I can’t listen to my kids whine one more time, “chicken for dinner, agaaaaain?” In the tough balance between work and feeding a family of 5, I admit that I definitely use the same recipes over and over. To ease my shopping list, I fall back on the old standbys but I suppose it gets rather repetititive. So, when I discovered this kid-friendly, quick, few ingredients tofu recipe that my kids actually liked, I added it into the rotation. (If your kids are concerned about trying tofu, tell them it’s like cheese. Looks like it anyway!)
Crispy Tofu with Sunflower Butter
16 oz firm tofu
2 tsp sesame oil
1/3 cup sunflower butter
1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp warm water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lime juice
Drain tofu on a paper towel for 15 minutes. Cube into 8 pieces. Saute in sesame oil until crispy on all sides, about 5-8 minutes per side.
Mix remaining ingredients and use as a sauce on the side for dipping.
A new study just made sensational headlines, saying that our excessive salt intake kills 1 in 10 Americans. The study from the Harvard School of Public Health looked at studies of salt intake and risk of cardiovascular deaths. They found a strong link between higher rates of death from cardiovascular disease and higher levels of salt intake. 1000 mg was the optimal intake according to the researchers, however, Americans consume on average 3400 mg. Bread and cheese were the 2 biggest contributors to sodium intake in the U.S. To lower salt intake population wide, the food and restaurant industries have to make a concerted effort to reduce amounts in our food supply. Fortunately, many companies are working together to lower the sodium in foods. The palate can adjust and enjoy lower amounts of sodium when it’s done gradually. In the meanwhile, look for lower sodium versions of foods, always rinse canned beans and vegetables, and cook from scratch whenever possible. Whole foods found in nature rarely have much sodium so consuming more of these foods and less processed foods will naturally lower salt intake.
Losing weight doesn’t have to be so hard and really small changes can add up to significant weight loss over time. Brain Wansink, a guru researcher on portion size has done studies that find just a few things can add up to eating 20% less each day. That could mean 10-20% less you by year’s end. Here are some of his greatest tips from an article in Cooking Light:
Slow down. It’s almost a cliché, but, like many clichés, it’s true: Because it takes a few minutes for your stomach to relay signals of satiety to your brain, eating too fast means you pile on calories unawares. Slow down and you’ll feel your body’s signals sooner and eat less. When you sit down for a meal, make an eat-slower pledge.
Here’s a delicious, healthy recipe for dip that you and your kids will love. It comes out bright green but all the more fun to dip into! (It’s perfect for St Patty’s Day.)
1 (5 oz) can water chestnuts
1 small shallot
1/4 c nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 c nonfat cottage cheese
1/2 c reduced fat cream cheese (Neufchatel cheese)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp dried dill
6 oz baby spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste
Directions: In a food processor or blender, puree the water chestnuts and shallot until finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Dip in all your favorite veggies.
A recent study at Tufts Medical Center finds a mother’s diet during pregnancy has profound impacts on the child’s weight later in life. Interestingly, both ends of the spectrum lead to the same consequences: undernourished or overnourished moms-to-be end up with children more likely to be obese. The most likely cause is a change in genes involved in laying down fat in the infant’s body so they have more fat and less muscle mass. There is also some evidence that having an obese mother changes the region of the brain that regulates appetite so the baby is more prone to craving high calorie foods. The researchers recommend obese or overweight women adhere to the lower weight gain guidelines to help curb this result. If an infant is more at risk for obesity because he or she has a very overweight or very underweight mother, health professionals or parents can be aware of this and work to keep the baby at a healthy weight during childhood. Data shows that rapid weight gain early in life is linked with later development of obesity. Bottomline: if you are thinking of becoming pregnant work towards acheiving a more healthy weight through balanced diet and exercise before you get pregnant. If you are already pregnant stick to the weight gain guidelines your physician recommends.
A new (small) study shows that the brain reacts differently to fructose versus glucose, both simple sugars. Using MRI, the researchers were able to see that glucose turned off the desire for food in the brain, whereas fructose did not. This very small study begs for more investigation into the differences between how the body responds to various sugars. Fructose, rich in fruit juice and processed beverages, may not help the body feel satisfied, which could lead to overeating calories. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association…click here for a good summary.
This morning my typically spunky instructor was losing energy half way through our spin class. She usually keeps us going with her energy levels, but not today. She mentioned that she was trying to lose a few pounds and only ate a banana this morning before the class. Afterwards, (she knows that I am a dietitian), we started chatting about what she is doing to lose weight. She shared that like many this time of year, she has really ramped up her working out, she is now running in the morning before teaching spin, and is trying to “eat better.” I was so happy that she asked me my opinion. Okay, so, if you are going to get the best from your workouts, you have to have energy, sustained energy. This means eating a good breakfast that digests easily to provide the energy you need during your workout. For her, I recommended adding a low-fat Greek yogurt to her banana breakfast before her workout, and during her workouts, which is two or more hours long, adding 4 ounces of an electrolyte energy drink, like regular Gatorade, to her 20 ounces of water. She also told me that she typically does not eat until several hours after her workout. Here is another opportunity to get food to work hard for her in rebuilding and maximizing her workout. She needs to eat protein and carbs within the hour of her workout. New research shows that the ideal amount of protein at this time would be 25 grams to get 100% muscle building (which helps burn calories). A great after workout meal would be 3 oz of tuna (21 grams of protein), 2 pieces of whole wheat bread (4 grams protein), and a fruit. She is going to report back to me next week to let me know if her energy levels are better.
Most people prefer the premium bottle of orange juice (OJ) over the cheaper frozen from concentrate can; however, a study in the journal of Nutrition Research reports that the frozen OJ is healthier. Made with the whole fruit, including the peel, frozen OJ contains the potent antioxidants rich in the peel. So, you get more of the good stuff per glass. Buying canned OJ is also a sweeter deal, you can save about $4.24 (12 oz can vs. 64 oz premium bottle), according to the article, Supermarket Savings (and Splurges) written by Matthew Kadey, RD in the December issue of Prevention.
This Thanksgiving is estimated that Americans will eat 4500 calories…for some that is as much as 3 days of eating! You can save up to 900 calories by making smart choices between your holiday faves, or you can just watch your portions. Check out my tips on how to save calories this Turkey Day on KHOU Houston Turkey Day foods face-off…. http://www.khou.com/community/Tips-to-help-cut-calories-on-some-of-those-yummy-Thanksgiving-meals-180176281.html