Try This: “I had a long day” Recipe Stuffed Sweet Potato

IMG_7290

This sweet potato recipe is easy to make after a long day where all you want to do is sit down and relax. This spin on a favorite comfort food could be the main course of your dinner or split between the family for a tasty side dish.

When I eat this as a meal, I add chopped chicken or beef for a boost of protein and satisfaction. Anything goes – Use what works for you.

Stuffed Sweet Potato
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves 1
Author:
Serves: 25 min
Ingredients
  • 1 Sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • ¼ cup of dark greens (spinach, kale, chard etc. )
  • ⅛ cup finely chopped carrots
  • ½ chicken breast, cooked and chopped (optional)
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese (I love cheddar!)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Scrub sweet potato and cut a ½ inch deep line around the middle.
  3. Microwave for 7-10 minutes, or until cooked all the way through.
  4. Scoop out flesh, and leave the skins to the side (don’t throw them away!).
  5. Mash the sweet potato in a bowl with milk and butter.
  6. Stir in greens, carrots, chicken, and half of the shredded cheese.
  7. Put the filling back into the sweet potato skins, and put on a tray or in tinfoil (I find it is more stable if I make a boat out of tinfoil for the sweet potato!).
  8. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top, and bake until the cheese on top is golden, which takes about 8-12 minutes!
  9. Enjoy!

 

What are your favorite foods to make after a long day? Share below in the comments.

3 Dieting Myths I No Longer Believe After Reading ‘Beyond a Shadow of a Diet’

By: Sarah Bousquet, American University student and Intern

beyond a shadow of a diet

I recently read ‘Beyond a Shadow of a Diet’, by Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel.  This book discusses the negative impact of dieting on our society and why dieting does the opposite of the intended goal of losing weight.  The authors also focus on how weight and BMI are not accurate representations of health and wellness, and what we as individuals and as a society can do to better understand our health and our bodies.  There were many myths about dieting and weight that were debunked throughout the book, but these three stuck out to me the most.

 

Myth 1: Diets help you lose weight

  • As the book proves, dieting has the opposite affect on your body.  Through dieting, certain foods that are deemed ‘bad’ by our society become forbidden, and therefore the dieter will have an increased desire to eat these foods. Although dieting can initially help you lose weight, the authors show that after about 2 years approximately 95% of dieters gain the weight back, or enter into a ‘yo-yo’ system of dieting which leads to gaining and losing weight over and over again.  This is detrimental to the health because when dieting the body will begin to burn muscle and fat, so when the dieter gains the weight back they will gain it in fat and lose overall muscle mass, and therefore their health will be in a worse state than at the beginning.

Myth 2: BMI is an accurate depicter of health

  • BMI was originally used to show the weight and general health of the population, not the health of the individuals.  BMI standards for overweight and obese has changed in 1998, creating a new basis for what is considered ‘normal BMI’.  BMI is not an indicator of health, only an indicator of a person’s overall body mass index.  Since BMI is not an indicator of health, the number of your BMI is not nearly as important as treating your body right and, as the book states, being fit is much more important than losing weight or being thin.  There is no correct body shape or weight, and, according to the authors, “a range of female body shapes celebrate life, renewal, and growth”.

Myth 3: Weight is an indicator of health, and obesity causes health problems and diseases.

  • Weight actually has little to do with fitness and health, and therefore is not an accurate indicator of health. Everyones bodies are different, and people who are considered ‘overweight’ can be much healthier than people who are considered ‘normal’. The idea that obesity can cause health problems and diseases are not founded on facts, and studies that were done on obesity tended to be biased, because the doctors who have run those studies in the past were found to work for pharmaceutical companies that were releasing weight loss drugs.

The book ‘Beyond a Shadow of a Diet’ is working to end the stigma that is associated to weight and end the weight bias.  They recognize that body shape, size and weight are not evidence of any particular way of eating or level of health.  They are trying to show that mindfulness, or bringing awareness to your own health and eating without judgement or expectation will lead to self acceptance.

5 Reasons to Eat This Fruit You Probably Never Tried


Disclosure: I attended a “sneak peak” event for Zespri SunGold kiwifruit at Ketchum’s D.C. offices on May 19, 2015. I work with Zespri on media. I was not compensated to write this blog.

