Fat and Happy

Does the word fat make you uncomfortable?

Don’t be afraid of it- fat is a very important and vital nutrient for your body, specifically your; brain, cells and hormones to communicate and function.

All fat is not created equal however. Clearly some fat such as; saturated and trans fats, are not so good for you. We can talk about those later….

Today, I want to specifically highlight Omega-3’s and their effect on improving your mood.

Who doesn’t love a good mood?! Let’s create more.

How? Read on…

*Tip: Feeling frazzled by scientific words and healthy mumbo-jumbo? There is a summary at the bottom of this page, you’re welcome.

Enter the good fats. The human body uses omega-3s in many ways. They seem to be especially important for a well-functioning central nervous system, for the transmission of signals from the eyes to the brain, for heart health (some omega-3s protect against abnormal heart rhythms, reduce triglycerides, lower the risk of blood clots, and discourage the growth of plaque in artery walls), and they even promote healthy brain development in babies during pregnancy and breast-feeding.3

While your body can synthesize other types of fat from dietary components such as carbohydrates and proteins, it can’t make its own omega-3s. We have to get them from food or fish oil supplements. Omega-3s come in three varieties:

• Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): Found in fatty cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, tuna, and herring, DHA concentrates in the brain’s gray matter and the retinas in the eyes.

“DHA molecules are long-chain fatty acids. They’re fluid and flexible,” Vannice explains. “They become part of the membrane of brain cells and work at synapses, where chemical signals jump from cell to cell.”

• Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): Also found in cold-water fish, EPA seems to have a unique role in maintaining a healthy mood.

“EPA doesn’t become part of a brain cell’s structure the way DHA does. It seems to help by reducing inflammatory processes in the brain and by balancing out metabolic pathways,” Vannice says. “Many studies show that DHA alone doesn’t work for depression. You need a little more EPA than DHA to get results. We’re still trying to understand exactly why, but we know it matters.”

In addition, some EPA is converted to DHA in the body.

• Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): Found in flaxseed, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, purslane, and walnuts, and in small amounts in Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens, ALA doesn’t directly influence mood management although it may help with heart health. The human body converts a small percentage into EPA and DHA.4

While most Americans get plenty of ALA, we’re woefully low in the consumption of DHA and EPA. The American Heart Association recommends people eat fish twice a week, which, on average, would give you the recommended dose of 500 mg of DHA and EPA daily. But most adults and kids get closer to 100 mg or less, Vannice says. As a result, blood levels of these fats are low—and even lower in people with depression. (excerpt from Today’s Dietitian)

Summary:

Consumption of healthy fats like Omega-3’s will help you be healthier. Clear, simple, to the point.

Most American’s are low in DHA and EPA Omega-3’s so it would be a good idea to increase your weekly consumption of; salmon, tuna, halibut and other cold water fish. They will improve your brain and eye function. Don’t be surprised if you start coming up with amazing new ideas and can now find your way to the bathroom at night without stumbling on a shoe.

Most American’s are getting an adequate amount of ALA Omega-3’s but it doesn’t hurt to stock up on healthy servings of brussels sprouts, kale, spinach pumpkin seeds, walnuts and ground flaxseed. Sounds like tonight’s salad recipe right there to me!

Here’s a dinner idea to get the good mood food rolling…

Baked or grilled salmon with a side of roasted brussels sprouts and and large dark leafy green kale salad (click here to check out this one!) possibly topped with walnuts, pumpkin seeds and a balsamic vinaigrette!

For more healthy recipes please visit Organiglee

 

Here’s to healthy munching and a happier mood and Happy Healthy Eating!

Your Healthy Grocery Girl

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HGG and Rice Bowls

Healthy Grocery Girl is proud to announce her new partnership with Rice Bowls!

Rice Bowls provides much-needed meals to great kids around the world through partnerships with Christian orphanages.

Together we can help fight hunger and provide healthy balanced nutrition to orphan children all over the world! Currently Rice Bowls supports 52 different orphanages in 8 different countries which includes; Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua, India, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Africa and the Philippines!

How can we help?

With every purchase of Healthy Grocery Girl’s Healthy Grocery Shopping List you will be helping feed and restore the lives of these amazing children!

Why.. just Meet Nithin! Nithin lives in El Shadai Children’s Home in Chennai, India.  Thanks to Rice Bowl’s, Nithin receives good nutrition every single day. We just love seeing this little guy have a great childhood and knowing a life’s been restored!

Not only will you be healthier by shopping from Healthy Grocery Girl’s Grocery Shopping List but you will be improving the nutrition of thousands of little one’s around the world!

Why that sounds like a win win to me!

Click here now to….Shop, Give, and Eat Healthier!

Happy Healthy Eating!

Your Healthy Grocery Girl

Easy-Peasy Pizza

 

One of my favorite things to make is homemade pizza. The process is actually very simple, and it tastes delicious!! Although “pizza” is often not considered as a health food, I think differently. How can this be? Because of the quality of ingredients- they are clean and simple.

Here is how I make it!

When I make pizza- I do it right. All organic and real ingredients. You can make the dough from any type of flour; white all-purpose, whole wheat, gluten-free, quinoa, almond. I find that white flour makes for a soft crust, whole wheat flour makes a heartier more dense crust, and gluten-free often carries more of a crumbly corn consistency (clearly if it is corn based). I typically prefer to choose a mix, split evenly of whole-wheat and white flour. However, there are many different flour options out there, and it’s your pizza, so cook to your taste buds delight!

Let’s get started…

In a big bowl add 1/2 a cup of warm water and one packet of yeast. Then add 1/2 a cup of flour, 1/2 a tsp salt, 1 tsp agave nectar or raw cane sugar, and 1 tsp olive olive and mix well (I just use a fork).

Then add the remaining 1 cup of flour. At this point I use my hands and just work it- it will develop into a ball of dough. You can add a touch of water (a tbsp at a time) as needed if the dough is too dry. You want it to be smooth but not sticky. You can use a kitchen aid mixer if you want to make the dough, however I really like using my hands and making everything from scratch when I’m cooking for myself and loved ones.

Once you have created your pizza dough ball, lightly flour clean counter surface and knead dough for 10 minutes or until smooth.

Grease a big bowl with olive oil.

Place dough in bowl and make sure all sides are greased with olive oil. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and place in a warm place to rise for twenty minutes.

After that, punch the dough with your fist (rawr!) and then recover and place in the refrigerator for two hours.

Ok that was the “hardest” part- the dough.

So what to do in the mean time while the dough is rising?

Make a lovely cup of coffee and wrap Christmas presents!! Trader Joe’s made re-usable Christmas grocery bags this year- perfect for gift wrapping!

Time to eat!

Set oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle clean counter top with flour and roll out pizza dough. My pizza’s are never circular. I like odd shapes- more rustic and whimsical!

Sprinkle baking sheet or pizza pan with corn meal. I like doing this because it gives the crust a crunchy base.

Place pizza dough on the baking sheet. Drizzle top of dough with olive oil. Spread a light layer of pizza sauce, then add cheese and then toppings! I added mushrooms, garlic, olives, parsley, salt and pepper.

Cook for 25 minutes.

Pull from oven, cut, plate, and enjoy!

YUM….

**Healthy Grocery Find**

I love Mrs. Meyer’s Basil Counter Cleaner- and going with the Italian pizza theme- what better than Basil counter cleaner! Smells so good.

Happy Healthy Eating!

Your Healthy Grocery Girl

 

 Happy Merry Christmas

Happy Merry Christmas and Holiday Weekend!

Doesn’t it always seem that the holiday weekend just sneaks up on you and WABOOM! It’s here! The following are some oh-so-delicious holiday recipes I have stumbled across and must share!

Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Cakes

Pumpkin is not just for Halloween or Thanksgiving! Why no, no it is not.

Thanks “Girl Seeks Farm”! Cooking directions: girlseeksfarm.com 

Christmas Guacamole

How fun and festive and delicious does this look?! I think very.

Thanks “What’s Gaby Cooking?” ! Cooking directions: whatsgabycooking.com

Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions

YUM!!!

Thanks “Oh She Glows” ! Cooking directions: ohsheglows.com

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Cranberries

Oh no you did not! Yes- ok, you did. Brussels sprouts with cranberries? Genius.

