Thanks For Giving Me These Holiday Tips!

Thankful for Health

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday – being surrounded by family, friends and food and acknowledging the many things for which we are thankful. While it’s okay to indulge (it is a holiday, after all), it’s important to be thankful for our health, our ability to reach this season, and treat our bodies well so that they can continue to care for us. This year, I have a lot to be thankful for! I’m thankful for my fiancé, who keeps me strong, challenges me and loves me unconditionally. I’m also thankful for the fact that I’ll be gaining an additional family in a few short months, and thankful for my own family who has always supported me, through college and grad school, my initial endeavors as a dietitian, and always playing the role of guinea pig when I want to try out a new recipe! I’m thankful for my new home in Florida, all of my new friends, my old friends who continue to stay close regardless of being miles apart, and the ability to do what I love everyday.

I’m also thankful for my attitude toward food, as I’m aware that it does not come easy to many people, and it didn’t always come easy to me, either. Food should be enjoyed, not villainized, and celebrated for all that it can do for us, and we should aim to choose foods that will provide nutrition, as well as joy. In the midst of casseroles, cookies and pies, it can be difficult to navigate the Thanksgiving table with health in mind. Below are some tips so that you can eat your turkey (and pie), and enjoy it too!

  • Start your day with some physical activity. Most of us consume more calories on Thanksgiving than on an average day, so burning some extra calories will help to offset the caloric intake to come. Also, exercise can allow you to burn some additional calories following your workout, although this amount is often small.
  • Focus on veggies. That may seem difficult on Turkey Day, but there are so many seasonal veggies to choose from right now and they’ll help you to fill up with fiber, water and give you a good dose of vitamins and minerals! Some in-season veggies to consider making the star of the show include Brussels sprouts, kale, winter squash, cauliflower and cabbage. My favorite Brussels sprouts recipe is just as tasty as it is pretty!
  • Turkey is a relatively lean protein, especially if you choose the breast meat (white meat). If you’re a turkey lover, feel free to enjoy the festive protein, keeping in mind that one 3 oz serving of poultry is approximately the size of a deck of cards.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking a glass of water and choosing foods that contain large amounts of water (like fruits and vegetables) can help you to feel more full, which means you may indulge less and keep portions reasonable. Also, if you’re drinking alcohol, make sure to alternate each drink with water and skip any high-sugar mixers.
  • Choose whole grains over refined grains for side dishes. Try a recipe that features farro or quinoa (okay, so quinoa is technically a seed, but it’s consistency and properties are similar to a whole grain) for increased protein and fiber! Farro is my favorite, with a hearty, chewy texture that stands up to sauces and is also great on it’s own with some oil and veggies.
  • Consider serving a veggie-based soup before the meal, such as my pureed roasted cauliflower soup. This seasonal soup tastes creamy and hearty, but it’s relatively low in calories and will fill you up so you don’t overdo it during the main event.
  • Go for an evening stroll with some guests after dinner, which can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and add to your overall step count that day.
  • Don’t be fooled by desserts with a health halo – an avocado brownie is still a brownie, although it is likely to be a better alternative since it will have increased monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Even if you offer some “healthified” dessert options, keep portions in check. Interested in sampling a few desserts because there are so many great options? Take small portions of a few and choose your favorite to possibly indulge in a larger piece. My favorite fall dessert? Pumpkin pie! Enjoy my favorite recipe here. More into chocolate? My chocolate goji bark is always a crowd pleaser!

thanksgiving

Protein-Packed Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie Made With Whole Wheat Crust

Pumpkin pie is essentially the mascot of the month of November – and this recipe will leave all thankful at your Thanksgiving day table! Loaded with beta carotene (which our bodies can convert to vitamin A), protein and fiber, this hearty dessert actually offers up a slice of nutrition! And for about 200 calories per slice, your belly can be thankful, too!

pie

Ingredients (serves 10):

Crust:

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

3/4 C whole wheat flour

1/2 C all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 C canola oil

2 Tbsp 1% milk

3 Tbsp cold water

Pie Filling:

15 oz canned pumpkin puree (about 2 C)

1 large egg

3 large egg whites

1 C dark brown sugar, unpacked

1 Tbsp all purpose flour

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 C 0% plain Greek yogurt

1/4 C 1% milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp honey

Whole wheat crust!

Whole wheat crust!

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients to make the crust in a large mixing bowl (whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, canola oil, 1% milk and cold water). Mix ingredients together with a spoon to gather, then use your hands to knead the dough so that all ingredients are well combined.

