Recipe: Brownie Overnight Oats

Dietitian confessions go both ways. While we’re often the ones people ‘confess’ to about eating certain junk foods, we also like to purify our minds and souls by relating our dietary ‘sins’.

You may remember that we have really loved ice cream throughout our lives, even to the point where travels to Italy were less about the architecture and more about finding the perfect gelateria (true story), but we didn’t reveal that we also grew up making (read: eating) brownies. Heaven on a dessert plate would be the two served together – brownie a la mode style. Hell would be making us choose only one to have at our last dessert. Obviously, it would be a real Sophie’s Choice situation.

As we’ve ventured into finding healthier forms of ice cream (done and done), we’ve done the same for brownies (check out our black bean version). But to have brownies for breakfast? Well, that required a little extra dietary finesse…and so we’ve created a decadent, yet healthy, version of eating brownies for the first meal of the day, or even as a snack for when sugar cravings strike. Care to partake? Here’s the recipe:

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients

1 cup organic rolled oats

1 banana, mashed

1 cup non-dairy almond or hazelnut milk (DIY almond milk or the ready-made hazelnut version)

3 tbsp cocoa or cacao powder

2 tbsp chopped nuts (e.g. pecan, walnut, macademia) or nut butter

2 tbsp cacao nibs or 85% chocolate chips, optional

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Stir together rolled oats, cocoa/cacao powder and chia seeds in a mason jar or other container with a lid. Add nuts, nibs/chocolate chips, banana, non-dairy milk, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Seal the lid and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. Place in fridge overnight. The next morning, top with chocolate chips and/or fresh berries if you’d like. Enjoy!

Chocolate & Banana Nice Cream 🍨

My guilty pleasure recently has been Ben & Jerry’s The Tonight Dough” our early morning client mentioned. “I think I need to break up with it though. I love the flavor but I don’t like how it makes me feel afterwards.”

We get it. Sometimes the foods we love taste good on the tongue and then hit us a bit later with a painful stomachache or bloating. Since we are on Team Ice Cream, we have learned to find, and make, better options.

It may be late summer, but it’s never too late for ice cream, in our humble opinion. What’s even better is when the ice cream loves you back – and for clients with lactose-intolerance or dairy protein sensitivity, or those who just want a healthier option, this is a recipe for you.

Oh, and for those of you who remember Smucker’s Magic Shell – you can have your own chocolate syrup that transforms into a crispy topping. Ready, set, let’s make!

Ingredients

1.5 bananas (ripe bananas are sweeter)

1/4 cup cashews

1/2 tbsp of maple syrup (optional)

3/4 ounce of chocolate (a few squares, depending on the brand)

Dash of sea salt

Instructions

Peel the ripe bananas and stick them in a bag and into the freezer. It will take about 12 hours for it to fully freeze, so this will either have to be planned in advance or keep a nice stock of peeled bananas for when the craving strikes. Stick chocolate pieces in a double boiler to melt down. When the bananas are frozen, put them into the blender along with cashews, and maple syrup. Blend until smooth, crystalline consistency. Transfer to a bowl and carefully pour melted chocolate on top. Sprinkle a dash of sea salt and enjoy this decadent dessert!

Halfway to 2020: Finish Strong, Achieve your Goals

halfwaytothenewyear2020-e1562614132796.png

Does it flabbergast anyone else that it’s already early July and we are officially more than halfway through 2019? Remember back in January when we had plans for changing everything: improving our diets, exercising more, and experiencing weight loss? We were determined to arrive on December 31st of 2019 feeling better and looking great. 

Having done this work long enough, we know that it’s typical to feel disappointed or frustrated with your progress and worried about the future. The common question: “will I ever be able to achieve this goal of _______ (i.e. balance, a healthier relationship with food, better digestion/skin/energy)?” We beat ourselves up with the thought: “what’s wrong with me that I can’t seem to start and STICK WITH an exercise regimen/ put down the pint of ice cream when I’m emotionally out-of-sorts/ follow an eating plan that would benefit my health?”

You may find yourself wondering:

  • do I start now or wait until summer is over?
  • why haven’t I been able to make the changes I set out for myself?
  • should I follow the diet my neighbor/best friend/favorite celebrity is doing?
  • is this how I’m supposed to feel at my age? Is it possible to have more energy and be at a comfortable weight?
  • how do I actually create better balance in my life and see results?

It can feel like there are 900 skills you need in order to reach your goals. Some include meal-planning, combating emotional eating & self-sabotage, changing your mindset, monitoring your progress, establishing effective systems and routines, and engaging your mind and body in making the transition so that your process produces the transformation you desire. So how do you know where to start or what’s next?

On the way to 2020, take a minute to reflect on a few things:

  • how badly do I want to see my goal achieved?
  • do I have the time and resources to make it happen?
  • with all these articles/books/courses on different diets, how do I know what is best for me and my body? Is there a better way?

