Archive for the 'Cooking' Category

The season of eating

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Hi everyone! We’re almost to that time of year again. The time of year when there is delicious food everywhere in sight. The time of year where it is next to impossible to resist eating tons of extra unhealthy food. I am here just as a simple reminder that it is possible to keep to a healthy diet, even during the season of social eating.

Although it is extremely difficult, it can be done! And maybe it doesn’t need to be that difficult. Now, I do like to promote healthy eating and balanced diets, but I also like to add on: everything in moderation. One of the most difficult parts about eating healthy during huge Thanksgiving feasts and holiday parties that would give any buffet a run for their money, is simply just the volume of food there is. It seems next to impossible to not load up your plate full of everything in sight. I would like to offer some advice to make conquering your cravings easier. This past weekend, my mother and I were discussing what we wanted to do for Thanksgiving dinner. Since we try to eat healthy, we decided the easiest way to do that during the season of eating would be to just cut back on the amount of food we’re making to begin with. If you’re throwing a get together, just simplify your menu. Pick out just a few items for your menu, maybe you decide you need your turkey and mashed potatoes because they are staples to any Thanksgiving dinner! But maybe you decide instead of stuffing, cranberry sauces, green beans filled with fattening ingredients, and three different kind of pies, you opt to make a side salad. Suddenly, you only have a few options to choose from, making eating healthy and choosing good portions a much easier feat, and you have a new found sense of willpower.

Let’s say you’re not hosting, then what? There is food everywhere! And I’m sure we all feel like we have to try at least some of everything. I want to propose that the same advice works here. Simplify your personal menu, choose just a few dishes to put on your plate. I repeat again, everything in moderation. Go ahead and have a piece of pie if you want it, but then make sure you skip on the thousands of other desserts that are there. Eating healthy during the holidays doesn’t have to be depressing. In the end, when you make a healthy choice about your eating habits, you’ll feel better physically and mentally. I don’t know about you, but when I eat too much in one sitting and your stomach hurts from all the food, you end up regretting it almost immediately .

So, although it may seem incredibly difficult to eat healthier during the holidays, I want to assure you it’s easier than we make it out to be. Give yourself some credit and realize that you have the power and the option to overcome your cravings and to make good decisions for your body. In the end, you will be happier and healthier. I will leave you this week with a challenge for us all, to take control of our bodies and test out that willpower that we all have deep within us. Have a great week Marquette, I’ll talk to you next week!

Alicia Diedrich

Art and nutrition? Everything pumpkin

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Hello again, Marquette! Fall weather seems to finally be upon us. I hope you are all enjoying the cool, crisp weather by staying active outside, but also by curling up will a blanket and some hot apple cider, because we should always find some time for relaxation and rejuvenation as well. I may have mentioned before that fall is my favorite season, but I don’t think I mentioned that Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. And with halloween comes so many spooky and fun activities, decorations, and food – many of them revolving around pumpkins! And no, this is not your typical crazed, pumpkin spice everything post. This is a dedication to the wonderful super food and exciting activities that come with pumpkins.

Whether you are pumpkin carving, painting, growing, cooking, smashing, or whatever it is you do with pumpkins, there is a great potential for some awesome stress relief and bonding with friends or family. Many of these pumpkin-related activities are like a form of art in themselves. And the science between art and reduced stress is pretty cool! The best part is, you don’t have to be good at art for it to work its magic. As the great Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows.” That being said, I think we should all get out there and try to reach our inner child. Have some fun, let loose, and just let your creative mind take over for a while. Let the pumpkins inspire you.

Another art form with pumpkins that we should all try out is cooking! Pumpkins are actually really healthy for us, and if we are carving them anyways, then we might as well take any opportunity we can get. One of the greatest parts about cooking with pumpkin is its endless possibilities. Pumpkin is perfect for both sweet and savory palettes. There are so many options from pumpkin pancakes, smoothies, breads, soups, curry, and of course don’t forget the guilty pleasure: pumpkin pie. There are tons of great, healthy pumpkin recipes out there to give you a health boost when we all need it the most. And there’s always pumpkin seeds: a classic and a favorite. You can never go wrong with pumpkin seeds. They are just as healthy as the pumpkin itself. So make sure that when you carve your pumpkins and make delicious recipes with the pumpkins that you keep those seeds and bake them for a great mid-day snack.

