Nutty Chocolate Cherry Trail Mix: A Whole Grain Treat for Any Valentine

Valentines Trail Mix pic_1Disclosure: I was compensated by The General Mills Bell Institute of Health & Nutrition for my time to write this post. Recommendations and opinion are my own.

I’m always happy when Valentine’s Day rolls around. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to express gratitude for special people in my life and get some time in the kitchen doing what I love — preparing food with my kids. This year, I enlisted help from my 3-year-old to make these “Be Mine Valentine” snack packs filled with chocolate, cherries, nuts, and whole grain cereal.

Celebrate with the Goodness of Whole Grains

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines encourage us to make half our servings of grains whole. However, ninety-five percent of us fall short of the recommended 48 grams of whole grain per day. On average, adults consume 1 serving, while most kids consume less than a serving of whole grains each day.

The Benefit of Whole

Whole grains, like whole grain oats, corn, whole wheat, rice and quinoa can provide your body with good-for-you nutrients like folate, iron, and B vitamins to help it function. By focusing on eating a variety of whole grains, you’re getting fiber, a healthy plant-based vitamins, minerals, and a variety of phytochemicals that are beneficial to your health.

Celebrate the “Day of Love” All Year Long

There are easy ways to give whole grains some “love” all year long. Try one new whole grain each month. Ever wondered what millet or quinoa tasted like? Prepare whole-wheat pastas and pizza doughs. Add rolled oats when baking or stir in a handful to your favorite yogurt. Enjoy whole grain salads like tabbouleh or toss your favorite grains with greens for a custom grain bowl.

Fill Your Bowl With Love

A bowl of whole grain cereal can get your day off to a great start giving you a balanced blend of nutrients. When choosing ready to eat cereal, look for whole grain listed as the first ingredient.

What about a warm bowl of mixed grains, topped with berries and crunchy almonds? Or a quick omelet filled with last night’s quinoa? Transform your leftover rice into a breakfast burrito with eggs, beans and cheese. Whatever your morning routine looks like, there’s a whole grain breakfast option that can work for you.Trail Mix bowl pic

Made With Love

Edible gifts are a great way to show you care without spending a lot of money and have some fun making memories with the ones you love. This tasty little gesture of dark chocolate and peanut butter chips, dried cherries and raisins, almonds and walnuts combined with whole grain Cheerios™ or Chex™ makes a great-tasting gift you can feel great about giving.

Make any adjustments to the recipe for your food preferences or food allergies.

Be-Mine Valentine’s Trail Mix
 
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Author:
Cuisine: Snack Mix
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Chex™ or Cheerios® Cereal
  • ½ cup roasted salted almonds
  • ¼ cup dried cherries (can use any dried fruit)
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup peanut butter chips
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients
  2. Bundle this Be-Mine mix in decorative goodie bags or small canning jars with a homemade card and festive ribbon. Too cute!

Hear From You

What’s your favorite way to give sweets to the sweeties in your life? Share a link to your favorite Valentine’s recipe in the comments below.


 

Disclosure: I was compensated by The General Mills Bell Institute of Health & Nutrition for my time to write this post. Recommendations and opinion are my own.

This simple mindfulness exercise could help transform your eating habits.

Check in on your numbers to determine if your body thinks you should eat.

Check in on your numbers to determine when you should eat and when you should stop.

What If I Told You Healthful Eating Is Not About The Food?

OK, that’s not totally true. Nutrition matters. The simplest way to follow nutrition advice is to look at your plate and fill it up with nourishing foods you love. There’s a room for a little bit of this and a little bit of that and there’s no need to eliminate an ingredient (like butter or salt) or food group (like banishing carbs).

But… We Overthink “What” Is On the Plate and Underthink “Why” and “How Much”

Humans, for the most part, suck at mindfulness. We are a culture of distracted, dedicated multitaskers. When we do 2-5 things at once we aren’t paying attention to any of it. We might be there but we are not aware.

The Culture of Busyness: We’ve made busyness a competitive sport in our busyness as a badge of honor culture. We brag about how tired and exhausted we are, how much stuff we cram onto our calendars, how we’ve run around and been so productive and crossed so much stuff off our to-do lists, and yet have so much more to do. It’s become so ingrained, we don’t realize we’re doing it! – Brigid Schulte, author The Overwhelm

My social media feed is overflowing with “what” to eat or “what” to definitely avoid.  In busyness reality, if we stop to think about “what” goes on our plate at all, we are best served to view it as an opportunity to energize, feel better, and improve health, but it is not nearly as extreme as you would think. My 3 year old will devour kale, but she needs it to taste good. When I saute kale with butter and salt, it wins dinner. I’m OK with that.

