Breaking Nighttime Snacking

You get home from a long day of work and sit down for dinner with your family. You clean up the dishes, get the kids to bed, and start getting the craving for something sweet. Nighttime snacking is one of the biggest concerns that walk through my door. Almost every person that comes to me with this problem also identifies that they’re eating out of boredom or habit instead of true hunger, but can’t get away from it. So what can you do? Can night snacking be a part of a balanced diet? Should you stop eating at a certain time?

If you must have something, focus on portion control when giving in to your sweet tooth: Having a small dessert CAN be a part of a balanced diet that allows for weight maintenance. What and how much you choose to eat will play a big role in this though. When reaching for something sweet at night, try to choose items that are already in portion-controlled packages or lightened up options of what you’re craving. Some examples include:

  • Banana “ice cream:” Place a frozen banana in a food processor and blend until smooth. This gives you a dose of natural sugars and potassium as well!
  • Lightened ice cream varieties: A common food trend in grocery stores is light ice creams, which are designed to be higher in fiber and protein. Popular brands include Halo Top, Enlightened, Ben & Jerry’s Moo-phoria, Artic Zero, and Breyer’s Delights. These tend to contain 60-160 calories per ½ cup serving.
  • Single Serving Packages: Trail mix (different blends sold at Trader Joe’s), 100-calorie packs of nuts, Stacy’s Cinnamon Sugar pita chips, granola or cereal.

 A better option: find an alternative to your evening routine: If you’re snacking out of boredom or relaxation, find something that distracts you from food. Switch up your routine to keep your mind off of food.

  • Read a book or a magazine article
  • When the weather is warmer and daylight is longer, go for a walk after dinner.
  • Clean the house.
  • Watch television in a room far away from the kitchen.
  • Identify what’s triggering you to eat! Is it watching TV? Sitting on the couch? Stress? If you can find the patterns surrounding your snacking, you can better strategize how to break the cycle.
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Cucumber Cups with Dill and Smoked Salmon

Makes 12-14 Servings

  1. Trim ends from cucumbers and cut crosswise into 24 (3/4-inch-thick) rounds. Scoop a 1/2-inch-deep depression from one side of each round with a small melon-baller, forming little cups. Drain cucumbers, cup sides down, on paper towels for 15 minutes.
  2. Beat cream cheese, chopped dill, lemon zest, lemon juice, and black pepper together in a bowl. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon cheese mixture into each cucumber cup. Top each cup with 1 salmon strip and 1 dill sprig. 
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Guilt Free Recipes for Super Bowl Weekend

Super Bowl Weekend is finally here, and we hope you have been checking our blog this week for some crowd-pleasing, dietitian-approved recipes to get you through the big day. We’ve added a few last minute favorites, along with some tips to help you feel satisfied throughout the game without feeling weighed down or like you’ve completely blown your New Year’s resolutions. Enjoy!

Greek Salad Skewers (Serves 4-6)

  • 1 large English cucumber
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 lb. feta cheese, cut into 16 small cubes
  • 8 pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 8 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  1. Cut four 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices from the cucumber and then quarter each slice. Set the cucumber pieces on a large serving platter and season with 1/4 teaspoons each salt and pepper.
  2. Top each with a piece of feta and then an olive half. Stab a toothpick through a tomato half and then thread through one of the cucumber stacks, pushing the toothpick down to secure it. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with some more black pepper, and serve.

Healthy Deviled Eggs  (Makes 12 Servings)

  • 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
  • 1/4 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • paprika to garnish

First you need to hard boil the eggs. Place the eggs in a pot, add just enough cold water so that they are fully covered, and put on high heat. Add a little salt to the pot, too — it’ll make them easier to peel.

Cover and bring them to a boil, then turn off the heat and let them sit, still covered, for 12 minutes. Then they are ready. I usually rinse them with some cold water and let them sit for a bit to cool them down first. You can also put them in an ice bath.

Once they’ve cooled, peel them and cut them lengthwise.

Place the whites on a plate and the yolks in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients (except for the paprika) to the yolks in the bowl, and mash it all together. If you would like the mixture to be smooth, use a blender.

Once it is mostly uniform, add the mixture back into the empty egg whites, top with a sprinkle of paprika, and serve immediately or chill in refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail  (Makes 6-8 Servings)

For the Shrimp:

  • 2 pounds (12 to 15-count) shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup chili sauce (recommended: Heinz)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them in 1 layer. Roast for 8 to10 minutes, just until pink and firm and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

For the sauce, combine the chili sauce, ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Serve as a dip with the shrimp.

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If you’re really short on time, don’t panic. Set out some hummus with carrot and celery sticks or pickup fresh guacamole and salsa and serve with black bean and lentil chips. Fresh cut fruit is also another great addition, with edamame, whole grain crackers, low-fat cheese, olives and nuts.

Lastly, don’t forget to eat a nutritious and balanced meal before the game to help prevent over-indulging. Think lean proteins, vegetables, whole grains, and a dash of heart healthy fat (1/4 avocado, 1 tbsp. olive oil/peanut butter, etc.). This will help you feel satisfied and be better able to resist the tempting junk foods. When you do make your game day plate, be selective in what you chose and check out all the available options before you dive in. Try and fill half your plate with vegetables or fruit and pick out your top three favorite foods to sample. Also, try and exercise earlier in the day before the game as this will help off-set some of your Super Bowl calories.

