Healthy Sweet Potato Stew

sweet potato stew

This healthy sweet potato stew recipe must be good, because it’s adapted from a fitness magazine–and my family still likes it!  At my house, the comfort foods come out as soon as the fall chill hits the air.  But these aren’t just any comfort foods.  They’re cleaned up, but with that great hearty taste my family wants.  This stew is a perfect example.  Bonus:  It’s also pretty easy to make.

(serves 4)

1 pound lean trimmed stew meat

1/2 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp minced garlic

2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/8 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp

1/2 packet stevia

2/3 cup sweet potato, peeled and diced (I’ve used more)

1/2 cup chopped green string beans

1/4 cup carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (I’ve used baby carrots)

1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced

1/2 tbsp dried mushrooms (I’ve used sliced fresh, sautéed)

1 tbsp whole-wheat flour (optional)

Salt and pepper

Coat large pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat.  Sprinkle stew meat with salt and pepper and sear all sides, then reduce heat to low.  Add beef broth, onions, Worcestershire sauce, and all spices.  Stir gently to coat.  Cover pan and let simmer for 90 minutes.

Thinly slice celery and carrots; cut beans into bite-size pieces; peel and cube sweet potato.  Stir in all veggies, then cover and let cook on medium-low (simmer) for an additional 40 minutes.

If desired, thicken stew by adding a tablespoon of whole-wheat flour whisked together with a small amount of water.

Nutrition facts (per serving):

220 calories, 23 g protein, 18 g carbs, 6 g fat, 4 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugar, 611 mg sodium

A Shamrock Shake, The Healthy Way

I post this every year around St. Patty’s day because…well…It’s an awesome recipe!  Who says you have to down a whole meal’s worth of calories to indulge!?!  Try it and enjoy.

healthy shamrock shake

 

Did you know that a small McDonald’s Shamrock Shake has 530 calories and 73 grams of sugar in it?  Yikes!  Here’s a healthier, tasty, additive, dye and chemical-ingredient-free alternative… Continue reading

No time to make dinner for the family? Start here.

roasted sweet potatoes

According to study from the CDC, one third of all children eat fast food, every day.

Let’s make getting healthy, delicious food on the table for our kids a priority.  Cooking at home is possible, even when our lives our crazy.  Have them help you prepare it.  It just takes a little advance planning.  They are worth it, and so are you.

Do your kids swear they hate veggies?  They can taste delicious, really!  It’s all in how you cook them.  Keep experimenting, and don’t give in.  The earlier you start them on healthy eating habits, the easier the whole process is.

Take advantage of fall’s wonderful, colorful, nutritious root vegetables while they are still in season–Try oven-roasting root veggies.  Dice them up, add a few ingredients, and throw them in the oven, and that’s it!  You’ll be amazed at how good they taste!

Start out with sweet potatoes!  And, you won’t need butter, brown sugar or syrup to get that sweet, melt-in-your-mouth flavor.  Here’s my favorite way to do them:

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Peel and dice 2-3 sweet potatoes or yams (this, seriously, is the hardest part!).  Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet.  Drizzle with a couple tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and turn to coat.  Drizzle with a small amount of honey or agave nectar.  Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon.  Roast until edges are browned, turning over half way through.

It’s impressive how nutritious this dish is.  A medium sized sweet potato contains more than your daily requirement of vitamin A, nearly a third the vitamin C you need, almost 15 percent of your daily dietary fiber intake and 10 percent of the necessary potassium.  Not to mention, sweet potatoes contain an abundance of antioxidants and anti-imflammatory properties.  Plus, studies show that cinnamon and honey provide a variety of health benefits from insulin regulation (cinnamon) to disease prevention (honey).

For other healthy recipes to try with the whole family, check out these other posts:

http://equilibriumfitness.me/2013/04/24/healthy-quick-dinners-the-whole-family-will-eat/

http://equilibriumfitness.me/2015/03/26/a-super-quick-homemade-dinner-for-a-crazy-weekday-night/

http://equilibriumfitness.me/2013/10/21/healthy-sweet-potato-stew/

http://equilibriumfitness.me/2013/03/21/easy-healthy-turkey-chili/

Eat Carbs AND Lose Weight. Yes you CAN!

eat carbs and lose weight!

Why you should stop cutting carbs now.

 

                                                                                                 *My article originally appeared on fitnessgoals.com.

I’m sure someone you know is on, or has been on, a low-carb or no-carb diet. Maybe even you have. And you know what? People have lost weight this way for a variety of reasons.  But depriving yourself of wheat is not necessary for weight loss. In fact, cutting out carbs could make you miserable and sabotage your weight-loss efforts.

opera i love breadWhen beloved media queen Oprah Winfrey recently proclaimed that shelost 26 pounds while eating bread–gasp–every single day, this came as a shock to many. After all, cutting carbs has become the new cool as of late. Just look at the myriad of best-selling no-carb diet books out there. What the authors of these money-making diets don’t want you to know is this: Carbohydrates are not evil.  

