Gobble Gobble

It’s about the giving…
Thanksgiving tends to be the mealtime that stresses each of us out because of the massive amounts of traditional comfort food that we wait for months to just get one more taste of — and in reality – it’s so much more. So take the time out this week to forget the food stress, and simplify your dinner menu to add some nutrition options to the meal plans.

 
Boss Approved Turkey Day Tricks
1. Turkey

  • First, don’t forget turkey is a rich source of protein when it is prepared right.
  • Skip the fryer and get out the roaster!
  • Both colors of meat (white or dark) are great sources of protein, however choosing white meat will save you a little when comparing calories and fat content.
  • Whichever choice of meat- remove the skin!

2. Roll vs. Stuffing:

  • Any way you look at it, it’s all bread!
  • Focus on the portion control. Choose one over the other

3. Potatoes

  • Let’s be honest, the traditional mash potato dishes are insanely delicious, I mean who doesn’t like a combo of potatoes, cream and butter all in one serving.
  • KJB to the rescue, there are multiple ways to make white potatoes into a nutritious dish:  choose skim vs. heavy cream and if your recipe calls for sour cream, replace with Greek yogurt. Both swaps will cut unneeded calories/fat!
  • Now, if you really want to get crazy – swap your white potatoes for cauliflower. Prepare the same way, just switch the vegetable, and mash away!
  • As for sweet potato casserole, turn this into a nutritious dish rather than a candy bar. Save your sweet tooth for the dessert table; don’t waste it by adding marshmallows!
  • Sweet potatoes are filled with fiber and nutrients, including beta-carotene, vitamins A and C. See recipe below for Honey Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes.

4. Cranberry Sauce

  • Simply put- ditch the canned cranberry sauce. Canned cranberry sauce calls for excess calories and sugar. Replace with fresh cranberry relish!
  • This superfood is known for their rich antioxidant content. With its super powers, cranberries have been linked to lowering the risk of urinary tract infections, improved immune function and decreased blood pressure. Just to make myself clear these benefits are from the cranberry, not sugar and cranberries!

5. Green Bean Casserole

  • We start to eliminate the nutritional value of the green beans when we come across this holiday staple. Thanks to the cream of mushroom soup, canned green beans and fried onions; this dish is high in calories, fat and sodium!
  • If this dish is a must at your family gatherings- I don’t want you to get your head chopped off, so I would recommend to just tweak it a little. Use low sodium or no added salt canned green beans, low sodium cream of mushroom soup, and top it off with homemade baked onions. These alternatives will significantly cut calories, sodium and fat, allowing you to enjoy this side dish without feeling guilty.
  • Now if you can go cold turkey and get rid of the casserole, saute up fresh green beans with a little butter, top with slivered almonds or baked onions.

6. Dessert

  • Go for the pumpkin! Snagging a slice of pumpkin over pecan pie will save you once again a significant amount of calories and fat.
  • The combination of nuts, and the gooey sugary center of a pecan pie, offers almost twice the amount of calories and fat, when comparing it to a slice of pumpkin pie.
  • Pumpkins are rich in fiber, potassium (keeps our heart and muscles functioning at optimal capacity) and vitamins A and C.

Day of Tips:

  1. Light breakfast: Start your morning off right with an easy breakfast, so you don’t over indulge at meal time.
  2. Exercise: Whether you find a local turkey trot, head to the gym, or get a 30 minute yoga session in, get the blood flowing, before you sit down to enjoy the festivities.
  3. Portion control: Smaller portions are key around the holiday season. Having proper portions will allow you to taste all the foods available, without feeling guilty or uncomfortable.
  4. ENJOY: At the end of the day its Thanksgiving- you know me, balance is key. Splurge as you need to and reset on Friday!

 

Honey and Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes

By: Tyler Florence

Ingredients

  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled, and cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lay the sweet potatoes out in a single layer on a roasting tray.
  3. Drizzle the oil, honey, cinnamon, salt and pepper over the potatoes.
  4. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes in oven or until tender.
  5. Take sweet potatoes out of the oven and serve warm.

