Complementary Proteins


By: Nikki Nies

Original Image by Liz Mc via Flickr
Original Image by Liz Mc via Flickr

We all know there are simple and complex carbohydrates, but how many people are familiar with the different types of proteins? Yes, not all proteins are made the same! Complement proteins, made of amino acids, are those that come together to form a higher quality protein.  There are twenty amino acids, with ten considered essential to be obtained from the body as the body can not produce them. These include valine, leucine, isoleucine, methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, threonine and lysine. Limiting amino acids, such as cysteine, tryptophan, cysteine and methionine’s intake are monitored since if diet becomes too low in one of the amino acids, it will limit usefulness of other amino acids consumed. For example, while beans are high in lysine, they are low in methionine and cysteine.  While grains are high lysine, they are low in methionine and cysteine, making eating grains and beans at the same meal a great pairing, called complementary proteins.

A vegetarian requires complementary proteins from foods in order to obtain the complete package of essential amino acids. Vegetarians obtain their protein sources from vegetable sources, which do not always contain all the essential amino acids in adequate amounts. Besides soy protein, plant proteins are not complete protein sources.  Therefore, by pairing incomplete protein foods (i.e. beans and rice together), it forms complementary proteins and ensures one obtains enough of the limiting amino acids.

The best way to ensure you’re obtaining all necessary vitamins and minerals in your daily meals is to keep a variety of foods on hand.  Of course, protein can be found in beans, nuts, nut butters, peas and soy products.  Aside from all of the essential amino acids, people on a vegan diet also need adequate intake of iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin B-12, which are found abundantly in animal foods. Leafy greens, dried fruits and fortified breakfast cereals will help you to add these important nutrients to the vegan diet.

While all animal proteins, soy and quinoa are complete proteins, other plant based proteins, such as whole grains, beans and nuts are incomplete, but when combined with other foods forms essential amino acid.  Legumes, such as peas, lentils, peanuts and beans, are great to eat when paired with whole grains. Some common combinations include black bean and corn salad with brown rice, split pea soup with barley, peanut butter on whole wheat toast and/or pinto beans in a whole wheat pita. Legumes provide an essential amino acid called lysine, which is low in many grains. Whole grains provide methionine and cysteine, which are low in legumes, or beans, peas, lentils and peanuts.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians may have an easier time pairing foods since they eat dairy and eggs, which are great sources of complete proteins. Haricot beans, lentil and rice

Suggested combinations:

  • Dairy and grains
  • Dairy and seeds
  • Dairy and legumes
  • Grains and seeds
  • Grains and legumes
  • Legumes and seeds

What food pairings work best in your life? What struggles have you found when pairing foods together?

Sources: http://www.bastyr.edu/news/health-tips/2011/09/what-are-complementary-proteins-and-how-do-we-get-them

http://www.nutrition411.com/content/complementary-proteins-origins-and-recipes

http://biology.clc.uc.edu/courses/bio104/compprot.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html

http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/dietarytherapy/a/Vegetarian.htm

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-lentils-whole-grain-rice-2159.html

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002222.htm

Review: Crunchmaster


By: Nikki Nieslogo

 With several of my colleagues and friends gluten free, over the last couple of years, I’ve adapted how I make meals.  I’m proud to say I know more about the selection of gluten free products and ways to eat around gluten due to their dietary restrictions. I don’t envy their daily task of weaving through the aisles looking for things they can eat, however, with the wave of new gluten free products, as you know, the selection of gluten free products has grown multifold.  This includes Crunchmaster, with products created in Loves Park, IL.

Skeptics of gluten free sanitation and production process can rest assured that the Crunchmaster products are indeed gluten free as the baking facility has been certified by the Gluten Free Certification Organization. Crunchmaster has perfected the blend of brown rice, sesame, quinoa, flax and amaranth seeds to produce their line of crackers and chips that are 100% whole grain, cholesterol and trans free and low in sodium and saturated fat.

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While Crunchmaster has a ton of multigrain crackers, I skipped ahead of all those products and went straight for the edamame chips and baked rice crackers. As a health conscious individual, I was eager to try Crunchmaster’s healthier options. After trying the baked rice crackers, I wondered if baked is really better than fried. That’s where detective hat entered the scene.

In comparison to fried, baked chips are lower in calories and fat. However, the sodium content of the baked chips tend to be higher than fried and baked chips contain acrylamides, a cancer causing chemical that is produced when high carbohydrate foods, such as potatoes, crackers, cereals are heated to high temperatures.  So, while baked chips have some health benefits,eating in moderation is key.

Yet, one of my favorite aspects of the Crunchmaster’s website is their superb recipes.  I am always intrigued by the thought of “what can I do with this ingredient” or “what kind of blend will be formed if I combine x and y.”  Thankfully, Crunchmaster has taken the guesswork out of the equation, providing readers reliable recipes. Some of the recipes I’ve added to my list of recipes to try include Wild Cheddar Stuffed Mushrooms, Sweet Potato Fries and Sweet Cherry Cobb.

Want to learn more about Crunchmaster’s community offerings? Join today to be enrolled in promotional offers, become eligible for giveaways, receive coupons and recipes! Sign up today to get valuable coupons and enter to win a sampler of six Crunchmaster products by entering a Rafflecopter giveaway. Giveaway entries will be accepted until 2/18/15 1200AM ET

Check out Crunchmaster’s  Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest Contact | Site 

Disclosure Agreement: Review of Crunchmaster was due to compensation from the company’s whose products were reviewed. We Dish Nutrition tested each product thoroughly and gives high marks to only the very best. Opinions expressed at We Dish Nutrition are our own. 

Photo Credit: Crunchmaster

Sources: http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2012/07/21/baked-chips-are-they-healthy/

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm374855.htm

Pseudograins


246353b24d55bd9ee4a810a9c74cBy: Nikki Nies

False grains, also known as pseudograins, are often associated with their whole grains counterparts, such as wheat, corn, barley, rice, millet and sorghum.While buckwheat has the word wheat in it, it is not composed of wheat! Confusing right?! Yet, pseudograins–amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa and wild rice are becoming more popular with the more shelf space allotted Although pseudograins have different botanical origins, pseudograins are similar in composition to grains, but often superior in nutrient content–high in protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium and more! Pseudograins are seeds and grasses that are often mistaken for grains.

Quinoa has received a lot of attention, rightfully so, but how much experience do you have with buckwheat or amaranth? Did you know you can make your own soba noodles with buckwheat? Who’s up for that challenge?

Pseudograin Description Nutrition Content Use
Amaranth
  • staple of Mayan and Aztec cuisine
  • pleasant, nut like flavor
  • tiny kernels–4000/teaspoon
  • Gluten free
  • Can toast the seeds prior to use to additional flavor and crunch to any dish
  • Protein
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin e
  • vitamin C
  • Lysine–an essential protein
  • Breads
  • Can be popped like corn
  • Veggie Patty
  • Add to soups or chilis
  • Pudding
  • Cookies
  • Biscotti
  • Smoothies
  • Porridge or oatmeal
  • Substitute for rice, couscous, orzo or risotto
  • Without gluten, will have to mix with other flours for baking, with ratio 1:3; ¼ cup amaranth, ¾ cup additional flour=1 cup
Buckwheat
  • Is a broadleaf crop–in the same family as sorrel and rhubarb
  • seed is triangular shape
  • Dark hull is usually removed before milling–called groats
  • Kasha: toasted buckwheat groats
  • Dark buckwheat flour includes hulls
  • Protein
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • vitamin e
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Breads
  • Pancakes
  • Granola
  • Blinis
  • Crepes
  • Muffins/rolls
  • Soba noodles
Quinoa (keen-wa)
  • sacred staple of Incan empire
  • mild corn and bean flavor
  • fruit of the herb–does not contain gluten
  • most of quinoa consumed in U.S. is imported from South America–when grown above 12,000 feet, it has the whitest color and sweetest taste
  • Protein
  • Potassium
  • vitamin e
  • Folic Acid
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • As a complete protein, quinoa contains all essential amino acids
  • Stews, pilafs, salads or bread
  • Tabbouleh
  • Chili
  • As a side: i.e. to salmon
  • Quinoa crab cakes
  • Baked tomatoes with quinoa, corn and grilled chiles
  • Meatballs
Wild Rice
  • An aquatic seed found in freshwater lakes in Canada, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota
  • Has a rich, nutty flavor
  • Color can vary from medium brown to almost pure black
  • Protein
  • B vitamins
  • Folic Acid
  • Lysine–an essential protein
  • Stir fry
  • Rolls
  • Dressing/Stuffings
  • Soups
  • Casseroles/pilafs
  • Quiche
  • Salads
  • Risotto

