BUT since it’s pumpkin season, I made my version of pumpkin spice granola and honestly–it’s my favorite homemade granola recipe yet! I hope y’all love it as much as I do! Make sure you tag me in all of your creations: @livebetterwithkatdetter
Fun Pumpkin Facts:
Did you know that pumpkin can be used to replace butter or oil in baked goods? You heard me right! Subbing pumpkin for butter in a recipe: For 1 cup of butter, use 3/4 cup of PURE pumpkin puree Subbing pumpkin for oil in a recipe: For 1 cup of oil, use 1 cup of PURE pumpkin puree (1:1 ratio)
Pumpkin is also high in fiber which many Americans do not consume enough of daily. Fiber aids in digestion, promotes heart health, and controls blood sugars. Make your “treats” more nourishing by using pumpkin!
Other ways to incorporate pumpkin:
Add pumpkin puree to Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey
Make pumpkin muffins or scones
Mix 1-2 Tablespoons into coffee with 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
Make a savory sauce with pumpkin + light cream + Parmesan cheese
Combine pumpkin + ricotta cheese + herbs + spices and use as a filling for lasagna
Make a pumpkin smoothie
2 cups old fashioned oats 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice 1/4 tsp salt 1 T chia seeds or ground flax 1/4 cup coconut oil 1/8-1/4 cup maple syrup (depending on how sweet ya like it!) 1/2 can PURE pumpkin
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Mix oats, spices and chia/flax together. In a saucepan, heat coconut oil, maple syrup and pumpkin until melted and combined together.
Mix pumpkin mixture into oats.
Once well incorporated, add to a parchment paper lined baking dish.
For granola clusters, spread granola evenly and firmly pack oat mixture onto baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Allow granola mixture to cool for an hour, then break into chunks. **NOTE: If granola is too moist, bake for an additional 10-20 minutes at 200 F to take out excess moisture.
Enjoy on a top of yogurt, in a smoothie bowl, or plain!
Additional/optional add ons once granola is cooled:
Dark chocolate chips/chunks
Freeze dried fruit
What other fall recipes would you like me to try? Let me know in the comments here or on my social media accounts!
First off, what is hangry?? By definition, hangry is when someone becomes irritable as a result of hunger. For me, it’s usually a combination of hunger + stressful/annoying situations. I do not automatically become hangry when I am hungry–just when that combination occurs.
Y’all, this is probably my WORST flaw–I have been hangry one to many times, and it not only affects you but also the people around you…so do yourself and your loved ones a favor and follow these tips to AVOID the hangry monster.
A lot of times hunger can be mistaken for thirst, so stay hydrated! Keep a bottle with you most of the day. Plus, staying hydrated can eliminate headaches, enhance brain clarity and keep you energized for the rest of the day.
Eat Consistent + Complete Meals
What do I mean by consistent + complete meals? Meals that contain all three of the macronutrients (carbs + protein + fat). Each of these macros contain vital nutrition needed that can help you feel full + satisfied until your next meal. Consistency is key–try not to skip meals if you frequently get hangry!
Listen to Your Body’s Hunger Cues
If you’re hungry right after a meal, you may just be thirsty…have some water, and wait a few minutes. If you are still hungry, then you likely didn’t feed your body enough during the meal. Add a non-starchy vegetable or piece of fruit to your meals and that should satisfy your hunger. On the flip side, if it is mid afternoon and you are hungry, have a snack! Especially if dinner is several hours away OR you’re hitting the gym soon.
Have Healthy Snacks on Hand
This is KEY for success in beating the hangry monster. Keep power bars in your purse or at your desk. Have fresh fruits + veggies readily available for convenience. Pair snacks with protein so it slows down blood sugar spike and keeps you full for longer periods of time. Don’t fear snacking–be mindful in listening to your hunger cues and feed your body as needed.
In order to have consistent + complete meals with all 3 macros + veggies, planning needs to happen. This does not mean you have to prep all your food on Sunday and eat the same thing over and over again (although that does work for some people)–I tend to get bored of the same thing every day. My advice? Take one day of your week and plan your meals and snacks. Write them down, make a grocery list, and stock your fridge with items needed. Prepare (wash + cut) all of your fruits and veggies for easy access, and allow time to cook easy + nutritious meals during the week. If you like cooking everything on Sunday for the whole week and it works well for you, do it! Find your balance.
