Acai Part II

For anyone who knows me, you may know of my love of Acai bowls. They are so tasty and healthy that this is my second time posting about them in the past year!

Acai bowls have become one of the latest trends, but why pay for one at a juice or smoothie bar when you can make your own at home? I like to keep my acai bowls pretty classic, but feel free to add in other fruits such as peaches, mangoes, pineapple and more! The best thing about these bowls is that there is no one way to make them. Customize them to your liking or follow this delicious recipe, created by my talented intern Janette Bedoyan. You won't regret it :)

Gathered Ingredients:

                                     

                                    

Blend:

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Before:

                                            

                                           

After!:

                                           

                                          

Acai Bowl Recipe

  • 2 Packets frozen unsweetened acai berry purée, defrosted slightly
  • 1 medium banana
  • ½ cup (give or take) of frozen mixed berries
  • ¼ cup coconut milk

Toppings:

  • Fresh mixed berries
  • Coconut flakes
  • Granola of any kind
  • Chia seeds
  • 1 banana

Enjoy!

Farmer's Market Winter Salad | Washington, DC Dietitian

Winter is here, and sometimes that prevents us from going to our nearby Farmer’s Markets. However, the produce that is in season right now is perfect for a fresh, crunchy salad great for any occasion. Use what’s available to you and get inspired!

These are some vegetables that caught my eye during my last trip to the Farmer’s Market:

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Fresh Spinach, Purple carrots, Baby tomatoes, Golden beets.

This salad recipe is not only easy to make, but contains a lot of vitamins and minerals that are important for your health!

Ingredients:

Spinach

Carrots

Tomatoes

Beets (+ 2 tablespoons lemon juice)

Toasted almonds

Lemon juice

Olive oil

Pepper

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Directions:

Place beets, skin still on, in medium-sized pot. Fill pot with water until beets are covered. Add in lemon juice. Place pot on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat down to low and cook until beets are fork tender. Rinse beets with cold water until they are cool enough to handle. Peel off skin and chop.

Place spinach in a large bowl, and add all vegetables + the almonds. Give it a nice toss. Drizzle a bit of olive oil and squeeze in some lemon juice to taste. Sprinkle some freshly ground pepper on top and give the salad one last mix! That’s it! It’s that simple.

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Beets are actually a great source of vitamin C, fiber and potassium! These nutrients are essential for your brain function and immune system, and may even improve your stamina.

Feel free to mix in or replace any ingredient in the recipe! Some extra ingredients I like to add include:

Pomegranate seeds

Jicama

Bell peppers

Avocado

Corn

Enjoy and happy eating!

Recipe by Janette Bedoyan

The Best Oatmeal You've Ever Had

Winter is coming and the weather is cold, which means a shift towards warm and cozy meals. One of my go-to breakfast's this time of year (and all year, really) is Oatmeal. You might think "boring!", but hopefully this post will change your mind. Oatmeal, like other grains, is a good staple because there are many ways to change it up and make it interesting. You can add many different healthy mix-ins that are both tasty and satisfying. Once you find your favorite combination, you will most likely crave it on the daily, which is what has happened here.

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The key to making a tasty and healthful oatmeal is to keep added sugar out. You can make oatmeal that is just as delicious by following some simple rules: cooking your oats with ripe bananas, adding cinnamon and adding a small amount of peanut butter. 

Adding bananas to the cooking process allows them to release their natural sugar, making the oatmeal deliciously sweet in a natural way. No processed products or strange ingredients needed! Just make sure that your banana is slightly browned for best taste.

The method to making this is simple:

  • Add together 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 sliced banana and 1 cup of low fat or soy milk 
  • Microwave for 3 minutes, checking to make sure that your oatmeal doesn't overflow! Or cook on stove top.
  • Once done, give it a good stir. Add in a sprinkling of raisins, 1 tbsp of chia or flax seeds, 2 tsp of cinnamon (or more) and a dallop of peanut butter.
  • Stir it all up and eat! I know you'll be dying to take your first bite but make sure it's cooled first ;) 

If you are looking to spice things up, try any of the following mix-ins and come up with your favorite!

  • Shredded coconut
  • Vanilla extract
  • Chopped nuts
  • Cocoa
  • Dried cranberries
  • Flax, chia or hemp seeds
  • Almond or cashew butter
  • Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin or apple butter
  • Spices such as nutmeg, cloves, etc.
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Enjoy!

Jalapeno Chicken and Brown Rice | Washington, DC Dietitian

I usually try to plan out and shop for dinner recipes, but some days are a "what's in the fridge?" type of day.

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This meal was a perfect example of that. Use what's on hand and get creative! We had leftover Jalapeno Chicken Sausage, brown rice, black beans and fresh spinach. Easy, simple to make, healthy and tasty! Win-win all around.

Jalapeno Chicken Sausage and Brown Rice Plate

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

3 links chicken sausage (I used Jalapeno but any flavor will do!)

2 cups brown rice, dry (I used TJ's microwaveable brown rice)

1 bag fresh spinach

1 can black beans

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Cook brown rice according to package directions. For the TJ's steam in bag it was 2 minutes in the microwave. Allow more time for brown rice made on stove top.