Zespri_SunGold_1Chances are you have never had a SunGold Kiwifruit from New Zealand.  It is a new variety of kiwifruit with a tropical flavor and beautiful yellow color.

Some Things Are Worth Waiting For

It took Zespri 10 years to create this unique cultivar. SunGold is finally ready for the U.S. (ask for it in stores if you don’t see it by June!)

Top 5 Reasons You Will Love Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit

1. VITAMIN C!!! SunGold kiwifruit has twice as much vitamin C than oranges.  In fact, just one breakfast4SunGold kiwifruit has your entire days worth of vitamin C!  Try topping pancakes with diced SunGold and green kiwifruit mixed with a maple syrup for a dose of immune boosting vitamin C in the morning.  Find the full recipe here! No pancakes? No problem. Add kiwifruit to any breakfast.

2. As Much Potassium as a Banana Take a break from bananas without missing out on your daily potassium. Blend it in a smoothie to help replenish electrolytes lost during exercise.

3. Helps Maintain Blood Sugar Levels A study compared blood sugar levels when eating cereal compared to cereal plus kiwifruit.  Even though it tastes sweet, pairing cereal with kiwifruit was shown to keep blood sugar levels from spiking and prevented crashes later on.  Add to that the fact that people felt fuller longer, and I was convinced!  More details about kiwifruit and blood sugar can be found here.

4. Better Skin! In addition to vitamin C which helps build the collagen that improves skin’s elasticity and firmness, kiwifruit are loaded with vitamin E and other antioxidants to prevent skin damage and wrinkles!  You can get these benefit from eating kiwifruit but I say, try using the skins as a facial rub.  I can’t say for sure that it will work, but it will leave your skin feeling refreshed and who doesn’t enjoy a little pamper time!
5. The Taste!  Isn’t it great when something that tastes SOOO good is this good for you! SunGold is sweeter than a green kiwifruit but still delivers the refreshing tartness I love.  AND the skin is smooth and easy to eat, unlike  its green sister, which meant that I could bite right in!

Try this sweet and nutty Black Rice Salad with Kiwifruit and Cashews and for other great recipe ideas check out www.Zesprikiwi.com.

IngredientsBlackRiceSalad
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups cooked and cooled black or brown rice
2 Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit, peeled and cut up
1 cup quartered strawberries
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup salted cashew pieces

In small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, honey, mustard, salt, pepper and garlic. In large bowl, stir dressing into rice. Stir in remaining ingredients except cashews. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to blend. Stir in cashews just before serving.

6 (3/4-cup) servings

*1 cup uncooked black rice yields 2 1/2 cups cooked rice.

Recipe tip: A serrated peeler works best for peeling kiwifruit.

Serving Size: 1 Serving Calories 210 (Calories from Fat 80), Total Fat 9g (Saturated Fat 1.5g, Trans Fat 0g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 270mg, Total Carbohydrate 30g (Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 7g), Protein 4g; % Daily Value*: Vitamin A 0%; Vitamin C 80%; Calcium 2%; Iron 6%.

 

Cool Foods for Warm Weather

Me mind on fire. Me soul on fire. Feelin’ Hot. Hot. Hot

You too? Last thing you want to do is turn on the oven. I feel ya. That’s why I I’m keeping mine off and making these easy foods and recipes instead. No oven necessary.

Go ahead and store your winter sweaters and other things you don’t need in there. Pour a nice cold glass of ice water and get inspired to keep it cool (and healthy) when it’s hot outside.


Disclosure: The brands and organizations included in the TV segments and blog are clients of mine.


ABC Newschannel 8 Let’s Talk Live DC

Watch my appearance on NBC WBAL Baltimore from their website

Give Your Breakfast Cereal an Upgrade

Get your “good energy” before heading out the door by upgrading your morning cereal!

post-great-grains

Post’s Great Grains Protein Blend Honey, Oats & Seeds has whole grain flakes made from cracked wheat and whole kernel barley. It is sweetened with a kiss of honey and combined with nutritious pumpkin seeds, almonds and multigrain clusters studded with sunflower seeds.

I love this cereal because you get about 8 grams of protein in a one cup serving along with fiber, whole grains, vitamins, and minerals. Great Grains Protein Blend is also a non-GMO verified cereal, and the less processed whole grain nutrition can help support a healthy metabolism, providing a great start to your day.

