Spring Clean Your Kitchen: Food Ideas and a Free Tip Sheet

Happy Spring! 

happy-47083_640I’m sitting outside soaking up the 70 degree sun (and getting some much needed vitamin D). I hope you are enjoying some warmer weather wherever you are.

We all need a little “sprucing up” after a long dark winter. I spent part of my weekend giving my kitchen a “refresh” and then I shared some food ideas on TV.

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Below you will find my TV clip, some easy snacking and food prep tips, and links.

(disclosure: Applegate, Sargento, Wonderful Pistachios, Body Armor, and Vitafusion are clients of mine. I was compensated for TV.)

Applegate HALF TIME Natural and Organic Snack Kit

This snack is the first nationally available natural and organic pre-packed lunch and snack kit.  It’s a great way to eat healthier with the busy lifestyle spring brings; sports, road trips, and living on the go. HALF TIME group shot

The Applegate Half Time snack option means parents don’t have to sacrifice quality for convenience. Kids on average snack at least 3 times a day so the Applegate half time is a great option to have.

Half Time comes in three varieties with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.  The meat has no added nitrates and is antibiotic free. When you compare the nutrition to other pre-packed kits, Applegate HALF TIME has less sodium and fat but more protein. There are three options: turkey and cheese, ham and cheese, and bologna and cheese.

Sargento: Portable Protein and Portion Control 

“Sweet Dreams are made of Cheese…” 
SringCheese_OriginalPeople love cheese and I love recommending Sargento Natural Cheese Snacks – a natural source of protein that keeps you fueled and satisfied.

The Sargento Natural String Cheese Snacks has to be one of my favorites.  It has 8g of protein per serving—that is more protein than a serving of almonds or a hard-boiled egg.  They also help you stay fueled when you are on the go, without sacrificing taste.

Here are some ways I like to eat them: I like paring the Sharp Cheddar with blueberries and carrots; Pepper Jack paired with shelled edamame; and string cheese made into Caprese skewers.

For more smart snack ideas visit sargento.com/snacks

Put Wonderful Pistachios On Your Desk and Counter

One of my favorite nuts to have on hand are Wonderful Pistachios.  Every one-ounce serving has six grams of plant-powered protein and three grams of fiber, which may help you, stay full for longer. WP flavors packshot

Plus, with nearly 90% “good-for-you” unsaturated fats, pistachios are a healthier snack choice when you are craving a crunchy treat.  When you crack open pistachios, you will notice vibrant green and purple hues.  These are the antioxidants present in the nuts.

Try all the Wonderful varieties including roasted and salted, sweet chili, and no salt added. Get a coupon and watch their hilarious videos at www.GetCrackin.com

Upgrade Your Sports Drink With Body Armor

It’s not just about the food, this spring.  We can’t forget exercise and especially hydration.

Potassium packed sports drink, no artificial ingredients.

Potassium packed sports drink, no artificial ingredients.

If you are an athlete or have a very active child, you might benefit from more than just plain water especially activity over 60 minutes.  I often get asked, what the best sports drink is for their active child and I always recommend Body Armor.

Body Armor has no artificial ingredients and is low in sodium – unlike other sports drinks.  This sports drink is packed with potassium electrolytes and vitamins than any other sports drink, and it’s made with coconut water.

Try these five great tasting flavors such as, fruit punch, orange mango, and strawberry banana.

Cover Your Bases With Vitafusion

VF_MultiVitesDespite our best intentions for healthy eating, we don’t always hit our vitamin and mineral targets.  Taking a good multivitamin can help you cover those bases.

I love Vitafusion Multivites – one serving of two gummies provides a fusion of essential vitamins, minerals and natural fruit flavors in a delicious gummy.  Vitafusion is actually the #1 adult gummy vitamin brand rooted in the belief that healthy habits should also be enjoyable so you keep doing them.

The great thing about these vitamins is that they are made in the U.S. with no artificial colors or flavors.  They are also easy to take—you don’t even need water.

Another Vitafusion I like is Biotin, which provides an excellent source of this essential B vitamin important for skin health.

For kids 2+ years, the gummy vitamin is Lil Critters and has the same great quality as the adult version.


(disclosure: Applegate, Sargento, Wonderful Pistachios, Body Armor, and Vitafusion are clients of mine. I was compensated for TV.)

 

Balance Your Plate Better: My Food Tips for National Nutrition Month

(Disclosure: National Peanut Board, Post Grape Nuts FIT, Nestlé, and Genova Seafood are clients of mine. I was not compensated to write this blog posts.)


