An Ongoing Feature of Better-for-You Tips, Tricks & Recipes
5 Healthy Holiday Ingredient Swaps
November 25, 2015
For many, the holiday season is chock full of parties, comfort foods and treats that are great for the taste buds but maybe not-so-great for the body. But no need to stress! With a few simple tweaks to your favorite recipes, youll have a tasty alternative that fuels your body with oh-so-good-for-you nutrients that wont leave you feeling deprived!
Use Dates or Bananas in Place of Sugar
Dates and bananas are naturally sweet and delicious so they make a great sugar substitute in almost any baked goods recipe. Theyre also high in vitamins and minerals, plus their complex sugar constitution makes them an energetic food that helps us want to move more and boost our metabolism.
Date swap out recipe: Puree 1 cup of dates with - 1 cup hot water until a thick paste is made. Substitute is a 1:1 ratio.
Banana swap out recipe: Combine 1 cup mashed overripe banana with a few tablespoons of water puree bananas while adding water as necessary to get a smooth consistency. Substitute is a 1:1 ratio.
Pecan-date pie crust recipe:
1 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
6 pitted Medjool dates
1 tbs. unsweetened almond milk (any non-dairy milk will work)
Preheat oven to 375. Place the oats, pecans and salt in a food processor and blend until ground, about 40 seconds.
Add the dates and blend until mixtures starts to clump together.
Add almond milk and blend until combined.
Press crust into a 9 pie plate.
Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven.
Fill with desired pie filling and bake as instructed.
Use Ghee Instead of Butter
Ghee is clarified butter, or the substance you get when you remove water and milk solids from butter leaving pure butterfat. It has a long history in Indian culture and is known for its extremely high quality and health remedies!
When consumed in moderation, ghee can decrease cholesterol levels, where butter and margarine products are proven to increase cholesterol levels aiding in heart disease. Ghee also fights inflammation and is good to use for lactose or casein-intolerant individuals.
Ghee has a delicious flavor similar to butter, but much more nutty. Because of its intense flavor, a lot of people find themselves not needing to use as much as they would butter in cooking!
Get Familiar with Flaxseed Instead of Eggs
While eggs are not bad for your health, flaxseed is a great way to mix things up in the kitchen and add variety to your diet. Its also great to use as a vegetarian friendly baking method! It acts the same way an egg does in baking, and very minimally affects the flavor.
Flaxseed has no cholesterol, is very high in dietary fiber and healthy (and hard to find!) omega 3 fats. For each egg, combine 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed (measure after grinding) with 3 tablespoons of water. Stir well, and place in the fridge to set for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, the result should be a sticky egg-like substitute.
Try using this swap in any cookie or bread recipe. Heres a great pumpkin bread recipe I use incorporating flax eggs.
Say Hello to Greek Yogurt or Silken Tofu for Cream/ Sour Cream
Both plain Greek yogurt and pureed silken tofu provide a rich and creamy healthy alternative to cream or sour cream in a recipe.
Sour Cream is high in saturated fat and has almost no nutritional value. Replaced with plain Greek yogurt, you will get less calories, better for you fats and the great probiotic effects that yogurt hosts! Silken tofu is low in fat and adds the extra benefit of cholesterol-reducing plant protein and antioxidants. It makes a great option for vegetarian cooking!
Try swapping yogurt for sour cream in Potato Latkes or holiday dips! Substitute is a 1:1 ratio (or to taste). Use 2% or Fat Free Greek yogurt for a lower fat version.
Use Coconut Oil in Place of Vegetable Oil
Coconut oil is one of my favorites to use in place of other oils or butter in cooking and baking and its actually considered a Super Food! It has powerful health benefits such as improving cholesterol, boosting metabolism slightly and increasing feelings of fullness compared to other fats. Plus, its great for your skin.
It does have a very subtle coconut flavor when used, but not enough to affect the taste of your dish if anything, I find that it enhances flavor and its best used in stir-fries and soups or stews.
It is also great to cook veggies with and is delicious when drizzled over popcorn. Or, try using it in your favorite holiday sweet potato dishes!
