That picture is my son burying his face in ice cream, or is it? It’s actually Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Greek Yogurt. They only sell it at the ice cream shop. It’s lower in sugar, much higher in protein, and tastes great. My 19-month-old son had no idea it wasn’t regular ice cream. Greek yogurt is everywhere for good reason, it has double the amount of protein as regular yogurt and has all the probiotics found in your Yoplait. You really cannot escape it in the grocery store. And with every other healthy product, companies are bastardizing it. Yogurt companies are adding sugar, making granola bars with it, mixing it into a million unhealthy products. My suggestion, stick with plain and add the following:
• Frozen fruit
• Fresh fruit
• Chopped almonds
And you can add Greek yogurt to thicken soups, chili and any recipe that calls for sour cream, you can usually swap in Greek yogurt instead.
Sweet Potatoes are naturally sweet and high fiber. They are more nutritious than your Yukon Gold or Russet and very easy to cook with. I know many people think of sweet potatoes as that ultra-sweet Thanksgiving dish with marshmallows and brown sugar. I’m not a fan of that treat but I LOVE cooking sweet potatoes. My son always likes them and my wife has slowly come around. Here are three easy recipes. All you need for most dishes are cinnamon, salt, pepper, onion and oil.
The other night my son ate three plates of my Skillet Sweet Potatoes:
Pan fry an onion with olive oil until it starts to brown, add a cubed sweet potatoes. Add salt, pepper, and a heavy hand of cinnamon. Cover and cook until they are soft. Add a drop of butter and a little more cinnamon.
Preheat an oven to 400. Place potato in aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Let the potato cool, remove the skin, mash with a fork, add a drop of butter or olive oil, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.
Preheat the oven to 400. Slice potato and put in bowl, mix in with a drop of olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika. Bake for 15 minutes, flip the slices over cook another 15-20 minutes. If you have Silpat I recommend using it so the pieces do not stick.
In my heart of hearts, nothing beats a semi-sweet chocolate chip cookie. A cookie a day is not the best approach to eating well, but a piece of dark chocolate is ok. Dark chocolate is gaining a lot of press because it has been linked to health benefits like lowering blood pressure and it won't cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels. Dark chocolate is bitterer than milk chocolate. I like it because it’s an intense flavor that you can have a little piece and feel very satisfied. Health experts want you to buy 75%+ cacao (dark chocolates are marked with level of cacao) to get the health benefits. That’s pretty bitter. I recommend starting with a lower number that tastes great and build up to a higher percentage. And for the record, my son put the bar in his mouth, and then tossed it on the floor, but it makes for a great picture.
Being a health guy, I have to end with a vegetable, and that’s asparagus. This delicious and nutritious veggie is easy to cook with a few spices. A few new nutritional facts about asparagus:
• High in fiber
• Low in calories
• Good source of B6, A, C, E, K, potassium
• And relatively high in protein
Asparagus can be grilled, baked, or pan fried. Season it with salt and pepper, toss a little olive oil on it and it’s ready to cook. One of my favorite recipes is asparagus soup (thank you Tracy Adams). It’s super easy and everyone thinks it’s really fancy:
In a large deep pan, cook a small onion with a little olive oil, add celery and brown the onion. Add asparagus, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover the vegetable mix with low sodium chicken broth. Simmer for ten minutes or until asparagus is soft. Blend it (blender works better than emollition blender), season with a little salt and pepper serve. If you want to add a little cream, add some Greek yogurt.