March is National Nutrition Month which means it’s time to celebrate with the theme“bite into a healthy lifestyle”.  I’m thrilled to share these ideas — they’re easy, fun, and delicious and perfect for all occasions!

WBAL TV 11 March 14, 2015

WBAL TV 11 March 14, 2015

Check out my recent segment on NBC WBAL TV 11 and read on to get my tips and recipes you need to balance your plate better – and it’s not hard!

Add Peanuts and Peanut Butter Anywhere

Use peanuts and peanut butter anywhere.

Use peanuts and peanut butter anywhere.

Peanuts and peanut butter are a smart choice for any meal, any time of day. Have a handful as a snack, top a piece of wheat toast or wheat pancake, stir in your oatmeal or smoothie – they are so convenient and easy.

Peanuts have more energy-boosting protein than ANY other nut with 7 grams protein per serving PLUS over 30 vitamins and nutrients. Peanuts are also an affordable source of protein, which anyone on a budget surely can appreciate.

Both my girls are eating real food now (they grow up so fast!) Both love to “dip” and I made up a super easy dip that taste great with fruits and veggies.  Simply stir 2 tablespoons of peanut butter into 1/2 cup yogurt or Greek yogurt and dip your kids favorites. Let them help make it and taste it if they are old enough.

Get more creative recipe ideas at www.NationalPeanutBoard.org

 Try Grape Nuts FIT Granola

Everyone loves granola and I’m digging the taste and crunch of this new Grape-Nuts FIT granola, which is a good source of fiber, provides 30 g of whole grains and has 9g of protein per serving.GrapeNutsFit225

Made with crunchy Grape-Nuts nuggets, puffed barley, and cranberries, it’s a nutritious way to fuel your everyday adventures and your workouts.

Try it with Greek yogurt, milk or oatmeal for a power-packed breakfast or snack. You also might like it on it’s own. Instead of running to the vending machine in that afternoon energy slump, try a couple handfuls of this granola and get re-energized without the crash.

Get more information and recipes at www.GrapeNuts.Com

 

Balance Your Plate 

nestle-mac-cups

I enjoy working with Nestlé on their “Balance Your Plate” education campaign. The idea is to pair frozen prepared foods with vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins for a balanced meal.

Mac and cheese is a family favorite, including mine. But I don’t always have the time to make it homemade.  Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese has freshly-made pasta and real cheddar cheese.

I love these Stouffer’s Classic Mac Cups because they are conveniently portioned with 10g protein, no preservatives, and they cook in about 3 minutes!

On a busy weeknight, the Classic Mac Cups can be an easy and tasty component of your family’s meal. Serve it with any vegetable. My girls love broccoli and we say “mac and cheese with little trees” when we eat this (cute, huh?) Then pick your protein. I happen to like grilled chicken with this dish. Then, serve up some fruit for dessert and you have yourself a simple and easy balanced plate.

For more information about the Nestlé Balance Your Plate, visit www.NestleUSA.Com/balance.

Upgrade Your Tuna with Genova Seafood  

Higher quality food is more satisfying and enjoyable, making eating healthier more fun. Genova is premium quality seafood with three simple ingredients – wild-caught Yellowfin tuna fillets, a touch of salt and just enough olive oil.

Chilled grilled vegetables with Genova tuna.

Chilled grilled vegetables with Genova tuna.

The simplicity of the ingredients make Genova uniquely satisfying – whether you simply top it on your salad at lunch or use it as an ingredient at your next dinner party.

Because Genova is a premium quality tuna, it’s a favorite of local foodies and culinary experts.

Try chilled grilled vegetables with tuna and tuna with black lentils – both of these recipes and many more yummy ideas for tuna are available at www.GenovaSeafood.Com

 

 


(Disclosure: National Peanut Board, Post Grape Nuts FIT, Nestlé, and Genova Seafood are clients of mine. I was not compensated to write this blog posts.)

