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Crunchy Zesty Cucumber Cantaloupe Salad

0006_NutritionTwins-cucumber-melon-cantaloupe-lime-mint-serrano-pepper-salad-summer_logoAs you may know by now, although we grew up in a healthy household surrounded by fresh produce, the truth is we didn’t always have all kinds of produce throughout the year at our fingertips, as you’d likely expect.  In fact, there were only a few weeks during the year when we’d have some of our favorite fruits and veggies.  Yup, our mom was ahead of her time—buying local and “in season” before it was cool and trendy.  You could tell what season it was by opening our fridge. This meant that most of the year, we didn’t have some of our favorite fruits—like melons!  We’d wait all year for our favorite season—summer, which just happens to be when some of our favorite fruits are in season. As hard as it is to believe, some of our favorite recipes that we make today, we would have only had a few months of the year.  Recipes like our:

Watermelon Frosty,

Watermelon Snow Cone

Watermelon & Mint Detox Salad

Strawberry Milkshake

cucumber-cantaloupe-salad-summer7cropped

 

And we can’t help but smile with our latest creation.  It’s the summer dish that we would have waited all year for—and we’re feeling a bit spoiled thinking that we may just keep eating it this one, even when it’s a bit out of season. 😉  When it’s too hot to turn on the stove and you’re looking for a thirst quenching, refreshing side dish (with an optional kick!), this salad with hydrating fruits and veggies and cooling culinary herbs is about to be your new bestie!

Added bonus: Phytonutrients found in cucumbers (cucurbitacins, lignans and flavonoids) may provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. Cucumbers have a high water content and are a great source of fiber to help prevent constipation and the unsightly gut bulges that come with it.

Fun fact: Cucumbers are technically fruits!

Cantaloupes are a great skin beautifier thanks to being high in vitamin C (necessary for the formation of collagen, which keeps the skin pliable and elastic) and vitamin A helps to promote healthy cells and skin. Also since it’s gota high water content, 90 percent, it helps to hydrate the skin, making it appear moist and supple!

Fun tip: To find a great tasting cantaloupe, do a sniff test, if the melon smells delicious it’s sure to be tasty.

We visited the farmers market over the weekend and came across a variety of cucumbers (common salad/garden cucumber, white cucumber, lemon cucumber and Armenian cucumber) and decided why not try them all! You can certainly use just one type of cucumber and it can be any type.

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Just a word of warning, once you start you may not be able to eat just one serving!

You can also make a larger portion, by doubling the recipe, to eat the next day. The lime juice helps preserve the freshness overnight.

0004_NutritionTwins-cucumber-melon-cantaloupe-lime-mint-serrano-pepper-salad-summer_logoCrunchy Zesty Cucumber Cantaloupe Salad

Makes 4, 1 Cup Servings

Serve this easy to make, juicy summer salad with a Mediterranean dish, falafel, grilled fish, fish tacos, grilled chicken or another lean protein.

 

Ingredients

2 cups cantaloupe, diced* (about ¼ medium cantaloupe seeded)

2 cups cucumber, diced* (roughly 2 medium cucumbers), peeled (optional).

1 tsp serrano pepper, (about ¼ small sized pepper) seeded and minced (optional)

1 – 1 ½ Tbsp lime juice,

4-5 fresh mint leaves, chiffonade

Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Combine cantaloupe and cucumber in large bowl.
  1. Pour 1 Tbsp of lime juice over the melon/cucumber mix. Stir to coat the produce in the juice.
  1. Add a pinch of salt to taste to contrast to the sweetness.
  1. Add ½ tsp of the minced serrano pepper, andmix throughout. It can have quite a kick so add more to your liking. This can be omitted if you’re simply looking for a cool and thirst quenching salad without a kick.
  1. Top with slivers of fresh mint leaves.

* Diced pieces can be any size, we liked a small dice in order to get a variety of flavors in one bite!

**A note about the serrano pepper. The oils will linger on your hands, even after washing them. Be aware to not touch near your eyes especially after cutting. You may have to wash your hands a few times before it begins to fade. (I only noticed because I stuck my finger near my mouth while taking a bite of left over cantaloupe and my mouth started tingling! Long after I had finished cutting and washed my hands!)

