Raspberry Fudge Cake

Warning: Rave ahead. As in I can’t stop raving about this rich, flourless chocolate and black bean cake topped with fresh raspberries.  Trust me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the combination of flavors!  Although it contains added sugar, Raspberry Fudge Cake is better for you than typical desserts.  This recipe is a riff on the Black Bean Brownie Bites in my latest book Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy.

Produce Power 

Fruits and vegetables help to make indulgences healthier. In this case, the raspberries and black beans work together to bump the fiber content to 8 grams (about 25% of the Daily Value) and the protein to 7 grams per serving.

Here’s why I use fruit, and vegetables, including beans, in baked goods and snacks.

Beans are brimming with nutrients including protein, fiber, potassium, and phytonutrients, compounds that protect your body. When pureed and used in baked goods, beans are useful as fat replacers, and they enhance the fudge-like texture. Check out the many amazing ways food blogger Catherine Katz at Cuisinicity works magic with lentils in sweet, and savory, dishes.

I cannot get enough raspberries! They’re delicious, beautiful, and powerful little orbs that supply vitamin C, fiber, phytonutrients, and so much more. And raspberries provide natural sweetness so you can use less added sugar when cooking.

An All-Around Great Cake

I told you I was going to brag.

Raspberry Fudge Cake takes about 40 minutes from start to finish. While it looks special enough for a celebration, it’s so easy to make that you can have it any time.

We are mad for this cake in our house. I hope you like it as much as we do!

Raspberry Fudge Cake

Makes 8 servings.

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon canola oil

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup + 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, washed and dried

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Place the beans and 3 tablespoons of oil in a food processor. Process on high until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract and blend well.  Add the baking powder and salt and blend for 10 seconds more. Stir in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes.

Top the cake with the raspberries.  Combine the remaining teaspoon of canola oil and the remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave until chips are melted, about 20 to 30 seconds, stopping to stir once.  Immediately drizzle the chocolate mixture on top of the raspberries. Allow the chocolate to harden for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Per serving: 
316 calories; 14 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat); 54 milligrams cholesterol; 271 milligrams sodium; 45 grams carbohydrate; 8 grams fiber; 7 grams protein

 

No Added Sugar Banana Raisin Oatmeal Cups

I love muffins, but I don’t love the huge, high-calorie coffee shop and supermarket versions filled with refined carbohydrates and not much else in the way of nutrition. I bake a batch of these simple, no-added sugar oatmeal cups on the weekends to have as part of breakfast or for snacks all week long. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

No Added Sugar Banana Raisin Oatmeal Cups

No Added Sugar Banana Raisin Oatmeal Cups get their sweetness from fruit.

Why are these “muffins” better than most? In addition to having no added sugar, they use oatmeal, a more nutritious, whole grain, instead of white flour, and offer heart-healthy fat. Bananas and raisins supply vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Walnuts add even more heart-healthy fat, as well as fiber, and protein, too.

No Added Sugar Banana Raisin Oatmeal Cups

Makes 16 servings.

3 cups oats, uncooked

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional

3 ripe medium bananas, mashed well

1/4 cup canola oil

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups 1% low-fat milk

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray. (I find this works better than lining the pan with paper liners because the muffins tend to stick to the paper.)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the mashed bananas, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined.  Whisk in the milk.

Pour the banana mixture into the oats mixture. Add the raisins. Stir well to combine. The batter has a lot of liquid in it, so don’t worry if it looks soupy.

Fill the muffin cups nearly to the top with batter (a scant 1/4-cup full).

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until set.  Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack for 5 minutes, with the muffins still in the pan. Remove the muffins from the pan and allow them to cool on the wire rack. Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

Per serving (made without walnuts): Calories: 145, Carbohydrate: 21 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 4 grams, Fat: 6 grams, Saturated fat: 1 gram, Cholesterol: 28 milligrams, Sodium: 157 milligrams, Calcium: 80 milligrams.

No Added Sugar Banana Raisin Oatmeal Cups

With or without walnuts, No Added Sugar Banana Raisin Oatmeal Cups are better for you than store-bought muffins.

Per serving (made with walnuts): Calories: 169, Carbohydrate: 22 grams, Fiber: 3 grams, Protein: 5 grams, Fat: 8 grams, Saturated fat: 1 gram, Cholesterol: 28 milligrams, Sodium: 157 milligrams, Calcium: 90 milligrams.

