Posts Tagged: Theresa Albert

Remember the good old days of PB & J?

When we were kids lunches were just peanut butter and jam slapped on bread, a juice box and that was that. Now things are more complicated and you’re probably already sick to death of making your child’s school lunches. With allergies and litter free restrictions and your own kids’ preferences lunches can’t be just a sandwich anymore.  Here are a few brown bag lunch ideas to spruce up the old ho hum ordeal.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Jennifer Chait

Think outside of the bread box. Here are some lunch options that forgo the bread and some school approved fillings:

  • Romaine, Swiss chard, steamed kale leaves or Boston lettuce as wraps
  • Rice paper wraps (they make great day old salad holders)
  • Grilled Portobello mushrooms stuffed with filling of your choice
  • Apple slices stacked with cheddar cheese
  • Use skewers to layer fruits
  • Baby pita used for dipping; layer bean burrito fillings: refried beans, cheese, salsa…in mini containers.
  • Hollowed out cucumber stuffed with tuna
  • Celery filled with cream cheese
  • Red pepper halves hold everything nicely

Jazz up fillings by turning them into salad toppers. Try:

  • Tuna, olives, grapes chopped celery
  • Cooked potatoes, chick peas, curry powder and yogurt
  • Salmon, dill, chopped kale, honey mustard
  • Feta cheese, chopped peppers steamed Brussels sprouts, oregano
  • Frozen spinach, blue cheese, mayo, dried thyme, chopped garlic

Slap this list on the fridge and take a look at it whenever you want to avoid the brownbag burnout.

Here is a healthy recipe for a delicious sandwich that all can enjoy!

 

Baby Kale Caesar Salad Sandwiches

This mixture is equally good cold or grilled. If you want to take it for lunch, keep the salad filling separate until you are ready to enjoy and pre-scoop the buns.  Keep insides and break up onto a cookie sheet, toast in oven and then blend into breadcrumbs. (If you want to go low carb or paleo, simply swap the bread for rice or lettuce wraps!)

Makes: 4     Takes:15 minutes

4 whole grain Kaisers or Rolls

2 boiled eggs

½ cup silken tofu

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp anchovy paste (optional)

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp grainy mustard

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

8 cups baby kale leaves or other hearty greens

Mash boiled eggs with tofu, parmesan, anchovy paste, lemon zest, juice, mustard, vinegar, oil and garlic.  Mix well and toss with kale. Scoop out the centre of each roll. Stuff into bread bowls.

If you wish to have a hot sandwich, add a layer of shaved parmesan and grill on a Panini press or in a skillet, pressing to flatten.

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

Smoothies-Smooth or Stupid Move?

Should you be a smoothie monster? It’s true that you can hide a whole bunch of fruits and vegetables in any blender, even disguising spinach in this trendy drink. But while a few sips of this stuff may be worth a whole serving or two of fruits and vegetables, are they all they are still a healthy food?

It depends upon your goals.  While many weight loss regimes are touting smoothies as the holy grail amongst the myriad of weight loss tips, if you’re using a smoothie diet as your weight loss regime, you may actually be working against yourself.  Most contain 400 + of liquid calories and liquid calories are not processed by the brain as effectively as food that needs to be chewed.  You are made to sit down and work for your fuel, chewing sends the right satiety message to your body and brain.

Another issue with drinking your calories is that even healthy smoothies can be high in sugar.  Many have jumped on the green smoothie as a part of a healthy breakfast but most people put a high serving of fruits in their green drinks to disguise the taste of the veggies. All of that fruit equals sugar-(yes,even if it is all natural and from fruit). And fruit smoothies without veggies, can be high in calories and will spike blood sugar even higher. For healthy smoothie recipes, keep portions small and focus on proteins as well as nutrients from low cal vegetables.  Munch on handful of nuts to engage your brain and help beat the satiety odds, or add them to your smoothie.

If your goal is to smack as much into a kid’s mouth before rushing out the door, then the story is slightly different.  You still want to make sure they are only getting 1 or 2 servings of fruit, but because they can be very high in sugar you also want to focus on protein source.  Whey powder seems to be the most palatable for kids and many brands are now lactose free.  For vegetarian recipes, be sure to choose organic if you are using soy protein otherwise you are likely getting a genetically modified soy. Brown Rice and Pea protein are growing in popularity and are terrific sources too, albeit more expensive. Hemp protein can be gritty and green but it is a very nourishing option. It would be great to rotate your type of protein powder so you don’t get too much of a good thing, just be sure you choose a brand that doesn’t have sugar or other sweeteners since they add empty calories.

Another way to make healthy breakfast smoothies is to sneak in a few leaves of baby spinach, kale or even parsley or mint for some chlorophyll, fibre and phytonutrients. Add cinnamon for its anti-inflammatory properties and plain, unsweetened cocoa powder (great if you need to hide a color- if it looks chocolate, it is more likely to be accepted). Feel free to blend in some yogurt, Greek is best with its high protein count for protein smoothie recipes, but be sure to choose an unsweetened brand.

Here is a list of ingredients to make healthy smoothie recipes. Ask your child to circle their own concoction. You can’t really go wrong with mixing and matching fun and the process gives them some control over the outcome. And you know how I feel about giving the eating power back to the one who will have to manage it for life…right?

Follow these tips and a green smoothie really will be a part of a healthy breakfast. Bottoms up!

Liquid

Protein

Fruit

Veg

Flavourings

Milk Whey powder Berries Spinach Cinnamon
Almond milk Organic soy Banana baby kale Cocoa powder
Rice Milk Pea protein Pineapple parsley Vanilla extract
Greek Yogurt Hemp Protein applesauce carrot juice nutmeg
Coconut water Rice protein Cherries fennel fronds

 

About the Author:

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

Is All Pizza Bad for You?

When thinking about healthy eating one doesn’t necessarily think of pizza, though some are still convinced that it is the ultimate food offering something from all food groups. So does pizza have anything to offer nutritionally? Well unfortunately, any nutrients that you might get from the toppings are cancelled out by the high sodium, high sugar, high fat delivery system. No matter how much we try to count the tomato sauce as a vegetable, and the cheese as protein, most pizza recipes aren’t healthy recipes.  Does that mean you have to avoid pizza forever? Naw…

Don’t avoid pizza – make it healthy!

It is all about the nutritional ratio. H=N/C or Health = nutrients over calories. If you can keep the nutrients high and the calories low, you will indeed have a quintessential kid food that doesn’t derail your efforts at healthy eating.

For pizza delivery try these tips:

  • Thin crust beats thick or deep dish crust
  • Whole grain is only better if it is thin crust, the amount of fibre isn’t worth the extra dough
  • Chicken is the best meat, all other meats are too fatty
  • One cheese is plenty  but if you have to add some, add goat’s cheese, it is lower in fat
  • Add as many vegetables as possible to a veggie pizza; olives, sundried tomatoes and capers count
  • Ask for double the tomato sauce
  • Order double the salad and half the pizza that you think you will need
  • Skip all appetizers, they are never worth the calories

When opting for frozen pizza keep these things in mind:

  • Choose whichever thin crust pizza has the lowest sodium count
  • Avoid all meats other than chicken
  • Spread extra tomato paste on frozen top before baking and sprinkle extra herbs, ground flax or chia seeds
  • Add a shake of grated parmesan to keep your new toppings in place
  • Top with arugula or spinach after you remove from the oven
  • If you just can’t cope without a little meat, choose lean prosciutto into small pieces and add after baking

If you would like a crust dip, consider:

  • Tomato or marinara sauce or another healthy pizza sauce
  • Avoid all creamy or cheesy sauces
  • Salsa is low fat and high flavour nutrient dense dip, it goes with everything

So if you want pizza go for it! By following some of these nutritional tips to enhance pizza recipes you can still make this Italian treat a part of healthy eating.

 

About the Author:

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

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