Tag Archives: healthy

Healthy Black Bean and Banana Brownies

2015/01/img_5150.jpg
I’ve tried out a few different black bean brownie recipes but every single recipe that I’ve found online requires chocolate chips. I wanted to make black bean brownies without them because I can’t find any without added sugar and most contain soy lecithin as well. I would love to be able to eat brownies regularly without the guilt, so I decided to come up with my own recipe and completely eliminate sugar and chocolate chips.

These are definitely not your typical brownie but they are healthy and delicious! They also make a great pre or post workout snack 💪.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (equivalent to 1/2 cup dried or a 15 ounce can)
1 cup oats
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cacao powder
2 large, ripe bananas
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Optional: chopped walnuts

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth (if using walnuts, add them after blending)
3. Pour batter into a greased 8×8 pan.
4. Bake for 25-30 mins, then let cool in pan for 10 mins before cutting.

No one will know these are made with black beans unless you tell them 😉.

Oven-Baked Yam Fries Recipe

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/db5/63410078/files/2014/12/img_4852.jpg
Yam fries are one of my daughter’s favorite foods. I’d rather have her eat healthy homemade fries than restaurant versions that are fried in unhealthy oils and batter, so I’ve experimented with a few healthy recipes at home and this one is my favorite. It’s very flavourful and I love that I can eat them without any guilt since they are baked, not fried. You can substitute the yams in this recipe for sweet potatoes if you can’t find true yams.

Ingredients:

3 lbs yams
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425*F.
2. Peel and cut the yams into “fries”.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/db5/63410078/files/2014/12/img_4843.jpg
3. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and then dump into a large ziploc bag. Pour in the vegetable oil and swirl it around until all of the seasoning is mixed into the oil.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/db5/63410078/files/2014/12/img_4845.jpg
4. Pour the yam fries into the bag, close it tightly and shake and massage the bag until all of the fries are thoroughly coated in oil and seasoning.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/db5/63410078/files/2014/12/img_4846.jpg
5. Spread the yam fries in a single layer on a baking sheet (you may need 2).

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/db5/63410078/files/2014/12/img_4849-1.jpg6. Bake for 30-40 mins, until slightly browned. Serve hot.

Quick and Healthy Snack for Older Babies and Toddlers (and Adults Too!)

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/db5/63410078/files/2014/12/img_4841-0.jpg

Sometimes I need to feed my toddler something that will tide her over longer than usual (for example if dinner is going to take longer than expected, or if we’re going to be out for awhile and I need her tummy to stay full). That’s when I turn to this snack because it’s not only quick and easy but also filling and energy-packed.

She didn’t initially like this snack when I first introduced it but after a few tries she started to enjoy it. After eating her leftovers the first few times I found that I also enjoy it so I will prepare it for myself sometimes too! It’s a great post-workout snack.

Ingredients:

1 banana, mashed
1-1 1/2 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
Dash of cinnamon

Directions: Simply mix all of the ingredients together and wait 10 mins for the chia seeds to soften, the serve.

Why we drink green juice

IMG_4281.JPG
I drink green juice every morning and so does my toddler. I do not drink green juice to replace the vegetables I eat, I treat it as a supplement to my daily diet. I would never eat as many vegetables as I juice in a day, much less all in one early morning serving, therefore I’m getting a lot of vitamins and minerals that I would not otherwise get in my diet. I would definitely not be able to get my toddler to eat vegetables for breakfast, but she happily drinks her green (or sometimes red) juice every morning before her usual meal.

IMG_4152.JPG

Some argue that without the pulp, I’m losing all the fibre so it’s not as beneficial as eating vegetables. I get plenty of fibre from the whole fruits and vegetables that I eat later in the day as well as from my afternoon smoothie. Aside from fibre, most of the nutrients are in the juice: and to reiterate, the nutrients that I get from my morning green juice are extra nutrients that I would not otherwise consume.

As far as the concern about a blood sugar spike after drinking juice, that is more of a problem with sugary fruit juices. Vegetable juices do not have a high enough fructose content to have the same effect.

Drinking vegetable juice has been proven to be an effective method of getting a variety of vegetables in your diet4. The plethora of benefits from eating (or drinking) more vegetables include reduced blood pressure4 and delayed onset of Alzheimer’s disease2. For children, a higher vegetable intake lowers their risk of obesity5. Vegetables are high in vitamin A, which is crucial for brain development in growing babies and children 3.

