Welcome to The Dietitian's Corner by Clearly Organic!

Find out the latest health and organic news from our resident dietitian, Rebecca, along with recipes, tips and more!


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IMPORTANT NOTICE: AWG provides the Dietitian's Corner blogger(s) with free products and compensation for posts.

The content posted here is for general informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Health information changes frequently as research evolves. You should not rely on any information here as a substitute for consultation with medical professionals.

Can Pasta be Part of a Healthy Meal Plan?

In recent years carbohydrates have been considered friend and foe. During the fat-free phenomenon in the ninety’s bread and pasta where commonly promoted healthy choices for any meal. Then fad diets swung the opposite direction recommending more protein and low carbohydrates. Now many people are left to wonder if carbohydrates can be part of a healthy meal plan?

The short answer is, YES! Carbohydrates, like pasta, when enjoyed in the right portion size are part of a well-balanced meal plan. When it comes to pasta there are a few important factors to consider when implementing this wholesome food into a meal. Consider topping a serving of pasta with equal parts vegetables and protein. For example, 1/2 cup cooked whole wheat pasta pairs well with 1 cup of marinara meat sauce. Then serve that hot dish with a 2 cup serving of a green salad for a delightful well-balanced meal. Also, be mindful of pasta sauces that have high caloric concentrations. Here are three great recipes showing healthy ways to enjoy pasta.

 

  • Creamy Leeks And Noodles

See the Clearly Organic blog for more healthy recipes.

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Homemade Dark Chocolate

1/2 cup Clearly Organic Coconut Oil
1/2 cup 100% cacao powder
1/4 cup Clearly Organic Raw Honey
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Pure Vanilla Extract

Slowly melt coconut oil in a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Stir in cacao powder, honey and vanilla. Stir continuously over medium low heat for 2 minutes or until all ingredients are well blended. Pour mixture into candy molds or a parchment lined bread pan to make a chocolate bar. Refrigerate at least one hour or until chocolate becomes solid.

Variations: Add chopped nuts, dried fruit, Clearly Organic Almond Butter, orange zest, Clearly Organic Cinnamon or Clearly Organic Cayenne Pepper to taste. Add variation just before pouring into chocolate mold.

 

Homemade Dark Chocolate

 

Homemade Dark Chocolate

 

Homemade Dark Chocolate
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How to Make a Healthy Smoothie

Smoothies are often thought to be a healthy meal replacement or a nutritious snack. They also make regular appearances on detox plans and weight loss programs. This leads many people to wonder, are all smoothies healthy? They can come in many forms, from homemade to store bought. The key to making a smoothie healthy is to find the right balance of vegetables, protein, fruit and good fats.

Smoothies are an excellent way to fit in extra nutrients and antioxidants to your day. They’re also portable and compact for an on the go meal. Just watch out for store bought smoothies or homemade recipes with large amounts of juice, sugar and calories. A balanced single serving smoothie can include about 1 cup fruit (fresh or frozen), 1 cup greens, 3/4 cup to 1 cup liquid (almond milk or plain yogurt) plus an additional protein (nut butter, chia seeds, cooked quinoa, flax seeds). Check out the Clearly Organic blog for healthy smoothie recipes.

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Healthy Banana Bread

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 large Clearly Organic Egg
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Coconut Oil
1/3 cup Clearly Organic Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Clearly Organic Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips or Clearly Organic Semi-Sweet Chocolate (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×4 loaf pan with Clearly Organic cooking spray.
Mash bananas in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Whisk in egg, Greek yogurt and oil to mixing bowl. Stir brown sugar, vanilla and maple syrup into banana mixture. In a separate bowl add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir dry ingredients, then add dry ingredients to banana batter in large mixing bowl. Stir until evenly distributed. Add dark chocolate chips if desired. Pour contents into greased loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

 

Healthy Banana Bread

 

Healthy Banana Bread

 

Healthy Banana Bread

 

Healthy Banana Bread
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Tomato and Mozzarella Green Salad

This entree salad includes whole grains, healthy fats and a delicious blend of fresh ingredients.

5 cups organic mixed greens
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (8oz) mozzarella ball, cubed
1 avocado, deseeded and chopped
1 cup cooked farro (this can be substituted for cooked Clearly Organic quinoa if desired)
1/2 cup Clearly Organic Cashews, chopped

For the dressing:
1/3 cup Clearly Organic Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Clearly Organic Olive Oil

In a large salad bowl add greens, halved cherry tomatoes, cubed mozzarella and avocado chunks. Toss to combine. Just before serving add cooked farro grain and chopped cashews. Toss to combine. For the dressing place balsamic vinegar and olive oil into a mason jar with a lid. Shake to combine. Just before serving add desired amount of dressing on top of salad mix.