 

Happy Turkey Day!
– KJB

The Perfect Mix

Like many other grab-n-go snacks, trail mix tends to get a bad rap too easily. It dates all the way back to the 1960’s (hey Hippies), when trail mix was first invented by two California growers who blended peanuts and raisins together for a boost of energy as an afternoon snack (wait. Growers in California, that were growing…nuts?). Today there are a variety of blends of trail mix, from salty to spicy to sweet, like Reese’s Mix which is more a candy bar than it is anything healthy. Naturally, we Americans took the original idea of peanuts and raisins as energy and added things like chocolate or candy to brighten up the look and make it taste better (thus lowering the nutritional value).

With that being said, trail mix does have many perks when consumed in moderation and the mixture includes ingredients other than these chocolate additives and sugar cubes (aka Craisins). In addition, trial mix’s versatility as a snack is pretty much endless. It’s lightweight making it perfect for hiking, car/plane rides, or in your lunch bag (try topping your yogurt with it). It can range in flavor seeing as you can decide which ingredients you like best (no, the answer can’t be M&M’s) and include them.

I will caution you, just like I did with granola bars, to watch what’s going into your snack. As a granola bar can mimic a candy bar if it has the wrong ingredients, trail mix can mimic a bag of Skittles if you don’t have the right concoction. Let’s start with the serving size. I’d recommend a ¼ cup for an “ideal” size, but know this can vary a bit depending on your end use (i.e. morning snack or hiking fuel) and the trail mix itself. Next, be sure to watch the sugar content. Trail mix can quickly change from a nutrient-dense snack to a dessert in the blink of an eye. If you are tackling a sweet tooth, feel free create a sweet concoction using dried fruits that are sun dried or dark chocolate for your touch of natural sweetness. Remember that candy has a lot of empty calories (solid fats and/or added sugars), that provide little or no nutritional value. The last thing to note is that trail mix is definitely a culprit of what I call “mindless munching” (usually found around Netflix binging) and it’s hefty caloric intake adds up quickly.

3 Steps to Some Boss Trail Mix

  1. Nuts: I like to have at least two different types of nuts in a mix, but feel free to add as you please. Don’t be afraid to change it up, nuts are a phenomenal ingredient in terms of nutritional value. They’re a great source of fiber, protein and healthy fats. I’d recommend you pick nuts that are raw (free of any unnecessary oils) and unsalted to avoid excess fat and sodium. Some of my favorites include: walnuts (high in healthy fats like omega 3- heart healthy), almonds (loaded with vitamin E and iron), pistachios (high in protein and lower calorie), and pecans (used in moderation, as they are very high fat). I hate to break it to Planter’s Mr. Peanut, but cashews hold the least amount of fiber content when compared to the rest of the nut family.
  2. Dried Fruit: This is a great way to add some natural sweetness in addition to fiber and vitamins. When looking at dried fruit options to throw in your mix, pick a fruit that is sun dried, therefore not coated in sugar. Sun dried fruit tends to be a bit more expensive, however the lowered sugar content is worth it, rather than not knowing what all was added in the “drying” process. My personal fav. additions are apricots, cranberries (NOT Craisins), blueberries, and cherries.
  3. Bonus Add-Ins: This is my favorite part of the trail mix. It’s what sets you apart from Mr. Peanut, Chex Mix, Kar’s Sweet ‘n Salty, or the store brands. This is where you truly accommodate your tastes and textures over everything else. Personally, I’m always looking for some extra crunch. Some of my go-to’s are whole grain cereal (Cheerios), pretzels, air-popped popcorn, seeds (raw/unsalted), dark chocolate chips, toasted coconut (unsweetened), or granola. Get wild!

In summary (or if you just skimmed to here): trail mix has a combination of fats and sugars, fats from the nuts/seeds and sugar from the dried fruit and occasional bonus add-ins. Now without getting too scientific, fat and sugar are essential nutrients in order for our body to function properly. With that being said, it all comes down to the quality of fat and sugar that are being consumed. There are healthy fats and healthy sugars, also known as natural sweeteners (i.e. sun dried fruit, maple syrup, honey, agave). Finding the right balance is key and in moderation, a good quality trail mix fulfills the requirements of a healthy snack.

Build your own Trail Mix:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c. nuts
  • 1 c. seeds
  • 1 c. sun dried fruit
  • 1 c. fun stuff

Preparation

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Store in sealed tight container.

Boss favorites:

  • Nuts: almonds, walnut, pecans, and cashews
  • Seeds: Sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds
  • Dried fruit: Raisins, apricots, cherries, blueberries, cranberries.
  • Fun stuff: Dark chocolate chips, popcorn, cheerios, pretzels, sesame sticks.

