Matcha Banana Bread

I am very excited to introduce a fellow blogger and Registered Dietitian today! She created this amazing recipe with matcha green tea. It’s perfect for dessert while still providing the benefits you want. Check out my previous post about blogger trends to learn more about matcha. I’m thinking I’m going to serve this with a side of vanilla ice cream…

Tawnie Kroll is a California based food blogger and healthy recipe developer. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a lover of cooking and baking! Follow her blog for recipes, healthy living tips and practical scientific evidenced based advice to help you improve you health and well being.


Matcha Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp matcha
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray nonstick cooking spray into loaf pan. In a mixer/Kitchen Aid, mix together the first 5 ingredients until combined. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Do not over mix. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour. Test with a tooth pick to check doneness of bread. Enjoy!

Number of servings: 8 | Serving size: 1/2 inch slice
Calories: 319, total fat: 13 g, total carbohydrates: 49 g, dietary fiber: 4 g, sugars: 25 g, protein: 6 g

What is your favorite creative way to use matcha? Tell me below!

Raquel

What’s Up With Sweeteners?

There can be a lot of confusion about the various sweeteners on the market today. Every coffee shop you go to has multiple packets to choose from and your pantry may contain even more options. My pantry has pure maple syrup, agave, honey and stevia. Plus I have some whipped honey from Texas that I can’t get enough of!


What’s up with sweeteners?

  • Agave nectar – Agave nectar comes from the same agave plant that tequila comes from (!!). It doesn’t create a night like tequila does, but it is a nice alternative to honey. Agave is not a zero calorie sweetener and it should be treated as a high sugar product. It does have a nice mild flavor that works well with certain recipes.
  • Artificial sweeteners (Splenda, Equal, Sweetnlow) – Artificial sweeteners may be safe in small quantities. Many people however use multiple packets every day in their coffee and they can be found in many diet products. While they are zero calorie options there have been many controversial reports about artificial sweeteners since they were first created. Using too many artificial sweeteners can retrain your taste buds to crave sweeter foods – this could hinder your progress towards a healthier diet. My advice: stay away from these options.
  • Honey – Honey comes from those busy honey bees. It is not a zero calorie sweetener and I think you know how to use it! Local honey can actually provide relief from allergies because pollen picked up from local plants is present in the honey. Honey in general can help treat coughs, boost energy and boost your immune system.
  • Maple syrup – Pure maple syrup comes from the sap of maple trees. If you’re going to eat maple syrup make sure it’s 100% pure maple syrup! None of that fake stuff that’s packed with even more sugar and artificial ingredients. Pure maple syrup contains zinc, manganese and a few other nutrients. It is not a zero calorie sweetener.
  • Monk fruit – Monk fruit extract is a low calorie sweetener that comes from real fruit. Monk fruit is a small melon that has fruit juice twenty times sweeter than other fruit juice. This sweetener is available in granulated form and is a good alternative to artificial sweeteners. I recently noticed monk fruit extract mixed with stevia at Starbucks!
  • Stevia – Stevia leaf extract comes from the stevia plant. Liquid stevia is your best bet to get the pure stevia leaf extract. Most packaged products are mixed with erythritol, a sugar alcohol. This is a zero calorie sweetener and it is what I prefer to use in my coffee.
  • Turbinado sugar – Turbinado sugar, otherwise known as sugar in the raw, comes from pure cane sugar. It looks like brown sugar and don’t be fooled by the fancy name – it is regular sugar! Use it if you’re looking for the real thing.

Raquel

Wild Blueberry Jam Crostini

Wild blueberries are different than regular cultivated berries. They have a much more intense flavor that is tart and sweet. These flavors are perfect for this holiday appetizer recipe! Wild blueberries have twice the antioxidant capacity than cultivated berries. Plus they are packed with manganese and fiber and have less sugar than cultivated berries. Frozen wild blueberries are incredibly easy to use and are great in many baking recipes or used to top yogurt, pancakes, waffles, etc. Look for wild blueberries at your favorite grocery store there are many brands including store brand wild blueberries.

