Wednesday, April 29, 2015

In the News: Having a Healthy Snack (Like An Apple!) Prior To Grocery Shopping Actually Leads to Better Food Choices

Ever heard the saying "never go food shopping hungry"?  Well a recent study has supported this and even gone beyond to show that having the right kind of snack beforehand is a VERY good idea. The study, published in the Journal of Psychology and Marketing, investigated whether having a healthy snack,  namely an apple, prior to shopping in the store or online, would lead to better food choices.

Researchers from Cornell University  found that when study participants ate an apple sample prior to food shopping (in store and online), they purchased 25% more fruits and vegetables in comparison to those who ate a cookie.

The results led them to recommend having a small healthy snack, such as fruit, before going shopping which can help decrease hunger and positively influence food choices. Maybe supermarkets should even offer healthy food samples to customers arriving too?

I think this was a great study and it's conclusion offers a simple, easy suggestion to help others take a step towards making healthy food choices.

Read a summary of the research HERE and the study abstract  HERE !!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gabby's Eats: Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Gabby loves apples.  She has been keen on the fruit ever since she was a baby, having countless sessions of gobbling down applesauce happily in her high chair. On the occasional grocery store trip that I take her with me (note that I usually shop solo while she is at school) Gabby will gravitate towards the fruit section and really enjoys picking out different varieties of apples to eat at home. She recently lost her first tooth after biting into an apple so they will forever have an important place in her food and life history! 

I was not surprised that apple was her flavor of choice when we decided to make pancake batter together one night to have ready for the morning.  We went with mommy’s usual base recipe that has worked so well over the years and then added small chunks of fresh apple to the batter, partnering them nicely with some cinnamon.  I peeled the apples and Gabby enjoyed chopping them with her age appropriate knife.  She enjoyed mixing up all the ingredients for the batter as well. 

The outcome the next morning was home run delicious! These almost taste like apple pie but in pancake form. This apple pancake has earned a top spot in our collection of home made pancake recipes and I have Gabby to thank for it!


1 cup oat flour (if you are on a gluten free diet use a brand such as Bob’s Red Mill or you can make your own to by grinding gluten free oats in food processor)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ cup egg whites
1 cup nonfat milk (we used unsweetened almond milk)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup peeled chopped apples


In a small bowl combine the baking powder, flour, cinnamon and brown sugar together. To a larger bowl add the egg whites and milk and whisk together. Then slowly whisk in the flour mixture until a smooth, thin batter is formed. Stir in the apples. Let stand for a 20-30 minutes (or overnight in sealed container) in the fridge to thicken. Add ¼ cup (for 1 pancake) to a non stick skillet, or one coated with cooking spray and heat on high for 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned on each side. Repeat with ¼ cup mixture 7 more times for a total of six small pancakes.  (Note: if you make this ahead of time and keep in the fridge it will thicken up quite a bit, so you can whisk in a little milk before cooking to thin out if desired.)
Makes 7 pancakes, six servings

Serving size: 1 pancake Calories 80 Protein 2 g Carb 14 g  Fiber 2 g Sugars 4 g Fat 1.5  g Saturated fat 0  g Sodium 140  mg

Gabby's Shot:


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Honey Roasted Baby Carrots

A simple but delicious side dish that’s very easy to make!
1 pound baby carrots
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon honey
cooking spray
(salt and pepper to taste)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add the carrots to a medium bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and olive oil. Pour the olive oil/honey mixture over the carrots and mix well to coat. Spread the carrots on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and roast for 15 minutes. Turn and toss the carrots and heat for another 5-7 minutes until lightly browned. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired
Makes 3 cups, six servings

Serving size: ½ cup  Calories 70  Protein g 1 Carb  11 g  Fiber 2 g Sugars 7 g Fat 2.5 g Saturated fat  0 g Sodium 40  mg (not including any added salt)


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Delicious Salad Recipe and Some Interesting Tidbits From the Cranberry Institute

I am excited to share this new and yummy salad recipe forwarded to me by the Cranberry Institute.  Check it out along with some other cool info about cranberries they provided too!!
A Fresh Salad for the Start of Spring!