How Often Do You Think About “Why” “How Much” to Eat?

This hunger scale can help you make choices about eating more easily using a basic mindfulness skill we all have access to – self awareness.

  • Why eat? – Hungry (for the most part… this is not a rule, but a guide based on your body’s needs)
  • How much? – Until you get comfortable full, no longer hungry.

All you need to start using self awareness is two things: 1. Stop 2. Pay attention That’s it.

Eating should feel good before during and after and you will feel your best physically and emotionally eating in the range of 3-7, on a scale out of 10.

Check in on your numbers to determine if your body thinks you should eat.

 

How Can Mindfulness Transform My Habits

The definition of a habit is a routine you do without having to think about it. It’s mindless. Now, that’s a good thing when it’s a habit you want to keep. But what if you’re trying to eat better?

All the focus on calories, nutrients, and morally good and bad foods is exhausting and unnecessary. It’s a big ole waste of time you don’t have. Using mindfulness as a guide you don’t have to worry about anything except eating when you feel hungry, making a balanced plate (when you want to prioritize health and nutrition), and savoring your meal as you notice getting more full.

Paying attention will help you make food choices and it’s so much easier than dieting and calorie counting.

“I Can’t Figure Out My Numbers”

Yes you can.

You get good at mindfulness by practicing mindfulness. You get good at connecting to your body by trying to connect to your body. You get good at choosing a hunger number by practicing choosing your hunger number.

You are a resourceful person. You can do great things. But you need to slow down. Sit down. And focus on eating. I know you’re busy, but you deserve that time.

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Simple and Delightful: Morning Savory Waffles Recipe

Savory Waffle

These savory veggie waffles are naturally gluten free and can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

Disclosure: I was compensated by Simple Mills for my time to write this post. Recommendations and opinion are my own.

We all love waffles and pancakes, but have you tried a savory waffle? If you’re looking for a new spin on your traditional waffles, save the syrup and berries for another time and try this savory mix of vegetables, herbs and cheese, instead. Sounds a bit different – and they are – but they’re easy and delicious and can even be made ahead, making a weekend-style breakfast possible even on your busiest mornings.

Veggies For Breakfast Never Tasted So Good

Preparing nutrient-rich meals can oftentimes be tricky for everyday life. That’s why I love helpful shortcuts like using whole food baking mixes such as Simple Mills. The folks at Simple Mills are passionate about providing you with
Simple Mills Pancake Mixnatural products that are simple to make, good for you, and taste absolutely amazing.

All of Simple Mills mixes are almond flour based, making them naturally gluten-free. The Simple Mills Pancake and Waffle Mix is simple and healthy, made with 7 simple ingredients and delivers 6 grams of protein per serving. It makes for a satisfying start to your weekday breakfast on-the-go or a delightful addition for a weekend brunch or entertaining.

Breakfast Anytime

Adding sautéed veggies to your basic pancake or waffle batter first thing in the morning can help you reach the recommended 2 1/2 cups per day and jump start your day with a boost of nutrients. This recipe combines broccoli, onions, mushrooms, bell pepper, and scallions with aged cheddar cheese, and eggs cooked into a grain-free waffle. Modify the recipe below to your preferences.

Savory Veggie Waffles
 
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Author:
Serves: 3 waffles
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups Simple Mills Pancake & Waffle Almond Flour Mix
  • 3 whole eggs
  • ½ cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped
  • ⅔ cup diced onion
  • ⅔ cup diced mushrooms
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (optional)
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat a large sauté pan with a little olive oil over medium heat and add all chopped vegetables and thyme. Stir until they begin to soften, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and oil. Add waffle mix and combine until a batter is formed. Fold in sautéed vegetables and shredded cheese.
  3. Pour batter into heated waffle iron and cook waffles following manufacturer’s directions.

Serve your waffles with an egg, avocado and fresh fruit pairings. Dip them in soft butter, sour cream or Greek yogurt. If you’re dragging in the morning, try topping your waffle with your favorite spicy sauce (and hot coffee or tea helps too!) You can even eat these naked (you know, plain) — they’re that good!

Simply Yours

These waffles are sturdy, so they will keep in the fridge overnight or can be wrapped and frozen to be enjoyed later. Reheat under the broiler or in a toaster or toaster oven for a quick and simple on-the-go breakfast option.

Visit the Simple Mills online store to check out other fun mixes, like pizza dough, chocolate chip cookies and Artisan bread mix. Use the discount code SStart16 to save 10% on your Amazon and simplemills.com order today!