Healthy (and easy!) Holiday Entertaining

Feeling overwhelmed by the holidays?  Are you looking for ways to simplify holiday entertaining so you can focus on the things that really matter, like hanging out with your family and friends?  I totally get it, which is why I recently appeared on WBAL in Baltimore to share my best tips for easy entertaining.  Yes, I said it, easy – it’s really all about keeping the food healthy and the people happy, which is so much simpler than it sounds!  Keep reading to learn my favorite time-saving tips and tricks.

rebecca wbal

Bring a Hostess Gift

If you’re not the one doing the actual entertaining, it’s always thoughtful to bring a gift for the hard-working hostess.  I love bringing all the fixings for a signature cocktail station with quality foods.  Some of my faves are Sweet Scarletts, which are sweet, Vitamin C-loaded grapefruits with a beautiful red color,  antioxidants and potassium-rich POM Wonderful juice, and POM POMS fresh pomegranate arils which do all the work of scooping the seeds for you.  Make cocktails with the juices and some vodka or champagne, or make mocktails by adding sparkling water.  Use the fresh Sweet Scarlett segments and POM POMS arils for a nutritious and gorgeous garnish.  POM has loads of drink recipes on their website for more boozy inspiration.

image source: pomwonderful.com

image source: pomwonderful.com

Another great hostess gift is a cheese board – bring it stocked with your favorite healthy snacks, and then leave it behind when the party ends.  I always include cubes of my favorite cheese (I love a sharp Cheddar) and Wonderful pistachios, which are full of protein and filling fiber, and have a big serving size – 30 pistachios have only about 100 calories.  Round out the cheese plate with Vitamin-C boosting-Halos, which are sweet, seedless, and easy to peel.

Score a Touchdown at Your Tailgate

Tailgate parties are all about the dip.  And did you know that Sabra is the official dip sponsor of the NFL and that you can win prizes like a trip to the 2016 Pro Bowl in Hawaii when you buy their dips?

Image source: sabra.com

Image source: sabra.com

There are tons of easy, festive ways to use Sabra dips during the holiday season.  I’m personally partial to their hummus because it has plant protein, fiber, and good-for-you fats, plus it tastes amazing.  Try warming it up since the weather is a bit cooler outside and top it with beautiful red pomegranate arils for a festive touch.  The Greek yogurt dip is another family favorite – serve it with your favorite veggies and warm pita triangles (just cut the what pita into wedges and microwave for a few seconds).  I like using red and green bell peppers at this time of year for a little kick of holiday cheer.  Speaking of red and green, pair up Salsa and Guacamole for a pretty party platter; just place them side by side and fill the rest of the platter with tortilla chips and you have a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Visit sabradiplife.com for coupons, recipes, and prize info.

Serve Wheat Foods with Confidence 

image source: wheatfoods.org

image source: wheatfoods.org

Wheat is the basis of just about all holiday baking and recipes! All your favorites share the benefits of wheat. Wheat foods help provide nutrients everyone needs, including B vitamins, fiber, and carbohydrates. It’s important to remember that carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced eating. It can be a real time-saver to pick up items for breakfasts and snacks like muffins, banana bread, and scones – serve it with plain yogurt and fresh fruit for a well-balanced start to your day. Check out WheatFoods.org for versatile recipes like this Chicken Cashew Pasta, which you can serve hot or cold. Or a favorite especially around the holidays, Whole Wheat Spinach Lasagna.  If you have weight concerns, allow yourself to enjoy all foods in moderation and stick to an exercise routine that’s joyful through the holidays and into the New Year.

Sweeten Your Meals, Naturally

California Raisins are a great way to spice up your holiday menus and they offer a unique twist on traditional family favorites. Make them part of your holiday cookie decorating with festive gingerbread cookies freckled with California raisins. Raisins are an ingredient you can feel good about. They are an all-natural, dried-by-the-sun fruit, with no added sugar, no cholesterol and zero fat

Image source: calraisins.org

Image source: calraisins.org

I also love using them in festive side dishes like this Acorn Squash with California Raisins. It’s a beautiful presentation. California Raisins add a natural sweetness to dishes – and with only one ingredient – raisins! Visit LoveYourRaisins.com for these recipes and more!

Now it’s your turn – what are your favorite tips and tricks for holiday entertaining?  Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter @ScritchfieldRD.

Disclosure: I was compensated by California Raisins, Wheat Foods Council, Wonderful brands, and Sabra Dipping Company for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

#HappyHolidaysChallenge: The Big “O”…Overeating.

Happy Holidays

Hello there! If you’re reading for the first time or just stopping by for the fun, I’m doing a “Happy Holidays” wellness challenge to help you cultivate more health and happiness the rest of 2014. Catch up on the details on how to join and win the prizes. Or if it already sounds like a good idea, sign up below.

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The Big “O”…Overeating.

“I shouldn’t have that!” “There are way too many calories in this!” “I’m going to regret this later.” There is a LOT of opportunity for negative food-related emotions during the holidays. So how do we deal with these moments and get on with enjoying the important part of the holidays: Enjoying time with family and friends?