In fact, some carbs can actually be used to help you lose weight. Not water weight or muscle weight, (a likely effect of many low-carb diets), but fat weight. The key is learning which carbs and how much of them, to eat.

carbs

You can eat carbs and lose weight. Pay attention to fiber and portions!

Continue reading

Easy Bread Salad

easy bread salad

easy bread salad

Do you want to try something new with your salads?  This easy bread salad fits the bill.  It’s a very simple panzanella (bread) salad–Plus it’s fresh, and very filling.  I love the way the vinaigrette dressing soaks up the bread cubes and adds a perfect amount of flavor.  Here’s how I make it, but you can add other veggies/ingredients to suit your taste.  I’ve used bell peppers and basil in this too.

1 cucumber, partially peeled, halved and sliced

1-2 tomatoes (quartered and sliced), or 1-2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes (halved),

pitted Greek olives (1/2 cup, or to taste)

1/3 loaf 100% whole grain bread, cut into cubes (for you locals, Wegmans sells a great organic 100% whole wheat loaf in their bakery)

 

Dressing:  Equal parts olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, a little black pepper, a little lemon juice, whisked together.  Can adjust quantities to taste.

Bake the cubed bread on a cookie sheet for a few minutes or until browned but not hard.  Combine with vegetables and olives in a bowl.  Add dressing and toss, making sure dressing covers bread.

That’s it!  Serve and enjoy.

 

Meatloaf? Sure! Trainer’s Tip #11: Make Your Meals Hearty

turkey chili

 

Trainer’s Tip #11:  Make your meals hearty.

Yes.  Eat REAL FOOD, food that satisfies, and enjoy it.  Create hearty, filling meals using healthy, quality ingredients, and lose weight.

Why?  Because…

A.)  Calories are NOT created equal.  Your body wants and needs nutrient-dense foods like nuts, legumes, whole grains, avocados, lean meat, healthy oils, etc., to fuel your workouts.  Eating these foods will promote a better metabolism and better fat-burn, and you’ll feel way better.  Don’t be afraid of calorie-rich food that is packed with good-for-you-fat.  Just watch your portions and listen to your body’s signals, and don’t forget to give veggies and fruit a starring role in your meals.

B.)  In order to stick with a healthy diet long-term, you must enjoy the food you eat, and you must feel full.  Satiety is key with clean eating, and this has been illustrated through studies.  Why do you think people yo-yo diet so much?  They try to lose weight using short-term solutions that too severely restrict calorie consumption and eliminate complete food groups that contain vital nutrients.  Rather than flip-flopping endlessly between states of deprivation and bingeing–fill your meals with whole, natural, nutrient and fiber-rich ingredients.

Here’s a super-easy “Mini Meat Loaves” recipe that even kids will love:

Combine 1 egg, 1/2 cup of (lower sugar) marinara sauce, 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, 1/4 tsp salt, 1lb lean organic ground beef or turkey, and 1/2 cup of shredded part-skim mozzarella in a bowl.  Divide mixture into 4 equal portions and shape into ovals.  Place on a foil-lined baking pan.  Spoon a dollop of marinara sauce on top, and sprinkle lightly with a little more cheese.  Bake 15 minutes at 450 degrees.  Pair meat loaves with your favorite vegetable.

For the recipe on the above chili, click here.

Trainer’s Tip #10: Snack Smartly At Holiday Parties

cocktailparty_main

Trainer’s Tip #10: Snack smartly at parties.

Tis the season for throwing healthy eating out the window at holiday parties.  But it doesn’t have to be that way!  Just be smart, and use moderation.  Here are a few tips:

~Eat something before you arrive.  You may think you need to save your calories for the party, but doing it that way will likely set you up for a bit of a binge.

~Bring your own healthier appetizer to share.  That ensures there will at least be ONE healthy option there.

~Don’t sit next to the food table.  Get a plate, move away, and eat slowly.

~Portion control, people!  If you’re drooling over the peppermint fudge, have one piece and really enjoy it.  Then move on.

~Limit alcohol.  It clouds your healthy-eating judgment.  Studies show that after a third drink, people are way more likely to abandon their healthy-eating goals.  Go for light beer and wine.  Stay away from sugary punches and mixed drinks.  Bonus:  No hangovers!

~Finally, opt for fresher choices that aren’t processed or fried.  One of the better choices? Shrimp cocktail!

Happy Holidays!