Thank you “Pioneer Woman” Cooking Directions: thepioneerwoman.com  

<<<<WARNING>>>>  Dangerously delicious territory ahead… not for the dieting, or faint-at-food heart. I think I am satisfied just oogling at this photo… almost …

However I will probably make something more like this…

Garbanzo Cookie Balls

Can you guess the secret ingredient?

Thanks “Spabettie”! Cooking directions: spabettie.com

Or (and by or I mean and) this….

Almond Butter Rice Crisp Treats

Thanks “Oh She Glows!” Cooking directions: ohsheglows.com

Now now you may be thinking…

GASP! ”Healthy Grocery Girl! Are all these foods really that healthy for me?”

My answer… Yes. Yes, Indeed. Why?

1. It’s about quality of ingredients and the quantity you eat. Choose REAL ingredients like the recipes above, eat a sensible amount and ENJOY EVERY SINGLE BITE.

2. It’s Christmas! or Hanukkah! or Kwanzaa! Don’t be a scrooge and just eat carrots and lemon water. Boorrrinngg.

3. Diets are lame. Yes I know they help millions of Americans lose weight and then gain it back six months later. My view? You can still reach your health goals and enjoy eating real food. I have seen it happen- I live it- it’s possible- don’t be scared.

What are you cooking for the holidays? Please comment and share!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! and Happy Healthy Eating!

Your Healthy Grocery Girl

Gobble Gobble

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! (Can you believe it?) What are some of your favorite holiday meals and recipes that you look forward to? Here are a few recipes that I am loving this Thanksgiving season! Share yours by commenting below and I’ll feature the top 3 in my next post!

Cranberry, Apricot and Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf (GF + vegan)

Looking for a healthier alternative to the oh-so-favorite side dish, “stuffing”? Try this colorful wild rice pilaf! If making in advance, be sure to leave out the pecans until just before serving and reheat in the skillet.

Recipe adapted from and photo from ohsheglows

Yield: 4.5-5 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 cups chopped celery + 1/2 cup, divided
  • 1 heaping cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 & 1/2 cups uncooked wild rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (be sure to use gluten-free if required)
  • 1 & 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4-1 tsp kosher salt (or to taste) + black pepper as desired
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries, thinly sliced

 

1. Preheat oven to 325F and toast the pecans for about 7-8 minutes. Remove and set aside.

2. Sautee onion, oil, and garlic in a skillet over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add 1.5 cups chopped celery and cook for another 5-7 minutes.

3. Add wild rice, broth, bay leaf, and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low-medium and then cover with lid. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring once half way through.

4. After 30 minutes, uncover, stir, and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Note that wild rice cooking times can vary a lot so keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.

5. Remove bay leaf and stir in the dried fruit. Season to taste and stir in the sliced fresh cranberries and 1/2 cup chopped raw celery. Stir in toasted pecans.

Note: Dish can be made 1 day in advance. Do not add pecans until just before serving. Allow to cool then place in an air tight container in the fridge. Reheat in a skillet just before serving and stir in pecans.

 Creamy Pumpkin Soup Topped with Curried Pecans (GF + vegan)  

Start dinner with a festive healthy soup. Yum!
Thanks to Tina Leigh Integrative Health
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons curry powder
15 ounces pumpkin, pureed
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pecan pieces
11 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375&deg;F. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion. Cover and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the curry powder and the pumpkin puree, then whisk in the broth until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes to allow flavors to develop, stirring occasionally.

While the soup is simmering, make the curried pecans. In a small bowl, combine the pecan pieces with the remaining maple syrup and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the remaining curry powder, tossing to coat. Place the pecans in a small baking dish and bake until toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, use an immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot. Otherwise, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Stir back into the pot. Return the soup to the stovetop, turning the heat to low. Whisk in the coconut milk, taste to adjust seasonings. Heat until hot, do not boil. Serve the soup garnished with the pecans.

