Chocolate For Breakfast? Yes, Please!

Oatmeal with Berries, Chocolate and Almonds

Sick of plain oatmeal? Try this breakfast with staying power – the almonds and berries add filling fiber, with almonds also pumping up the protein content of this instant breakfast! Unsweetened cocoa powder adds flavanoids, but all you’ll notice is how good this breakfast tastes! This recipe uses water to cook instant oatmeal, but feel free to use milk as a great way to increase your calcium intake!

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Ingredients (serves 1):

1 packet instant oatmeal (unflavored) *tip: look for a brand that does not contain many ingredients other than oats – I like Trader Joe’s Oats and Flax Instant Oatmeal

2/3 C water (varies depending on how thick you like your oatmeal)

4 medium strawberries

1.5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (look for pure cocoa as the only ingredient)

.5 oz slivered almonds (approximately 1/8 C)

rawcocoaDirections:

1. Pour oatmeal packet contents into microwave-safe bowl and add water. Cook in microwave according to package instructions (usually directions require cooking on High for 2-3 minutes).

2. While oatmeal is cooking, wash and dry strawberries. Cut into halves or quarters. Set aside.

3. Remove oatmeal from microwave and stir. Add strawberries, cocoa powder and slivered almonds. Enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?strawberry

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 220 calories, Fat 10 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrate 30 g, Fiber 8 g, Sugar 3 g, Protein 9 g, Sodium 85 mg, Calcium 147 mg

*note: replacing water with nonfat milk will increase calcium and protein content

**strawberry photo courtesy of: http://www.dvo.com/newsletter/monthly/2007/september/images/strawberry.jpg 

***cocoa photo courtesy of: http://www.rawguru.com/store/images/P/raw-cacao-powder-e-big.jpg 

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Slimmed-Down Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Craving pasta? No problem! This recipe uses lean ground beef (95% fat free) and whole wheat pasta, so you can fuel up without filling out! I slimmed down this classic and pumped it up with some extra nutrition, including a hefty serving of fiber and protein, with only a modest amount of fat. Another secret? Use whole-wheat breadcrumbs to hold the meatballs together, instead of the refined stuff. Make this dish even healthier by using unseasoned whole-wheat breadcrumbs and adding your own spices and herbs (garlic powder, onion powder, salt, parsley, etc.). Remember the fundamental values of nutrition: moderation, balance and variety. Enjoy this favorite as part of a balanced diet and keep fueling your body with whole, real, nutritious foods!

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Ingredients (serves 4):

16 oz (1 lb.) lean ground beef (95% lean, 5% fat)

8 oz whole wheat thin spaghetti

2 C tomato sauce (look for a low sodium brand, or make your own!)

1/3 C whole wheat breadcrumbs, seasoned (note: if using unseasoned, season them up yourself with whichever spices and herbs you’d like)

2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp fresh parsley

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 large egg, scrambled, raw

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or you can use another oil, such as canola oil)

IMG_0538Directions:

1. Pour oil into large skillet and warm over medium heat.

2. Boil water in large pot over high heat.

3. Combine ground beef, scrambled egg, breadcrumbs, spices (garlic powder, ground black pepper), parsley, and parmesan cheese in large mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix ingredients well. Form small meatballs and place in skillet. (note: this recipe should yield approximately 20-25 meatballs)

4. Add pasta to rapidly boiling water and cook approximately 7-10 minutes. Continue to turn the meatballs in the skillet so they brown.

5. Drain water from pasta in colander. Place pasta back in pot (with no water) and add sauce. Warm over low-medium heat. Remove meatballs from skillet once cooked (they should be brown in color throughout) and place on paper towel over a plate to drain excess oil. Add meatballs to pasta, mix and warm another 2-3 minutes. Serve hot. 

The Goods: What’s Inside?IMG_0541

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 488 calories, Fat 23 g, Saturated Fat 7 g, Cholesterol 150 mg, Carbohydrates 32 g, Fiber 5 g, Sugars 7 g, Protein 42 g, Sodium 617 mg, Calcium 130 mg

*note: the sodium content is analyzed using seasoned breadcrumbs and a tomato sauce that is not low-sodium. 

Don’t Be Chicken To Make This Staple More Exciting!

Chicken with Spinach and Goat Cheese Topping

This dish is a cinch to make and tastes like you’ve been cooking for hours! Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein and the vegetables top this dish off with a ton of nutrients! Spinach offers folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and many other vitamins and minerals to fuel your body right! Tomatoes not only add color to this dish – the pigment that supplies the red color also gives your body a healthy dose of vitamin A! Goat cheese offers a creamy, satiating feeling to this dish, plus delivers calcium! Don’t let chicken seem like the boring dinner – spice things up and enjoy this dressed up staple!

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Ingredients (serves 2):

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (approximately 4 oz each)

3 C spinach, raw

1 small onion

1.5 C cherry tomatoes

1.5 oz chevre (soft goat cheese)

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

dash salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions:IMG_0521

*Note: This recipe uses a skillet to cook the chicken. If you would like, you can also bake the chicken in an oven. Drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil over chicken and add spice rub. Bake at 350 degrees (F), until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees (F). Then proceed to step #4.

1. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to medium skillet and warm over medium heat.

2. Rub chicken with spices (cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, paprika, garlic powder)

3. Cook chicken in skillet until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees (F). You will need to flip the chicken when the sides begin turning white.

IMG_05204. Add remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil to a different medium skillet. Warm over medium heat. Chop onion and add to skillet, stirring occasionally. Cook approximately 5-7 minutes.

5. Chop tomatoes in halves or quarters and add tomatoes to skillet with onions. Cook another 5 minutes.

6. Add spinach to skillet and allow to wilt, approximately 3 minutes. Add goat cheese and cook 1 minute.

7. Remove chicken from skillet. Place on plate over paper towel to allow excess oil to drain. Transfer to plate. Pour contents of skillet (spinach, onions, tomatoes, goat cheese) over chicken. Serve hot.

The Goods: What’s Inside?IMG_0522

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 358 calories, Fat 21 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 76 mg, Carbohydrate 13 g, Fiber 4 g, Sugar 6 g, Protein 33 g, Sodium 278 mg, Calcium 113 mg. 

Roasted Potatoes and Onions

Roasted Potatoes and Onions

This healthier twist on home fries is simple to make and tastes every bit like comfort food! Potatoes are a great source of fiber, potassium and the skin contains a ton of nutrients! Enjoy this side dish as a snack, or paired with a lean protein (I love eating this with grilled chicken) to round out dinner! The best part? Leftovers taste amazing with eggs the next morning!

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Ingredients (serves 3)

5 small (2″ diameter) yukon gold potatoes (red potatoes also work!)

1 small onion, chopped

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

dash salt (to taste)

dash cayenne pepper (to taste)

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

IMG_0512Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Wash potatoes. Dry thoroughly with paper towel. Chop into eighths.

3. Spray casserole dish with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray. Add potatoes.

4. Add chopped onions and olive oil. Mix.

5. Add spices. Mix.

6. Bake in oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour, mixing every 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 301 calories, Fat 10 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 49 g, Fiber 5 g, Sugar 5 g, Protein 6 g, Sodium 70 mg, Calcium 38 mg

Get Excited About Your Lunchtime Salad!

Beet and Goat Cheese Spinach Salad

Salad can sometimes sound like a snooze – shake things up with this plate of greens! Using spinach instead of lettuce pumps up the nutrient content of this salad, since spinach supplies vitamins A,K,C,E and many of the B vitamins, including folate. Also, spinach is a great source of iron and calcium! The sweet taste of beets with goat cheese and the filling protein in the soybeans make this salad extra satisfying! Also, walnuts offer way more than a satisfying crunch to this salad – walnuts are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation. Eat this salad to fuel your body with tons of nutritional goodness!

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Ingredients (serves 1):

2 C spinach

2 medium ready-to-serve beets (skinned, pre-cooked, refrigerated)

1 Tbsp walnuts

2 Tbsp edamame (out of pods, unsalted)

.5 oz chevre (goat cheese), crumbled

1 small cucumber, sliced

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Directions:

1. Place spinach on plate. Add edamame, cucumber slices, walnuts and goat cheese.

2. Dice beets. Add to salad.

3. Combine olive oil and vinegar in small cup. Pour over salad. Serve.

*Bringing this salad to work? No problem! Prevent soggyness by investing in a container that has a separate compartment for salad dressing. Just remember to store your lunch in the fridge!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 259 calories, Fat 16 g, Saturated Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 10 mg, Sodium 155 mg, Carbohydrates 21 g, Fiber 6 g, Sugar 11 g, Protein 12 g, Calcium 189 mg. 

Squash Those Pasta Cravings!

Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Olive Oil

Craving pasta, but wishing you didn’t love the starchy stuff? While whole wheat pasta is fine in moderation, it is understandable to wish you were craving something a little healthier. This is where spaghetti squash comes in- tastes like pasta, looks like pasta, but is actually a winter squash that packs in a ton of nutrition with every bite! Spaghetti squash is rich in beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A. The healthy fat in the olive oil aids in the absorption of this fat-soluble vitamin. Also, spaghetti squash is a rich source or vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium! Make enough for seconds – you’re going to want them!

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Ingredients (serves 5):

1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 lbs)

4 cloves garlic

1 medium zucchini squash

1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

1/2 C grape tomatoes, halved

1 C reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled

2 basil leaves, chopped

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise. Remove pulp. Place on baking sheet (skin facing upward) and bake for 45 mins- 1 hour.

3. After spaghetti squash has been cooking for approximately 30 minutes, dice zucchini and mince garlic.

4. Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet and warm over medium heat. Add zucchini and garlic powder. Cook approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add minced garlic, chopped basil leaves and halved tomatoes to skillet with zucchini. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat.

6. Remove squash from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Pull squash with a fork. It should be easily removed and appear as long, thin, soft strands of spaghetti. If this is not the case, continue to cook squash and resume once squash is finished cooking. Add squash to skillet with vegetables and warm over low-medium heat.

7. Add remaining olive oil, salt and ground black pepper. Add chopped basil leaves to skillet. Cook approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

8. Mix in feta cheese and cook 1-2 minutes. Serve hot.

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 312 calories, Fat 26 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 16 mg, Sodium 578 mg, Carbohydrates 15 mg, Fiber 3 g, Sugar 6 g, Protein 5 g, Calcium 166 mg