2. Spray a 9″ diameter pie pan with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray. Transfer dough ball to center of pie pan and use your hands to spread the dough evenly, bringing the dough up over the sides and edges of the pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and egg whites. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar and eggs from smaller bowl. Make sure to smooth any clumps of brown sugar. Add flour, spices, Greek yogurt, milk, honey and vanilla extract to pumpkin mixture and whisk together until well combined.

4. Set aside the batter to thicken. In the meantime, bake the pie crust in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, until slightly browned. Remove from oven.

5. Fill the pie crust with the pie filling so that the pan is about 3/4 full. There may be extra filling depending on the depth of your pan (you can repurpose this for other treats or mini pies if you’d like!) and bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour, or until slightly browned. You can check for doneness using a toothpick (make sure that the toothpick comes out clean when dipped into the center of the pie).

6. Chill pie in the fridge until cold and set – about 4 hours minimum. It may help to store it covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper to prevent the pie from absorbing odors from the fridge. After you serve the pie, store in the fridge, covered for up to 3-5 days, or freeze in an airtight container or bag. Enjoy!

Yum!

Yum!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving (1 serving is one slice that is 1/10th of the pie)

Calories 208 calories, Total Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 19 mg, Carbohydrates 32 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 6 g, Sodium 217 mg, Calcium 66 mg

Pumpkin and Spice and Everything Nice!

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Oatmeal with Walnuts

This autumn-y oatmeal has been my go-to this month for a quick breakfast before running out the door. I use instant oatmeal (although I am sure it would be tasty using overnight oats, as well) and pumpkin butter for this quick morning meal. Also, just a fun fact: pumpkin butter is not actually butter at all – it is pureed pumpkin, oftentimes mixed with honey and some lemon juice and typically has less than 35 calories per 1 Tbsp serving. That is a lot of flavor for minimal calories! Plus, pumpkin supplies beta carotene, which your body can convert to vitamin A.  This pumpkin-y bowl full of cinnamon spice and heart-healthy walnuts is a seasonal way to start your day off right with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and a tasty spoonful of beta carotene-rich pumpkin!

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Ingredients (serves 1):

1 packet instant oatmeal (*I like Trader Joe’s Oats and Flax or Bob’s Red Mill brand)

*Note: If you are interested in a heartier breakfast and looking for a way to increase calcium intake, you can prepare the oatmeal with milk in place of water! 

1/2 oz unsalted walnut halves (about 7 walnut halves)

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin butter (*Try to look for a brand that isn’t loaded with sugar – I like Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter)

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Cook oatmeal according to directions on package.

2. Add pumpkin butter and cinnamon and stir into oatmeal. Top with walnuts and enjoy!

(This may be the easiest recipe I have ever posted!)

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 231 calories, Total Fat 12 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol o mg, Carbohydrates 27 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 6 g, Sodium 100 mg, Calcium 159 mg

Fall For This Treat: Pumpkin Pancakes!

Pumpkin Pancakes:


In case you couldn’t tell, I’m on a pumpkin kick. That, and I had leftover pumpkin that I could not let go to waste! On a lazy Sunday morning, I decided to make these pancakes with a fall twist. These pumpkin pancakes contain whole wheat flour, rolled oats, 0% fat Greek yogurt and skim milk, so they’re slimmed down and packed with autumn-y goodness. Pumpkin contains beta-carotene, which your body can convert to vitamin A. Also, while pumpkin tastes hearty, each 1/2 C serving contains only 40 calories, 9 g carbohydrates and packs in 5 g of fiber! This autumn superfood is one of my favorite things about fall – now, if only it actually felt like fall outside and were chilly enough to start wearing my boots! Until then, I will just enjoy these pumpkin pancakes!

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Ingredients: (serves 6, makes about 12-15 pancakes depending on how small or large you make them)

1/2 C whole wheat flour

1/2 C all purpose flour

3/4 C skim milk

1/2 C rolled oats

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 C honey

2 Tbsp plain, 0% fat Greek yogurt

dry ingredients

dry ingredients

1/2 C pumpkin puree (canned, or make your own!)

1 large egg

1 egg white (large)

1 tsp cinnamon

dash nutmeg

dash allspice dash salt (about 1/4 tsp or less)

1 Tbsp butter or margarine, whichever you prefer (*note: this is used to cook the pancakes on the heated pan – you can also use a non-stick vegetable oil cooking spray, but I tend to have better results using the butter)

all ingredients whisked together

all ingredients whisked together

Recipe:

1. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl (whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, rolled oats, baking powder, spices)

2. Scramble 1 large egg and 1 large egg white in small, separate bowl. Set aside.

3. Comine all wet ingredients in a separate, medium sized bowl (pumpkin puree, Greek yogurt, milk, honey. Add eggs and stir until well-combined and relatively smooth.