Warm Thanksgiving Kale and Squash Salad

Adapted from Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients:

1 large purple turnip, washed, diced into 1/2″ cubes w/ skin
1/2 acorn squash, washed, seeded, diced into 1/2″ cubes w/ skin
1/2 small butternut squash, washed, seeded, diced into 1/2″ cubes w/ skin
2 tbs. grapeseed or canola oil (for baking)
1/2 head of kale, sliced paper thin crosswise
1/2 head of Lacinto Kale, sliced paper thin crosswise
1 tbs. each, raw pumpkin seeds, ground flax seeds, crushed pecans
2 tbs. dried cranberries
1 tbs. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 carrots, diced small
sea salt and pepper to taste
gomasio for flavor (optional
2 tbs first cold pressed EV olive oil

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the diced turnip, acorn and butternut squash in a large baking tray.
  3. Cover with 1-2 tbs. of grapeseed oil, mix until coated and top with sea salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes, checking and turning over halfway through. When the veggies are baked, place them in a large bowl and add all of the other ingredients, mix well making sure everything is coated with the fresh olive oil.
  5. Add sea salt, gomasio and pepper to taste and serve warm.

Happy Healthy Eating!

Your Healthy Grocery Girl

Healthy Kitchen Makeover Gets a Healthy Snack Center

Recently, I visited a sweet family in need of a Healthy Kitchen Makeover. With four kids, this family definitely is busy! So they were looking for quick, convenient and healthy ideas for snacks and meals. Healthy Grocery Girl to the rescue!

The Pantry….

We often have so many items in our pantry that we forget what is truly in there! Therefore creating a space for everything to be visible not only helps with meal time efficiency but also helps us saving money on the grocery bill. No more expired items that we forgot about in the back of the pantry that we end up having to throw away!

It’s also common for the kitchen pantry to become a store-all for not only our food but medicine, cleaning supplies and random odds and ends that we collect. Having baskets to separate our over-the-counters from any prescription medications as well as a basket / container for those “what do I do with these?” items such as straws, tooth-picks and chop sticks.

                                                         BEFORE                                                                                        

AFTER

Everything in this pantry is now free of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), TRANS FAT (hydrogenated oils), MSG, and items that are high in processed sugar. YAHOO!

The Healthy Snack Center….

Next was the need for healthy quick snacks. So I created this Healthy Snack Center!

                                                        BEFORE                                                                                                        

AFTER

Glass containers with stainless steel lids make for easy to see-in eco-friendly kitchen organizers. I included serving size scoopers with each type of snack, so there is no need to guess how much is a serving. On one shelf is a variety of nuts, dried fruit and granola for a “create your own trail mix” buffet. One another shelf there is a variety of snack bars and nut butter. Organic unsweetened apple sauce and healthy dry cereal are also great kid friendly snacks.

A mixture of raisins, dried cranberries, and dried cherries.

Of course, my favorite… Justin’s Nut Butter! Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut is just like Nutella.. but SO much better (and healthier!) These individual squeeze packs are perfect for on the go. Throw in a lunch bag, on the way to soccer practice, or  as an afternoon snack.

Once in a while you just want to try a new bar or snack. This container is a combo mix of natural fruit leathers, Kind Bars, and Lara Bars. All of these snack bars use all natural ingredients and are a perfect nosh for both kids and adults!

Next was the refrigerator, freezer, and various cupboards in the kitchen.

What I love about Healthy Kitchen Makeovers (besides meeting wonderful families) is now ANY item that the family reaches for to eat, is a delicious and healthy choice!

Happy Healthy Eating!

Your Healthy Grocery Girl

 healthygrocerygirl.com

Happy Halloween Weekend!

It’s Halloween Weekend… which means you’re probably attending or hosting a Halloween party or two. Perhaps you’re taking the weekend to hunt down or make Halloween costumes and stock up on candy!

Even though Halloween is centered around costumes and candy… here are some fun ideas for creating a healthy and fun Halloween!

PARTY IDEAS

(Here is me last Halloween as a banana bobbing for apples… victory was mine!)

Bob for Apples

Best Halloween Custom Contest

Mummy Wrap Contest (use toilet paper and a partner to create the most spooky, realistic, and creative mummy wraps!)

HEALTHY EATS

Apple and Almond Bites

Spooky Skeleton Cat

Googly Eyes

 

HEALTHY CANDY ALTERNATIVE IDEAS

Give away dark chocolate… at least you’ll be giving away some disease preventing antioxidants!

Give away stickers, bubbles, game books (dollar store has great finds!)

Crazy Straws

Happy Healthy Halloween Weekend!

Your Healthy Grocery Girl

Cup of Coffee… Good or Bad?

