Crustless Summer Zucchini Pie

For the month of July, the dietitian is featuring this tasty summer zucchini pie. This Skinnytaste recipe gives you a healthy and savory spin on pie. With the 4th of July just around the corner, this recipe would be a great potluck item. It also works well as a summer dinner paired with a side salad or some fresh fruit. This recipe will be a great way to get in an extra serving vegetables.

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 oz shredded zucchini, all liquid squeezed out
  • 1/2 cup shallots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup part skim mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (for example-King Arthur)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup  1% or fat free milk
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly spray a pie dish with cooking spray.
  • Combine zucchini, shallots, chives, and mozzarella cheese in a bowl.
  • Sift flour and baking powder in a medium bowl.
  • Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and blend well.
  • Combine with zucchini mixture and pour it into the pie dish.
  • Top with parmesan cheese and bake 30-35 minutes or until knife comes out clean from the center.
  • Let it stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

Serving: 1/6th, Calories: 125.3kcal, Carbohydrates: 13.1g, Protein: 8.1g, Fat: 4.8g, Sodium: 420.1mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2.5gBlue Smart Points:3Green Smart Points:4Purple Smart Points:3Points +:3

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

The Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is the dietitian’s featured healthy recipe for the month of June. Quinoa is a unique whole grain with added health benefits because it contains all nine essential amino acids and is a good source of iron, magnesium, zinc, and folate. This recipe is great as a side dish for chicken and fish or it can stand alone as a vegetarian meal.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 – 3/4 lemon, squeezed
  • 1/4 cup about 10 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cucumber, peeled and diced (from 1 English)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • salt and fresh pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Rinse quinoa for about 2 minutes, using your hands to make sure all the saponins are removed (saponins can add an undesirable bitter taste to quinoa).
  • While not required, toasting quinoa before boiling it in liquid enhances flavor.
  • Fill a medium pot with water, add quinoa and salt to taste and bring to a boil. When the water boils, reduce heat to low and cover; simmer covered 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and keep covered an additional 5 minutes without lifting the lid; then fluff with a fork and set aside in a large mixing bowl to cool.
  • While the quinoa cools, dice all the vegetables.
  • Add the red onion, olives, cucumber, tomatoes to the cooled quinoa, and squeeze 1/2 lemon over it.
  • Drizzle the olive oil over the quinoa, then add feta, salt and pepper to taste and toss well.
  • Taste for salt and adjust as needed, add more lemon juice if needed.

Serving: 1 generous cup, Calories: 145.5kcal, Carbohydrates: 15.5g, Protein: 4.5g, Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 7.5mg, Sodium: 137mg, Fiber: 2.5gBlue Smart Points:5Green Smart Points:5Purple Smart Points:3Points +:5

7 Ideas for a Healthier Easter Basket

Easter is just around the corner, and this week’s post is going to help you build a healthier Easter basket this year. As a major chocolate lover, don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you have to eliminate the candy all together. Instead, take some of these suggestions to help build a basket with more balance to show your kids that healthy foods can also be a fun part of the holidays and your lifestyle.

In addition to including yours (or your kid’s) favorite candy, consider adding some of the suggested items below:

Dried Fruit with No Added Sugar

Dried fruit can be a good option, and even something that you can fit inside your plastic Easter eggs. Just be sure to look for dried fruit that has no sugar added because a lot of the dried fruit out there has as much added sugar as a candy bar.

Annie’s Cheddar Bunny Crackers

My toddler loves these organic cheddar crackers. Their bunny shape will tie perfectly into the Easter theme of your basket. The crackers are made with real cheese and have all natural flavors and colors.

Natural Lollipops with No Added Sugar

These suckers are great because they look just like regular suckers without all of the added sugar and artificial colors.

Inedible Gift Basket Ideas

I know Easter baskets are typically overflowing with candy, but there are also some great non edible gift basket items you can include.

Books

Easter themed books are a great option. Aim to get a book that will be age appropriate. Any book that you think your little one will enjoy reading will be perfect. Encouraging more reading can be a great educational way to decrease screen time (time on the phone, computer, TV or playing video games) for your little one.

