Usually, the base of my granola are old fashioned rolled oats, but I wanted to switch it up, so I used puffed quinoa. You can either purchase it or make your own. One cup of puffed quinoa has about 110 calories per cup, 3 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, no sugar, and a little over one serving of carb. Not bad at all! This granola can be served on top of yogurt, as a topping for whole wheat pancakes or French toast, as added crunch to peanut butter spread on toast, or on top of some frozen yogurt for dessert! It’s much lighter than oat-based granola and is also naturally gluten free!
- 3 cups puffed quinoa
- 3 TBS olive oil
- 2 TBS Agave nectar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp pumpkin spice blend
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 TBS flax seeds
- 2/3 cup of nuts- in this case I used pistachios and peanuts
- 8 prunes, finely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 300F.
2. Mix oil, Agave, vanilla, spices, and salt in a large bowl.
3. Slowly add flaxseeds and puffed quinoa to the bowl. Mix well, until quinoa is fully coated.
4. Spread out granola onto a parchment paper or baking dish and bake for 7 minutes.
5. Stir well, add nuts and prunes, and bake for another 10 minutes or until quinoa is golden.
6. Allow to cool.
Approximately 80% of our food supply has some form of hidden or added sugar! With that statistic, it’s no surprise that even healthy foods (or what we think of as healthy foods) have hidden sugars.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons for women and men, respectively, a day. The average adult is having 3 to 4 times more sugar on a daily basis!
The World Health Association takes it a step further and recommends that no more than 5% of your calorie intake should be from added sugars. Therefore, a person consuming 1500 calories a day would be entitled to 4.7 teaspoons or sugar packets of added sugars per day whereas a person with a 2400 calorie diet could consume about 7.5 teaspoons of added sugars per day. Regardless, our intake is definitely more than the recommendations.
Keep your eyes open for the following “healthy” foods:
1. Whole grain cereals or granolas. If you are not careful, ¾ cup can be up to 16 grams of sugar (about 4 teaspoons).
- BN Tip: Don’t choose cereals that are described as crunchy, crispy or with clusters. I prefer muesli over granola, since it’s not coated with sugar. Try Bushwick Nutrition’s version of a healthy granola.
2. Flavored yogurt. Yogurt naturally has sugar called lactose, but it’s the added sugars that come with the “fruit” or “vanilla” yogurts that are the killer.
- BN Tip: Check the ingredient list for added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup. Even children’s yogurts like GoGurt have up to 3 different types of added sugars! Choose Greek yogurt since it has double the amount of protein and add whole fruit yourself.
3. Tomato sauce. In order to counter act the acidity of the tomato products, tomato sauce has become one of the condiments with the highest amount of sugar. One tablespoon has about 1 teaspoon of sugar.
- BN Tip: Read the ingredients, monitor your portions, or even better, make your own!
4. Peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter). Brands are still adding sugar and/or oil to make the nut butters smoother, but definitely not healthier.
- BN Tip: Peanut butter should only have peanut and salt. Keep it simple.
5. Breads. You’ll be surprised to know that even “whole wheat or high fiber” breads have added sugars, usually in the top five ingredients. A slice has around 1 teaspoon of sugar. Sugars are added to increase shelf life.
- BN Tip: Check labels before buying, purchase local or consider baking your own.
Start breaking the sugar habit. Stop eating “healthy foods” that have way too much hidden sugars.
Written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN. Originally posted on NYHRC Social Media.
Edited by Debi Zvi, RD, CDN
Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkins aren’t just for carving at Halloween! The flesh of the pumpkin, both fresh and canned, is a great source of fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and especially vitamin A - a powerful antioxidant that improves your skin and provides immune support.
The phytosterols found both in pumpkin flesh and seeds, commonly known as “pepitas”, have also been linked to heart health and cancer prevention. Pepitas are packed with healthy fats, fiber, iron and protein. They also have tryptophan, which helps release serotonin that balances your mood.
Pumpkins are extremely versatile, their natural sweet taste can be used for spicy or savory dishes, and pepitas add an amazing texture to any plate!
Recipe 1) Homemade Pumpkin Puree. Making your own puree couldn’t be simpler, and it gives you the full benefits of the pumpkin, including the seeds! First take off the stem, slice in half, and roast at 400F for about 30 minutes or until the skin is tender. Once cooled for an hour, scoop out the insides and blend or process until smooth. It couldn’t be easier!
Recipe 2) Get Your Seed Power On! Want a quick snack that packs a healthy punch? Mix pumpkin seeds with your favorite flavor (sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, red pepper flakes, or parmesan) and roast at 350F for 30 minutes or until golden brown, and enjoy! Add “pepitas” to homemade granola. Check out one of Bushwick Nutrition’s old time favorite granola recipe, and just switch the walnuts for pepitas!
Recipe 3) Make fluffy pumpkin pancakes with pumpkin seed garnish. You don’t have to sacrifice your favorite foods to appreciate all the health benefits that pumpkins offer. Mix dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt) in a large bowl. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, clove or any spice you like. In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin puree (unsweetened or better yet, homemade!), milk, egg, and vanilla extract. Add to dry ingredients; stir just until moistened. Pour ¼ cup-sized pancakes and garnish with a little maple syrup and toasted pumpkin seeds. Add a scoop of whey protein for a protein boost!
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Spices: ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon of clove or more!
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk or milk alternative
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Recipe 4) Enjoy a delicious Thai-style pumpkin soup. With the right ingredients, soups can be quick, simple and delicious. Red curry paste, vegetable broth, pumpkin puree and coconut milk make for a delicious Thai-inspired soup. Garnish with coconut milk, sliced red chili pepper and cilantro. If you want an added nutrition punch (or crunch), add roasted pumpkin seeds! Recipe from Foodie Crush.
Recipe 5) Roast pumpkin squares. Pumpkin is a great substitute for a starchy carb! Roast at 400F degrees for about 45 minutes. The roasting may vary depending on the pumpkin variety and the size of the cubes. Serve with your favorite protein over a leafy green salad.
- 1 medium sugar pumpkin (about 4 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 4 shallots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
Recipe 6) Make pumpkin mac & cheese. Who said mac & cheese can’t be healthy? Not me! Use whole-wheat pasta, reduced fat cheese, add one cup of pumpkin puree, and enjoy this healthier version of an American classic. Recipe from The Melon Bowl.
Recipe 7) Bake some pumpkin bread! Pumpkin bread can satisfy even the most discerning sweet tooth! Mix flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in one bowl. In a larger bowl, mix sugar and oil with a wooden spoon until combined. Then slowly add egg whites, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and lastly, the contents of the first bowl. Loaf should take about 55 minutes at 350F. When that morning muffin craving comes calling, make the healthier choice. Be sure to add a protein source to counterbalance the carbs! Edited from Deceptively Delicious.
Don’t forget to check out October’s issue of Muscle & Fitness.
Written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RDN, CDN
Edited by Tamara Cabrero