 

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 47 Calories, 0 g Fat, 0 g Saturated Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 87 mg Sodium, 12 g Carbohydrate, 1 g Fiber, 9 g Sugar, 1 g Protein  

Cucumber_Cantaloupe_Salad_Collage

 

Crunchy Zesty Cucumber Cantaloupe Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cantaloupe, diced* (about ¼ medium cantaloupe seeded)
  • 2 cups cucumber, diced* (roughly 2 medium cucumbers), peeled (optional).
  • 1 tsp serrano pepper, (about ¼ small sized pepper) seeded and minced (optional)
  • 1 – 1 ½ Tbsp lime juice,
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine cantaloupe and cucumber in large bowl.
  2. Pour 1 Tbsp of lime juice over the melon/cucumber mix. Stir to coat the produce in the juice.
  3. Add a pinch of salt to taste to contrast to the sweetness.
  4. Add ½ tsp of the minced serrano pepper, andmix throughout. It can have quite a kick so add more to your liking. This can be omitted if you’re simply looking for a cool and thirst quenching salad without a kick.
  5. Top with slivers of fresh mint leaves.
Notes
*Diced pieces can be any size, we liked a small dice in order to get a variety of flavors in one bite! **A note about the serrano pepper. The oils will linger on your hands, even after washing them. Be aware to not touch near your eyes especially after cutting. You may have to wash your hands a few times before it begins to fade. (I only noticed because I stuck my finger near my mouth while taking a bite of left over cantaloupe and my mouth started tingling! Long after I had finished cutting and washed my hands!)
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 47 Fat: 0 g Saturated fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 12 g Sugar: 9 g Sodium: 87 mg Fiber: 1 g Protein: 1 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

This is why FAT is In

If you get our e-newsletter, in early May you opened one titled “Kale is out, Fat is In“, and then only days letter received our newsletter that read this:

 

You know that moment when you hit “send” and your heart sinks?  We just had one.  Ugh… after a hectic Mother’s Day and one twin not proofreading another twins’ work, someone got a little trigger happy (we won’t mention names, but I will say that it was the twin who is 17 minutes older 🙂 ). She did have good reason for the hurry– we wanted to let you know about our amazing friend Heather’s free weight loss class before the upcoming class enrollment closed.

 

So, our last email newsletter was missing a piece—and now we have to let you know why Fat is In.  (And just for the record, kale is alwaysin” in our book.  BUT just because we’d never turn our back on our green lov-ah 😉 (that just happens to aid weight loss efforts, help the liver in its’ detox process, fight cancer…, the list goes on and on…), does that mean that we have anything against a little bit of fat being “in“!  Heck no!)

 

So here is the quick Skinny on Fat.

  1. Fat can keep you lean. It provides satiety (takes 6-8 hours to digest while carbs take 1-4 hours, protein takes 4-6 hours to digest), so fat stays with you for a while so you won’t be turning to more food soon after eating it.  Just be aware that each bite of fat does contain more than double the calories (9 calories/ gram) of carbs or protein (both have 4 calories/gram), so you do want to keep portions in check. And be sure to choose THE RIGHT FAT (see below).

 

Fat works magically for some of our clients, and not as great for others…Wonder if fat works for you?

 

  1. a. Try this fat test: As you likely know, one of the ways our weight loss clients are most successful in their efforts is by using our strategy to fill up on veggie crudité (or steamed veggies [not doused in oil or butter]) with spices, vinegar, and a large tea (or water) before going to a meal (you can read more about this here — all about our pre-veggie meal) and they generally eat at least one cup (or more) 50-100 calories before the meal and it saves them from swallowing hundreds of calories at the meal.  However, we have several clients, who find the same satiation in snacking on a little bit of fat before the meal. They have 10 almonds (70 calories) and a large tea (or water) and it takes the edge off hunger and they eat much less than they would have if they didn’t use this strategy. So tomorrow before you head out for dinner, try the veggie/water strategy.  The next day try the 10 almond/water strategy. Or reverse that order. See what works better for you and let us know in the comments below! (For us, the fiber that we typically don’t get from a restaurant meal to keep a gal regular 😉 and the volume of weight from the veggies works better to keep us more satiated-and we know we’ll get plenty of fat at the meal.)