Be honest with yourself. If you’re going through a tumultuous divorce, maybe now is not the time to focus your attention on lowering your cholesterol. If the kids are keeping you on the go during summer vacation, fall might be a better time to check in and see what reasonable changes you can make during the last quarter of the year. Or maybe the 10 extra pounds on your body are killing your confidence and making your clothes uncomfortable to wear; you know it’s time to make a change.

You still have 175 days left of 2019. Are you ready to achieve your desired results and finish strong? It all starts with a chance to connect with your personal nutritionist and lifestyle coach during a complimentary 20-minute discovery call. Schedule it this week and uncover your skill gap so that you can make the BEST choice for beginning your sustainable lifestyle transformation!

Serving vs. Portion Size

20180210_170253

Dark chocolate coconut ice cream with banana chips, gluten-free mini cookies, and dark chocolate pieces. Truly decadent.

Do you know how much you’re really eating? It can be difficult to tell if our portion sizes are right for our bodies’ nutritional needs.

Portion sizes have grown quite drastically in recent decades and, with it, people’s waistlines and confusion about how much they are eating versus what they should. Let’s get back to the basics. Even with healthy food, eating too much can add inches to our waistlines and counteract progress to our goals.

What is a serving size and how do I find it?

The serving size is the amount of food listed on a product’s nutrition facts label, along with the nutritional values (calories, protein, fiber, sugar, carbohydrates, etc) associated with that amount of food. So let’s say you are drinking a 20oz soda and the serving size is 8oz; there are 2.5 servings in the bottle. If you drink that whole bottle, you’ll need to multiply 2.5 with all of the calories, sugar, carbohydrates and more listed in the nutrition facts label. It’s sobering.

For foods without a nutrition facts label, how will you know what a serving size is? Luckily WebMD has a handy-dandy handout with some common household items as a reference point for servings of various fruits, vegetables, grains, and more.

Okay, but how many servings of each food should I eat?

Here’s a guide from the American Heart Association with suggested serving sizes from each food group to get started. Remember, your needs and chosen food groups may be different from what is listed. It’s a guide; reach out to your nutrition professional to set up an individualized plan (especially if there are certain food groups you’re avoiding due to food allergies or sensitivities or dietary preferences, such as being gluten-free or vegetarian/vegan).

Whaaaa? It’s says here my ice cream servings is 1/2 cup. That’s totally too small!

First, as fellow ice cream lovers, we agree with you. This part of your exploration may shock you. Check out serving sizes for cheese, nuts, and oils for further surprises.

What’s the difference between serving and portion sizes then?

A portion size is the amount of food we choose to eat at one time and this means we can control our portion sizes. We can choose to eat less than a serving of food or multiples of it.

So as discussed before, the serving size of ice cream is 1/2 cup; however, the portion size can vary…it is the amount of food you choose to eat in one sitting. So, for ice cream, you/me/we may choose to eat closer to 1 cup of this decadent dessert. In this case we’ve all screamed for more ice cream and promptly devoured 1 portion but 2 servings total.

What I do now?

How far do you want to take this? It can be helpful to use measuring cups to actually see what 1/2 cup of ice cream or 2 Tbsp of nuts looks like. Counting out a serving size of pretzels or chips can be eye-opening as well.

You can also stick with a guideline of 1/2 your plate being vegetables, 1/4 of it being protein, and 1/4 of it being starch (try for whole grains or healthier starchy vegetable such as sweet potato versus macaroni and cheese or pasta).

Consider tracking your serving sizes and portion sizes for a few days; you can write the food you eat and the amount down in a food journal or use an app such as MyFitnessPal. Increased awareness may jump-start a few small changes in how much you eat and can help with weight loss.

 

 

 

Halo Top Ice Cream: Health Halo?

obw halo top

We may not actually scream for ice cream (we’re all adults here), but, to be honest, there’s usually a squeal of delight involved.

While visiting the beautiful land of Italy, we neither confirm nor deny placing an equal importance on finding the very best gelateria as visiting all the historic landmarks. We have priorities though and are happy to say we found the top-source gelato in Rome.

This is really to say that we love ice cream. Love it. From putting it in coffee at breakfast to having it as a meal (yes, you read that correctly), it’s pretty much a perfect treat for whenever.

However, anyone who has indulged on a regular basis knows that nothing seems to add on some poundage faster than this creamy delight. So, when our very favorite non-dairy ice cream was discontinued from Giant Eagle Market District, there was a mix of disappointment and relief. Then, curiously, Halo Top emerged into and around the space instead. Eventually we took the mint chip version home and found it to be very light (more air incorporated into the product) and, frankly, delicious.

So what’s in it? Here’s ‘the scoop’ on the mint chip flavor ingredients:

Milk and cream, eggs, erythritol, prebiotic fiber, milk protein concentrate, chocolate chips (sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, butter, fat reduced cocoa powder, soy lecithin), organic cane sugar, vegetable glycerin, sea salt, natural flavors, organic carob gum, organic guar gum, organic stevia.

