Thursday, July 25, 2013

What's for Breakfast: Yogurt and fresh fruit with cereal

I just had to show you what I have been enjoying for breakfast for the past week.

Fresh blueberries are in season, and I love to pair them with Grape-Nuts. The peach-mango yogurt added a nice touch (rather than plain milk), and the fresh peaches complemented everything in the bowl.

To make one serving of this breakfast:

1/3 cup Grape-Nuts cereal
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh peaches, cubed
6 ounce carton of low-fat peach-mango yogurt

Combine ingredients above and eat!  Very filling for the small amount of calories -- it easily lasts me until lunch.

Nutrition information per serving: 316 calories, 1 gram fat, 15 grams protein, 64 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 4 milligrams cholesterol, 381 milligrams sodium.

Monday, July 22, 2013

What’s For Dinner? Black Bean and Corn Salsa

What, you wouldn’t consider salsa a dinner? Well, for the past week, in our part of Michigan, it has been 90 degrees plus, and that means it’s time for no-added-heat meals!

You really can make a light meal out of this dish, by adding corn chips  and your favorite beverage.  Or bring this to the next potluck you are invited to. Keep these simple ingredients on hand to combine at a moment’s notice.

Recipe: Black Bean and Corn Salsa

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can yellow corn, drained and rinsed
3 cups of your favorite salsa
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine

Combine all ingredients, and chill for at least 2 hours to blend the flavors (I keep it in the refrigerator overnight before using for best flavor.)

Nutrition information per half cup:  63 calories, 0 grams fat, 3 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 261 milligrams sodium.

Cook’s tips:
  • Look for a lower-sodium salsa; there is a large difference between various types.
  • You are rinsing the black beans and corn to get rid of unwanted liquid and to reduce the sodium content as well.
  • Choose a salsa one step hotter than what you normally buy; the black beans and corn really tone down the heat.
  • Use this salsa as a topping for taco salad (another hot-weather favorite at our house).

Here’s how I made the Taco Salad shown below:

For each serving, layer in individual bowls:

1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
About 10-15 tortilla chips, crumbled
1/3 to 1/2  cup browned and crumbled lean ground beef (seasoned with 1/8 teaspoon chili powder and garlic powder while cooking)
1/2 cup of the Black Bean and Corn Salsa (recipe above)
Extra tomato wedges for garnish, if desired

Nutrition information per taco salad: 329 calories, 15 grams fat, 21 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 56 milligrams cholesterol, 377 milligrams sodium.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tidbits: Setting up your Environment for Weight Control Success

I have noticed a pattern this summer with many of my nutrition counseling clients. Many are “stuck” in their weight loss efforts.

Usually, summer is the easiest time to make a dent in your weight, because the weather (at least in Michigan) is so nice.  It’s easy to be outside and be more active. Also, there are a lot more fruits and vegetables in season and they are usually very tasty.

So what seems to be getting people stuck? Here’s what they have been telling me:
  •  Invited to too many Potlucks
  •  Invited to too many Graduations
  •  Lots of Weddings to attend
  •  Have to keep Ice cream in the freezer “for the kids”
  •  Having company over for an extended time (so there’s lots of eating out and extra snacks and goodies that you normally don’t keep around)
  •  Kids home from college (ditto for having to keep more food and more goodies available for all the eaters)

Do you see a pattern here? It boils down to external control over your eating vs. you being in control.  Just because you are invited to a party or event does not mean you have to eat like it’s your last meal!

Here are just a few things to help you reframe your thinking about all these excuses for not losing weight this summer:
  • If you have company over, why not invite them to come along on your walk around the neighborhood? If they decline, don’t feel guilty, just take your walk like you planned and you’ll be on track.
  • Why not keep healthy food in the fridge for the company and the kids? Have some fresh cubed melon and berries ready to go, or just pieces of fruit (peaches, plums, grapes, etc.)
  • If you hate to prep raw vegetables but love to eat them, why not buy a ready-to-go veggie tray?  If you have lots of eaters in the house, it will get eaten.  I have no problem with having dip to go with the veggies, but maybe get the light kind this time.
  • Don’t keep calorie-containing beverages in the fridge. Have plenty of ice and water available, but “forget” to buy the soda pop, the fruit punch and juices.
  • If you’re going to a potluck, bring a food along that you know is “safe” for you, in case all the other selections are heavy. One time I brought a bowlful of snipped grapes (with 5-6 grapes per snipped cluster); they gotten eaten up in a hurry.  Another time I brought fresh sliced tomatoes from the garden dressed with a homemade vinaigrette. Those also were eaten right up.

 Do you have any favorite tips that helps keep you on track with your weight? Leave a comment on this blog, or email me at (vfergrd at gmail dot com).