Think outside the {Nature} Box

This is not really a product review. So let’s call it a “product awareness”.

You have probably heard of “Wine of the Month” club or “Cheese of the Month” club or, my favorite, JustFab.com (monthly shoes for $39.95). Well, NatureBox is the health freak cousin of all those clubs.

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NatureBox is a company that wants YOU to make healthier changes to your life. According to their website, the average American eats almost 25% of their calories from snacking! Snacks are one of the first places you should look when you are trying to cut back or lose a few pounds. Snacking is the number one cause of childhood obesity, which puts a child at great risk for becoming obese as an adult.

So, I know you are asking, “Danae, this is awesome. But it is probably really expensive.” Actually…..

For $19.95 per month (w/ FREE shipping), NatureBox will send you a box of 5 of their healthy snack items (15-20 total servings per box, about 5-6 servings per bag). If I wasn’t as broke as  I am, I would definitely join this club! You can also set up a NatureBox delivery schedule for a loved one as a gift!

BUT THAT’S NOT THE BEST PART!

Each box will even contain snack items relative to whatever month you receive the box in. For example, in February, they will send you snack items that will indulge you, with out you indulging in that box of chocolate from Valentine’s Day candy. Or in October, since it starts to get chilly then, NatureBox will send items that will boost your immunity and keep you energized. This really is a cool concept!!

BUT THAT’S NOT THE BEST PART!

NatureBox boasts that their snacks contain (or more don’t contain):

  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • No hydrogenated oils
  • No trans fats
  • No artificial flavors and colorings
  • No artificial sweeteners

Plus, every item in your NatureBox has been nutritionist approved, so you know you aren’t getting a mislabeled product.

BUT THAT’S NOT THE BEST PART!

For every NatureBox that is delivered to any doorstep, NatureBox, in partnership with Feeding America will donate one box to help feed a hungry child. About 14 million children in America go hungry every year. Not only are you helping yourself by choose better quality snacks, but you are helping other Americans eat.

So, don’t waste your calories on empty calories, like soda and Ho-Hos. *In cheesy infomercial voice* Order your NatureBox today!! *Thumbs up, Big smile*

XOXO, Danae

BUT THAT’S NOT THE BEST PART!

Countdown to Graduation: 9 days! (SINGLE DIGITS)

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Life’s a Picnic

So, currently I am in my second and final management rotation. The BIG project that normally gets completed during your second management rotation is your theme day. This is when you combine all your skills you have developed and you plan, execute and evaluate a themed meal. I planned my theme day in about a weeks time. It was a lot to get done, but I would rather than then wait to the last minute. April 24th was the day!

My theme day was Springtime Picnic themed, so I decided to have BBQ Chicken, Garlic Bread, Pasta Salad and Apple Cobbler as my menu. Here is all I had to do:

  • Develop and standardize recipes (I had to make about 120 servings).
  • Determine ingredients I needed to purchase.
  • Ordered my food items from my food distributor.
  • Develop a production schedule (What needs to happen when).
  • Determine cost per meal and selling price for the meal.
  • Receive the food from the delivery truck.
  • Prepare the food.
  • Decorate the cafeteria.
  • Develop an meal evaluation tool.
  • Advertise the meal.
  • Serve the meal.
  • Make sure everything runs smoothly on the day of and make sure we don’t run out of food.

Overall it went very very well. It was a long day to say the least (I got there at 6 am!) I am so lucky that I have a great and helpful staff. The cafeteria cook helped me with my chicken.

All my chicken!

All my chicken!