Try a delicious and simple Cranberry & Cilantro Quinoa Salad (recipe below) for meatless Monday this week.
Yield: 8 servings

2 cups water
Pinch of salt
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup minced carrots
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
½ cup chopped yellow bell pepper
3 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
3 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ tsp. salt
Pinch ground red pepper

1.       In a small sauce pan, bring water and pinch of salt to a boil over high heat; stir in quinoa, reduce heat and bring to a low simmer. Cover pot and cook until all liquid is absorbed (about 13 minutes).
2.       Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
3.       To the bowl of quinoa, stir in cranberries, carrots, red and yellow peppers, red onion and cilantro until mixed.
4.       In a small bowl, mix together lime juice, oil, salt and ground red pepper and pour over quinoa-cranberry mixture; toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Does not have to be served cold.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 150, Calories from Fat 30, Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 3.5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 115mg, Total Carbohydrate 29g, Sugars 11g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 40%, Vitamin C 45%, Calcium 2%, Iron 6%

Recipe courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee,

Cranberries Go Global 
Swap out a few basic ingredients in the above Cranberry & Cilantro Quinoa Salad recipe and see how cranberries can fit into any international cuisine.
·         Asian: Swap out red onion, cilantro and lime juice, for scallions, ginger and soy sauce.
·         Greek: Swap out carrots, cilantro and lime juice for tomatoes, olives and chickpeas. Make it even better—add feta! 
·         Indian: Swap out carrots, peppers, cilantro and lime juice, for winter squash, sweet potatoes, pecans and curry paste. Add an extra kick with cayenne pepper!
·         American: Swap out peppers, cilantro and lime juice, for celery, turkey breast and thyme. Who knows? Quinoa could become your new favorite Thanksgiving leftovers recipe.

Tasty Tidbits about the Tiny, Tart Cranberry

·         Cranberries may help reduce the risk of stomach ulcers by reducing H. pylori levels in infected subjects.
·         The unusual PACs found in cranberries have an A-type linkage structure that sets them apart from most other vegetable and fruit PACs, and is responsible for their bacterial anti-adhesion properties.
·         Not only do cranberries have PACs, but dried cranberries are also a good source of fiber – 10% of the Daily Value – with 2.3 grams per serving (40 gram serving).

Science Bites: News from Cranberry Scientists 

Drinking Cranberry Juice Cocktail is Associated with Less Inflammation and Normal Weights!
Cranberry products, such as cranberry juice cocktail, are rich in polyphenolic compounds (i.e., flavonoids) and have been studied for their link to health benefits. Cranberries are naturally low in sugar and high in acid content; therefore, they are frequently sweetened for palatability. The final product, such as with cranberry juice cocktail, is one that contains similar or lower amounts of sugar than commonly consumed 100% juices. Despite the added sweetener, researchers have found that cranberry juice cocktail has several health benefits. Most recently, a cross-sectional study found that U.S. adults who consume cranberry juice cocktail had statistically significant lower levels of C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation, compared to those that did not drink cranberry juice cocktail. Cranberry juice cocktail drinkers also trended toward lower weight and waist circumference, BMI levels, fasting glucose, insulin, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This research indicates that drinking cranberry juice cocktail was associated with healthier anthropometric measures and less indication of inflammation. Although more research is warranted to validate these findings, drinking cranberry juice cocktail was not associated with higher weight, increased likelihood for being overweight or obese or a higher total energy intake compared to non-consumers.

Reference: Duffey, KJ, Sutherland, LA. Adult consumers of cranberry juice cocktail have lower C- reactive protein levels compared with nonconsumers. Nutr Res. 2015 Feb;35(2):118-26. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2014.11.005. Epub 2014 Dec 3.


USDA-Reviewed Cranberry Health Research Review 
The USDA recently reviewed an updated cranberry nutrition and health review published in the Cranberry Health Research Library on  

Cranberry Health Research Library 
Browse the selections by year to find the most recent publications:

Comprehensive Review of the Health Benefits of Cranberries in Advances in Nutrition Available for Continuing Education Credits through Today’s Dietitian. Ends April 7, so register now! 
o   “Cranberries and Their Bioactive Constituents in Human Health,” published in Advances in Nutrition, provides in-depth information about the bioactive compounds in cranberry and the pathways by which they may help protect against urinary tract infection, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The Cranberry Institute and Today’s Dietitianpartnered to create a continuing education course for registered dietitians with permission from Advances in Nutrition. Registered dietitians will receive four credits after studying the review and completing a multiple-choice exam. 
o   Click here to read for continuing education:


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