Now that you have a better understanding of the versatility of pseudograins, make sure to add these foods to your grocery shopping list if you don’t have on hand already! I’m going to try my hand at making buckwheat soba noodles using the following recipe:

Homemade Buckwheat Soba Noodles:

Homemade Soba NoodlesServings:

Ingredients

  • 2 generous cups stone-milled buckwheat flour 
  • 1/2 generous cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup  filtered or mineral water
  • Buckwheat starch or tapioca starch, for rolling the soba

Directions:

  1. Combine flours:  Sift through strainer into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add water to the flour: Measure water and pour over the flours.
  3. Knead until a crumbly dough is formed: Work flours and water together with hands and knead n the bowl until it is a rough and slightly crumbly dough.
  4. Knead dough on the counter until smooth: Turn dough out onto the counter. Continue kneading until it holds together easily, does not crack while kneading, and becomes smooth.
  5. Shape the dough into a disk: Shape dough into a pointed cone, like a mountain peak. Press straight down on the peak with the palm of your hand, squishing it into a disk about 1/2-inch thick. The bottom should be very smooth. This step helps ensure that the dough is even and in a uniform shape before rolling.
  6. Roll out the dough: Sprinkle counter with a little starch and place dough on top. Sprinkle the top of the dough and the rolling pin with starch. Begin rolling out the dough, working from the center of the dough outward in long, even strokes. Gently tap the edges of the dough with your rolling pin to shape them into straight lines as you roll, gradually shaping the dough into as close a rectangular shape as you can make it. Use more starch as needed to prevent sticking. Continue rolling the dough into a rectangle longer than it is wide and 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch thick (as thin as possible!).
  7. Fold the dough: The next step is folding the dough to make it easier to cut straight, thin noodles. Spread a generous handful of starch over half of the dough. Fold the dough in half, like closing a book. Spread the bottom of the dough with more starch and fold the top down. Spread starch over the entire surface of the dough and fold the top down again.
  8. Slice the soba: Place a pastry scraper, ruler, or other thin, flat utensil over the top of the folded dough. Use this as a guide when cutting the noodles. Using chefs knife, begin cutting noodles 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch thick — the same thickness as your dough. Move the pastry scraper back with every cut to help you cut noodles with an even thickness. Toss the cut noodles with a little more starch to prevent sticking. Cook or freeze the soba within a few hours.→ Make-Ahead Moment: At this point, the soba can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before cooking.
  9. Cook the soba: Set strainer in your sink. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes, and set this near the sink. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously and drop in the soba. Cook for 60 seconds, then drain through the strainer in the sink. Rinse thoroughly under cool water, lifting and gently shaking the soba until the cooking film is rinsed away. Immediately dunk the soba in the bowl of ice water. Drain and serve with dashi, soy sauce, and sesame oil, or use the soba in any recipe.

Recipe adapted from Kitchn

What’re your thoughts on the soba noodle recipe? Willing to join me in the fun?

Photo Credit:Chatelaine, New Fin My Soup

Sources: https://www.yahoo.com/beauty/meet-the-better-for-you-pseudograins-101346565775.html

http://sproutpeople.org/seeds/nuts/

http://www.wheatfoods.org/sites/default/files/atachments/grains-truth-ancient-and-pseudo-grains-513.pdf

Healthy Pasta Alternatives


Original Image by Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr
Original Image by Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Love the taste of pasta, yet struggle to eat a balanced diet?  Switch up your meals with healthier pasta options and pair with your favorite vegetables and seasonings.Whether you’re trying to limit your refined carbohydrates and/or increase  whole grains and vegetable intake, by making some small changes, you can still enjoy some great tasting dishes!

Healthy Pasta Alternatives

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Black bean spaghetti
  • Broccoli Slaw
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Soybean pasta
  • Sprouted wheatgrass
  • Farro pasta
  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Soba Noodles
  • Shirataki Noodles
Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serves:8Ingredients:

  • 3 small heads cauliflower
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ c. heavy cream
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1. Chop cauliflower. Bring vegetable broth to a boil over medium-high heat and add cauliflower.  Cook until cauliflower is soft, ~15 minutes.
  2. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute 4-5 minutes or until soft.
  3. Transfer cauliflower to a blender with about 2 cups of broth. Add sautéed garlic, salt, nutmeg and black pepper and puree until smooth .Stream olive oil into blender and add more broth or water if too thick.
  4. When smooth, transfer back to butter/garlic skillet and add cream over low heat
Adapted from Pinch of Yum

Make It Yours: Cauliflower is an underutilized food in the kitchen, yet you should always have it on hand! Besides using as a healthy pasta alternative, use cauliflower to make pizza crust, cauliflower mash, replace chicken, cauliflower rice burrito bowl, cauliflower mac and cheese, cauliflower tots, cauliflower breads rolls, cauliflower calzones and/or baked breaded cauliflower “mozzarella” sticks.

Health Benefits of cauliflower:

Original Image by dollen via Flickr
Original Image by dollen via Flickr
  • Rich in fiber, which helps stay full longer and eases digestion
  • Folate rich to form red blood cells
  • Rich in vitamin C, which protects the immune system during cold and flu season
  • Rich in vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting
  • Full of potassium, which helps regulated blood pressure
  • Good source of manganese, which helps nerves function properly
  • Increases HDL cholesterol—“good” cholesterol à reduces risk of stroke
  • Has anti carcinogenic effects—antioxidant rich
  • Helps unborn babies develop properly
  • Low calorie
  • Fat free
  • Vegetarian source of omega 3 fatty acids
  • Improves healthy cell growth
  • Assists with kidney and bladder disorders
  • Blood and liver detoxifier

Customizing Pasta Alternatives: Now that you’ve ventured out and tried non grain pasta, don’t stop there! Add more color, flavor and nutrients to your meal with the addition of your favorite vegetables and seasonings: asparagus, broccoli or broccoli rabe, spinach, arugula, mushrooms, limes, carrots, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, corn, artichokes, pesto, garlic and/or onions.

What’re your favorite pasta add ins? Suggestions for how to make regular dishes more exciting?

Sensory Science Focus Groups


By: Nikki Nies

When people talk, listen completely.  Most people never listen.” -Ernest Hemingway

Yes, one of the great American authors, Ernest Hemingway stated thecfans_asset_089259 above words that are as relevant today as when said in 20th century.   There is room for interpretation of the quote, but for today, Hemingway’s words resonate as a reminder of health professionals’ ongoing priority: to listen to clients, customers and colleagues needs.  In particular, Registered Dietitians (RDs) can better “listen” to clients and patients’ needs through the administration of focus groups.

To elaborate, the use of a focus group that consists of 6-12 participants using qualitative, quantitative methods of questionnaires and/or observations helps to understand consumer’s intrinsic characteristics (i.e. preferences of taste, aroma or color).  Consumers may not be able to articulate product preference, but with the use of focus groups, it allows researchers to take the guess work out of the equation and focus on the “what” differences. The goal is to recognize the perceptions, preferences, opinions and beliefs of a particular audience.