The day before my theme day, I made my pasta salad, so all I needed to do with that was scoop it into little cups for service. The cobblers were really easy to put together, as was the garlic bread. My goal for this theme day was to put together a great meal, but also make it relatively easy and simple. I didn’t want anything super high stress or technical. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

The day went smoothly except for one little hiccup…

My 2nd Degree Burn

My 2nd Degree Burn

I almost dropped a large sheet pan with two cobbler on it. Instead of letting the pan drop, I jerked the pan towards me and it slid onto the underside of my wrist. It hurt, but at least my cobblers weren’t ruined. The executive chef at the hospital assisted me in pouring some salt on my wrist. This helps draw out the moisture to prevent a blister from forming. I slide a glove over it to protect myself, but I ended up working the rest of the morning with only one arm. You do what you got to do though!

The cafeteria was very very busy during lunchtime, which is unusual for Glenwood. There is usually a steady stream of people, but there was an extra amount of people that day. It was awesome!

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After the day was over, lots of the cafeteria workers told me my theme day was one of the most well planned and smoothest theme days that had seen. I thought that was a huge compliment. They also loved my decorations!!

Overall, I thought it was a successful day, and now I get to spend my last two weeks writing up my evaluations about my theme day and doing whatever my preceptor needs. It’s all downhill from here!

XOXO, Danae

20 Days Until Graduation!

Healthy Eaters of Louisiana Unite!

Well, Louisiana might not be full of healthy eaters, but I would like to think the dietitians that attended the annual Louisiana Dietetic Association meeting are. This past Tuesday and Wednesday, I was in Lafayette for the LDA Conference “Responding to the Challenge“.

The Monday before the conference, Gwen, Nate and I drove to Alexandria and stayed with Derrick. We had great bonding time as we drove an hour and a half back and forth. During the conference, I really enjoyed meeting new people, hanging out with my fellow interns and seeing some old faces, like fellow student dietitians from Diabetes Camp. Since the conference was in Lafayette, the dietetic interns from University of Louisiana @ Lafayette were there, so it was fun to see how they have been since July.

On the first day, there were two seminars that I really enjoyed. The first one was Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD, a dietitian that talked about sustainability. The presenter talked about the impact that environmental concerns and food sourcing trends have on how the public purchase foods and what foods they purchase, especially with fresh produce and meat products, like beef and chicken. She told us the truth about claims and benefits of local organic foods versus modern and conventional foods and how they are each different in the way nutrition gets to the consumers and the sustainability of each. She also gave a comparison about foods from the local, regional and national realm and their impact on the economy and nutrient composition. She made sustainability sounds interesting, and she was a very good speaker.

In-between some of the talks, we made two trips to Starbucks within probably 3 hours. haha We needed some caffeine.

The second lady that I liked was Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD, a dietitian in the New Orleans area. She is a part of this awesome project where she has gone to local restaurants in NOLA and gotten their executive chefs to give her recipes of their dishes  where she then does the nutritional analysis of them. Then they work together to develop either healthier options of the of the dishes, or even develop a whole new “Eat Fit” menu listing. I think this would be a cool thing to bring to Chicago. I believe that while Chicago people love their deep dish pizza and steak, they are also fairly active and enjoy eating healthy. Many restaurants I think would want to be a part of something like this. We learned about the criteria she uses to designate healthy menu items and gave us some strategies are working with local restaurant owners. This is something I could see myself doing. Nutrition AND eating out — sounds like a dream job!

After the conclusion of the first day, the four of us went to this Mexican restaurant called El Pasado. The food was good, except at the time we ate dinner, there was very little patrons in the restaurant, yet our service was somewhat slow.

On the second day, there was really only one speaker I enjoyed. She was a dietitian, Heidi Greenwaldt, MS, RD, LD, CNSC, that worked at a large hospital in Minnesota that has their dietitians placing tubes for tube feedings. In most hospitals, the nurses are the ones that place the tubes. At this hospital, the dietitians place the majority of tubes, and they are doing them well. In 2012, there were 454 tubes placed, and 414 of those were placed by dietitians. They get trained and have all the proper certifications. At first, I was scared about the idea of RDs placing tubes, but I feel that it is good that we learn how to do this as a profession. Because we care SO much about feeding patients, I think it is great if we could just place feeding tubes ourselves. That way we wouldn’t have to bug the doctors or the nurses. I thought it was interesting.