Holiday treats don't have to derail your health and fitness goals! Try stocking your pantry with some of these ingredients so the next time a craving hits, you can indulge without feeling guilty afterwards.
How are you making the holidays healthier? Share with us using #madgreens!
Fit At The Office In Three Easy Steps
November 4, 2015
Theres no question about it, moving our bodies is crucial for health. But many Americans spend an average of 12-16 hours sitting every day between driving to and from the office, sitting at work, and other sedentary tasks.
Call me bold, but I consider sitting to be the new smoking. Like smoking, a sedentary lifestyle significantly increases the risk of Heart Disease and Cancer. And, just like smoking, once youve developed the habit, it's hard to reverse.
One way to kick the habit is squeezing in physical activity at the place many of us spend a majority of our days at the office. So lets bring the gym to the job in three easy steps!
Have a Walking Meeting
Getting away from your desk area will give you a fresh perspective and open your mind to new ideas. Walking meetings also increase energy, which increases productivity. Pitch the idea to your co-workers and see if you can get a group together. Your health, and your colleagues will thank you.
Take the Stairs
Walking offers a wide array of health benefits including body fat reduction, digestion support, lowering blood pressure after meals, reducing stress, boosting immune function and increasing energy.
Coach Katis Quick Stair Workout:
Walk or jog up stairs and walk or jog down, repeating for a total of 10 minutes. Mix up the intervals by doing lunges up the stairs and skipping a step to lunge on the second stair.
Incorporate Your Office Environment
Your desk can be used for push-ups, the hallway to the printer can be used for lunges, your chair can be used for tricep dips and that wall outside the break room can be used for wall sits. Get creative! Whatever you pick, do each exercise for 30 seconds, and then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat the sequence twice for a 4 minute workout or four times to make it an 8 minute workout.
To help you get into the habit of being active throughout the day, try setting a timer on your phone to prompt you each hour or two.
Bottom line: Dabbling movement into your day especially at the office can be easy and fun! Switch your mindset from have to to I will do what I can and youll start to feel the mental and physical benefits in no time.
How are you incorporating fitness into your day? Share with us using #madgreens!
Three Steps to Building a Better Salad
September 25, 2015
Making a salad that is well balanced, wholesome and tasty can take a bit of practice, but with simple guidelines in place, its easy to amp up your salads and make them meals you cant wait to dig into. I have three must-have steps that'll ensure a balanced, wholesome and tasty salad just for you:
Standalone ingredients like hummus, lemon juice or salsa can all make great dressings and you probably already have them in your kitchen!
Try making your own with on-hand ingredients like olive oil, honey and avocado. Get creative by mixing everything to taste instead of using a recipe. Or, try dressings with unique, bold flavors to ensure that even a small amount will pack a flavor punch.
Give your base some taste:
When it comes to greens, the more color the better so try spinach, kale, arugula, chard, bibb lettuce and bok choy to boost flavor and nutrition while adding texture and interest to your salad. Don't forget to spice it up by sprinkling fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley or chives on your greens is another easy way to add great flavor and freshness.
Get in touch with your emotions:
Play to your mood when choosing salad ingredients. Are you feeling like something light and refreshing or perhaps something more earthy and substantial? Light and uplifting ingredients include: Apples, avocado, beets, carrots and citrus fruits. Earthy and substantial ingredients include: White beans, bleu or goat cheese, meats and nuts like almonds or peanuts. Or, maybe you have mixed emotions? Get creative and mix from the different categories to help satisfy your appetite.
Avoid dressing pitfalls:
If buying bottled dressing at the store, look in the refrigerated section to assure freshness and avoid recipes with too much added sugar or ingredients that you cant pronounce.
Ingredients like hummus, lemon or lime-juice, salsa, guacamole or hot sauce can all make great dressings and you probably already have them in your kitchen.
Make your own with ingredients you already have in your pantry such as olive oil, honey and avocado. Get creative by mixing everything to taste instead of using a recipe.
From giving your base some taste, playing to your emotions and avoding dressing pitfalls, following these three steps will result in an awesome salad you'll want to build again and again.
