Without Wheat: Blueberry Streusel Teff Muffins

teff flour muffins

I decided to finally try using the teff flour I bought months ago. Muffins always seem like a forgiving baked product, so I started with a muffin recipe. It seems as though a lot of the available recipes require another flour in addition to the teff flour. The flour can make a drier product so a recipe that has sweet potatoes, bananas, applesauce, and berries would seem to be a good fit. I took a conventional recipe and modified the flours.

Why bother with teff

I am trying to cut back on wheat as I seem to be very sensitive to it. That said, I absolutely love eating my carbohydrates so some experimentation was in order. Teff is a fine grain that is versatile. It grows in African countries, but is also grown in this part of the world-Idaho of all places! For those needing to eat gluten free (not just wheat free), teff fits the bill as well. While I used this product in muffins, it can be added to waffles, other baked goods, cooked cereals, and stews.

Nutritionally speaking

This grain is high in minerals like iron and magnesium. It’s a good source of calcium, zinc, selenium, and some B vitamins. In addition to being a good source of vitamins and minerals, it provides both protein and fiber. A 3/4 cup of cooked teff provides 6.5 g of protein and 4 g of fiber. For more detailed nutrition information and recipes, the whole grain council offers extensive information on all whole grains along with some other interesting recipes, including some additional interesting teff recipes.

Blueberry Teff Muffins With Streusel Topping

Great muffin recipe using teff flour.
Prep Time8 mins
Cook Time22 mins
Servings: 12
Calories: 199kcal

Equipment

  • Oven

Ingredients

  • ¼ c canola oil
  • 1 c skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 c teff flour
  • 1 c Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour
  • c sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ c frozen organic blueberries thawed and well drained

Streusel Topping

  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 400°. Generously grease or spray a 12 muffin pan.
  • Mix the oil, milk, vanilla, and egg together.
  • Stir in both flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt until moistened.
  • Fold in the drained blueberries.
  • Divide the batter into the 12 muffin cups.
  • Mix the streusel topping ingredients together. Sprinkle it on top of the muffins.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the pan immediately.

Notes

Nutrition Information: 199 calories, 6 g fat, 30 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein.
As is the case with most muffins, these freeze great.

If you are looking to experiment with another wheat free flour, try my buckwheat muffin recipe.These muffins are really a hit with clients and they have a touch of sweetness from the chocolate chips. They are a personal favorite of mine for freezing to grab for a quick breakfast on the run.

Have you used Teff flour in a baked product?

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6 Food Staples for Healthier Eating: Stocking Your Kitchen

food staples prepared for healthy meal planningA “healthy” kitchen stocked with food staples is a pretty straightforward path to healthier eating. Who doesn’t care about healthy eating? I think most people would like to make better food choices, but end up floundering for a variety of reasons. Sometimes there is no healthy food in the house, they are tired, not motivated in the moment, or just too tired to care about eating a healthy diet. It’s important to keep in mind that a healthy meal does not need to be labor intensive and time consuming. Keeping basic food staples around can simplify the process of carrying out healthier eating. Here’s my list of 6 food staples and what you can do with it.

Vegetables

Everyone knows vegetables are important to a healthy diet. The problem is that even though people know this, they are not going out of their way to eat enough. I have not really figured out why, but I think it is because there is a bit more labor required in order to eat most vegetables. You know, scrape, clean, cut, etc. The “work around”  is to prep some for the week, and bag them up. For instance, if you like peppers, cut a few up for the work week and put your portions in Ziploc bags for the week. You will not need to stop and chop, just grab your portion. Don’t forget you can also drink your vegetables by stocking low sodium V-8 juice which is full of nutrients like potassium and vitamin C.

Fruit

Yes, it is good for you. No, it does not contain too much sugar and is ok to eat even if a diabetic. While we do not have a ton of choices in the Midwest right now, every store has a nice variety of bagged organic frozen fruit. Keep it on hand to use as a smoothie.  When I am hard pressed for good nutrition on the run, I love doing the smoothie trick.  Want to increase the protein? My trick is to add 1/2 cup of cottage cheese to the mix which boosts the protein to 15 grams.  Smoothie recipe.

