Category Archives: Nutritional Nuggets of Wisdom

Super Savory High Protein Tex-Mex Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

Happy first day of Fall (it’s official)!  During the Autumn season I make a valiant attempt at stepping up my “cooking game.”  The timing of this blog post is perfect because I have to teach a cooking class on Thursday night.  I’m an active member of the Junior League of Dallas (JLD) and for the past 2 years I’ve volunteered at a transitional living center for young women called Our Friends Place (OFP).  Every Thursday night my JLD team and I attend “group night” at OFP during which we host cooking and life skills classes.  This Thursday is my turn to teach cooking, so I practiced making my dish on Sunday night with my sister.  It turned out GREAT so I wanted to share the recipe with you guys.  Chicken enchiladas are nutritious because they are high in protein and very filling.  To make a lower calorie version, use reduced fat cream cheese and reduced fat shredded cheese.  Hope you like!  Lots of love, Brit

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Ingredients for Brit’s Super Savory Tex-Mex Chicken Enchiladas. I bought everything for under $30

Ingredients

  • 1 whole, cooked rotisserie chicken
  • 1 can of Hatch Fire-Roasted Tomato Enchilada Sauce (Regular)
  • 1 can of Hatch Fire-Roasted Tomato Enchilada Sauce (Tex-Mex style)
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 container of Chipotle flavored Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1 bag of corn or flour tortillas (if you use corn this is a gluten free dish)
  • 1 bag of shredded cheese (Mexican style)

Instructions (5 Simple Steps)

  1. Shred the meat off of the rotisserie chicken and mix in a large bowl with diced onion, 1/4 bag of cheese and 1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes
  2. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese onto the tortilla, fill it will chicken mixture and roll it up
  3. Line pan with the Regular enchilada sauce then lay the enchilada rolls close together
  4. Cover the enchilada rolls with Tex-Mex (thicker) enchilada sauce and remaining shredded cheese
  5. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes

 

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Step 1

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Step 2

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Step 3

Homemade hi-protien Tex-Mex chicken enchiladas

Step 4


Healthy Breakfast Idea: Brit’s Perfect Power Protein Parfait

Recently I tried (and became obsessed) with Ladera Natural Almond Pecan Granola.  Ordinarily I try to stay away from granola because I tend to overeat it and consequently consume way too much sugar.  However, I do enjoy a Greek yogurt parfait occasionally because I can set some healthy boundaries and control the granola portion.  When I tried Ladera granola I was instantly hooked because it tastes amazing – the original almond pecan flavor has a delicious, cinnamon, maple nutty taste.  Better yet, 1 serving  has only 4g of sugar – YAY!  So this morning I whipped up my own “Perfect Power Protein Parfait” for breakfast and of course I have to share the recipe with you guys.  Altogether it’s only 300 calories, loaded with protein and kept me feeling full throughout the morning.  Try it for yourself this week by following these 4 simple steps…

Step 1: Start with a single serving of Greek Yogurt

Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt (100 Calories, 12g Protein, 7g Sugar)

Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt (100 Calories, 12g Protein, 7g Sugar)

Ladera Granola (150 Calories, 4g Protein, 4g Sugar)

Ladera Almond Pecan Granola (150 Calories, 4g Protein, 4g Sugar)

Step 3: Add Berries

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1/2 cup Raw Strawberries and Blueberries (50 Calories, 5g Sugar, 1 g Protein)

Step 4: ENJOY

Brit's Perfect Power Protein Parfait

Brit’s Perfect Power Protein Parfait

 

Here’s to a Hearty Healthy Breakfast!  xoxo, Brit

Soup Up to Slim Down: Delicious High-Protein Spring Soup Recipe

It’s Spring – yippee!  In warmer weather I often feel weird eating soup because it seems like such a “cold weather thing.”  However I’d like to keep up my soup consumption because doing so is great for weight management.  Studies show that people who sip on soup before their meal are more likely eat fewer calories at their meal.   Better yet, soup eaters often skip on dessert because they feel full.

