Protein-Packed Meals and Snacks

Whether you’re nursing an injury or simply looking for some high protein options to add into your weekly meal rotation, check out these ideas.

Breakfast

Ground Beef and Butternut Squash Breakfast Skillet from the Healthy Foodie. This high protein breakfast skillet is also high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium, and Fiber. You could easily omit the butternut squash if you want to reduce the number of carbohydrates as well.

This BLT Frittata from Paleo Grubs is as easy to make as it is delicious. Not sure what frittata is? It’s similar to a quiche but without the crust. This is something you could easy make ahead of time and reheat throughout the week.

Lunch

This Quinoa and Shrimp Paella from SkinnyMs. is a well-rounded meal which will leave you feeling satisfied and energized. Using quinoa instead of rice amps up the protein as well as substitutes a refined carbohydrate for a complex carbohydrate (your blood sugar will thank you).

If you’re in a hurry and need a quick high protein lunch on the go, check out these Turkey Avocado Wraps from All Things G&D. Only three ingredients and you’re good to go.

Dinner

Serve up this Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken from Chef In Training with your favorite side. For best results, marinade overnight and throw on the grill the next day. You could also bake these in the oven using the B.B.R.R.R. method.

This Baked Salmon with Garlic and Dijon from Natasha’s Kitchen is full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Pair with some asparagus or green beans for a quick and easy meal.

Snacks

High in protein and fiber, these roasted chickpeas are the perfect snack. After roasting, they are a bit crunchy, which is great for those who crave crunchy snacks like potato chips. It’s easy to make them according to your taste (cinnamon, garlic Parmesan, spicy).

For a no preparation required high protein snack, pick up some mozzarella sticks, cottage cheese, or peanut butter. 

Choosing the Healthiest Sushi: What to Order and What to Stay Away From

 

Oftentimes people think of sushi as a “no-brainer” for a healthy meal.  After all, how can one go wrong with lean protein in fish, carbohydrates in rice, vegetables, and a harmless seaweed wrap? It is important to choose wisely, however, since the dish has become more popular, diverse, and creative over the past few years. Some sushi rolls now come packed with mayonnaise, fried fats, and sugary dressings that make it a not so healthy choice.  Here, we will help you learn to decipher the sushi roll menu, allowing you to enjoy the delicious rolls without packing on the unwanted calories. By knowing what to order and what to avoid, sushi rolls can be a healthy meal, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and lean protein.

 

Basic Tips for Navigating the Menu:

 

Skip the Spicy

 

When a roll is described as “spicy”, this generally means that the roll combines hot chili sauce mixed in with calorie dense mayonnaise.

 

Ask for Brown Rice

 

Many establishments now offer brown rice instead of white rice.  Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate, meaning it is digested more slowly and contains healthy fiber.  This is a better option than the quickly absorbed, refined starches found in white rice.

 

Pass on Crispy

 

This means that a portion of the roll, such as the meat or the onions on top of it, have been fried in fattening oils, giving your roll a huge increase in extra calories.

 

Choose Seaweed or Cucumber Wraps

 

Some restaurants will allow you to swap any rice roll for just a seaweed (nori) or cucumber wrap. This drastically reduces the calorie content of the roll and bumps up the vitamins and minerals. If substitutions are not available, simply choose those rolls that are already rice-free.

 

Use Caution with Specialty Rolls

 

The increasing popularity of sushi establishments also means fancier and more flamboyant choices for rolls.  The specialty section of the menu usually offers rolls with more cream cheese, tempura coating, and mayonnaise to make them larger and add to the “wow” factor of presentation.  It is best to stick to the basics if you are watching your calorie intake, and only enjoy the “special” rolls on special occasions!

 

Avoid Anything Tempura 

 

This, too, means that the shrimp or vegetables have been dipped in batter then deep fried, making that roll much higher in overall fat and calories.

 

Slow Down on the Soy Sauce

 

Instead of filling your condiment cup with soy sauce right away, keep in mind that many of the ingredients are pre-seasoned and may only need a touch of soy sauce, rather than a complete soak! Experiment with wasabi and ginger for added heat and flavor, without all the added sodium.

 

Start with a Sashimi appetizer

 

Sashimi (slices of raw fish) are your best bet when it comes to low calorie, rich in omega fatty acids, and lean protein.  Split a platter with a friend for an appetizer, or order this as your meal without the rice.

 

Last, but not Least, Know the Lingo!

 

  • Futomaki: a thick roll, usually cut into eight pieces. Specialty rolls are usually futomaki.
  • Hosomaki: thin roll with just one type of filling. Single-ingredient rolls such as salmon, tuna, or cucumber rolls are usually hosomaki.
  • Uramaki: a roll with the nori (seaweed) on the inside and rice on the outside. Sometimes called an inside-out roll.
  • TemakiAlso called a hand roll, this is a cone-shaped nori roll with the ingredients and minimal rice inside.

 

Have these tips in your mental toolbox the next time you hit the local sushi eatery, and feel confident that you are making healthy choices!