 

trailmix

One of my favorite stops on vacation, Fastachi Nuts, Beacon Hill- Boston, MA 

 

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Seeds

When chia seeds first hit the shelves, the first thing that came to mind was the childhood must have, a chia pet! Do they still make those anymore? Looking back on it, that may have been my first official attempt at gardening… If you can call it that.

Initially, I ignored the trend because I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. As the little seed grew in popularity (pun intended), I figured they were worth a look. Everyone was forming their own opinions, questions were brewing, and in the blink of an eye chia seeds started to line the shelves of the grocery stores aisles. With all the hype around them now, I figured they’d be a perfect topic for my next blog for a few reasons. It’d allow me to deepen my knowledge, experiment in the kitchen, and answer any questions you have (feel free to comment below). Don’t say I never do anything for you…

Let’s start with a little history, this so called “superfood” calls Mexico and South America home, where chia seeds are a staple in Mayan and Aztec cultures. The chia seed has been used for a multitude of things over the years: medicine, ground into flour, mixed as an ingredient in drinks, pressed for oils, and even used in Aztec religious ceremonies. The ancient civilizations classified chia seeds a superfood before us trendy Americans. In Mayan, “chia” means “strength,” due to the large amounts of energy provided by the seed.

Chia seeds appear either white or black, however both hold the same nutritional value. They contain premium nutritional value and various health benefits such as promoting heart health, reducing blood sugar levels, controlling hunger, leading to positive effects for weight loss (but isn’t everything nowadays good for weight loss?), and reduced triglyceride levels (it’s a bit scientific but trust me, that’s a good thing).

A 1 tablespoon serving contains 60 calories, 4 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber (poop emoji anyone?), 3 grams of protein, and they’re loaded with omega 3,6 and 9 fatty acids (aka the healthy fats).

So this weekend I decided to jump out of my comfort zone and add some chia seeds to my life. I mean let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want super powers (I’m pretty sure Wonder Woman ate them), it’s a superfood am I right? I figured I would start with adding chia seeds to my breakfast meals, topping my yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies with them. I thought it’d be best to get them in my body early in the day, in case I was called on to save the world later. You can consume chia seeds dry or wet. Dry chia seeds can be added whole or ground to dishes like oatmeal, smoothies, salads, and yogurt, to add a little crunch. Wet chia seeds would be consumed as a drink, or pudding, offering a gel like consistency, as the seed will begin to swell with moisture.  Check out one of the recipes I tried below, Chocolate Chia Pudding, it is a great cure for an evening sweet tooth!

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Ingredients: 

  • ¾ c. chia seeds (I used Mamma Chia Seeds, but any whole chia seed will do).
  • 3 tbsp. honey ( may substitute with maple syrup or agave nectar).
  • 2 ½ c. milk of choice (I used skim milk)
  • ¼ c. cocoa
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preparation

  1. Measure all ingredients into medium mixing bowl, whisk ingredients together.
  2. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until pudding like consistency.
  3. Serve cold.

Optional toppings: coconut, fresh/dried fruit, granola, nuts, shaved chocolate

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Happy MDW!

-KJB

Just Beet It

 

If you asked me three years ago to try beets, I would say absolutely not! Purple, pickled, soft texture… Let’s be honest, nothing about that sounds appetizing. However, after hearing all the hype about beets and the fact that they’re now found in every form possible (juice, chips, dips, canned, pickled, you name it), I thought it was time to break out of my comfort zone and try this so called, “super food.”

After doing some research, I discovered that Dwight K. Shrute’s obsession with beets might not have been so crazy after all (although I don’t need an entire farm). The magical root vegetable is rich in a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent addition to your diet. Beets have a multitude of benefits including reducing inflammation, supporting heart health, and encouraging brain, eye and digestive wellbeing. The most impressive aspect of this super food (outside of it being like the only purple food people eat – except for eggplant but we’ll save that for another time. Personal fav) is how versatile it can be. Incorporated into a breakfast smoothie or post workout juice, or topping off a salad, there are more ways to eat them than you think.