*Sponsored post


Wild Blueberry Jam Crostini

Ingredientsblueberry-crostini-5

  • 10 oz frozen wild blueberries
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Whole wheat baguette
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 2 tbsp honey

Directions

In a small saucepan, combine frozen wild blueberries, juice of half a lemon and thyme leaves from 2 sprigs. Cook for 10-15 minutes until mixture reduces and thickens while stirring on occasion. Meanwhile, cut baguette on a diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Toast the slices. Spread each slice with goat cheese and drizzle with honey. Top each slice with wild blueberry jam and sprinkle with some fresh thyme.

Number of servings: 6 servings | Serving size: 2 crostini
Calories: 120, total fat: 4 g, total carbohydrates: 17 g, dietary fiber: 2 g, sugars: 10 g, protein: 4 g

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How do you like to use wild blueberries? Tell me below!

Raquel

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Wild Blueberries and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Ditch These Five Foods

My philosophy on food is everything in moderation and eating whole foods as much as possible. However, there are definitely a few foods that you should skip! Making small changes to your diet will help you stay on track and reach your goals. These five foods can be swaped for better choices or you can ditch them altogether.

Ditch These Five Foods

  1. White bread – This is the easiest food to avoid. Whole wheat bread has much more fiber and is very easy to find. Pick one with 100% whole wheat as the first ingredient. Fiber helps to control blood sugars and lower cholesterol.
  2. Sugary cereal, granola and granola bars – Many brands are packed with sugar, but use great marketing to get you to buy it anyways. Look for cereals, granola and granola bars that have less than 10 grams of sugar per serving. If those brands also have protein and extra fiber then you’re set for a healthier option for breakfast or a snack.
  3. Soda and diet soda – I probably don’t have to tell you twice, but there is absolutely NO nutritional value in soda. It is simply pure sugar or packed with sugar substitutes. If you crave the carbonation grab a sparkling water instead. If you’re trying to lose weight cutting out soda should be your first step.
  4. Processed meats – This includes lunch meats, hot dogs, bacon, etc. Most processed meats are loaded with sodium and nitrates and nitrites which have been linked to cancer. Aim for cooking fresh meats like chicken, turkey, fish, beef and pork.
  5. Yogurt with fruit on the bottom – I love eating Greek and Icelandic yogurt almost daily. Yogurt can be a nutritious snack if you pick the right one. Yogurt with fruit on the bottom or with sugary toppings can have up to 30 grams of sugar! Make sure you always read the nutrition facts label.

Raquel

Drink Smarter: Beverages 101

That one soda you drink everyday and that extra latte each afternoon adds up. Sugary beverages are one of the biggest reasons people have trouble losing weight, keeping the weight off or simply living a healthier lifestyle. Each sugary beverage you have throughout your day adds hundreds of calories and loads of extra sugar. Decreasing your intake of sugary beverages will make you feel so much better. Let’s talk about how you can do that.

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What is a sugary beverage? A sugary beverage includes sugar sweetened beverages and beverages that are naturally sugary such as juice. Soda, sweet teas, lemonade, sports drinks, juices, lattes and other sweet coffees, etc.

How much sugar is recommended? To put it in perspective, one serving of soda has almost 40 grams of sugar while the recommended sugar intake per day is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women. A regular pumpkin spice latte has 50 grams of sugar. That’s twice the amount recommended for women per day. One gram of sugar is equivalent to 4 calories. That means that pumpkin spice latte has 200 calories just from sugar! Don’t waste your calories on sugar sweetened beverages!

How do you cut back on sugary beverages? There are many ways to cut back on your favorite sugary beverages. If you crave that bubbly carbonation from soda try sparkling water instead such as La Criox or Dasani (there are multiple other brands as well). If you crave the sugary flavors from teas and lemonades try Crystal Light or Mio which are sugar free flavor enhancers made with artificial sweeteners. If you crave a specialty coffee each morning try choosing healthier ingredients such as skim or almond milk and use less syrup or use an artificial sweetener instead. Always skip the whipped cream. Make it your goal to replace one sugary beverage with a glass of water each day.