Grains

Despite all the negative comments regarding carbohydrates, grains are an important part of a healthy diet.  Grains provide fiber and B vitamins. They can be dished up differently for different people. Whole grain pasta, crackers, and cereal can keep in the cupboard as a staple side dish or even eaten as an occasional entrée.  I frequently have sheepish clients say they eat cereal for dinner. Guess what? I have done that as well topped with a fruit such as a banana or strawberries. As with the vegetables, planning ahead and freezing some grain based foods also works to foster a healthier diet. Freezing wheat free muffins and gluten free waffles for later use is super helpful. Wondering how to buy a loaf of bread, here are some tips.

Milk or milk substitute

I’m lactose intolerant, so I keep lactose free milk in my kitchen. I also enjoy kefir for my smoothies. If you don’t want to drink cow’s milk, you should still have a milk alternative in your kitchen. Milk alternatives are typically fortified with calcium and will have a similar calcium content to cow milk. Options are: almond, soy, rice, hemp, or the now popular oat milk.

Eggs 

Despite the new bad press, an egg is a wonderful package of nutrients for very few calories. Eggs have high quality  protein and the cholesterol content of eggs has been declining. Today, eggs such as EggLands Best Eggs have omega-3 fatty acids and are a source of vitamin E.  An average egg has only about 180 mg. of cholesterol. If you still want to decrease your dietary cholesterol while eating several eggs, consider mixing a whole egg with an egg substitute like Egg Beaters.

Frozen Meals

Healthy frozen dinners are included in my list of important food staples. I can pretty much guarantee that a Healthy Choice or Kashi brand frozen meal is going to be a healthier option than heading to your local fast food joint. When time is tight or energy is already spent, having a few of these on hand can save the day. Many frozen dinners are now lower in sodium, fat, calories, and preservatives, but high in flavor. Don’t forget, you can freeze your own meals as well.  Double up your recipe, and freeze the other half.

Do you have more tips for fast healthy eating?

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Without Wheat: Buckwheat Flour Muffins

Buckwheat muffins with chocolate chips

Buckwheat flour muffins with chocolate chips

Personally, I REALLY enjoy eating whole grains. And, I used to eat a ton of wheat. Sadly, my wheat days are basically over due to my food sensitivity testing. I started weaning myself from wheat by making these buckwheat flour muffins.

For others, it may be a personal decision to pull back because you need or want to be gluten-free (products labeled gluten free are also wheat free). Whatever the circumstances, there are definitely some grain alternatives out there for those that love whole grains. I started living without wheat by making the pictured buckwheat flour muffins. The verdict was they were delicious!

Keep in mind that two of these grains noted here are not gluten-free, only wheat free or differing in the gluten profile. Barley, rye, wheat, and oats that are not processed in a dedicated gluten free facility are not allowed on a gluten free diet. For those choosing to live without the ubiquitous wheat found in standard grocery stores, the challenge is to find alternative products that may be better tolerated.

Here are some other wheat-free options

Rye

Most commercial store brands of rye bread actually contain wheat. For instance, Pepperidge Farm rye bread notes: unbromated unbleached enriched wheat flour as the first ingredient, followed by water, then rye. To find a rye bread made entirely of rye flour, you may need to go to a bakery. In the Chicago area suburbs, there is a little bakery that only uses rye flour. For those going “wheatless”, breads using only rye flour are a delicious alternative. Don’t assume every bakery uses just rye flour, you will need to ask the staff.

Spelt

Spelt is an ancient grain. According to one bakery website (kolateksbakery.com), spelt needs more steps to harvest and then bake, so it fell out of favor and eventually took a back seat to our now popular wheat. Spelt is technically part of the wheat family, but it possesses a different gluten profile. Those with a wheat sensitivity may be able to tolerate spelt better than wheat. I found this bakery’s Tata bread to be very “normal tasting” and almost reminiscent of whole wheat bread days!

