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Easy Vegetable Lasagna Recipe

Makes 8 Servings

YOU WILL NEED

14 lasagna noodles (2 extra for filling in holes)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup (140 grams) chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic, (3 cloves)

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste

2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

One (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 1/2-inch pieces, 1 heaping cup

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

Generous handful fresh basil leaves, chopped

One (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese or cottage cheese

2 large eggs

2 ounces (60 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1 cup

8 ounces (230 grams) low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

COOK NOODLES

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil then cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. (We add a couple teaspoons of olive oil to the water so the noodles do not stick together). Drain then lay flat on a sheet of aluminum foil.

MAKE VEGETABLE SAUCE

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet with sides over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, zucchini, squash, and a pinch of salt then cook, stirring occasionally until softened but still with some crunch, another 5 to 8 minutes.

Stir in the roasted red peppers and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook until the liquid has thickened and reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the basil and season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

MAKE CHEESE FILLING

While the sauce cooks, stir the ricotta cheese, eggs, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl until blended.

ASSEMBLE LASAGNA

Spoon just enough vegetable mixture into the baking dish to lightly cover the bottom (about 1 cup). Arrange four noodles lengthwise and side by side to cover the bottom. (If the noodles are short on one end, you may need to cut an extra noodle and place into dish to cover where the other noodles have not).

Spread about half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with a third of the Parmesan cheese and a third of the mozzarella cheese. Top with a third of the vegetable mixture.

Add another layer of four noodles then repeat with remaining cheese and vegetables. Finish with a final layer of noodles, vegetables, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.

Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes, uncover then bake 15 minutes until cheese is crusty around the edges. To make the cheese golden brown on top, slide under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

KM

 

*Thank you for the recipe and picture https://www.inspiredtaste.net/22401/fresh-vegetable-lasagna-recipe/*

 

How Does Your Bar Add Up?

As a Dietitian, I always recommend real food over meal replacements, shakes or bars. In a perfect world, we would sit down and eat a balanced meal three times a day. However, if you are in a time crunch, having a nutrition bar is better than skipping a meal. So that leads us to the big question – “how do I choose the right bar?”  Choosing the right bar for you can be very challenging. Several bars on the shelves are full of sugar with similar nutrition content as a candy bar. Here are a few guidelines and things to look for when choosing a nutrition bar:

 

  • Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates are a great source of sustainable energy, so look for bars that have fiber content. Also, look for bars that contain natural sources of sugar, like fruit. Try to limit added sugars.

Rule of thumb: 2 gm or more of fiber and 8-10 gm or less of total sugar content

 

  • Protein: Protein is needed to help you feel full and keep you feeling full between meals, so this is an important one. Your body can only absorb a certain amount of protein in one sitting, so getting a bar with 30-40 gm protein is not helpful.

Rule of thumb: 8-20 gm protein content

 

  • Fat: Look for a bar that contains healthy sources of fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and avoid bars high in saturated or trans fats.

Rule of thumb: less than 3 gm saturated fat content

 

Here is a list of bars that meet the guidelines above:

  • Kashi GOLEAN Plant Powered Bars: Salted Dark Chocolate and Nut; Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • KIND Breakfast Protein Bars: Dark Chocolate Cocoa; Almond Bar; Maple Cinnamon; Peanut Butter Banana Dark Chocolate
  • KIND Sweet and Spicy Bars: Roasted Jalapeno; Thai Sweet Chili; Sweet Cayenne BBQ
  • CLIF Whey Protein Bars: Mint Chocolate Almond Flavor
  • CLIF Mojo Bars: Honey Srirocka
  •  CLIF Luna Bars: Lemonzest; Chocolate Peppermint Stick; Sea Salt Caramel; Nutz Over Chocolate; White Chocolate Macadamia; S’mores; Chocolate Cupcake
  • POWER Bar Plant Protein Bars: Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt
  • EPIC Bars: Chicken Sesame BBQ; Turkey Almond Cranberry
  • Nature Valley Protein Chewy Bar: Honey Peanut Almond
  • Think Thin Protein + Fiber Bars: Pumpkin Spice
  • KIZE Bars: Cocoa; Peanut Butter; Vanilla Almond; Cinnamon Roll; Pumpkin Seed; Peanut Butter Crunch with Pumpkin Seeds

 

Note: The above recommendations are for healthy adults. If you have a chronic disease, please talk to your Dietitian to see if there are any other specific recommendations for you to look at. The bars pictured were found at Crest Foods and Target.