Not sure how to best incorporate focus groups into your daily work? Past research and examples of focus groups are a great reference and starting point for budding sensory scientists.   Again, focus groups can be used in a myriad of situations and populations.1

Use of Focus Groups by RDs:  

·         Making Tortillas without Lard: Latino Parents’ Perspectives on Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Weight-Management Strategies for Overweight Latino Children1

  • With Latinos among the most overweight racial/ethnic groups of US children, a study aimed to identify parents’ perspectives on healthy eating, physical activity, and weight-management strategies for overweight Latino children. Four focus groups were conducted of Mexican immigrant, Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, and other Latino families with overweight children. Parents were open to integrating healthy substitutes into traditional Latino meals/snacks, and found them palatable
  • Quinoa Flour as a Replacement for All Purpose Flour in a Peanut Butter Cookie2
    • As a high quality protein, fiber rich content and lack of gluten, quinoa flour is a great health substitute for celiac patients and for the health conscious. Objective tests and subjective evaluations were administered to university students, with no significant difference in preference found using a nine point likert scale. Although, the quinoa flour was described as significantly sweeter and chewier than the control group, the wheat flour
  • Research continues to show consumption of whole grains reduces one’s risk of diabetes. However, due to a lack of acceptability of brown rice for white rice, a study led by Zhang et al., 2010 looked at the feasability of introducing brown rice into the Chinese diet. Prior to tasting, most considered brown rice inferior to white rice in regards to unpalatable taste, rough texture and quality.  After tasting the brown rice, the majority of participated stated a willingness to try brown rice in the future.
  • Obtain baseline data on employee and/or customer preferences4
    • Using a focus group allows anonymity of opinions that may not be obtained otherwise. This allows employees and customers to feel more comfortable sharing the “whole truth.”  People are often more open with suggestions and concerns if there is less of a worry of repercussions with shared comments
    • Through the use of focus groups surveys, information obtained can be used to develop marketing surveys to assess customer perceptions of foodservice operation from employees that have direct contact4
  • Increase participation in community events, such as congregate meals5
    • The administration of focus groups, RDs can better understand what foods older adults are more receptive to at congregate meals. 5
    • In a study led by Lee et al., 2008, they inquired why there was an 18% decline in participation of congregate meals from 1980 to 2002. Researchers valued the senior’s beliefs about participation is fundamental to implement a successful program.  With four different meal sites, they learned what seniors valued in the congregate meals (social interaction, cost/savings on grocery bill, access to nutritious meals), but there were concerns for bland tasting breakfast and the lack of meals provided on the weekend. 5
  • Response to a “Better-For-You” peanut butter by three consumer population segments: A focus group Study6
    • It can’t be ignored that health claims and food labels influence consumer purchases. By using focus groups, one can assess consumer responsiveness to health claims, detect themes in consumer perception of peanut butter and determine potential impact of identifying peanut butter as an antioxidant or high rich fiber food.6
    • A study led by Harrison et al., examined the taste perception of peanut butter based on food label and health claims. It was found, while the health claims don’t necessarily impact purchasing decisions, but “taste” , appearance and price were the leading factors of purchasing power.6
  • Improve store and/or company brand quality through sensory evaluation methods7
    • Using sensory evaluation to determine acceptability and likeability of products can help companies brand their generic products to compete with national brands. By inquiring consumer’s perception of nutrition quality and packaging can provide dietitians with the ability to provide more “acceptable” visually pleasing company products.7
  • How to meet children’s taste and palate preferences more effectively8
    • It’s not realistic or effective to generalize children’s food preferences.  In a study led by Donadini et al., a hierarchical cluster analysis was used to better identify cheese preferences among preschoolers. 8  Among the clusters formed, it was evident some children focused on flavors and textures while others exclusively fixated on flavors.5  Such information could not be as easily obtained without the controlled setting administered and in addition with obtaining parental consent was required.

Sensory-Science-Course6As you can see, sensory science is its own platform of evaluative tools.9  Furthermore, sensory science is used for research purposes and not necessarily to manipulate people’s choices, but to provide choices that they don’t even recognize they want.10  The point is, while health professionals are given numerous opportunities to learn what consumers, clients and/or patients want, often times it’s easier to anticipate the wrong assumption or not really “hearing what’s said.”  Don’t squash the opportunity to use focus groups in your field of dietetics.  Better yet, I challenge you to find a way to incorporate at least one focus group study into your field of practice!