 

Tomato and Mozzarella Green Salad

 

Tomato and Mozzarella Green Salad
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Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate has long been recognized as a healthy treat. As many American’s get ready to savor this festive indulgence on Valentine’s Day or celebrate National Chocolate Lover’s Month, it’s good to know what the standards are surrounding dark chocolate health benefits. To get the most antioxidant benefits from cocoa beans it’s best to pick chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content. A higher cocoa percentage typically means the product is lower in sugar and is associated with heart health benefits.

Another tip for purchasing healthy dark chocolate is to look at the ingredient list. Look for cocoa, or a form of cocoa, as the first ingredient. Also avoid dark chocolate that contains trans fat, artificial flavors or high amounts of sugar. It’s also wise to look for fair trade organic chocolate. This kind of chocolate is usually more ethically sourced and pesticide free. Visit the Clearly Organic blog for a homemade chocolate recipe this month.

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Eggnog Coffee Cake

4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup Clearly Organic Granulated Sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup low fat eggnog
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Vanilla
1-1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Clearly Organic Raisins (optional)
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Glaze:
1/2 cup Clearly Organic Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon eggnog

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar using an electric hand mixer. Beat in the egg. In a separate bowl whisk together eggnog, yogurt and vanilla. In another bowl add flour, baking powder, zest, baking soda and salt. Stir dry ingredients. Add half of the eggnog mix and flour mix to the creamed butter bowl. Stir until evenly distributed. Add remaining eggnog mix and flour to the batter and stir. Gently stir in raisins. Pour batter into a greased 8×8 inch baking dish. Top with walnuts and place in preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes.
For the glaze: in a small bowl add powdered sugar and eggnog. Whisk vigorously until smooth. Drizzle over cake when it’s completely cool.

 

Eggnog Coffee Cake

 

Eggnog Coffee Cake

 

Eggnog Coffee Cake

 

Eggnog Coffee Cake

 

Eggnog Coffee Cake

 

Eggnog Coffee Cake

 

Eggnog Coffee Cake

 

 

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New Food Trends For A New Year

Like most “trendy” items food trends may come and go but some are worth pursuing and implementing into your routine. Luckily healthcare professionals agree that food habits are cycling back to more wholesome natural ingredients. In fact many of the food trends for 2019 include plant based products and unique ways to add more Omega-3’s to your meal plan.

Organic, dairy free and gluten free products are more readily available on store shelves. I do believe this health trend is here to stay. With the uptick in allergies and intolerances the market demands a wide variety of products that are lifestyle specific. In the end some classic food principals remain the same. Our bodies require a balanced diet of vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and fruit. While analyzing the food trends of 2019 keep these core values in mind.

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Citrus Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce doesn’t just have to be for Thanksgiving day. A fresh cranberry mix can be a unique topping for a variety of recipes.

1 (12oz) package fresh cranberries
1 orange
1 lemon
2 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Sugar
2 Tablespoons water

Place fresh cranberries into a 1.5 quart sauce pot. Then cut the orange and lemon in half. Squeeze juice from the fruit utilizing a reamer. Juice the lemon and orange over a bowl then discard any seeds. Pour juice over the cranberries. Cut several small slices of orange and lemon rind. Place rind into the pot with berries. Add sugar and water then bring pot to a boil. Mix contents and keep at a low boil for about 5 minutes. Cranberries may begin to pop so place a lid over the top, yet allow some air to escape. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes then let contents cool completely.

Here are 5 ways to utilize this citrus cranberry sauce:
1. Add the mixture to plain Greek yogurt
2. Use it as jam on toast
3. Mix it into muffins or sweet bread
4. Use as a topping for baked brie
5. Make a glaze for chicken or pork

 

Citrus Cranberry Sauce
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Seasonal Foods for December

We often think of eating fresh seasonal foods during the summer months. However, December offers a wide variety of flavorful ripe produce. Holiday meals can be more colorful and nutritious with beets, brussels sprouts and butternut squash. All of these vegetables are at their peak of freshness in December. Cauliflower, fennel and mushrooms are also seasonal delights late in the year.

When it comes to fruit, oranges, kiwi and grapefruit are just right during the winter months. Pomegranates, pears and persimmons are also excellent choices in December. All of these fruits make delightful additions to any meal or snack. Next time you’re at the store pick up some of your favorite seasonal produce.

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