Archive for May, 2016

Healthy Snacking: Energy Bites

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Snack choices for kids may not always be nutritious ones. The supermarket shelves are ?ooded with boxes and bags of irresistible treats loaded with refined grains, added sugars, and saturated fat. In our busy culture, there are times when snacks are used as a substitute for a well-balanced meal. Providing our kids with nutritious options is important for their growth, but finding something tasty that’s also easy to prepare can be a challenge. The new trend of making and eating energy bites is a perfect solution to this snacking dilemma.

Energy bites are a homemade combination of whole grains, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, and other ingredients rolled together into a little ball of deliciousness. They require no cooking, so making them is a terrific activity in which to have kids participate. Not only is it fun, but research has shown that when chil-dren have a hand in the food preparation process, they are more likely to eat what they make.

Start with this basic formula to create your own energy bites, or try one of the sample recipes featured in this chart.

When making your own energy bites, you can choose a binder ingredient such as nut butter or Nutella, and real maple syrup, agave, or honey as sources of sweeteners. The add-in list is never-ending with ingredients such as flax seeds, chia seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, chopped nuts, cocoa powder, choco-late chips (for a treat), shredded coconut, and chopped dates. You can choose more than one add-in by making the total amount of add-ins equal to ¾ of a cup. For an extra kick of flavor, experiment with adding a pinch of spice, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or cayenne pepper.


Energy Bites Formula

1 cup quick oats

1/2 cup binder

3/4 cups add-ins

1/3 cup sweetener

Once you have your ingredients selected, place them all in a large bowl and mix until blended. Using your hands, roll one table-spoon of the mixture into a ball and place it onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Place the tray in the freezer for one hour. Remove and enjoy. Save the leftovers in a sealable container, either in your refrigerator or freezer, depending on the texture you prefer.

Energy bites can be eaten in place of granola bars, cookies or any other snack, and they provide an array of vitamins, minerals, and ?ber in each delicious morsel!

By Beth Rosen, MS, RD, CDN


5 Foods People with Diabetes Shouldn’t Fear

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Diabetes shouldn’t have you fearing your food! Too many people give up delicious, nu-tritious foods because they have some vague idea that blood sugars go wonky when they eat certain things. Have no fear! While it’s a good idea to limit baked goods and greasy fast food, you can nearly always ?nd room for nutrient-dense foods like these.

Whole-Grain Pasta. This inexpensive, quick-to-prepare dinner staple can stay on the menu. Just be cautious with your portion. Pil-ing on the pasta is what spikes blood glu-cose. It’s not the pasta itself; it’s the amount of pasta. A full cup of spaghetti provides near-ly 45 grams of carbohydrate. If that’s more than your meal plan allows or if you’re eating other carb-rich foods at the same meal, cut back to ½ cup or even less. Mix it with non-starchy vegetables to bulk up the portion without overloading the carbs.

White Potatoes. There’s no reason to shun this nutrient-rich food. Again, watch your por-tion. About ½ cup potato provides 15 grams carbohydrate, about the same as a slice of bread or small piece of fruit. Potatoes also give us blood pressure-friendly potassium, vitamin C, dietary ?ber, & magnesium, a min-eral that may help with blood sugar control.

Bananas. Just because they’re white and have a high glycemic index, many people think bananas are bad for blood sugar con-trol. But the banana is also packed with nutri-tion. A medium fruit has about 30 grams of carbohydrate, twice the amount of a small apple or peach or a full cup of blackberries. If that’s what worries you, eat just ½ banana, or eat the whole banana and count it as two pieces of fruit. To get slightly fewer carbs, eat bananas that are a bit green.

Avocados. They’re high in calories, but they also give us heart-healthy fats. Replacing un-healthy saturated and trans fats with good-for-you unsaturated fats is a boon to the heart and might even improve insulin resistance. Avocados also provide potassium, vitamin E, and more.

Fruit Juice. Tossing a glass of juice down your throat in one giant swallow will likely raise blood sugar more than slowly eating a small piece of fruit. But 100% fruit juice is also nutrient-dense and most likely doesn’t need to be avoided. Measure out 3 to 4 ounces (equivalent to a fruit serving) and drink it at a reasonable pace. Learn the carb counts of your favorite juices and count them toward your meal allowance.

Measure Blood Sugar in Pairs. Learn for yourself how various foods and different amounts of food affect you. Measure your blood sugar right before eating and two hours after your ?rst bite. The difference between the two numbers is largely the result of your food choices and the amounts you ate. Mea-suring only the after-meal blood glucose tells only part of the story.

By Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND, CHWC