A day filled with wholesome goodness…

The primary concern of all parents is the wellbeing of their children: physical, mental, emotional, and nutritional. I am a strong believer in introducing healthy and nutritious foods in the early stages of children’s lives and protecting them from unhealthy foods.

Childhood nutrition is so important! Introducing children to healthy options at a young age gives them a solid foundation to build healthy habits for a lifetime. A healthy lifestyle helps prevent obesity and diabetes, which are growing epidemics among children in recent years.

Introducing young children to unhealthy foods can lead to a lifetime of food addiction and cravings of harmful substances such as excessive sugar or salt. Moreover, unhealthy foods will start to replace the nutritious foods in their diets that provide the nutrients that they need to grow. When children don’t get the nutrients that their bodies need, their immune systems can become weak and make them prone to illnesses, infections and bad oral hygiene.

Some people may argue that kids may be missing out on enjoying delicious snacks if they eat healthy foods. However, there are many nutritious options that can be delicious as well! I’ve attached a sample menu below for delicious snacks for children that prioritizes not only the health of their growing bodies, but also appeals to their picky taste buds.

Just like we teach our kids how to crawl, walk, and talk, it is also our responsibility to teach our kids how to eat healthy and keep their bodies strong!

Menu

Baked Chicken Seekh Kabobs (Chicken Skewers)

Total Prep Time: 30 minutes                       Total Cook Time: 20 mintues

Baked Chicken Skewers

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs Chicken, ground

 2 slices of bread (I used whole grain bread)

1 Medium Onion

2 tsp salt

3 Tbsp coriander powder

3 Tbsp cumin powder

2 tsp garam masala (store bought will work; my recipe is linked here)

½ – 1 tsp red chili powder

Handful of fresh cilantro.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 420 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with oil.
  3. Dice the onions in the food processor.
  4. Place small pieces of bread in the food processor. Pulse it 5-6 times to get really small pieces of the bread
  5. Add all the spices and the fresh cilantro in the processor and mix it well.
  6. Add the ground chicken to the processor and mix well.
  7. Use skewers to shape the meat into kabobs. You will need oil to help make the shape. You can also shape with your hands.
  8. Slide off the skewer and place on the lined baking sheet.
  9. Cook for 10 minutes and turn to cook 10 more minutes. 
  10. Check the internal temperature to read 165 degrees.
  11. I let them cool down and freeze them in small batches.

Notes: If you are unable to shape the meat, you can put it in the refrigerator for few hours and try again.

Banana Nut Bread: Reduced Fat

Cutting out half the fat from my original banana nut bread recipe was piece of cake!

  • 1 egg instead of 2 eggs
  • 1/2 stick of butter (instead of full) and 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Banana Nut BreadThis delicious banana nut bread recipe contains 50% whole grain flour thus providing you with some fiber in your diet.

It tastes exactly the same! See the original recipe from my earlier post https://wellnessinspired.net/2014/06/25/banana-nut-bread-made-with-whole-grain-flour/

1 loaf = 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 cup of hot water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 large ripe mashed bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ C walnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350oGrease the pound pan
  2. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy
  3. Add 1 egg beating well and add 1/2 cup applesauce
  4. Sift all-purpose flour and salt together
  5. Add baking soda dissolved in hot water
  6. Stir in whole wheat flour and mix well
  7. Fold in mashed bananas, vanilla extract, and walnuts
  8. Pour mixture into pan and bake 50-60 minutes or till the cake tester comes out clean
  9. Let it cool for 10 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan

Love your Heart

One in three adults has some form of cardiovascular or heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.

February is American Heart Month, the perfect time to learn how to lead a healthier lifestyle and protect you and your loved ones from heart disease. Following a healthy eating plan, managing stress and engaging in regular physical activity help protect against heart disease.

Visit Eatright.org for more tips.

Does Garlic help lower cholesterol?

Ever wonder if your mother’s old saying that garlic was good for your heart was just an old wives tale or if it actually had some basis? Well, during my dietetic internship, my partner and I were determined to find out if it was true.

garlic

Garlic is claimed to have cardiovascular protective properties, particularly to lower cholesterol. Cholesterol is basically a fat molecule that is found in animal products such as meat. It is essential for life because it is one of the major components that make up a cell membrane (of which our body has billions) and it can be turned into important hormones (chemical messengers in our body), and even Vitamin.  Too much cholesterol, however, can be bad news. It can build up in your blood vessels and cause atherosclerosis, which is fatty plaque buildup that can eventually clog your arteries and cause a heart attack or stroke.