Triple B’s (Boss Beet Benefits)

  1. Rich In Antioxidants: Beets get their deep red, purple color from the phytochemical betalains, which function as an antioxidant. Antioxidants are naturally found in a variety of fruits and vegetables and the role of them is to prevent or delay cell damage by oxidants. Oxidants are found in the environment (smoke, gas, pollution), however they’re also naturally produced by our body to help fight off viruses. It is important to have a balance of antioxidants and oxidants.
  2. Heart Healthy: Beets naturally contain a high content of nitrates. Multiple studies have shown the consumption of foods that naturally contain nitrates have a multitude of health benefits in regards to heart health such as lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, and blood clot prevention. Natural sources of nitrates are commonly found in fruits and vegetables (spinach, celery, arugula), however they can also be frequently added to cured meats (like bacon, salami, and hot dogs) as a color preservative, but they don’t hold the same health benefits.
  3. Natural Cleanse: Trend alert! Consuming a generous amount of beets is one of the best natural ways to cleanse the digestive tract and blood of toxins. Beets aid in cleaning a contaminated environment with their ability to balance our body’s pH levels. Bacteria prefer to live in acidic environments, but beets contribute a more alkaline nature keeping a healthy amount of bacteria in our system
  4. Muscle Recovery: I can’t say I’ve tried this, but rumor has it that with the antioxidant properties and high level of nitrates that beets have, drinking beet juice can lead to a decrease in muscle inflammation and reduction in the amount of oxygen needed by the muscles during exercise. (Popeye should’ve eaten beets, not spinach)

 So if you can’t tell, beets are crazy good for you, and it gets even better. The plants attached to the bulb (“beet greens”) are actually more nutritious than the beet itself (it’s like the superfood of super foods, no one eats the pit of an avocado!). Beet greens offer a generous amount of protein, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin C (boost up that immune system!), calcium, iron, and fiber. If that doesn’t prove it to you, I don’t know what will. Beet greens can be sautéed or a great addition to a salad. Next time, don’t let those greens go to waste!

Now beets come in a variety of different colors (golden, white, red, yellow, striped) Mother Nature would never want to make things easy. All of them hold similar nutritional value, but tend to differentiate based on the level of sweetness. For example, golden beets are going to offer a sweeter, less earthy flavor compared to a red beet. But in all honesty I can’t taste the difference. Gold tastes like red, red tastes like striped, and striped tastes like gold, so let your palate lead you to your beet of choice.

This weekend I was at my favorite grocery store on the East side of Michigan, Papa Joes (it’s a must stop if you’re in the area – I prefer it to Whole Foods… gasp!) and picked up some fresh beets. I typically take the lazy route and purchase them off a salad bar or canned, however this week I was feeling somewhat adventurous and decided to boil some of my own. I’ll be honest, it was a bit intimidating at first; you start with a big dirty brown bulb that somehow turns into a bright, magenta-colored, nutritional vegetable. I thought there had to be some science behind this, but I was wrong. Boiling beets has fewer steps than Kraft Mac and Cheese. Check out my recipe below and find ways to add them to your weekly meals!

Boiled Beets

Ingredients:

  • Two beets (whole bulbs, make sure to cut off the beet greens and save for later use, leave about 3 inches.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar

You may add more of salt or vinegar, depending on desired taste.

Preparation:

  1. Place beets in large sauce pan, cover with water, add vinegar and salt.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until fork tender.
  3. Strain beets and rinse with cold water. Allow beets to cool.
  4. Once able to handle, peel skins.

Cooking time is going to vary based on size of beet

 

-KJB

Traveling Like A Boss

After a week of fun in the sun, it’s back to scrubs and patients for your favorite dietitian (me of course). In case you were wondering about my absence, I took a brief jaunt down to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in the Caribbean. I visited one of my best friends (Morgan) and met my newest best friend (The Pain Killer). A popular island beverage, it’s a staple throughout the BVI because of their native coconut trees. There’s coconut milk in it so it has to be good for you right?! I won’t answer that…

Now back to edible calories rather than liquid ones. While others enjoy visiting historical monuments, immersing themselves in a foreign culture, or shopping till they drop while on vacation, I prefer exploring local eateries and getting a taste of native delicacies (literally!). It turns out the Caribbean is known for a variety of goodies (fresh fruit, an abundance of seafood, and rum, found the previously mentioned Painkiller!) but the most popular might be the infamous “jerk” spice (it’s nicer than it sounds!).