 

Eating out Rule we give our clients: Have a veggie (and tea/water) pre-meal before going to dinner–or on your way there.  Veggies fill you up with nutrients, like potassium, fiber and very few calories.  You’ll avoid arriving at the meal ravenous, be able to make a rationale decision about what you’ll eat…and you’ll eat less of the heavy stuff.

 

CHOOSE THE RIGHT FAT: When it comes to fats, not all are created equal. While controversy surrounds this topic, research shows you should think “Mediterranean” eating style when choosing your fats. Aim to replace saturated fats from foods like butter, bacon, sausage, etc., and trans fats from crackers and baked goods and other foods that contain partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated oils with “good” fats from monounsaturated fatty acids (found in olive oil and avocados [see our avocado recipes like our Chocolate Avocado Mousse]) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in sunflower and safflower oils) that contribute to your heart health by decreasing triglycerides and your total cholesterol levels.” Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats also are great for fighting inflammation and are critical to healthy brain function.

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2. Fat acts as a nutrient booster. Translation: Eating a little fat with your meals helps you to absorb more nutrients from the meal.  This means if you eat salads or veggies and don’t have a little bit of fat with them (a teaspoon will do the trick!)1, you can’t absorb all of the nutrients, specifically fat soluble superstar vitamins like A, beta carotene, D, E and K.  Luckily, in most meals, there is plenty of fat to absorb nutrients in your veggies).  Try this Nutrient boosted Mini Fritattas which have just enough fat to do the trick.  Also try this Portobella Pizza.

quinoa_Egg_whites_but_really_our-Mini_frittata

3. Fats moisturize skin and hair from the inside, keeping them lubed and healthy– and they’re important for your body’s hormones and essential fatty acids. Try this Strawberry & Citrus Salad with Avocado to moisturize your skin.  Fat is in! 🙂

 

Psst.. looking for more skin-boosting benefits? Check this out– how veggies work their magic

 

….On the flip side, if you feel you’ve gotten a little too much fat from heavy foods and want a good “detox” drink to feel better and get your mind and body back on the healthy track, drink this Strawberry Citrus Flush.

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4. Fats help to maintain body temperature and you actually need fat on your body—and not just on your rear end for sitting (although it certainly does seem to be the year [or decade!] of the bountiful boot-ay!)—fat pads your organs.

 

Calorie count:
Check this out to help you to keep portions in check:

1 level tablespoon oil= 120 calories (watch out; this one gets most people into calorie overload—and is responsible for much of the weight gain we see in new clients!)

1 slice whole grain bread = 90 calories

¼ avocado = 100 calories

1 apple = 80 calories

15 Almonds= 100 calories

*Note: We’ve noticed that some of our clients can have a level tablespoon of nut butter or several almonds and be satisfied for hours, while other clients find this does nothing for them.

 

1–Judy D. Ribaya-Mercado, Jeffrey B. Blumberg et al, “Carotene-rich plant foods ingested with minimal dietary fat enhance the total-body vitamin A pool size in Filipino schoolchildren as assessed by stable-isotope-dilution methodology,”  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition  2007;85:1041-9  -t- 

 

 

 

Coming soon… our on-line 21-Day Body Reboot program (we are so excited about it!). The 21-Day Body Reboot is a customized program designed to jumpstart fat loss, rejuvenate your body, boost energy, and help you make long term changes that will improve your health.  If you’re interested in receiving more information about it when the program is available, please add your name here.

 

How’d you do on the FAT TEST? Leave your comment below, can’t wait to hear!