 

LN

Winter Blues

 

It’s easy to be a little more relaxed with your diet and exercise habits during the winter. Even I have noticed lately that I have been lazier because it’s dark when I get home from work or I just don’t want to get all bundled up to venture out into the cold. It seems to be easier to maintain the healthy lifestyle during the summer months with all the fun recipes for fruits and vegetables that are in season, and the outside activities that keep us moving all day long. To keep you on track and ready for Spring, here are some tips on how to stay motivated through this Winter season.

  • Accept that it is COLD and gear up! Go pick up a couple pieces of extra warm clothing (hats, socks, gloves, coats) to make it easier to head outside for a trip to the gym or grocery store.
  • Wear bright colors. (If you’re into that) Wearing a bright coat or hat could help you feel happier and more upbeat. I tend to wear a lot of black and grey during the winter but mixing in a bright green or purple would be great for creating a fun and colorful mood for the day.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. The people around you influence your mood and behavior, especially during the dark winter months.
  • Cook something new. Try out a new recipe with a food you have never tried before, trying new things can be fun and rewarding. The whole point is to make a wholesome meal for yourself and rekindle the flame for making yummy home cooked meals. Some “winter mood” foods include: sweet potatoes, eggplant, and squash.

Here is a Winter Squash Soup recipe!

Prep time: 15 minutes / Cook time: 45 minutes / Servings: 4 / Calories: 346 kcal

Ingredients:

2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
2.5 pounds winter squash peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon honey
5 cups chicken stock
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parsley (Fresh) chopped to serve (optional)

 

Directions:

-Melt the butter and oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and celery, and gently cook until really soft – about 15 mins.

-Add the squash and cook, stirring for 5 mins.

-Add the honey and chicken stock, bring to a simmer and cook until the squash is tender.

-Remove from heat and using a hand blender, blitz until smooth (adding a bit more stock or water if the soup is too thick).

-Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat before serving, sprinkle with chopped parsley.

 

Recipe Notes

For the winter squash – you can buy whole squash and prepare them yourself or buy bags of ready to use.

 

Sourced used for tips and recipe:

https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/ways-fight-off-winter-blues/

https://www.errenskitchen.com/winter-squash-soup/

 

 

KM

Holiday Health Tips

Here are a few tips to stay healthy while still enjoying holidays!

  1. Bring your own food: Contribute a healthy dish to ensure there is something you can indulge in and consider eating the healthier options first.
  2. Don’t go hungry to the mall: never go to the mall on an empty stomach to prevent having grab-and-go food from the food court.
  3. Keep a food log: maintaining a food diary can help you stay committed to your health goals.
  4. Eat before going to a party: having a healthy snack before heading to a festive party can help curb appetite and lessen your cravings.
  5. Keep healthy snacks at the office: stash healthy foods in your desk at work so you’re not tempted by the office goodies piling up over the holidays.
  6. Manage portion size: use smaller plates and serving utensils, and pour drinks into tall, skinny glasses.
  7. Control your environment: eat with a small group when you can, sit next to fellow health-aware eaters, and keep visual evidence around of what you have already consumed.
  8. Keep up the exercise: no time for your longer workouts? Break them up into 10-15 minute spurts throughout the day.
  9. Choose your indulgences: pick items that are truly special and unique to the season, anything is OK in moderation.

We hope everyone has the BEST holiday season and we cannot wait to see you next year!

Tips from realsimple.com*

Making Healthier Choices @ Fast Food Chains & Restaurants

We all have those moments when we don’t feel like cooking, we want to go out to eat with family/friends, or we are on-the-go so we end up at a fast food chain or restaurant. It happens to everyone! I am here to give you a few easy pointers on how to eat-out in a healthier way. I have also attached a list of some examples of healthier options at a few of the more common restaurants. When making this list I looked for keywords like “grilled” and “fresh”, while also looking for the smallest portion size the restaurant has to offer. If you haven’t noticed… Restaurants tend to give us WAY more food than we actually need. It is always okay to order a half portion, or if that is not an option you can order the full portion with a to-go box, so you can go ahead and put away half for later. Remember… eating until you are not hungry anymore INSTEAD OF eating until you are full is the ideal mindset to have!

 

Keep in mind…

  • You don’t have to have the fries that come with your entrée, ask to see their other options such as steamed veggies, or a side salad.
  • Don’t rush through your meals. This helps give your body time to signal to you that you are no longer hungry.
  • Rethink your drinks! Water is always the best option, and it won’t add any extra calories to your meal.