Halloween is a week away, so take advantage of this healthy treat now and make some art while doing so. I wish you wonderful, exciting pumpkin adventures.

Alicia Diedrich

Wellbeing biography: Kristin Kipp – Whole 30

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I’ve never liked the word diet. I think it’s because, more often than not, the word “diet” is used to describe a way of eating to lose weight, and in this sense, Garfield said it right, “DIET is DIE with a T.” There are many different definitions of the word diet, but one definition that puts diet in a positive light comes from the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Here it’s defined simply as “habitual nourishment.” I love thinking of food this way. I grew up on a farm with an abundance of fresh produce. We canned a lot of fruits and veggies for the winter and made our own jam. We even raised a pig every year to eat. From a young age, I loved good nutrition and physical activity, and my passion brought me to what I do today, so I am thankful for that.

Now I have a family of my own, and we are trying our best to instill good habits for our little girl. Thankfully my husband loves to garden and eat good food. He devotes much of his time to cooking good meals for us. We are a “whole foods” family – we drink whole milk, eat real butter, and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. We buy our pork from a local farmer and make sure that there are no nitrates or MSG added at the butcher. We participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), go to local farmer’s markets, and try to buy organic, grass-fed, cage free etc. when possible. We rarely go out to eat, cooking most of our meals at home, but we’re definitely not perfect when it comes to food. No one should be. And although we try following all the good things I listed above, it doesn’t always happen, and we tend to follow the “everything in moderation” rule. Besides…Who can pass up those hostess cream filled chocolate cupcakes?

I really had no desire to look into the Whole30 when it came out. I hate all the fads that come and go, and I try to promote lifestyle changes for the people I work with. I’m not overweight, and I’m fairly physically active, so besides enjoying some sugary treats and having a glass of wine or a beer every now and again, I thought I was doing pretty good with my overall nutrition and health. A few years ago, though, I started having some health issues that took me almost 2 years to work through. During this time, I became really attuned to my body, and although the issues I was having didn’t stem from my diet, I became curious after I started feeling better. Was I feeling the best that I possibly could be? Could the Whole30 help me identify foods that aren’t working for me? Would elimination of these foods help me to run again without pain? Having felt really good for the last 6 months before I decided to try the Whole30, I really didn’t believe that I was going to feel much of a difference, but it turns out, I was wrong.

The first couple of days of the Whole30 were the worst…I’m not sure if everyone feels that way, but I was miserable. I felt like I was detoxing. I hated restricting myself from foods that I really wanted to eat, and not having my morning cup of coffee with whole milk and Organic Valley’s French vanilla half and half creamer was the worst. I also had a headache for the first four or five days, which could have been attributed to not drinking enough water, but nonetheless…I felt crappy. What I do know is that after about that first week, I started to feel good. Actually, I felt great. I had so much energy. I wasn’t experiencing that afternoon sluggishness around 2pm that makes you want to go to the nearest candy bowl on your co-worker’s desk. When my alarm went off at 4:45am, I felt well rested and ready for my morning swim. When I worked out, I felt amazing. I feel like I could go on and on about how great I felt, but then something really crazy happened after about two weeks….. I was able to run for the first time in 2 1/2 years without pain or stiffness.

Having completed the Whole30, I have a deeper appreciation of what eating healthy means to me, and to really eat well, feel good, and enjoy our food, I believe it takes a true conscious effort to eat mindfully. I’ve always told people to pay attention to how food makes them feel, and it’s not that I don’t pay attention to this myself, but the Whole30 required me to practice mindfulness as it relates to food every day for 30 days. Many people may do the Whole30 just to lose weight. They treat it as another fad diet that they are going to try and hope for results. Don’t get me wrong…you will lose weight, but if that’s all you are doing it for, you are missing the point, and as soon as you go back to your normal habits the weight will come back on. Eating mindfully – understanding what and why you are eating, taking the time to enjoy food, listening to whether you’re hungry or not, and understanding the effects food has on your body – is important for weight loss as well. Your body can’t do what it’s supposed to do if you are not fueling it correctly. This means that if you aren’t eating enough calories, or too many calories, or just not the right combination of foods, you’re not going to lose weight. This also means that if are fueling your body with foods that are causing inflammatory responses, you may just be sabotaging all your efforts to be healthy and lose weight as well.

