food

What’s On The Menu – Peanuts For the Peanut

Last week’s menu spotlight touched on the prevalence of the peanut allergies among children. In an effort to combat the likelihood of our little Ella developing this burdensome allergy, we asked our pediatrician when and how we should introduce her to peanuts.

Shannon and I were already aware that recent research suggest exposing certain children at a younger age to peanut products could reduce the chance of them developing the allergy, but we wanted to get the OK from Ella’s doctor before going off and feeding her spoonfuls of peanut butter. Thankfully at her 6 month check up, the pediatrician told us we could start introducing peanut products at anytime and suggested a specific type of food.

She suggested using Bamba peanut snacks as the peanut introduction vehicle. They only have 4 ingredients, 1 gram of sugar per serving and are composed primarily of peanut paste. They do contain a fair amount of refined grains (corn to be specific) so once we determine if Ella can tolerate peanuts, we’ll most likely start giving her more wholesome  foods that contain the faux nut.

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What’s On The Menu – The Vegans Got This One Right

My dietary preferences are broad to say the least. Animals, plants, fungi and even bacteria are all menu options for yours truly. That means that all wholesome food options, whether they be paleo, keto or vegan, are literally on the table for this omnivore.

One such vegan item that I’ve been putting on pretty much everything as of late is this pesto from Trader Joe’s. It has a short list of whole ingredients and is high in that oh so important macronutrient, FAT.

If I could change anything in it I would substitute the cashew butter for walnuts & nutritional yeast. Shannon is a former vegan and we’ve made a lot of vegan pesto. I can say with the utmost confidence that adding nutritional yeast gives it a much more “cheesy” flavor.

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What’s on the Menu – These Veggies Could Save Your Life

Vegetables are a great source of vital nutrients. I know that’s not exactly a news flash but eating a variety of veggies is necessary to obtain a wide range of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial organic compounds.

One such group of veggies that Shannon and I try to each multiple times a week are cruciferous vegetables. The member of this veggie family, including the brussels sprouts pictured below, contain organic compounds known as glucosinolates that have been found to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects (source).

I love roasting them in the oven, but when I’m crunched for time, I simply boil them up, cover them in spices & butter and chow down. I want to point out that eating them with a fat source, like butter, helps you absorb the tremendous amount to of Vitamin K contained in these mini cabbages.

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What’s on the Menu – Goes Together Like Peas & Coffee

A few weeks ago I shared my favorite dairy coffee creamer, but I want to let all you know that I’m also a fan of nondairy creamers. As mentioned in the previous post the variety of nondairy choices you have to choose from is borderline overwhelming.

Soy, almond, and coconut are probably the most popular (besides the uber processed coffemate), but there is one that is starting to show up more in stores that I believe provides the most nutritional benefits.

Ripple Foods produces “milk” made up primarily of pea protein. Eight ounces contain nearly 5 g of fat and 8 grams of protein. It doesn’t have as short of an ingredient list as I’m use to, but it’s much more nutritious than almond milk.

Too much dairy wreaks havoc on my digestion so I like to add this and some unsweetened coconut milk to one of my daily coffee concoctions.

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What’s On The Menu – Frozen Dinners Aren’t Always Bad

When I provide nutrition counseling to clients, I always stress the importance of cooking the majority of your meals at home. Unfortunately, many people (including myself) don’t have the time during the week necessary to make a meal from scratch.

That’s why Shannon and I love wholesome frozen items like the frozen stir fry mix featured below. This skillet full of veggies take about 10 minutes to prepare and contains no additional seasonings, sauces or preservatives. I added shrimp for protein and we had dinner ready in less than 15 minutes.

Oh, by the way, studies show that frozen vegetables have just as many, if not more nutrients than fresh vegetables. As long as the ingredient list contains ONLY vegetables, than they are viable option for you to make a quick & nutritious meal.

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What’s On The Menu – The OG of Coffee Creamers

The coffee creamer industry has really blown up in the past couple decades. Every grocery store now has multiple shelves dedicated to every type of creamer you can imagine.

Hazelnut flavored creamer made from soy milk? Got it!

Pumpkin spiced flavored creamer made from almond milk? You betcha!

I, on the other hand, prefer the original coffee creamer.

ACTUAL CREAM!

Besides collagen from Great Lakes, heavy cream is my preferred coffee additive. Two tbsp contains 12 g of fat (mostly saturated) and no sugar or carbs. It does contain a small amount of lactose so those that are intolerant may want to use unsweetened coconut milk if they want a fatty coffee creamer.

Just stay away from the sugar-laden creamers filled with artificial ingredients.

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What’s on the Menu – Quick & Easy Protein

I’m a big believer that increasing your intake of whole sources of protein will reduce your feelings of hunger & increase your chances of maintaining a healthy diet. In fact, numerous scientific studies suggest that that foods containing a significant amount of protein will help you stay fuller longer and hold back that pesky hunger hormone gherlin.

One of my go-to sources for protein as of late is “just grilled chicken” from Trader Joe’s. Three ounces contain 14 g of protein and the only ingredients are chicken, spices and potato starch, which prevents freezer burn.

It only takes a few minutes to defrost in the pan or microwave. It’s great on its own or you can add it to a vegetable medley like Shannon and I love doing. If you’re having trouble curbing your hunger cravings, I’d suggest adding something like this to your daily meal plan.

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What’s On the Menu – Too Good To Let Go To Waste

Let’s be honest. Guacamole is the best “dip” there is. Don’t bring your hummus, spinach & artichoke or salsa in my kitchen. NOT UP IN HERE!

Between the taste, nutrition and ease associated with preparing it, every thing else is playing for second place. Which is why I had to act fast when I had several ripe avocados at the house last week.

Instead of letting them go bad, I decided to make guacamole with whatever ingredients I had available. I ended up using 2 avocados, cherry tomatoes, shallots, fresh lime juice and salt. The heart healthy monounsaturated fat contained in the avocados was too good to let go to waste. ⠀

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