 

Here are a few of the lower calorie options on the Menu’s at McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Outback Steakhouse, and On the Border Mexican Grill:

McDonalds

  • Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait: Calories 150, Total Fat 2g, Total Carbs 30g (10% DV), Protein 4g
  • Egg White Delight: Calories 280, Total Fat 10g, Total Carbs 29g, Protein 18g
  • Side of Apples: Calories 15, Total Fat 0g, Total Carbs 4g, Protein 0g
  • Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad: Calories 350, Total Fat 11g, Total Carbs, 27g, Protein 37g
  • Regular Hamburger: Calories 250, Total Fat 8g, Total Carbs 31g, Protein 13g
  • Side Salad: Calories 15, Total Fat 0g, Total Carbs 3g, Protein 1g

Taco Bell

  • Breakfast Soft Taco: Calories 230, Total Fat 14g, Total Carbs 15g, Protein 12g
  • Sausage Flatbread Quesadilla: Calories 330, Total Fat 18g, Total Carbs 27g, Protein 14g
  • Hash brown: Calories 160, Total Fat 12g, Total Carbs 13g, Protein 1g
  • Soft Taco: Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Total Carbs 18g, Protein 9g
  • Chipotle Chicken Loaded Griller: Calories 340, Total Fat 16g, Total Carbs 36g, Protein 14g
  • Beefy Mini Quesadilla: Calories 210, Total Fat 11g, Total Carbs 17g, Protein 9g

 

Outback Steakhouse

  • Side salad with Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing: Calories 80, Total Fat 5g, Total Carbs 8g, Protein 0g
  • Cup of Chicken Tortilla Soup: Calories 170, Total Fat 9g, Total Carbs 13g, Protein 1g
  • Center-Cut Sirloin (6oz): Calories 60, Total Fat 7g, Total Carbs 0g, Protein 38g
  • Grilled Asparagus: Calories 60, Total Fat 4g, Total Carbs 4g, Protein 2g
  • Fresh Mixed Veggies: Calories 160, Total Fat 10g, Total Carbs 17g, Protein 4g
  • Grilled Chicken on the Barbie (Half Order-4oz): Calories 180, Total Fat5g, Total Carbs 8g, Protein 27.5g

 

On the Border

  • Chicken Enchilada w/ Sour Cream Sauce: Calories 210, Total Fat 12g, Total Carbs 15g, Protein 14g
  • Ground Beef Tostada: Calories 180, Total Fat5g, Total Carbs 14g, Protein 12g
  • Grilled Chicken Fajita Taco: Calories 150, Total Fat 4g, Total Carbs 17g, Protein 12g
  • Side of Grilled Vegetables: Calories 50, Total Fat 0g, Total Carbs 10g, Protein 2g
  • Side of Cilantro Lime Rice: Calories 190, Total Fat5g, Total Carbs 38g, Protein 4g
  • Chicken Tortilla Soup (cup): Calories 300, Total Fat 14g, Total Carbs 26g, Protein 18g

*This list is intended to be a visual aide of how to choose healthier options when you find yourself eating out.

KM

It Takes Two to Mango

Did you know that more fresh mangoes are eaten around the world every day than any other fruit? They come in numerous sizes, shapes and colors (yellow, orange, red, and green). In many countries, giving someone a basket of mangoes is considered a gesture of friendship 🙂

Mangoes have a wide range of health benefits due to having high amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C. Just 1 cup of mango contains 35% of your daily value for vitamin A and 100% of your vitamin C. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that fights inflammation, and it also aids in brain function, skin, heart, kidney, and lung health. Vitamin C helps protect against cardiovascular disease, immune system deficiencies, eye disease, and even helps the skin. With only 100 calories in 1 cup of mango this can be a great snack and ingredient to add to your fun summer dishes.

If you are wondering how you can incorporate mangoes into your daily life, here are some fun ideas to try before the summer ends! (find recipes at the websites listed in parenthesis)

  • Mango Sorbet (Brit + Co)
  • Grilled Mango with Jalapeño (Food Network)
  • BBQ Chicken and Mango Quesadillas (Jo Cooks)
  • Mango Chia Popsicles (Jelly Toast)
  • Honey Mango Dipping Sauce (The Cozy Apron)
  • Green Mango Salad (Food for My Family)
  • Mango Salsa (Cookie and Kate)

Mangoes are so nutrient dense, they have multiple health benefits. They aid in healthy immune function, normalizing blood pressure, good vision and strong bones. Mangoes also help protect against lung, mouth, colon, breast and prostate cancers. So, next time you’re in the produce isle pick up a few mangoes and try a new recipe!

KM