Buckwheat

buckwheat muffin recipe

Here’s an actual gluten-free alternative. It’s actually not a grain, which is why there is no gluten! It’s a type of seed called a pseudo-cereal. I’m trying to get in the kitchen a bit more making my own wheat-free alternative foods, because so many of the commercial mixes are just way too high in sugar and calories. Here’s a great buckwheat muffin recipe:


1.5 cups buckwheat flour
¾ cups oatmeal (use gluten-free oats for a GF diet)
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup skim milk or milk of choice
2 tbsp. oil of choice
¼ cup applesauce
1 mashed banana
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
½ cup chocolate chips

Combine ingredients. Mix until moistened.  Bake at 350º for 18-20 minutes. Yields 12 muffins.

150 calories per muffin; 5 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat

There are other grains to try such as Teff which is gluten-free as well.  Anyone else have experience focusing on these grains along with great recipes?

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How to Age Well: 5 Tips to Make it Happen

how to age well

So, do you want to look your age? This topic can get pretty dicey as we push through the decades. I have one friend that says she’s earned her wrinkles and intentionally sports her gray hairs. No more hair coloring for her (we’ll see if that lasts)! I think it’s certainly a personal decision. I also think that if we implement diet and lifestyle strategies that make us look a bit younger than our real age, we might reap some very positive health benefits. After all, our health has to be our top priority as we get older. Better health usually means a better quality of life. We want to be able to enjoy our second 50 years, right? The following aging tips are science backed, and not that hard to implement.

My top five tips for how to age well

Wear sunscreen every day

This is a huge point and it’s never too late to start. Anti-aging dermatology procedures are pricey. They are almost all self-pay. If you can protect your skin early in life, it will help your appearance in your second 50 years. When I was in graduate school, I had a strange rash that brought me to the dermatologist. She told me at that point to never go in the sun again. I followed her advice (for the most part), and now that I have a Medicare card, I am so glad I did. Wrinkle removal is expensive and time consuming, prevention is much easier. The health benefit: lessened skin cancer risk. On a vanity scale, this was one of the best anti-aging tips anyone every suggested to me.

How to age well includes exercise

exercise tips for aging

Cardio. We all know we should be moving our bodies more, right? For some, it is easier said than done. Lots of us have knees that hurt, but even for osteoarthritis, the current recommendations are to push through discomfort. Most health experts on this subject suggest the importance of bodily movement without a ton of sitting around. Options for lessening joint stress while working out with cardio include using a stationary bike and an elliptical. If you are able to move, you really should be sure to do so.

Resistance. And, on the exercise topic, don’t forget resistance type exercises. These exercises, using free weights or equipment, promote muscle strength. Progressive weight training in the older population can either help to manage or even prevent chronic and debilitating disease. It can mitigate risk for cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Appropriate strengthening of the back and abdomen can prevent debilitating back pain and improve core body strength.

Thoughts on body composition

Lastly, all exercise will help improve body composition. Body composition is the proportion of muscle, fat, bone, and other tissues that make up a person’s weigh-in weight on a scale. Having a favorable body composition (the right amount of body fat) usually has significant positive health implications. More muscle retained in the aging process translates to being able to eat more! Muscle is metabolically active, so it needs fuel. If you can eat more because you need more calories, think about how much easier it will be to manage your weight. That weight management can be a significant factor in preventing diabetes, heart disease, and even some types of cancer.

After counseling thousands upon thousands of clients over my career, it never ceases to amaze me how much younger the exercising crowd looks in middle and later life. Exercise really does seem to be the fountain of youth for both the interior and exterior of your body!

Manage your weight

how to age well means weight controlJust like those that exercise, people that are at an appropriate body weight always seem to look younger. For women in particular, weight gain seems to happen easily during menopause when our estrogen levels decline. A common “sign” of middle age in both women and men is the increased fat in the abdominal area-known as visceral fat. This fat pouch does not need to happen with a healthy eating plan matched to energy requirements and limited in alcohol. Losing this abdominal fat will lessen inflammation and decrease risk for diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Utilizing the suggested cardio and resistance exercise, along with a healthy diet will go a very long way in helping with weight management.

