’re having pizza or pasta, try lettuce leaves with tomatoes and balsamic dressing; if you’re having Chinese style noodles, and make a salad with shredded lettuce and cabbage and sesame vinaigrette.
  5. Spruce up your sandwich: Adding vegetables to sandwiches is an easy way to meet your recommended daily allowance. Some great sandwich additions that will help you to your 5 a day are tomatoes, avocado, sprouts, spinach, lettuce, hummus, and shredded carrot.
  6. Dice away: Chop vegetables very finely and add to pasta sauces, tacos, soups, or casseroles. By adding vegetables to your meals in this way, you easily boost the nutritional content and flavor of the original recipe.
  7. Ditch the cheese sauce: Swap your cheesy sauces for cauliflower sauce. Cauliflower is an extremely versatile vegetable and can be made into a delicious creamy sauce that rivals the best Alfredo. Get creative and add other vegetables to your sauce such as sautéed mushrooms, tomatoes, and onion. Here’s our favorite cauliflower sauce recipe.
  8. Almost guilt free chips and dip: Swap potato chips for vegetable crudités as your go to dipping snack. Dip isn’t healthy but you can find recipes for healthier versions online using Greek yogurt or hummus. Our favorite crudités are cucumber, red pepper, and carrots.
  9. Toast toppers: Instead of topping your toast with butter and jam, add vegetables instead. Yummy suggestions include sliced avocado with roasted pumpkin seeds, hummus with cucumber slices, and cheddar cheese with sliced tomato.
  10. All hail kale: Kale chips are surprisingly delicious and very easy to make. Make a large batch to snack on through the week and see how easy it is to increase your vegetable intake without even thinking about it. Here’s our favorite kale chip recipe.

 

Does it Really Cost More to Eat Healthy?

 

cost more to eat healthyI want to talk to you about two subjects virtually everyone is interested in: food and money.

 

Specifically, I want to address the frequently heard complaint that it costs much more to eat healthy.

Don’t worry—I’m not going to give you a lecture about how much broccoli you could eat for the price of a Big Mac, or how, if you were really inventive, you could make a four course nutrient dense meal for the price of two large bags of Doritos and a 2 liter coke.

That stuff may be true, but it doesn’t speak to your experience, which is that calories are generally cheap, and good food (like grass-fed meat) isn’t. And that it takes a lot of work (and time!) to make healthy food that’s economically viable, while dropping by the take-out window at Taco Bell takes neither.

So let me start by saying two words about that: It’s true.

And let me follow it with two more: So what?

Now before you think I’m being calloused and unsympathetic, hear me out. When President Herbert Hoover spoke inspiringly of putting “a chicken in every pot”, chicken was an expensive commodity—in 1930, you’d pay a whopping $6.48 a pound for chicken (in today’s currency). Last year, in contrast, the price was $1.57.

So this is a good thing, right?

Well, yes and no.

See, one of the casualties of modern life is we’ve lost the ability to think ahead. We’re so focused on the now, on immediate ratification, that few of us stop to think of long range costs. This is why we have a credit card crisis in America. This is why “buy now pay later” is virtually the national anthem. And it affects every area of our lives. People lease cars based on how much their monthly payment is, not how much the real cost of the lease is over 3 years. We pay the minimum requirements on our credit card. We eat what tastes delicious now and figure we’ll start our diet “tomorrow”. Everything in modern life is skewed to sacrifice long range consequences on the altar of immediate reward. If it feels good now, do it—and worry about the consequences later.

And you can see just how well that’s been working out.

So sure, we can now get chicken for a buck and a half a pound. But the real costs of that “bargain” are hidden. Chickens are bred to grow breasts so large that they literally topple over and can barely breathe or stand. They are shot full of hormones, steroids and antibiotics (a contributing factor in the looming crisis around antibiotic-resistant bacteria). Many health professionals feel the “meat-cancer” connection that seems to show up in some association studies has little to do with meat and everything to do with the chemicals and hormones that the meat is filled with.

Sure, you can buy that kind of meat a lot cheaper than you can buy pasture-raised. But you’re kicking the can down the road. You may not be paying more cash at the register right now—but payment will come due just as sure as death and taxes, and it won’t be cheap.

That many diseases and conditions are lifestyle related is no longer in doubt. Lifestyle choices—and dietary choices especially—have a huge influence on cancer, cognitive impairment, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Calories are cheap in the standard American Diet, but the costs of that diet are anything but. You just don’t have to pay for them right now.

But pay for them you will. Make absolutely no mistake about that.

So does it cost more money to eat healthy? Sure it does—at least at first. But it costs even more not to eat well. You might not notice it right now, today, at the cash register. But a decade or two from now, the bill will come due.

