Monday, November 25, 2013

Not-So-Traditional Turkey

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. You don't just have to have traditional turkey... get creative! I found this recipe using turkey bacon that I just had to share. Cupcakes for breakfast? Who would have thought!?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Kombucha. I'm seeing a product grow more-and-more in popularity. People ask my take on the health benefits of kombucha. Well here it is folks!
 Kombucha is a fermented drink that combines bacteria, tea, sugar, and often other ingredients. This beverage is definitely a hot trend right now! Many people have been moving towards pro and prebiotics for their ailments. Regular drinkers of this tonic claim beneficial effects of improved immunity, weight loss, prevention of cancer and chronic disease and improvement of liver function.

Kombucha can help grow good bacteria in your gut, AKA your “second immune system”. But here's the bottom line: If you choose to drink kombucha, choose a pasteurized brand. Unpasteurized kombucha can increase the growth of unhealthy bacteria which can lead to food borne illness. Despite the health claims by kombucha-enthusiasts, be warned that there is limited evidence of the actual benefits of kombucha. In my opinion, eating yogurt may be a healthier choice or alternative. Yogurt still has beneficial bacteria plus other great nutrients such as protein, calcium, potassium and often vitamin D.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


That's right... it's NATIONAL GUACAMOLE DAY! We're in Texas so this is great, right? Avocados are huge right now and for good reason. Loaded with folate, potassium, vitamin B6 and monounsaturated fatty acids (AKA the "good" fat), avocados should be apart of your diet whether it's guac day or not!

Need creative ideas for incorporating avocados into your diet? Try these...
  • Salad. Add grapefruit slices, avocado chunks, and grilled shrimp onto a bed of mixed greens- yes, this is as delicious as it sounds ;-)
  • Chicken Salad. Skip the mayo, add avocado and blend 'til smooth.
  • ALT Sandwich. A vegetarian twist on your favorite sandwich using avocado, lettuce and tomato. Yum.
  • Creamy Salad Dressing. Combine lime juice, cilantro, non-fat plain yogurt, a pinch of salt and sugar + half of an avocado in your blender. This combo is refreshing and budget friendly (it's also a great substitute for Ranch)
  • [Healthy] Chocolate Shake. Yep. That's right. Add some avocado in your shake.Try it for yourself by clicking on this recipe by Eating Well.
Are you craving some delicious avocado now? Come by Cougar Woods today during lunch. We'll be serving Wholly Guacamole in honor of this great, healthy holiday!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Processed Foods Can Be Healthy? WHAT!?

"To eat processed or not to eat processed foods?" That, my friends, is the question! Well, it may surprise you to learn that processed foods are more than frozen pizzas and a box of mac and cheese. Even cut up apple slices, whole wheat breads, and homemade soups are technically processed. Did I just confuse you? No worries... it'll make sense in a second!

Bagged spinach, cut veggies, canned nuts. What do they all have in common? Well, they are minimally processed foods.  Other healthy food staples that have been processed include canned tomatoes, beans, and frozen fruits and veggies. Fortified juices are also considered processed. But are these foods bad? NO! And the reason is this is simple--- these foods are simply prepared and packaged, usually at the peak of season with little additivies. Frozen produce, for example, has the same nutrient content as fresh. Even better? They're often cheaper and you can buy your favorite fruit that may not be in season otherwise. As a personal example, I love frozen mangos for these reasons:
  1. A fresh mango is costly and can be hard to find year round.
  2. I don't have to worry about it going bad. I can take out as much mango as I need then pop it back in the freezer. How easy is that?!
  3.  Frozen mangos are already cut up. If you're a fellow mango-enthusiast then you, too, must know how hard it is to cut up a mango. I'm always scared I'll chop of a finger!
Now, I'm not encouraging the consumption of all processed foods mind you! Eating processed foods can fit into a healthy diet in moderation, but please be on the look-out for added fat, sodium and sugar. Try these tips for optimal health:
  • Limit frozen TV dinners and pre-prepared boxed meals--- these foods are the most processed! 
  • Avoid foods with trans fat; trans fat has absolutely no health benefits
  • Watch the sodium! Keep in mind that a serving of salt is 1 tsp/day, or 2,300 mg.
  • Rinse your canned veggies and beans
  • Look for added sugar in the least expected places. Even breads can have added sugar to aid in a brown hue. The first couple ingredients of your whole wheat bread should not include maltose, cane sugar, or honey.
  • Pick foods that are not packed in oil or syrups

Friday, November 1, 2013

Good 'Wich, Bad 'Wich

Sandwiches are a fairly regular meal for many college students. What's not to love? They're quick to make, great for a tight budget, and there are so many delicious variations. Many people associate sandwiches as a healthy, but beware... the calories and fat can add up fast!

Let's take a look at the making of a Good 'Wich vs. Bad 'Wich.

The Good 'Wich:                                          The Bad 'Wich:            _                     
Whole grain bread- has more fiber, protein                                     White bread- less fiber and protein
Lean protein (turkey, chicken, salmon, tuna)- less fat, calories       Fatty deli meats (bologna, salami...)- adds fat, calories
Veggies or even slices of apples- adds fiber, texture                       Lots of avocados or veggies packed in oil- adds fat
Low fat mayo and spreads- less calories, fat                                    Cheese and regular dressings/spreads- adds calories, fat

Luckily, dining locations around UH offer plenty of healthy alternatives to some of your favorites. Here are a few delicious sandwiches that don't pack on calories and fat.
  • Einstein Bagel Bros.: For 30% less fat, choose the Southwest Turkey Sausage Bagel Thin
    • (350 calories, 14 g fat, 23 g protein, 2 g fiber)
  • Chick-fil-A: for a lower fat sandwich, choose the Grilled Chicken Sandwich w/ lettuce and tomoato (hold the mayo and/or sauces)
    • 290 calories, 4 g fat, 28 g protein, 1 g saturated fat
  • Burger Studio: for 50% less fat and more fiber, choose the Turkey Burger w/ banana peppers, tomato, lettuce and mustard
    • 254 calories, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 3 g fiber
  • Subway: for a vitamin packed, low calorie meal choose the 6" Veggie Delight on Whole Wheat w/ lots of veggies and brown mustard
    • 290 calories, 3.5 g fat, 5 g fiber, 460 mg sodium
Want more info on making healthy sandwiches? Stop by UH Dinig's tabling event on November 4th (@ Cougar Woods) and 5th (@ Fresh Food Company) from 11:30 am- 1 pm. We'll have sandwich tips-and-tricks and free giveaways!