Wednesday, May 27, 2015

In the News: Increasing Fiber Can Lower Diabetes Risk!



I have posted about Fiber a few times as part my "In the News" series, namely as it relates to reducing cardiovascular risk as well as lowering overall mortality, and now comes  more interesting research to take notice of....looking at the relationship fiber intake and reduction Type 2 Diabetes!


In the article, published in Diabetologia, the authors evaluated the association between intake of dietary fiber and Type 2 diabetes using data from the the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-InterAct study and in a meta-analysis of prospective studies.  The EPIC-InterAct study is the world's largest study of new-onset type 2 diabetes, and is coordinated by the MRC Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge University. EPIC-InterAct includes 12,403 verified incident cases of type 2 diabetes. The results revealed that in the (EPIC)-InterAct study, 
cereal fiber had the strongest inverse association- those with the highest levels of cereal and vegetable fiber consumption had a 19% and 16% lower risk of developing diabetes respectively, compared with those with the lowest consumption of these types of fiber. Fruit fiber, however, was not associated with a reduction in diabetes risk. Cereals accounted for 38% of the total fiber intake, and were the main source of fiber in all the countries involved in the study, except France, where vegetables were the main source.
In addition, the meta-analysis involved pooled the data from this EPIC-InterAct study with those from 18 other independent studies (eight in the United States, four in Europe, three in Australia, and three in Asia). It included over 41,000 new-onset cases of type 2 diabetes and found that the risk of diabetes fell by 9% for each 10g/day increase in total fiber intake, and by 25% for each 10g/day increase in cereal fiber intake. They did not find a statistically significant relationship between increasing either fruit or vegetable fiber and reducing diabetes risk.
So the authors concluded that adults who have higher fiber diets, namely those high in cereal fiber, may have a lower risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. They hypothesized that potential mechanisms for this decreased risk could include increased satiety, prolonged release of hormonal signals, slowed down nutrient absorption, or altered fermentation in the large intestine. All these mechanisms could lead to a lower BMI and reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition to keeping weight down, dietary fiber may also affect diabetes risk by other mechanisms such as improving control of blood sugar and decreasing insulin peaks after meals, and increasing the body's insulin sensitivity.
This is exciting research that adds to the pile of already substantial evidence supporting dietary fiber's beneficial impact on health!


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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Recipe ReDux Post # 34 Chocolate Chip Pancakes






May’s Recipe ReDux is “DIY Kitchen Essentials”, meaning we were encouraged to share our favorite from scratch  “kitchen staple” recipes we make to have on hand, instead of purchasing them from the store.  Well I have to say one of the biggies for me is PANCAKES!  Ever since I developed this base recipe a few years back, I have not bought frozen pancakes, or even a mix, since.  I have come up with so many variations of this whole grain, gluten free pancake, and one of our current favorites is of course…chocolate chip!! These pancakes taste like soft, warm chocolate chip cookies and they really don’t need butter and syrup (though you certainly can add if you wish).  They ARE quite tasty with a dusting of powdered sugar, I must admit!  I often will make a batch or two to keep some in the fridge or freezer for quick breakfasts (that still have that special touch) when time is short.  I hope you will try them and also check out the rest of the key staple recipes developed by the awesomeRecipe ReDux group.  Happy breakfast to you!
Ingredients:

1 cup oat flour (if you are on a gluten free diet use a brand such as Bob’s Red Mill or you can make your own to by grinding gluten free oats in food processor)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup egg whites
1 cup nonfat milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup mini chocolate chips


Directions:

In a small bowl combine the baking powder, flour and brown sugar together. To a larger bowl add the egg whites, vanilla and milk and whisk together. Then slowly whisk in the flour mixture until a smooth, thin batter is formed. Stir in the chocolate chips. Let stand for a 10-15 minutes. Add ¼ cup (for 1 pancake) to a non stick skillet, or one coated with cooking spray and heat on high heat for 1-2 minutes each side. Repeat with ¼ cup mixture 5 more times for a total of six small pancakes.  (Note: if you make this ahead of time and keep in the fridge it will thicken up quite a bit, so you can whisk in a little milk before cooking to thin out if desired.)