Sleep enough to age well

It can be difficult to get enough sleep. It seems like each decade brings its own sleep issues. I know of so many seniors that will fall asleep, but then cannot stay asleep.  Getting up at 3:00 AM is not ideal, and many of us already did that when we raised our kids. Tips are to not overstimulate your brain before bed. Get off the iPad or phone if it is too stimulating before nodding off. Try to set a routine and stick to it most of the time.  Discuss sleep issues with your physician. Lastly, a little melatonin may be helpful. I generally recommend 3-5 mg about 30 minutes before bedtime. We make less as we age, so this supplement makes sense. The health benefit: you just feel so much better after a good sleep, it’s like magic!

Eat healthy to age well

Don’t give up on a healthy eating plan. Consult with a nutritional professional if you are totally confused about what you should be eating to maintain or improve your health. There is just so much information out there that is often incorrect or not correct for you as an individual. Most nutrition health care providers would suggest a diet high in fruits, vegetables, with the appropriate amounts of whole grains (all of which yield fiber) and lean protein.  A diet rich in colored fruits and vegetables will also help preserve your vision as you age. Some supplements might be in order as well, depending up your individual circumstances. For thoughts on those supplements:  5 Dietary Supplements for Baby Boomers!

If you haven’t implemented these self care aging tips yet, it’s never too old to start. For those of you in your second 50 years, what else can you add?

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Drinking Water and Fluoride: Healthy for All?

Drinking water: fluoride for all?

For most of my life I never really thought much about fluoride or my drinking water. My teeth are in pretty good shape, and the only time I thought about fluoride was when I taught a college level nutrition class. The text books noted the “benefits” of fluoride in preventing tooth decay, and then always showed the classic brown spots on tooth enamel due to overexposure of fluoride.  We discussed that fluoride was delivered to municipal tap water in the Chicago area (our location) and that bottled water was not typically fluoridated. While it may have natural fluoride, fluoride is not typically added to bottled water.

Fluoride not an essential dietary nutrient

For the last 70 or so years, it’s role in public health has been one of preventing tooth decay. Once teeth have erupted through the gum, fluoride added to the tooth surface plays a role in preventing tooth decay through remineralization of the weaker spots on the tooth enamel as well as controlling the amount of acid that bacteria of plaque produce.  I remember routine fluoride treatments given in the dental office because I had great dental insurance and it was covered.  And, of course, there is lifelong use of fluoridated toothpaste.

Fluoride in drinking water, same for all?

For the municipalities that deliver fluoridated water, there is no choice in the matter. If you want to avoid ingesting fluoride in the Chicago area, you must find a means to remove it from your tap water or stick with purchasing spring water. Preset fluoride levels are “one size fits all.”

According to a recent article in the Indian Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine (2018), these points should be considered:

  • Current evidence clearly suggests that the protective mechanism of action of fluoride is mainly topical.  In other words, we do not need to be ingesting fluoride to reap the dental benefits.
  • 1% of the population appears to be highly sensitive to fluoride (yes, I am in that 1%).
  • Certain subsets may be particularly vulnerable to ingesting fluoride: the elderly, diabetics, the malnourished.
  • Once added to water, would the fluoride levels be problematic for those that drink a large amount of water? Those individuals might include manual laborers, diabetics, and athletes.
  • Interestingly, on the international front, most European countries have rejected water fluoridation. Only Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom practice water fluoridation.

Protect your teeth by while debate continues:

  • Choosing a healthy diet low in sugar will help prevent tooth decay. Emphasizing fruits and vegetables will stimulate saliva production to help rinse the sugar away.
  • Avoiding cavity promoting foods like sugar, sticky foods (like raisins), and soda will help prevent tooth decay.  
  • If indulging in sugary foods, try not to do so all day long. Best to splurge and then brush, instead of exposing your teeth all day long.
  •  Apply that fluoride through toothpaste, mouth rinse, and in the dental chair.

My last comment will be that in the concept of “clean eating”, I see no reason to be putting fluoride into my digestive tract.

Where do you stand on the issue of ingesting fluoride through tap water?

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Probiotic Supplements: 5 Purchasing Tips

probiotic supplements

Do you understand how to buy probiotic supplements? Or, are you unclear on how they differ? Well, take heart, you are definitely not alone. It seems even some healthcare providers are confused, but they may not know it!

Case in point

My father lived in an assisted living facility a few years ago. The assisted living physician ordered probiotics for him. I remember the doctor sitting at his desk writing the order and at the same time quipping that “all probiotics are the same!” The comment took my breath away. This was only a few years ago, and most health care providers should know they are NOT all the same! There is plenty of research available on how probiotics are both similar but also different. And, there is plenty to consider when purchasing probiotic supplements due to those differences.

Bacteria benefits

A healthy functioning gut has a good balance of bacteria. But, occasionally, that balance of bacteria becomes unbalanced. This may occur due to antibiotic use, illness, stress, or even a poor-quality diet. Research on the health benefits of probiotics is vast and ongoing. Researchers are evaluating how probiotics may affect mental health, cholesterol levels, weight, and various gut conditions. Even our pets are taking these supplements!

 5 probiotic purchasing tips

1. Packaging of probiotic supplements

Probiotics need to be alive to be effective in your body. If they are dead on arrival on purchase, they will be useless to your gut. Therefore, always take a good look at the packaging. Keep in mind that many strains need to be refrigerated to stay alive. If the product needs refrigeration, be sure online shippers are shipping the product with dry ice during warm weather. Blister packaging is an alternative form of packaging and these supplements do not need refrigeration. It’s also important to keep in mind that the supplement companies are doing their own regulation. Therefore, you might want to use a name brand product to insure quality control.

2. Dosages

Potency is usually noted on the label as CFU which stands for “colony forming units”. The recommended intake for probiotic supplements varies by the strain and intended therapy. For general use, take supplements that have a CFU of at least 1 to 10 billion. Many reputable brands may have higher dosages but they are still safe for the consumer.

3. Strains in probiotic supplements

Contrary to the thoughts of my father’s former physician, bacterial strains do matter. For instance, for antibiotic-related diarrhea, it may be advisable to start taking a common drugstore brand such as Culturelle. This product contains Lactobacillus GG which research has suggested to be effective for some types of diarrhea. Other research suggests that it may be even more effective to take a probiotic with multiple species of organisms. In adult women with IBS, Bifidobacterium infantis has been shown to reduce pain, bloating, and bowel movement difficulty. For cholesterol reduction, Lactobacillus reuteri may be therapeutic.

4. Dosing of probiotic supplements

If you are taking probiotics for overall wellness, keep in mind that the organisms only survive for a few days to weeks. Because of this, it is necessary to keep taking them. Speaking of surviving, some probiotics have an outside coating which allows the product to be effectively delivered to the digestive tract.

5. Food

probiotics from food

Many foods also contain probiotics. Think yogurt, kefir milk, sauerkraut, and kombucha as common sources of probiotic rich foods. And, nutrient dense complex carb foods are usually great sources of prebiotics-the food probiotics use. Those gut bacteria need their own fuel, and fiber rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains supply that fuel.

Take away

Remembering to keep these key points in mind when buying supplements: packaging, dosages, strains, and dosing should be driving your purchasing decisions. And, while supplements can be purchased, there are plenty of foods that also contain probiotics. To keep those probiotics well fed, be sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Has probiotic use helped your health? Share your thoughts!

For information on purchasing other supplements, read on. 

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My Food Sensitivities: A Dietitian’s Personal Perspective

When I was 40 years old, I became very ill-so ill I headed to the emergency room. The doctors said something was going around and I should go home to rest. And rest I did! In fact, for at least a week I was barely able to move. I followed up with my primary care physician who proceeded to do a complete medical evaluation. All tests came back negative. So, I rested some more and tried to pretend that I felt normal. Never did I imagine that my extreme fatigue was due to food sensitivities.

my food sensitivity journey

Is this healthy for me or not?