Jerk is a smoky, spicy, BBQ-like, seasoning that is a staple on Caribbean menus. Whether it’s rubbed on meats, chopped up in a salad, or used to flavor a seafood entrée, its notable taste will not be missed. It’s often served with rice and beans, coconut and mango salsa, julienned vegetables or corn bread.

Traveling can come with enough stress as it is. What should I pack? Is the rental car big enough? Does the hotel actually look like that? What movies will I watch on the plane? Am I really going to work out? (rhetorical question… Vacation is vacation so don’t pack things just to go to the gym while in paradise) I’m here to help you stay sane when it comes to food on vacation and how you can indulge in local favorites without ruining the progress you’ve made over the last few days/weeks/months!

Traveling Like A Boss:

  • Snacks: airlines are skimping like crazy making you choose pretzels OR peanuts OR that biscotti cookie that can only be found 30,000 feet above sea level (#firstworldproblems). Bring snacks with you to kill cravings you may get while sprinting through an airport or listening to the stewardess talking about what’s in the $10 “in-flight box”(sidenote: a snack size hummus with not enough pretzels to even eat half of it does not cost $10, Delta). Grab-and-go fruits (bananas, apples, grapes), trail mix (with less chocolate than nuts), and PB&Js are all great go-tos. Not only are they healthy alternatives to airport, gas station, or fast food, but they won’t break the bank during your flight or road trip (no one likes stopping anyways).
  • Be Active: okay, I know I said don’t work out on vacation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be active. If you’re one of those people that love to explore while away from home, try walking into town rather than take a taxi. Take the stairs to get to the top viewpoint rather than the escalator/elevator. Or sub in on that beach volleyball game just promise me you won’t dress like Tom Cruise and friends here. You’d be surprised how much the little things add up, which gives you justification to try that flaming dessert you saw.
  • Split Meals: when eating in a foreign place, it’s natural to want to try everything (at least for me it is). Make a group effort to try a few plates that everyone can taste rather than each getting an entire meal. Not only are you trying lots of foods, but you’re also (hopefully) working on portion control by not having a full entrée to yourself.
  • Hydrate: staying hydrated is important to our bodies all the time, however, it’s even more crucial when we’re soaking up the sun, hiking, and exploring new places. Now let’s make it clear, I am talking about hydrating with water… not the local’s rum. Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages are not recommended for optimal hydration (they actually promote DEhydration) yet they tend to be even more present on vacations. Try to be conscious of how much water you’re drinking, especially on vacation when it’s easy to opt for more exotic beverages. Balance is the key to staying hydrated.
  • Stop When Full: listen to your body. I know it sounds simple, but when we are on vacation it’s very easy to stray away from our daily routines of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We get in “vacation mode,” (you know, that “the most physical activity I’m doing today is rolling over if my back starts to get red” mode) and there are eating opportunities and celebrations around the clock. A Boss rule of thumb is to stop eating when you are 80% full, that way you give your food time to settle and avoid overeating (and feeling like a bowling ball).

Enjoy some of the pictures from my island getaway below, and stay tuned for a recipe later this week!

Boss Lady, out.

They don’t always have to be Chewy.

Raise your hand if you had Chewy Granola Bars in your lunch box growing up! These were a lunchtime staple in a Boss-household that rarely got hot lunch (crazy right? I know, but we’re better for it!). Every Sunday afternoon I’d go grocery shopping with my mom and each time I’d try and sneak the Cookies and Cream Chewy Granola bars in the cart (they’re a must if you’ve never had them, and I hear they have S’mores now? Not fair!). Nowadays you walk down the breakfast aisle in the grocery store and let’s be honest, it’s overwhelming! Could there be more brands or types of chocolate chip granola bars? Does anyone even eat the Oatmeal Raisin bars that they’re still making (rhetorical question, they do not)?

Vendors have learned how to grab our attention by plastering labels on boxes that say “low fat,” “low sugar,” and “no high fructose corn syrup” (and you thought corn was good for you). So you ask yourself what’s actually in these “healthy” grab ‘n go snacks? On top of all that, we’re now seeing people in their kitchen making their own granola bars, or the trendy “energy balls.” Let’s be honest though, they’re the same thing, just in a ball instead of a bar.