Homemade Dressing Suggestions
(Remember, try to mix everything to taste instead of using a recipe!)
Greek yogurt, olive oil, white wine vinaigrette, poppy seeds and honey = creamy poppy seed vinaigrette!
Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, a dash of white wine vinaigrette, a dash of honey, salt and pepper = balsamic vinaigrette!
Avocado, olive oil, Greek yogurt, cilantro, hot sauce, salt and pepper = creamy avocado dressing!
Have tips of your own? Share with me on social media using #MADGreens.
Ten Clever Ways To Get Your Vegetables
September 4, 2015
The standard American diet is severely lacking in vegetables with about 10% of U.S. adults eating the recommended 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day. This means many of us are missing out on the huge health advantages that veggies give to our bodies. So, how do you incorporate more veggies into your daily routine in a way that actually tastes good? Its easy!
Replace at least some of your starches with veggies of similar texture and type, like quinoa instead of pasta or cauliflower instead of rice. (I've included a great recipe below to get you started!)
Prep your veggies in advance to make adding them to meals throughout the week easier.
Use spices, herbs or lemon on your veggies to boost flavor.
Start every meal with a salad or vegetable soup to squeeze in extra greens before the main course. (This will also help fill you up with healthier fare.)
Double or triple the amount of veggies you use on your sandwiches.
Have sliced carrots, celery and bell peppers on hand in case of pesky snack attacks.
Drink your vegetables through veggie juices and smoothies. (Juices are a great way to consume a large amount of greens in one sitting.)
You can add vegetables to more than just eggs! Try toast with kale and avocado or sauteed mushrooms.
Mix up your salads by going beyond the more traditional ingredients like tomatoes or onions. Throw on some nuts, seeds or beans to keep things interesting.
Join a CSA or have a box of vegetables delivered each week. Consistent, frequent access to veggies means you'll be more likely to eat them.
There you have it! Ten fun, simple steps to get your greens. Have tips of your own? Share with me on social media using #MADGreens.
Cauliflower Rice Recipe
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Organic Coconut Oil
c. Yellow Onion, chopped
1 tsp Salt and Pepper
Rinse cauliflower under cool water and pat dry.
Roughly chop cauliflower into pieces.
Using a food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it resembles rice, or to desired texture.
Heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Saut the onion and garlic for 34 minutes, or until the onion is relatively translucent.
Add in the cauliflower rice and continue to saut for 45 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Have You Had Your Green Juice Today?
August 19, 2015
Even if you dont always have the time to eat healthy, juicing is an easy way to get your body some much-needed vitamins and nutrients.
Here are five reasons why juicing should be a part of your daily routine:
Youll feel energized and light as a feather in the mornings! Juice is a great supplier of all natural, good for you energy.
Juicing will leave your skin with all natural glow because of its host of detoxifying powers.
Your digestion for the day will be set and solid. No more bloating or gassiness!
Juicing on a regular basis has led to some decreased caffeine consumption you just dont need it!
Your mood will be on the up and up! The antioxidants and high folate content found in fruits and vegetables have been found to be a natural anti-depressant.
Sound appealing? A good place to start is investing in a good juicer I use the Breville Elite. Its a great quality juicer for the price, and it breezes through my veggies in a snap! Just be sure to take the time to clean your juicer after every use. I also recommend utilizing Costco/Sams Club! They are great places to bulk buy and have organic options galore (try to aim for organic when possible just keep in mind the Dirty Dozen). And finally, here's a great Popeye-inspired recipe to get you started:
The Mean Green Machine
Serving Size: 10-12 oz.
1 bunch chard, kale or spinach
1 in. piece of ginger (adjust the amount to your liking)
Drink up and cheers to your health!
About Coach Kati
Kati Kenfield is a certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. She specializes in corporate wellness programs but also offers individualized health and nutrition coaching for men and women. More importantly, she is a Colorado native who loves living life to the fullest and feeling great! Find out more at timetoliveitup.com.
Pictured: Coach Kati Kenfield doing what she loves best: being active!
Guest Blogger Disclaimer:The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed.