Thursday, June 28, 2012

Healthy Portable Snacks: Kim Bap

Makes four servings

I was first introduced to this snack during a play-date at my daughter’s friend’s house. This recipe is a simplified version of traditional Kim bap, a Korean sushi that’s composed of seaweed, “kim,” and rice, “bap.” Traditional Kim bap is filled with many additional ingredients that give it its signature kaleidoscope appearance when it is cut into cross-sections and served. This snack is easy to make and fun to eat because you can pick it up and eat it using your hands.


1 cup steamed white or brown sushi rice
4 sheets toasted, seasoned seaweed
¼ cup cucumbers, julienne
¼ carrots, julienne
¼ asparagus
1 avocado, sliced thinly


1. Halve the seasoned seaweed so that you have two long rectangles
2. Take one sheet of seaweed and lay it flat
3. Place rice on one half of the seaweed, any type of rice can be used (brown, jasmine, etc.), however white sushi rice is stickier, so that the rolls will hold its shape better. Avoid using piping hot rice, as it will make the seaweed very soggy. Just a little warmer than room temperature rice will do.)
4. Place julienned veggies in the center of the rice in one horizontal strip. Feel free to be creative and experiment with different fillings.
5. Roll seaweed starting on the side closest to you, pressing down gently on the log as you roll along.
6. Veggies should be in the center of the roll.
7. Repeat with other sheets of seaweed.
8. Eat and enjoy!


Seaweed and other sea vegetables enhance the flavor, nutritional content, and digestibility of food. Sea vegetables are extremely versatile additions to any kitchen and they offer an array of nutrients, including beta-carotene, iron, and protein. They can be added to soup, salad, and stir-fry and they also make great condiments. Additionally, seaweed has certain detoxifying characteristics that allow it to remove metallic ions from our bodies. Be sure to select a product that doesn’t use preservatives, MSG, or any other additives. Seaweed: Contains fifty-six minerals which are vital for optimum health. Plus kids love it. Roasted seaweed is a great alternative to potato chips when you are craving some thing to munch on. It also has almost no calories, making it a great addition to your healthy snacking routine!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hydrate When It's Hot

Pinkalicious Smoothie

Makes two servings

On those rushed mornings when we need a quick grab and go breakfast, this smoothie is ideal. We simply throw the ingredients in a blender, blend and pour it into our Kleen Kanteen bottles. My daughter named this smoothie Pinkalicious because of its pretty pink color and her obsession with the book series of the same name. But don’t worry, boys will love it, too!

½ cup watermelon
3 frozen strawberries
½ frozen banana
½ cup of coconut water
½ a scoop of protein powder of choice

1. Put all the fruits in a blender.
2. Add protein powder.
3. Add coconut water and ice for desired coldness, if your fruit isn’t frozen.
4. Blend.

Coconut Water
It is nature’s Gatorade, a great source of potassium and other electrolytes. Coconut water actually has more potassium than two bananas. Potassium helps your body by keeping it hydrated, which prevents cramping when doing intense physical activities.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fathers Day Buffalo Burger Sliders with Yogurt Sauce

Makes 8 mini sliders

These fun sliders are perfect for Fathers day. They are loaded with protein, iron, and omega 3 fatty acids. They are a cinch to make, and are delicious to eat. I love experimenting with different proteins—ostrich, tofu, turkey, venison—but buffalo is one of my favorites. These can also be shaped into mini meatloaves, or formed into balls and skewered with toothpicks. Or as a special treat for dad, you can make them into a giant burger with his favorite topping. No matter which way you shape or top these buffalo burgers, you can't go wrong! Get creative and get dad involved in making his signature burger with the kids.

Burger Ingredients:

1 pound ground buffalo (bison)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
¼ cup shredded cucumber
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 whole-wheat rolls, split

1. In a medium-size bowl, combine buffalo, salt and pepper. Gently mix, using clean hands or a spoon.
2. Form mixture into 8 balls. Flatten slightly into patties, about 1inch in thickness.
3. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil.
4. Add burgers and cook 5 to 6 minutes on each side, or until done as you prefer.
5. As the burgers are cooking, mix yogurt, cucumber, dill, mustard and garlic powder in a small bowl.
6. Place burgers on mini rolls, or skewer on a wooden stick, spoon yogurt sauce over each or put in bowl for dipping.

People Actually Eat Buffalo?
If you haven’t tried buffalo, you are in for a treat. It’s an outstanding free-range protein source for kids. It is lower in fat than beef, and has an impressive concentration of iron, and omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain development. Though it has a sweeter flavor (no, it does not taste gamey!), it swaps easily for beef. Use it to make burgers, sliders, meat sauces and taco fillings.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Meatless Monday—Black Bean Burgers

Making the decision to become a vegetarian can have many wonderful health benefits, but you have to be conscious of what you are eating to reap these benefits. Vegetarians often focus on what they aren’t eating rather than what they should eat. While a big part of vegetarianism is not eating meat, it is equally important for vegetarians to eat vegetables and not just processed carbs and meat substitutes.

Many vegetarians also forget to incorporate natural protein into their diet, such as nuts, nut butters, beans, quinoa, and seeds. Getting adequate nutrition can be more or less difficult depending on the specific type of vegetarianism you follow.

For example, vegans have a fairly restrictive diet, as they avoid animal products completely, including eggs and all dairy products. On the other hand, lacto-ovo-vegetarians allow themselves to eat both eggs and dairy products. Fruitarians only eat parts of the plant that don’t harm the plant itself, like seeds, nuts, and fruit. Some people only eat raw foods because they try to get all the nutrients produce can offer, which is sometimes destroyed in the cooking process. Regardless of the diet you choose, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re getting a diet that is nutritionally balanced.

If you don’t think a vegetarian diet is right for you, try and pick one day a week where you follow a vegetarian diet, as a healthy experiment. I personally am not a vegetarian, but my kids and I have “meatless Mondays.” One day a week we eat vegetarian meals. It gives us a chance to experiment with fun new recipes!

When we do choose meat, we try to know the source and make sure it has no additive hormones or antibiotics. Recently, Dr. Mark Hyman said, “ fast food hamburger[s] contains very little meat…we are living in a food nightmare, a sci-fi horror show.”

Whatever diet you choose, try and select organic food products to protect your family from unwanted chemicals and make sure to have a balance of good protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Vegetarian Bean Burger Recipe 

Makes 4 servings 

1 can of black beans

1 egg white

1/4 white onion

Dash of cumin, salt and pepper

1 oz cheddar cheese or veggie cheese of choice

1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1. Put half a can of beans into a blender and blend until it a paste forms.
2. Mash the other half of the can with a fork.
3. Mix the mashed beans and the blended beans together with 1 egg white, 1/4 cup chopped white onion, sprinkle on cumin, salt and pepper then mix in the cheese.
4. Make a small ball and pat down into a burger and sprinkle a thin layer of breadcrumbs to both sides of the burger.
5. Place burgers in a pan on medium heat for about three minutes each side. 
6. Serve with guacamole if desired.

Why eat black beans?
Black beans are a brilliant choice for vegetarians and are great to include in your diet. They are packed with nutrients that boost energy and maintain fullness. Black beans are loaded with protein and fiber, which helps to put of hunger and sustain energy. Magnesium, a mineral found in beans, regulates blood glucose levels, which encourages a healthy metabolism. Make black beans a part of your snack or prepare my vegetarian bean burgers for a meal that’s high in protein and magnesium.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Changing the Way We Snack to Fight Obesity

As a mother of two children, an educator and a health counselor, I live by the expression “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Our children’s health is being greatly compromised by lifestyle, environment, diet and exercise. You would be amazed at the number of mothers who come to me for consultations that are unaware of the damage they are doing to their bodies (and their children’s bodies) when they feed them over-processed, pasteurized and chemical-infused snacks.  They wonder why they are always tired and their kids are cranky and sick. They believe they are feeding there kids well because they are buying products marketed as heathy.  Nothing could be further from the truth. These  processed foods in a box are typically loaded with partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, antibiotics and unpronounceable food additives.

While the media, and now Mayor Bloomberg, are focused on obesity, this is just one of many side effects of  overfeeding and under nourishing of our children.  Kids today have higher levels of asthma, allergies, behavior problems, type 2 diabetes, obesity and even cancer than in years before. Many believe these health issues are connected to the poor quality food products Americans are putting into their bodies every day. You might say it is the by product of convenience. While measures like Bloomberg’s proposed ban on soda may help bring awareness to the obesity issue, it is not enough to make any real impact. Education is imperative. Wellness, cooking and food 101 should be taught in every class room.

Changing our kids diets, and trying to eliminate processed foods may seem time consuming and inconvenient,  but with some proper planning, the transition to a healthy lifestyle can be fun and delicious!

Stay tuned for quick tips on how to make healthy snacking fit into your busy schedule and check out some of my yummy recipes so you and your family can become smart snackers!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Celebrate Summer at a Farmers Market!

Winter is long gone! Now is the perfect time to load up your kids diets with fruits and veggies. With plenty of fruit stands and farmers markets popping up, it is easy to incorporate more delicious fruits and veggies into your child's diet. Whether at a farmers market or simply at a supermarket, there are many delicious selections as the weather gets warmer. Don't let your fruit go to waste, though! Here are some helpful tips on storing popular fruits as the temperatures creep up.

Apples can be kept at room temperature or in a refrigerator for up to seven days, making them very easy to keep around. They are a great on-the-go snack, and can be baked into tons of delicious recipes as well.

Store bananas at room temperature until they are yellow with some brown spots. Some may enjoy bananas still green, while others prefer them to be almost entirely brown. Freezing bananas is also a great choice in the summer, as they make smoothies super creamy.

Grapefruits keep best at room temperature for one week or refrigerated for up to three weeks. While delicious on their own, try broiling them in the oven with brown sugar on top for a fun twist!

Peaches should be eaten within a few days of reaching desired ripeness and can be stored at room temperature or in a refrigerator. Even though peaches can ripen quickly, don't fear! If your peaches are about to go bad, just bake them into a cobbler for a simple and healthy summer dessert.

One of my favorite summer fruits is the strawberry. Since they are only in season for a short period of time, I always try to get them when I can. Strawberries, like most other summer berries, should be refrigerated for one to three days. They are a great in yogurt, smoothies, baked goods or on their own!

Cherries are best to buy when they are bright red or deep purple, firm and glossy. They usually can remain fresh for up to a week, if refrigerated. They are great as a quick snack on their own, or as a topping for breakfast cereal, yogurt or oatmeal!

Oranges are good for eating for up to two weeks if kept refrigerated. They travel well, making them great to bring on a busy day of errands. If you have a juicer, you could make your own OJ or combine it with other fruits for some variety.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summery Peach Salsa

With every new season comes a new crop of produce, and summer provides the best array of flavorful fruits to add to your meals. Summer fruits are great in salads and make for refreshing and healthy desserts.

An important thing to remember when eating your fruits is to incorporate a nice array of colors. Each fruit provides a different variety
of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals your body needs to maintain good health. Below are some of the fruits and veggies that are available locally at the farmers market. Eating seasonally and locally is good for you and the environment. This salsa recipe is a creative way to enjoy peaches as a snack or as a great garnish on any fish, chicken, or veggie burger.

2 tomatoes, chopped
2/3 cup onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup pears, peeled, cored and chopped
1/8 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/8 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/4 cup cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil


In a large saucepan, bring to a boil the tomatoes, onions, peaches, pears, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, agave and vinegar. Reduce heat. Stirring frequently, simmer for an hour, or until volume is reduced by half. Store in the
refrigerator until use.

Fruits to include in your diet this summer
This refreshing, crispy pink fruit is a great low-calorie snack! Perfect for a hot summer day, the thirst-quenching fruit is packed with vitamin C. Try making a watermelon slushy. Puree watermelon in the blender, pour it into Dixie cups with spoons facing down and freeze for a couple of hours. Just a few minutes of work gives you a healthy, kid-friendly dessert!

Strawberries, Blueberries and Raspberries
They are great for smoothies, fruit salads and dessert. Nearly all berries are super foods. You can even use these delicious berries in oat muffins, making for a fast and yummy breakfast!

These golden yellow melons are delicious! Plus, orange and yellow fruits contain high amounts of vitamin C as well as carotenoids and bioflavonoids. Cantaloupe is great for the immune system, and the beta carotenes will improve your eye sight.

Cherries are best to buy when they are bright red or deep purple, firm and glossy. Naturally red foods have been shown to improve heart health and memory function. Foods with vibrant color provide the most nutrition.

Peaches and Nectarines
Make sure to buy your peaches and nectarines when the flesh is firm, as they tend to get ripe fast! Try the peach salsa recipe above over grilled chicken or fish.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bloomberg's Sugary Soda Ban

Last Friday, Mayor Bloomberg proposed a ban of large sodas in New York City with hopes of reducing obesity. Bloomberg’s focus on healthy eating habits is a step in the right direction. However, merely limiting New Yorkers does not teach individuals how to make the right choices by themselves.

Rather than simply telling New Yorkers what and how much they can and cannot drink, Bloomberg should put more emphasis on why products like 32 oz. sodas are unhealthy.

A good example of prevention over restriction is the display of calorie counts in chain restaurants; consumers can still purchase foods, but they must face the shock value of the calorie content. For example, a consumer might not choose a seemingly healthy Starbucks blueberry scone if they knew it contained 460 calories.

If Bloomberg instead used a similar policy with the amount of sugar in beverages, people could see the consequences of their unhealthy choices. If people knew a 32 oz. Coke had 85 grams of sugar, they might think twice about their daily indulgence.

The average consumer cannot visualize just how much sugar is in their carbonated beverages. If places of purchase had posters listing the sugar quantities and provided a visual, consumers could draw better conclusions on their own. If measures like this were taken, corporations would be forced to create more health-conscious products.

While Bloomberg’s efforts might be a positive step and obesity is a serious issue in New York City, limiting consumers’ choices will not solve the problem. Educating consumers from a young age so they understand the benefits of a healthy diet would be a more effective approach to take.

What were your reactions to Bloomberg’s proposal? I’d love to hear your opinions!