Apple Nachos

Autumn is upon us and it’s my FAVOURITE time of the year.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE apple picking with my family.
I was browsing the internet to find some delicious snack recipes for my clients, and I found this one that I thought maybe you all would enjoy.

It’s a healthy spin on Nachos.  It’s perfect as well if you’re following a Paleo lifestyle.
Check it out below!
I’m definitely going to try it out.  I found this on the Paleo Grubs website.

nachos

Ingredients

• Apples
• Fresh lemon juice
• Almond butter
• Chocolate chips
• Unsweetened shredded coconut
• Sliced almonds

Instructions

1. Slice apples and toss with the lemon juice in a large bowl
2. Arrange the apples in a plate and drizzle with almond butter. You can use a pastry/piping bag or a ziploc bag to drizzle the almond butter.
3. Sprinkle with shredded coconut, chocolate chips and sliced almonds

Enjoy!! I know I will!

Danielle

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Sweet Heat Shrimp & Pineapple Skewers

Good morning!
While browsing the internet this morning for some new recipes I can try at home – I found this one that I know my husband will love, so I thought I’d share!

I found it from the Hungry Girl website.

Sweet Heat Shrimp & Pineapple Skewers

Hungry Girl's Sweet Heat Shrimp & Pineapple Skewers

Ingredients:
1/2 cup pineapple juice You don’t need added sugar
1 tbsp. Sriracha 
1 tsp. Chopped garlic
1 tsp. Chopped ginger
1 tsp. Honey
10 oz. (about 22) raw large shrimp, peeled, tails removed, deveined
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks 

Directions:
In a wide bowl, combine all ingredients except shrimp and pineapple. Mix until uniform.
Add shrimp, and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate to marinate for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, if using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning.
Alternately thread shrimp and pineapple onto four skewers. Discard excess marinade.

Bring a grill sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Grill kebabs for 3 minutes with the grill cover down.
Flip kebabs. With the grill cover down, grill for 3 minutes, or until shrimp are cooked through and pineapple has lightly browned.

MAKES 2 SERVINGS!

The nutrition value of the skewers will be skewed as I ditched the pineapple juice.  However, here’s a GUIDELINE. Obviously the sugar content will be a little lower.

1/2 of recipe (2 skewers): 206 calories, 1.5g fat, 563mg sodium, 19.5g carbs, 1g fiber, 13g sugars, 28g protein

Apple Oatmeal Recipe

In this healthy oatmeal recipe, cook apples into your morning oatmeal and you’ll start the day right with whole grains and a serving of fruit.

Apple Oatmeal Recipe

Makes: 4 servings, about 1 1/4 cups each

Active Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 crisp apples, divided
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

PREPARATION

  1. Shred 2 apples using the large holes of a box grater, leaving the core behind.
  2. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oats and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add water and the shredded apples; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, chop the remaining 2 apples.
  4. After the oats have cooked for 10 minutes, stir in the chopped apples, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, cinnamon and salt; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and the oatmeal is quite thick, 15 to 20 minutes more. Divide the oatmeal among 4 bowls. Top each portion with 2 tablespoons yogurt and 3/4 teaspoon brown sugar.

TIPS & NOTES

  • Shopping Tip: Choose unbruised, firm apples with smooth skin. Store for up to 4 months in the refrigerator.

NUTRITION

Per serving: 207 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 1 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 46 g carbohydrates; 10 g added sugars; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 166 mg sodium; 234 mg potassium.

How healthy is your salad?

Salads are healthy right? Of course!

However, what you put in and on top of your salad predicts the out come of if it’s healthy or not.  This morning I read an article about the 7 worst salad offenders out there and thought you – my readers – would enjoy hearing about it.  So I summed up the article for you! 

Check out the worst 7 salad toppings out there:

1) Creamy Dressings
These are probably the worst dressings you can choose. Take ranch dressing, for example, one serving of two tablespoons has 140 calories — and 130 of those calories are coming from FAT. Other dressings like blue cheese, Caesar, parmesan, or chipotle all fall under this category of dressings to avoid. Not only are they loaded with fat, but they also have high levels of sodium and very little nutritional value.

Healthy Alternative: Stick to vinaigrettes — however, you need to be careful because these can also be high in salt content too.  I would recommend using a little olive oil with balsamic vinaigrette for your salads.  Now, are you still wanting, needing, can’t stop thinking about the yummy salad dressing you’re used too?  Have it – but not a lot.  Put some on the side and dip the tip of your fork into the dressing before you put it in the salad. 