On the last day of the conference there was a business meeting where recipients of all of the various scholarships were recognized. I actually won a scholarship that was given by the Louisiana Dietetic Association. I was one of the recipients for a $500 dollar Graduate Studies Scholarship. My roommate Kelly was the other winner! I even got to meet the President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Ethan Bergman, PhD, RD, CD, FADA (who is from Seattle! Snaps for Ethan!) and the president of the Louisiana Dietetic Association, Bridgett Scott, MS, RD, LDN. And THEN, I won one of the raffle prizes, which was a Diabetes Education book. Granted, it was written in 2003, so it’s a little dated, but maybe it is a sign that I really am supposed to be a CDE (certified diabetes educator). It was exciting and I felt so important! I got a picture with the two of them, plus we also got a group picture with them at the end.

Here is the Crew at LDA (minus one..or two)

Here is the Crew at LDA (minus one..or two)

It was an exhausting couple of days, but it got me excited for this next chapter in my life. This is only the first half of my busy week. I will soon tell you about the second half.

XOXO, Danae

Kellogg’s Challenge: “Not-so” Fried Humphrey’s

So Kellogg’s/Special K holds this annual contest called the “Student Fiber-ful Kitchen Cook-Off“, where dietetic students and interns can develop a recipe that has increased fiber and uses at least one Kellogg product from a given list. All participants receive a one year membership the Food and Culinary Professionals dietetic practice group. The grand prize  is an all expense paid trip to the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) 2013, which is an annual conference for all dietitians that are a part of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. FNCE 2013 will be in Houston this October. There is the possibility for two runners up, who will receive a gift certificate to a kitchen supply store. Winners will also have their product professionally photographed and will be featured on Kelloggs.com and KelloggsNurition.com

When thinking about what to do for this contest, I decided to do a dessert. (Because dietitians and desserts go hand in hand :wink:). I thought about doing a un-fried version of Fried Ice Cream, a classic Mexican dessert. A lot of recipes that I have seen in the past said that you could put honey on top of the finished product. This sparked an idea. What other dessert do I know that is covered in crunchy topping and honey?! A HUMPHREYS!!!

To those who are asking, “What (or who) is a Humphrey’s?”, let me tell you.

A Humphrey’s Yogart (technical name) is named after Humphrey Bogart. Why? I have no idea…maybe he was a fan of the ingredients that make it up, which are: Plain frozen yogurt, granola, honey, fresh fruit and more plain yogurt on top. It is seriously delish.

I thought doing my take on this dessert was appropriate because there are good memories associated with this dessert. During the summer quarter, my fellow intern friends and I literally ate one of these every day. After class we would go to the pool and eat our Humphrey’s out on the deck while soaking up the sun rays. We probably ate our weight in frozen yogurt over the course of those six weeks. So, it felt appropriate to do this recipe a midst my dietetic internship. This one is for you friends!!

A Humphrey’s “not” fried Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Kellogg’s® Low Fat granola, crushed and toastedIMGP5731
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 pint (2 cups) of Vanilla Ice Cream (I used No Sugar Added Blue Bunny®)
  • Cut up fresh fruit (bananas, blueberries, pineapple, strawberries and kiwi are some good ones to use)
  • Honey

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 350° F to toast the granola.
  2. Measure out granola and pour into a gallon Ziploc bag.
  3. Using a rolling pin or the bottom of a glass, crush up the granola.
  4. Add melted butter and cinnamon to the bag. Seal back up and mix with your hands
  5. Put a piece of aluminum foil onto a cookie sheet and pour the granola mixture onto it. Put into oven for no longer than 5 minutes. And keep an eye on it— it could burn!IMGP5732
  6. While the granola is toasting, scoop out 4 scoops of ice cream and place into a muffin tin or onto a plate covered with wax paper. Put back into the freezer.