Try it with fresh fruit in a yogurt parfait or get more creative recipe ideas at www.GreatGrains.com.

Replace Your Oven With Your Blender

Swap your oven for your blender and stay cool this summer! I love smoothies in warmer weather. They can be a great way to boost fruit and even veggie intake AND you can get your kids to like them too.

Fuel Up Smoothie 2

TruMoo Chocolate milk has no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial growth hormones, so you can feel great about serving it to your family, whether it’s in your smoothies or served cold in a glass! It’s the perfect base for smoothies because it has protein calcium and Vitamin D, which are essential for bone health.

This is the “Fuel Up Smoothie” with just three ingredients – chocolate milk, almond butter and kale!

TruMoo Fuel Up Smoothie

1 1/2 cups TruMoo Chocolate milk

1/2 cup baby kale

1 cup ice cubes

1 tablespoon almond butter

In blender combine TruMoo Chocolate milk, baby kale, ice cubes and almond butter. Blend until smooth and frothy, and serve.

Serves 1.

Visit www.TruMoo.com for this and other great recipes!

Boost Flavor with California Cling Peaches

I love to enjoy the flavor and nutrients of peaches year round thanks to my trusty can opener and stockpile of California Cling Peaches in my pantry (and refrigerator – Yes, it’s true!)

SweetChickenWrap-632x474

Here’s a surprisingly simple and exciting tip: Did you know you can store canned peaches in the refrigerator so they are nice and cold when you’re ready for a nutritious snack?

Thanks to recent studies, we know California canned peaches are nutritionally on par with fresh. Canned peaches packed in extra light syrup have the same grams of sugar as peaches packed in juice. So the choice is up to you, both are healthy choices.

Most canned, cupped or jarred peaches are grown in California by third and fourth generation family farmers. They are made in the USA. Check your food label for Domestic peaches. It will say product of USA or California or nothing at all.

Most importantly, they are delicious on their own AND they add flavor to any recipe! For example, I dressed up my chicken wraps by adding slices of peaches (get the recipe here!).

You can also try peachcicles made with peaches, greek yogurt, and nutmeg. They remind me of peach pie! They are also a fun treat to make with kids that will keep you cooled down in the afternoon.

Get a free downloadable cookbook at the website for California Cling Peach board at www.CalClingPeach.com.

Dip Into Cool, Zesty Snacks with Sabra

Sometimes when you’re on the run, it’s nice to have options that don’t require any work at all! I love the Sabra snack packs. You can get hummus with pretzels, salsa with tortilla chips, or the hummus on its own ready for your sliced veggies to dip.These are great to take to the zoo, on a hike or picnic, or a day at the water.

sabra eggs

If you’re entertaining, it couldn’t be easier to put out “party size” Sabra hummus and several varieties of salsa as dips for veggies, pita triangles, or tortilla chips. Hummus is made with fiber rich chickpeas and salsa is made with fresh vegetables including tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic making them healthy AND delicious!

Celebrate National Hummus Day on May 21! Sabra would love to know how you are choosing to enjoy your hummus with #2SpoonsHummus!

Use both salsa and hummus to add zesty flavor to your favorite recipes, like these hummus deviled eggs – a summer classic. Get this recipe and more at www.Sabra.com.

Spice Up the Party with Lean Lamb

Swap the burgers and dogs for lean and nutrient rich lamb from Superior Farms. (shop tip for D.C. area – I got mine at Shoppers in Takoma Park. Check the Shoppers website for a location near you.)

SuperiorFarmsBlueCircleCOLOR

With a “flock comes first” motto, these ranchers take great care of their lamb. Lamb are raised outdoors on high quality natural grasses and grains, which contributes to the unique flavor of lamb.

Lamb is lean, with a 3 ounce serving on average 175 calories and 10 grams of fat. Plus lamb has protein, vitamins, and minerals to help nourish you.

Try these two great recipes that your family or dinner party guests will love!

First up, lamb sliders made with ground lamb and seasoned with Mediterranean herbs – a perfect “finger food” at parties. Even easier, any recipe that uses ground beef can be modified to use ground lamb.