2) Glazed Nuts
Nuts are a great addition to your salads – they are a perfect source of healthy fats.  But stay clear of nuts that have been kettle-cooked and glazed with sugar.  So many companies sell glazed walnuts and pecans and so many of you think they’re still okay to eat.  Stores and restaurants prepare salads to go and they include glazed walnuts and pecans sprinkled on top. that is, until they’re kettle-cooked and glazed with sugar. 

Healthy Alternative: Stick to dry-roasted nuts to save on calories. I like to add sliced almonds to my salads, but chopped pistachios, pecans, and walnuts are a good addition too. Remember to not go overboard.  An ounce will do.

3) Crunchy Tortilla Chips or Shells
Wherever Mexican food is sold, people always order something like a “Southwestern Salad” thinking that they’re making the healthier choice by not ordering tacos or other Mexican dishes. They couldn’t be more wrong! These salads are loaded with cheese, creamy dressings, and high-calorie tortilla chips — or worse — served in a tortilla bowl!! So please, just stay far away from these kinds of salads, and especially tortilla chips or shells, from now on.

Healthy Alternative: You can still order a Mexican-inspired salad, just make some modifications. Request balsamic dressing on the side instead of ranch and hold the tortilla chips and cheese, but keep the rest of the healthy goodies like black beans, corn, and tomatoes.

4) Fried Chicken or Shrimp
I always enjoy a serving of protein in my salads, and encourage you to do the same, but steer clear of anything fried. Adding anything fried to your salad just adds unnecessary calories and tons of sodium. It’s not just fried chicken I’m referring to here — this covers fried onions and fried seafood too… well really, anything fried!!  Adding these will turn your salad into one salad that would have the same amount of calories that you should consume in a day – I’m serious. Wouldn’t you rather save your calories for say… dessert? Oh please don’t make me go into healthy desserts! Haha!

Healthy Alternative: If you’re going to add some protein to your salad, choose grilled items only. Consider healthier protein options like shrimp, tuna, eggs, or a veggie burger.

5) Cheese
First let me clarify, cheese isn’t ALL bad. Daily servings of dairy products can boost your body’s fat-burning potential. Studies have shown that dairy-rich diets may help weight loss and the body’s ability to burn fat. Yet when some people add cheese to a salad, they really pile it on — and that’s why it’s on this list. But some cheeses are more nutritional than others, and there are HEALTHY ways to add them to your salad.

Healthy Alternative: Feta is a great choice for salads because it is lower in fat and calories than most cheeses.  If you really need cheese on a salad, buy the “Laughing Cow” cheese triangles and have one.  This helps with portion control.  However, in my opinion, you just don’t need the cheese!!

6) “Craisins”
Craisins, or dried cranberries, are a fruit, so that means they’re good for you, right? Well, not exactly. I know these are a popular item to add onto a salad, and many pre-prepared salads in stores like Walmart and Metro have these ingredients as a topping. But really, they have more sugar than you may realize. Craisins and raisins, are called “nature’s candy” for a reason! Though they are fat-free and relatively low calorie at 130 for a ¼ cup — they’re full of sugar — 29 grams to be exact.

Healthy Alternative: If you can’t give ’em up, I suggest counting them out and only adding 10 or so to your salad. Otherwise, why not add other seasonal fruits to sweeten up your salads? My favourite is adding a mix of diced apple with almonds!! It’s tasty – try it!

7) Croutons
Croutons are an easy way to ruin your salad by adding refined carbohydrates. Croutons from a popular brand are about 30 calories for just six pieces. Do most people put only six croutons on their salad? Not likely. These toppings can also have high sodium levels depending on how they’re prepared.

Healthy Alternative: There is no alternative – you do not need bread put on a salad, simple as that.

Hope you benefited from reading this and I hope you are enjoying your long weekend!!

Danielle

To be, or not to be.. Gluten Free

Did you know that only about 1% of us need to be on a gluten free diet? The main reason is because of an autoimmune disorder called Celiac Disease.

Most people do not have to worry about gluten and SHOULD eat whole grains as part of a balanced diet.

Now I personally know many people will argue with me on this point and have many things to say about cutting out gluten. But I got my research about this topic from an article from Jillian Michaels. And I’m sorry, but she’s pretty much my Role Model and I look to her for advice (Not personally.. .ahahah I wish!!)