At the end of the day, there’s a reason granola bars have gained popularity and so many brands have popped up. Granola bars are a GREAT mid-morning snack to satisfy a craving or pre-workout boost, but you should make sure you’re picking the right one. Granola bars can be tricky, and if you are not careful you may be purchasing a product that is loaded with sugar/calories, closely resembling a Snickers bar rather than something healthy (FACT: Snickers does not make you change from William Dafoe to Marilyn Monroe all by just taking one bite – I’m not crazy, they showed it here). Don’t worry though, KJB and the granola police are here to help you pick out some Boss granola bars.

When scouring labels, ingredients, and packaging of granola bars, I encourage you to pay attention to 4 specific things: calories, ingredients, sugar, and fiber.

  1. Calories: consider the caloric content of the bar and ask yourself, “What am I using this granola bar for?” A snack? A meal? A boost before a workout? If you’re using it as an afternoon snack, I’d recommend sticking to 200 calories or less, the perfect amount to cure the snack craving. More caloric-dense products (above 200 calories) can be used better for meal replacements or pre workouts.
  2. Ingredients: can you recognize all the ingredients in your bar, let alone pronounce them? (I’m sorry, but what are you “chicory root extract?” Honestly what is that first word? Wikipedia says it has something to do with blue flowers. I’m trying to eat a granola bar here, not actual plants and flowers. That’s when I turn to veggies! OK, rant over). A general rule of thumb is, find a product that has 10 ingredients or less – less really can be more!
  3. Sugar: chocolate, caramel-covered, peanut butter-filled granola bars are overflowing in our granola bar industry (side note, what’s in a Snickers bar? Chocolate? Yep. Caramel? You bet. Peanut butter? Nope, but nougat is in the same family). Several products out there are loaded with sugar, some even artificial sweeteners. Look for products that are sweetened with natural flavors (i.e. honey, pure maple syrup, brown rice syrup). Ideally for a snack bar you want to look for products that are going to have 10 grams of sugar of less, and if picking a bar for a meal replacement, choose a product that has similar protein and sugar counts.
  4. Fiber: I feel like I hear “make sure you are eating enough fiber!” way more than I really need to. Fiber is a crucial part of our diet (hint hint, it makes ya poop) but more importantly, it can be a big deal when it comes to granola bars, because it helps keep you full longer. My rule of thumb is that a bar should have at least 5 grams of fiber. Don’t worry about going overboard in this area, since many don’t meet the daily recommendations for fiber intake.

 Bossapproved Granola Bar Brands (these are just some of the ones that I eat)

  • LARABAR: cookie dough, coconut creme, chocolate chip cherry torte, apple pie.
  • KIND breakfast bars: honey oat, dark chocolate cocoa
  • Pure Organic: chocolate brownie, wild blueberry
  • RXBar: chocolate coconut, peanut butter, apple cinnamon
  • Annie’s Homegrown: chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip

After extensive granola bar research, reading of copious amounts of nutrition labels, and wasting WAY too much time in the breakfast aisle (although I do love my cereal), I decided I’d challenge myself to make some of my own balls/bars. You might’ve thought making granola bars was reserved for the cute, old Quaker guy, but it’s not. Making my own allowed me to better control the nutritional value, ingredients (sorry, but no blue flowers), and ensure they included some of my favorite mix-ins.

Energy Balls 

Depending on desired size, recipe will make ~ 15 balls. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup (dry) old fashion oats (may use gluten free if needed).
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes.
  • 1/2 cup choice nut butter (I used creamy peanut butter)
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds.
  • 1/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Preparation: 

  1. Measure out all ingredients into a medium size mixing bowl and stir.
  2. Chill for mixture for 45 minutes.
  3. Once chilled, roll balls into desired size. (I rolled mine into ~ 1 inch).
  4. Store balls in refrigerator for  up to 1 week.

KJB

It’s the most wonderful time of year.

While most are gearing up for spring weather (hopefully?!) and St. Patty’s day festivities (ew, green beer), myself and other food obsession-ists in the world are celebrating the month dedicated to us. March holds the title “National Nutrition Month” and includes Registered Dietitian Day.

Each year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND – weirdest acronym right?) reveals the topic and tagline for National Nutrition Month. As an RD this is the most exciting time of the year – it’s like Selection Sunday for us! This year we celebrate by “Putting your best fork forward,” which acts as a reminder that every bite counts. The AND chose this topic hoping to inspire Americans to make small changes, that ideally turn into lifelong changes.