Doing this 30-day challenge isn’t easy (or inexpensive). It takes a lot of preparation/cooking, time reading labels, space in your refrigerator, and self-discipline to do it. I’ve kept a lot of great habits from this process and found out what foods really impact the inflammation in my body. It hasn’t completely stopped me from eating these foods, but I do pay the price. I don’t know if there is anything else wrong in my body that is keeping me from running like I’d like, but now I know how food affects this already present inflammation. If you are thinking about trying it, I would ask you to the approach the Whole30 differently. Think of it as an experiment in helping you to take a mindful approach to your eating that will help you create new healthy habits that you’d like to continue once you’ve finished, and as a way to identify how food truly affects your body so you can try to limit these foods and avoid the ill effects.

Written by Kristin Kipp

Kristin is the Director of Employee Wellness at Marquette University and is a Registered Dietitian.

Fall recipe: roasted vegetables

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While it may not have felt like fall at all the last few days, the first day of fall was actually last week. And in the spirit and anticipation of fall-like weather (along with keeping my tradition of posting seasonally themed recipes), I am bringing you a delicious, and healthy, fall themed recipe.

The fresh vegetables of fall are definitely one of the greatest parts of this season, so I say we all take advantage of the in-season produce. Make sure you are picking up your ingredients at a local farmer’s market, I picked up a haul of fresh produce at the farmers market held on campus last week. It is the easiest way to ensure you are getting quality, healthy, delicious ingredients. And, the best part about this recipe is that it has a really short prep time, giving you plenty of time to still enjoy the crisp weather of the season while you wait for your vegetables to cook.

What you need:

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

½ pound of butternut squash, peeled and cubed

10 baby potatoes, sliced in half

½ pound green beans

3 medium sized carrots, peeled and halved

8 ounce package baby bella mushrooms

½ red onion, cut in wedges

1 head garlic, peeled

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp italian seasoning

2 tsp salt

Freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Fresh thyme, to taste

Now for the preparation, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place all of your prepared vegetables onto a large baking sheet, toss the vegetables with the vinegar, olive oil, and seasonings. Then, bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

This recipe is so quick, and is easily customizable. I have sweet peppers sitting around that I am planning to throw in the next time I make this recipe. So, have some fun with this recipe and use it to dive head first into fall like I am planning to do, after all it is my favorite season! Hope you enjoy, and be sure to share pictures of your completed recipe with us!

Alicia Diedrich

The recipe was found at: http://www.colorfulrecipes.com/roasted-fall-vegetables/

Start the day off right

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We’re a day and a half into the Fall 2017 semester, where has the time gone?! I hope you are all having a fantastic start to the semester, I know I am. I decided to start my first day off right (because we’re going to make this our best year yet), with a healthy and delicious breakfast. Last year I really struggled to make sure I fueled my body right in the mornings. I know, you have to get up that much earlier if you want to sit down and have breakfast. But it’s more than just a saying when people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It really is!

Waking up and putting the right stuff in our bodies is the best way to get our energy going in the morning. We all have our own routines, but there are a few key elements that should be in ALL of our daily routines. And remember, drinking a full glass of water first thing when you wake up in the morning was the first step. My next step for you is to actually sit down and have a healthy and tasty breakfast. It’s hard to wake up so much earlier to sit down for a meal when you could just grab a granola bar and a banana on the way to work or class, but it really does make a difference in your day. First of all, it gives you a little me time (or maybe family time). It gives you time to sit and relax for a little while instead of rushing around trying to get ready in time. I have found that even though I have to wake up a little earlier, it actually makes me less tired when I do get up to have a nutritious breakfast, who knew?! 

