Monthly Archives: November 2014

Step Up the Flavor of Fall Foods

Fall Healthy Eating

This time of year, there is an abundance of fall foods to enjoy that are as healthy as they are delicious. They even fall into fall colors – reds, oranges, golds and deep greens. As temperatures drop and we start to crave heartier foods, remember that fall and winter foods can be both hearty and healthy. When looking to step up the taste and nutrition of your fall and winter meals, go for color. Brighten your plate with colorful food options as these are often the foods with the most nutrients and vitamins.

Here’s a look at a variety of colored foods to enjoy this time of year and their benefits.

Reds Foods

Smart Options: pomegranate seeds, cranberries, tomato sauces, beets, red beans and lentils

These foods contain heart-healthy flavonoids, which are anti-oxidants and reduce inflammation, fighting heart disease and keeping artery walls healthy. They also contain vitamins A and C, which boost the immune system and promote healing and are good for eyes, skin, and hair.

Orange and Golden Foods

Smart Options: oranges, butternut squash, acorn squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, golden raisins

These foods contain vitamin C needed for good eye health, wound healing, strong bones and a stronger immune system.

Greens

Smart Options: broccoli, Brussel sprouts, green bell peppers, coleslaw and cabbage

These foods are rich in minerals, phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and vitamins, including vitamins A, B’s and C. These are important nutrients for overall health and well-being as well as disease prevention.

Spices of the season

Smart Options: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, and cumin

These spices all have powerful anti-oxidant properties and fight inflammation in joints and arteries. Cinnamon also helps manage blood sugar levels. Add these enticing flavors to cooked apples, teas, beef sauces, poultry, salmon, sweet potatoes, and foods suggested below.

So get creative! Enjoy these foods and flavors in new inspiring ways. Some suggestions:

  • Pomegranate seeds sprinkled on salads and yogurt
  • Dried cranberries in oatmeal and salads
  • Roasted or pickled beets as snacks or in salads or as sides
  • Tomato sauces in stews or spaghetti or chili or soups
  • Red beans with rice or in chili, lentil soup or cold lentil salad
  • Butternut squash soup, mashed butternut squash or roasted butternut strips or rings
  • Baked, mashed or roasted sweet potatoes – a great option for both breakfast or a snack
  • Stuffed bell peppers or cabbage rolls
  • Coleslaw with diced apples, cranberries and walnuts
  • Cinnamon added to oatmeal, yogurt, stews, roasts, spaghetti sauce, butternut or acorn squash
  • Ginger added to stir-fries, broccoli, butternut squash, cranberry sauce, apples, salmon, chicken
  • Cumin added to stews, meat sauces, chili and beans

To inspire your fall and winter cooking, here are a few recipes to get you started.

Fall Recipes

Butternut Squash Soup by Georgia Kostas, MPH, RD, LD

Ingredients

Yields 6 servings

1 large butternut squash

½ large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 carrots, sliced

1 pear or apple, peeled and sliced (1 cup)

1-2 teaspoons olive oil

4 cups (2- 15oz cans) chicken broth

½ cup orange juice

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ tsp cumin

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon all-spice

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground red pepper

2 Tablespoons sherry or white wine

½ bunch cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Scrub butternut squash. With fork, poke several “vents” for steam to escape when cooking. Place in microwave, on paper towels. Cook on High for 10 minutes. Remove. Let sit 5 minutes, wrapped in a kitchen towel. Scoop out the flesh to add to the soup pot.
  2. While squash is cooking: sauté onion, garlic, carrots, pear in oil in a large soup pot for about 5 minutes, till softened.
  3. To soup pot, add broth and juice; heat to boil. Then add scooped butternut squash, wine, seasonings.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add cilantro. Blenderize to create a smooth creamy texture.

Stove-top Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Walnuts

Ingredients

1 lb Brussels sprouts, washed, outer leaves trimmed, cut in half

1 Tbsp olive oil

1-2 cups chicken broth

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup walnuts, sliced

2 tsp sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add and stir Brussels sprouts in oil 5 min; add broth a little at a time, as needed, to prevent sticking; cook till sprouts are tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add remaining three ingredients, stir, and cook 5 minutes more.

For more ideas on how to feel satisfied and not overeat, as well as how to enjoya healthy diet and succeed with weight loss, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

Falling for Apples

Apples

Fresh and cooked apples, apple butter and apple pie are favorites this time of year. The good news: apples are as healthy for you as they are delicious.

An apple a day does keep the doctor away. In fact, this everyday fruit is packed full of key nutrients, including fiber, potassium, folic acid, Vitamin C, flavonoids and disease-fighting antioxidants. Research shows that the phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like cancer1, hypertension2, diabetes3 and heart disease4. An apple peel ingredient slows down cancer cell growth while quercetin reduces blood pressure, increases blood flow and reduces inflammation and heart disease. As an added bonus, the quercetin in apples also has antihistamine properties that may help reduce allergy symptoms4. The slow-digesting pectin fiber in apples also helps with blood sugar control and the high boron content supports strong bones and a healthy brain5.

Apples are also a good source of vitamin C. In a medium-size apple you will find about 10 percent of the daily-recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital to our health. It helps repair collagen and tissue, maintains bone health and provides antioxidants to lower your risk of acquiring chronic diseases.

 With less than 100 calories and 4 grams of fiber in a medium-size apple, apples make a low-calorie, healthy, crunchy and portable snack. Apples can be incorporated into many recipes and used as a healthy baking substitute, too. This fall, here are some delicious ways to enjoy apples and eat an apple a day:

  • Add sliced apples to your oatmeal at breakfast time.
  • Use chopped apples to add color and crunch to salads, coleslaw, and tuna salad.
  • When baking desserts or holiday treats, swap in applesauce as a healthier baking alternative to oils, butter and eggs. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter or oil, swap in 1/2 cup of applesauce. For eggs, swap in 1/4 cup of applesauce per egg.
  • Enjoy honey-crisp apple slices topped with peanut butter.
  • Try replacing jam or jelly on a peanut butter sandwich with apple slices dipped in orange or lemon juice to prevent browning.
  • Pair cheese with apples for a healthy snack.
  • Cook apples in a little sugar or stevia and cinnamon for a sweet treat, side dish or oatmeal topping.
  • Use apple butter in place of jam on toast as it contains no butter, just cooked apples that soften and thicken like butter.
  • Zap an apple in the microwave with cinnamon and stevia in the cored out center, as a sweet dessert.
  • Have applesauce as a snack.
  • Add apple chunks to stews, roasts, chicken or turkey dishes, spaghetti or tomato sauces, to add flavor and a natural sweetener.
  • Puree a cooked apple and add to a soup to thicken it (e.g. butternut squash soup).

You can even let apples help you with weight control. To avoid overeating, try eating an apple before a large meal. It is filling, curbs your appetite and satisfies a sweet tooth. Crunching and chewing an apple even reduces your day’s stress level.

Enjoy an apple today, sweet or tart, and add to your health!

For more ideas on how to feel satisfied and not overeat, as well as how to enjoy a healthy diet and succeed with weight loss, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

 1 Nutrition and Cancer. http://bit.ly/1uXsRr6

2 The Journal of Nutrition. http://bit.ly/1uUGAya

3 British Medical Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5001

4 British Medical Journal. http://bit.ly/1gFBONG

5 Journal of Investigational Allergology. http://1.usa.gov/1swOyaO

6 Environmental Health Perspectives. http://1.usa.gov/1tzLbPF