*Leave us a reply posting your favorite, go-to party recipes.

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PLC Recipe Party Time Layer Dip

Place a tray of raw vegetables next to this tasty dip for a healthy party snack!

Serves 8

Ingredients

Cooking spray
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp cumin powder
1 Tbsp pickled jalapeno pepper juice
1 Tbsp pickled jalapeno peppers
1 red onion, finely chopped, divided
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp hot sauce
2 ripe avocados, cut in half, skin and pits removed
1 Jalapeno pepper, cut in thin slices, divided
2 limes
1 bunch cilantro, washed and de-stemmed
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 yellow tomato, chopped
2 red tomatoes, chopped
2-3 green scallions, white parts only, finely sliced
1/4 cup pitted black olives
1/2 cup red chilies

Directions:

  1. In a pan lightly coated with cooking spray over medium heat, add black beans, cumin powder, and pickled jalapeño juice and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, five minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a pan lightly coated with cooking spray over medium-low heat, add the chopped red onion. Sauté until onion is soft and translucent, about five minutes. Add pinto beans and hot sauce and continue to cook, about five minutes more. Transfer to high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, combine the chopped red onion, avocados, chopped jalapeños, lime juice, and chopped cilantro. Mash with a fork until well combined. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, add yogurt and lime juice. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  5. In a bowl, add tomatoes, remaining red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and scallions. Stir to combine, season with salt to taste and set aside.
  6. Assemble dip in a large rectangular platter. To layer vertically, start with the two kinds of beans, guacamole and salsa. Create small pockets with a spoon for yogurt, olives and red chiles.

Nutrition Information: 270 calories, 9g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 140mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate, 14g fiber, 14g protein

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PLC Recipe: Baked Buffalo Wings With Blue Cheese-Yogurt Dip

Although these wings are “lightened-up” in this easy-to-prepare recipe, they still bring a robust flavor to the table!

Serves: 10                        Ready in about 1 hour

Ingredients

For the dip:

3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 small clove garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon skim milk

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt & Pepper as desired

For the wings:

Cooking spray, for the baking sheet

3 pounds chicken wings, split at the joints, skin & tips removed

4 stalks celery, cut into thirds

4 carrots, cut in half

2 bay leaves

1 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup hot sauce

2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

  1. Make the dip: Pulse the yogurt, blue cheese, mayonnaise, garlic, milk and lemon juice in a food processor until combined but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Make the wings: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Put the chicken wings in a deep skillet; add 3 pieces of celery, 3 pieces of carrot, the bay leaves, chicken broth, hot sauce, paprika, butter, honey and 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the chicken is almost cooked through, about 18 minutes. Transfer the wings to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer; reserve the sauce in the skillet.
  4. Bake the wings, turning once, until the skin is golden and crisp, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, simmer the reserved sauce over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
  5. Discard the bay leaves.
  6. Reserve ¼ of the sauce for serving.
  7. Return the wings to the skillet and toss with the remaining sauce.
  8. Serve the wings with the blue cheese dip and reserved sauce; cut the remaining celery and carrot into sticks to serve on the side.

Nutrition Information (per serving; makes about 10 servings of 1/3 pound wings each + dip): 250 calories, 9g fat, 3g saturated fat, 6g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 33g protein, 85mg cholesterol, 550mg sodium

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PLC Recipe: Quinoa & Roasted Pepper Chili

Contributed by Stephanie Devine, MS, RDN

Roasted bell pepper gives this meatless dish a delightful flavor boost.  It’s packed full of fiber and flavor with the Spanish smoked paprika, quinoa and pinto beans.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers

2 poblano chiles

4 teaspoons olive oil

Click to see savings

3 cups chopped zucchini

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

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4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with chipotles, undrained

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup low-sodium vegetable juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Cut bell peppers and chiles in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet, and flatten with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag; fold to close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop.
  3. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add zucchini, onion, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, and paprika; sauté for 30 seconds. Add roasted peppers and chiles, 1/2 cup water, and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.

Nutrition Information: Serving size: 1.5 cups; Calories 258: Fat 6.3g; Saturated fat 0.9g; Sodium 430mg; Carbohydrate 42g; Fiber 9.8g; Protein 9.7g

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PLC Recipe: Mini Pizza Mushrooms

These easy to make stuffed mushrooms will be a winner at your Super Bowl celebration!

Serves 10 (as an appetizer)

Ingredients:

1 medium green bell pepper, diced

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

1 cup chopped spinach

2/3 cup diced white onion

4 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp olive oil

24 oz. can of crushed tomatoes (with basil)

10 basil leaves, chopped

20 baby portobello mushroom caps

optional mozzarella or Parmesan for topping

Directions:

  1. Set oven to broil (500° F) and line baking sheet ready with parchment paper
  2. Toss diced onion into a skillet with olive oil and cook until soft. Add in peppers and garlic;cook until tender.
  3. Add in crushed tomato and spinach. Let simmer for five minutes.
  4. While sauce is simmering, wash the mushroom caps, making sure the stems are fully removed. Evenly place them on the baking sheet.
  5. Remove sauce from stove and lightly place sauce in mushroom caps until full. Top with cheese if desired.
  6. Place stuffed mushrooms in oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Remove and sprinkle with chopped fresh basil.

Nutrition Info (without optional cheese) per serving: 84 calories, 3g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 11g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 3.4g protein, 239mg sodium

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