The food you put into your body to start off your day is the fuel that sets the tone for the rest of your day. If it’s donuts for breakfast, your body may not feel the best. If it’s a plate full of eggs and protein, fruit and vegetables, your body will have all the nutrients it needs to get running at full speed. I promise, if you wake up early for a good breakfast, you will feel less tired, not more. And don’t forget to continue putting healthy foods into your body throughout the day to keep your energy up. Make sure you always have a water bottle and a healthy snack with you. Keep apples, oranges, carrots, salads, nuts, or other healthy snacks in your bag. That way it’s easier for you to grab the healthy option than to walk down the hall to the vending machine for a bag of chips.

It can be challenging to eat healthy, but make it easier on yourself by using little tricks like that and it will be second nature in no time. Now, let’s all set our alarms just a little bit earlier and have a delicious and healthy breakfast everyday. Like I said, we’re making this our best year yet!

Alicia Diedrich

Summer recipe: Chicken and black bean salad

It’s the first day of summer today, so that calls for a healthy seasonal recipe. This chicken and black bean salad is one of my absolute favorite summer recipes. It is healthy, easy to prepare and best of all it is so delicious that the whole family can enjoy it. This recipe makes six servings. 1 serving contains 259 calories, 519 mg of sodium, and 21 mg of cholesterol. Here’s what you need:

Salad dressing:

⅓ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

1½ teaspoons sugar

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ teaspoon pepper

Salad:

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (11 ounces) Mexicorn, drained

1 medium sweet red pepper, julienned

⅓ cup sliced green onions

6 cups torn romaine

1½ cups cooked chicken strips

Additional cilantro or parsley, optional

First, combine all salad dressing ingredients, shake well and set aside. In a large bowl, toss beans, corn, red pepper and onions and set aside. Arrange romaine on individual plates; top with bean mixture and chicken. Then, drizzle with dressing and garnish the dish with additional cilantro or parsley if desired.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do (especially since I don’t have to turn on my oven in my hot apartment). And I also encourage you to make this into a fun family cooking activity before you sit down to have dinner together as a family. Or you can cut the recipe in half and have flavorful, healthy salads for lunch the next few days. Either way, since today is the longest day of the year, you’ll have plenty of daylight to fit this quick and easy recipe into your day today. If you’re looking for another healthy, oven-free recipe, the spring recipe that I published is just as tasty in the summer! Happy cooking!

Alicia Diedrich

Eggs aren’t just for Easter

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We all know that eggs are good for us because they are a great source for protein. And with Easter coming up this weekend, I have had eggs (and bunnies) on my mind. Besides their protein, there are plenty of other reasons to make sure eggs are a part of your diet on a regular basis. Since I am leaving for vacation today, I have spent the last few days trying to use up all of food at my apartment. All I have been eating is fruit, vegetables, and eggs. I even referred to myself as a rabbit the other day because I have been eating so many plants. So there’s the bunny rabbit thing again!

While trying to use up all of my food has seemed kind of like a chore, at least I know I am getting some crazy good health benefits from all of these ridiculously healthy foods. I always try to eat somewhat healthy, but it is not always easy. I have found that buying a bunch of healthy food that will go bad if I don’t eat it really helps. Anyways, the real reason I’m here is to share the other amazing health benefits that you will get from including eggs as a part of your regular diet.

Not only will eggs give you an awesome protein boost, but they will also provide you with vitamins a, b5, b12, b2, folate, phosphorus, selenium, and a handful of other nutrients. Long story short, eggs contain a little bit of all of your essential nutrients and vitamins. And despite common beliefs, eggs will not actually raise your blood cholesterol. It will actually work to raise your good cholesterol though. Having an elevated level of good cholesterol will decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke, along with other health conditions. One of these health benefits that surprised me is that eggs will actually help to maintain your eye health. This is because the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which build protein in the retina of the eye are found in eggs. These are only a few of the health benefits eggs have, and you can find more information about it here.

Bottom line is, eating eggs on a regular basis will provide you with a myriad of health benefits. Another awesome thing about eggs is there seems to be an endless amount of ways to prepare them, so you can’t really get bored from eating too many eggs.

 

Alicia Diedrich

 


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