Good Eats

10 Minute Dinner: Loaded Sweet Potato

I’m all for treating yourself to a long drawn out home made dish. But sometimes ya need some quick nutrition, while still feeding yourself solid, wholesome ingredients. Below is one of my very favorite recipes. I’ve listed the yield here for 2, but I make this dish for 1 all the time (all the single ladies, yeaah!). Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes

1 can black beans (drained, rinsed)

1 cup Kale, or green of your choosing

1/2 cup of cheese (cheddar, monterey  jack, or any other type)

1/2 Tablespoon olive oil

Salsa

Preparation:

1. Using a fork, poke holes all over sweet potatoes, and microwave for about 5-6 minutes each.

2. Meanwhile, place skillet over medium-high heat, and add olive oil—once hot, add beans and kale. Cook until kale wilts. Once sweet potatoes are done cooking, cut in half length-wise, and top each with half of bean mixture.

3. Top with 1/4 cup cheese each, and salsa as desired.

I wanted to keep the ingredients list around 5-6 for this post, but remember that you can always beef it up (so to speak) with extra veggies! Get creative, or use whatever you have on hand this week. Below is an example. Run with it!

colorful vegetables in skillet

Kale, mushrooms, and orange bell peppers

Did you enjoy this post, and try out the recipe for yourself? Would love to hear your feedback! What would you change or improve? How about pictures of your final product?

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Build a Better Burger: National Cheeseburger Day!

WHAT? Today is NATIONAL CHEESEBURGER DAY?! Sweet. Well, I think in honor of this grand event, I’ll talk a little bit about how to eat a SMARTER BURGER. Below, a few tips.

1.Enjoy yourself!

I am here, as a soon-to-be dietitian, advocating that it is not only OK to eat a burger from time to time—I’m in fact letting you know that there are actually BENEFITS to red meat. It is true that you can get the iron, vitamin B12, and protein for which red meat is so famed from other sources. So if you do not prefer red meat, you CAN save yourself from deficiency. Keep an eye on my Nutrient Spotlight page for updates on that. However, if you are a fan of beef, it is an extremely bioavailable source of iron—meaning your body absorbs it more easily than it does from other sources (e.g. leafy greens). And iron-deficiency anemia happens to be the most common and widespread nutrient deficiency worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. So don’t pour on the guilt—congratulate yourself for making a good choice that will provide your body with a ton of nutrients

2. Go Grass-Fed and Local

There is a fair amount of controversy surrounding the meat industry, and it’s often difficult to decipher what to avoid, and what is mainly hype. A safe bet is to choose local meats as much as possible, and look for organic grass-fed beef. This will ensure that the cows destined to be your burger were fed a diet that their gut could understand and break down properly, and that the animals weren’t treated with hormones or anything not naturally occurring in the animal already.

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Happy cows come from….

3. Dress It Up Right

Many foods become demonized, thwarting high levels of not-so-good-for-us nutrients, and are forced to wear the diet-version of a “Scarlet Letter.” However, sometimes it’s not the food itself that has so many adverse effects as much as what goes with the food. Moderate amounts of ketchup and mustard (think: 1 Tablespoon) are great additions to a burger. But to get more nutrient bang for you calorie buck, try taking out high saturated fat condiments like mayonnaise to be replaced with avocado. It will introduce an interesting new texture to your burger, as well as some serious creamy goodness! And avocados provide healthy fats that are required for every day bodily functions, and can help prevent heart disease and inflammation, in addition to cancer-fighting antioxidants. Avos can also have a fab effect on hair, skin, and nails. It should be mentioned, however, that due to this super food’s high fat content (although it’s the GOOD KIND), avocados are high in calories, and should still be consumed in moderation.

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Those are some delicious looking antioxidants.

ALSO—pile on as many veggies as you can! No reason to stop at the standard lettuce-onion-tomato. Through some peppers on your grill, and stack them on your burger. The hot ones have major metabolic benefits. Any non-starchy veg would probably go great on a burger—experiment! And let me know what works and what doesn’t!

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One more note (as it is nat’l CHEESEburger day)… Cheese is a great source of calcium, and provides protein as well. I will admit to being an absolute cheese lover. But it’s a food to moderate, as it typically contains high amounts of saturated fat and sodium. Some cheeses are available in part-skim versions–go for those whenever possible. Or just enjoy a smaller amount of a full fat version. Either way–ENJOYMENT is very important!

4. Choose Your Bun Wisely

Not only can you pack an extra serving of veggies into your burger, but you can even utilize this meal as a chance to squeeze in an extra serving of whole grains. When at the store, all the choices we’re given in which to wrap our patties can certainly overwhelm a person. The simplest rule for choosing whole grains is this: the VERY FIRST INGREDIENT should read: WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR. If it doesn’t, it’s not a true whole grain.

Examples:

images-3^Whole Grain

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^Not a whole grain (the first ingredient is ENRICHED FLOUR)*

*I know this is a confusing topic. Please feel free to email me (samfink14@gmail.com) or comment with any questions.

If you’re not a bread lover, you can even wrap your burger in a lettuce wrap. I’d recommend choosing darker romaine leaves over iceberg—the darker your veggie leaves, the more nutrients they contain. But don’t be afraid of a few carbs—they can provide much-needed fiber, as most of us don’t get what we need from our diets.

If you’re trying to avoid red meat, or prefer a more plant-based diet, you can always go for a veggie burger! Just make sure you’re not replacing a beef burger with something that’s highly processed, because health-wise you are doing yourself no favors with that choice. Your best bet may be to make one at home using whole ingredients. Here’s a recipe for one that uses LENTILS (a great plant source of protein)! You may also see beans used, and any other starchy protein. I actually was recently at a restaurant that served a veggie burger made of quinoa and beets! If you prefer to purchase a packaged version, check the ingredients list, and choose one with a short list of ingredients, and words you can pronounce. Watch the sodium level on these items as well.

And remember–as with all things–moderation is key. A burger every once in a while can provide you with major benefits. But one every day may result in lethargy, fluid retention, high cholesterol, and weight gain. So have a happy National Cheeseburger Day! And enjoy yourself!!

Smokey Spicy Turkey Chili

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“Mmm… Noodle Souup.”

I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but sadly I cannot. So perfectly satisfied the random “spicy, mexican-themed, yet light” craving I was having. Thank you, The Perfect Pantry!

http://www.theperfectpantry.com/2012/03/smoky-turkey-black-bean-and-corn-chili-recipe.html

Put It On a Cracker.

8 Healthy Snacks

This is a a reblog, but I couldn’t resist. Some great snack ideas, made portable and easy to eat on a cracker! I’m always in need of new ideas of snacks to take to work. I’m sure I’m not alone!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessseinfeld/healthy-and-delicious-take-to-work-snacks-87eq

 

NYS.

Nourish Yourself, and Don’t Skip Breakfast!

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We’ve all had those mornings–some of us more often than others–when no matter how far away you place the alarm clock, it is most definitely worth getting out of bed to hit snooze, only to crawl back into the warmth of that fluffy down comforter. You close your eyes for what was absolutely only 10 seconds, and suddenly, you’re supposed to be at work in 20.

Days like this, it’s easy to skip breakfast, contributing the dietary blasphemy to lack of time. However, skipping the most important meal of the day could do even more damage than you’ll do by arriving to work 5 minutes past 9. Already thrown off track by having to jet through your morning routine, taking on the day without some solid nutrients can leave you foggy and dreary all day long–something no gargantuan size of non-fat latte can undo.

So do yourself a favor, and start the day right. There are countless 10-second breakfasts that you can turn to on those rushed mornings (post on this to come). But here’s a quick one that will take no more than 10 minutes, and keep you going well into the day, and will set you back just under 400 calories.

YOU’LL NEED:

1 whole wheat tortilla

Whatever frozen veggies you’ve got on-hand

2 Eggs

Hummus

Salsa

1. Heat your oven to about 250 degrees to start (Note: if your oven is old, like mine, and takes a while to heat up, start preheating before getting dressed).

2. Heat up a small skillet. Once warm, drop about 1/2 C frozen veggies (or more if you’d like… and if it will fit in your tortilla ;-)).

3. As those are defrosting, crack one whole egg into a bowl, and separate out one additional egg white. Whip the egg and second white together, adding in whatever spices you’d like. I like fresh ground black pepper, thyme or rosemary, and Trader Joe’s South African Smoke seasoning or Everyday Seasoning. Or any combination you fancy!

4. Once the oven is preheated, place the tortilla inside, just to warm it up a bit.

5. Pour eggs over fully defrosted veggies. Scramble together until fully cooked.

6. Remove tortilla from oven. Slather with about 1 Tbsp of your very favorite hummus (I use a plain variety… but feel free to get creative!), and fill the center line of your tortilla with your egg/veg mix.

7th FINAL STEP: Top with slasa and hot sauce if desired, wrap it up, and BOOK IT!

Enjoy once you’ve safely reached your destination.

See? There’s ALWAYS time for breakfast.

NYS.