She states that in recent reports the gluten free market in North America was $4.2 billion!!! There are other reports out there that indicate that healthy people are spending their money on gluten free products that they don’t need.

I know when I go grocery shopping I see all these products everywhere I go. What’s gluten? Why do people try and stay away from it? Read below.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and it’s a common protein source and processed food filler. In fact, you’ll find it in many foods, medications, and everyday items — not just your bread and cookies. Other foods like cereal, soy sauce, whey products, alcoholic beverages, such as beer, and even beauty products, such as lip balms, may also have gluten in them too.

There are some people — about 1 in 100 — who suffer from an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease whose small intestines cannot process gluten properly and it causes a serious response in their digestive system. Unless you have celiac disease or are allergic to gluten, going gluten-free will not give you no additional health benefits.
 
I know there are many people out there that experience bloating, cramping, headaches or some sort of other discomfort after ingesting foods that contain gluten. 

This would be a matter of having a gluten allergy or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. In this case, talk to your doctor!! This would be a case where you may want to avoid products with gluten in them!

HOWEVER, guess what? The average person will not get any additional health benefits by going Gluten Free. These products may even be less healthy unfortunately. There was a study that was done here in Canada regarding gluten free and regular grocery items. They compared 56 ordinary grocery items and gluten free products. What was the outcome? It’s crazy. The gluten free products were a whopping 242% pricier than the gluten containing versions!!

Believe it or not, gluten is NOT harmful to your health and guess what? It is not making you gain weight. I know it’s easier to think that Gluten Free products are a better alternative, but you’re wrong. (I KNOW, how dare I tell you you’re wrong..lol) Gluten is found in many whole grain foods that have a wide range of vitamins, minerals and fibre that are very important to a health diet.

People who eat 3 servings of whole grains a day are 30% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The best way to control your body sugar levels throughout the day and to avoid diabetes, you need to have the right mix of healthy carbs!!

Whole grains are also the vehicle for many of nature’s disease fighters, like phytochemicals (Wth is that? Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants. Some are responsible for color and other organoleptic properties, such as the deep purple of blueberries and the smell of garlic.) Without these foods, we’d be prone to cancer, heart disease, and more. So when you’re cutting out gluten for no real reason, you’re losing all of the nutritional benefits found in foods with gluten.

Gluten-free foods aren’t better for your health. Don’t be fooled — gluten-free doesn’t automatically mean “low calorie” or “healthy.” In fact, gluten-free foods are not only more expensive, but full of extra calories and sugars to make up for taste and texture when alternative products are swapped. They also tend to have less fibre than their gluten-containing counterparts. Unless people are careful, a gluten-free diet can lack essential nutrients since a lot of the gluten-free products tend to be low in B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Another rule of thumb, don’t confuse “gluten free” with “low carbohydrate,” some gluten-free pastas are actually higher in carbohydrates than regular pasta.

Weight loss comes from balanced, healthy diets — gluten free or not. When you’re trying to lose weight, the key is to make conscious choices about eating whole, real foods and getting produce without pesticides, and meat without hormones and antibiotics. If you need to go gluten-free, consult your doctor or a nutritionist to determine the best eating plan for your lifestyle, but in general, select more fruits, vegetables, lean meat and more naturally gluten-free grains, like brown rice or quinoa. Also, keep in mind that some gluten-free foods can be processed in factories that also process gluten foods leading to cross contamination.

If you want to lose weight, you shouldn’t cut out an entire nutrient in your diet, such as gluten. Save money and focus on creating a calorie deficit while eating a variety of organic, nutritious foods and exercising regularly in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Hope this helped you if you have been back and forth whether or not to go gluten free!
Have a wonderful Monday!

-Danielle

Whole Eggs – Good or Bad?

Jillian Michaels released an article about if you should or shouldn’t eat whole eggs – check it out below 🙂 ENJOY!!


The Truth: Not only are eggs a fantastic source of lean protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but they contain some pretty important nutrients.

One large egg has roughly 186 milligrams of cholesterol — all of which is found in the egg’s yolk. Since dietary cholesterol was once thought to be the major cause of unhealthy blood cholesterol, egg yolks have been demonized and health nuts stick to eating strictly egg whites. Now, don’t get me wrong — egg whites are a great, healthy source of protein, but there is definitely room for WHOLE eggs in a healthy diet. As long as you haven’t been advised otherwise by your doctor, you can enjoy the many nutritional benefits of a whole egg. So, yes, you can have an egg and eat the yolk too! Here are a few reasons why.

