5 Healthy Cook-Out Tips (+ decadent grilled dessert recipes)

Can you believe it’s August already? As usually, the summer is flying by. There’s only one more month (yikes!) before the official end to summer. What have you been up to this summer?

I’ve been spending time outdoors hiking in the woods of New Jersey.

forest

I’ve also been spending time at the Jersey shore walking the beaches.

jersey

In addition to my time spent relaxing, I’ve been working. This summer I had the opportunity to get out of the office and in to the community spreading the message of eating for optimal health. I went to a local firehouse to meet with firefighters as well as employees of a large corporation to discuss simple changes that they can make to improve their diet and health.

fire fighters

Since it’s BBQ season, I decided to provide the corporate employees with healthy grill recipes and cook-out tips. Continue reading to learn more…

CHOOSE HEALTHIER (cook out) PROTEINS

Skinless chicken breast, lean ground poultry, and fish are the healthier choices. The good fats in fish like salmon and trout have heart-healthy benefits. And when you grill with skill, you and your guests won’t even miss the red meat, which is generally higher in unhealthy saturated fat.

If you choose beef, go for the leaner options such as flank steak, top loin, sirloin, tenderloin, and 93% (or higher) lean ground beef. For pork, choose trimmed chops or tenderloin. Always marinate your meat. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends marinating meat for at least 30 minutes to help reduce cancer risk. Scientists are unsure why, but it appears that the marinade acts as a barrier to protect against carcinogens. Check out these healthy marinade recipes.

Definitely, skip the processed meats. Grilled hotdogs and sausage, even the lean varieties such as turkey hot dogs or chicken sausage, contain cancer causing preservatives. The American Institute for Cancer Research has linked consumption of processed meats to an increased risk of in colorectal cancer. If hot dogs are a must, consider using a variety without added nitrates, such as those from Applegate Farms.

Venture outside your grilling comfort zone and try something new. Non-traditional forms of meat such as buffalo, ostrich, venison (deer), pheasant, and quail tend to be very lean. These meats may not be available in your local grocery store but can be purchased online or at special retail stores like Fossil Farms in Boonton, NJ.

Also, try non-animal based protein like grilled tofu.

Healthy grilled protein ideas:

  • Wrap marinated fish fillets in foil and toss on the grill.
  • Create colorful chicken kebabs using veggies like red onion, yellow peppers, and green zucchini.
  • Add minced portabella mushrooms and onions to the turkey burgers or chicken patties to make them more juicy and savory.

BUILD A COLORFUL (cook out) PLATE

Take the focus off meat and grill up some vegetables. Think color – lots and lots of color. Just about all of your favorite colorful veggies (and fruits; more on this later) can be grilled alone or in kebabs. The trick to grilling perfect veggies is to cut them into uniform pieces that will cook quickly and evenly. Brush each piece with a good quality EVVO to prevent them from sticking to the grill. Alternatively you can use a grill basket or wrap veggies in aluminum foil packets to keep them out of the line of fire.

Grilled veggies in foil packets –

  • Preheat grill to medium. Cut heavy-duty foil in to 12-by-18-inch pieces.
  • Place sliced veggies in a large bowl; add ¼ cup bottled light Italian dressing or better yet, make your own dressing; toss to coat. Divide vegetables evenly among foil pieces. Drizzle with any remaining dressing.
  • Fold long sides of foil toward each other, crimping edges to seal. Fold and crimp remaining edges, forming a sealed packet.
  • Place packets, seam side up, on grill. Close grill and cook for 20 minutes. To check for doneness, remove one packet from grill, open carefully (poke holes to release some steam) and taste a vegetable. It should be crisp-tender.

Vegetables that are perfect for grilling include asparagus, bell peppers, carrots, corn, eggplant, onions, mushrooms, squash, sweet potatoes, and zucchini.

INCLUDE HEALTHIER (cook out) SALADS

Potato salad, coleslaw, and macaroni salad are all popular barbecue side dishes. Generally, they are overflowing with mayonnaise (and starchy carbs from the potatoes and macaroni) making them high in fat and calories. For a more nutritious option, go for the coleslaw. It’s made from heart-healthy cabbage, a cruciferous veggie that’s packed with anti-oxidants and fiber. With a few recipe tweaks, you can make a delicious and healthy side for your next cook-out.

Healthier coleslaw:

  • Skip the mayonnaise in favor of a dressing made of 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 3 tablespoons apple juice, and 2 tablespoons vinegar.
  • Add shredded carrots, shredded celery stalks, 1 diced apple, and about 1/3 cup raisins to your coleslaw to give it some extra zip and a punch of nutrients.