Activity Book or Coloring Book

Another great option to include in your Easter basket is an age suitable coloring book or activity book for your child.

Games

Including a new game that your family can enjoy playing together is another great candy free Easter gift option.

Music

Consider adding the CD of your child’s favorite musical artist or singer. Or if you have a younger kid, look for a CD with fun children sing along songs to listen to in the car.

I hope this week’s post gave you some new and healthy ideas for your family’s Easter baskets this year. Let me know which options you incorporate and enjoy the most. Wishing you a happy and healthy Easter.

Royally yours,

The Diet Duchess

Three Powerful Nutrients To Strengthen Your Immune System

While you’re doing your part to fight the Coronavirus by staying at home, spend a little extra time building a healthy immune system to give yourself and your loved ones an extra layer of protection. Boost your immunity by choosing healthy nutrient rich foods. Certain nutrients play an important role in your body’s immunity defense system. These nutrients are outlined below:

  1. Vitamin C– (food sources- berries, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, bell peppers, watermelon, and broccoli)
  2. Beta Carotene– (food sources- carrots, broccoli, mango, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and spinach)
  3. Zinc– (food sources- whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, milk, seafood, and poultry)

Garlic and ginger also have immunoprotective properties and will be a great addition to your diet. You can add a little ground ginger to sauteed vegetables, marinades, and salad dressings for an Asian flair. For a side dish rich in anti oxidants, try sprinkling a little ground ginger on sweet potatoes.

Challenge yourself to include more of the aforementioned foods to strengthen your immune system and be sure to wash your produce before eating or using in recipes.

I hope this post helps keep us all a little healthier and stronger.

Royally yours,

The Diet Duchess

Healthy Homemade Spaghetti Recipe

INGREDIENTS

Marinara Sauce:
2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed
tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato
paste
4 tablespoons chopped
fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black
pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup white wine

PREP TIME: 15-20 MINS
COOK TIME: 30-45 MINS
READY IN: 45-60 MINS

DIRECTIONS

1. In a food processor place Italian tomatoes, tomato paste, chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
*Use less salt if you have high blood pressure for a healthier option.*Substitute salt free seasoning (for example Mrs. DASH) as desired.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat saute
the finely chopped onion in olive oil for 2
minutes (at this time you can add additional vegetables as desired, for example- bell peppers, mushrooms, celery). Add the blended tomato sauce and white wine.

3. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring
occasionally.

4. In another pot (while sauce is cooking),
bring water to boil. Add spaghetti noodles
(use at least half whole wheat noodles for
more fiber) and cook for 6-8 minutes or
desired tenderness. Drain noodles and serve with homemade spaghetti sauce.

5. Spiralize zucchini and substitute for pasta for a lower carb option and better blood sugar control. Serve salad with spaghetti. Half of your plate should be vegetables.

6. Cook additional meat (for example-lean ground turkey) as desired and add
to the final spaghetti.

3 Keys To A Healthy Heart This Valentine’s Day: Key 3- Dark Chocolate Delight

Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s officially here, the special holiday of celebrating the ones you love. Whether you’re planning to eat chocolate yourself or will be buying it for someone special, today’s final key to a healthy heart will speak to the health benefits found in dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids that are derived from the cocoa bean. Antioxidants protect the body by working to fight substances called free radicals whose main job is to damage healthy cells. Choose dark chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa to reap more of these antioxidant benefits.

There are some studies that suggest small portions of dark chocolate can support heart health and the health of your blood vessels. Flavanols in dark chocolate can increase nitric oxide, which improves blood flow and insulin sensitivity and lowers blood pressure.

Choosing dark chocolate and eating modest quantities can offer the best health benefits. Aim to pick 60-70% dark chocolate and limit your maximum portion to 1 oz per day (daily consumption of chocolate may not fit into a healthy eating plan for diabetes or kidney disease. Consult with your doctor and Registered Dietitian for an individualized recommendation if you have either of these conditions). Be careful not to overindulge in your chocolate intake because dark chocolate is high in calories and can contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess.

To close, I’ll leave you with the memorable words of Charles M. Schulz, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Royally yours,

The Diet Duchess

3 Keys To A Healthy Heart This Valentine’s Day: Key 2- Eat Healthy Fats

Dietary fat has this notoriously bad reputation. You hear the word fat and automatically think any food with fat is unhealthy or will make you gain weight. The shocking truth however is that fat is actually an important part of a healthy and balanced diet.

The second key to keeping your heart healthy is to include healthy fats in your diet. So which fats are considered the healthy ones? Fats that are rich in omega 3s and unsaturated fats can help raise your good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) and increase your protection from heart attack and stroke. Check out the examples below.

Omega 3 Fats:

  • Fatty fish like salmon, herring, sardines, lake trout, and Atlantic or Pacific mackerel
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Hemp seeds

Monounsaturated fats:

  • Vegetable oils such as olive, grape seed oil, canola, and avocado oil
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts (stick to 1oz portion sizes and aim for unsalted)
  • Avocados

Including healthy fats in your lifestyle will also help you to have more satiety with your meals which can promote portion control and help prevent overeating.

Now that you know some healthier sources of dietary fat, swap them out for some of the less healthy ones (for example butter, lard, bacon, heavy cream, sausage, and processed meats).

This Valentine’s Day, give yourself and your loved ones the gift of a healthy heart. Keep an eye out for the next post that will feature the third and final key to a healthy heart.

Royally yours,

The Diet Duchess

3 Keys To A Healthy Heart This Valentine’s Day: Key 1-Cut Back On Salt

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s only fitting to share some helpful tips on how to keep your heart healthy this month and throughout your lifetime. One of the key principles to a heart healthy diet is lowering your salt intake.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. When you eat too much salt in your diet, the extra water stored in your body can raise your blood pressure and put extra strain on your heart. Ninety percent of Americans are expected to develop high blood pressure over their lifetimes. So even if you don’t have high blood pressure now, it’s important to make preventative steps to avoid it in the future.

The salty 6, are the foods that most commonly add the most salt to the diet. These include: pizza, soup, cold cuts and cured meats, poultry, breads and rolls, and sandwiches. Other foods that typically have a lot of salt include frozen dinners, canned vegetables, instant or boxed meals, as well as processed and convenience foods. Read the nutrition label (low sodium is defined as 140mg or less per serving) and prepare foods from scratch at home to help limit your salt intake.

Bring flavor to your food without the excess salt. Try seasoning your food with natural herbs and spices, lemon, garlic, ginger, vinegar, and pepper (lemon pepper is not a good choice as it has a lot of salt), or try a salt free seasoning blend like Mrs.Dash or Lawry’s Salt Free 17.

This Valentine’s Day, give yourself and your loved ones the gift of a healthy heart. Keep an eye out for the next post that will feature the second key to a healthy heart.

Royally yours,

The Diet Duchess

Detox Diets Demystified: 6 Ways to Naturally Detox

Detox diets are an ever popular topic, especially this time of year as New Year’s resolutions abound. The general idea of detoxification is the process of removing toxins from the body.

There are two types of toxins that the body can be exposed to. First, are the toxins that are made in the body during metabolism (examples include urea and lactic acid). Second are external toxins which can be introduced into the body through eating, drinking, breathing, and absorption through the skin. Some examples of external toxins include pesticides, alcohol, mercury from certain seafood, chemicals in tobacco products, drugs, lead from car exhaust, and air pollution.

Detox diets and cleanses are usually pretty restrictive and limited to only a handful of items you can consume. The great thing is your body is already equipped with its own natural detoxification system.

Listed below are 6 simple ways to support your body’s natural detoxification process:

6 Ways to Naturally Detox

1. Stay hydrated with water

2. Eat 5 to 9 servings of vegetables and fruit per day

3. Eat dietary fiber daily from whole grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruit to maintain regular bowel function.