Tuna Burgers With Smashed Avocado and Tomato

I make these tuna burgers a lot. I love them so much that I included them in my latest book, Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy. Don’t worry – you don’t need to be pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive to enjoy the benefits of these burgers! Experts suggest that adults eat at least two fish meals weekly, and that pregnant and breastfeeding women consume two to three meals a week. My burgers are made with canned tuna, an inexpensive, convenient source of several nutrients, including protein, iodine, and omega-3 fats necessary for heart health, and for a baby’s brain development and vision.

Tuna Burgers With Smashed Avocado and Tomato are ready in less than 30 minutes!

 

Tuna Burgers With Smashed Avocado and Tomato

Makes 4 servings.

4  5-1/2 ounce cans or pouches of tuna, drained

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or red onion

2 teaspoons dried dill

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 pitted avocado, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

2 small tomatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

4 2-ounce whole-grain sandwich buns or whole-wheat English muffins

Place the tuna in a medium mixing bowl and break it up into small pieces with a fork.  Add the bread crumbs, eggs, shallots, and dill, and combine well.  Form the mixture into four burgers.

 

Use an empty tuna can to form the burgers so that they are uniform in size and fit on the buns or English muffins.

 

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook burgers for about four minutes on each side.

The tuna burgers should be cooked until golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside.  

 

I usually make a double batch of this recipe because they are easy to freeze and reheat for a quick lunch or dinner.

Wrap cooked tuna burgers well and date the package. They will last for several months in the freezer. Reheat in the microwave and make the avocado/tomato topping just before serving.

 

In a small bowl, combine the avocado and tomato until just mixed, mashing lightly while stirring.  To serve, place burgers on sandwich buns and top with the avocado mixture. Enjoy with baby carrots for extra crunch and more vegetables.

Delicious and nutritious Tuna Burgers With Smashed Avocado and Tomato pack omega-3 fats, fiber, protein, and much more!

 

Per serving:
430 calories; 14 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat); 139 milligrams cholesterol; 810 milligrams sodium; 40 grams carbohydrate; 8 grams fiber; 39 grams protein

Luck of the Irish Green Smoothie

You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. You don’t even need to wear green – you can drink it instead! Sip this no-added-sugar version of a fast-food shamrock shake and count yourself lucky for all the good nutrition and great taste it supplies.

This delicious smoothie supplies one and a half servings of fruits and vegetables, nine grams of fiber, nearly as much calcium as a glass of milk, heart-healthy fat, and much more. You won’t find all that in a pre-fab artificially colored shake from you-know-where!

The recipe calls for matcha, which is finely-ground green tea leaves. Matcha has phytonutrients, plant compounds that protect cells against damage. It also contains caffeine.

When you use McCormick Gourmet Organic Matcha Green Tea with Ginger Seasonings*, the caffeine content is about approximately four milligrams, about the same as a 12-ounce cup of decaffeinated coffee.

If you use regular matcha, the smoothie has about 50 milligrams of caffeine. For the sake of comparison, 16-ounces of Starbucks brewed coffee has 330 milligrams.

It’s possible to leave matcha out of the smoothie without changing its great taste.  You can also make it vegan by using unsweetened fortified soy beverage instead of dairy.

Enjoy!

Luck of the Irish Green Smoothie

Makes 1 serving.

1/2 cup chopped kale (or spinach)

1/2 medium frozen ripe banana, sliced

1/2 pitted ripe avocado, sliced

1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk*

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Organic Matcha Green Tea with Ginger Seasoning, or regular matcha

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Blend on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes or tunnel smooth. Pour into a glass and drink immediately.

* Swap 1/2 cup unsweetened soy beverage to make it vegan.

Per serving (using kale and 1% low-fat milk):
281 calories; 16 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat); 6 milligrams cholesterol; 76 milligrams sodium; 32 grams carbohydrate; 9 grams fiber; 8 grams protein

*McCormick is not a client of mine, and neither is Organic Living Superfoods.

3 Better Ways to Weight Loss

Just thinking about what to eat for for weight loss can be overwhelming. These three no-brainer tweaks to your eating plan can get you off the diet rollercoaster for good starting at your very next meal, and without any deprivation.

Peanut Butter, Raspberry, and Oats Smoothie Bowl from Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During and After Pregnancy.