 

 

Superfood Series: Part 5

6 Reason why Walnuts are Superfood All-stars:

  1.  Heart Health.  Walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which help fight inflammation and preserve endothelial cell function that is associated with heart disease.  These heart healthy fats have a unique chemical structure that aides in unclogging arteries the same way drain cleaner unclogs your kitchen sink pipes.  Walnuts also contain a unique combination of fiber and unsaturated fats which can also help lower cholesterol (and reduce insulin resistance which often leads to diabetes). 
  2. Weight controlResearch indicates that diets containing walnuts are more supportive of weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.  Even though walnuts are relatively high in fat and calories for size, when eaten in moderation they can help suppress appetite in between meals and provide high amounts of satiety (the feeling of being satisfied or full).  This is because walnuts have a good amount of protein and fiber (1-.25 cup serving contains 5g protein and 3 g fiber), both of which contribute to the feeling of fullness.  There are many ways to include walnuts into your diet.  Try eating a handful or throw them into your cereal, oatmeal, or salad. 
  3. Brain Health.  Back to the Omega -3s, there is a link between Omega-3 consumption and the ability to fight depression and cognitive degeneration.  Research shows that people who ate walnuts as part of a Mediterranean style diet were associated with better memory and brain function.  A review of the literature postulates that antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids in walnuts may help counteract age-related cognitive decline. 
  4. Slows Cancer Tumor Growth.  Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients found in walnuts are arguably the two most important factors that can have an effect on the development of cancer.  Antioxidants help prevent cancer by repairing damaged cells.  Research has revealed that walnuts have the ability to help prevent, fight, and slow growth of certain cancerous tumors (i.e. prostate, gastrointestinal, and breast cancer). 
  5. Sleep.  Walnuts have the ability to raise melatonin levels by a whopping three times.  Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain.  It plays a role in sleep regulation by controlling the sleep wake cycle, helping you to feel sleepy at night.  Bonus?  Melatonin in walnuts is in bio-available form, which means it is easier to absorb than other supplemental sources of melatonin. 
  6. Metabolism booster.  Thecombination of protein and essential fatty acids found in walnuts can help boost metabolism.Walnuts also contain16% of the daily recommend amount of magnesium-which is needed for protein synthesis.  Magnesium functions as an electrolyte, which means that it is used to communicate between nerves and muscles. When muscles have adequate magnesium, they are able to function properly and continue to support a healthy metabolism. To sum it up, walnuts can help your body to function and continue to grow stronger and build muscle as you exercise.

*For full health benefits, make sure to eat the raw version of walnuts and stay away from anything that is coated in sugar or salt like candied walnuts.

Sources: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=99; http://www.naturalnews.com/040837_walnuts_healthy_nuts_brain_food.html; http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/nuts-and-health-how-walnuts-can-improve-your-memory; http://www.today.com/id/23547010/ns/today-today_health/t/ways-boost-your-metabolism/#.U_SzxMVdW0I; http://news.psu.edu/story/276393/2013/05/08/research/whole-walnuts-and-their-extracted-oil-can-reduce-cardiovascularhttps://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-public/walnuts-slow-prostate-cancer-growth; http://jn.nutrition.org/content/138/9/1757S.full; http://theearthdiet.blogspot.com/2011/05/eating-for-blood-type-o.html  

Omega Fatty Acids

You’ve probably heard about Omega fatty acids, and that they are good for your health. What many people may not know, however, is that there are two types of Omega fatty acids and both play a role in the necessary processes of inflammation and blood clotting, but in a very different way.

What are Omega fatty acids?

Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). Both of these types of unsaturated fats are healthy and essential in the diet. Both are biologically active in the body, unlike most fats which are used for energy or stored. This means that they play important roles in sustaining health, specifically in blood clotting and inflammation. Omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, and Omega-3s have an anti-inflammatory effect. The inflammatory process is a normal and healthy function of the body, specifically when an injury occurs. The early stages of inflammation enlist the immune system to help control infection, and wound healing and tissue re-growth occur in the later stages of inflammation. It is also necessary for blood to have the ability to clot in order to prevent excessive bleeding. The problem occurs when there is excessive inflammation and clotting in the body, which can lead to heart disease, arthritis, and other serious diseases. The key is to balance the consumption of Omega-6 and Omega-3.

How much do I need?

Health experts do not endorse a daily recommended intake for Omega-6 or Omega-3, rather, the emphasis is on the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3. Most people consume a diet that is too high in Omega-6 fatty acids, and lacks in Omega-3s. This unbalanced ratio has a damaging effect on the body, and is one of the most negative aspects of the typical American diet. Anthropological studies show that humans evolved eating a ratio of Omega-6: Omega-3 somewhere around 1:1. The typical diet today has a ratio of 16:1!

To better balance the ratio of Omega fatty acids in your diet, follow these tips:

  • Processed oils are loaded with Omega-6s, so limit or avoid them. The oils highest in Omega-6s include sunflower, corn, sesame, and peanut oil. These are typically found in highly processed or fried foods because they are inexpensive and readily available. Limiting these foods in your diet will reduce the overall amount of Omega-6 consumed.
  • Omega-3s are found in seafood such as salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, anchovies, and halibut. Other sources are beans, nuts, and spinach. Some foods are fortified or enriched with Omega-3s, such as bread, cereal, oatmeal, and yogurt. Choose canola, flaxseed, soybean and olive oils when cooking.
  • The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (like salmon) at least twice a week. Eating a variety of non-processed foods in place of processed or fried foods will also help to improve the ratio of fatty acid consumption in your diet.
  • If you feel that your diet lacks in Omega-3s, consider taking a Fish Oil Supplement to get these beneficial fatty acids. Supplements will vary in the amount of fatty acids they contain, so look for one with at least 600mg of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid, the primary form of fatty acid found in fish that offers health benefits). Let your doctor know if you are taking a Fish Oil Supplement.
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