Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Protein: The MVP for Athletes

Written by University of Houston Dietetic Intern Amanda Gilles:

Protein is one of the Most Valuable Players on your nutrition team. You may be well aware that this nutrient is important, but just why is it so beneficial? Protein builds the framework for your body; including muscles, organs, bones and connective tissue, and as a hormone it helps to signal to our body when to use food as energy and when to store it as fat. Here are few more reasons to fill up on this valuable nutrient!
  •  It tastes good. Juicy Steaks, Creamy yogurt, smooth peanut butter, roasted pork, you get the picture! 
  • It burns calories even as you are indulging.  Your body has to work harder to break down protein compared to other nutrients. Compared to carbohydrates, your body works two times harder at breaking down protein. This extra effort results in more calories burned; the more protein you eat the more calories you burn digesting food!
  • It keeps you feeling satisfied!  Research has shown that if you eat a quality protein source at meals and snacks you will feel fuller faster, and for longer.
  •  It builds muscle and keeps your body burning fat all day long. Remember, more muscle burns more fat.  When you life weights, you create microscopic tears in your muscles. To repair these tears, protein is needed.  Protein “fixes” the torn muscle by building new muscle fibers; which make you stronger!
Here are a few protein rich foods to start incorporating into your diet today! 
·         3 eggs= 18 g protein
·         2 cups of 1% milk= 16 g protein
·         1 cup cottage cheese= 28 g protein
·         1 roast beef sandwich= 28 g protein
·         2 ½ oz peanuts= 16 g protein
·         4 oz chicken breast= 27 g protein
·         String cheese= 8 g protein
·         1 cup Greek Yogurt= 22 g protein

Monday, February 27, 2012

Turkey and Bean Chili

Today was a packed day returning from our tournament in California so I decided to make this turkey and bean chili. It is super fast and super easy. Here is the recipe and directions.

prechopped red onion
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 T chili powder
2 T tomato paste
2 t dried oregano
1 t ground cumin
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 19oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 14oz can lower sodium chicken broth
1/2 c fresh cilantro
6 lime wedges

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.

2. Add the first 4 ingredients and cook until turkey is done. Stir frequently to crumble

3. Stir in chili powder and next 8 ingredients through the chicken broth.

4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat adn simmer for 10 minutes.

5. stir in cilantro and sere with lime wedges.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Corn and Chile Quesadillas

Hey everybody,
Hope you all had a great weekend. Just wanted to drop in and give you all this great recipe. I have had them a few times and they are very flavorful and delicious.

Serves 4 and takes about 30-35 minutes to prepare.

2 anaheim chiles
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced shitake mushrooms
1 cup whole kernel corn
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
4 flour tortillas
1 cup shredded aged gouda cheese
cooking spray
1/2 cup bottled salsa

1. Preheat broiler

2. Cut chiles in half lengthwise and remove seeds and membranes. Place chile halfs skin side up on a foil lined baking sheet and flatten with your hand. Broil for 8 minutes or until blackened. Remove chiles and place them in a zip lock plastic bag for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sautee 2 minutes. Then add the corn, onions and pepper and sautee 2 minutes. Place the mixture in a bowl.

4. Return to the chiles after 15 minutes are up and peel and chop the chiles. When finished add them to the sauteed mixture.

5. Wipe the skilled clean. Place 1/4 cup mushroom mixture and 1/4 cup cheese over half of a tortilla. Repeat this for the other 3 tortillas as well.

6. Heat the pan over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Place one tortilla in the pan and cook 2 minutes or until bottom is golden. Fold tortilla in half. Repeat for the remaining 3 tortillas and voila! Corn and Chile Quesadillas.

*Each quesadilla is 341 calories, 15g fat, 14g protein, 40g carbohydrate

Friday, February 17, 2012

Shepherd's Pie

This is a really easy dinner recipe that includes your lean protein, veggies and some carbs all in one dish.  It tastes good reheated too, so its great for lunch or dinner the next day!

1 box instant mashed potatoes (you need about 4 cups)
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons corn starch
3/4 cup fat free, low sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons ketchup
12-16 oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables
paprika (optional)

Prepare mashed potatoes according to directions on box.  I used light butter and skim milk to lessen the fat content. 

Meanwhile, brown ground beef until no longer pink.

Drain off any fat.  Add corn starch and cook for about 1 minute longer.  Add beef broth, ketchup and mixed vegetables.

