Saturday, February 14, 2015

Almond Milk vs. Coconut Milk

Almond milk has become an increasingly popular substitute for those with food allergies or intolerances. Almond milk is a creamy, nutty beverage made by toasting and grinding almonds; then, blending them with filtered water. Almonds are naturally low in sugar and provide a vast amount of nutrients for your body. Almond milk is also lactose, gluten, dairy, and casein free (This is good news for me since I am lactose intolerant!). On the glycemic index, unsweetened almond milk falls on the low end, which means a lesser rise in your blood sugar.

1 cup of unsweetened almond milk contains 30 calories (100 calories less than 2% milk), 2.5g fat, 45% DV for calcium, 50% DV for vitamin B12, and 25% DV for vitaminD. Almond milk also contains 30% of your DV for riboflavin and 50% of your DV for Vitamin E, which decreases inflammation in the body.

Coconut milk is made by pressing coconut pulp to release the cream, which is blended with filtered water and other ingredients. Coconut milk has a mildly nutty flavor and is dairy free. Fun fact, coconuts are really a fruit! 1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk provides 45 calories, 4.5g fat, and <1g carbohydrates. Coconut milk contains the same amount of vitamin D (25% DV) as regular milk and 50% DV for vitamin B12. Coconuts have antimicrobial and antibacterial agents, which can aide in immune health. Coconuts also supply medium chain fatty acids (MUFAs), which can decrease inflammation in the body.

So, are almond and coconut milk better than regular old 2%? While coconut and almond milk are both nutrient powerhouses with more calcium than 2% milk and less calories, they do lack protein. This limited protein supply does not need to pose an issue if you are already consuming other protein sources throughout your day. Almond or coconut milk can be implemented in a diet where other dairy foods are lacking due to culture, preference, allergies, or intolerances.

Check out this site to make your own almond milk -->

Green Protein Smoothie 
Yield: 1 serving
1c milk (almond or coconut)
1c fresh kale
1/2 cucumber (peeled)
1/2 frozen banana
1 scoop vanilla protein (optional)
1c ice

1. Combine all ingredients in blender and process until smooth.

Nutrition Facts 
290 calories, 4.5g fat, 41g carbohydrates, 25g protein, 4g fiber
150% DV vitamin A, 150% DV vitamin C, 60% DV calcium

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Chocolate Dipped Oranges

Part of my job as a Retail Dietitian is doing healthy food demonstrations. In one of my recent demos, I highlighted oranges; mainly because of cold and flu season (Vitamin C) and they were on sale.  It was so funny doing this demo because I got a ton of people saying either, "This is healthy?" or "I never thought to combine chocolate and oranges."  Most people have the impression that healthy eating is bland or boring. Then when you present these people with healthy recipes that taste good, they are in shock! The way you prepare food and how good it tastes is completely subjective. Get creative in the kitchen and try new recipes and spices to spruce up your meals! While you are at it, try my chocolate dipped oranges for a sweet snack:)

How to Select/Store Oranges
Select an orange that is firm, shiny, and heavy for its size. The fruit should be free of any soft spots or wrinkles. Oranges should be kept in a cool, well-ventilated area. You can store in the fridge for 2 weeks or at room temperature for 4 days.

My Chocolate Dipped Oranges :)
Chocolate Dipped Oranges
2-4 ounces of dark chocolate
1 medium orange, peeled and segmented

1. Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.
2. Melt chocolate (microwave or double broiler). Dip orange segments in chocolate and transfer to baking sheet. Set aside until chocolate hardens. Serve at room temperature.

**I found it easier to only dip 1/2 of one side of the orange. This way I didn't lose any chocolate when I removed the oranges for serving. You can also use clementines instead!

For about 1/2 the orange with chocolate, your looking at about 180 calories. Not too shabby for a sweet treat. Not to mention the 75% of your daily value of Vitamin C :)