  1. Flores, Glenn et al. Making Tortillas without Lard: Latino Parents’ Perspectives on Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Weight-Management Strategies for Overweight Latino Children Journal of the American Dietetic Association , Volume 112 , Issue 1 , 81 – 89
  2. Harra, N.M. et al.Quinoa Flour Is an Acceptable Replacement for All Purpose Flour in a Peanut Butter Cookie Journal of the American Dietetic Association , Volume 111 , Issue 9 , A45
  3. Zhang, Geng et al. Substituting Brown Rice for White Rice to Lower Diabetes Risk: A Focus-Group Study in Chinese Adults Journal of the American Dietetic Association , Volume 110 , Issue 8 , 1216 – 1221
  4. Perlmutter C, Gregoire M, Canter D. Use of focus groups to improve nutrition services in a worksite cafeteria. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 1994;94(9):A76.
  5. Lee K, Gould R. Using focus groups to access beliefs of seniors about participating in congregate meal programs. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2008;108(9):A110.
  6. Harrison J, Hargrove J, Kerr W, Pegg R, Swanson R. Response to a “Better-for-you” peanut butter by three consumer population segments: A focus group Study. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2014;114(9):A61.
  7. Way L, Paris K, Poynor S. Sensory evaluation methods to select, maintain and improve store brand products and quality. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2011;111(9):A18.
  8. Grenci A, Brill M, Kinsey J, Hughes L, Cirignano S, Morgan K. Parent focus groups spotlight opportunities for nutrition professionals to collaborate on school wellness Initiatives. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012;112(9):A81.
  9. Rohall S, Ballintine J, Vowels J, Wexler L, Simeral S, Goto K. Who’s your patty: Sensory evaluation of burger patties made with different types of meat or plant-based Products. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2009;109(9):A68.

Photo Credit: University of Minnesota and Nottingham

GF Pasta


By: Nikki Nies picstitch

I recently shared information on GF Baking Ingredient Breakdown.  Today, I’m following up with Gluten Free Pasta information.  I demo’d at the Oswego Senior Center, Oswego, IL yesterday.

My experience with those that have true celiac disease or a gluten intolerance has been limited.  I’m not here to say I’m in expert in gluten free products because by all means the seniors at Oswego have far much more exposure and experience with GF cooking.  However, I can tell you that making Gluten Free pasta is not only doable, but flavorful.

Yesterday, I made Garbanzo Bean Flour Pasta and Roasted Red Pepper with Cream Sauce. I used Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour since I ran out of the Garbanzo Bean Flour.  The All Purpose Flour is a great flour to have on hand at all times.  It’s a mixture of tapioca,fava bean, whole grain white sorghum flour and potato starch.  This flour can be used in cookies, pasta, pizza, breads, muffins, cupcakes, you name it! Attendees gave both recipes both thumbs up!

If you’re looking for an exhaustive list of GF pasta brands, look no further:

GF Pasta Brands: Ancient Harvest, Andean Dream, Barilla, BiAglut, Bionaturae, DeBoles, DeLallo, Falco, Heartland, Jovial, Le Veneziane, Lundberg, Mrs. Leepers, Namaste, Riso Bello, Rizopia, Rustichella D’Abruzzo, Sam Mills, Schar, Selina, Tinkyada, Trader Joe’s and/or Tru Roots.

If you’re not in the mood to make your own pasta or buy GF pasta, why not use an alternative grain? Such as: quinoa, spaghetti squash, zucchini, soba noodles, shirataki noodles, brown rice pasta, shredded cabbage, ribboned eggplant and/or French beans.

Walking away from this blog post, I’m hoping you feel encouraged and limitless.  Really, the sky’s the limit. In reality, with all these listed above GF options, who needs gluten anyways!!?

Sources: http://sweetmamajane.blogspot.com/2012/10/portobello-and-leek-carbonara-pasta.html

Meatless Proteins


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By: Nikki Nies

With healthy eating constantly on the brain, it’s constant job to ensure balanced meals are consumed.  Meatless proteins aren’t for vegetarians and vegans any more, with more and more opting for meatless proteins.  Meatless proteins are often low fat, low calorie, with the added protein punch!