Parmesan Eggs in a Bell Pepper Ring

We’re creatures of habit in every sense of the word.  We’d be happy as clams eating our favorite foods every day of the week.  However, the registered dietitians in us know that in order to benefit health the most, it’s important to vary the diet (and the foodies in us are thankful for this too!) to get the most nutrients.  Despite this, we can’t resist but to eat a couple of foods that we love so much every day.  For example, Tammy is so obsessed with bell peppers that she preps them every night so she can have them ready-to-go the next day—and she even carries bags of them with her when she travels (yep, she’s one sick bird 😉 ).  And then there are eggs, sardines, yogurt and apples, that between the two of us, we eat them daily–and any excuse to marry any combination of these foods, count us in!  So with our latest easy-to-make egg breakfast/ brunch/ lunch creation, we couldn’t help but include our two of our besties –peppers and eggs!

Looking for more healthy recipes?  Please feel free to search this site!  Here are a few to try:

This take on  “eggs in a basket” is one of our faves because it adds a variety of colors to our plate and a punch of flavor. If you’ve read our other blogs, it’s not a shocker that we’re gonna try to pack in veggies where we can, so this is no exception!

Here are a few of the stars of the dish:

Bell peppers pack a punch in the vitamin C department, so hello supple skin (vitamin C is needed for collagen formation) and boosted immunity.  They also are rich in phytonutrients that help to mop up free radicals and prevent them from harming the body.

Eggs are rich in protein and are great for your eyes, thanks to their lutein and zeaxanthin, which help to protect the retina.  We used Eggland’s Best eggs because they have 38% more lutein than ordinary eggs– as well as double the omegas and 5 times more vitamin D.  Plus, we love the company and work with them :).

This simple dish takes just a few moments to whip up and can even be prepped ahead of time by chopping the kale and bell pepper rings and keeping them in the fridge so you can just grab on busy days!

Parmesan Eggs in a Bell Pepper Ring

Serves 1

Ingredients

2 eggs (we use Eggland’s Best because they have 25% less saturated fat compared to ordinary eggs)

1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange)

1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, we used shaved

1 green onion (green part only)

1 slice whole grain bread

Olive oil (in a spray bottle; spritzed)

1 cup shredded kale

Salt  to taste

Pepper to taste

 

Direction

  1. Slice the bell pepper to make ½” rings or larger. The larger the better because there’s less of a chance the egg will run over (if it runs over, no biggie—it’s just as delicious!)
  2. Spritz a little olive oil in your skillet and place one of the bell pepper rings in the pan for a minute.
  1. Crack the two eggs into the center of the bell pepper ring. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper, to your taste.
  1. Cook the eggs and bell pepper ring on one side until the eggs begin to firm up.
  1. How you proceed is up to how you like your eggs: If you like your eggs over easy/medium or fried, gently flip the egg and bell pepper ring and continue to cook until the egg is to your liking.
  1. Once you remove the bell pepper and egg, toast your bread. While it’s toasting, toss your kale into your already warmed pan with a spritz of olive oil, some salt and pepper to taste, and sauté.
  1. Place eggs and bell pepper on top of toast, sprinkle with shaved parmesan cheese & green onion.
  2. Serve with a side of sautéed kale.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  302 Calories; 20 g carbs; 16 g fat; 5 g saturated fat; 20 g protein; 310 mg sodium; 5 g fiber

The Nutrition Twins are spokespeople for Eggland’s Best.

Parmesan Eggs in a Bell Pepper Ring
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs (we use Eggland’s Best (www.EgglandsBest.com) because they have 25% less saturated fat compared to ordinary eggs)
  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange)
  • 1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, we used shaved
  • 1 green onion (green part only)
  • 1 slice whole grain bread
  • Olive oil (in a spray bottle; spritzed)
  • 1 cup shredded kale
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Slice the bell pepper to make ½” rings or larger. The larger the better because there’s less of a chance the egg will run over (if it runs over, no biggie—it’s just as delicious!)
  2. Spritz a little olive oil in your skillet and place one of the bell pepper rings in the pan for a minute.
  3. Crack the two eggs into the center of the bell pepper ring. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper, to your taste.
  4. Cook the eggs and bell pepper ring on one side until the eggs begin to firm up.
  5. How you proceed is up to how you like your eggs: If you like your eggs over easy/medium or fried, gently flip the egg and bell pepper ring and continue to cook until the egg is to your liking.
  6. Once you remove the bell pepper and egg, toast your bread. While it’s toasting, toss your kale into your already warmed pan with a spritz of olive oil, some salt and pepper to taste, and sauté.
  7. Place eggs and bell pepper on top of toast, sprinkle with shaved parmesan cheese & green onion.
  8. Serve with a side of sautéed kale.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 302 Fat: 16g Saturated fat: 5g Sodium: 310mg Fiber: 5g Protein: 20g

