Crunchy, Crispy, Kale

Recently, everyone’s been talking about kale! It’s being discussed in every Healthy Living segment on daytime TV talk shows, it’s in health magazines, it’s in every nutrition blog (!), and it’s even making an appearance in vending machines as a chip! So, what’s so great about this leafy green that has everyone talking?

Kale, like broccoli and collard greens, is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. Like its family members, it demonstrates many of the same health benefits. Kale is full of powerful antioxidants and is a great source of calcium.

The USDAs Nutrient Database for Standard Reference  reports that 1 cup of kale has:

  • 34 calories
  • 90 mg of calcium (9% DV)
  • 80 mg of vitamin C (8% DV)
  • 515 mcg of vitamin A (205% DV)
  • 574 mcg of vitamin K (717% DV)
  • 299 mg of potassium (9% DV)

Kale is a great source of vitamins and minerals, and surprisingly, a source of omega 3 fatty acids too. Omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to:

  • reduce depression symptoms
  • protect against memory loss and dementia
  • reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer
  • support a healthy pregnancy, and
  • ease aching joints and inflammatory skin condition.

Perhaps the largest deterrent when it comes to eating kale is that most people don’t know how to prepare it. Below are two recipes for two unique and delicious ways to prepare kale.

Kale Chips (from here)

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt

Directions:

1)      Preheat oven to 350oF. Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2)      With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.

3)      Lay kale flat on cookie sheet. Bake until the edges brown, but aren’t burnt, about 10-15 minutes.

Get creative! Use your favorite seasonings to make these chips your own. Try garlic salt, lemon and black pepper, or even just plain sea salt and cracked pepper.

Nutritional Information per Serving (per 1/6 of the recipe):

*Calories: 58                                      *Total Fat: 2.8g                        *Cholesterol: 0mg

Kale with Pan-Fried Walnuts (Edited from here)

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of kale, stems and center ribs discarded
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Directions:

1)      Tear kale into large pieces, then cook in a large pot of boiling water, uncovered. Cook for about 6 minutes, or until tender.

2)      Drain kale, and when cool, press out excess liquid.

3)      In a pan, cook walnuts over medium heat in oil, stirring occaisonaly, until golden; about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

4)      Add kale and salt a pepper to taste. Cook, tossing, until heated through.

5)      Serve kale warm.

Do you have a favorite recipe with kale? Share it with us below!

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Wednesday’s Food for Thought: There’s An App For That!

It’s hard to remember what you eat every day. Most people can remember the main meals but forget about all the little snacks and treats they have had throughout the day. It’s those little nibbles and extra calories that make reaching your goal weight a challenge.

Studies have shown that people who keep food diaries lose up to two times as much weight compared to those who don’t. To keep track of everything you eat, write it down! If you don’t want to use the old-fashioned pen-and-paper, try one of these online sites. SparkPeople, FatSecret, and MyFitnessPal are free and easy to use. You can even get them on your smart phone as an app so you can track what, and how much, you are eating every day. Once you can see how much you are eating, you will be able to trim away the excess calories and have better success reaching your goal.

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Snacking on Treats

Treats and snacks are the same thing, right? A bag of chips, a cookie, or chocolate cake are all snacks, right? Actually, there’s a BIG difference between snacks and treats. The foods mentioned above are all treats.

A treat is something you can have once and a while, as a treat. They’re usually high in calories and fat, and won’t keep you feeling full. Treats are most often found in vending machines, at checkout stands, and at most coffee shops.

A snack is a healthy food choice that you can have throughout the day whenever you feel hungry.  Snacks are part of a balanced diet. Think of them as mini-meals. And since they’re mini-meals, keep portion size mini!

Steps to Healthy Snacking

  • Limit your snacks to no more than three a day. 200 calories or less per snack is ideal.
  • Keep a variety of healthy, ready-to-eat snacks at hand.
  • Watch your portion size. Buy small packages of food, or portion small amounts from larger packages. Don’t snack directly from a large container, bag, or box. Take the appropriate amount from the container and then place the container back in the cupboard, out of sight.
  • Drink water often. Water quenches your thirst, has no calories, and helps you feel full.
  • Recognize your hunger. Don’t misinterpret boredom or stress as cues to snack.
  • Avoid snacking while watching TV, working or playing on the computer, reading, or driving. You’ll usually end up eating way more than necessary.

Some simple and delicious snack ideas:

Under 100 calories:

  • 1 medium fresh fruit
  • ½ cup low-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup cut up veggies with 2 Tbsp hummus (a great source of fiber)
  • 2 cups popcorn (with minimal or no butter)
  • 1 low-fat string cheese
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted nuts eg. peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews

 Under 200 calories:

    • 1 cup celery or apple slices with 1 Tbsp peanut butter
    • 1 small bran muffin
    • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
    • 1 cup fresh fruit low-fat yogurt parfait. Layer vanilla yogurt with fresh or frozen berries. Sprinkle with granola.

    If you want a treat, pair it with something healthy. This will help keep you feeling full longer, and it’s a more nutritious option. Try your favorite chocolate chip cookie with a glass of low fat milk. Or if you want ice cream, top it with slices of fresh fruit. If you’re having a bag of chips, keep portion size in mind. Have either water, low-fat milk, or 100% natural fruit juice with it instead of soda.

