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Orange Creamsicle Smoothie

I woke up with a bit of a sore throat this morning and wanted something nutrient packed and soothing for breakfast. This smoothie definitely hit the spot! It's packed with vitamins and is filling too. 

People seem to give vitamin C all the credit for immune boosting properties. But really there are so many vitamins and minerals that play a role in our immune system - zinc, vitamins D, A, E, and B vitamins too!

Research is actually mixed on whether or not loading up on Emergen-C and orange juice is actually effective in treating or preventing colds. Some studies show that it doesn't prevent the onset of a cold but could possibly decrease the duration. Either way, it can't hurt to get your fair share of oranges, especially this time of year when they're in season and so juicy and delicious!

When it comes to smoothies I try to follow three guidelines:

1. include a VEGGIE
I find all fruit smoothies are typically too sweet for me, so I like to mix it up with other ingredients. As fruit is naturally sweeter it seems to be easier for people to meet the recommended 2 servings per day. People seem to have a harder time getting in at least 3 servings of veggies each day. Adding one into a smoothie is a super easy way to help you reach this goal, often you can't even taste it! I try to always keep spinach or kale on hand to add to smoothies, but I also add carrots, beets, or cauliflower. This was my first time adding sweet potato and I love the orange color it gives it.

2. include a PROTEIN
I also need a source of protein in my smoothie to help fill me up and keep me full longer. Without a protein, smoothies can be a quick burst of energy from all the carbohydrates but can make us crash and feel hungry again soon after. The protein also helps repair muscles if you're eating a smoothie after a workout. For protein I usually add plain greek yogurt, milk, tofu, or I'll top it with nuts.

3. eat it with a SPOON
When you slurp a smoothie through a straw, you can suck it down in just a few seconds. I prefer (and encourage others to as well) to engage in the act of eating my smoothie. Whether I serve it in a bowl or a glass, I always top it with something (nuts, granola, plain oats, chia seeds, etc.) and eat it with a spoon. This helps me slow down and pay attention to my hunger cues. Drinking in calories (whether it be juice, soda, alcohol, or smoothies) is typically not as satisfying and we don't realize how full we are until after. Smoothies can be very filling and even high in calories, so I would encourage you to slow down and eat your smoothie.

Enjoy!

 

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 banana
1 orange
1/2 sweet potato, diced
2 teaspoonfuls tahini
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
~1/4 cup of milk to blend
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Directions:

1. If you can, I would freeze the banana and/or orange ahead of time. It will make the smoothie chilled and frothy. If not, throw in a few ice cubes to chill it a bit.

orange creamsicle smoothie

2. Dice your sweet potato and steam with a splash of water in the microwave for 1 minute. This will soften it up to make it easier on your blender.

3. Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth.

4. Pour into glasses, bowls, or mason jars to go. Top with whatever you may like - dried fruit, nuts, chia seeds, oats, granola, etc. Eat with a spoon and enjoy!

A Dietitian’s Tips for Better Nutrition in 2017

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It’s that time of year again and we’re all starting to take a closer look at our health, lifestyle, and goals for the New Year. Whether we’re feeling a bit guilty from indulging over the holidays or we’re ready to take steps towards improving our long-term health, the majority of New Year’s Resolutions are food and fitness related. Many of us start off the New Year with good intentions, however, by March, only 8% of us have stuck with these goals.

When setting your goals this year, try to differentiate between life-changing goals and lifestyle habits. It’s great to have goals, but without altering our habits, goals can be difficult to reach. Goals give us direction. They are the end point. Habits are the little things in our day-to-day life that make our goals a reality. Instead of “going on a diet” consider small changes you can make in your daily life to create long-term lifestyle changes, also known as habits. “Going on a diet” puts us in a vicious cycle- once we start, we’ll likely be back on a diet each New Year. Instead, you can set yourself up for success and prevent the dreaded yearly diet by instilling simple, healthy habits into your day-to-day life.

Every large goal, has a smaller stepping stone. I’d encourage you to start small with just 1 or 2 SMART goals. Check your intentions – are they Specific? Measurable? Achievable? Realistic? Time-Bound?

Here are 5 tips to improve your health, shed a few pounds, and feel your best in 2017!

1.     Give your Kitchen a Makeover

Make healthy eating in your home the easy and obvious choice. Instead of displaying cereal boxes on the counter, put fruit and veggie bowls front and center. Place healthy snacks at eye level, and move chips and cookies out of reach to the back of the cabinet or to the very top or bottom shelf.

2.     Meal Prep is Key

Take an hour on Sunday to bake a batch of chicken for the week or slice and dice fruits and veggies for easy grab and go snacks. Meal prep doesn’t have to mean eating the same meal every night. One batch of chicken can turn into chicken salad, pizza toppings, stir fry, quesadillas, fajitas, chicken nuggets, etc.

3.     Focus on Fruits and Veggies

Aim to include 1 serving at each meal. The USDA recommends that we eat 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of veggies each day, consuming one at each meal (and snack!) puts us right on track with our nutrition goals.

4.     Stay Hydrated!

Every system in our body relies on water. Hydration is important for healthy skin and hair, controlling body temperature and blood pressure, and even improving energy levels. It can be easy to forget to drink water this time of year, but it is just as important in these dry winter months as it is in the heat of the summer. Try flavoring water with fresh fruit or a splash of 100% fruit juice to cut down on excess sugars and empty calories in sugary beverages.

5.     Dare I say Go Meatless?

Although difficult to suggest in a state that takes such pride in their fresh, local, and quality meats and wild game, research has shown plant-based diets reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Meatless Monday is a national campaign encouraging people to do without meat for just 1 day each week; in 2017 I challenge you to do the same.

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!