Also, consider including a bean salad at your next cook out. It’s a delicious side dish with lots of healthy fiber and less fat.

GO FOR BETTER (cook out) BUNS

Whole-grain buns and bread will complement your healthy cook-out with extra fiber, flavor, and texture. If you’re watching your calories and carbs, try a whole wheat pita pocket, an open-faced burger, or a lettuce wrap.

DON’T FORGET THE HEALTHIER (cook out) DESSERTS

For a decadent dessert with a healthy twist, try grilling fruit. The natural sugars caramelize in the high heat, giving them extra sweetness and flavor. Try grilling sliced apples, bananas, pears, peaches, pineapple, figs, nectarines, mangoes, or watermelon.

Lorraine

PS…
Do you need help creating a better eating plan so you can get to your personal best weight and optimal health? CALL ME.

I help chronic dieters with busy schedules find simple ways to eat better so they can achieve their personal best weight and maintain it with ease, have more energy and better health, enjoy eating again, and stop dieting once and for all.

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9 foods that lower cholesterol and decrease inflammation (+ must try recipe)

The key component of a diet to lower cholesterol is a plant-rich eating plan. Include plenty of whole fruits and vegetables, unrefined whole grains, and protein mostly from plants. Aim for at least 75% plants and no more than 25% animals. This style of eating is anti-inflammatory as well, and will decrease your risk of chronic disease.

Be adventurous and expand the variety of foods you put in your shopping cart and mouth. It may take some time to get used to new textures and flavors. But it’s a “natural” way to reduce cholesterol, and it avoids the risk of muscle problems and other side effects that affect some people who take statins.

Just as important, fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds are good for your body in ways beyond lowering cholesterol. They are natural anti-inflammatory foods that help keep blood pressure in check, support a healthy weight, and help arteries stay flexible and bones strong. These foods are good for digestion, vision, and mental health as well.

salad-374173_960_720

9 FOODS THAT HELP LOWER CHOLESTEROL AND DECREASE INFLAMMATION –

1. Oats. An easy first step to improving your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. This will gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber which has been shown to lower bad LDL cholesterol. Soluble fiber attaches to cholesterol-rich bile and blocks it from being absorbed in the intestines. Fiber-rich foods have other heart-health benefits such as reducing blood pressure and decreasing inflammation.

2. Barley and other whole grains. Like oats, barley and other whole grains such as quinoa, rye, brown rice, bulgur (cracked wheat), and millet can help lower the risk of heart disease – mainly via the soluble fiber they contain.

3. Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, keeping you full for longer after a meal. There are many choices – navy, kidney and butter beans, lentils, garbanzos, and black-eyed peas. Beans are a very versatile food that can be prepared in many ways.

4. Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, kale, okra, and sweet potato. These vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber as well as prebiotics. Prebiotics serve as food for the beneficial bacteria that live in the human gut. When these bacteria ferment the fiber, gas and short-chain fatty acids are produced. These SCFAs have been linked to a reduction in blood cholesterol levels.

5. Nuts and Seeds. Studies show that eating nuts and seeds is good for the heart. They contain omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Eating just 2 ounces (1 ounce = about a handful) of nuts a day can lower LDL by about 5%. Nuts and seeds have additional nutrients that protect the heart such as vitamin E which stops the development of arterial plaques.

6. Vegetable oils. Use monounsaturated olive and canola oil in place of butter, lard, and shortening to help lower bad LDL cholesterol. Limit corn, sunflower, safflower, soy, and cottonseed which are highly refined, used excessively in processed foods, and cause inflammation when consumed in excess.

7. Apples, grapes, citrus fruits, and berries. These fruits are rich in pectin, a water-soluble fiber. Pectin is sticky and lowers bad LDL cholesterol by attaching to cholesterol-rich bile within your intestines and carrying it out before it’s absorbed.

8. Fatty fish. Eating salmon, sardines, trout, and mackerel at least two times a week can lower bad LDL cholesterol by replacing saturated fat in meat and by providing omega-3 fats. Omega-3s increase good HDL cholesterol and reduce triglycerides, inflammation, blood pressure, and the formation of arterial plaques.

9. Avocados. Rich in monounsaturated fat, avocados help to raise levels of good HDL cholesterol while lowering bad LDL cholesterol when consumed in moderation. In addition, avocados are a good source of heart healthy potassium, B- vitamins, and fiber.

FOODS TO LIMIT/AVOID –

Saturated fats. Typical sources of saturated fat include animal products, such as red meat, whole-fat dairy products and also a few vegetable oils such as palm oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter. Saturated fat can increase your levels of bad LDL cholesterol.

Trans-fats. The right amount of trans-fats to consume is zero! Trans-fats are a byproduct of the chemical reaction that turns liquid vegetable oil into solid margarine or shortening and that prevents liquid vegetable oils from turning rancid. These fats have no nutritional value – and we know for certain they are bad for heart health. Trans-fats increase bad LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels while reducing levels of HDL cholesterol.

Recently, the FDA banned trans-fats from the U.S. food supply. The phasing-out process will begin in 2018 and is expected to take three years. The encouraging news is that many major food suppliers and restaurants have already substituted healthier fats for trans-fats.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS –

Salt and sodium: excess sodium consumption can increase blood pressure and cause the body to hold onto fluid. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. Cut back on salt and limit sodium to no more than 2300 mg per day; and even less if you have pre-hypertension or hypertension.

Weight and exercise: being overweight and not exercising can affect fats circulating in the bloodstream. Excess weight may boost harmful LDL cholesterol, while inactivity depresses protective HDL cholesterol. Losing weight (if needed) and exercising more can reverse these trends.

Do you need help creating a better eating plan so you can get to your personal best weight and optimal health? CALL ME.

I help chronic dieters with busy schedules find simple ways to eat better so they can achieve their personal best weight and maintain it with ease, have more energy and better health, enjoy eating again, and stop dieting once and for all.

Lorraine

PS…HEART-HEALTHY RECIPE:  White Bean Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

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Healthy snacks under 200 calories [printable]

Are you a snacker? There’s a very good chance that you are snacking at least once a day like most (nearly 94%) of Americans. Snacking has become a favorite pastime for many of us but it may be contributing to overweight and poor eating habits.

As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to eat every 3 – 4 hours throughout the day. Having a snack can bridge the gap if there is a long span of time between meals. Eating a nutritious snack can help to meet your nutrient needs and keep you energized, alert, and focused all day long.

CAPRESE SALAD

On the other hand, snacking out of boredom or for other reasons such as stress, fatigue, sadness and other negative emotions is not a good habit. It can lead to overeating high calorie fatty, sugary, salty foods – and even weight gain.

Before you reach for a snack, stop and ask yourself this question: AM I HUNGRY?

If you are truly hungry, go ahead and choose a nutritious snack. However, if you are snacking for some other reason, you may want to investigate this a little further. It can be very helpful to keep a food journal – even for just a week. This can shed a light on your eating habits – both good and bad.

Once you’ve identified an unhelpful unhealthy habit, come up with a list of strategies to help you modify your behavior. For example, change up your evening routine. Don’t eat in front of the TV; only snack at the table; keep nutritious snacks in the house that are readily accessible.

Click here to grab your FREE copy of nutritious snacks under 200 calories.

Lorraine

PS…
Do you need a personalize meal plan and one-on-one support to help you improve your eating habits, health, and weight? Get in touch today (contact page) and let’s talk about how we can work together.

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Wonder why you haven’t been able to lose weight? Answers here…

If I could choose just one message I wanted you to hear from me – and really connect with – this is it.

Weight loss diets DO NOT work. Not for the long term, anyway.

It’s no secret that the diet industry is vying for your business. You can’t turn on the TV, log on to the internet, or flip through a magazine without seeing weight loss ads. Companies like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Slim Fast, and Lean Cuisine run huge ad campaigns to get in your attention and convince you that you won’t really be happy until you are thinner.

The diet industry message that you are not “good enough, thin enough, or beautiful enough” is working too. As a nation, we spend billions ($60 Billion to be exact!) on diet programs and products every year. Why so much? It’s because the extremely savvy diet industry has us convinced that it’s our fault we are overweight and that THEY are the solution.

Think about this though . . .
If diets really worked, wouldn’t you be thin by now? And wouldn’t the diet industry be out of business?

So why haven’t you been able to lose the weight? Watch this TEDx talk and get the answers.

It’s time to reject the myth that dieting is the solution to permanent weight loss and refocus your attention on embracing a healthy lifestyle and eating to feel well.

Lorraine

PS . . .
I help chronic dieters with busy schedules (just like you) find simple ways to eat better so they can get to their personal best weight and maintain it with ease, really enjoy the food they eat, and never [ever] diet again.

PSS . . .
I would love to help you get off the diet roller coaster and get back to feeling good about yourself. Get in touch today. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Sweet Potato Taco recipe

When you get home after a long day of work (feeling really hungry), the last thing you want to do is begin preparing a complicated meal. Am I right? I’m in the same boat and I hear this from my clients all the time.

I work with many people who want to eat healthy meals and lose weight but don’t have a lot of time to plan, prep, and cook every day. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for healthy eating recipes that are quick and delicious like this easy taco recipe.

Sweet Potato Taco

Check out the quick video below and learn how to get this nutritious meal on the table in just 15 minutes. It’s perfect for Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, or any day of the week.

I’d love you to give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. Click HERE to get in touch.

Lorraine

PS…
Are you looking for a nutritionist to help you make those much need changes to improve your health, energy, or weight? Let’s connect and discuss how we can work together. I would love to help you meet your goals. Email or give me a call @ 732-494-1149.

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Happy Mother’s Day! A special gift just for you…

I want to acknowledge and honor all the women out there who are mothers, grandmothers, pet mothers, and God mothers for all the amazing work you do to nurture your families. It takes a lot of courage, effort, time, and love (of course!) to be a good mother. You are very special.

Thanks to mothers everywhere for all you do to make our world a more loving and kind place.

Enjoy your special day!

Lorraine

PS…
This naturally sweetened treat is just for you on your special day. Click here for recipe and enjoy!

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How to store asparagus (quick video) + best asparagus recipes

We’re in the middle of asparagus season and it’s looking so good at the market. I’m often tempted to buy more than I can eat, but that’s okay since it’s one of the healthiest and most delicious veggies around.

Asparagus

If stored properly, asparagus will keep well in the fridge for up to a week. Watch this quick video to learn how to keep your asparagus fresh until you’re ready to prepare it.

When it’s time to cook your asparagus, you can sauté, blanch, grill, or roast it. Roasting is one of my favorite ways to prepare asparagus because it’s super easy and tastes so delicious topped with grated parmesan. Click here to learn how to roast asparagus.

Roasted Asparagus

For a delicious salad made with steamed asparagus, try this Quinoa Arugula Salad with Butternut Squash. It’s a hearty salad that can serve as a light meal. Use leftovers for lunch the next day or as a side salad with dinner.

Asparagus Salad

I’d love to hear your feedback on the video and recipes. Please get in touch!

Lorraine

PS…
Spring is the perfect time to get back on track with healthy eating and recharge your energy. Re-focus on eating well and get a jumpstart on summer with this 21-DAY REFRESH MEAL PLAN. Click here to learn more and get your FREE trial today!

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Chicken Burrito Bowl Mason Jars. Shake up your lunch routine with these …

Is your lunch getting a little boring? Are you running out of healthy lunch ideas for work?

Shake things up with lunch in a jar.

The idea is really very simple. Start by adding dressing into a jar and then layer various ingredients like greens, grains, beans, chicken, avocado, and veggies. When it’s lunchtime, grab a bowl, empty the jar, and dig in.

Burrito Bowl

Watch this quick video to see how prepare a salad in a jar lunch in just a few minutes.

The perks of lunch in a jar…

  • With just a few minutes of prep work, lunch is set for the entire week. Mason jar salads keep for about four days in the fridge.
  • Transport is easy and convenient. Just grab a jar and go.
  • It’s a simple way to bump up your veggie consumption, control portion sizes, and manage your weight.

How to make a Mason Jar Salad:

  • Bottom layer – Add your dressing first to keep it from touching the delicate greens so they don’t get soggy and limp. Any type will do but homemade is best.
  • Second layer – Use crunchy/firm vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and onions. The more color and variety, the better.
  • Third layer – This is your where you add protein and/or hearty grains. For example, chicken, fish, chopped or sliced hard boiled eggs, beans or lentils, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, farro, or barley. There are so many options to choose from for this layer. Be creative.
  • Next layer – Dark leafy lettuce or other greens such as spinach, baby kale, shredded cabbage.
  • On top – Add a sprinkle of seeds (such as sunflower or pumpkin), nuts (pecans, walnuts, etc.), or shredded cheese.

This Chicken Burrito Bowl in a Jar is one of my favorites. Not only is it easy to assemble, it tastes great and is a much healthier option than fast food or take-out for lunch.

For more Mason Jar Salad recipe ideas, click here.

Lorraine

PS…
Do you need to clean up your diet? Let me make it easy for you. Get a comprehensive meal plan guide that includes Registered Dietitian-approved and chef-tested recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Meal plans are customizable and you can generate grocery lists to take the guesswork out of shopping. Learn more and try it out for FREE.

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Think outside the jelly bean and give a personalized Easter basket

Did you know that Easter is the second biggest candy holiday in the United States?