This is good and now it’s not. Eat this, but don’t eat that. That is bad for you, but it’s good for you too… what?!!

Sometimes nutrition can be down-right confusing! As a Registered Dietitian it is my job to take complicated information and media hype and simplify it and give you the scientific truth so you can be on your merry healthy way.

A big question I am often asked is, ” Is coffee good or bad for me?”


Here is a little back story about the ol’coffee bean. “Coffee Beans” are a seed of the coffee plant (although we refer to them as beans because they look like beans). In their natural form, coffee beans are very high in antioxidants (which means they help prevent your risk of developing the cold, flu and other diseases).

As Americans, we import more coffee than any other nation! We LOVE our coffee.. we are GO-GETTERS here in the ol’ U.S.Of A. Unfortunately coffee beans are one of the most highly contaminated “produce” (becomes it comes from a plant) by pesticides. All those lovely chemicals floating around in your morning cup-of-joe. No thanks! Definitely choose Organic, especially if you are sipping a cup once or twice a day!

So here are the facts when it comes to coffee.

1. Coffee (Organic and Black) is not bad for you. Because…

1) Coffee beans have disease fighting properties; antioxidants.

2) A moderate consumption of caffeine can help mental alertness

3) Caffeine, as a stimulant, can help improve bowel regularity of function (helping you to poop).

2. Too much coffee (just like too much of anything) can become a problem. Have no more than 2-3 cups (a cup is 8 ounces) per day to avoid developing a dependence. Also make sure to eat something before or after your cup of coffee to help prevent the jitters, AND for every cup of caffeinated beverage you consume, make sure to drink a cup of water too.

3. Skip the sugary and fat-filled add-ins. Your artery clogging creamer, your sprinkling of sugar-free cancer causers, your choco-o-latte double whip mocha-a-la-mode… just skip it. You will be healthier and happier, trust me on this one. Instead go for natural flavor enhancers to spice up your coffee such as;

1) Coconut Mik (very creamy… just like creamer!), Almond Milk or Hemp Milk

2) Stevia / Truvia (Natural calorie-free sweetener, the only healthy option I recommend)

3) Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger (A sprinkle of these to any beverage adds a lot of flavor and health benefits without any                 calories)

So don’t skip your morning cup of coffee, if it is something you enjoy and makes for a better start to your day… just make sure that it’s Organic, blended with only natural healthy add-ins, and sip no more than 2-3 cups per day.

P.s. If you lived in the Portland, Oregon area like I do…make sure to check out Stump Town Coffee. Brewed Yum in a Cup.

Happy Sipping!

Your Healthy Grocery Girl

Embrace Fall… It’s Delicious!

Happy Fall!

Fall is my favorite season. The sun is still (hopefully) shining yet it is cooler and crisp outside… which means boots, jeans and scarves! The colors of the season are amazing! Orange, red, yellow… it is such a gorgeous time of year. It also make me want to start cooking and baking more with all the fall seasonal produce, spices, and flavors… pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, soups and chili’s and warm cider… oh my.

Here are a few Seasonal Fall Fav’s to add some health to your daily eats…

Pumpkin Seeds! Fall and winter is the time of year when we start to see the cold and flu show up… ramp up your immune system with pumpkin seeds which are high in Zinc (an immune supporting mineral). Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of fiber and protein to keep you full and satisfied, so they are great for a snack or sprinkled on a salad!

Pumpkin! Pumpkin’s are loaded with Vitamin A and Fiber and are very low in calories. Plus, they just taste great.

Sweet Potatoes! These babies are fat-free (and saturated fat-free), low sodium, cholesterol free and a good source of dietary fiber. They are also high in vitamin A, vitamin C and a good source of potassium.

Apples! Low in calories, high in fiber, and very filling, these sweet treats are versatile for cooking, baking, and nibbling on.

Cinnamon! Did you know that cinnamon helps to manage blood sugar levels? Sprinkle some in your morning coffee, smoothie, oatmeal or toast which will help keep your energy levels stable all morning long (don’t forget to add some healthy protein and fat, such as almond butter, to your breakfast for extra sustained energy).

So let’s embrace the season and nosh on some of these healthy and delicious eats!

Happy Healthy Eating!

Your Healthy Grocery Girl