Flavor your water: Try different natural combinations to add flavor to your water. Strawberries and basil, oranges and rosemary, pineapple and mint and blueberries and sage are all great combos. Some other flavors to play with include other fruits, other herbs and spices and cucumbers!

P.S. Some options that won’t overload you with sugar include water (duh), green tea and other teas, black coffee, kombucha and  low sugar smoothies and juices.

Find out how much water you need per day here.

Raquel

Breakfast Habits to Keep

Breakfast should start your day off on the right foot. Making good choices at breakfast can help sustain your healthy lifestyle and keep you on the right track. Plus, don’t forget about your daily coffee. You breakfast and totally make or break your day! My breakfast habits are hard to break and I hope you can make these your habits too. Try my Quinoa Breakfast Oats, Easy Egg Bake or check out my other breakfast recips for new breakfast ideas!

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5 Breakfast Habits to Keep

  1. Actually eat breakfast. Don’t skip the opportunity to kickstart your metabolism and add all sorts of nutrients to your day! Set some time aside to make a quick breakfast or have some options ready to go.
  2. Make breakfast at home. Props to your for eating breakfast. Now the challenge is making sure to make it yourself! Grabbing breakfast out on the go can pack in extra sugar, too much fat and not enough nutrients.
  3. Add extra protein. Don’t settle for boring cereal or a granola bar. Add some eggs, milk, breakfast meat or protein packed grains to keep you feeling full until lunch. Even protein powder or yogurt in a smoothie will give you an extra boost.
  4. Incorporate fruits and veggies. A side of fruit or veggies can sometimes be hard to add at breakfast, but get creative! You want all the extra fiber they provide. Berries, bananas, citrus fruit and tropical fruit are good with waffles, pancakes and yogurt. Fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, etc. are great with eggs. Plus avocado on the side adds healthy fats.
  5. Make your coffee smart. Don’t overload your coffee with sugar and fat. Lattes, flavored coffees and mixed coffee drinks will pack on the calories. Aim for low fat milk or milk alternative and a sugar substitute or limited sugar for a healthier option.

Raquel

Charleston Recap

I took a break from blogging last week while on a much needed vacation. I spent the week at the beach in South Carolina with my family. One day Jon and I decided to visit Charleston and it was such a fun, spontaneous decision! Charleston was so beautiful and full of historic charm.


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Morning. After making the two hour drive from Murrell’s Inlet to Charleston we made our way to the big red barn to do a carriage tour around the city. Palmetto Carriage Works was accomodating and comfortable. We got to see part of the historic city while learning about the history of the houses and area. It was seriously beautiful! I was obsessed with all of the old houses and streets. It’s such a charming place. Then we wandered through Charleston City Market and picked up a few fun things.

Afternoon. For lunch we stopped at 167 Raw for the highly recommended lobster roll. It did not disappoint! It was the best lobster roll I’ve ever had. With a glass of rose on the side I was satisfied. We then grabbed some gelato at Belgian Gelato on our walk to the Charleston waterfront. I went with coconut which has become my go to flavor for just about everything. Obviously, we stopped by the pineapple fountain, took some pictures and cooled our feet off in the shallow water. Afterwards, we wandered over past Rainbow Row (!!) and made our way to the Calhoun Mansion. We took a tour through the beautiful old mansion and also learned that is was featured in The Notebook as Allie’s summer house. By this point I was ready to eat again.

Evening. Finally we decided to eat dinner at Magnolia’s. Best decision ever. We ordered the Housemade Pimiento Cheese as an appetizer because why not. I had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast with cracked pepper biscuit, mac & cheese, collard greens, creamed corn and sausage-herb gravy. YES. Jon ordered the Bourbon Fried Catfish with Creole grits, andouille sausage, shrimp & butter bean succotach and Tabasco remoulade. Plus a couple cocktails on the side and we were completely stuffed. I couldn’t leave Charleston without stopping to pick up some cupcakes for later from Sugar Bakeshop. The Lemon Curd cupcake was delish!

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Have you ever been to Charleston? Tell me below!

