The Clean Eating Challenge: Are You In?

Well, it’s done! My first blog post is out there for all to see. Phew! I am thrilled with the responses I have received and excited to continue to share my passion for ‘eating for health’.

I realize that not only is eating for health a ‘health’ necessity, but it’s a wonderful way of fueling your body in order for it to operate in tip top shape. We need to take responsibility for our choices. And that will not happen until we stop and THINK about what in the world we put into our mouths!

With that being said, I challenge you to increase your awareness and really pay attention to what you’re eating. I challenge you to eat more of the foods that nature provides: fruits, veggies, nuts, seed, grains, beans, peas and legumes.  I challenge you to start tasting food as it was meant to be tasted.  That means you have to stop pouring on all the extras. You don’t need ridiculous amounts of salt, fat, sugar, sauce or gravy to enjoy the foods you’re eating.

Take my challenge and awaken your taste buds to clean eating! Are you in?

–         Liz Erker, RD LD MS

Let’s Start the Conversation and Keep it Simple

For the past 1 ½ years, I have not only been posting daily nutrition tips on Facebook, but also recording videos for Signature Medical Group’s website which cover a wide range of topics pertaining to overall health and nutrition. I am truly passionate about helping people realize the multiple health & economic benefits of cooking and eating for health.

Being a dietitian who receives great pleasure from cooking and creating nutritious meals, I hope to encourage those of you who share this interest/passion to exchange recipes, ideas and tips with each other.  What better time than March, National Nutrition Month, to start this ongoing conversation on ‘all things health’?

By making simple changes such as cooking at home, using fresh and fewer ingredients, and drinking more water, just to name a few, you begin to see and feel the benefits of eating for health within a few short days. Not to mention it’s easier on the wallet.

So let’s keep it simple. Here’s a recipe from EatingWell Magazine that takes minutes to prepare, but provides tremendous nutritional benefits. It’s a one-bowl wonder!

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Tuscan Spinach, Bean & Sausage Soup

Note: Pantry staples like cannellini beans, frozen spinach & chicken broth make this soup a snap to throw together on a busy weeknight. Serve it with crusty whole grain bread and sliced tomatoes!

4 servings, 1 ½ cup each

Ingredients:

  • 1 link        hot Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 19 oz      can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 14-oz      can reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 8 oz          frozen spinach
  • 1 clove      garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp      dried marjoram
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp      freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preparation:

  1. Bring sausage & ¼ inch water to a simmer in small skillet over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, until water evaporates, 5-10 minutes. Continue to cook until sausage is browned on all sides, ~ 4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board: cut in ½ inch slices
  2. Combine sausage, beans, broth, garlic, spinach & marjoram in medium saucepan. Cover & cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Season with salt & pepper. Stir in cheese just before serving.

Nutrition:

Per serving: 143 calories; 4 g fat; 17 mg cholesterol; 19 carbs; 14 g protein: 7 g fiber: 590 mg sodium; 509 mg potassium

Remember… optimal health is a privilege each one of us deserves!

–          Liz Erker, RD