I never used to eat a lot of vegetables (oddly enough for a vegetarian), until I became pregnant. I wanted my child to get all the benefits of a nutritious diet from the get go, so I forced myself to eat them. Over time I became accustomed to eating them regularly and actually began to enjoy the taste. When my daughter started eating solids I upped the ante even more and slowly cut out processed food. I wanted my daughter to eat healthy and stay away from junk food so I decided to lead by example. However, I was still concerned that neither my daughter or myself were getting enough vegetables, so when she was about 18 months old I started juicing a variety of vegetables.

Children’s diets are strongly correlated with their parent’s diets, and mothers who eat healthy are more likely to have children who become healthy eaters 1. Infants and toddlers who are fed healthy food are more likely to become healthy eaters in adulthood as well as have better overall health later in life5.

It doesn’t matter how you get your vegetables, as long as you and your children are getting enough. So whether you prefer to eat them, drink them, or both, just make sure your family is getting a good amount and variety of vegetables.

References

1. Hart, C. N.; Raynor, H. A.; Jelalian, E.; Drotar, D. Hart, C. N.; Raynor, H. A.; Jelalian, E.; Drotar, D. Child: Care, Health & Development. May2010, Vol. 36 Issue 3, p396-403. 8p. 4 Charts. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2010.01072

2. Lahiri, Debomoy K. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2006, Vol. 10 Issue 4, p359-361. 3p.

3. Rosales, Francisco J.; Zeisel, Steven H. Nutritional Neuroscience. Jun2008, Vol. 11 Issue 3, p135-143. 9p. 2 Charts. DOI: 10.1179/147683008X301522

4. Shenoy, Sonia F.; Kazaks, Alexandra G.; Holt, Roberta R.; Hsin Ju Chen; Winters, Barbara L.; Chor San Khoo; Poston, Walker S. C.; Haddock, C. Keith; Reeves, Rebecca S.; Foreyt, John P.; Gershwin, M. Eric; Keen, Carl L. Nutrition Journal. 2010, Vol. 9, p38-48. 11p. DOI: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-38

5. Venter, C.; Harris, G. Nutrition Bulletin. Dec2009, Vol. 34 Issue 4, p391-394. 4p. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-3010.2009.01784.

Food for thought: What is a healthy diet?

IMG_3974-0.JPG

Healthy diets have been proven to aid everything from weight loss to cancer treatment, while unhealthy diets have been linked to everything from ADHD to diabetes.

What most people think of when they hear the term “healthy diet” is low fat and low sugar. The new train of thought making its way into the mainstream is “simple ingredients, real food”. It has become the norm to look at nutrition labels to check the calories, fat, and sugar content of food; but we also need to check the ingredient list for artificial ingredients. If an item has a gazillion ingredients, half of which you can’t pronounce, IT’S NOT REAL FOOD! Granted, you may not be able to pronounce half the chemicals that make up a pear either, but pears are real food – “pear flavour” is not.

IMG_4012.JPG

Everything that you eat or drink either nourishes your body or harms it. Now that doesn’t mean that if you eat a doughnut you’re going to die. If you’re otherwise healthy, and you eat healthy most of the time, an occasional treat here or there won’t be the end of the world. The “good chemicals” in the abundant healthy food you eat will counteract the few “bad chemicals” you consume.

However, a lot of people don’t seem to understand the meaning of occasional.

A slice of cake once a week is occasional. A couple of cookies and an unhealthy muffin every single day is NOT occasional.

A drive-through meal once a month or so is occasional. A Big Mac combo meal a couple of times a week is NOT occasional.

A good tip for eating a healthy diet is not keeping unhealthy food in your house. When you’re really hungry and need a quick fix, you are more likely to grab something unhealthy if it is available. So simply don’t make it available at home. This will also force your kids to eat healthy snacks instead of junk food every day. Make sure you have lots of cut-up fruits and veggies in your fridge so the whole family can munch on something healthy in between meals.

Also, don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, otherwise you’ll have an even harder time resisting all the convenient junk food on the shelves. I know when I’m really hungry I want to eat whatever is in sight, so I do my grocery shopping after having a meal or snack.

If you have a sweet tooth (✋☺️) and just can’t resist eating sweets, bake your own instead of eating store-bought pastries. That way there are no artificial flavours, colors or preservatives, and you can make “healthy” sweets by substituting all purpose flour with whole wheat or spelt, and replacing refined sugar with other sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

The next time you eat something processed ask yourself, “is this real food?”