Meatless Protein Description Protein Amount per ½ cup How to Eat Tips
Quinoa Packed with fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and folate, low cholesterol; contains all essential amino acids 7 g Stir Fried Vegetables and Quinoa, Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Basil Lemon Dressing; Toasted Quinoa with Chiles and Corn Drain in a fine mesh strainer after cooking; add to soups, hot breakfast cereal or tossed with vegetables
Edamame Have as much fiber as 4 slices of wheat bread; great as an appetizer or within an entrée 8 g (shelled) Edamame with sesame, scallions and almonds; Roasted Edamame Steam instead of boil, which will preserve nutrients; can be served hot or cold
Chia seeds Great source of brain boosting omega 3 and fiber rich; contains great source of iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc; plump up and take on gelatinous texture when soaked in a  liquid 9.4 g in 2 tablespoons Mango Coconut Chia Pudding; Clementine Chia Pudding Use in jams, smoothies, oatmeal, salads, soups, etc.
Lentils Packed with B vitamins, folate, fiber, protein and are heart healthy 9 g Italian Lentil and Broccoli Stew Limit salting or using acidic items to lentils until cooked
Greek Yogurt Low in calories, protein packed; great substitution for sour cream or mayo; less sweet than some regular varieties 14.5 g Grilled Tropical Fruit with Greek Yogurt; Greek Yogurt with warm black and blueberry sauce Be wary of flavored containers that are packed with added sugar
Tempeh Soy bean based ingredient has great texture; firmer than traditional tofu 15.5 g Tempeh Burger; Miso glazed tofu On it’s own, tends to be quite bland, but is great with a marinade
Seitan Made from wheat gluten; has familiar texture of a piece of chicken or beef; brings out any flavors paired with it; looks like duck meat 21 g Mock Peking Duck; Seitan Stir Fry with Black Bean Garlic Sauce No need to add salt as many packaged varieties can have nearly 13% of daily intake
Peanut Butter Contains 2 g of fiber and heart healthy monounsaturated fats per serving 32.5 g Peanut Butter Banana Raisin Sandwich; Peanut Butter Caramel Corn Opt for reduced fat or natural peanut butter and “no stir” to limit messes
Chickpeas Aka garbanzo beans; fiber rich; can help cut LDL levels; low calorie 7 g Chickpea Stew with Eggplants, Tomatoes and Peppers; Cumin Spiced Chickpeas Look for chickpea flower, which is a great alternative to those that can’t eat gluten
Eggs When in moderation, can be great protein source; low in calories; may improve HDL levels 7 g/egg Baked Eggs with Cheese and Zucchini, omelettes, quiches, hard boiled, scrambled, sunny side up Choose cage free variety since they’re nutritionally superior and more humaneFound to have 2.5 times more omega 3 and twice amount of vitamin E in eggs of pasture raised hens
Cottage Cheese Affordable, can be eaten with reduced fat, calcium rich for bones, 13 g Combine with fresh veggies or with fruit and cinnamon Can be used as a replacement for ricotta cheese or sour cream in certain dishes
Pumpkin Seeds Great grab and go snack 7 g/1 oz. Pepita Corn Bread In fall, roast fresh seeds; be mindful of serving as seeds can be high in calories
Dried Black  Beans Low fat, fiber filled protein 6 g Cuban Black Bean Soup Opting for dry beans allows one to control sodium and additive intake; soak in large bowl overnight in water and rinse clean afterward, simmer on low heat and enjoy; make with cumin, garlic, red pepper, etc.
Soy Milk Convenient and versatile; often fortified with calcium and 4 g Espresso Soy Milk Shake Vanilla’s great in cereal and coffee; chocolate flavor’s great as a regular treat
Almonds Contains monounsaturated fats which are considered heart healthy 6 g/1 oz. Chili Spiced Almonds Sliced almonds are great over a salad

Sources:http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/10-best-meatless-protein-sources?s=5&?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-Prevention-_-food-healthyeatingtips-_-10meatlessproteinsources

http://neolovesoulchild.com/tag/protein

http://www.cookinglight.com/food/vegetarian/protein-for-vegetarians-00412000078915/

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20718479,00.html