As time progressed, I mentioned my fatigue issues to every physician I saw, and the responses ranged from “You have medical conditions that cause fatigue- IBS, fibromyalgia, asthma”, to “You seem OK, you aren’t acting tired now”, to “You are the healthiest patient I’ve seen today!” My energy levels continued to wax and wane. Sometimes I was near normal and other times I needed to drag myself to bed. Fatigue was my partner in life, and although rest didn’t solve everything, I was often tired enough that I simply could not move. My goal became to get through the day as a functioning person and carry on with my commitments as best I could.

Later in life, food sensitivities uncovered

During the second 50 years of my life, it seemed that my energy levels were worsening. I figured at this point I was functioning at less than 50% of normal. Then, last year, a college friend asked me about food sensitivity testing as she was considering going that route due to ongoing headaches and IBS symptoms. I told her I had mixed feelings about it, but said that maybe we could go down that path together. I am so grateful that I took that path as my life has actually changed course.

Food sensitivity testing is controversial

Some medical “experts” question accuracy of any food sensitivity testing process and the clinical relevance to a patient. For those practitioners that feel it may help a patient, there is controversy as to the best test to use. I used the Alcat test which evaluates how your white blood cells react in contact with various foods, chemicals, and food additives. Based on your white cell response, your reaction to various foods, additives, and chemicals is assessed on a scale of non-reactive to severe.

It’s important to keep in mind that food sensitivity testing is different from allergy testing. With an allergy, there may be an immediate response. With a food sensitivity, the response in terms of symptoms may be delayed by days so it does become difficult to determine what foods may be problematic. In my case, I would never have been able to succeed by just eliminating foods speculated as often problematic because one of my severe responses was to fluoride. Turn on the tap water and there is fluoride. Grab coffee at a restaurant, there is fluoride. Grab that toothpaste, there is fluoride. That is just one example of how the testing can help you come up with a customized eating plan just for you. I would never have been able to determine that something found in my water was a contributing factor in causing my fatigue, muscle, and joint pain.

Life now that I know my food sensitivities

Today, I still look OK but I also feel pretty good! I am now able to work with a trainer, and regularly work out on a treadmill and elliptical. I even have competitions with my active grandchildren to see who can get the most steps in a day! My energy level is far more consistent, and when I’m tired, that’s all it is tired. I’m not fatigued to the point of being unable to move. I have come a long way from the fatigue that has haunted me for the last 25 years. I am so thankful that I was able to access testing. It can be very challenging to make the necessary dietary changes but, it’s worth the effort if your life changes! My only regret is waiting so long.

Do you have a personal story to share about your food sensitivity testing experience and outcome?

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Turkey Croquettes: A Great Comfort Food Recipe

turkey croquette recipe

Those turkey scraps that don’t fit nicely on a serving platter for Thanksgiving lend themselves very well to making turkey croquettes. This turkey croquette recipe has been in my family for generations. I would put these croquettes in the “comfort food” category. They are easy to make, use up all your leftover meat scraps, and are a healthy meat entrée. Enjoy the whole traditional bird on Thanksgiving with healthier thanksgiving menu options, then enjoy this great leftover dish later in the week or whenever you feel like eating turkey again.

Getting started with making turkey croquettes

turkey croquettes ready to bake

It’s so easy to let the leftover turkey just linger in the kitchen while hanging out with family and guests. But, it’s really important to get your meat scraps under refrigeration promptly. As soon as possible, gather your turkey scraps off the serving platters and off the the bird itself. Put all the scraps into the refrigerator to avoid getting sick from food borne pathogens. It’s important to get that cooked turkey refrigerated in under 2 hours (more food safety tips here). The scraps can be tossed into freezer bags for immediate freezing. Or, just toss into a food storage container for making this recipe over the next few days. When I am super organized, I’ll take the scraps and put through the food processor right away. Then, I’ll freeze the shredded turkey. This takes one step away from the recipe when I am ready to cook these croquettes.

