Archive for July, 2009

Portable, Healthy Poolside Beach Snacks (that you and your family will love!)

Most of my articles generally center around a specific health topic or on the nutritional benefits of certain foods. But, now that summer is upon us and we are all beginning to naturally eat more healthy salads and fresh vegetables and fruits,

This month I thought I would keep it simple and just give you a few of my favorite pool or beach-side summer faves! You don’t always have to stand in line at the store buying prepared foods or throw out unhealthy options. Healthy snacks and meals by the pool or to go on the beach can be healthy, easy to prepare and delicious!

“Without the Guilt” Tortilla Chips
Package of whole wheat or sprouted tortilla chips
Olive oil
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tortillas into triangular shape pieces (I use a pizza cutter.) Place on a baking sheet and liberally drizzle with olive oil and dash with sea salt. Cook them until they are crispy turning them over as needed. My kids literally devour these the moment they come out o f the oven! These are delicious with my homemade guacamole, salsa, on top of salads or as a side for one of my delicious sandwiches or wraps (see also Seaweed article)!

“No Guilt” Guacamole
3 avocados
¼- ½ cups diced onions or 2 diced scallions
¼ cups of diced cilantro
Juice of 1 lemon
Dash of sea salt
1 Roma tomato (optional)

Add the avocado, sea salt and ½ of the onion in a food processor and run for just a bit until mixed. Add the remaining onions and cilantro and stir in. If you don’t have a food processor at hand then just mash the avocado with a fork and take more time to finely chop the onion. Serve the guacamole with raw vegetables or a healthy chip (see my “Without the Guilt” Tortilla Chip recipe) or use on a sandwich, in a healthy wrap or even on top of a salad. This recipe only uses good fresh, wholesome ingredients and is beyond healthy and good for you without all the unnecessary fats!

Heirloom Tomato, Spinach and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad
Heirloom Tomato
Buffalo Mozzarella
Spinach Leaves
Avocado (optional)
Walnuts (optional)

Slice heirloom tomatoes and high-quality buffalo mozzarella and place atop a bed of raw spinach leaves and douse with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. For something richer add sliced avocados and your favorite raw nuts such as walnuts, which are high in protein and folic acid. This is truly one of my favorite summer salads!

Mexican Sushi Wrap
Smoked salmon
Cream cheese (I prefer Tofutti “cream cheese”)
Whole wheat tortilla wrap

Liberally spread the cream cheese over the tortilla and layer with salmon. Roll up the wrap “sushi style” and cut into ¼ inch slices and your done! These are a great option if you are packing up a picnic for the beach or even a lunch for your child to take to camp or to school.

Watermelon Lemonade Popsicles
Watermelon- cubed or chunked (approximately 4 cups)
1-2 Cups Newman’s Own (or other healthy, low-sugar lemonade)
1 squeeze of Agave Nectar
1 dash of Sea Salt

Combine the ingredients and blend in a blender. Be sure to put aside a few chunks for simply mash up to add to the mixture to give it texture. Pour the mixture into the molds and freeze. These are so refreshing and delicious! For more healthy popsicle recipes please go to Homemade Popsicles: An Easy to Make, Healthy Summer Treat!

And, for more ideas on healthy lunches to pack your kids, please go toCamp Season: How to Pack Healthy Lunches Your Kids Will Actually Eat!

Sea Vegetables: Not Just for the Fishies!

This article is dedicated to my daughter, Caroline, who is absolutely addicted to seaweed salads and who asked me whether they were healthy! Yes, they are!!!

Sea vegetables are perhaps one of the most over looked vegetables in terms of nutritional value and taste! Sea vegetables contain high levels of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, iodine, chlorophyll, enzymes and fiber and offer more vitamins and minerals per ounce than any other food and are one of nature’s richest sources of proteins, having up to 48% of plant-based protein. Sea vegetables are alsohigh in vitamin b-12, which is usually only found in animal-based sources and is responsible for regulating the central nervous system and blood cell production. Ounce per ounce, they are higher in vitamins and nutritional value that almost any other food!

Sea vegetables have a balancing, alkalizing effect on the blood, reduce cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, remove metallic toxins from the body, reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, and thyroid disease. On top of all of that, sea vegetables have been said to have cancer-fighting benefits! “One order of seaweed salad for me,” right?!?

Nori, hijiki, dulse, wakame, and kelp are just some of the many different types of sea vegetables, and each varies in shape, size and texture. In addition to the raw leaves, seaweed comes in flakes that are great to put in salads, soups and shakes and wraps, which can be used to make sushi or a delicious sandwich!

Nori may be the best known because it is commonly used as a wrap for sushi. It commonly comes in sheets, which are great for makin g healthy wraps (see recipe below) and can also be found in flakes that you can sprinkle on your salads. My kids literally eat these plain broken up like chips.

Hijiki is a more bitter tasting seaweed that when cooked is delicious and meaty like a Portobello mushroom. Most sushi restaurants have delicious hijiki salads so try them!

Dulse is a red algae that is delicious in a seaweed salad and, when dried, is salty and can crumbled up on a salad or eaten plain like a chip.

Wakame has been used for thousands and thousands of years in Eastern medicine for blood purification, to strengthen the outer organs of the hair and skin and for menstrual and reproductive health.

Kelp is one of my favorites, and something I use almost daily in my salads! Kelp is very salty and is great sprinkled or crumbled on salads

Avocado Vegetable Nori Wraps
2 sliced Hass avocados
4 Nori wraps (or 2 if you want to double them up!)
4 leaves of romaine (or spinach or any other mixed green)
1 roma or heirloom tomato
1 shredded carrot
For dipping: Nama Soyu soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids

Place a nori roll on a flat surface. You may choose to “double up” the rolls to make them a bit more durable. On top of the sheet place a layer of sliced avocados then shredded carrots then a lea f of romaine and finally a slice or two of tomato. Wrap tightly then serve with a side of Nama Soyu soy sauce , Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids or any regular soy sauce. These are truly delicious and are a healthy, portable lunch to pack in lunchboxes or for a meal while traveling.

Kale & Wakame “Power Salad”
For the salad:
1 head of kale (preferably locinato or “dinosaur” kale)
¼ head or red cabbage
2 chopped scallions
½ cup dried wakame
½ cup hemp seeds
1-2 avocados

For the dressing:
¾ cups brazil or macadamian nuts
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup hemp oil
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup water

Chop kale and cabbage into bite-size pieces and mix into a large bowl along with the wakame and hemp seeds. Dice the scallions and add that to the mix as well.In a food processor, place the garlic in and chop it up. Then add the nuts, ginger, sea salt, hemp oil, lemon and water and process until smooth. Toss the salad with the dressing and then add sliced avocados on top. Any remaining dressing can be saved to use later on top of steamed vegetables or served with raw vegetables as a dip.

Wakame and hemp are both very high in protein and Wakame also has a high calcium content. This is a wonderful salad to have post-workout, if you are pregnant or tired or just need a little extra energy (and,20who doesn’t need more of that?!?).