Unfortunately, I can’t get down with most Spring inspired cold soups like gazpacho and chilled veggie puree concoctions – just not my thing.  So I researched some nutritious and delicious, hot “Spring Soup” recipes to share with you guys.  The following Spring Minestrone by Hank Shaw intrigued me because it’s low in fat yet high in protein.  More importantly it sounds light and tasty and seems pretty simple to prepare.  If you don’t spend much time in the kitchen (no judgement here) I highly recommend the soup bar at Whole Foods – particularly the Moroccan Lentil and White Bean Kale.  Try to avoid cream based soups since they are higher in calories and fat.

Hope you like – let me know! xoxo, Brit

Spring Minestrone Soup from Simply Recipes

spring-minestrone

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

You can either make fresh pesto for this recipe, or you can just buy some high-quality pesto in the market.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 green onions
  • 2 green garlic stalks, or 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 pound baby potatoes, or Yukon gold potatoes cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound artichoke hearts (fresh or frozen), chopped roughly
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups greens (dandelion, chard, spinach, kale, arugula, etc), sliced into thin ribbons
  • Up to 1/4 cup pesto
  • Grated parmesan or pecorino cheese for garnish

METHOD

1 Chop the green onions and green garlic and separate the white and light green parts from the green tops. If you are using regular garlic cloves, put them with the white parts of the green onions. Slice the potatoes and artichoke hearts into chunks you would want to eat with a spoon.

2 In a large pot set over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil for 1 minute. Add the white parts of the green onions as well as the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the potatoes, stir to combine and cook 1 minute.

3 Add the diced tomatoes with their liquid and the quart of vegetable or chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, add salt to taste, then cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

4 Add the artichoke hearts and cook another 5 minutes, then add the chickpeas and green peas and cook another 5 minutes. Remove the cover from the soup and add the asparagus. Cook 2 minutes. Add the greens and the green parts from the green onions and green garlic, if using. Stir well to combine and cook 1 minute.

5 Turn off the heat and stir in the pesto. Serve topped with grated cheese.


Nutritional BANG for your BUCK: Tips for healthy grocery shopping on a budget

Nutritional BANG for your BUCK

Guest Post – For more nutrition advice visit www.lknutrition.com

As a self-proclaimed “FalafeLover” (and “many-other-foods-lover”) in Brooklyn, grabbing a yummy meal at one of the Big Apple’s thousands of amazing eateries is pretty par-for-the-course when it comes to socializing & enjoying New York City life.

BUT, eating out’s not always super budget friendly…

(9 bucks for a measly chicken sandwich… Say what??)

In an effort to save some moola, I committed to avoiding (*almost* all) restaurant-dining in March – as part of my blog series, where I challenge myself to add or eliminate a new “habit” each month. My overall goal for this challenge was to food shop and cook more frugally, without sacrificing the nutritional quality of my meals.

One major take-away has been learning how to better navigate the aisles of my local grocery store, and identify the most low-cost/nutrient-dense foods. News flash to the health-and-budget conscious: healthy home-cooking can still be quite expensive (especially in the city), IF you’re not savvy about it….

….But have no fear, Falafelover is here! To let you know that it IS possible to eat well without breaking your bank account.  And now presenting…

FalafeLover’s TOP HEALTHY/CHEAP GROCERY LIST

Grains/Starches

  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Potatoes (white or sweet)

Protein

  • Canned beans (any kind – but my fav is Garbanzo, obviously, being a Falafelover, and all :))
  • Tofu (extra firm for highest protein content)
  • Eggs
  • Canned tuna or sardines (in water)
  • Cottage cheese (plain, low-fat)

Fruit

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Pears

Non-starchy veggies

  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots

Healthier fats

  • Peanut butter (without added sugar/salt)
  • Avocados
  • Raw nuts (unsalted, in bulk – more cost-effective)

Bonus tips for getting most nutritional bang for your buck:

  • Go for the generic brand whenever you have the option– there’s almost always no difference in the quality
  • For canned beans, make sure to rinse out the excess salt
  • Cook a big pot of rice or pasta for the week, and then portion it out and use as a base for different stir-fries, soups, etc.
  • Produce prices ebb and flow big time depending upon what season we’re in. Berries are cheaper in summer, and squash is cheaper in fall/winter, for example. Go for the produce that’s in-season when you can (it’s fresher and yummier, too).
  • Don’t worry about buying organic. It’s not worth it, in my opinion. Just wash your produce well, and you’ll be good to go.
  • Skip the protein/granola/energy bars and make your own healthy snacks, like a DIY trail mix with nuts, seeds, dried fruit and little pieces of chocolate.
  • Invest in a water bottle and enjoy nature’s healthiest and cheapest form of hydration, H20! Skip the vitamin-infused stuff (way over priced for the lack of nutritional value it offers) and the juice (fresh fruit is cheaper – 30 cents for an orange versus 1 or 2 bucks for a bottle of OJ).

Dawn Beats Dusk: Trade your late night snack for a hearty breakfast

dawnbeatsdusk Hey guys!  I hope you are enjoying your weekend and looking forward to a wonderful week ahead.  As you plan for your weekly grind, I just wanted to share a little nutritional nugget of wisdom.  Now, you guys know that I firmly believe getting an early start to the day.  That’s right, 5:30 am wake up call!  There are numerous wellness benefits of being an “early bird” – get up and get that worm!  Not only does waking up early help your productivity, but doing so also entices you to eat breakfast which gets your metabolism going.

When it comes to weight-management, studies show, it’s not just HOW MUCH you eat but WHEN you eat that affects your weight.  Long story short, here’s why you should eat your BIG meals EARLY in the day and skip late night snacking…

  • People who eat after 8pm have higher Body Mass Indexes (BMI) than those who don’t
  • Calories consumed at night are not processed as efficiently as those during the day
  • Sleep disruption is likely if your stomach is working hard to process food
  • You are likely to eat larger portions later in the day than earlier (Weil Cornell Medical Research)
  • At night, you are most likely eating out of boredom, NOT because you are genuinely hungry

That said, you’re probably now asking, “How can I consume calories earlier in the day instead of later?”  Well, search no further.  I put together this list of 5 Tips to Eat Breakfast Like a King and Dinner Like a Beggar.  Check it out 🙂

  1. Consume at least 400 calories for breakfast

  2. Eat protein at breakfast and lunch

  3. Have a hi-fiber snack before and after lunch

  4. Don’t eat after 8:00 pm

  5. Go to bed early!

Show me your GRIT! xoxo, Brit

show me your GRIT

5 Biggest Weight-Loss Lies

5-lies

As a group fitness instructor I see several hard working men and women regularly attend the gym  and still have difficulty losing weight.  They log hours of cardio, eat “low-fat” foods and have loyalty cards to Smoothie King but nothing seems to work.  Personally, I also struggled with weight loss until my personal trainer at the time (Thank you Sam!) gave me some “real talk.”  See, many of the tips and tricks I learned from my mom and friends were flat out wrong.  The reality is that our bodies are really smart and really efficient.  Therefore we have to shock them in order to get the results we want.  We also have to respect the principles of Biology – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories that you consume.”  So with these nuggets of wisdom in mind, I also wanted to share the 5 biggest weight loss lies that led me astray for several years…