Do you have a favorite snack that’s not listed above? Let us know what it is!

Happy snacking!

*Snack tips are from here*

Percent Daily Values

The Nutrition Facts Label packs a lot of information into a small table. This post will focus on the %DV. For a more thorough overview of the Nutrition Facts label, click here.

The %DV is an abbreviation for Percent of Daily Value. For almost all nutrients, there’s a %DV. It’s based on a 2,000 calories per day intake. While you may not know how many calories you consume in a day, you can still use the %DV as a frame of reference.

 

 

Generally,

  • A sedentary female (19-30 years) needs 1,800-2,000 calories/day
  • An active female (19-30 years) needs about 2,400 calories/day
  • A sedentary male (19-30 years) needs 2,400-2,600 calories/day
  • An active male (19-30 years) needs about 3,000 calories/day

Quick % Daily Value Guide

5%DV or less is low                          20%DV or more is high

Ideally, choose products that are low (5%DV or less) in:

  • Total fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Trans fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium

Choose products that are high (20%DV or more) in:

  • Dietary fiber
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron

Some nutrients, like trans fat and sugars, don’t have a %DV. Limit these nutrients by comparing labels of similar products and choosing the item with the lowest amount.

How the %DV helps you

It makes comparing two similar products simple. Make sure the serving sizes are similar, especially the weight (grams, milligrams, ounces) for each product. Once that’s done, you can compare the two products and choose the one that contains the largest amount of desirable nutrients and the least amount of the undesirable nutrients.

It makes it easy to watch what you’ve eaten throughout the day. If you have something with a high %DV of fat at breakfast, you can make an educated choice and choose a food with a lower %DV of fat at lunch.

Sweet Tip          

If you’re concerned about your intake of sugars, make sure that added sugars are not listed as one of the first few ingredients. Ingredients are listed in order of their weight.

Other names for added sugars include: corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, glucose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, honey, and maple syrup.

Omega 3 Fats—The What, Where, and How Much

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are they? They are…

  • Hard to pronounce!
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). (These are the main Omega 3 fats).
  • Beneficial to human health (especially EPA and DHA) as they can help with:

Reducing depression symptoms

Protecting against memory loss and dementia

Reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer

Supporting a healthy pregnancy

Easing aching joints and inflammatory skin conditions

Where can they be found?

  • EPA and DHA are found in cold-water fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, herring,  mackerel, swordfish, bluefish, cod, and fish oil supplements.
  • ALA is found in plant products like flaxseed, walnuts, and canola oil.

How much omega 3 fat should I have?

The American Heart Association recommends that a healthy adult should aim to consume between 1-3 grams of omega 3 fats every day.

Eg. A four ounce portion of salmon provides 1.7g of omega 3 fats.

A four ounce portion of mackerel provides 2.2g of omega 3 fats

A one ounce serving of walnuts provides 2.6 g of omega 3 fats

A 1 tablespoon serving of flax seed oil provides 6.9 g of omega 3 fats

Click here for a more detailed list.

How many of these foods do you eat?

Silk vs Milk

 

 

We all know that drinking milk will help build strong bones, but what about all those milk alternatives in the marketplace? How do they compare to milk? There’s soy, almond, rice, even potato milk, and who knows what they’ll think of next!

Consuming dairy products is part of a healthy eating plan.  If you don’t drink milk because you don’t like the taste or are sensitive to lactose, milk alternatives are a great way to meet the USDA’s recommendation of 3 cups of dairy products a day. There are a variety of flavors and they can be used as a beverage, on cereals, and for cooking and baking.

Soy milk and almond milk are the two most common types of milk alternative beverages on the market. They offer comparable amounts of calcium to milk, but differ in many aspects including taste and types and quantities of nutrients. Soy milk has a similar amount of protein to skim milk, whereas almond milk has almost no protein. This makes soy milk a better choice for individuals who have difficulty obtaining adequate amounts of protein.

 

Per 1 cup

 

Silk Soy Milk—Plain

Silk Almond Milk—Plain/Original

 

Skim Milk

Calories

90

60

86

Total fat

3.5g

2.5g

0

Sodium

120mg

150mg

128mg

Fiber

1g

1g

0

Protein

6g

1g

8g

Vit A

10%

10%

23%

Calcium

45%

45%

50%

Iron

6%

4%

1%

Vit B12

50%

50%

16%

 

Advantages of soy milk

  • High in protein and iron (relative to almond milk) which makes it a great choice for vegetarians and other individuals who may have trouble getting adequate amounts of these two nutrients
  • A good source of calcium for people with a dairy sensitivity
  • High in vitamin B12, a nutrient hard to come by if you don’t eat meat
  • A variety of flavors and low-fat options available

 

 

 

Advantages of almond milk

  • High in iron (relative to skim milk)
  • Low in calories (even when compared to skim milk)
  • A good source of calcium for people with a dairy allergy
  • High in vitamin B12, a nutrient hard to come by if you don’t eat meat
  • A variety of flavors and low-fat options available

 

Regardless of the kind of milk you drink, make sure it’s fortified with vitamins A and D. If it’s a milk alternative check the Nutrition Facts Label to see that it’s full of calcium.

 

 

Do you have a favorite flavor or type of milk?