If nothing else, remember this! My hangry-self is sparked by negativity–if I know I am going into something particularly stressful or annoying, I make sure I have my nourishing snacks on hand and eat well balanced meals. This is my trigger (it may be different for you), but nothing good comes from negativity for me. Find something positive about your day and focus on it–this may help you stay calm. Do your best to stay calm during these situations, and if you’re fueled well, hopefully the hanger will stay away!
What are some of your tips to avoid becoming hangry? Let me know in the comments! 🙂
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This trend has been around for a few years now. The first time I made black bean brownies was in 2015…I was getting ready to pack up my car and move to California to attend Loma Linda University to become a registered dietitian. Before I left for school, I made my family a special treat…and I didn’t tell them what was in it…
Now, I am going to give you a little background on my childhood…when I was a little girl, maybe 6 or 7, I LOVED “playing” in my mom’s kitchen experimenting with foods…that could be why I decided to become a dietitian and do recipe development professionally!
I can remember making a jello dessert and putting what I thought was orange zest in it for a little extra flavor…turns out I was zesting too much and ended up putting the orange peeling in it instead…and my brothers never let me forget it! They’re always kind of afraid to try new foods I make despite the fact that I’ve gotten wayyyyy better at recipe development.
Back to before I moved away, I made a special dessert for my last night in North Carolina…I made black bean brownies. After everyone took a bite and decided they tasted good, I had them guess what they thought was in it…no one knew!
“Black beans!” Course, we grew up eating beans so my brothers weren’t too put off…but my sister-in-law was like “Ew, gross” and decided they were not fit to eat. However, everyone else LOVED them, and you will to!
I’ve adapted my recipe over the years. Today I am using black beans and sweet potato in this recipe and I guarantee you will love it! Fudgey, smooth, and perfect for a warm, brownie sundae!
What if I told you I’ve got a healthy spinach dip recipe?? Using tons of fresh spinach and garlic and instead of mayo or sour cream (like traditional spinach dip), I use nonfat Greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt is packed with protein which makes this appetizer more nutrient dense than traditional spinach dip.
For even more creaminess, I use Neufchâtel cheese. Essentially, it’s low fat cream cheese…I choose to use low fat animal products because they are lower in saturated fat. While our body needs fat, saturated fat (found in animal products) may increase total body cholesterol.
It is officially summer, if you couldn’t tell by the sweltering heat and humidity (if you are on the east coast), which means our gardens will be spitting out fresh produce for us once again. I have to be honest, I get excited about summer produce initially, but by the end of the season, I am sick of corn and zucchini! Have no fear! I have chosen 5 popular summer crops to research the history, nutrition, and cooking ideas to beat the boredom this season.
Fun fact: Did you know that all squash in general are native crops of North America? The Wampanoag Indians cultivated winter and summer varieties in the early stages of America. Summer squash such as yellow squash and zucchini are relatives of winter squash such as butternut, acorn, and pumpkin.
Nutritionally, summer squash are rich in Vitamin C, an antioxidant which aids in collagen production, wound healing and iron absorption. In just one ½ cup serving, squash contains 15% of the daily recommendation for vitamin C. In addition to that, summer squash contains 1 gram of fiber per ½ cup serving. Fiber aids in digestion and helps you have a healthy colon.
Make no mistake, I love some squash, but I get tired of eating it sautéed for 2 months straight. You can grate squash and add to your baked goods or salads for some extra nutrition and flavor. Or, you can boil, microwave, sauté, roast, and of course-fry this delectable veggie. Most recently, my favorite way is grilled, thanks to my husband.
Directions: First, prep your veggies. Wash the squash and cut the ends off. DO NOT PEEL! Most of the nutrition is in the skin. Chop your squash in whatever form you like best. I prefer circles. Second, grab some aluminum foil and make a “foil packet” as shown above. Add another sheet of aluminum foil to the top forming a pouch to enclose the veggies. Add in your chopped veggies with a little drizzle of canola, grape-seed, or avocado oil. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the top. If you want to get a little creative, add herb of choice: rosemary, oregano or basil would be good options for a burst of flavor. Third, place foil pack on your grill for about 20 minutes or until tender. You will be AMAZED with how delicious this is. I could eat a mountain of grilled summer squash!
An herb used in many Italian and Thai dishes, basil is another fun summer plant. The origination is debatable as the plant has been cultivated in many different areas for many years, but it is thought to originate in India6. Oddly enough, in ancient Egypt times, basil was used as an embalming agent and has been found in tombs and mummies since then. With virtually no calories, basil is a great addition to foods to achieve flavor without extra sodium. Adding fresh basil to soups, pastas, curries, and even fruit can add a burst of flavor. Below is my take on basil pesto.