According to the National Confectioners Association (NCA), over 120 million pounds of Easter candy is purchased each year. This includes 16 billion jelly beans, 90 million chocolate bunnies, and an untold number of marshmallow peeps.

That’s a lot of sugar!

peeps

Moreover, according to research from the NCA, 87% of parents will make Easter baskets for their children this year. It’s also interesting to note that 81% of these parents will then steal candy from their children’s baskets.

So, what are parents usually putting in Easter baskets?

  • 89% say Easter candy and chocolate
  • 79% include non-edible items like crayons, stuffed animals, books, and movie passes
  • 46% add candy with “added benefits” like dark chocolate or chocolate with added fruits and nuts
  • 44% fill the baskets with what they call “heathier snacks” such as granola bars or dried fruit
  • 35% include gums and mints

How do you fill the baskets?

That stash of Easter candy can easily put everyone in the family over their recommended sugar intakes for the day. Remember, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans assert that people should “Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars.”

Perhaps it’s time to think outside the jelly bean.

A full 11% of the families surveyed by the NCA didn’t add any candy to their baskets, so I’m not being unrealistic when I say it can be done. Although candy is part of Easter traditions, consider at least limiting the amount and types of candy you put in the basket. I do like the idea of chocolate with “added benefits” like nuts. Other healthful food ideas include some 100-calorie snack packs, nuts, dried fruits, little boxes of raisins, and trail mix.

There are lots of suggestions online for non-edible items like marking pens, money, stickers, and toys. Here are some great ideas for non-candy items that could also promote physical activity and healthful eating. Think about replacing at least some of those jelly beans or marshmallow peeps with:

  • Noodles for the pool
  • Jump ropes
  • Balls
  • Bubble supplies with big wands
  • Colorful athletic shoes
  • Activity passes for fun things to do in the area
  • Family board games
  • Pool towels and swim goggles
  • Athletic clothes
  • Frisbees
  • A healthful cookbook
  • Cooking equipment for foodie kids
  • A new reusable water bottle

Anything that gets the kids and your family outside and moving or interacting together makes a great stuffer for an Easter basket, and they’ll last longer than candy too!

So, what will you be putting in your baskets this year? Get in touch. I’d love to hear your creative ideas.

Lorraine

PS…
HAVE A BLESSED AND HAPPY EASTER!

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What makes a healthy breakfast?

You probably heard somewhere along the way that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you shouldn’t skip it. As it turns out, breakfast eaters do tend to be healthier and leaner than breakfast skippers, but the reason for this is not clear. It may be because breakfast eaters have other healthy lifestyle habits like eating better in general; and people who skip breakfast tend to smoke more, drink more alcohol, and exercise less. Also, skipping breakfast might lead to a bigger than normal boost in “hunger hormones” such as ghrelin, encouraging overeating at the next meal. For this reason, eating breakfast can be a helpful strategy to achieve appetite control.

I encourage my clients (and you) to have breakfast every day. After eight to 12 hours without nourishment, your body needs to “break the fast”. If you don’t feel like eating as soon as you wake up, it’s okay to wait awhile. If you don’t have a big appetite in the morning, go for something light; just make sure it’s nutritious. Avoid refined carbs, sugar, and fat in foods like pastries, donuts, and bagels smothered with cream cheese and opt for lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats; see examples below.

I love breakfast and eat it every day mostly because I’m hungry in the morning, but not only that. When I skip it, I’m less focused, my energy level is down, and I tend to feel hungry all day long. So for me, breakfast is a no-brainer. Missing my morning meal would be a missed opportunity for me to have a great day.

Here are few good breakfast recipes that I personally eat and love. I hope you’ll give them a try.

  • Overnight Oats. Check out this quick video and learn how to make overnight oats.
  • Avocado Toast. It’s amazing how delicious a few simple ingredients can taste. Click here for the recipe.
avocado toast
  • Ezekiel Bread with Almond Butter and Raspberries. This is one of my favorite combinations. Any whole wheat bread, nut butter, and fruit make a nutritious breakfast.
toast
  • Microwave Egg Burrito. If you like eggs and are looking for a grab-and-go option, this is it. Click here for the recipe.
  • Easy Cheesy Muffin Frittatta. This egg recipe can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to five days or frozen for up to a month.

Do you need more breakfast ideas? How about lunch, dinner, and snacks? If you struggle with getting nutritious meals on the table for yourself and your family, I can help! Click here to learn more about my weekly meal plans featuring 3 healthy delicious meals everyday day plus quick and easy snacks.

Lorraine
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