And it won’t be fun.

Look, one of the most difficult lessons any of us as parents have to teach our children is to look at the long range picture. A 20 year old doesn’t care about what happens when he’s forty (let alone sixty)—he cares about Friday night. (That’s why it’s so hard to get kids to save money.)

But are we adults really any different?

Look, I have an advantage over a lot of you in that I’m in my 60’s and I know how this game turns out. I’m passionate about making people understand how much it matters to eat well when they’re younger because I know what it feels like “on the other side”. I’m 67, look 47, feel 37, and act 27. I have boundless energy. I get up without an alarm clock at 6 AM. I play tennis every day. I have a healthy libido and a wonderful relationship. I have a great career, amazing health, an optimistic outlook and I look forward to every day.

And I know—I know—that’s because I’ve been eating well (albeit a bit more “expensively”) since I was 38. And, like a person who’s been putting a few bucks away every month since he’s twenty and now, at 70, is enjoying millionaire status, I’m enjoying the results of 30 years of spending a little more and eating a little better.

And I can tell you that it’s worth it. Big time.

So does meat from grass-fed cows, eggs from free-range chicken, organic coffee and milk and strawberries and all the rest of it cost more? Sure it does. In the short run.

But if you can lift your head over the horizon to see the long view, that extra cash you’re laying out now will pay off in benefits you can’t even imagine.

Do the math. And then tell me whether or not it’s worth it.

I think it’s a no-contest. How about you?

 

 

– See more at: http://jonnybowdenblog.com/does-it-really-cost-more-to-eat-healthy/#sthash.wcpN7RYU.dpuf

 

 

 

15 Minutes to Better Health

Between work and family obligations, most of us have a hard time fitting 1174685_658225540921752_373073619_nin regular activities to improve our health. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about 20 percent of Americans get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day. But working healthy habits into your routine can lead to overall improvements in health – and can take as little as 15 minutes a day.

Start small by adding one new habit at a time and eventually they will add up to make a positive impact on your health.

Start your day with a glass of warm lemon water. Drinking lemon water regularly can decrease the acidity in your body, helping to fight inflammation while also enhancing the function of enzymes and stimulating the liver to flush out toxins. Its high levels of vitamin C also help keep your immune system strong – which is especially important on stressful days. Drink this first thing in the morning before having anything else to eat or drink.

Practice sun salutations. This yoga series is a great workout for the whole body and combines stretching, flexing and toning the muscles.  For those not inclined to try sitting meditation, yoga is a wonderful form of moving meditation and can have many health benefits including lower stress levels and improved sleep.

Plan balanced meals and healthy snacks. Sitting down for a few minutes once a week helps you think about your health goals and plan meals that will help you reach those goals. Being prepared and having a shopping list helps you avoid temptation and will also make dinner preparation quicker and easier.

Add a salad to dinner. A diet rich in vegetables can help you prevent many diseases including high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease and some types of cancer. While dietary guidelines from the Harvard School of Public Health recommend five to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, the average American gets a total of just three servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Adding a salad to dinner requires virtually no prep and can help you reach a healthier daily veggie intake.

Chew your food slowly. Spend an extra five minutes at each meal chewing your food. Taking small, slow bites can help kickstart your digestive juices, making your meal easier to digest and reducing intestinal distress. Taking more time to savor each bite also helps you become more mindful of what you’re eating, which can help eliminate overeating and emotional eating.

Pack a lunch to take to work. While it may seem easier to grab a quick bite to eat on your lunch break, it can be difficult to make healthy choices. Packing your own lunch can help you avoid empty calories and overly processed foods and focus on fresh produce and healthy proteins. Cooking a little extra at dinner and packing it for lunch the next day is the easiest way to ensure a healthy meal.

Take a walk after dinner. According to the EveryBody Walk Campaign, which aims to get more Americans up and moving, exercising for even 15 minutes a day can add three years to a person’s life expectancy. Daily walks can also boost your mood, strengthen bones and joints, improve sleep, reduce depression and even reduce pain for people living with arthritis.

Turn off electronics 15 minutes earlier. Technology is incorporated into every aspect of modern life and over time can have an impact on your posture, eyesight and even your balance. Committing to turning off electronics just 15 minutes earlier may not seem like much, but it adds up over time.

 

Jacqueline Banks is a certified holistic health counselor and busy mother.  Her focus is on helping other busy moms in all stages of motherhood keep themselves and their little ones healthy and happy.  She uses natural and organic solutions to solve individual health problems and promote clean living. Check out her website atwww.jbholistic.com