Strawberry and Citrus Salad with Avocado – and a Weight Loss Tip to Eat Less at Meals

As registered dietitians and personal trainers, people frequently ask us if we live on salads. Umm, NO! Although we love a good salad, we certainly don’t live on them! In fact, we tend to eat a lot more of veggies that we’ve mixed right into our meals then in the “salad” form. Plus we’re fans of a wide variety of foods, and include them in our diet—everything from all different types of produce, to whole grains, organic dairy foods, seafood, chicken, beans, nuts… and chocolate, just to name a few. 😉

That being said, we always encourage our clients to fill up on vegetables like salads before a meal (and we too do this whenever we can!). This is a great weight loss secret. Eating a salad or veggies before having your meal takes an edge of hunger and can greatly reduce calorie intake of your meal. Although the salad or veggies adds a few calories, you’ll typically end up eating significantly less of your main meal and saving many more calories than your veggie appetizer adds! Try filling up on a salad or veggies before your meal and see!

And for more veggie appetizers to try to cut down on the calories you consume during your meal, try these (or many of the other recipes we have on our blog):

 

 

Aside from weight loss, this Strawberry and Citrus Salad with Avocado is great for nourishing your skin from the inside out with vitamins that will not only give you a vibrant, healthy glow, but also protect you from the sun’s damaging rays.

Here’s how it works its’ magic:

 

  • Vitamin C has been shown to help prevent and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.Woot, woot! Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen, tissue repair, and reduction of inflammation.¹ Foods rich in this vitamin include red bell peppers, strawberries, citrus fruit, and broccoli.
  • Vitamin A in foods is converted to its’ active form in your liver, where it helps prevent damage to your skin’s collagen caused by ultraviolet light.Yep, it works like a natural sunblock! Dark leafy greens, carrots, fish, and sweet potatoes are great food choices that provide an abundance of vitamin A.
  • Every 27 days your skin is regenerated,³ so the healthy food you eat today will help build and repair the body’s cells. With 158% of the daily value for vitamin C and 84% for vitamin A, this Strawberry and Citrus Salad will put you well on your way to beautiful skin!

 

 

 

 

Strawberry and Citrus Salad with Avocado

 

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 cups of microgreens (We bought ours at Trader Joe’s)

6 medium strawberries, sliced

Orange segments from ½ a small orange

¾ cup thinly sliced red bell pepper

¼ of an avocado, sliced

Dressing:

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 ½ tsp. garlic olive oil

Seasoned sea salt to taste

Directions:

Whisk dressing ingredients until blended. Toss all salad ingredients together with dressing in a large bowl. Enjoy!

 

Nutrition Facts: 104 Calories, 6 g Fat, 1 g Saturated Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 28 mg Sodium, 12 g Carbohydrate, 4 g Fiber, 4 g Sugar, 2 g Protein

 

References:

1. http://www.webmd.com/diet/the-benefits-of-vitamin-c

2. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/beauty-skin-care-vitamins-antioxidants?page=1

3. http://www.webmd.com/beauty/wrinkles/cosmetic-procedures-overview-skin

4. http://www.ehow.com/about_5377182_vitamin-benefits-skin.html

 

Strawberry and Citrus Salad with Avocado
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of microgreens (We bought ours at Trader Joe’s)
  • 6 medium strawberries, sliced
  • Orange segments from ½ a small orange
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • ¼ of an avocado, sliced
  • Dressing:
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp. garlic olive oil
  • Seasoned sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Whisk dressing ingredients until blended. Toss all salad ingredients together with dressing in a large bowl. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 Calories: 104 Fat: 6 Saturated fat: 1 Carbohydrates: 12 Sugar: 4 Sodium: 28 Fiber: 4 Protein: 2 Cholesterol: 0