I challenge you to be a Boss this month:

  1. Cook more: invite friends and family over, try to cook at least one additional meal each day (i.e. if you eat out 3 meals a day, try cutting that to 2 and making 1 meal at home), it’s not as hard as you think!
  2. Leave your comfort zone: try something new, experiment with adding new ingredients to your favorite dishes, or subtracting 1 or 2 that you know are bad for you. Set a goal of trying one new food (fruit, vegetable, you name it – OK cereal brand doesn’t count) each week. Build on it from there. Try filling your plate with foods from different food groups, rather than all the same.
  3. Portion control: it IS possible to have “too much” of the good stuff – shocker! Listen to your body and eat/drink the right amount for you. Eliminate that feeling of “stuffed” by listening to your body, knowing the “full” feeling won’t hit you right away (and if you’re still hungry in an hour, have a small snack!). Next time you go out for a meal, cut it in half and ask for a box right away. That way you’re not only eating the right amount, but you have leftovers for lunch tomorrow – score!
  4. Stay active: the hibernating months are coming to an end and there are endless possibilities to help you stay active (run, yoga, walk, swim, you name it!). Find activities that you enjoy most or that people close to you enjoy and try participating together. I challenge you to add 1 activity to your normal life each week.

Registered Dietitian day falls every year on March 8th (don’t party too hard!). This is a day where we recognize the nutrition experts annually. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are committed to improving the health of their patients and community. Be sure to wish any RDs you know a Happy RD Day (if you’re reading this, you know one already – hint hint).

After each post, I’m going to try to leave you with a recipe that’s Boss (or at least Boss-approved!) so you can try something new at home. Maybe it’s completely foreign to you, or maybe it’s just a different take on your go-to meal. Either way it’s something that I think is good and more importantly, good for you! As we go, feel free to check out the recipe tab at the top in case you missed a post. Honestly, when this is all said and done I might have my own cookbook – look out Chrissy Teigen, Snoop Dogg, and Martha!

Cherry Berry Smoothie

I kick started my National Nutrition Month with a cherry berry smoothie, loaded with Michigan-grown produce, Siggi’s Dairy and Fairlife milk. Check out the recipe below for a way to jump-start your morning.

½ c. frozen cherries

½ c. frozen berries (I used blueberries and raspberries)

½ banana

½ c. plain yogurt (I used plain Siggi’s)

¾  c. milk (I used Fairlife Skim milk, may substitute for water, almond milk, etc.).

smoothie

Happy National Nutrition Month!

KJB

Eating like a Boss

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Hello and welcome to my blog! Before we get into this, I wanted to start by telling you a little bit about myself. My name is Katie J. Boss (KJB), I currently live in Grand Rapids, MI where I am a Registered Dietitian at Spectrum Health, and a proud Michigan State Spartan. I love food and fitness (which goes well with my job) and I work hard to keep that work-life-health balance. In my free time I enjoy cooking, reading, running, traveling, exploring new eateries, spending time with friends, and an occasional round of golf.

Volunteering is another important aspect of my life and a great way to gain different perspectives on the world of nutrition. For the past 4 years I’ve sat on the board of Dietitians of West Michigan (DWM), giving me the opportunity to strengthen my network with fellow dietitians as well as engage and give back to my community. On top of that I work with FitKids360, a healthy lifestyle program built as an intervention for childhood obesity.

I have created this blog in order to share some of my fun, healthful tips on how to keep food and fitness balanced in your daily lifestyle. Life can be filled with stressful thoughts, complicated scenarios, and the occasional cheeseburger; but to the surprise of many, food and health can be made simple. If I can do it, so can you! There’s an overwhelming amount information out there and it seems like each day, there’s a new “superfood” that you just HAVE to eat or groundbreaking study that tells you “throw out all the olive oil in your house and replace it with coconut oil,” even though you HATE coconuts.

Being a nutrition Boss (get it?), it is my goal to bring you back to ground zero, establishing a new approach for you to make nutrition simple, clean, and most of all, fun! On the blog, you can expect to find Boss-approved recipes, my opinion on nutrition trends, ways to navigate a menu when you’re out to eat (you don’t have to order a salad EVERY time just to be healthy – surprise!), and an occasional glimpse at my latest adventure. Please don’t be afraid to ask questions as we go (like “should I be eating Greek yogurt or regular?” or “is it really healthier to eat gluten-free?”) or leave comments/suggestions about things you’d like to know. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Now let’s start eating like a Boss!