Strong is the new pretty. (And my little piggy bank is pretty in pink)
Whether it’s spin classes to boost your cardio, yoga to strengthen you abs or working with weights to tone arms and legs….exercise does way more than burn up a bunch of calories. It makes you look and feel good.
But did you know your bones benefit from work outs too? Yup, weight bearing exercises- like taking the stairs or playing a set of tennis-are super important for building bone health.
What you eat and drink can make or break your bone health, too. Bone is built and repaired with a terrific trio of nutrients including the mineral calcium, vitamin D and protein. Dairy foods, including milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese and frozen yogurt are a fabulous package of all three of those needed nutrients.
How much is enough?
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 3 servings of calcium rich foods every day for bone health.
The best sources of calcium are dairy foods, fortified breaks and cereal, canned salmon (with the bones), tofu and dark green leafy vegetables such as collards, kale and spinach. (By the way, you have to eat 10 cups of raw spinach to equal the calcium in cup of milk!)
An eight ounce glass of milk provides one -third of the vitamin D needed daily.
The Sunshine Vitamin (That’s why the pig is wearing sunglasses )
Our bodies can make vitamin D, but we need sun exposure on our skin. About 15 minutes a few times a week is advised.
Fascinating nutrition fact from history: Vitamin D was first added to milk in the 1930’s to help prevent bone weakening rickets in children. Then rickets became history! Go Team Nutrition!
Bone Up on Bone Health
Today we worry about osteoporosis. If bones are starved of good nutrition, they become porous and brittle and that leads to fractures. The disease is called Osteoporosis and according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office an estimated 10 million Americans over the age of 50 suffer from this debilitating disease. But, osteoporosis can be prevented if we ‘bank’ enough nutrients in our bones during childhood, teen years and adulthood.
Delicious Dairy to Build Bone-gevity
Click on the name of the recipe to find what you need to make these delicious nutritious dishes! They’re all from the Southeast Dairy Association’s wonderful website! (Click here for more nutrition tips.) Here I am on the set of NBC Atlanta & Company for Mother’s Day and May as National Osteoporosis Awareness Month.
Hey snap happy Instagrammers! Looks like those food photos you stand on chairs to get just the right angle, add filters to enhance the drool factor and make your friends wait before digging in….are helping you stay healthier!
(Oatmeal cookies with dried berries, banana and peanut butter above, by the way.)
How so? Well, according to University of Washington researchers who studied Insta-food grams, keeping track of what you eat and how much acts as a online food journal.
PeachDish, home meal delivery kit fans, are ALL OVER Instagram sharing the beauty of their latest dish creations. As one of the registered dietitian nutritionists who works with PeachDish, I am happy to report that posting and sharing nutritious and delicious PeachDish meals on Instagram can be a great way to food journal.
I SEE WHAT YOU’RE EATING
And since you are sharing with the world, it’s not a secret note in your private diary. People are paying attention. Did YOU really eat that a whole bunch of donuts, cookies, nacho chips, fries ? Of course, you didn’t.
It was definitely a kale salad with a rhubarb infused vinaigrette.
MORE ON THAT INSTA-STUDY
This new study from University of Washington researchers -presented at the 2017 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems- describes how some people turn to Instagram to track food intake or to be held accountable by followers in meeting healthy eating or weight loss goals.
The online Instagram community uses #fooddiary and #foodjournal hashtags. #goodidea
EVERYBODY’S DOING IT!
“It’s more socially appropriate for people who are trying to track their diets to snap a photo of their plate when they’re out with friends — everyone’s doing it and it doesn’t look weird,” said UW human centered design and engineering doctoral student Christina Chung.
The interviewees ( there were 16 by the way) said support from other Instagram users ( !LIKE!) helped them stick to their healthy eating goals. It also encouraged them to be more honest about what they were eating.
What’s on your Insta-Plate?
Tips for Food Journaling. Writing or Snapping
Be consistent. Try to capture all meals, snacks and beverages. Yes, fries from someone else’s plate do count!
Keep track of quantities. It’s OK to splurge but keep portions sensible. If you crave a glazed donut, have one. Food journaling helps you keep track of how often you ‘splurge’!
On Instagram, review your grid. The last 9 photos are called your ‘quilt’. Do you see a pattern? This is a snap shot to help you assess meal patterns.
Reach out to support others on Instagram who are also using the photo-app to keep a food journal. #foodjournal #fooddiary
Sometimes the best souvenirs are memories of uniquely wonderful dishes that add a delicious dimension to travel experiences.
This veggie packed meatloaf recipe created by Executive Chef Josh Drage of The Ranch at Rock Creek is beautiful when sliced revealing jewel like pieces of carrot and celery.
Take a bite, close your eyes and ‘taste travel’ to the ranch lands of western Montana.
Thank you to Gena Berry of Culinary Works for translating chef’s measurements into home cook lingo.
The Ranch at Rock Creek Montana Meatloaf
1 teaspoon, olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 carrots, peeled, 1/2″ dice
3 stalks celery, 1/2″ dice
1 medium onion, peeled, 1/2″ dice
1 large egg
1/2 cup part skim ricotta
1 shake hot sauce
1 teaspoon, salt
1/2 teaspoon, black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, stemmed and chopped
¼ cup breadcrumbs
1 lb. lean ground beef
In a large sauté’ pan, heat oil and sauté’ shallot until soft and starting to caramelize. Add carrots, celery and onion and cook until just softened. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg with a large fork, stir in the ricotta, hot sauce, salt, pepper and sautéed vegetables to combine. Add the breadcrumbs and ground beef and gently stir until well mixed.
Form the mixture into a slender loaf and bake on a sheet pan.
Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, until a meat thermometer reaches 160°, about an hour.
Let the meat loaves rest a bit, then slice using a serrated knife into once inch thick slices. Serve with roasted new potatoes garnished with fresh thyme.
More on the Ranch at Rock Creek.http://www.ranchatrockcreek.com From trout fishing to taking a spin on the mountain bike parked outside your door, this getaway is the essence of ‘glamping’!
Stay in the main house or tuck away into the tented suites complete with footed bathtubs and a fire pit to warm your feet next to the gurgling creek steps outside.
This western Montana Relais & Chateau property is an outdoor lover’s western adventure and luxe lover’s fresh air pampering all under the same big sky.
It’s time to stretch on the spandex, hit the gym with folks who look like they’ve never been there before ( or in a long time )- bless their hearts.
In fact, YES, bless their hearts because no matter what it take to get back on board with health and fitness enthusiasm- good for you!!!
But, here are my Top 3 New Year’s Diet Traps to avoid:
#3. If I buy the foods on the 2017 Trend List I’ll be so much healthier this year.
No, jack fruit probably won’t change your health. But, it might affect how much change you have in your wallet. Often, these ‘super fruits’ are super expensive.
January is citrus season.
Eat more affordable in season delicious and nutritious oranges, grapefruit and add flavor to cooking with freshly squeezed lemon and lime.
#2. I’m going to cook more at home and avoid eating out.
Well, that depends what you’re cooking.
Restaurant meals can be very healthy and in fact, in May 2017 all restaurant chains ( with 20 or more outlets ) have to provide Nutrition Facts information on menu items so you can see what you’re getting into when you order the deep fried calamari or double fudge brownie cake. Or that the hamburger you really want has fewer calories and fat grams than the entree salad you thought you should order. (:
Back to cooking at home; good idea!
Get everyone in the family to learn to add more vegetable to all meals, even meatloaf! This recipe from The Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana is one of my all time favorites because the meatloaf includes big jewel like pieces of carrots, mushrooms, and leeks.
RECIPE FOR MONTANA MEATLOAF: Scroll down below! OK it’s written by a chef, so measurements are in weights. But the ratios work for smaller batches, too.
Learn to season with no calorie flavors such as salsas, vinegars, mustards, hot sauces, herbs and spices.
The Slim Down South Cookbook: Eating Well and Living Healthy in the Land of Biscuits and Bacon is great place to start building your healthy cooking skills.
(My recipe below for Shrimp and Grits-(see recipe posted below).. is just one of many easy and delicious weeknight meals in The Slim Down South Cookbook.)
Also, jump into a fabulous new healthy food trend- home delivered meal kits such as Peach Dish, based in Atlanta featuring southern grown foods but shipped locally and nationally.I’m working with Peach Dish as one of their registered dietitians to provide nutrition information and healthy cooking tips.
Now drumroll…..my favorite New Year’s Diet Trap to AVOID!!!
#1.This year I vow to NEVER eat ice cream or French fries EVER again!
Hey, good luck with that. Chances are by Super Bowl Sunday you’ll be knee deep in nachos.
So, rather than making huge promises that will be a huge burden to keep, make small, measurable changes. For instance, when I enjoy ice cream after dinner I’ll serve myself two small scoops in a bowl and top with fresh strawberries or blueberries. I honestly love French fries, so I’ll allow myself to enjoy them once a week- especially if they’re really good! Try mustard ( no calories ) with fries, as opposed to ketchup (lots of sugar).
And as always remember that The More You Know, The More You Can Eat!
Happy and Healthy New Year Friends! Carolyn O’Neil, MS RDN ( French fry lover, especially shhhhh dipped into Champagne.)
Shrimp and Grits from Southern Living’s The Slim Down South Cookbook, by Carolyn O’Neil, MS RDN
2. Prepare Creamy Shrimp Sauce: Peel shrimp; devein, if desired. Sprinkle shrimp with pepper and ⅛ tsp. salt. Cook in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink. Remove from skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Add oil; heat 30 seconds. Whisk in flour; cook 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in broth and next 5 ingredients; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened. Stir in shrimp and spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach is slightly wilted. Serve immediately over grits.
Serving size ½ cup grits and about ⅓ cup shrimp sauce CALORIES 235; FAT 6.1g (sat 1.9g, mono 2g, poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 19.1g; CARB 25.2g; FIBER 1.4g; CHOL 119mg; IRON 3.3mg; SODIUM 74
The Ranch at Rock Creek Meatloaf
• 5# ground beef
• 1100g (2.5#) carrot
• 550g (1.25#) celery
• 550g (1.25#) onion
• 300g (10oz) shallot
• 500g (2 cups) ricotta
• 1 ¼ cup bread crumb
• 4 large eggs
• 20g (.75 oz) salt
• 5g (.2oz) black pepper
• 5g (.2oz) fresh thyme
• 5g (3 shakes of) Tabasco
Sauté carrots, celery and onion until just softened.
Sauté the shallots separately and cook until sweet and almost caramelized.
Mix all ingredients in the stand mixer until just combined.
Cook off a test piece and check seasoning.
Split into two or three loaves making them long and slender, the same width all the way down.
Bake on sheets, leaving space between each loaf.
Bake at 325-350 degrees uncovered for 45 minutes.
It’s the holiday season with lots of festive get togethers. Hope you’re ready to put on your sparkle and get those parties!
But as an invited guest you may generously ask the host, “What can I bring?”
If their answer is “Why don’t you just bring a side dish?” I’ve got you covered.
Here are some great tasting crowd pleasing recipes that just so happen to be super easy to prepare. I created a buffet of EASY HOLIDAY SIDES for NBC Atlanta & Company.
And if you shop at ALDI food markets, they’re super affordable too. Have you ever been to and ALDI? No frills, but all fabulous.
ALDI is a great place to buy holiday essentials like fresh seasonal produce and organics, dairy, gluten-free foods, USDA choice beef and bakery items, priced up to 50 percent less than at other traditional grocery stores.
Disclosure: I’m working with ALDI this holiday season to get the word out on their great food products, award winning wines and all you need for holiday bash. Find lots more tips, inspiration and recipe ideas at ALDI Holiday Hub.
First Side Up! Twice Baked Butternut Squash
Cut a butternut squash in half, bake and then scoop out the insides leaving enough skin to create your ‘boat’. Mix mashed butternut squash with honey goat cheese, …well hold on…here’s the recipe from ALDI Holiday Hub website.