4. Include cruciferous vegetables and other foods that support the body’s detoxification processes. Examples include: broccoli, onion, artichokes, garlic, green tea, leeks, berries, and Brussels sprouts.

5. Eat adequate amounts of lean protein which is important in maintaining optimum levels of the enzyme glutathione which plays a key role in the body’s detoxification process. Some examples of lean protein include: fish, turkey, chicken, cottage cheese, tofu, eggs, and nut butters.

6. Consider taking a multivitamin/multi mineral to fill in the gaps of a healthy diet as certain vitamins and minerals help enable the body’s detoxification pathways.

Finally, help your body detox by limiting processed foods and sugar. Ultimately the best detox is an overall healthy diet and eating plan.

I hope this week’s post encourages you to find a more natural way to detox in 2020.

Royally yours,

The Diet Duchess

Bake like a boss this holiday season

One of my favorite childhood memories at Christmas is making homemade sugar and gingerbread cookies with my mom and sister each year. The house would be filled with this heavenly aroma of sugary sweetness, and my sister and I would get to apply our inner art skills with joy and grace to every cookie we decorated. Not only do you get to create memories that can last a lifetime when doing your holiday baking, you also get to enjoy the deliciousness that each cookie has to offer. The only downside, there’s a reason why Santa’s waistband is so grandiose. You can’t eat copious amounts of cookies without adding a little extra junk to your trunk.

That’s why this weeks post will give you some ideas on how to bake like a boss this holiday season by cutting the calories in your cookies and other baked goods without compromising their taste.

Christmas baking

Tip 1: Better your brownies

Brownies

Try substituting tofu for half of the fat in your brownie recipe. Now I know many people recoil at the word tofu, but tofu has a neutral taste that is overpowered by the delicious chocolate flavor. In fact, a study done at Idaho State University found that 8 in 10 people liked fudge made with tofu in place of butter. Try substituting pureed silken or soft tofu for half of the fat your brownie recipe calls for. This will cut calories and boost the protein and calcium in your brownies.

You can also reduce the amount of sugar in your brownies by ¼ cup by substituting ⅔ cup of  finely grated fresh beet as recommended by pastry chef Marisa Churchill. The beets will add moisture, natural sweetness, and gives you the opportunity to sneak a little veggie into your brownies.

Tip #2: Keep your cookie portions in check

Cookies

Cookies in sleigh

Cookies up close - EditedUse a smaller portion for your cookies. It may be shocking, but most chocolate chip cookies are 7 times larger than what the USDA recommends for a healthy portion. Making your cookies smaller can help keep your portions in check by reminding you of the appropriate cookie size (use 1 tablespoon to measure out your dough).

Cookie dough

You can also try using 1 cup of mini chocolate chips in exchange for 2 cups of regular chocolate chips. This will cut back  1120 calories and 64 grams of fat but still offer chocolate chips in every bite.

Tip #3 General baking substitutions

White Whole Wheat Flour

A few additional substitutions you can try include substituting all purpose flour for white whole wheat flour. You can substitute the entire flour measurement or even just try half, if you’d like to ease yourself in. White whole wheat flour is lighter than regular whole wheat flour and has a taste that is comparable to all purpose flour. It is a healthier choice because it is a whole grain and will give more fiber to your baked goods.

Applesauce

applesauce - Edited

Using applesauce as a substitution for fat is another great option. Cut the butter in your baking recipe by half and substitute the remainder with  unsweetened applesauce. This will cut the total amount of calories and saturated fat in your recipe, but still keep your baked good tasting delicious.

butter and applesauce

Reduce Sugar

The final general substitution you can make is reducing the sugar in the recipe by 25%. You can generally cut down the sugar by this amount without compromising or changing the taste of your dish. For example if the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, you can try cutting it down to ¾ C instead.  

I hope these baking tips and substitutions have given you some new inspiration and healthier (but still tasty) alternatives to your holiday baking this year. Comment and like below and don’t forget to share what substitutions you try and which ones work best for you.

Royally yours,

The Diet Duchess