 

Eat Breakfast

Breakfast serves up an opportunity to include the nutrients you need. The energy it provides jump-starts the body and brain after sleep.

I talk here about how studies suggest that eating the morning meal does not guarantee better weight control, so it may seem like I am contradicting myself by recommending breakfast.

Yes, the research about breakfast and weight loss is inconclusive. But in my experience, people skip breakfast because they’re not hungry in the morning, and they’re not hungry in the morning because they ate too much before going to bed. Eating more regularly throughout the day, starting in the morning, may prevent overeating at night and could decrease your calorie intake overall.

Many people don’t like traditional “breakfast” foods. No problem. As long as it contains enough protein, found in foods such as dairy, eggs, and beans, and it’s otherwise nutritious and balanced, it’s breakfast! It’s OK to divide breakfast up into two smaller meals, too.

Make the Change to Whole Grains

I recently wrote about a new study that showed swapping whole grains for the refined kinds burns calories and boosts metabolism.  What a gift! You eat delicious whole grains, and you burn calories!

This No-Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Quick Bread is packed with whole grains and nuts. Get the recipe here.

 

Give the change to whole grains a try.  Instead of white bread, have whole wheat. Enjoy oatmeal for breakfast and pass over the white bread bagel and cream cheese. Experiment with  whole grains such as freekeh or farro instead of white pasta or rice at dinner. Easy peasy!

Snack on Nuts

Studies show that nuts have fewer calories than what’s on the label. That’s a good reason to make them your snack of choice.

Research has found that whole roasted almonds have 25% fewer calories than what is listed on food labels; walnuts supply 21% fewer calories; and pistachios also contain fewer calories than what the label says.  It stands to reason the same goes for peanuts, too.

One ounce of nuts is an excellent substitution for the same amount of snack chips, pretzels or chocolate. In addition to fewer calories, nuts provide more protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, powerful plant compounds that protect your cells, as well as heart-healthy fat.

 

 

Dietitians’ Eating Downfalls

For the most part, dietitians practice what they preach. However, nobody eats perfectly all the time, not even the experts dishing out dietary advice, including yours truly. (Shocker!) Since perfection is not the point of this blog, I thought it would be worth hearing from dietitians about their food challenges, since they love to eat and are just as busy as everyone else.  While I have my own major dietary downfall (it’s at the end of this post), I can relate to each and every one of these!

snack-1555541_1920

Kate Scarlata, RDN, FODMAP and IBS Expert: 

I wish I had a few less potato chips in my life! I love a good potato chip. Those salty little fried potato slices are so darn good and somehow make their way onto my plate on a very regular basis, especially when I am eating a sandwich. I don’t feel I have to give up all the chips in my life, but I know fried salty foods are probably not the best for my heart health. I do try to switch it up and add popcorn, baked tortilla chips or reduced fat potato chips to reduce my fat intake in an effort to be a little more healthy. Because I associate chips with eating sandwiches, I find I am less inclined to eat them when I have a salad or leftovers at meal time, so including these other meals helps lower my chip intake too.  My 90 year-old mom loved a good potato chip…so I am hopeful that I can enjoy a long life while still enjoying my beloved potato chips…at least occasionally!

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, owner of www.NutritionStarringYOU.com:

I’m the fastest eater. I’m always leaning over my counter quickly eating between clients or before driving my kids around in the evening. I’m not a mindful eater and I know it’s something I really need to improve. Much easier said than done for a very busy working mom. However, I am trying to eat at the table more, put away my phone and avoid distractions. Small changes are my goal. I’m really trying to practice what I preach to my clients every day!

Six Things You Don’t Know About Registered Dietitians

Leslie Bonci, MPH, RDN, CSSD, owner of Active Eating Advice by Leslie

Having spent the better part of my career counseling athletes, I am the first one to say that hydration never takes a vacation. But what we preach doesn’t always translate to for what we reach and I admit -I don’t get a perfect score for my pour. I am doing a lot of writing these days and don’t work up a sweat, hate to be interrupted when ideas are flowing to have to get going to the bathroom I am committing to hydrating better throughout the day through the number of glasses of liquid, liquid-containing foods, and more fruits and vegetables.

wine-1543170_1920

Regan Jones, RD, Founding Editor at HealthyAperture.com:

In the last year or so I noticed that my “one” glass of wine while cooking dinner turned into one glass while cooking, then topping it off a little if the recipe takes a little longer and then topping that off as I went to the table to eat dinner with my family. I’m a dietitian, not a mathematician but even I know my “one” has quickly turned into 1++.