Does Garlic help lower cholesterol? Meta-analysis of 10 studies that were conducted on the cardiovascular protective properties of garlic shows that it lowers total cholesterol when consumed as part of a healthy diet.

BOTTOM LINE: Person with extremely high cholesterol, LDL, and TG, cannot depend on raw garlic or garlic supplements to help in lowering the serum lipid levels. There is no harm in taking garlic to help reduce these numbers when they are part of a healthy diet. Not everyone will see a drastic reduction, and patients who are interested in taking garlic supplements should be advised that the therapeutic effect may not be clinically substantial.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with a Secret Ingredient (It’s not love!!)

I had been craving stuffed bell peppers for a while so I finally decided to try making them at home. My husband is not a big fan of stuffed bell peppers, so I wanted to make sure he would enjoy it as well. Turns out, they are super easy to make and my husband loved it because I added a secret ingredient!

Whats the secret ingredient?

Garam Masala is a very common Pakistani/Indian ingredient that you find in a number of South Asian recipes! Garam Masala is a combination of 8  ground spices that has a  unique flavor & a distinctive aroma. Read my  post to learn how to make it at home!

stuffed-bell-peppers

Serving Size: 1 Bell Pepper; Calories: 400 – 425 kcals (depending on the size of the bell pepper)

First cook the beef. For that you will need:

  • 1 lb lean beef
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 Tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Other ingredients:

  • 4 Bell Peppers
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 0.75 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/8 cup Mexican blend cheese

Directions:

  1. Preparing the meat:
    • Place the beef in a non-stick pan on medium heat and put ginger & garlic paste, salt, red-pepper and turmeric powder.
    • Let it cook for 15 minutes until the meat has turned brown and some of the water from the meat has dried
    • Add chopped onions and cook until all the water has dried
    • Add garam masala and stir well. Remove from the heat.
  2. Boil water
  3. Remove the top of the bell pepper and hollow out the bell peppers
  4. Put the bell peppers in boiling water for 5- 7 mins
  5. Mix beef, rice, and sauce in a bowl
  6. Stuff the bell peppers with the beef, rice & sauce mix
  7. Top each bell pepper with cheese
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes
  9. Serve hot

 

Garam Masala-A South Asian Secret

Garam Masala is a very common Pakistani/Indian ingredient that you find in a number of South Asian recipes! Garam Masala is a combination of 8  ground spices that has a  unique flavor & a distinctive aroma. Having a home made fresh batch at hand makes it all the more better!

Garam masala.JPG

  1. White Cumin Seeds- 1 cup
  2. Whole Black Pepper – 1/2 cup
  3. Cloves – 1/4 cup
  4. Big Cardamom – 12 whole
  5. Small Cardamom – 25 whole
  6. Nutmeg (remove the shell) – 1 whole
  7. Mace – 1 Tbsp
  8. Cinnamon – 12 sticks (1 inch each)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl
  2. Heat the ingredients in the microwave for 1 minute
  3. Let the mix cool down
  4. Blend the ingredients
  5. Use a sieve to sift the ingredients

Your Garam Masala is ready for use to make delicious recipes! It can be stored dry at room temperature.

Q for Quinoa!

This Quinoa recipe is super easy to make and very delicious in addition to being a good source of protein an fiber — my husband absolutely loves it (well…he has no choice)! It goes well as a side with grilled chicken or even as a meatless entree served with avocado!

Here is the skinny on Quinoaquinoa-3

  • Whole-grain
  • A source of fiber and protein
  • A source of potassium and iron
  • Gluten free

 

 

Serving Size: 1 Cup; Calories per serving: 240 Kcals

Ingredients:

  • Quinoa, 1 cup
  • Water, 2 cups
  • Tomatoes, 1 cup chopped
  • Jalapenos, ½ cup chopped
  • Corn, canned, no-sodium (drained), 1 can (approx 15 oz)
  • Black Beans, canned, low-sodium (drained), 1 can (approx 15 oz) – I prefer to use dry black beans instead of using canned.
  • Cumin powder, 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder, 1 tsp
  • Salt,1 tsp
  • Lime, 1

** once i even added taco seasoning to spice it up 🙂

Directions:quinoa-2

  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot.
  2. Cover and simmer (medium low heat) for approximately 20  minutes or until no water is left.
  3. Top with cilantro and squeeze some fresh lime juice.

P.S. Canned diced tomatoes and jalapenos can be used as well.

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