I recently enjoyed dinner with friends, and we all agreed it ended with the perfect Fall dessert: cooked apples with a scoop of natural vanilla ice cream.
What made this dessert special was its simplicity, not to mention how easy it was to prepare and how great it smelled and tasted.
I simply cored and chopped up 6 medium size granny smith apples, placed them in a slow cooker with about 1 inch of water, added generous sprinkles of cinnamon and a cinnamon stick, and left them to simmer. I tasted occasionally, and ended up adding a tablespoon of brown sugar and a pinch of pumpkin pie spice about halfway through their six-hour cooking time. When guests arrived, the house smelled amazing and when it was time for dessert, there was no prep required.
Best of all, the health benefits of apples are numerous. They contain fiber, potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants – read more here!
Pears can also be cooked in a slow cooker just like apples, and they share important traits for preventing digestive problems, outlined here.
Just One Thing to do: Enjoy apples and pears fresh or cooked for their wonderful flavor and health benefits.
Self-Care is a trending topic, and I am a fan. Until recently, I never took the time to prioritize my own needs – I’m sure you’ve been there, either going to school, nurturing your career, helping partners and friends, raising children, caring for aging parents, volunteering, you name it.
But self-care can help you do all of those things better. It is essentially taking care of your needs so that you can stay healthy both physically and mentally, with enough energy to live your best life. There are many ways to incorporate self-care into your day to manage stress and stay fit: taking a daily walk, getting enough sleep, doing meditation or yoga, optimizing your work environment, journaling, scheduling a massage or mani-pedi, connecting with nature, and feeding your spiritual self with prayer, gratitude or inspirational quotes.
And most importantly, there is what I call “Nutrition Self-Care”. Do you feel your best when you skip breakfast, snack on donuts at work, and eat fast food for lunch? What about if you overindulge in late night beer, chocolate, or chips? None of those are off limits, and I am not advocating counting calories or macros. Instead, I’m thinking how much better you will feel if you…
You have to own your health. Diets won’t do. Deprivation won’t do. Your body deserves good food, and it is the ultimate self-care to make it a priority.
Just One Thing: Make time for “Nutrition Self-Care” by fueling your body with good, wholesome foods you love.
I love sweets as much as anyone, and I don’t hesitate to enjoy a couple pieces of chocolate or a chewy sugar cookie on occasion. But what if I want dessert Every. Single. Day?
A daily intake of sugar and fat is not great for my blood cholesterol, triglycerides, or glucose levels, not to mention the extra empty calories. So I opt for desserts that have a nutritional benefit as well as a treat for my taste buds. These usually include something with fruit, vegetables, nuts, and/or whole grains.
This time of year, I love zucchini bread and pumpkin bread. Find a recipe from your favorite cookbook, website or friend, and make a few healthful substitutions, like these:
I am often asked for recipes but honestly, I prefer to teach you to make these substitutions so you can turn any recipe into a nutrition rockstar. If you need a place to start, I like Cooking Light and Eating Well (click to link) Then, remember to keep your portions reasonable by listening to when your stomach says it is almost full.
Just One Thing to do: Enjoy fall vegetables like zucchini and pumpkin by baking them into a healthful recipe!
Exactly one year ago, I encouraged readers to think twice before jumping on the Keto bandwagon (http://www.melissawdowik.com/blog/keto-what). Now, a new statement from the National Lipid Association Nutrition and Lifestyle Task Force weighs the pros and cons of low carbohydrate and very low carbohydrate diets, including a ketogenic diet. Not surprisingly, their thorough review of the literature led them to conclude that these diets do not offer benefits for weight loss above other calorie-limited intakes - in their words, there is not one macronutrient distribution that is superior for weight loss or for the management of Type 2 diabetes.
There is some evidence that a very low carbohydrate diet helps with appetite control, improve triglycerides, and reduce medication use for type 2 diabetes, but by two years, there were no differences in these markers. In addition, there are potential negative side effects from low intakes of fiber and complex carb foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
Just One Thing: Treat yourself to a well-proven recipe for weight loss and maintenance that includes eating less, moving more, and getting social support to continue these positive behaviors!