I’ve made a concerted effort this year to let “one” glass be one glass. While health experts (and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans) agree that one glass for women and two for men can be a part of a healthy diet, night after night of letting that number nudge higher and higher means extra calories that I simply don’t need at the end of every day. I started the New Year with this new commitment to cut back on my 1++ glass of wine and have already noticed improvements in sleep… a bonus I wasn’t expecting, but am definitely enjoying!

Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, Culinary Nutrition Expert and founder of Nutritioulicious:

One of my worst habits is eating in front of the TV, especially at night after dinner. I have a major sweet tooth, and when I’m busy during the day it doesn’t hit me, but as soon as I sit down to relax the pantry calls my name! It’s a common habit for many people and it can lead to weight gain if I’m taking in more calories than I’m burning that day, but even more of a concern is that it leaves me feeling full before bed, which can interfere with my sleep, and I often wake up bloated and less hungry for breakfast, which is such an important meal to start the day. Some of the ways I’m trying to break the habit are to brush my teeth after dinner so I am not tempted to eat again and watch TV in bed instead of in my living room. I also don’t keep the pantry fully stocked with treats.

chocolate-chip-696645_1920

Jenna Braddock, MSH, RDN, CSSD, owner of MakeHealthyEasy.com:  

I love making chocolate chip cookies but am that person who could be fine just eating the dough. I often nibble on dough while making and baking cookies and by the time the cookies are out of the oven, I’ve already eaten the equivalent of my share of cookies. After thinking this through (also after a belly ache or two), I have decided that I do love the cookies the most. So, I try to talk myself before even starting the cookie making process to remind me that I really want to be able to enjoy the warm, baked cookies, and the dough isn’t at worth it. I want to be more conscious of what I’m eating while making cookies instead of mindlessly picking at the dough.

5 Confessions of a Dietitian

Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RDN, CDE, The Guilt-Free RD, www.SoundBitesRD.com (blog and podcast):

I wish I had better breakfast habits. I grew up eating a healthy breakfast every day, but now that I’m a mom, I’m more focused on the morning rush instead of feeding myself. I find I’m not very hungry and tend to grab a little something that is more of a snack or a treat than “breakfast” like a cookie or a piece of fruit. I wish I could enjoy a greek yogurt with high fiber cereal and berries – something that provides the fiber, calcium and nutrients I need to start the day off right.

Christy Wilson, RDN, Nutrition Counselor, Writer, Consultant, and Owner of ChristyWilsonNutrition.com:

After work, I am famished, so that after-work/before-dinner time frame is my Achilles heel! I will end up rummaging through my fridge and pantry for things to snack on, whether it’s something healthy or not. Sometimes way too many chips and salsa, a few too many cheese sticks or leftover slices of pizza satisfy my craving. So, even knowing that eating all of this food before dinner is ruining my appetite for the healthy meal I am about to cook…sometimes I just can’t help myself. To avoid this, I’m working on planning ahead and (more consistently) have foods like jicama sticks, sliced fruit  and/or red pepper strips available to snack on before dinner gets started!

bottle-2032980_1920

Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD, Co-owner Teaspoon of Spice

When I worked in an office building, I was the poster child of staying hydrated via water daily. I’d take several breaks from my cubicle to fill my water bottle up at the water cooler (cliche but true.) But now, since working at home, I struggle to do the same! My home office is on the second floor and I guess there’s just a mental block with me having to walk all downstairs to refill my glass – which, sometimes when I do, I get distracted with a chore in the kitchen and forget to bring the glass back up! But I really want to work on this as when I drink at least 8 glasses a day, I feel so much better.

Jen Haugen, RDN, LD, Author of The Mom’s Guide to a Nourishing Garden, and blogger at jenhaugen.com:

My one habit I am working on kicking is not planning meals.  I go in and out of phases with this and my weeks go SO much better when I meal plan!  To work on this, I am creating 5-10 freezer meals each month to have ready to go right in the freezer for fast meals.  I’ve also set a reminder on my phone for Sunday afternoons to take 10 minutes to put together a menu plan for the week, and I include my family on that so it’s not just what I want to eat 🙂  Taking just 10 minutes to plan creates more satisfying, stress-free meals!

What Do Nutritionists Eat?

Holley Grainger, MS, RD, Mompreneuer and Nutrition Communications Expert:

As a working mom in constant motion, I find myself mindlessly eating the first thing I can grab when I feel hunger strike. That may mean a spoon straight from the peanut butter jar to the mouth while making a lunchbox or swinging into a gas station to grab an energy bar for “lunch” between meetings. The main lessons learned from this habit–weight gain, exposing my children to bad habits, and never feeling full and satisfied with my food. My solution of late is to have healthier options prepped and packed. This means I do a little more work on Sunday afternoon chopping fruit, putting a serving of nuts in a baggie or boiling a dozen eggs but when the hunger strikes I have a healthy option ready to eat.

And now, for my true confession: I love chocolate and eat it every day after dinner. Problem is, I often exceed the one-ounce limit I set for myself.  I have tried portion-controlled chocolate goodies, such as 100-calorie fudge bars, but I would eat one of them first, then reach for the chocolate, too! I’ve been battling chocolate urges for decades now, and I am pretty sure that trying to outsmart them is useless, and a waste of energy. Oh, well, I think this is one flaw I’ll just have to live with!

chocolate-183543_1920

Thanks to everyone for telling it like it is!

Whole Grains Burn Calories, Boost Metabolism

Looking for an easier way to weight control? Whole grains could be a game changer, according to findings from a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Simply swapping refined grains (white bread, white rice, and pretzels, etc.) for 100% whole grains encourages the body to absorb fewer calories, and boosts metabolism. Jackpot!

breads-1417868_1920

More Whole Grains: A Step in the Right Direction

Here’s what’s so exciting about this study.

The group of men and women in the study who replaced refined grains with whole grains took up fewer calories from the food they ate, and burned more calories when at rest – no extra exercise required.  Those losses amounted to about 100 calories a day compared to the group who ate refined grains.

A consistent intake of whole grains could help head off unhealthy weight gain that tends to occur with age.  While weight control isn’t a precise science, swapping 100% whole grains for the refined kind could add up to a “savings” of 36,500 calories a year, or the equivalent of about 10 pounds – as long as you don’t increase calorie intake or decrease physical activity.  Balanced diets rich in whole grains help reduce the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, too, which is nothing to sneeze at!

How to Get More Whole Grains 

Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and brown rice, contain the entire grain kernel. Whole grains are naturally high fiber, phytonutrients (beneficial plant compounds) and other nutrients.

Experts suggest making half of the grains you eat whole grains, for a minimum of three servings of whole grains daily. A portion is 1-ounce slice of bread, 1/2 cup cooked grain, or about 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal.

OK, so you’re not totally on board with whole grains, but it may be easier, and more delicious, than you think to get the whole grains you need.  Here’s how to work more whole grains into your eating plan:

• Have oatmeal (I make oats with milk to include dairy) or a whole grain ready-to-eat cereal such as plain Cheerios or the store brand equivalent with milk and fruit for breakfast, or as a snack.

blueberries-1851417_1280

• Add 1/4 cup uncooked oatmeal to your favorite fruit smoothie recipe.

• Substitute 3/4 cup 100% whole wheat flour for all-purpose white flour in recipes for pancakes, muffins, and quick breads.

• Swap white bread for 100% whole grain bread.  Make sure you see the words whole wheat, oatmeal, or whole oats as one of the first terms in the ingredient list.

• Experiment with whole grains such as farro, freekeh, quinoa, millet, teff, and whole grain barley as side dishes.  Make extra whole grains and add to soups, stews, casseroles, and salads.

grains-651404_1920

• Switch to whole grain cornmeal when making muffins, cornbread, and polenta.

• Make your own trail mix using 1/2 cup whole grain cereal, dried fruit, and nuts.

• Enjoy whole grain crackers instead of highly refined white versions, and whole wheat English muffins instead of a plain bagel.

• Munch on popcorn instead of pretzels or snack chips.  Popcorn is a whole grain!

snack-1284230_1280

• On pizza night, opt for prepared whole wheat crust or whole wheat pizza dough.

• For a sweet treat with a serving of whole grain in every portion, try these no-bake peanut butter cereal bars.

 

breads-1417868_1920

 

 

 

1 2 6
%d bloggers like this: