Calculating your Body Mass Indicator is the golden metric to following your healthy New Year's resolutions.
If you’re like most Americans, you’re busy trying to keep your New Year’s resolutions, with getting/being/eating healthier and/or losing weight at the top of the list. We all make that resolution with such enthusiasm and conviction — then reality sets in. I mean, who actually has time to figure out what healthy eating really is, let alone the time to calculate the calories, fat, protein, carbohydrate ratios that you’re supposed to be eating in order to be or eat healthier?
I think I can help. Here’s a little personal story of mine. In July, I went to see one of my medical specialists, who put me on the scale and then pulled out her little BMI calculator. For those of you that don’t know, BMI is Body Mass Indicator and it’s the golden metric that nearly all health care providers love to use to determine your “healthy weight.” I was found to be in a range that would indicate that I’ve got (lots of) pounds to lose, and she referred me to the Weight Loss Management team at the University of Chicago Hospital. The team is great, and they taught me a lot about healthy eating and food nutritional balance. In my defense, I knew quite a bit already (big cheesy grin). The first thing my doctor did was to nearly rip my phone out of my hands and install the “My Fitness Pal” app on it. It does a great job of helping you keep track of what you’re eating during the day — calories, protein, carbs, fat, water — and has a bar code scanner to directly enter foods from product packages into the app. You can monitor your weight with the app, and it even links with your favorite fitness tracker (my Fitbit for example). Pretty snazzy. Since it was my slower summer season, I had lots of time to come up with healthy recipes with which to impress the doctors. One of the suggestions they had was to add more fiber to some recipes, and protein to others. It’s about balancing that protein/carb/fat ratio — and it’s a lot easier than you think. Here are some of my personal recipe successes. Do you have any great healthy, balanced recipes? Please send them to me at email@example.com. I’ll keep you posted with my progress and more recipes. Happy, Healthy 2016!!!
Steel Cut Oats Breakfast Cups
One of the biggest concerns that I voiced to my doctor was that once life returned to its usual crazy busy normal, I wouldn’t have time to sit and prepare/measure out my breakfast every morning — let alone have the luxury of sitting at the table to eat it. I developed this recipe as a “grab-and-go” super healthy breakfast. Packed with steel cut oats, raisins and walnuts, it will keep you satisfied until lunchtime. I proudly showed it to my doctor — and she commented that it really could use a little more fiber to make it nutritionally sound. She recommended adding a fiber powder to the recipe to increase the fiber content of each muffin, giving each muffin more “staying power.” You can find fiber powder in the pharmacy section of your local grocery store.
2 cups steel cut oats
6 cups water
2 large eggs
½ cup seedless raisins
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
⅓ cup sugar substitute (splenda, stevia, etc.)
1 tsp. cinnamon
⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup 100% Natural Psyllium Fiber
Preheat oven to 350˚. Line 2 muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners. Set aside.
In a large pot, bring the 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the oats and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Add the remaining ingredients to the oats and stir until thoroughly combined. Divide among the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until set. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before eating. Can be refrigerated for 3-4 days and warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave, and can be frozen and warmed for a minute in the microwave as a perfect grab-and-go healthy breakfast.
Makes 24 muffins: gluten-free, 85 calories each, 3g fat, 4g fiber, 2g sugar, 3g protein
Super Healthy Swiss Breakfast Wraps
This breakfast is super healthy, easy to eat and delicious! The egg and Parmagiano act as a low-calorie, low-fat, gluten-free tortilla. YUM! Also, using grated Parmagiano adds a LOT of flavor for very few calories. It’s one of my secret flavor weapons. You can even be creative and add your own personal ingredients like avocado, or other cheeses — just make sure they are low-fat.
1 large egg
¼ cup egg substitute
nonstick vegetable spray
1 Tbsp. grated Parmagiano
1 large dinner plate
2-3 romaine lettuce leaves
2-4 red pepper slices (optional)
2 slices low-fat Swiss cheese (I like Emek)
Whisk together the egg and the egg substitute in a measuring cup, then set aside.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, remove it from the heat and thoroughly spray it with nonstick spray. Return the skillet to the burner, reduce the heat to medium, then pour the egg into the skillet, turning the pan so it is evenly coated with egg. Immediately sprinkle the tablespoon of Parmagiano over the egg. Cook the egg until it is set and the top of the egg is dry to the touch. Depending upon the temperature of your burner, this can take 3-5 minutes.