Directions: Gather your fresh, clean basil (1 cup) and add to food processor or blender. Add: ¼ cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons of walnuts or pine nuts, a dash of parmesan cheese, and 2 fresh garlic cloves. Pulse mixture together until smooth. Serve over pasta, spread on toast or sandwiches, or use as a dip for veggies. Make a double batch to have on hand for whenever you want it!
“How do you put water in a watermelon?”
“You plant it in the spring!”
(go ahead, laugh at my corny joke.)
It’s a hot summer’s day, you are chilling at the pool and want a refreshing snack. What better way to enjoy a nice chunk of watermelon! Watermelon is the definition of summer, and quite possibly my favorite summer crop.
Cultivated in South Africa, watermelon quickly made its way to Egypt, to Europe, to the Mediterranean, then to India and finally to China. Interestingly enough, China is the world’s largest producer of watermelons5. Watermelon later made its way to America through the slave trade.
Watermelon is a very nutritious fruit made mostly of water (91%) with 6% sugar. This fruit is loaded with vitamin C while low in fat and sodium. Another fun nutrition bit on watermelon is that it is full of fiber! Yes, fiber which we know aids in digestion. One cup of watermelon contains about 50 calories and 1 gram of fiber.
Recipe time! One thing I think pairs well with watermelon is feta cheese-you get a little bit of salty/sweet action. Below is my recipe for Watermelon-Feta Salad.
Directions: First, prep your watermelon by cutting it in half and using a melon baller to form melon-balls. You will want to spoon out about 3-4 cups of watermelon. To the watermelon, add ¼ cup of feta cheese crumbles. Mix together. If you want to get a little spunky, add some freshly chopped basil. This fruit salad is a great dessert option for a patriotic holiday cookout.
Did you have that one vegetable growing up that you absolutely loathed and begged your parents not to make you eat? Yeah, beets were that vegetable for me, and of course my father made me eat at least one each time it was on the menu. They say your taste buds change every seven years-must be true because I love them now!
Originally from the Mediterranean, the actual beetroot was generally used medicinally. That’s right, people generally ate the greens from beets before discovering the fleshy, earthy part many of us enjoy today7. Due to their strong staining effect, beets were used to dye clothing in the olden days. Beets are highly nutritious for the fact they are good sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are generally in substances containing vitamin C and remove potentially harmful oxidizing agents in a living organism, which potentially can decrease the amount of cancer cells8. Per 1 cup of beets, there are about 60 calories, 13 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of fiber. Beets are rich in vitamin C and potassium, which help maintain our natural acid-base balance in the body.
Beets are mostly canned or pickled, but my favorite way to cook beets is by roasting in the oven.
Directions: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and wash your beets. Chop beets into bite sized pieces. Drizzle oil of choice-I choose one with a high smoke point like canola or grapeseed oil. Add: ½ tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until tender. Add to a nice spinach salad with your favorite goat cheese for some extra flavor. Roasted butternut squash or carrots would be a nice addition to that salad, as well.
When I think back to my childhood and helping my dad in his garden, corn was always something we had an abundance of, and to be honest it was my least favorite summer crop (and still is). However, the history behind it is very neat!
Corn was actually nonexistent in the wild until it was cultivated in Central Mexico many, many years ago. Eventually when the Mexican culture migrated to America, they cultivated this crop in the Americas. Later when the Europeans came over, it was the Native Americans job to teach them how to cultivate many grains-especially corn. There are many varieties and colors of corn out there-blue corn, yellow corn, sweet corn, popcorn…which is your favorite? Corn can then be processed into many things we eat today from chips to grits (if you are a Southerner like me) or polenta.
Though is does contain calories and carbs our bodies need, corn is actually one of the least nutritious grains. It contains poor quality protein (mainly because it is incomplete, as most grains are) and there is no niacin in this grain. Niacin is the precursor to tryptophan, an essential amino acid in our body. Essential amino acids are those that are not naturally made by our bodies. We have to eat foods that contain essential amino acids to make proteins in our body. Without niacin, our bodies will not make tryptophan. Corn does have some benefits though as it contains numerous vitamins and minerals to aid in processes in our bodies.
Wanna fight the boredom with this starchy grain? You can do many things with it-saute, boil on the Cobb, creamed…the recipe I am sharing with you is corn salsa. If I have to eat it, I prefer it with the Mexican flavors.
Directions: First, obviously, get to shuckin’! Once you have gotten all the silk off the corn, wash thoroughly. Next, cut corn off the Cobb and add to a bowl. Add: 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed), ½ cup of diced tomatoes (I like using Roma or grape), a bundle of finely chopped cilantro, lime juice, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Then just mix it all up! Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to integrate. Serve with your favorite tortilla chip or top a salad with it for some extra flavor.
What’s your favorite summer crop?
Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!
Until Next Time, Happy Chewing! Katrina Detter, RD, LDN Follow me on social media!
Snacking has become very popular in today’s society–so popular that people snack all day long to “increase their metabolism” to lose weight. Now, the whole topic on food increasing your metabolism is a whole different topic for another day, but in short, food cannot boost your metabolism. The only thing that can speed up your metabolism is exercising. Again, we will save those details for another post.
So, what are the pros and cons of snacking? In short, the idea behind no snacking is that it gives your digestive system a break between each meal so that when food enters again, it will be ready to easily digest.
However, sometimes you really need to listen to your body’s hunger pains. If an average person is on a 2,000 calorie diet that would mean he or she would need to consume around 670 calories per meal. With careful consideration, it could easily be done. Or even if one were to eat out for every meal, those allotted calories would easily be met or probably over-met. For the health conscious individual, 670 calories may be hard to reach at each meal. Some people are not breakfast eaters and may only consume 300 calories in the morning, so they would need a mid-morning snack in order to make it to lunch time. Others have very high metabolisms or are very active and need a little boost between meals. In these cases, snacking is good! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that for a sedentary person, snacks should be about 200 calories. For the more active individuals and children, snacks should be between 200 and 300 calories.
It is important that we be mindful with the snacks we choose. A problem with snacking is that a lot of pre-packaged, processed snacks contain empty calories. Empty calories are basically calories with little to no nutrient value. While eating is a pleasurable activity, its soul purpose is to nourish our bodies. Our goal is to combine healthful eating with pleasure.
Now that we have established that snacking is OK if your body tells you it is hungry, what are some ways to have nourishing, smart snacks? From the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, they suggest having pre-planned snacks. What all does this entail? When you get home from the grocery store, try washing, chopping, and packaging all of your produce that way it is easily accessible when you and your family need a snack on-the-go. If you love popcorn, air-pop some in advance and portion it out into sealable bags. Those are just a couple of ideas to make snacks easily accessible.
What are some other smart snacking ideas that are around 200 calories, tasty, and healthful? Below is a list of “Smart Snacking” options. One thing I try to do with my snacks is to make it a combination of carbohydrate and protein. By doing this, your blood sugar will not spike up high and immediately fall back down. The protein helps gradually decrease blood sugar after it has risen.
Nuts are also a great option for snacks. They are full of healthy fats, great for our brain and cells, especially walnuts! Keep in mind that while nuts are very nutritious and a great source of omega 3, they do contain a lot of calories for a small amount. A rule of thumb is about a handful, or 1/4 cup, is a serving.
If you try any of the snack items listed, please comment below to tell me how you liked them! Also, if you have any favorite, nutritious snacks, please share!
Ants on a Log (2 celery stalks, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of unsweetened raisins)
1/4 cup of your favorite Trail Mix & 1 Clementine
1 Banana with 1-2 Tablespoons Nut Butter of choice
1/2 cup of baby carrots & 2 tablespoons of hummus (if you do not like hummus, you could try greek yogurt dips or low-fat salad dressing)
1 slice of low-fat cheese & 6 crackers of choice
1 single-serve container (about 1/2 cup) of Greek Yogurt (your flavor preference) & 1/2 cup of fresh/frozen berries
1 granola bar & navel orange
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter & drizzle of honey
1/4 cup cashews & 5-10 fresh strawberries
Fresh fruit/veggie smoothie blended with skim or nut milk (added nut butter for extra protein)
Apple Nachos: 1 thinly sliced apple drizzled with 1 tablespoon of nut butter (may help if heated) & 1 tablespoon shredded, unsweetened coconut (want to splurge? Add 2 teaspoons of mini dark chocolate chips)
1 hard boiled egg over 1 slice of 100% whole grain toast (you could also add veggies like sliced bell peppers, spinach, or cucumber for color, texture, fiber, and extra nutrients)
Those are just a few of the endless smart snacking options! Remember to plan for your snacks that way you do not reach for something that has empty calories leaving you hungrier than you were before. Until next time, keep snacking smart!