Cook for about 5 or so minutes - until veggies begin to soften.  I put them in straight out of the freezer, but thawed would work too.  Pour meat mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish.

Spread mashed potatoes on top.  Add a few dashes of paprika to the top for some extra color - optional.

Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees - just long enough to warm everything.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Super Easy Taco Soup

Get out your crock pot and your crock pot liners - if you don't know about these, you're about to discover the greatest invention EVER!  You just simply put the bag in the crockpot and dump the ingredients in.  As soon as you are done eating, and packaging left overs for lunch the next day, just throw the bag away...dishes DONE!  You can find them anywhere in the food storage section at most grocery stores.

Ok, time for the recipe for real:

1 lb of uncooked chicken breast - frozen or fresh
1 can Great Northern beans 
1 can black beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet ranch seasoning
Dash of cumin

Put the chicken in first (it's ok if it is still frozen), then dump everything else on top.  Cook for about 4 hours on high or 6-8 on low.  You should then be able to shred the chicken with a fork while it's still in the crock pot.  Dinner is DONE!

The original recipe calls for all the cans to be undrained - which hikes up the sodium.  SOOOO...the other option is to drain all the cans and rinse the beans and use about 2-3 cups of low sodium chicken broth.  Might add about 5 minutes to your prep time.  You could also use fresh tomatoes & chilis if you are REALLY feeling ambitious.

TIME SAVER TIP:  I often put all the ingredients into the bag the night before, then keep it in the fridge until the next morning, then all I have to do is put the bag in the crock pot and turn it on! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dark Chocolate - a healthy treat?

Hey everybody. Happy Valentines Day! I hope ya'll are enjoying it with someone you truly care about today. Well, being that it is valentines day we decided to mix it up and give ya'll the up side to having that sweet chocolate treat this valentines day. Did ya'll know that dark chocolate, not white or milk chocolate, but dark chocolate has some health benefits to it? Dark chocolate is a potent antioxidant, which helps get rid of free radicals and therefore helps fight against heart disease. Dark chocolate can also help lower blood cholesterol. These are two great reasons to enjoy that little treat on valentines day. Here is a recipe for a chocolate fondue that we found on sparkpeople.com.  Enjoy this with fresh cut fruit for a nutritious dessert!

2/3 cup fat free evaporated milk
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
3 cups mini marshmallows

Break the chocolate into small chunks. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir until all the marshmallows melt and the mixture becomes smooth. Poor into a fondue pot and serve with fresh fruit.

*Recipe makes 12 quarter cup servings

*By choosing a darker chocolate and fat-free evaporated milk,you can cut the calories of this chocolate dip in half! Use bite-size marshmallows to ease the melting process.

Calories per serving = 88.8, Grams of fat per serving = 3.5, Grams of protien = 1.2, Grams of Carbohydrates = 14.7

Here is the link to this website with the recipe if ya'll would like to check that out too.

Happy Valentines Day! <3

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

5 Tips to Cut the Calories On Your Starbucks Trip

For any of you coffee lovers out there, this one is for you! I personally love my cup of coffee in the morning. Most days I just brew a cup at home but occasionally I like to take a trip to Starbucks and get a specialty drink. However, when I say occasional I mean it! Starbucks specialty drinks are absolutely loaded with calories, and for the health conscious person it makes you think twice about using those calories on just a drink that does not really give you and nutrients to tide you over. However, there are some ways that we can cut down on those extra calories and make those specialty drinks a little less outrageous. So here are 5 ways you can cut back on your coffee calories.

1) Choose NO WHIP
The whipped cream on your coffee can add 110-140 extra calories to your drink and 13 grams of extra fat.

2) Go for the SKINNY version
Most coffee drinks are made with whole milk. So choosing to have yours made with skim milk or soy milk can cut your coffee calories by 105 calories and 12 grams of fat.

3) CUT the SYRUP
If you can stand to cut back on just a little bit of sweetness, then you can save 20 calories and 5 grams of sugar for each pump of syrup you cut out.

4) Go for the SUGAR FREE syrup
Some of the syrups these coffee places use are actually sugar free. So if you can find a specialty drink that has a sugar free version of the syrup then go with that option to cut 80-120 calories and 20-25 grams of sugar.

5) Consider the PORTION size
If you usually go into starbucks and get that venti coffee, think about getting one size down to a grande or even get just a tall coffee. This will cut your caffiene, calories, sugar, and fat in that coffee considerably.