Main Nutritious Intent Website

Friday, January 29, 2016

Gear Up for a Better Game-Day Spread

With Super Bowl parties just around the corner, to say nothing of routine get-togethers with friends, chips are a frequent flyer of almost every party.  What goes on that chip is the key to boosting the nutrition of your buffet table.

Snacking isn’t about sneaking.  Be bold and make snack time more delicious and nutritious with an extra serving of veggies to boot!

When choosing a chip, here are a few things to consider:
1. One thing to watch for to keep nutrition in mind when selecting a chip is the length of the ingredient label.  The shorter the list, the closer it is to whole, real foods it will be.  Nothing beats a simple, short, and pronounceable food label. 

2. Also, watch the sodium level of your “edible spoon” and then choose your dip wisely since the chip is only half of the nutrition picture here. 
Since most of us fall short on veggie and fiber intake, here are some tips to keep your dips delicious and nutritious:
When in doubt choose beans.  Bean dips, hummus and salsas full of black beans are just a few examples.  Beans always bring more fiber, folate and iron to the table. 
Makeover an old favorite.  Southwestern Layered Bean dip is loaded not only with beans, but veggies and is a fresher more nutritious take on the seven layered dip of your childhood. 
Try a middle-eastern version of a seven layer dip hummus, greek yogurt, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta and parsley and dill. middle eastern layered dip
Add in extra veggies or fruits.  If your creamy artichoke dip is already lightened, add in some chopped spinach or kale, if your pico de gallo is already bursting with veggies – add in some mango or pineapple. 

If you make sure that your edible spoons are moving more delicious fruits, veggies and fiber to your mouth, then regardless of the final score, you're bound to have a win!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Making the Dairy Decision

There’s lots more to the dairy aisle than just cow’s milk these days and it might be a bit baffling when you’re deciding when to choose which milk alternative. 

Regular Cow’s milk: Nutritional gold standard.  It is the cheapest source of high quality protein, calcium and vitamin D.

Lactose-free: next best option nutritionally if you are lactose intolerant.  Only the lactose is removed, so you still get lots of the protein, calcium and vitamin D of regular milk.  Flavor is definitely different from traditional milk and for that reason, some people go for other milk alternatives. 

Soy milk: Next best option nutritionally.  Highest amount of protein when it comes to milk alternatives.  Make sure that your choice has a good amount of calcium and vitamin D.  Often, it is flavored and contains added sweeteners.  Unsweetened soy milk may not be as palatable.

Almond milk: This option has thicker texture and mild flavor that makes it quite popular.   As will most substitutes, calcium and vitamin D are added to make them comparable to cow’s milk.  It contains significantly less protein than soy or cow’s milk and contains thickeners.

Cashew milk:  Another nut-based milk showing up in the dairy case to give almond milk some competition.  Similar in nutrient profile to almond milk – low in protein but fortified with calcium and vitamin D.  Unsweetened, it has very little natural sugars, so these unsweetened versions won’t spike blood sugar.  Cashew milk does contain more vitamin E than other milks. 

Coconut milk:  Again, not a good source of protein and has added calcium and vitamin D.  Coconut milk has a tropical note and a different type of thick texture.  This could work for those with specific allergies that preclude the other options.

Rice milk: Very little natural nutrition, although it is fortified like the rest.  However, it has a very water texture that takes some getting used to.  This substitute may be the only one tolerated by those with severe, multiple allergies to soy, nuts, milk, etc. 

When it comes down to it, the decision is generally a choice based on price and taste.  Any one of these can provide a good source of calcium and Vitamin D, but for the whole nutritional package, nothing beats good old cow’s milk. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Resolve to Add Something Healthy to Your Diet

Apples – Lots of varieties to keep you from getting bored; always available and generally reasonably priced.
Nutrient trivia – Apple eaters have significantly lower rates of heart disease and metabolic syndrome.  Apples also contain the flavonol quercetin which aids in endurance exercise by making more oxygen available to the lungs.
Pro tip - For braces, spiral cut them - makes it more fun for kids and saves on the orthodontia visits. To keep apples from browning, dip in a bowl full of water with a little lemon juice.

Bananas - One of the least expensive and most consistent fruit in a store. Often one banana provides 2 servings of fruits, helping you reach that 7-9 serving/day goal
Nutrient trivia - contain 1/3 of your vitamin B6 needs. B6 is involved in maintaining skin and the nervous system, as well as the production of serotonin. Mild deficiency of B6 is common - especially in children and elderly.
Pro tip - To avoid having to seek out someone with a sturdy manicure to start your banana, or even worse, making a mush of the top inch or two, peel from the bottom or blossom end.

Potatoes - Sweet, red or russet. Inexpensive, bang for your buck
Nutrient trivia – full of fiber, vitamins and potassium – potatoes are a simple backdrop for a meatless meal.
Pro tip - If family dinner consists of more than 2 people, crock pot your baked potatoes. Make a few extra - they make great lunch leftovers or are perfect for a quick potato soup later in the week. 

Baby or microgreens - Readily available in stores, but super easy to grow either in your garden from March to October, or in a windowsill year-round. Salad varieties are endless so a goal of 4-5 salads a week is far from mundane and repetitive not to mention ideal sandwich toppers.
Nutrient trivia – the younger greens contain higher quantities of vitamins and minerals than mature greens. Microgreens contain 40 times more than their full grown counterparts. 
Pro tip - Rinse under running water and spin or gently blot dry. Keep in a zip top bag or plastic container with a paper towel to absorb any moisture and the will stay good in your fridge for a week or more.

Popcorn - Let's face it, munchies hit and we crave a crunchy salty snack. Popcorn is a whole grain, contains fiber and a serving size is 3 cups popped.  Air popped and lightly seasoned is ideal, but if you do choose prepackaged microwave popcorn, go with the 100 calorie, mini bags.
Nutrient trivia – American’s ate 3 times more popcorn than usual during WWII due to rationing.  With more than 3 grams of both fiber and protein – it makes a healthy snack choice.
Pro tip - A closed handful of kernels in a brown lunch bag, fold over the top and microwave for 2 minutes. Lightly sprinkle to season, shake and enjoy for a fraction of the cost, calories and sodium