Slide the egg onto the dinner plate. Place the romaine lettuce leaves on the end of the egg. Top with the peppers and the cheese. Roll, jelly roll style, to make an egg wrap. Slice the egg wrap diagonally in half. Eat immediately (you won’t be able to wait anyway!).
Makes 1 wrap: gluten-free, 178 calories, 7g fat, 24g protein, 1g sugar, 2g fiber)
Vegetable Potatofuls — Potato Vegetable Waffles
This recipe — and resulting dish — is just plain fun: I was trying to think of a way that I could pack everything into a single serving — carbs, protein, etc. I wanted to be able to (theoretically) pick it up and take a bite while I was working, with the flavor of the food permeating through each mouthful. And it had to be FUN! And so … the Potatoful. It’s a potato, it’s a waffle, it’s an identity crisis. The information I’m giving you is for the basic recipe but of course you can add your own ingredients to make your own Potatoful!
1 small Idaho potato
nonstick vegetable spray
⅓ cup egg substitute
2 Tbsps. grated Parmagiano Cheese
1 cup cooked broccoli florets, cooked
2 Tbsps. diced red pepper
Scrub the potato clean, wrap it in a paper towel, then microwave for 6 minutes. Allow it to rest for at least 1 minute. While the potato is baking, preheat the waffle maker.
Cut the potato in half lengthwise. Set aside.
Thoroughly spray the waffle maker with nonstick vegetable spray on the top and bottom. Pour a small amount of the egg substitute in the center of the waffle maker. Place the potato on top, topped with the Parmagiano. Top with the broccoli and red pepper. Pour the remaining egg substitute over the potato and sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the top. Close the waffle maker lid over the potato, pressing down hard to smash the potato into the waffle maker.
Bake for around 10 minutes, until the Potatoful is crispy on top and bottom and cooked through. It should come out of the waffle maker looking like a Potatoful — but don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t the first time — it will taste delicious anyway. And remember — you can always try again!
Makes 1 Potatoful — gluten-free, 235 calories, 5g fat, 3g fiber, 18g protein, 2g sugar
Chunky Peanut Butter and Chocolate Whole Oat Bars
I was determined to come up with a super-filling — but healthy and balanced — gluten-free grab-and-go crunchy snack. The fat comes from healthy peanut butter, and the carbs from awesome oats. This recipe caused me to go through a LOT of boxes of Cheerios, and quite a few containers of peanut butter and oats. We had discussions at our Shabbat table about the best way to “fix” the problems, but the end result … well, it’s good enough to publish 😉
nonstick vegetable spray
1 cup chunky peanut butter
½ cup plus ¼ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup Original Formula Psyllium Fiber powder (optional)
3 cups Cheerios
3 cups old-fashioned oats, not instant
Spray a 9×13 inch pan with nonstick vegetable spray. Set aside.
Combine the peanut butter and ½ cup chocolate chips in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 45 seconds on high. Stir until smooth. If the chocolate is not completely melted, microwave for an additional 15 seconds, repeating as necessary until the mixture is smooth when blended. Immediately stir in the fiber powder, Cheerios, and old-fashioned oats until the oats and Cheerios are completely coated with the peanut butter mixture.
With damp hands or wearing disposable gloves, evenly press the bar mixture into the prepared pan. Make sure to press down hard so that there are no loose parts in the pan.
Place the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chips in a small, microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir with a spatula until smooth, microwaving for an additional 10 seconds if needed to completely melt the chocolate. Transfer the chocolate to a smaller zipper bag or pastry bag. Cut a small hole in the tip and drizzle the chocolate over the top of the bars, using all the chocolate.
Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes until completely set.
Remove from the freezer and cut into 24 squares.
Makes 24 super-filling bars — gluten-free, 161 calories, 11g fat, 5g fiber, 6g sugar, 4g protein