This turkey croquette recipe calls for about 2 cups of shredded meat. As I mentioned, you can actually take the turkey scraps and put though the food processor immediately. That way, you have one less step when ready to make this gem of a recipe. When ready to make this croquette recipe, the meat mixture will be mixed with a light roux sauce to bind it. It’s then baked in the oven for a healthier alternative to a traditional fried croquette recipe.

shredded turkey for croquettes

leftover turkey put through food processor for croquettes to be made at a later date

Turkey Croquettes

This recipe is absolutely perfect comfort food. It's a great way to use up all your leftover turkey scraps.
Prep Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Calories: 200kcal
Cost: pennies after turkey cost

Equipment

  • blender or food processor
  • Oven

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped or shredded leftover turkey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice optional
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley optional
  • 4 Tbsp butter for the roux sauce
  • cup flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 whole egg mix with 1 Tbsp. water or use eggbeaters

Instructions

  • Take leftover turkey scraps and chop or shred finely in a blender or food processor.
  • Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and/or parsley flakes. Add the optional lemon.
  • Mix the ingredients up and place into a bowl.

Roux sauce for the croquette recipe

  • Melt the 4 Tbsp butter in a saucepan.
  • Add in the ⅓ flour and seasonings and blend.
  • Slowly add in the one cup of milk, stirring continuously with a wire whisk until the roux mixture thickens.
  • After the mixture thickens, add part of it into the chopped turkey set aside in the bowl. You want the mixture to be firm enough to shape, so only use part of the roux mixture initially. Add in more if the mixture seems too dry, just keeping in mind you need to mold the mixture.
  • It can be helpful to chill the turkey/roux mixture in order to shape the croquette patties.

Prepping the croquettes for baking

  • Place the ¼ cup butter in a shallow baking dish or bowl and melt. Put the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl or an a plate. Mix the egg and water and place in a bowl.
  • Dip each molded croquette into the bread crumbs, egg, and back into the bread crumbs. Be careful to coat the entire croquette.
  • After the croquettes are coated with the bread crumbs and eggs, dip each one into the melted butter.

Baking

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Place the croquettes on a foil lined pan (I spray with vegetable spray to prevent sticking). Bake for 30 minutes until crisp.
  • If there is any leftover roux, that can be served on top of the turkey croquette. Garnish with a sprig of parsley and enjoy your turkey once again.

Notes

Nutrition Information:
Each croquette: 200 calories, 9 g fat, 15 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 360 mg sodium
If you want to decrease the fat and calorie content further, skip rolling the breaded croquette in the melted butter. Turkey scraps can also be frozen to make this at a later date. And, no turkey scraps? This recipe works great with leftover chicken as well.

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Chronic Fatigue: 4 Diet and Lifestyle Tips to Tackle

It goes by many names: chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID), myaligic encephalomyelitis (ME). Whatever you want to call it, it requires lifestyle changes to cope, and bed rest is not a quick fix for those that are truly afflicted. If you have this condition, you know who you are! You may also remember your life before the condition and after, that red line of health and when it was crossed and what triggered your seemingly endless fatigue.

chronic fatigueEven rest can’t help chronic fatigue

Here are some tried and true tips to help chronic fatigue:

Manage your weight for lessening chronic fatigue

Under the circumstance, this can be a huge challenge. If you are needing to pace yourself with rest, then you will be sitting more. Eating more nutrient rich low calorie foods will be your tool for weight management. It’s amazing what a difference there is in terms of calorie burn on days you are mostly sitting vs. being able to walk around all day when you may feel better. It’s important to match your calorie intake with calorie output.

I am a huge fan of fitness trackers for just this reason. Knowing real time energy output on bad days and then better days, helps immensely in weight management. The fitness tracker can guide you on how much you can eat on a given day based on your calorie burn.

Do eat a nutrient dense diet

Your calories need to “count” from a nutritional standpoint because there may not be a lot of discretionary calories for you to be eating if you are burning few calories due to your fatigue and limited activity. The better quality diet will only increase your chances of feeling better. There’s no guarantee, but it can’t hurt.

