Monthly Archives: January 2016

Healthy Walnut Raisin Quick Bread

I love to bake, and this healthy walnut raisin quick bread is a favorite of mine.

As a recipe tester, I’ve goofed by cutting back too much on one ingredient or another, but I think I got it just right this time!

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Small Changes for a Healthier Quick Bread

The problem with many quick breads is that they are full of refined grains and added sugar and not much else. That’s why I make quick bread recipes that offer more nutrition and great taste.

I’ve decreased the added sugar by using some applesauce, which also stands in for some of the oil. In addition, applesauce adds natural sweetness, and so do raisins, which also provide fiber.

Walnuts serve up heart-healthy unsaturated fat.  To increase the whole grain content, I used some whole wheat flour in place of some of all-purpose flour and added oats.

Making muffins from the batter instead of baking two loaves of bread is a better way to control portions.  Muffins keep me from going overboard because I limit myself (nearly always!) to one.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe as much I do!

Walnut Raisin Quick Bread

Makes 2 loaves (24 slices or 24 muffins)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup one-minute oats, uncooked

¾ cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup California raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

2 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce

2/3 cup canola oil

4 large eggs

½ cup 1% low-fat milk

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease and flour two loaf pans.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, oatmeal, brown sugar, raisins, and walnuts. Stir until well combined.

Place the applesauce, canola oil, eggs, and milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Blend on high speed until combined, about 1 minute.

Add the applesauce mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Fill the loaf pans with the batter, dividing it evenly between the 2 pans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pans and allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Per slice or muffin:

226 calories

11 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat)

227 milligrams sodium

30 grams carbohydrate

2 grams fiber

4 grams protein

How To Eat Less Sugar

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Are you concerned about the sugar in your diet? Here’s how to eat less sugar without feeling deprived of the sweet stuff.

Added sugar vs. natural sugar 

I like sweets as much as the next person, but I’m happy that experts suggest a daily limit on added sugar in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). That’s because excess intake is linked to several health problems.

But there’s no need for most people to go completely sugar-free, however.  

The DGA recommendation is for added sugar, not the natural type found in foods such as fruit, vegetables, and plain dairy foods (which is called lactose). However, people with diabetes should monitor all types as part of a balanced eating plan. 

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Sugar can be part of a healthy eating plan. But there’s more room for nutrient-rich choices when you limit added sugar. 

For example, sipping low-fat milk instead of regular soda helps to satisfy protein, calcium, and vitamin D needs. And, choosing fruit instead of cookies supplies more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, which are protective plant compounds.

Recommended daily sugar intake in grams

Suggested sugar limits are related to calorie intake. That’s why young children with lower calorie needs should have less added sugar than active teen boys, for example. (See Figuring Your Daily Sugar Allowance, below.)

Speaking of children, registered dietitian Jill Castle’s blog about sugar recommendations includes a useful chart for a range of calorie intakes for kids, and other great information.

Read: Getting more sleep may curb your sweet tooth

Know your limits to eat less sugar 

First, find out how many calories you need to lose, maintain, or gain weight here. Then, do the math to figure your daily added sugar limit in grams. Many adults need about 2,000 calories a day.Here’s an example using a 2,000 calorie/day eating plan:

• Figure the number of sugar calories allowed: 2,000 calories daily multiplied by .10 (10%) of calories as sugar daily = 200 calories of sugar daily

• Find your sugar allowance in grams: 200 divided by 4 (there are 4 calories in each gram of sugar) equals 50 grams of sugar daily

50 grams of sugar is the equivalent of 12.5 level teaspoons of table sugar. That’s about the amount in 16-ounces of regular soda.

Read food labels to eat less sugar 

Knowing your sugar allowance in teaspoons and in grams is helpful for curbing intake. The revised Nutrition Facts panel on food labels lists the amount of added sugar in grams and as a %Daily Value (%DV).

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The %DV is a guide to the nutrients in a serving of food. For example, if the label lists 10 percent of the DV for a nutrient, it means that a single serving provides 10 percent of the daily allowance.

The %DV for nutrients is based on a 2,000-calorie eating plan for healthy adults, so your sugar “allowance” may differ. For example, a person who requires 2,600 calories to maintain a healthy weight can eat up to 65 grams of added sugar daily as part of a balanced diet.

Once you know your sugar limit in grams, it’s possible to tally the amount you get from packaged foods as well what you add to foods, such as coffee, tea, and cereal. For reference, one level teaspoon of sugar contains four grams.

In conclusion: Simple ways to eat less sugar 

I can’t say that I’ve completely tamed my sweet tooth, and that’s OK. Here are some simple tips I use for keeping sugar intake in check. 

• Avoid sugary drinks. Drink water, milk, or calorie-free beverages instead of regular soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and other sugary beverages. 

• Minimize sweet treats. Enjoy smaller portions of cookies, candy, and other sweet treats, such as a mini cupcake or a fun-size candy bar. The first few bites of any food are the most pleasurable. 

• Don’t fool yourself. Honey, maple syrup, and molasses are all sources of added sugar. 

• Cut down on sugar in favorite foods. Mix your favorite sugary cereal with an unsweetened kind, like nutrition expert, mom, and blogger Sally Kuzemchak does. (See her post about 5 Easy Ways to Cut Sugar from Your Child’s Diet.)  Fill a tall glass with cold seltzer water and add just a splash of 100% fruit juice.  Sweeten plain yogurt with a teaspoon of sugar, honey, jam, or molasses. 

Bake with less. When baking muffins and other quick breads, cut the granulated or brown sugar by at least one-third.

• Rely on fruit. Swap syrup on pancakes and waffles for applesauce or other pureed fruit. Whip up a smoothie with ripe fruit and milk or Greek yogurt.  This Dried Fig, Goat Cheese, and Apple Galette gets most of its sweetness from fruit. 

• Compare packaged foods. Sugar is added to foods such as bread, granola, instant oatmeal, and pasta sauce. Compare brands and opt for the least amount of sugar per serving as seen on the Nutrient Facts panel.

 

 

Benefits of Exercise Buddies

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When your motivation to exercise is low for any reason, it’s a good idea to get an exercise buddy, or 30. Recent research suggests the company you keep can help you stick with healthier habits, like working out.

I usually get up very early in the morning to exercise, and I often wonder why I do it, especially when it’s cold and dark outside.  While I would love another hour in bed, the people I work out with motivate me to get to the gym to my favorite studio to take a class. Some of my exercise mates are good friends, but most of them are acquaintances. Whether or not I know them well, they make my life better.

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On days when my work outs are more solitary in the gym and there’s no hooting and hollering to energize me, I still feel supported because I am surrounded by people doing the same thing. I don’t always know the details of their lives, and they may not know much about me, but I feel like we are silently cheering each other on.

Life often gets in the way, and I don’t always work out as often as I should. Exercising with others helps me to stick to a schedule as much as possible. My exercise buddies make it easier to get back into the swing of things when I’ve been away or sick, too. And they never fail to make working out more fun!

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Should You Weigh Yourself Every Day?

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I’ve been on a lot of low-calorie diets, mostly as a teenager, and my dietary deprivation always involved frequent tracking of my “progress” on the bathroom scale.  I felt accomplished when I dropped a pound or two, and terrible when I didn’t.  It was clear that my self-esteem was affected by the numbers on the scale, and I didn’t like the feeling. As a registered dietitian counseling people about weight control, I made stepping on the scale optional.

In my personal and professional experience, the scale can leave emotional scars. That’s why I was a bit surprised by an article in USA Today that suggests weighing yourself daily is helpful for losing weight and preventing weight gain.

That conclusion may be based on the results of several research studies, but it does not apply to everyone, and certainly not to children.

As Laura Cipullo, RD, author of The Women’s Health Body Clock Diet, puts it in the article, it’s easy to get lost in the numbers and start to identify your self-worth with what’s on the scale.

If you struggle with disordered eating, weighing yourself daily may not be a good idea. In fact, the studies mentioned in USA Today excluded people with a history of disordered eating, who may be more prone to obsessing about weight and respond to falling or rising numbers on the scale with extreme dieting or binging.

I would like to think that I’ve made peace with the scale, even though I weigh myself more often now than in the past 20 or 30 years. I use the scale to confirm that I must get back on track before the pounds really add up, not to deride myself for veering off course.

Most of us have a love/hate relationship with weighing ourselves. Do you weigh yourself on a regular basis?

 

 

 

What Health Experts Resolve to Do in 2016

 

 

While I like the idea of a fresh start, I’m not really one for making new year’s resolutions. I wondered if other food, nutrition, and health experts felt the same way, so I asked around. Truthfully, some of their answers surprised me! Here’s what they said.

Keri Gans, RDN, author of The Small Change Diet

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Personally I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I have always held the belief that there is “no time like the present” to make changes or improvements in your life. And that no matter when you begin, you should gradually ease into these changes in order to create a new habit. It doesn’t matter how fast you get there, what matters is as long as you stay.

Registered dietitian Sally Kuzemchak’s goals for food, fitness, and health in 2016

Catherine Katz, PhD, Founder of Cuisinicity

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As I am reflecting back on this past year and looking toward 2016, my thoughts keep coming back to Carly Simon’s song “These are the good old days…” It may sound corny and perhaps even trite but I take this message quite literally. Twenty years from now, we will be reminiscing of these times, these days we are living now and I want to live them fully cognizant of how meaningful they are, right now. What this means to me personally is just to keep cherishing my family with all the wonderful people and furry friends in it. What this means for Cuisinicity is that I not only want to keep doing what I have been doing but I also want to pay it forward to our beautiful planet even more mindfully than I already have. So, my new year resolution is to contribute to the sustainability of our environment and to the well-being of other species by creating even more plant-based recipes. In that spirit, I have expanded my repertoire of dishes and added a new Vegan category in my Recipe index on Cuisinicity.

Six food trends to help you eat better in 2016

Ellen Albertson, PhD, RDN, CD, Psychologist, Nutritionist, Certified Wellcoach®
SmashYourScale.com

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I set resolutions because they’re a powerful tool to plan and get psyched for a year of achievement, happiness and success. My thinking changes this time of year. I review what I’ve achieved in the previous year and consider where I want those completions to lead me next. Rather then setting resolutions around what I should or shouldn’t do, I think about what I really want and commit to meaningful resolutions I can accomplish.

How to give up your inner critic this year

Karen Ansel, MS, RDN, co-author of The Calendar Diet: A Month-By-Month Guide to Losing Weight while Living Your Life.

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After years of working to help people live healthier lives I’ve realized that it’s really about what you do day in and day out on a consistent basis that yields the best results. So, I don’t usually make New Years resolutions. I used to in the past but I’ve found that after a few weeks I always seemed to forget about them. Instead, I have an ongoing loose list of goals that I try to focus on and tweak as needed no matter what time of year it is.

Feeling adventurous? Seven fitness trends to try in 2016

Holley Grainger, MS, RD, Owner, Holley Grainger Nutrition 

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While I’m not one to set hard-core resolutions each time the calendar year turns, I do like to use this time to reflect on the previous year to help me reset and create goals (business, personal, etc.) for the upcoming year. As a full time work-from-home mom of two, this year I’m hoping to be more intentional and mindful about the time I spend with my family, the time I spend on myself, and the time I dedicate to my company.

Amber Pankonin, MS, RD, CSP, LMNT, writer for Stirlist.com

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I actually do make New Year’s Resolutions. I think it’s a fun way to bring in the new year. I think spending some time reflecting back on the year is a healthy thing. It helps you evaluate what went right, what didn’t go so well, and how you can do better. I’m not a fan of lofty New Year’s resolutions because those can cause feelings of guilt and frustration. This year my New Year’s resolutions include making some changes in my business and I’m also going to pick up my ukelele more than once a month!

 

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