  1. Must Do More Cardio – Okay, it’s true that minute for minute, cardio burns more calories than weight training.  However, if your usual 30-45 minutes on the elliptical or recumbent bike isn’t doing the trick, it’s because you’re heart rate is getting elevated enough.  In order to burn a lot of calories, you have work really hard.  Yea, like sucking air at times.  You heart rate need to reach the anaerobic zone (60-85% of your max heart rate).  This is why interval training is so effective.  In interval training, you sprint for 20-30 seconds then take a quick rest and repeat.  In fact, you can burn twice as man calories in 10 minutes of interval training as compared to 10 minutes of regular, steady pace cardio activity.  The truth is that harder, smarter cardio is the key to weight loss, not more cardio.
  2. Skip Meals to Drop Pounds – Skipping meals keeps you from losing weight in 2 key ways:  First, doing so makes you binge eat later in the day because you’re starving.  Binge eating stretches out your stomach and allows you to consume far too many calories.  Also, eating large meals late in the day leaves minimal opportunity for you to burn off the calories (because you are going to sleep soon and the food just sits in your tummy).  Second, starving yourself slows down your metabolism which makes it harder for you to burn calories and harder for you to lose weight.  Long story short, don’t skip meals.  Eat 5 small meals throughout the day that are high in lean protein and fiber.  It actually takes true grit to plan 5 healthy meals than to skip breakfast and lunch and indulge in one giant dinner.
  3. Focus on Fat Reduction – This may come as a shock,  but the truth is “Fat (in moderation) is GOOD, Sugar is BAD.”  We need fat for bodily functions.  “Fats help you absorb vitamins A, D, and E, and they are vital for your nervous system.” – Barbara Roberts, MD, director of the Women’s Cardiac Center at the Miriam Hospital in Providence. The key is to eat unsaturated fats like olive oil and olives, canola oil, almonds, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter, sesame seeds and avocados.  “Several studies have shown that eating small amounts of nuts helps dieters lose weight because the fiber and protein help dieters feel full longer. Dieters are less like to overeat and more successful at losing weight.” – WebMD 2013  Sugar on the other hand is the devil when it comes to weight loss.  Sugar absorbs quickly, provides minimal nutritional value, makes you hungry and then turns into bad fat if you don’t immediately burn it off.   When making a food decisions, always take unsaturated fats over sugar if weight loss is your goal.
  4. Smoothies Make You Skinny – The truth is that most smoothies are loaded with sugar and too much sugar makes you fat.  Now, smoothies are good for meal replacements every once in a while as long as they are made with raw fruits and veggies (not fruit juice) and if they include protein.  Be sure to ask for a scoop of whey protein in your smoothie so that you will feel fuller and help offset the sugar spike.  Be careful about having smoothies for snacks as you can easily pack on an extra 300-400 calories without even realizing it.
  5. My Genetics Make me Overweight – “While genes strongly decide the shape of your body, peoples’ lifestyle (primarily eating too much and moving too little) is by far the main reason they’re [overweight]. Research has shown that our eating and exercise habits are heavily influenced by the people we spend time with the most, which is likely the main reason we see obesity running in families. Genes have an influence, but it’s relatively minor for the vast majority of humans.”  – Melinda Johnson, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  The moral of the story is, “Get rid of the genetics excuse and get you some fit friends.” – Brit  For realz.

May the weight-loss TRUTH set you free.  xoxo, Brit

Why Dieting Doesn’t Work (and Why Intuitive Eating Does)

Most Diets DON’T Work

Before reading on, please check out this *fantastic* short video by neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt:

This post is a supplement to Dr. Aamodt’s message about the futility of dieting, from a dietitian’s perspective. I am going to take it one step further by discussing the 10 basic principles of intuitive eating, so that you can start implementing them in your own life!

*These principles have been adapted from the book Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD.

1. Reject the Diet Mentality. Hopefully the TED talk already convinced you why you should.

2. Honor Your Hunger. So often we berate ourselves for failing to “control” our hunger, when the reality is: hunger is not something that needs to be controlled. Hunger is like a signal; it’s our body’s way of communicating our nutritional needs to our brain. To best honor your hunger, consistently keep your body nourished by eating every 3-5 hours (a normal amount of time to start feeling hunger again between eating episodes). Suppressing your hunger cues or ignoring them only predisposes you to overeat later on.