Twice-Baked Butternut Squash
SERVINGS: 8 | COST PER SERVING: $1.12† | PREP: 10 MIN | COOK: 1 HOUR, 20 MIN
In a large baking dish, place butternut squash cut side up. Add hot water, cover with foil. Bake until tender, approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven, discard water, allow to cool. Scoop out tender parts of squash leaving skin intact.
In a medium bowl, combine squash, 3 ounces of goat cheese, half & half, melted butter, mixed berries, pumpkin pie spice, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Scoop mixture back into squash skin, top with remaining goat cheese and chopped pecans. Bake until mixture is slightly firm, approximately 10-12 minutes.
Change oven setting to broil.
Broil until cheese is browned, approximately 5-8 minutes.
Recipe courtesy of Chef Morgan, ALDI Test Kitchen
How about these Tomato and Goat Cheese Santas? Stuffed with garlic and herb goat cheese, they are an adorable addition to any holiday party and are pop-in-your-mouth easy to eat and delicious! Top a hollowed out cheery tomato with a grape tomato half as the hat! OK…it’s my secret holiday mission to get folks to eat more fruits and vegetables during the holidays…and all year long!
If you’re going to build and bring a cheese and meat platter to a party don’t forget to add the fresh fruit to add good taste and good fresh seasonal nutrition. The gourmet cheeses including a white cheddar with cranberry and a beautiful brie cheese are from…you guessed it…ALDI.
Pears are in season right now and add a naturally fresh sweet taste to cheese platters. A included Anjou (brown) and Bartlett (green) pears to my platter on Atlanta & Company. Thank you USA Pears!
Oh, and to round things out….how about a little indulgence with teeny tiny bites of cheesecake and wonderful chocolate covered gingerbread cookies, too. The wines, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a Cabernet Sauvignon and Italian Prosecco are wines from ALDI’s award winning and super affordable wine collection.
Ok let’s get to the party!!!! Happy Holidays everyone! And THANK YOU Mallory for your fab food styling skills! You made everything look sooooo great! More plaid please. (:
It’s the holiday season and time for you to sparkle too.
Enjoy yourself and know that weight loss is a rare bird during this season of indulgence. But you don’t have to gain any weight.
In fact, maintaining your weight should be the goal so that you don’t wake up on January 1st with a bigger New Year’s diet resolution than you had anticipated.
SLIM DOWN SOUTH COOKBOOK There’s a reason it’s called SLIM!
I have four tips and they spell out the word SLIM!
S- Savor the fresh flavors of the season (enjoy in season squash, apples, dark greens and citrus)
L- Linger longer ( take your time and be mindful of flavors )
I- Indulge a Little ( choose smart portions of splurge foods)
M- Make it Happen (go walking, say no to sugar sweetened beverages)
Please enjoy this video from NBC Atlanta & Company where I explain it all…plus an easy holiday appetizer. Mozzarella, Prosciutto and Mango.
Every food has its day and November 3rd has been designated ( not sure by whom originally) as National Sandwich Day.
What’s your favorite?
From hero to gyros, sandwiches are easy to eat and even easier to love. History or legends that became history tell us that John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich in jolly old England ‘invented’ what became know as the sandwich in the 1700’s. The story goes that he was an avid gambler and rather than leaving the hot pursuit of winning cards to take a meal, he ordered meat between two slices of bread so he could use one hand to keep the cards going and one hand to fend of hunger.
The most popular sandwich in the US, according to a number of polls, is the …drum roll……. turkey sandwich, followed by ham and chicken. But, sandwich lovers and sandwich crafters know no bounds of creativity.
Here are a few ideas to add style and good nutrition to the great sandwich.
Add blueberries to a grilled cheese sandwich. Why not? the sweet pop of the blueberries warmed on the griddle and matched with a melty gouda or white cheddar is delicious.
We all know the BLT, bacon, lettuce and tomato. But why not make a BLAT and add slices of ripe avocado to the stack. Avocados add a luscious creaminess and healthy fats to the mix.
Pile your sandwich high with salads inside. The Chopped Chicken Sandwich with Crunchy Pecan and Apple Slaw is great way to enjoy veggies and fruit right between the bread. Recipe is from my Slim Down South Cookbook: Eating Well and Living Healthy in the Land of Biscuits and Bacon.
Perhaps the Earl of Sandwich would have been even luckier at the tables with this healthy improvement over simply meat and bread.
Weeknights are often busy nights with after school activities, late hours at the office and let’s face it America….the stress of fighting rush hour traffic just to get home. The dream scene of a home cooked meal made from scratch every night is just that…a dream scene…so why not rely on your freezer as your personal chef a few nights a week?
Whether you’ve batch cooked and frozen entrees on the weekend, when you had a little extra time….or you simply reach in and find a frozen entree prepared by chefs in their professional kitchens…the freezer really is your best friend. I’m happy to be a spokesperson for Stouffer’s where dietitians and chefs work together to come up with recipes that really are the win-win for taste and health. Their meals are freshly made and simply frozen.
Stouffer’s Lasagna with meat and sauce is certainly a family favorite and guess what? One serving contains 18 grams of protein and only 300 calories.
There are no preservatives because the freezer does the preserving!
Oh and now the ingredient label reads like a recipe with vine ripened tomatoes, freshly made pasta and real mozzarella listed on the package. It’s Stouffer’s new “Kitchen Cupboard” commitment to simplify recipes to include ingredients we all can recognize (and immediately start getting hungry!).
OK, you’ve dashed in the door. The lasagna is baking in the oven. Now it’s time to take a deep breath, hug the kids, get them started on their homework and toss a salad. Don’t want another boring salad? Then, I say, don’t make one. I have two recipes for easy to make and easy to love weeknight salads from my Slim Down South Cookbook that help you balance your plate.
I work with the good folks at Stouffer’s on their #balanceyourplate nutrition campaign. Did you know that the majority of American families don’t eat the number of fruits, vegetables and whole grains they should for a balanced diet?
So let’s fix that by fixing a well balanced dinner.
It’s fall y’all! So toss in some of fall’s deliciously crisp apples into a salad. Apples are a good source of vitamin C , potassium and fiber.
Or if you like grapes, cut them in half and toss into a salad with avocado and grapefruit segments. I like to top with crunchy sunflower seeds for even more good nutrition.
Here’s another way to #balanceyourplate. While the Stouffer’s Lasagna with Meat and Cheese is baking and starting to fill the kitchen with ‘I can’t wait for dinner’ aromas…..go back to your freezer and find frozen green peas to make a great sweet pea hummus.
The kids ..and you…can dip carrot chips or whole grain crackers into the pea hummus ( another great source of fiber, potassium and protein) for a healthy snack to tide them over before you serve the lasagna and salad. Recipe: green peas in blender, a little olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper. Whirr, stir and serve. Smile.
So, using your freezer as a personal chef not only helps balance your plate, it helps balance your life because you’ll have more time to talk to the. kids, relax and enjoy those family meals on busy weeknights.
Now, this is the way to celebrate good nutrition and great taste on any night!
RECIPES FROM THE SLIM DOWN SOUTH COOKBOOK by registered dietitian, healthy foodie, Carolyn O’Neil
Farmers’ Market Fall Salad with Sweet and Spicy Dressing
Hit the farmers market or your super market produce section for delicious seasonal vegetables. Can’t decide what to toss in a salad, toss it all in to celebrate your fresh finds.
Makes 8 servings
1 green apple, diced
1 red apple, diced
½ cup thinly sliced green onion
1 cup chopped baby kale
1 cup sliced Napa cabbage
1 cup sliced red cabbage
½ cup golden raisins
Makes 12 servings
Hands-On 5 min.
Total 5 min.
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp. hot sauce
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. celery salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container up to 3 days.
Serving size 1 Tbsp. CALORIES 43; FAT 2.4g (sat 0.2g, mono 1.5g, poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 0.1g; CARB 6.1g; FIBER 0g; CHOL 0mg; IRON 0mg; SODIUM 146mg; CALC 1mg