The Instant Pot or Instapot is a real game changer for busy families. This programmable electric pressure cooker can help you crank out a tasty, high-quality meal in the fraction of the time. Most versions are multi-function, with the ability to serve as a slow cooker, rice cooker, or yogurt maker in addition to pressure cooker. I find this appliance best for soups, stews, and pasta dishes. Here is our family's favorite Instant Pot recipe:
Instant Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta
1-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite size pieces
3 Tablespoons fajita seasoning or taco seasoning, divided
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 Yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 Medium onion, diced
4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 can (10 oz) of Ro-Tel tomatoes or fire-roasted tomatoes
Carbohydrates have really been vilified in the last few months as the Keto, Atkins, and Paleo diets gain traction and dieters work to keep those New Year resolutions. But not all carbohydrates are created equal and while it is prudent to skip the high sugar, processed treats, carbohydrates are the foundation of a healthy diet. Just make sure you are choosing high-quality carbs by eating more of these:
Calcium is one of the most important minerals for overall health and is used by almost every cell in the human body in some way. Calcium is vital to the formation and maintainence of healthy teeth and bones and proper intake over the long haul can help prevent osteoporosis. Additionally, recent studies have shown higher calcium intake offers a boost in metabolism and can help with weight loss.
But many of us have trouble tolerating dairy and struggle to meet our calcium needs. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1,000 milligrams daily for adults. For women over 50 and men over 70 years of age, this increases to 1,200 milligrams per day. So how can you meet you calcium needs if lactose intolerance or milk allergy is a problem?
If you suffer from lactose intolerance, try a lactose free milk or yogurt. The lactose free milks have the lactase enzyme added, which breaks down the lactose for you and makes the milk taste a little sweter. Lactose...
Probiotics are more popular than ever as this trend carries over from previous years. The research has not caught up with the market, so before you pick a specific probiotic supplement or food, you might want to check in with your health care provider (or Dietitian) to see what strains may or may not be beneficial for you.
There has been a push back against diets and towards body positivity and acceptance. Check out the Health At Every Size movement https://haescommunity.com/ for the details. In spite of this step forward, the ketogenic diet - keto for short - is all the buzz. While the debate on whether diets work or not continues, it is best to try to eat a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Your goal should be healthy choices you can stick with over the long term.
3. Alternative "milks"
Dairy wasn't the only milk in 2018 and that trend carries into 2019 with a full complement of choices - soy, cashew, hemp, pea...
Do you try to eat healthy most of the time and then struggle at family get-togethers or holiday parties? It can be challenging, but with a few simple strategies you can successfully navigate any event without throwing your healthy lifestyle off track!
1. Don't go to any social event overly hungry.
It's ok to have some appetite because you know there will be tasty options, but you don't want to be starving and temporarily lose focus on your long term goals. Everyone has a tendency to make less optimal choices when they are very hungry (remember don't grocery shop hungry either.) Having a snack with some fiber before you go to a party is a great strategy. Some ideas are berries, nuts, or whole wheat crackers with some low-fat cheese.
2. Stick to special items you wouldn't typically eat.
Wasting empty calories on chips or dip you could eat anytime won't make you enjoy the event. Think of your calories as a budget and spend wisely on specialty foods like shrimp puffs or pate...
As Fall approaches, we all crave some warm, delicious comfort food. Dishes like Macaroni and Cheese always top the list of requested dinners. I usually hesitate since it leaves a lot to be desired nutritionally, but I finally found some healthier versions both the kids and I can agree upon from the Daily Burn. Check them out here:
Are your mornings as hectic as most? Most people struggle to find time for a healthy and end up grabbing some toast and running out the door or skipping it altogether. Eating something for breakfast is usually better than skipping, as that first meal of the day can get your metabolism going and give you some energy.
I often encourage clients to include protein in their breakfast for to boost their morning concentration levels and keep them more satisfied until the lunchtime meal. My new favorite is Egg Muffin Cups. You can make these ahead with a muffin tin and then freeze 1 or 2 in a ziplock for a quick breakfast. Just grab and heat microwave for 1 minute and you are out the door !
There are many sugar substitutes on the market, but there are a couple of alternatives that might be superior to the traditional non-nutrative artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin. Some researchers believe consumption of artificial sweeteners leads to weight gain and altered gut microbiota. While the debate rages on, here are two of the newer alternatives showing up in products lately.
Made from the leaves of a plant grown in Brazil, Paraguay, Japan, and China
200-300 times sweeter taste than table sugar
Considered "no calorie", as it has less than 5 grams of carbohydrates
Has no impact on blood sugar or insulin levels
Highly purified extract is recognized by the FDA as generally safe in food
Heat stable, so can be used in baking
Brand names of stevia-containing products include: Stevia in the Raw, Purevia, Truvia
Sugar is the devil, right? Well, no...but we definitely want to limit it - especially the added sugar. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting added sugar to less than 10% of your daily calories. For a 150 pound person, this is 150 calories from added sugar, or 38 grams of sugar - max, per day. While it is fine to indulge sometimes, having some strategies to limit sugar in general leaves room for that occasional splurge. Try these ideas:
1. Don't add sugar (or honey, syrup, molasses, agave, ....) at the table.
Cut back on sugar in your tea/coffee, adding extra sugar to cereal, putting syrup it on waffles, or sugar on strawberries. You can start by cutting the amount in half and then wean down from there.
2. Swap out your sugar sweetend beverage.
Soda, lemonade, and sports drinks are the biggest culprits, but some "healthy" looking drinks like smoothies and juices are real sugar busts. Try to swap these out for fruit infused water (grea...