How do they keep the calories low? Part of the reason why they can do this is because they use three different sweeteners: erythritol (a sugar alcohol), organic cane sugar (really just a fancy way of saying white sugar), and organic stevia. The erythritol contains less than .5 calorie per gram, sugar has 4 calories per gram, and stevia is a no-calorie sweetener which is a couple hundred of times sweeter than sugar.  The other reason is that the Halo Top ice cream is physically lighter (a 1/2 cup serving weighs in at 64 grams vs. about 95 grams for other ice creams). With more air incorporated, you’ll have less calories and ice cream in general.

The calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar content for Halo Top are less than traditional ice cream, while providing fiber and protein. This does not replace vegetables, fruits, healthy protein and fat sources in the diet, but, as far as ice cream goes, it’s a pretty decent choice.

That being said, this product still has dairy (so if you have issues with milk products, beware) and, for some people and in generally higher amounts, the sugar alcohol can cause digestive upset, headaches, gas, and diarrhea.

There is likely to be a bit of a health halo effect with this product – with less calories, it can be very easy to over-consume. Remember to exercise portion control and enjoy it mindfully.

Emotional Ice Cream

sad-strawberry-ice-cream

It starts at a young age with associations we can’t remember making. But by this point in our short lives, we have engineered quite a few if-then connections.

If I throw my food on the floor, then mommy will be upset.

If I behave while at preschool today, the teacher will give me a sticker.

Perhaps there was a time where you fell, scraped your knee and began to cry because of the pain and shock. Maybe an adult offered you a lollipop to help cheer you up. Bam! Neural pathway made: “okay, so when I feel hurt, eating sweets is an acceptable solution”

Fast-forward decades years later and it’s still going on. A difficult conversation with your boss or spouse become an excuse, albeit mostly unconscious, to indulge in some ice cream. A night out drinking with friends is a ‘reward’ for a hellish, stressful week. And it’s OKAY to treat ourselves, but there’s a distinct mindlessness involved in emotional eating. Very few people think to themselves, “boy do these feelings hurt, perhaps I’ll eat enough chocolate chip cookies to squash them down.” And yet that unconscious belief can be at play, creating patterns that are deeply ingrained.

What to do?

The first step is awareness.

Perhaps the next time you find yourself reaching in the freezer for ice cream, ask yourself why you think you’re doing it. Perhaps you’ll reflect upon your day and remember that your boss assigned a short deadline for your next project, you’re completely overwhelmed by responsibilities, or that your mother-in-law criticized your parenting. Ice cream can seem like a balm for these ‘ouch’ moments, but there is more shame than comfort at the bottom of a pint of rocky road. Even if you find the answer to your question, you may not be able to change the behavior just yet. That’s okay. It’s something we can work on together; schedule your complimentary 20-minutes Discovery Call to get started.

Jeni’s Ice Cream & Learn Listeria Symptoms

jenis

photo source: gobexley.com

A little over a week ago, a nationwide recall of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream started after a random sampling by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture tested positive for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes. As part of the recall, Jeni’s company is tossing 265 tons of ice cream and plans to not reopen any scoop shops or kitchens until the contamination issue has been resolved. Recent news reports that hundreds of swab samples were taken of Jeni’s production kitchen – including swabs of processing equipment, kitchen utensils, floor mats and drain pipes. Early indications from these tests have indicated the presence of Listeria monocytogenes and now a full eradication plan is in place with extensive cleaning of the production facility having started on April 26th. Jeni’s company plans to re-swab the facility in the near future and has hired expert help to implement new post-production testing procedures and to ensure this problem doesn’t occur again. Thankfully, as of yet,  there haven’t been any reports of customer illness.

If you are guilty of having enjoyed a delightful trio or pint from Jeni’s within the past month, here’s some useful information you should know about Listeria and symptoms of infection.

Where it is Found:
Listeria is commonly found in sewage, soil, birds and animals. The bacteria can be found in certain types of food such as raw meat, raw vegetables, and some processed foods. It has also been found in products such as soft cheeses, milk, coleslaw, paté and hot dogs.

Examples of High-risk Foods:

  • Unpasteurized milk or foods made with such milk
  • Soft Cheeses (i.e. brie, ricotta, feta, and camembert)
  • Pre-prepared salads (i.e. cole slaw and fruit salad)
  • Soft-serve ice cream
  • Deli meat
  • Raw seafood and ready-to-eat seafood such as smoked fish

Signs and Symptoms: Symptoms of Listeria can take anywhere from 3 to 70 days to appear after eating the contaminated food. Specific symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness

Untreated, these symptoms can develop into more severe conditions such as meningitis (brain infection) and septicemia (blood poisoning).

Treatment:
Listeria is usually treated with antibiotics. Patient stool is monitored because infected individuals can potentially excrete the bacteria for several months.

To prevent Listeria in your own home, be sure to handle all ‘at-risk foods’ with caution. Be sure to practice safe food-handling methods, and safe food-preparation methods.