Makes 6 pancakes

Serving size: 1 pancake  Calories 130 Protein 3 g Carb 20 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 5 g Fat 4 g Saturated fat  1.5 g Sodium 50 mg

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Gabby’s Eats: Super Easy Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken





Gabby is always intrigued when I use the slow cooker and loves to peek in and see what ingredients I am placing in there to start.  She also likes tasting the end results and is quite impressed that, if done the right way, the “set it and forget it” crock pot cooking motto really rings true and works.  We haven’t made a whole lot of main dishes together yet so I thought doing a basic recipe using the slow cooker would be a fun way to start.  Gabby loves tacos AND I have been wanting to develop a simple salsa chicken recipe so it seemed like the perfect thing to create together.  All we had to do was  throw in a few pounds of chicken breast, our favorite mild jarred salsa and a couple of yummy spices and it all came together deliciously.  In just a few hours we had flavorful and moist shredded chicken to use in tacos, on salad, in sandwiches or even in omelets and it was so easy to make!

Ingredients:
3 pounds chicken breasts
32 ounces jarred salsa ( we just used two 16 ounce jars of Sprout’s mild brand)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Add all the ingredients to large slow cooker and cook on low for 4.5 hours. Break up chicken with fork to shred it and then cook for another 30 minutes.
Makes 10 cups, 10 servings 


Serving size  1 cup   Calories  190 Protein 29  g Carb  9 g Fiber  0 g Sugars 3  g Fat 3.5   g Saturated fat  1 g Sodium 540 mg
Gabby's Shot:

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Honey Roasted Peanut Cake




A yummy snack cake for those who love the combo of salty and sweet.

Ingredients:

½ heaping cup creamy or peanut butter (I used PB and Co Creamy) 
½ cup honey
1 cup (packed) mashed over ripe banana
½ cup egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1.5 cup oats (old fashioned, not quick, *use a gluten-free oats such as Bob's Red Mill if you are on a gluten-free diet)
3 tablespoons crushed honey roasted peanuts
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the peanut butter, honey, banana, vanilla, baking powder, salt and egg whites to a medium bowl and mix well.  Stir in the oats and add batter to a 8 x 8 inch pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the crushed peanuts on top and bake for 30-35 minutes until set and lightly browned on the edges. Cut into squares and serve. 

Note : These bars are very moist, almost cake like, and can be a bit crumbly. So you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge to keep longer and pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds or so to warm them up for a nice treat!

Makes 9 squares


Serving size: 1 large square 1/9th of recipe Calories 240 Protein 7 g Carb 35 g Fiber 3 g Sugars 19 g Fat 9 g Saturated fat  1.5 g Sodium 170 mg

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

In the News: Having a Healthy Snack (Like An Apple!) Prior To Grocery Shopping Actually Leads to Better Food Choices



Ever heard the saying "never go food shopping hungry"?  Well a recent study has supported this and even gone beyond to show that having the right kind of snack beforehand is a VERY good idea. The study, published in the Journal of Psychology and Marketing, investigated whether having a healthy snack,  namely an apple, prior to shopping in the store or online, would lead to better food choices.

Researchers from Cornell University  found that when study participants ate an apple sample prior to food shopping (in store and online), they purchased 25% more fruits and vegetables in comparison to those who ate a cookie.

The results led them to recommend having a small healthy snack, such as fruit, before going shopping which can help decrease hunger and positively influence food choices. Maybe supermarkets should even offer healthy food samples to customers arriving too?

I think this was a great study and it's conclusion offers a simple, easy suggestion to help others take a step towards making healthy food choices.

Read a summary of the research HERE and the study abstract  HERE !!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Recipe Redux Post # 33 Peanut Butter Pretzel White Chocolate Chip Protein Bars



April’s Recipe ReDux is Spring Cleaning! Our instructions were to “go through your pantry, cupboards, freezer, or fridge; what ‘treasures’ have you found? Pick an ingredient/spice/condiment that’s been hanging out for a while and give it the attention it needs. Share a healthy recipe made using your new-found pantry prize”.  Well... perfect timing,  I thought when I read this earlier in the month because my overstocked, haphazard pantry was long overdue for some cleaning and reorganizing and this challenge was just the swift kick I needed to dive in and get to work. So that’s just what I did.  I pulled everything off the shelves, cleaned and scrubbed the cupboards and then replaced everything with a better, more user friendly approach in mind, checking expiration dates as I re-stocked.  I was sad to see that there were quite a few things past their prime that had to say "goodbye pantry, hello garbage" but luckily the majority of things made it back.  One of the things that barely survived was a bag of glutino gluten-free pretzels that I must have shoved in the back months ago and forgotten about.  It was a few months from expiration and I decided this was just the thing to work with for my ReDux recipe. There was also a bag of white chocolate chips that I found and wanted to use because these lighter morsels have taken a back seat in my recipes lately since dark chocolate has been my chip of choice in most of my sweet treats recently.  White chocolate and pretzels go together like….. (pretty much anything!) and because I am a protein bar afficiando this seemed like an open invitation to pair them and go for it.  I used peanut butter as a base and the three flavors together were divine! I sincerely thank Recipe ReDux for giving me the incentive to spruce up my pantry and come up with this yummy recipe while I was at it.  I  hope you will try and also check out all the other delicious "Spring Cleaning" creations from the talented Recipe ReDux folks.