4. Add about 1 tsp butter to pan or griddle and warm over low-medium heat. (note: you will likely need to keep adding more butter every few rounds or so – keep taking from the 1 Tbsp. Also, you may not need to use all of it.)

5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients (you will want to add them to the large bowl!) and whisk all ingredients together until well combined.

almost ready to flip! tip: look for air bubbles - that indicates the pancakes are probably done on the bottom

almost ready to flip! tip: look for air bubbles – that indicates the pancakes are probably done on the bottom

6. Spoon the batter on to the pan or griddle. (*note: approximately 2 large spoonfuls of batter could be used per pancake in order to make silver dollar-sized pancakes. Make sure that batter is spread in a flat circle.  Cook each side approximately 5-10 minutes, or until browned. Continue this until all of the batter is cooked. This recipe will make about 12-15 pancakes, depending on the size of the pancakes and is intended to serve 6 people. These pancakes can be saved in the fridge for 1-2 days or frozen in an air-tight bag or container, with wax paper separating each pancake for easy defrosting.

7. Serve warm and enjoy plain, or with maple syrup, fruit, roasted nuts or any other topping you’d like!

one side, done! just a few more minutes until they're ready to eat!

one side, done! just a few more minutes until they’re ready to eat!

The Goods: What’s Inside? (Nutritional analysis is based on 6 servings, 2 pancakes per serving, dry, for a batter that makes 12 pancakes)

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

Calories 239, Fat 3 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 32 mg, Sodium 173 mg, Carbohydrates 48 g, Fiber 3 g, Sugar 26 g, Protein 7 g, Calcium 152 mg

No-Muffin-Top Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

I know I haven’t written in awhile, but I will make it up to you with these amazing pumpkin muffins that only taste decadent. These muffins are under 150 calories each and are just sweet enough to satisfy that craving, while not being too sweet to have with breakfast. These muffins taste and smell every bit like fall and offer a comfort-food feel with an extra-comforting fact: they are unlikely to give you a muffin top of your own! Whole wheat flour, honey, 0% fat plain Greek yogurt and pumpkin puree slim down these muffins so you can fuel up and feel good about it!

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Ingredients: (yields 24 muffins)

2 C whole wheat flour

1 C all purpose flour

1.5 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

2.5 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp salt

2/3 C 0% fat plain Greek yogurt (I like Fage, it gives the pumpkin batter a fluffy texture)

2 large eggs

1 large egg white (*note: the 3 eggs total can come from 3 eggs using 2 eggs and 1 egg white or from 2 eggs and the equivalent of one egg white from a carton of egg whites)

2 C canned pumpkin puree  (or bake your own!)

1 2/3 C honey (*note: this amount is used to make the batter lightly sweet. If you prefer your muffins to be sweeter, you may want to use 1 3/4 C honey. Just note that this will increase the calorie and sugar content of these muffins)

Wet Batter, Beaten

Wet Batter, Beaten

mousse-like batter, ready to be baked!

mousse-like batter, ready to be baked!

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Add all dry ingredients ( cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda) to a large bowl. Stir with spoon until well combined.

3. Combine pumpkin puree, Greek yogurt and honey in separate, large bowl.

4. Crack 2 eggs into separate, small bowl. Use remaining egg to separate egg white (or, if you’re using a carton of egg whites, pour the equivalent of 1 large egg). Scramble with fork until yolk and white are well combined.

5. Add eggs to wet ingredient mixture (large bowl). Beat approximately 30-45 seconds, until well combined and fluffy.

6. Add half of the dry ingredients into wet mixture and stir. Add remaining dry ingredients and stir until batter is well combined. The batter should appear mousse-like.

oven-ready!

oven-ready!

7. Line muffin tin with muffin/cupcake liners and fill each liner with batter, using a spoon. In order to get a big muffin top, the batter should come close to completely filling the liner.

8. Bake at 325 degrees F for approximately 25-30 minutes. (*note: oven cooking temperatures and times may vary. Make sure that your muffins are cooked by placing a toothpick in each muffin once baked and making sure that the toothpick comes out clean.)

9. Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside? (nutritional analysis is for one muffin)

Calories 147, Fat 1 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 16 mg, Sodium 195 mg, Carbohydrates 33 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein  3 g, Calcium 27 mg

Fresh, out-of-the-oven pumpkin muffins!

Fresh, out-of-the-oven pumpkin muffins!