Too tired to prepare food?  Never cook for only one meal. Double batch and use your freezer. Don’t be afraid of a frozen meal such as Healthy Choice brand meals. They are always going to be healthier than what you might grab at a restaurant.

Consider certain supplements

The condition remains one that the established medical community cannot open a text book and find solid direction on how to treat. With that said, there are a few supplements that may be helpful. Consider CoEnzymeQ10, D-ribose, and probably a good quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. I don’t uniformly recommend the latter to patients, but when calories need to be restricted for manage weight, it’s not a bad idea in my opinion. The CoQ10 and D-ribose are tied in with our biochemical energy cycle, and I personally find them to be helpful. Other research has suggested a daily dosage of 200 mg CoQ10 and 20 mg of NADH twice a day as being therapeutic for symptoms.

Know and state your boundaries to manage chronic fatigue

While boundary setting is not necessarily a nutrition tip, it’s an important lifestyle tip. Learn to say “no” if you feel it will compromise your health. Many of us are so eager to be normal, that it is very easy to overdo it when we feel on the normal end of the spectrum. Both mental and physical pacing need to be first and center in your life. If you are reading this, you are probably all too familiar with the “crash and burn” cycle of both chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Doing too much at a time can result in being a limp rag doll later. Best to manage that precious resource called energy and pace yourself all day and every day-even when you may be feeling “normal”.

What tips can you share to live your best life?

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The Old Diet Issue is STILL the New Issue: Easy Steps to Up Your Intake of Fruits & Veggies

I’ve had my nutrition practice for 29 years this month! Despite all the new ideas revolving around the best way to eat a healthy diet, some American food patterns haven’t changed in nearly 30 years-namely not eating enough fruits and vegetables. I often ask myself what is going on, because so many clients are adamant that they love fruits and vegetables. Reviewing their food records, however, tells another story. While they may indeed “love” fruits and vegetables, they are not eating enough of them. So, here are some very easy ways to continue tackling this very-longstanding dietary problem sans becoming a vegan:

Apples. Prepare another way! Fall is the time many families pick apples. All those apples do not need to be eaten raw, turned into calorie laden pie, or smeared with peanut butter. Instead, cut up an apple, zap it in the microwave for about 1.5 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and garnish with dab of whipped cream or ice cream (dab is the operative word here). Now you have a tasty apple disguised as dessert. This is a great way to get a toddler interested in and able to start eating apples even before all the teeth are in. And, for the older crowd, the calories are a lot less than apple pie.

Pumpkin. Eat crust-less pumpkin pie for breakfast!  My three kids loved this breakfast food when growing up. And, I still enjoy it myself.

15 oz. Can pumpkin pie
 1 can evaporated skim milk
 2 large eggs
 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
 ½ tsp. ground ginger
 ½ tsp. ground cloves
 ½ tsp. salt
 1/2 cup sugar
 1/2 cup Bisquick mix

Directions~
Spray Pam or vegetable spray on a glass pie plate. Mix all ingredients together. Pour into pie pan and bake in a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Note: the texture of the crust-free pie is souffle like. The Bisquick mix adds enough texture to the pie to allow it to be cut into pie shaped wedges. Serve plain or top with dab of whipped cream or ice cream.

Berries.  While lots of people think of smoothies as a way to boost your fruit and vegetable intake, most people make it too complicated. I like to include one banana to thicken the smoothie, add a cup of berries, and 3/4 cup skim milk, soy milk, or orange juice. If you want to make it taste like cheesecake, add a small amount of cottage cheese. Straws are necessary. This is great for kids and adults on the run.

Spinach. Add it to lasagna, soups, omelets, or one skillet meals. This evening, my husband made an impressive vegan pasta dish with lots of tomatoes and spinach. It was a “keeper recipe” and used a lot of spinach. One-Pot Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes.

Getting 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet has a huge impact on the overall nutritional quality of your diet.

What tips do you have for this age old eating problem?