Ingredients:

½ cup creamy or crunchy natural peanut butter (I used PB and Co)
¼ cup pure maple syrup 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1/2 cup oats (old fashioned, not quick, use a gluten-free oats such as Bob's Red Mill if you are on a gluten-free diet)
1.5 scoops of protein powder, preferably unflavored (the average scoop is about 4 tablespoons or ¼ cup, 25-30 Grams, so 1.5 scoops would be approx 6 tablespoons) *
¼ cup of crushed pretzels (use a gluten- free brand such as Glutino if you are on a gluten-free diet)
4 tablespoons white chocolate chips
a dash or two of salt (optional, especially if using unsalted PB)
Wax or parchment paper

Directions:

In a medium sized bowl, combine the maple syrup, vanilla, salt and peanut butter and mix well.  Stir in the oats, protein powder, pretzel bits and white chocolate chips and mix some more. Press mixture into an 8 by 8 inch pan. (Lining the pan with a large rectangular piece of parchment paper, placing the mixture on one side and then folding the paper over to press down works nicely since the dough is so sticky.)  Chill in the fridge for an hour or more (if you can wait that long!) and cut into 8 bars and serve. Wrapping the individual bars in wax paper and storing in baggies is great for convenience.  Store in the fridge.  These bars also freeze well!


Makes 8 bars

Serving size: 1/8th of recipe  Calories 200  Protein  10 g Carb 17 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 9 g Fat 10 g Saturated fat  2 g Sodium  125 mg

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gabby's Eats: Apple Cinnamon Pancakes



Gabby loves apples.  She has been keen on the fruit ever since she was a baby, having countless sessions of gobbling down applesauce happily in her high chair. On the occasional grocery store trip that I take her with me (note that I usually shop solo while she is at school) Gabby will gravitate towards the fruit section and really enjoys picking out different varieties of apples to eat at home. She recently lost her first tooth after biting into an apple so they will forever have an important place in her food and life history! 


I was not surprised that apple was her flavor of choice when we decided to make pancake batter together one night to have ready for the morning.  We went with mommy’s usual base recipe that has worked so well over the years and then added small chunks of fresh apple to the batter, partnering them nicely with some cinnamon.  I peeled the apples and Gabby enjoyed chopping them with her age appropriate knife.  She enjoyed mixing up all the ingredients for the batter as well. 


The outcome the next morning was home run delicious! These almost taste like apple pie but in pancake form. This apple pancake has earned a top spot in our collection of home made pancake recipes and I have Gabby to thank for it!


Ingredients:

1 cup oat flour (if you are on a gluten free diet use a brand such as Bob’s Red Mill or you can make your own to by grinding gluten free oats in food processor)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ cup egg whites
1 cup nonfat milk (we used unsweetened almond milk)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup peeled chopped apples


Directions: 

In a small bowl combine the baking powder, flour, cinnamon and brown sugar together. To a larger bowl add the egg whites and milk and whisk together. Then slowly whisk in the flour mixture until a smooth, thin batter is formed. Stir in the apples. Let stand for a 20-30 minutes (or overnight in sealed container) in the fridge to thicken. Add ¼ cup (for 1 pancake) to a non stick skillet, or one coated with cooking spray and heat on high for 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned on each side. Repeat with ¼ cup mixture 7 more times for a total of six small pancakes.  (Note: if you make this ahead of time and keep in the fridge it will thicken up quite a bit, so you can whisk in a little milk before cooking to thin out if desired.)
Makes 7 pancakes, six servings


Serving size: 1 pancake Calories 80 Protein 2 g Carb 14 g  Fiber 2 g Sugars 4 g Fat 1.5  g Saturated fat 0  g Sodium 140  mg

Gabby's Shot:

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