Accept that You’re Going to Overeat During the Holidays

Last week I talked about guilt related to labeling a food as “good” or “bad”. What about guilt from an even more common occurrence: Overeating. Overeating is one of the biggest food-related concerns of the holidays. It’s basically a given that overeating, to some degree, is going to happen. So how do we eliminate overeating during the holidays? …We don’t! It’s unrealistic, and honestly, unnecessary. Overeating is part of the holiday experience, and as part of human nature, something we enjoy. What we can do, is ensure this occurs in a healthy way.

You Can Do It Challenge:  Make a truce with yourself right now that you are going to overeat and you are going to savor every bite you choose to take with awareness and gratitude.

Use Mindful Eating to Enjoy Food During the Holidays

Mindfulness is about being present in the moment. Mindful eating is being fully present with your food. No matter how much you have.

Here are my tips for mindful eating:

  • Use all your senses. Sight, smell, taste, touch (texture on your tongue).
  • When making your plate, ask what do I really want (not necessarily what is healthiest/you should eat).
  • Make a plate that looks appealing and looks like it will be enough to satisfy you.
  • Enjoy the food by noticing the smell and taste. Comment on what you are enjoying. Ask the chef who prepared the delicious food about anything you might be curious about – how easy or hard was this, what spice do I taste, etc?
  • Chew the food well to break it down for good digestion and to get enough time with the texture of it in your mouth.
  • Enjoy the conversation at the table and the food.
  • Be grateful for ALL the gifts in your life, including the privilege of enjoying the food with the people around you.

Some of the basic principles of intuitive eating are honoring hunger and respecting fullness. When you are paying attention, you will notice those signals your body sends that you are full or still hungry.

But what if I know I’m full, and I still REALLY want that piece of cheesecake I’ve been staring at since dinner started? Go ahead! But use this time to really enjoy that piece of cheesecake, and pay attention to what you’re feeling. The moment you take a bite and it’s not as enjoyable, put your fork down and leave the rest. See [link for mindful eating blog] for more mindful eating tips.

Eat for Yourself, And Nobody Else

Understand you always have choices. Make the ones that feel right to you. Just because Aunt Bea is waving her famous apple pie under your nose, coaxing you to have a piece, doesn’t mean you have to take it if you’re not hungry or you don’t want it right now. Get comfortable with politely saying, some version of “No, Thank you.”

Chances are, they are just trying to be a gracious host, or take care of you. But if that’s not how you feel, if you feel “pressured” to eat to make them happy, sit with that feeling and try one of my techniques.

The goal is to get the other person focused on something other than taking responsibility for your need/desire to eat (which is not their job).

Here are a few of my favorite “polite declines”

  • looks delicious… I’m not hungry now, but I’ll look for it later
  • smells so good… I need to digest a little bit and then I’ll get some
  • wow that looks great! Is it good? I’m full right now, but I’ll try it in a little bit
  • thank you so much… I’m not sure if I want ______ or _____

While this is just my opinion, I believe everyone who tries to respect their body (and fullness) at the present moment and who does not eat for “show” or to make others happy, is actually a happier person.

I promise, at the end of the day, no one is going to get offended you didn’t eat yourself sick. (And if they do, trust me, there is a reason behind it.)

Try these tips for healthfully enjoying overeating during the holidays, and make the choice to leave guilt-ridden eating behind.

Enter to Win

Psst… I’m running a contest on THIS post for healthy meal prep around holiday time. If you like cooking tools, check it out and leave a comment on the post to win.

Check In

How are you doing so far? Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook. If you’re on Twitter, follow me and the #HappyHolidaysChallenge for even more motivation.

If you’re not “officially” in the challenge yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up below.

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Challenge Your Friends

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sharing on social media or just send them this e-mail with the link to subscribe to the challenge.

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge.  Get healthier and happier this holiday season. http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Twitter: I’m taking the #HappyHolidaysChallenge with @ScritchfieldRD. Join us http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c

Food Ideas for Delicious Holidays

Need an easy appetizer? How about nutritious foods in festive colors? Or simple tweaks to those classic favorites for a flavor twist? And of course, what to do with leftovers. My “how-to-do-it” ideas for your holidays in this blog and my most recent Let’s Talk Live D.C. appearance video below.

