Posts Tagged ‘satiety’

Cauliflower: The Vegetable Hater’s Vegetable

By Alicia Kaluza, MS, RD, LN, Take Control Health Coach

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

For those of you who don’t like vegetables, consider giving cauliflower a chance. Cauliflower can take on the flavor of anything you pair it with, and it can be used in ways where you don’t even know it’s there. Cauliflower is a great source of nutrients, including vitamin C, K, thiamine, fiber, folate, and potassium. Besides the nutrition value, cauliflower adds volume to your meal, which helps you feel full longer. And, it is low in calories.

Cauliflower is trending popular right now, particularly with people who are trying to find ways to lower carbohydrates, increase vegetables, or find healthier alternatives to their favorite recipes. But if you haven’t tried cauliflower besides the usual steamed method, you might be in for a big surprise with what this versatile vegetable can do.

Below are some really great alternatives to preparing cauliflower that may be a great addition to your weekly menu.

  • Riced Cauliflower. This is probably one of my favorite ways to use cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into small florets, and put it through your food processor. Different blades make different shapes. If you don’t have a food processor, you can also put the florets into a durable plastic bag and pound it with a mallet. Cook any way you normally cook rice: steam it, boil it, stir-fry it, etc. It takes less time to cook than real rice. Riced cauliflower has a similar texture to real rice, and honestly doesn’t feel like you are missing out. It works great for taco bowls, stir-fry, or fried rice! You can even add riced cauliflower to your oatmeal for added fiber, volume, and veggies with your meal.
  • Mashed Cauliflower. A great alternative to our typical heavy mashed potatoes. Steam the cauliflower with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and chicken broth. Once cooked, place in the food processor or blender to create a smooth consistency. Add roasted garlic if that’s how you love your mashed potatoes.
  • Roasted Cauliflower Florets or Cauliflower Steak. Roasting cauliflower creates a different flavor, because it caramelizes. It’s a big improvement from plain old steamed cauliflower. Check out All Recipes.com for a great recipe for roasted cauliflower steaks.
  • In a Smoothie or Soup. You may be thinking, a smoothie? Gross. But honestly, you don’t notice half the things you put in a smoothie when it is paired with sweet fruits and other ingredients like peanut butter. Plus, it adds extra fiber and veggies to your diet without a lot of work. Cook cauliflower the usual ways – steam, boil, microwave, and then add it to a food processor or blender to puree it. You can add pureed cauliflower to soup recipes – for example, add it to a potato soup recipe for thicker, heartier soup.

If you still aren’t convinced about eating cauliflower, then try half and half. Half regular rice and half cauliflower rice. Or half regular mashed potatoes and half mashed cauliflower next time. It makes for an easy compromise, while still adding great nutrients to your dish!

Do you have a favorite cauliflower recipe? Share it in the comments below.

Put Your Best Fork Forward – National Nutrition Month®

By Take Control Health Coaches

March is National Nutrition Month®, and this year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics chose the theme “Put Your Best Fork Forward” which acts as a reminder that each bite counts.

Consider looking at your fork in a new light. Instead of just a vehicle to get food to your mouth without getting your hands dirty, think of it as an asset to keep you moving forward towards a healthy lifestyle. Tackling your nutrition goals one small bite at a time will add up to long term results that last a lifetime, as opposed to radical fad diets that often lead to a return to our old habits once the diet is over.

  • Use your fork to help you make a small change this month!
  • Set your fork down in between bites to help you slow down and cue into your satiety.
  • Dip your fork into high calorie dressing and sauces as opposed to dumping them on your food.
  • Use a fork (or spoon!) to enjoy a healthy, protein rich breakfast each morning.
  • Use an appetizer fork, or small fork, to take smaller bites.
  • Commit to using a real plate and fork for each meal and eat free of distractions – sit at a table, enjoy each bite, and pay attention to your fullness, stop before you are full.
  • Focus on only putting foods on your fork that provide you with energy and make your body feel good.
  • Use your fork to try a new recipe each week. Variety keeps you excited about eating healthy.

Whether you use a fork or spoon, plate or bowl, focus on fruits, veggies, beans, whole grains, and lean protein. Be mindful as you take each bite, enjoy the food free of distractions and really tune into your hunger and fullness cues. Make sure you ask yourself with each bite – what does this do for me? Does it give you vitamins or minerals? Keep you full and satisfied? Give you energy? Satisfy a craving? Provide healthy fats? Don’t forget about taste too! Each bite is an opportunity or chance to keep moving forward toward your goals. So make today your best bite yet.

The Importance of Fat in your Diet

By Alicia Kaluza, MS, RD, LN

For a long time, fat has been portrayed as the enemy. The media spent many years creating the fear that “fat makes you fat.” But the truth is, not all fat is created equal, and eating fat is not the sole reason we gain weight. Weight gain and loss is a simple equation: total calories consumed versus total calories burned. If you overeat, regardless of whether its protein, carbohydrates or fat; it all stores as fat.

Fat plays a key role in our body’s health. Besides making food taste good, it also does the following:

  1. Provides energy, including to our brain, and supports cell growth.
  2. Promotes vitamin absorption. Fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D, A, E and K all require fat to be properly absorbed by the body. These vitamins are important to keeping your body running efficiently.
  3. Acts as an insulator for our body. Everyone needs a certain amount of fat to keep their organs safe and bodies warm.
  4. Impacts hormone balance and function. When we consume too little fat, we absorb less fat-soluble vitamins, many of which are linked to hormone function. Fat is also important in the overall production of hormones; so too little leads to a disruption in the role hormones play in our bodies.
  5. Fat provides fullness. When eating fat at a meal, it provides a sense of satisfaction and satiety. If you’re not eating fat, you are likely to overeat because you don’t feel full.

As described above, fat plays a key role in healthy body function. Eating a fat-free or too low-fat diet will disrupt healthy body function. So how do you determine how much fat to eat, and what are good sources of fat?

Start with plants. The most beneficial fats come from sources such as nuts, seeds, and avocados. Other great sources of fat include fatty fish like salmon, and eggs, which are rich in Vitamin D and choline, along with containing antioxidants that can reduce the risk of cataracts, among other things.

Fats to eat less regularly include full-fat cheese or dairy products, higher fat cuts of meat, and butter. This is not to say that you can’t eat these things, but when trying to create healthy body function, these fats have less value and more calories than the healthier fats listed above. Moderation is key.

When you are choosing animal-based fats, think about variety and keep an awareness of portion sizes. Choose a variety of fat sources throughout your day. Try for a mix of plant-based fats paired with lean meat choices, like chicken and fish. Then when you choose a few higher-fat options, you will have a sustainable balance in your lifestyle and fat intake.

The fats to really limit or eliminate include deep fried foods, baked or fried pastries, and bakery items. These foods almost always contain trans-fat, which should be avoided. Enjoy an occasional donut, but balance is important. Eating a donut every day won’t serve your health goals and benefit you the way that daily avocado would. So don’t fear fat, but rather embrace it with balance.