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Ditch Your Diet and Make Small, Satisfying Changes Instead

On average, women will try – and quit – 9 diets in her life. And recent research shows the more diets people go on, the more weight they gain. Instead of hopping on that pointless diet roller coaster again, make little changes that are healthy and enjoyable.

Little Changes Big Taste

Blueberries are jam-packed with fiber, vitamin C, and manganese plus there are only 80 calories in 1 cup.  And you can add them to practically anything – these little blue dynamos pair perfectly with everything from oatmeal to savory dishes. Try them in this salmon and avocado flatbread for a quick and nourishing meal.

Snack Smart with Sargento

Sargento cheese snacks have 4-8 grams of protein/serving to keep you fueled and satisfied with a natural source of protein.  It’s a wholesome snacking option that doesn’t sacrifice on taste – there are 14 varieties like sharp cheddar, Colby jack, and pepper jack to help you stay fueled even when you’re on the go.

Make a Better Breakfast

When it comes to breakfast, you want a delicious and nutrition option, and it’s great if it’s also convenient since we’re always on the go, especially in the morning.  New KIND breakfast bars are soft baked with a crispy outside, and loaded with whole grains for sustained energy throughout the morning.  Each two-bar pack provides more than a full serving of whole grains and is a great source of fiber to fill you up. Try them on their own, dipped in Greek yogurt, or paired with fruit, milk, or your morning latte.

Don’t Deprive Yourself

Don’t cut out all the things you love. Studies show that the more you try to avoid something the more you want it and the greater chances you have of overeating eventually.  For my sweet cravings, I love enjoying these Heavenly Organics Chocolate Honey Patties – they are made with 4 ingredients or less and have have a dark chocolate shell made from 100% cocoa that’s filled with 100% raw organic honey blended with natural flavors like Mint, Pomegranate and Peanut.

Upgrade your Sports Drink

It’s not just food, but we need exercise to be healthy. When we work out, it’s crucial to stay well- hydrated.  If you’re an athlete or have a very active child, you might benefit from more than just plain water during activity, especially if it’s over 60 minutes. Parents will often ask me, what’s the best sports drink for my active child and I recommend BodyArmor because it has no artificial ingredients, is low in sodium, and has more potassium-packed electrolytes and vitamins that any other sports drink, and it’s made with coconut water.  Try 7 great tasting flavors like fruit punch, orange mango, and strawberry banana.

Hear it From You

Let us know! What are some of your favorite tips to “ditch the diet” and stay healthy?  Please share below or tweet to @ScritchfieldRD! I’d love to hear them!

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Disclosure: I was compensated by U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, Sargento, KIND snacks, Heavenly Organics, and Body Armor for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog. Recommendations and opinion are my own.

 

Cozy Up with Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

IMG_0025_2

If you’re looking for a new recipe to fall in love with, this is it! With a hearty stuffing of wild rice, sausage, cranberries and kale this acorn squash it’s a meal in itself. It’s loaded with comforting flavors with subtle notes of sweet and earthy from the cranberries and kale. It can easily be made into a veggie friendly meal by omitting the sausage from the stuffing.

This hearty dish with bring coziness to your table and warm you inside and out. Enjoy!

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage, Cranberry, Pecan, Kale and Wild Rice
 
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This recipes combines warm earthy flavors and stunning autumn colors for a perfect Fall dinner. Omit the sausage in the stuffing for a vegetarian friendly option.
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • For the Squash:
  • 6 small acorn squash, ⅛ inch of bottom sliced off to make flat surface, remainder left in tact
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • For the Wild Rice Stuffing:
  • 2 cups wild rice cooked in 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups kale, cut in ribbons
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 chorizo sausages, casing removed
  • 1 tsp oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and arrange rack in middle.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly brush the foil with olive oil.
  3. Place the flat surface of each squash on the sheet and, once preheated, place squash in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, or until soft enough to cut through.
  4. While the squash is roasting prepare the wild rice. Place 2 cups uncooked wild rice in 4 cups vegetable stock, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until tender.
  5. Remove the squash from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees and oil a rimmed baking dish big enough to accommodate all of the squash.
  6. Meanwhile, sauté sausage and shallots in oil, once shallots become soft add kale and cranberries. Cook for 2 more minutes and combine with rice.
  7. After cooled, cut away the top ⅓ of the squash and scrape out the seeds and insides. Paint the insides of each squash with ½ tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Fill each of the hollowed larger portions of the acorn squash with an equal amount of the rice stuffing (about ½-3/4 cup).
  8. Place the tops back on and arrange the squash on the prepared baking sheet. Continue roasting until the squash is completely fork tender, the edges have started to brown, and the filling is heated through, about 20 to 25 minutes.

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