Add Some Yogurt to your Holiday Recipes

Yogurt is more than a nutritious snack, it’s a great addition to the standard ingredients in holiday recipes. One of my favorites is Siggi’s yogurt. It’s made from simple quality ingredients you can pronounce, and doesn’t have a lot of added sugar like some other brands. It actually has more protein than sugar with about 13 to 15 grams protein per serving and just 9 to 11 grams of sugar. Plus, Siggi’s has no artificial preservatives, no thickeners, no sweeteners, no “fake” flavors and no artificial colors. It’s hard to beat that!

At Thanksgiving, use siggi’s in place of whipped cream. Try topping your Pumpkin and Spice Pie recipe with a dollop of Siggi’s Vanilla. You can also use it in place of butter. Try this delicious twist on your typical mashed potatoes by adding Siggi’s Coconut yogurt to a Sweet Potato Mash.

Find these recipes and more on www.siggisdairy.com and pick up siggi’s at Whole Foods, Giant, Safeway, and YES! Organic Market here in Washington DC.

Sensational Seasonal Flavors

Hummus has become more popular in the U.S. thanks to the #1 selling brand Sabra hummus. Nutrition wise, hummus has a lot to offer. It provides plant protein, fiber, healthy unsaturated fats, as well as iron, zinc, magnesium, and folate.

This is my seasonal twist, a pumpkin hummus, which is a great dish to put out while people are waiting on Thanksgiving. All you do is stir in pureed pumpkin, add a little water and warm it in the microwave for a minute. Top with roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and serve it warm with crudité and good pita bread.

Check out www.sabra.com and you will see there is so much you can do with hummus outside of the typical recipes! I love using hummus as a spread and ingredient in sauces and even salad dressings.

Not your Average Pita

Speaking of that high quality pita bread, look for Toufayan brand at Wegmans, Giant, and Shoprite. It’s fresh, authentic, and healthy. Toufayan is a family owned bakery providing our families with the best tasting breads for over 90 years.

Besides the pita triangles used in the pumpkin hummus appetizer, try their new Gluten Free wraps. They’re available in spinach, garden vegetable, savory tomato, and original. You can use them anywhere! Try these vegetable pinwheels in each of the varieties with hummus, baby spinach, shredded carrot, red cabbage, and sprouts. You make it like a pizza, roll it up tight, cut and hold together with a toothpick. This is delicious, easy to eat, and healthy for you. Find out more at www.toufayan.com.

Gluten Free Gravy Problems Solved

McCormick herbs and spices are always invited to my Thanksgiving. The cinnamon in the pie, poultry seasoning in the stuffing, the foolproof Turkey gravy, McCormick has me covered. Now, McCormick has gluten free turkey gravy, which is not made from flour, so those with gluten allergies can enjoy it too! Make this in five minutes with just McCormick’s Gluten-free gravy mix and water. Dial up the flavor, addng ¼ teaspoon of thyme or sage.

For the leftovers, change it up a bit with this leftover turkey chowder. Add your leftover turkey, gravy, leftover roasted potatoes, and corn for a delicious gluten free chowder.

Green beans are a Thanksgiving staple. Try them lightly cooked with McCormick rosemary, thyme, and salt and pepper and a bit of balsamic vinegar. You can find both of these recipes and more at www.McCormick.com.

Wonderful, Easy Snacks and Party Platters

If I’m going to a party or need a platter idea, “Wonderful”  foods are smart, healthy choices. POM Wonderful Pomegranates are in season. Take the “short cut” and pick up these Pom Poms Fresh Arils to get the sweet, tart taste without the fuss. The bonus? You’ll get fiber and antioxidants too. Try them paired with some dark chocolate. Find out more at www.pomwonderful.com.

Wonderful Halos are so easy to eat and peel. They’re great for kids AND adults. They’re sweet, seedless, and rich in vitamin C. Check out their website www.wonderfulhalos.com.

Lastly, Wonderful Pistachios, “the green nut,”  are a festive color, and easy and fun for your guests to crack. Pistachios are also heart healthy, and a good source of protein and fiber. Check out www.getcrackin.com for more info.

All of these foods are versatile, delicious and perfect for snacking. Have some fun and get creative!

Find out more about these products and topics through Twitter at @siggisdairy @McCormickSpices @Toufayan @getcrackin @pomwonderful and @HalosFun !

Let us know! How are your Thanksgiving plans shaping up? Please share below or tweet to @ScritchfieldRD! We’d love to hear them!

A quick pic before we roll. Lots of great folks making the TV work look easy.

A quick pic before we roll. Lots of great folks making the TV work look easy.

Disclosures: I was compensated by Siggi’s, McCormick, Toufayan, and Wonderful Pistachios, Halos, and Pomegranates for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.