Koslo's Nutrition Solutions

Friday, November 18, 2011

Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dish

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and celebrate the abundance the season has to offer. Unfortunately for most Americans this means overindulging in high calorie and high fat foods. I read in my American Council on Exercise newsletter (http://www.acefitness.org/pressroom/392/hard-to-believe-average-thanksgiving-meal-equals-3) that the average Thanksgiving meal with all of the fixings can be in the vicinity of 3000 calories and 229 grams of fat! Now unless you are competing in an Ironman race in the days before Thanksgiving, (a 160 lb person would need to run at a moderate pace of four hours, swim for five hours or walk 30 miles to burn off ~3000), you might want to think about incorporating at least one or two healthy options in your meal. Oh and that number doesn’t even include the appetizers and pre-meal snacking so you would probably need to add in a bike ride of an hour or two as well.

Personally, I won’t be feasting until I have done my run, maybe ridden my bike and of course walked my dog. I also know that I am in the minority when it comes to what will be on my Thanksgiving table. I will be cooking a Tofurkey (http://www.tofurky.com/tofurkyproducts/holiday_products.html ), green beans, Brussels, maybe some lima beans, and my healthy pumpkin muffins for dessert. However, I wanted to encourage everyone to add at least one very healthy side dish this season so thought I would post a “mock” mashed potato recipe.

The Mayo Clinic website has a nice basic recipe for cauliflower mashed “potatoes” http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-recipes/RE00142 but I just can’t look at a recipe without putting my personal spin on it. So the one posted here is a combination of several that I looked at.


1 head cauliflower

1 leek, white part only, cut into pieces

1 clove garlic

¼ cup skim milk or soy or almond

1-2 Tbs olive oil

Salt, pepper, and paprika

1. Place cauliflower, garlic, and leeks in a steamer basket; place in a saucepan over 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly.

2. Place the milk and oil in a food processor or blender. Add the vegetables, salt and pepper; cover and process until blended.

3. Either transfer to a bowl and serve immediately; or pour into a baking dish, sprinkle with paprika and bake until bubbly.

The nutritional analysis using 1 Tbs olive oil and 4 servings is:

100 calories, 3 grams of fat, 15 grams of carb, 6 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein.

Enjoy the holiday and practice moderation!

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Friday, November 11, 2011

All About Apples!

I grew up in Pennsylvania and am part PA Dutch so I have always had a fondness for apples. While never a big fan of apple cider (I remember finishing a 10K and being greeted with it at the finish – yuck!), I did eat my share of homemade apple dumplings and apple butter. I bake a mean apple bread and love just about any variety. Apples are in season now so I thought a few reminders on their health benefits were in order especially since they don’t really receive much attention.

Apples belong to the Rose family and the apple tree originally came from Eastern Europe and southwestern Asia. Today there are over 7000 varieties on the market due to the work of cultivars. Apple varieties run the gamut from the very tart, to the very sweet and can be stored for quite a long time, 3-4 months in fact.

I am sure you have heard the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and “one bad apple can spoil the bunch” and both are well, actually pretty true. I’ll get to the health benefits momentarily but in terms of the bad apple, a bruised apple releases ethylene gas that decreases the shelf life of other apples it is in contact with.

The health benefits of apples stems primarily from their polyphenol content, a type of phytochemical. Phytochemicals are plant hormones that function as antioxidants and assist in decreasing the risk for many chronic diseases. Anthocyanins are a type of photochemical found in the skin of apples that gives them their red color and decreases the oxidation of cell membranes. Phenolics found in the pulp have both cardio protective properties and are beneficial for blood sugar regulation. While apples are not “excellent” sources of fiber they are classified as a “good” source. One whole apple contains approximately 2-3 grams and about 50% of this is in the form of pectin which has blood fat lowering properties similar to the soluble fiber found in oats. Apples are also a good source of vitamin C. The nutrients in apples are disproportionally present in the skin and since the Environmental Working Group listed apples as one of the 12 foods with the most pesticide residue I would recommend buying organic if you can. If you buy non-organic ask your grocer what type of wax was used. Non-petroleum waxes like carnauba are preferable to petroleum-based apples.

Enjoy apples while they are in season either whole or in one of thousands of recipes. What is your favorite variety and way to relish?