Or try pulled lamb tacos with creamy cilantro slaw. (I’ll be honest, I took a super quick shortcut and did a quick dry rub on Pulled Lamb Tacos 1my lamb, then put it 8 hours in the slow cooker, overnight, filled 2/3 high with water. The lamb feel apart so easily the next morning and I stored it in the fridge until dinner.

If you don’t have time to make your own slaw from scratch, buy a small store container, then buy the package of slaw without dressing and combine them. If you need more dressing, add Greek yogurt and a bit of vinegar.)

For these recipes and more, visit www.SuperiorFarms.com.

Halt the Salt with a KIND Snack

Between meals and snacks, especially on the go, it can be easy to overdo the salt. A Center for Disease Control report states that 70% of packaged foods contain excessive amounts of sodium – exceeding the FDA’s “healthy” labeling standards.

KIND snacks are low in sodium and they are so easy to take with you anywhere.

Kind bar

Almond Coconut Cashew Chai bars are “Very Low Sodium” and Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate Nut bars are “Low Sodium” even though it’s got that great hint of salt! Both of these bars have 5 grams of protein and you can get them at Starbucks with your coffee and you’ll have a snack you can feel good about for whatever adventure you have that day.

 

 

Through May KIND is honoring our nation’s military with #ThanksKindly on Twitter. All you do is send a tweet and then a very cool robot actually handwrites the “thank you note” and gives it to an active service member. For every tweet sent, $1, up to $10,000 KIND will donate to Cell phones to soldiers.

Check out the video at www.KINDsnacks.com/ThanksKindly.

These ideas are easy and fun. They work whether you are entertaining or “out and about” enjoying the weather and all the great activities summer has to offer. What plans do you have for “fun in the sun” this week?

Join the #Spring2Wellness Challenge Today (3 more weeks left)

Spring (1)Since the start of spring, over 1,000 people have been enjoying their time learning new tips for motivation, recipes and workouts absolutely FREE with my latest challenge, “Spring 2 Wellness.”

It’s not to late to join in. We have three more weeks left of weekly challenge emails. Sign up here.

After you complete it, I’ll be sharing my 7-day “feel good guide” (also free). Then you’ll get messages from me ongoing 1-2 times a month, with some of my favorite tools, tips and resources right to your inbox.

Read on if you would like to catch up and get some wellness in your life instantly! Next challenge goes out Friday April 25th,

Spring 2 Wellness Week 1

Week 1 was all about goal setting.

Your intention is your commitment to take action. Start by (1) get a clear on what you want and why you want it and (2) WRITE IT DOWN or it isn’t happening.

I will ______ on (or by) ________.

Check out this link for more goal setting tips 9 Habits For a Happier Healthier Life

Sign up for the challenge

Spring2Wellness Week 2

Week 2: plan, plan, plan.

You know the saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Even if you can eek by without planning, imagine how much more could you get done with healthy living if you plan. You save time, you’re more clear on your goals, and you’re more likely to stick to them when you feel like bailing.

Learn how to meal plan like a boss.  Meal planning makes grocery shopping much more efficient (saving you time and money), and keeps your mind set on eating healthy.

Sign up for the challenge

Spring2Wellness Week 3

Week 3: Move to the rhythm of the work out

Turn something dreadful into something less dreadful.  Let’s face it, you may not feel like working out at all.  It’s tiring, takes up time or uncomfortable.  It’s OK.  Do it anyway.

Use music as a distraction and it can make your workouts more fun.  Think of some of your favorite songs, create a play list, and I dare you not to move to them!

Sign up for the challenge

Spring2Wellness Week 4

Week 4’s challenge was all about meditation.

While I love yoga, I could never seem to get into meditation. My brain is constantly thinking, moving from one idea to the next. Trying to control or stop my thoughts seems like the opposite of what I am supposed to do.

However, after trying to give my self 1 to 5 minutes every morning to just do nothing, I could see how it helped me feel more positive and energized for a great day. I got a real boost to my health and happiness.

I wrote an article published on US News: Health, check it out, it talks more about Mediation and how and why you should try it.

Sign up for the challenge

Spring2Wellness Week 5

Are you dying to know? Sign up for the challenge and you’ll see what’s up my sleeve next.