    You get the idea...

  7. Take out granola from oven. Let cool.
  8. While granola is cooling, cut up your fruit of choice into bite size pieces. Set aside.
  9. Once granola is cool to the touch (you don’t want hot granola on cold ice cream), pour it into a bowl.
  10. Take out your ice cream balls and using your hands, roll each ball in the crushed granola. Do this quickly so the ice cream stays firm.

    You get the idea...

    You get the idea…

  11. Once all ice cream balls have been coated in the granola, place them back in the freezer to re-harden.

    If I win, hopefully this picture will look better.

    If I win, hopefully this picture will look better.

  12. After about an hour or right before serving time, pull the ice cream balls out of the freezer. Place into a pretty cup or bowl (I used margarita glasses). Spoon fruit on top and drizzle with honey. If you wanted to you could sprinkle leftover granola crumbs on top. Since I used a margarita glass, I put some granola in the bottom, to fill up the hole.IMGP5739
  13. Serve and enjoy the same day, or else the granola will get soggy.

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Nutritional Facts (1/2 cup serving):

  • Calories: 422 kcal
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Carbohydrates: 82 g
  • Sodium: 235 mg
  • Fiber: 12 g

This is a great treat that can cool you off on a hot summer day! (Ricky Bobby anyone?)

The due date for this was at the end of March. Grading was supposed to start April 8th, so we will see what happens! I will keep you all posted!! Wish me luck!

XOXO, Danae

Tomatoes, Avocados and Cheese…OH MY!

Here is another recipe!

WordPresser Andrea wanted me to cost out a recipe, so not only are you going to get a recipe for a healthy dish, but you can also see how inexpensive it can be to make! (Prices from Wal-Mart)

I found this recipe on Pinterest and I thought it looked really good. And since I eat weird things for meals, I just ate this as my dinner. It was really easy to put together.

Avocado and Tomato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 tomatoes, cubed (about 2 cups)
  • 1 8 oz ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons dried basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

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Directions:

1. Wash your tomatoes

2. Slice and dice your tomatoes into bite size cubes. Place into a bowl.

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3. Cube the WHOLE ball of mozzarella cheese. If you wanted to use the brick mozzarella cheese, you can, but it doesn’t really have the same effect, and doesn’t taste as good. Place into the bowl with the tomatoes.

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4. Pit your avocados. Score the inside of the four halves and scoop out the insides with a spoon. Place cubes into a bowl.

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*Avocado tip: Keeping the pit in with the avocado can help with the browning. It doesn’t stop it completely, and it isn’t as good as lemon juice, but it does help. You can do the same thing with homemade guacamole.

5. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle the dried basil leaves onto the food and toss together.

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6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to your liking.

7. Either eat it by itself (like I did) or us it as a side dish to roasted chicken or baked fish!

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Nutritional Facts

Serving size: 1/2 cup (6 servings total), Calories: 246 calories, Protein: 12 g, Total Fat: 18 g,Carbohydrates: 9 g, Sodium: 206 mg, Fiber: 4 g

Price List

  • Avocados, .84 cents each = $1.68
  • Tomatoes, $1.64 a lb = $1.67
  • Mozzarella ball = $2.98
  • Olive Oil* = $5.98
  • Dried Basil Leaves* = $4.48
  • Total = $6.33 (Including estimated cost of olive oil and basil = $16.79)
  • Price per serving = $1.06 (Including estimated cost of olive oil and basil = $2.69)

*I did not have to buy olive oil or the basil, because I already had it in my pantry. So this is the cost if you had to buy these ingredients.

I thought this tasted really good. It is creamy from the avocado and cheese and very fresh from the tomato.  Make sure you prepare this right before you serve it. You do not want the avocado to turn brown. It does not look appetizing.

Hope you enjoy!

XOXO, Danae

Drive-Thru Smarts

While I am not fast food’s biggest fan, I understand that sometimes you can’t help but answer the question “May I take your order?”

Murica

So, for those times when you need to squeeze through the drive-thru, here is what I have found to be some “healthy” meal ideas at various fast food chains.

Arby’s

Arby’s had some pretty high caloric food items. Like 90% of their sandwiches (and even salads) were anywhere between 400 and 800 calories. Now, this can be normal for a meal, but when you add curly fries and  a large coke, you have used almost half of your days worth of calories on one meal! So, here is the best option I could find.

3 piece prime-cut chicken tenders (350 calories, 17 g fat, 970 mg sodium*)

*I swear, everything on the Arby’s menu is above 1000 mg of sodium. But I guess that is what you get with processed foods.

Side Chopped Salad w/ Dijon Honey Mustard Dressing (use sparingly)* (171 calories, 21 g fat, 355 mg sodium)

*All the dressings where either high in calories and/or high in sodium. I went with one that was kind of in the middle.

Medium brewed unsweetened Iced Tea (5 calories, 0 g fat, o mg sodium)

Total: 526 calories, 38 g fat, 1325 mg sodium

Burger King

Whopper Jr. (No mayo) (260 calories, 10 g fat, 440 mg sodium)

Apple Slices (30 calories, 0 g fat, 0 sodium)

Small Strawberry Banana Smoothie (200 calories, 0 g fat, 20 mg sodium)

Total: 490 calories, 10 g fat, 460 mg sodium

Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A had a lot of high sodium items. Food items would be relatively low in calories, but high in sodium. Even some of their wraps had over 1,000 mg of sodium.

Chargrilled & Fruit Salad w/ reduced fat berry balsamic vinaigrette* (330 calories, 10 g fat, 770 mg sodium)

*use dressing sparingly. Dressing can make a healthy salad go unhealthy.

Medium Lemonade (230 calories, 0 g fat, 10 mg sodium)

Total: 560 calories, 10 g fat, 780 mg sodium

KFC

KFC actually had some healthy options despite being a place known for their fried chicken! Your fried options are going to be higher in sodium than the grilled options. Also, anything dipped or covered in gravy is going to be high in sodium as well.

Grilled Chicken Drumstick  (90 calories, 4 g fat, 290 mg sodium)

Corn on the Cob (70 calories, 0.5 g fat, 0 mg sodium)

Mashed Potatoes w/ gravy* (120 calories, 4 g fat, 530 mg sodium)

*Tip: Dip fork in gravy, then in mashed potatoes. You can save 30 calories and about 200 mg sodium

Small iced peach green tea (160 calories, 0 g fat, 50 mg sodium)

Total: 440 calories, 8.5 g fat, 870 mg sodium

McDonald’s

Seems like an oxymoron, but a healthy option CAN be found at McDonald’s. Just don’t super-size anything.

Hamburger with lettuce, tomato and ketchup (250 calories, 9 g fat, 480 mg sodium)

Fruit and yogurt parfait (150 calories, 2 g fat, 70 mg sodium)

Small sugar free iced french vanilla coffee (80 calories, 4.5 g fat, 65 mg sodium)

Total: 480 calories, 15.5 g fat, 615 mg sodium

Sonic Drive-In

Sonic’s food is awful if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney disease. I think the only think that didn’t have sodium levels over 1000 mg was either the shakes or condiments. Fat levels were also really high! So, here is the best thing I could find…

Chicken strip sandwich (420 calories, 21 g fat, 810 mg sodium)

Medium low-cal diet cherry limeade (20 calories, 0 g fat, 15 mg sodium)

Total: 440 calories, 21 g fat, 825 mg sodium

Taco Bell

Word of advice: Stay away from the XXL stuffed burritos.

Chicken Chalupa Supreme (340 calories, 18 g fat, 530 mg sodium)

Cinnamon Twists (170 calories, 7 g fat, 200 mg sodium)

Small diet Pepsi (0 calories, o g fat, 50 mg sodium)

Total: 510 calories, 25 g fat, 780 mg sodium

Wendy’s

Half-size Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad w/ lemon garlic caesar dressing (no croutons) (360 calories, 24 g fat, 800 mg sodium)

Apple slices (40 calories, 0 g fat, o mg sodium)

Brewed Sweet Tea (110 calories, o g fat, 10 mg sodium)

Total: 510 calories, 24 g fat, 810 mg sodium

Hopefully this gives you some guidance on what to order at some typical fast food joints. Make good choices!

XOXO, Danae

Eat This. Not That.

This post is a classic “Eat This. Not That.” I got some of the information from  the Eat This, Not That book, but I also did some of my own investigation.

greasy-unhealthy-burger

Eat This: Steak N’ Shake Bacon Cheese Fries

360 calories, 6 g saturated fat (1.5 g trans fat), 710 mg sodium

Not That: Steak N’ Shake Large Chili Cheese Fries

1,170 calories, 22 g saturated fat (3.5 g trans fat), 2,150 mg sodium

Eat This: Outback Steakhouse’s Classic Cheesecake

334 calories, 16 g saturated fat, 23 g carbohydrates

Not That: Outback Steakhouses’s Chocolate Thunder from Down Under

1,554 calories, 53 g saturated fat, 133 g carbohydrates

Eat This: IHOP Simple & Fit Chicken Sandwich with fruit

500 calories, 3.5 g saturated fat, 840 mg sodium

Not That: IHOP Chicken and Spinach Salad

1,530 calories, 30 g saturated fat (2 g trans fat), 2,400 mg sodium

Eat This: Applebee’s Blackened Tilapia with vegetables

410 calories, 4.5 g saturated fat, 1,410 mg sodium

Not That: Applebee’s Fish N’ Chips

1,930 calories, 24 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat, 3,180 mg sodium

Eat This: Outback Steakhouse’s Shrimp on the Barbie

319 calories, 5 g fat, 589 mg sodium

Not That: Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion (You knew this was coming…)

1,959 calories, 48 g saturated fat (4 g trans fat), 4,100 mg sodium (2 days worth of sodium)

Eat This: Ruby Tuesday’s Baked Potato with 1 Tbls. sour sream

275 calories, 4 g fat, 112 mg sodium

Not That: Ruby Tuesday’s Loaded Baked Potato

568 calories, 28 g fat, 536 mg sodium

Eat This: The Cheesecake Factory’s Skinny-licious Pasta

540 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 660 mg sodium

Not That: The Cheesecake Factory’s Chicken Fettucini Alfredo

2,300 calories (a whole day’s worth!), 103  g  saturated fat, 1,297 mg sodium

Eat This: Red Robin Banzai Burger (without mayo or cheese)

617 calories, 21 g fat, 1,272 mg sodium

Not That: Red Robin Whisky River BBQ Burger

1,138 calories, 70 g fat,  1,450 mg sodium

Eat This: Starbucks Grande non-fat Sugar-Free Cinnamon Dolce Latte

260 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated), 38 g sugar

Not That: Starbucks Venti Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with Whip

660 calories, 22 g fat (15 g saturated), 95 g sugars

Eat This: Steak Toscano

590 calories,  20 g fat (4.5 g saturated),  1460 mg sodium

Not That: Olive Garden’s  Grilled Sausage and Peppers Rustica

1320 calories,  80 g fat (30 g saturated),  2860 mg sodium

girl

Food isn’t always as healthy as you think. Especially the salads. You think you are doing good for yourself, but you could actually be eating as much as a burger with fries! Always think twice before your order.

XOXO, Danae

Spice Up Your Life!

My Childhood Idols

My Childhood Idols! (I used to pretend I was Posh)

Am I really going to compare nutrition to the Spice Girls?! Ya! You watch…..

Blogger Shadoza gave me this idea: “My suggestions for content would be to include something about how to spice up the blandness of low calorie meals without adding calories.” Sounds like a topic I can handle. Let’s talk about getting flavor without the added salt.

When I was doing my clinical rotations, I had so many patients say to me that they have to fry foods and add salt and/or Cajun seasoning (which is high in salt) to foods because either 1) they think healthy food tastes bad without it 2) they are so used to the taste of it on their foods, they have to use 3) they have no idea what else to use to add flavor or 4) all of the above.

I am going to give you some ideas on ways you can add flavor and spice to foods without adding so much salt you blow up like a puffer-fish. So let’s meet the true Spice Girls!

1. Rosemary SpiceRosemary Spice

Rosemary is a herb that is really easy to either grow it in an herb garden or in a pot in your kitchen. It is found commonly in Mediterranean dishes, but it can really go with a lot more. One of the most common dishes I see using rosemary is Rosemary Lemon Chicken. However, rosemary can be infused into olive oil that can be used on pasta or salads or even to dip some french bread in. You can place sprigs of rosemary inside chicken or on top of fish, like salmon, while it cooks. You can let it simmer with a pot of chicken noodle soup. You can also chop up the needles and put inside bread dough, then bake it off! You can either pull the needles off the stem, like if you are putting it into a dish, or you can leave it on the stem if its going in a stew/soup or if you are using it as a garnish.

Ginger Spice2. Ginger Spice

Hey, at least they got one right! Ginger can be found at most grocer’s where all the fresh produce is. It of course is mainly seen in teas and cookies as well as for medicinal purposes (every use fresh ginger or ginger ale to help your upset stomach?), but ginger can be used in a multitude of other places.  Putting fresh ginger into cooked carrots, broccoli or asparagus adds a little something extra. If you are doing a stiry fry at home, ginger is a great flavoring to add to the mix! You can even use ginger in a marinade for chicken, beef or pork!  To use this spice, make sure you peel off the brown skin with a sharp paring knife, then you can either cut and chop the ginger root into pieces or use a grater or a zester/microplane, depending on what form you need it in.

3. Bay Leaf SpiceBay Leaf spice

Not very many people use bay leaves and it could be because they don’t really know what to do with it. It is not really one of those herbs that are edible. Bay leaves are usually used for the flavor, but are discarded before serving. You may have heard from home cooks or Food network chefs about making a bouquet of herbs. This is when they take several different herbs and they either tie them together with string or put them in a little makeshift bag from cheesecloth. They can then put this bag in a pot of soup or casserole, let the flavors release into the dish and then easily be able to retrieve it when needed. Bay leaves can be used to give flavor to soups, casseroles, chilies and sauces. It can also be put into pots of water that will be used to boil shrimp, crawfish and crab. Marinades are another good use for bay leaves.

Garlic Spice4. Garlic Spice

Garlic is great to use with many savory dishes. It is an excellent addition to meats, fish, vegetables, soups, rice and bread. Just remember to use either fresh garlic or garlic powder. Forgo the garlic salt. While in just 1 Tablespoon of garlic salt there are 0 calories, there is 5,880 mg of sodium, which is over 2.5  times our daily allowance for salt (2300* mg is the standard, 1500 mg for the elderly, those with diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease). 1 Tablespoon of garlic powder has 28 calories, but only 2 mg of sodium. One word can make ALL the difference.

*2300 mg is about 1 teaspoon!

5. Lemon SpiceLemon Spice

Lemon juice is a good way to add an extra kick to chicken, fish and vegetables. It can give you flavor that tastes like salt, but WAY less sodium. I love squeezing fresh lemon onto my tilapia and broccoli  It adds a freshness to meals. It is a great thing to use, especially now that we are getting into the springtime. Lemon reminds my of spring, so it’s perfect! Want to add a little something extra? Take a zester to the outside of the lemon (you can also do this with oranges), and scrap off the yellow part of the the peel (you don’t want the white part…it’s bitter). You can then sprinkle some of the zest directly onto your chicken, vegetables & fish. It adds a little something extra, plus it’s really pretty.