The real threat to high cholesterol is saturated and trans fats, not dietary cholesterol. Years ago, when scientists learned that high blood cholesterol was associated with heart disease, foods high in cholesterol were thought to be the leading cause of unhealthy blood cholesterol. Now, 25 years later, scientists have come to the conclusion that cholesterol in food is not the true villain — saturated and trans fats have a much greater effect on blood cholesterol. Your body actually needs the cholesterol in meat and eggs to make testosterone, which helps to increase energy and helps to build more calorie-building muscle. In fact, one study at the University of Connecticut found that the fat in egg yolks actually helps to reduce LDL (“bad” cholesterol). So banish the old notion that an egg, specifically the yolk, is hazardous to your health. According to the American Heart Association, the recommended limit of dietary cholesterol is 300 milligrams for people with normal LDL (bad) cholesterol levels — and one egg contains 185 milligrams of dietary cholesterol. (If you have a history of high cholesterol or heart disease in your family, though, you may want to consult your doctor about how to limit your cholesterol intake.)

Whole eggs are full of beneficial vitamins and minerals. Whole eggs are a nearly perfect food, with almost every essential vitamin and mineral our bodies need to function. It is one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D and contains 7 grams of high-quality protein. Whole eggs are also full of omega-3 fatty acids and deliver many of the B vitamins and nutrients — B6, B12, riboflavin, folate, and choline — that, in fact, are believed to help prevent heart disease. L-arginine, an amino acid found in eggs, are critical to the body’s production of protein and the release of growth hormones. Another amino acid found in eggs, leucine, also helps the body produce growth hormones as well as regulate blood sugar levels. The yolk itself contains most of these vitamins and minerals, plus half of its protein. When you eat only the egg whites, you’re missing out on all of these nutritional benefits and are getting only 3.5 grams, or half, of the protein.

It’s all in the preparation. If you’re frying your eggs in saturated-fat-laden butter and serving them with saturated-fat-laden bacon — they will have a negative impact on your cholesterol levels. Instead, heat olive oil on low heat in a cast-iron skillet to cook your egg the healthiest way. When cooking omelets, frittatas, or any other dish that involves a larger quantity of eggs, I like to use a mix of whole eggs with egg whites. The reason is that whole eggs do have a decent amount of fat. So, if you’re cooking something with more than two eggs, I recommend subbing in egg whites for some of the whole eggs.

JILLIAN’S TIP OF THE DAY

The Bottom Line

Whole eggs are a power food packed with essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need — a majority of these vitamins and minerals are found in the egg yolk. Eating whole eggs in moderation is not bad for your health, but when making dishes with a large quantity of eggs, try to balance the count of whole eggs and egg whites.

Should you eat before a workout?

MYTH: Never Eat Before a Workout

The Truth: You should always eat something before exercising so your body has enough fuel to power through your workout.

The rationale behind this widely accepted myth is that forgoing food before exercise will force your body to burn more fat during your workout. This is a big, fat lie: Starving yourself before exercising can actually be detrimental to your body. Let’s get to the bottom of this fitness myth once and for all.

You need sugar to exert energy. Your body needs a certain amount of sugar for fuel when training. When that blood sugar is not there, your body will convert your own muscle tissue into energy. A recent study published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal looked at cyclists who ate before they trained versus those who fasted before they trained. The amount of fat burn was the same for both groups, but those who had trained without eating first had 10 percent of their calorie burn come from protein — including their own muscle mass. You’re trying to buildmuscle, not eat away at it!

Your body needs energy to perform at a high intensity.You know I’m always saying that I want you to work out as hard as you can for as long as you can. How can you do that if you haven’t properly fueled your body? Think about it this way: Would you drive a car without gas? Use your iPhone without charging it? Nope and nope. If you haven’t eaten anything, your workout won’t be as intense as if you’d fueled up beforehand, not to mention that you’ll likely suffer from low blood sugar, which will make you dizzy and sluggish.

You don’t need to gorge yourself; a healthy snack will do the trick. I suggest you eat something 45 minutes to an hour before training — you’ll have more energy and endurance to work harder, burn more calories, and improve your muscle tone. Aim for something with carbohydrates and protein. Here are a few quick, healthy ideas: a whey shake, low-fat yogurt with berries, or a banana or apple slices with natural almond butter.

The Bottom Line:

You should always eat something before a workout. I’m not suggesting you pig out. A small, healthy snack consisting of carbohydrates and protein will properly fuel your body for a killer workout.