My Top 10 Foods for the New Year

Here is my “Top 10” list for foods that I aim to eat everyday and why.

1.  Chia Seeds –For Christmas, my mom gave me three large bags of chia seeds.  These super seeds have become a staple in my diet. I’ll mix them with my morning cereal, blend them with my smoothies, or top my Greek yogurt with granola and chia seeds. The benefits of chia seeds include:

  • Antioxidant-rich – They have a higher ORAC value than blueberries.
  • High in Omega-3 Fats–  This type of fat is essential for healthy brain function, and can help fight chronic diseases.
  • Satisfying- When mixed with liquid, these seeds take on a gel-like appearance, and this high-fiber goo allows your tummy to slowly digests it, helping you to feel fuller, longer.
  • Energizing- This plant-based protein gives you a full tank of energy for your day!

2.  Greens – I eat spinach, field greens, and just about any other green thing at least 3 times a day. It’s in my eggs, at my lunch, and dinner, and often find themselves into my afternoon snack. You cannot beat their nutrient-rich value.

3.  Colorful Carbs – When you hear the word “carbs”, I’m sure a slice of bread or a bowl of pasta pops into your mind. We often forget that fruit and colorful vegetables are packed full of  complex carbohydrates. About a year ago, I swapped out most of my breads, crackers, and other starchy carbs for fresh fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, colorful peppers, and any other plant that falls under the  “Eat the Rainbow” rule. I lost a few pounds (unintentionally) in just a month, and even lost that bloated feeling AND look. I still enjoy some breads and starches, but just occasionally.

4. Low-fat Dairy – Plain, Greek yogurt topped with granola is my nightly treat. I often use Greek yogurt as a substitute for mayo or  creamin my cooking. All-natural  cottage cheese is also another high-protein, dairy product that I eat almost daily. Both of these are an easy source of lean protein to have on hand for a quick mini-meal, and both are versatile and can be made sweet or savory. Research is showing that whey protein (found in dairy products) may actually boost weight loss when compared to other protein sources such as soy.

5.  Eggs – Eggs and egg whites are an inexpensive way to incorporate protein into your diet. I always keep cartons of egg whites on hand and hard-boiled eggs in the fridge. My favorite things to do with egg whites are omelets, and I love to top a salad with my “deviled eggs“. Check out  “Egg Whites is a Flash” for more egg ideas.

6.  Nuts – My favorites are walnuts and almonds. Just a small handful goes a long way to staving off hunger. Once again, we find a high-in- Omega-3 fats food that is also high in protein. Need a mid-morning snack? I like to take just one half of a banana and slice it up and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts and a dash of cinnamon.

7. Almond Milk– If you buy the unsweetened kind, it is only 40 calories per 8 oz serving. It is also high in vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, iron, fiber, zinc and calcium. It is a different flavor than cow’s milk, so switching to it in your coffee or in your bowl of cereal is a good way to become accustomed to it.

8. Legumes/beans– These little nuggets of nutrition are cheap! Just as fruits and colorful vegetables are an excellent source of complex carbs, so are these plant-derived protein powerhouses. Add them to salads, stews, meatloaves, and even baked goods to add a cheap, nutritional punch to your favorite foods. 

9. Brown Rice Protein Powder – We use Jarrow’s non-GMO vanilla brown rice protein powder in our smoothies. One tablespoon has just about 50 calories and does not have all those added ingredients that you will find in a typical protein powder. Another cheap way to get and keep a full tummy!

10. Coffee – Ahhhh, yes! The benefits of coffee include increased performance in your workout, and prevention in certain cancers and even diabetes. Enjoy a couple of cups today!

Cheers to Chocolate and Coffee

DARK CHOCOLATE AND  COFFEE

Mention one of these words, and it illicits many views. Mention both of these, and I am sure that today will be an above average day according to site stats!

A study in the American Journal of Hypertension (doesn’t sound like much of a bathtub read, does it?) answers a much asked question, “How much chocolate does one need in order to reap its benefits?” The study conducted determined that one square of dark chocolate had just as much effect on a drop in blood pressure as did four squares. So save yourself those extra calories and savor that one piece of Dove!

And what goes better with chocolate than coffee?! In The Journal of Physical Chemistry B (even worse than the hypertension journal I would think!), research shows that the caffeine in a daily cup (or two) of coffee provides enough antioxidants to help reduce your risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s. So drink up and enjoy happily!

The Wonders of Your Sunday Morning Cup ‘O Joe

Since everyone loved reading about the health benefits of chocolate, here are the benefits of your other love- coffee!