2. Heat chicken sausage in microwave or on stove top for 2-3 minutes

3.  Grease cooking pan with cooking spray or olive oil. Add bag of fresh spinach to pan and cook until wilted

4. Drain black beans. Add to cooking pan until heated.

5. In large bowl add brown rice, chopped chicken sausage, spinach and black beans. Add salt and pepper to taste and combine ingredients. Serve by candlelight!

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Chicken sausage is a great option to spice up any meal, while being a healthier option than regular sausage. I recommend it in rice dishes, stir fries, in salads, soups and more. Try different flavors to see which you like best. Enjoy!

Banana Fro Yo | Washington DC Dietitian

When you're in the mood for a healthier frozen treat, a deliciously wonderful option is Banana Fro Yo!

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Luckily for us some genius foodies have created this healthy alternative to dessert that tastes great and satisfies any sweet tooth. I can hear you now... "That's impossible!" But from one ice cream lover to another, I can safely say that it's true.

Behold my favorite version: the Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Banana Soft Serve. The name says it all. Literally.

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All you need for this delicious treat are three ingredients: Peanut butter or PB2, Cocoa Powder and Frozen bananas. The second thing you need is either a food processor or a Vitamix for the blending.

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Here's the how-to!:

Ingredients:

4 frozen bananas, peeled or chopped before freezing

1 tbsp of PB2 or Peanut Butter

2 tbsp of Cocoa Powder

Directions:

Add ingredients to food processor or blender. Process and pulse until smooth. Add any toppings. Eat! It's that simple. Try making a big batch and storing it in the freezer for a tasty treat any day of the week.

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There are a lot of variations out there so get creative and see what you like. Try it with chocolate chips, shredded coconut, berries, oats, granola, chia seeds and more.  You can even make it with just bananas for a one-ingredient version. Enjoy!

Acai | Washington DC Dietitian

The summer months may be over, but I still crave delicious Acai Bowls. Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) became popular a few years back when it was claimed as a "superfood", saying that it could increase energy, prevent aging and cure disease. Though this berry may have many health benefits, messages and media tend to exaggerate, and based on research, it's been found that Acai is just like every other berry out there; it's good for you and tastes great!

Overall, berries are good for you for many reasons including that they are:

  • High in essential vitamins and minerals
  • High in fiber
  • High in antioxidants to help fight disease
  • Low in calories and fat
  • Delicious

Acai is sold in stores in juice and frozen form, and is best in its frozen state. Though the juice may taste good, like other juice products out there it has unwanted sugar and calories.

To get my daily dose of nutrients, I whip up some Acai to make a delicious breakfast bowl. The process is simple. First, buy the frozen pack:

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Then blend with frozen banana, Greek yogurt and flax seed. When it is blended and has reached a thick consistency, pour into a bowl and top with bananas, granola, chia seeds, coconut and anything else you enjoy! 

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Ah-sigh-yum! This bowl is refreshing and tasty-perfect way to start your day.

 

A Healthier 'Dilla | Washington DC Dietitian

I don't know about you, but usually the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is cook an elaborate dinner. As much as I enjoy cooking (love. it.), I like it better when I have time and don't feel rushed. My go to solutions for this are the following:

  • Prepare foods on Sunday to have for the week (smart choice)
  • Eat out with friends (fun choice)
  • Quesadillas! (perfection)

Quesadillas are my go-to meal because they are easy, fast and delicious. You can make them for yourself or for groups and I'd say they are always a crowd pleaser.

But I know what you might be thinking. Aren't quesadillas bad for you??

First off, I don't believe that there are any good or bad foods. But it can be true: quesadillas are basically cheese, some sort of protein and high fat toppings. Luckily, like most foods they can be healthified pretty easily! I'm not going to lie and say you won't notice the difference, but these dillas are still pretty darn good.

To healthify these bad boys I use the following:

  • Whole grain tortillas instead of regular flour tortillas. The calories are the same but the whole grains offer more fiber and nutrients.
  • Low fat Mexican cheese is subbed for regular cheese to reduce calories and saturated fat. Cheese is considered a protein and you will usually get a substantial amount from this dish, so I will usually omit any meat.
  • I add spinach to the dillas for nutrients, but any vegetables will do. I like spinach because it doesn't involve any prep and cooks quickly. (I wasn't lying about these being fast!)
  • Another way to healthify these is to use non-fat Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream as a topping. I grew up with sour cream (hi mom!) so they are essential to my quesadillas. Non-fat Greek yogurt tastes the same and adds a nutritious punch.

Super Easy Quesadilla

Serves 1

Total Time: 10 minutes (If not using chicken)

Ingredients

  • Fresh spinach
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast (optional)
  • 2 Whole grain tortillas
  • Low fat Shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1/4 avocado
  • Non fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Salsa

1. If you are using chicken, bake chicken breast in baking pan at 350 degrees for 35-40 min or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. 

2. Spray saute pan with Pam. Cook 1/2 bag of fresh spinach until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Put aside. 

3. Place 1 tortilla on same, freshly sprayed Saute pan. Top with Mexican cheese and spinach. Place second tortilla on top. Cook on medium heat.

4. Let the tortilla cook on each side for a few minutes until slightly browned.

5. Top with salsa, small amount of avocado and Greek yogurt.

6. Eat every last bit.