Raquel

Three Things

TT - Kind Snacks

1. Kind Snacks becomes the first national snack brand to publish added sugar content on all its snacks! What an awesome achievement! Soon (in two years) added sugar will be mandatory on the nutrition facts label so this is a great move. All of their products will have between half a teaspoon to two and a half teaspoons of added sugar per serving. I really am excited about added sugar coming to the nutrition facts label and Kind being the first to add it makes me like them even more!

2. How about a prescription for vegetables? A nutrition prescription could be fruits and vegetables five to nine times per day and people would be able to take it to the farmers market or grocery store. Nutrition is essential for preventing chronic diseases. Many doctors don’t focus on prevention, however this may be changing soon! I would love to see people taking their diets more seriously with the encouragement of their physicians. What do you think?

3. I saw an article this week that I had to share because of how ridiculous it is. “10 Vegetables That Aren’t Actually Good For You.” Excuse me, what? All vegetables have way more pros than cons. There is no sense in telling people vegetables aren’t good for you because that’s simply not true! Yes, some vegetables may cause gas and bloating, but if you can tolerate it there are plenty of nutrients that outweigh that. Plus if you’re worried about pesticides you can always choose the organic options. Check out my guide to eating organic. Please ignore articles like these! Love, your friendly dietitian.

Raquel

Three Things

TT - Philly Soda Tax

1. Not long ago Philadelphia passed a new soda tax. What do you think about it? I agree with all of the dietitians in this article! Americans have an unhealthy relationship with sugar and especially soda. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that less than 10 percent of our daily caloric intake come from added sugars and it seems that people are consuming twice that amount. If a higher price tag discourages people from buying soda then I’m all for it! In addition to higher prices, education is key as with anything else. Educating people on appropriate sugar intake and better food choices can help limit intake of added sugars.

2. I drink one to two cups of coffee per day. I definitely need it to stay awake in the mornings and I sometimes drink it as a treat in the afternoon. There has been conflicting information about whether or not coffee is healthy or not. Apparently, it may depend on your genes. There are people who metabolize coffee slowly and some who metabolize it quickly. I’d like to think I’m somewhere in between!

3. Personal trainers are a great option to help you reach your fitness goals. However, they are generally not trained to give nutrition or diet advice. In fact, it’s illegal! You should never take nutrition or diet advice from your personal trainer unless they are also a dietitian. Get your fitness advice from trainers and diet advice from dietitians. Makes things less messy!

Raquel

How To: Cheat Days

Cheat days. You know what I’m talking about! Those days when you decide you can eat anything and everything you want because you’ve been doing a good job eating well. I think we should redefine the “cheat day.” Will they get you off track from your goals? It totally depends.

The problem with cheat days is that one cheat meal or three can lead to overeating. The idea of a cheat day is that you get to relax your diet a bit. The problem is that cheating insinuates something bad or wrong. It’s normal to treat yourself on occasion, enjoy food, and to enjoy the social aspects of eating. People that are too strict on “good” days will likely lose less weight than those that treat themselves because they are more likely to overdo their cheat days. By restricting yourself and then eating a large amount of sugar and fat there is a large negative impact on your blood sugar levels. This may leave you feeling groggy and rundown afterwards. I think we should call them “treat days” instead! Eating foods that you enjoy in moderation leaves you with something to look forward too instead of dreading each perfectly healthy and boring meal. Remember to assess your goals and use cheat days to your advantage.

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Make “Treat Days” Work for You

  • Don’t cheat frequently. And plan around special occasions. One splurge will not ruin your entire lifestyle change. If you have a party, wedding, cookout, or event coming up make sure you use that as your day to enjoy some treats.
  • Get moving. Try to still be active on your treat day. Go for a long walk or attend a workout class or do it on a regular training day. This way you will work off some of those extra calories while still getting to indulge a bit.
  • Savor every bite. Don’t just scarf down that cupcake! (Of course I would choose a cupcake.) Savor it. This is your treat for working hard so don’t let the moment pass by so quickly.
  • Enjoy treats on occasion. Adding some healthy fats here and there or a piece of chocolate after a meal can really boost your mood and help you stay on track. Each day doesn’t have to be made up of just perfectly healthy foods! Naming foods as “good” or “healthy” isn’t a good idea either. Every food fits.

Raquel