3. Make Peace with Food. Contrary to popular belief, every food offers some type of nutritional values (yes, even cupcakes – carbohydrates are a much needed energy source!). It is essential to accept this fact before we can make peace with food. This is not an endorsement for eating an unbalanced diet, and of course, anything in excess will generally leave your body feeling not-so-great afterwards. But if you recognize that (what you may currently be labeling as) a “bad” or “forbidden” food can fit in to a healthy diet, then you won’t have to feel guilty or “out of control” when you have it.

4. Challenge the Food Police. The Food Police represent any rules you might have internalized about healthy eating or weight control. For example:

  • “I am only allowed to eat [insert random # of calories here], or
  • “I will get fat if I eat past [insert random time here],” or
  • “I should have a salad for lunch even though I’m really in the mood for [insert higher-calorie entrée here] right now.”

These are EXTERNAL and ARBITRARY rules that have nothing to do with what your body is asking for. Start noticing how your personal food police have been holding you hostage from a balanced approach to eating, and see if you can challenge them! Don’t worry, the only ticket you’ll get for doing this is a ticket to a healthier relationship with food :-).

5. Respect Your Fullness. This is probably one of the hardest skills to master, because fullness is not always a clear-cut sensation. The goal is to get to a place where you are comfortably full. That is, somewhere between “I definitely still need more” and “Woah, I’ve had enough.” Mindfulness is key here. You can do this by paying attention to the physical sensations in your stomach, how the food tastes and feels in your mouth, and your overall feeling of nourishment.

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor. We might be physically very full but completely unsatisfied. Or, we might be just at the border of physically full, but highly satisfied. The point: deciding when to stop eating at a meal is not solely determined by physical fullness. Typically, when a meal is very satisfying, we need less food to honor our fullness. So, how do we make my meals more satisfying? By preparing or choosing food that is compatible with our tastes preferences, appealing visually, and set at an ideal temperature. Also, we can enhance satisfaction by making it a point to eat in (or create) a pleasurable ambience, and when possible, dining with a person (or people) whose company you enjoy.

7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food. So often, we use food to soothe, express, cope or repress feelings. While this is normal and somewhat inevitable from time to time, it’s no surprise that consistently using food to fill emotional needs can take a toll on health, and can also lead to feeling worse in the long run. Your best bet is to find more effective, non-food related ways of dealing with your feelings. If you find that you have trouble doing this on your own, there is no shame in reaching out for additional help from a trained professional.

8. Respect Your Body. Everyone is born with a naturally different body shape and size. As Dr. Aamodt points out, these traits are governed by genetics and your pre-determined set-range (aka your body weight thermostat). Very unfortunately, we live in a society that glorifies certain body types and imposes unrealistic expectations of beauty. Acknowledging this sad truth, while simultaneously accepting, respecting and appreciating your body, is a crucial element of intuitive eating. It’s nearly impossible to honor your body’s hunger and fullness cues if your mind is pre-occupied with fitting into some “ideal” size.

9. Exercise. But first, be honest with yourself about your motivation for exercising. Just like food, everyone’s tastes are different. Try to focus on the internal experience (i.e., how certain types of movement make you feel in your body, which types you genuinely enjoy, how they impact your energy levels, etc). Do something that appeals to you! Sign up for an Irish Jig class. Take a walk with your head phones and a playlist. Go for a long, sweaty run. Kick butt in a Turbo Kickboxing class (better yet, one of Brit’s!).  Zen out in yoga. Join an organized sports team. Or, come up with your own creative form of movement! The options are endless.

10. Honor Your Health. Consistently eating a balanced diet that contains a mixture of *mostly* whole grains, lean protein, whole fruits and veggies, and essential fats. Again, it’s your consistent intake that counts. Healthy eating and a healthy relationship with food are inherently fluid, flexible, and imperfect!

If you have questions about any of these principles, or how to apply them to you, feel free to comment below or email Lindsay directly through the contact page of her website, Lknutrition.com.

For more posts by FalafeLover, follow her new personal blog, Falafelover in Brooklyn.