Salt addict? One suggestion that I have given to patients, especially my cardiac and hypertensive ones, is to not even bring the salt shaker to the table. If it is at the table, you are going to use it. Don’t tempt yourself. The more you go without using it, your taste buds will get used to it. If you don’t want to quit cold turkey on your salt use, then slowly dial back. And ALWAYS make sure you taste your food before you start shaking salt on your dish. I’m sure nine times out of ten you will find the dish won’t even need it.

Now whenever you think of the Spice Girls, you are going to picture them as actual spices.

XOXO, Danae

P.S. I just had to post the video. Is it sad that after all these years, I still know ALL the lyrics and ALL the dance moves? Some things you just never forget…

Is it a bird?! Is it a plane?!

Nope, it’s SUPERFOODS!!

Blueberries

Blueberries are a great snack on the go!

On my blog post that kicked off National Nutrition Month, I asked that if any of my readers had an idea or topic they wanted to learn more about, they could send a comment my way!

Shadoza: In my World gave me a few ideas, but I am picking one of the ideas for this blog entry: “….point out the benefits of the super-foods'”. So, let’s talk about superfoods!!

What are “super foods”?

Super foods are specific foods that are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants. Consider these foods powerhouses. Some food items may be small in size, but they sure do pack a punch!

What are some common super foods?

Cranberries aren't just for Thanksgiving!

Cranberries aren’t just for Thanksgiving!

Fruits: Apples (leave the skin on), Blueberries, Cranberries, Kiwi, Oranges, Pomegranates and pomegranate juice (POM),and any of the previous fruits dried.

Vegetables: Avocados, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Kale, Onions, Pumpkin, Spinach and Tomatoes (yes, I consider tomato a vegetable even though technically it is a fruit).

Starches, Nuts & Legumes: Beans, Oats, Soy and Walnuts.

Meat, Fish & Poultry: Turkey and Wild Salmon.

Other: Dark Chocolate (*every girl cheers*), Honey, Tea (Black or Green) and Low fat yogurt.

What are the benefits to consuming super foods?

Avocados are a creamy treat!

Avocados are a creamy treat!

Super foods are to help you live a longer and healthier life. Many of these foods are low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other various nutrients. Many of these nutrients have been found to reverse effects of aging (like maintain elasticity of skin and prevent wrinkles), lower blood pressure, prevent cardiovascular disease, lower cholesterol levels and better manage blood sugar levels. Many antioxidants found in these foods can prevent free radicals, which have been shown to lead to cancer. Plus, eating plenty of super foods can improve your mood! Who doesn’t want to be happier?! There is really no down side to eating super foods.

How much should I eat?

Since many super foods do tend to be either a fruit or a vegetable, it is important that the average adult consumes at least 5 servings a day. These could be 3 fruits and 2 vegetables or 4 fruits and 1 vegetable. Also, consume food items of different colors. Do not just consume only green vegetables or only orange fruits. Different colors mean different levels of vitamins and minerals, so you do not want to miss out on anything.

Set a goal for yourself at consume at least one super fruit per day, and then increase from there!

Now go out there and be super!

XOXO, Danae

Number of times I said “super foods”: 11

Dietetic Intern turned Published Author??

What?! Two posts in one day? Yes!

This will be a quick one, but just wanted to share it with everybody.

College Lifestyles Magazine is on online college magazine. The CEO is a Registered Dietitian located in Louisiana who I had the pleasure of meeting last year. I published a recipe on the site and it went live today!

Please read it and send it to your friends! I want my article to be the most viewed article this week!

You may recognize the recipe, as I featured it on a previous blog post.

Check out the recipe article here

Thanks so much!

XOXO, Danae

10 days until Mardi Gras in NOLA!