Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thai Roasted Root Vegetables

Add some color to your plate this week with root vegetables! Bright orange sweet potatoes and carrots, red radishes, purple beets and turnips, parsnips, and rutabagas add a colorful punch of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to your meals. These nutrition all stars are abundant during winter months, and can make a hearty stew, casserole, or delicious side dish.

High in fiber, phytonutrients, Vitamin C, beta-carotene (which makes Vitamin A), and numerous beneficial minerals, these foods are a great addition to any meal. Try this Delicious Dietitian Thai Roasted Root Vegetable Recipe for a easy, healthy, great tasting side dish.

Thai Roasted Root Vegetables

*May use any combination of root vegetables. For best results, chop vegetables to similar sizes, about 1-2 inches

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.

2 small sweet potatoes
1 bunch parsnips
1 bunch radishes
1 rutabega
1 bunch carrots
1 large red onion
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp Delicious Dietitian Thai Spice Blend
2 cloves garlic, minced

In a large bowl, add chopped vegetables and olive oil. Toss to coat well. Add spice blend and garlic, toss to coat evenly. Spread vegetable mixture onto baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes, or until fork tender. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How much is too much?

We've all heard the statistics that tell us that our portion sizes are growing. We find portions growing in grocery stores, where the number of larger sizes has increased 10-fold between 1970 and 2000, in restaurants where the jumbo-sized portions are consistently 250% larger than the regular portion, and even in our own kitchens, where the sizes of plates, bowls and glasses have steadily increased since the 1960s.

As the market for food purchased from restaurants has expanded since the 60s and 70s, the portions have expanded to give the customer a sense of "added value". This trend has expanded into grocery stores and homes, which leads us to the biggest problem for people trying to lose or maintain weight: even those people who consciously try to monitor their intake tend to over eat when served large portions.

Large serving sizes, large packages, and large plates and bowls all inhibit our sense of what an appropriate serving size should be, and in fact, suggest that it is appropriate to eat a larger serving. In a word, these change what amount is "normal" to eat.

So how can we change our perception of normal? Buy snacks in smaller sizes or create single- portion servings from the large packages. Keep large packages out of sight. When dining out, split an entree, order an appetizer instead of an entrée, or have half the dinner packed to go. In your kitchen, replace large tableware with smaller plates, bowls, and glasses and use smaller serving bowls and serving spoons. Keep in mind, the more food that you see, the more food you will eat!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Smart Lunch

As we all get back into our routines after the holidays, take a look at some habits that may be wreaking havoc on your health. One habit that many people fall into is eating lunch out. Whether coworkers suggest heading to a nearby restaurant, you need a change of scenery from the office, or you're in a hurry and fast food calls your name, restaurant meals are likely sabotaging your good intentions of eating healthfully.

Many restaurant meals can pack in as many as 2,000 calories (more than most people's daily needs) and 4,000 mg of sodium (more than twice the recommended intake)! Not to mention the price; many meals cost $15 or more. If you do this several times a week, the pounds begin to add up quickly, and your bank account dwindles.

Instead of grabbing a menu, brown bag your lunch several times per week. To stay satisfied, focus on packing complex carbohydrates like whole grains and fruits and lean meats like tuna, chicken, or turkey. These foods will keep your energy levels up, and prevent that mid-afternoon energy drain.

To keep from getting bored, try new foods. For example, instead of plain bread, make a sandwich on a pita or mini-bagel. Whole grain crackers like Triscuits offer crunch without the fat and calories of potato chips. Pack a piece of fruit for a hint of sweetness.

If it's a change of scenery you crave, take your lunch to go. Get out of your office and find a nice spot to eat. Take a quick walk, get some fresh air and enjoy the smart decision you have made. If you were to cut out three restaurant lunches each week, in a year you will have saved yourself from consuming thousands of extra calories and saved $2,340!