Healthy Spinach Lasagna Roll-ups

  healthy spinach lasagna roll ups

 

It’s been forever since posting last, mainly because when I do have free time, I’ve been working on a new site that I am so excited about!

Though I love posting new healthy recipes, I have a passion for something more.  I want to continue giving people ideas for healthy living beyond just recipes.  Stay tuned for more to come in the next month or so!

Until then, I want to share a delicious, healthy and easy lasagna recipe with you!  The great thing is that it is meatless but full of flavor and you won’t even miss the meat!

I modified this recipe to make it slightly healthier by using Dreamfield’s high fiber pasta.

dreamfield pasta

This not only tastes wonderful, but is really a pretty dish.  Added bonus: you can freeze part of the recipe!  I’d recommend freezing half of this recipe.

 Healthy Lasagna Roll-ups Recipe

What you’ll need:

9 Whole wheat or multi-grain lasagna noodles

1 10-oz frozen chopped spinach

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

15 oz reduced fat ricotta cheese

32 oz tomato sauce (I used Bertolli’s and it worked great)

3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Thaw spinach in microwave and drain all excess water off.

3.  Cook lasagna noodles until done.

4. While lasagna noodles are cooking, combine spinach, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan cheese in a bowl.

5.  Place each lasagna noodle flat on wax paper.

6. Spread 1/3 cup of mixture evenly on each noodle and roll up.

7.  Put about 1 cup of tomato sauce in bottom of 9 x 13 pan.  Place the roll-ups in pan, seam side down.

8.  Pour rest of the tomato sauce over all of the roll-ups. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese and salt and pepper.

9.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

{note: if you want to double the recipe and freeze some, put roll-ups in freezer bag or container before cooking!}

 

healthy lasagna recipe

  lasagna roll ups

  healthy lasagna roll up recipe

 

Enjoy with a colorful salad for a satisfying, healthy meal!

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4 Ways to Deal with a Picky Eater

 

 

As I’ve mentioned many times before on this blog, I have the personal experience of being the mother of a very picky eater.  This would bother most moms, but as a dietitian, it’s made me want to pull my hair out very frequently.

Now that I have another boy who is now 2 years old, I can see that even the kids who are not very “picky” as babies can still get a little funny about their food later on!

Before you pull your hair out, here are 4 ways to deal with a picky eater:

1. Try, try again! And again.

You must realize that sometimes it takes 10 or more times of offering a food before your child will even taste it.  Like many things in life, patience and persistence are crucial to success.   You will get tired of “wasting” food or going to the trouble of preparing it for your child, only to throw it out.  It will be worth it in the end.

2. “Hide” some good nutrition.

Sure, ideally you want your child to reach for a raw carrot with excitement, but until that happens, be sneaky!  Hide pureed carrots in spaghetti sauce or spinach in a smoothie.

3.  Make it fun!

Making food fun does not always have to be complicated, it can be as simple as the way you talk about it.  Only you know what excites your kids!  Here’s an example: My son is very into being “the strongest” and “biggest.”  He hardly ever eats actual meat, which is why I make sure he gets protein in other ways.  When I was browning some ground beef for spaghetti, I said tonight we’re going to have spaghetti with protein bumps in it, and they make you get stronger!  He finished his entire bowl of homemade ABC’s with “protein bumps” in it, and the whole time was watching  his arm muscles!

4. Avoid war at the table.

Maybe  not all kids, but it seems that many will use food to declare war.  It seems they can sense when they are “winning” and stressing you out.  Other times, kids are just very cautious about trying new things.  Either way, getting all worked up into a tizzy about the situation will not help things…and will probably make it worse.

These strategies have worked with my picky eater, and they seem to work with many.  I’ve heard many a frustrated mom say that they just don’t know what to do next.  Like many other aspects of parenting, you cannot control everything about your child but you can set boundaries.

You cannot force your child to like broccoli, but you can make healthy foods available.  You can limit how much fast food, sweets or high calorie beverages they consume!  You set the limits, set a good example, and reap the benefits!

 

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An Easy Way to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

  vitamix

I have talked about my Vita-mix a lot on this blog.  And it’s truly because I use it a lot.

The most important thing the Vita-mix does for our family is helps us make delicious shakes full of plant-based foods!   The Vita-mix allows us to consume way more produce than we would otherwise.  My kids even ingested beets in this beet shake!

I’ve made super-fresh basil pesto, peanut butter and even a pumpkin bread with my Vita-mix.  It is not just a blender!

Here are five surprising things you can do with a vita-mix:

  1. You can make a smoothie with an apple with the peeling, a beet, and other fresh produce.  And it’s a smooth smoothie.  You can even throw whole flaxseeds in there and they will be ground in your smoothie (something you cannot do with a blender).
  2. You can make fresh, hot soup made with broth and whole vegetables.
  3. You can make cold ice cream!
  4. You can make your own nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, etc) without adding any extra oils or ingredients.  Just nuts.
  5. You can make your own breads with the dry mix carafe and even grind your own flour.

It’s just wonderful for helping our family get more fruits and vegetables in our diet.  Especially our kids!

If you’re like most people, it’s just hard to get enough fruits and vegetables in your diet.  The Vita-Mix provides an easy way to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Even raw! 

The Vita-Mix can help you:

  • Lose weight
  • Get more fiber in your diet
  • Prevent disease
  • Eat more raw foods
  • Get way more fruits and vegetables in your diet than you typically do, and it can taste great!

If you’ve ever even entertained the thought of dumping a lost of money in a juicer, consider this fact: you will lose a lot of the fiber and other nutrients by not eating the whole fruit.  With the Vita-mix, you will be able to keep all of that important nutrition!

I know that they are not cheap, but they truly are a wonderful investment in your health.  Below you will find a  link to one similar to the one I use in all of my posts.  (Mine is a few years old so it’s slightly different)

 

 

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Healthy Baked Oatmeal Recipe

healthy baked oatmeal recipe

I am so not a happy person in the morning.  I’ll admit it: I’m just a different person before 10 a.m. than I am later in the day.

That’s what drove me to create a healthy baked oatmeal recipe.  Not only does it make the morning less stressful, but it also tastes great.  Maybe even a little too great.

If you are like many other people who skip breakfast because the mornings are just too busy to cook a large spread for breakfast, consider making something healthy on the weekends that is very convenient during the week.

Also, it is true that breakfast is such an important part of your day.  Your body has gone many hours without food and needs to be re-fueled in the morning. (Sidenote: if you find that you just are not hungry in the mornings, take a look at your lifestyle and be sure you aren’t eating too much late at night!)

It uses the good old fashioned oats, honey, cinnamon, butter and whatever other things you may want to get creative with (like raisins, dried cranberries or other fruit).

healthy baked oatmeal


This could also be used as a snack for yourself (or your kids!) and is wonderful in that it uses whole foods.  As always, with anything that is real tasty, it may be beneficial to pre-portion these into individual ziplock bags to avoid turning it into a high calorie snack!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

3 cups old fashioned oats (rolled oats)

2/3 cup honey

1 tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup milk (you could certainly use almond or soy milk)

2 eggs

6 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tsp vanilla extract

(*optional ingredients: chopped nuts or dried fruit)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix together all of the dry ingredients while melting the butter.  Next, beat in the wet ingredients (milk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla).  Once mixed, stir in any other optional ingredients (nuts or fruit).  Pour into a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish.

Bake for 25-35 minutes.  I strongly recommend checking at 20 minutes and keeping a close eye on it.  I wanted mine more on the “crispy” side, but it could quickly get too crispy.

 

cinnamon baked oatmeal

This healthy baked oatmeal could be made even healthier by cutting back even further on the honey.  I did use the 2/3 cup when I made it, but next time I will definitely be trying it with 1/2 cup of honey.  Also, substituting part of the butter with applesauce is another way to save on some fat!

This baked oatmeal is delicious warmed in the microwave and can be served with milk poured over it!   Before you know it, your plate will look like this:

 

baked oatmeal with honey


Hope you enjoy!  I’d love to hear what your favorite quick breakfast foods are!

 

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Homemade Hummus

Surely I’m not the only person out there who has a hard time paying good money for store-bought hummus, knowing that around our  house it will not last long.  Right?

Though we occasionally buy hummus when it’s on sale, for a long time now, we have made our own with our Vita-mix.   It is super-easy, much cheaper, and you can make it taste just the way you want it to taste.

Nutritionally speaking, it’s a wonderful little snack (that is, unless you eat too much of it — which is kind of easy to do!).  The chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are not only high in fiber (6 grams per 1/2 cup serving to be exact), but also have a decent amount of protein (6 grams per 1/2 cup) and also give you a little calcium and iron.

The other nice thing about making a big batch of this stuff, is that once it’s made, it’s made.  There is not much prep for a nice healthy snack!  I love stuff like that, especially when the Little Stinker is having a meltdown when I’m ready for a snack (which happens quite often these days).

Here’s the recipe I use, but feel free to play around with it and make it to suit your tastes!

What you’ll need:

2 15-oz cans of chickpeas

1 clove of garlic OR 1 tsp minced garlic

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 Tbsp raw sesame seeds OR 4 Tbsp sesame tahini

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin

Directions:

Drain one can of chickpeas and pour into Vita-mix or other food processor.  Then empty an undrained can of chickpeas into food processor.  Add all remaining ingredients and run food processor until smooth (takes about 1 min with Vita-mix).

Store in container with lid in refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts: (Serving size: 1/4 cup) Calories: 99, Fat: 3 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 4 g

 

The  key to keeping this homemade hummus healthy is portion control.  It’s so good that you have to pre-portion it out before you start eating.  As you can see from the picture below, I started eating it while I was taking pictures!


Pair it with some homemade pita chips or carrots!  Enjoy!

 

 

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The other half of the equation

kettlebell

Kettlebell

There are two parts to being as healthy as you can be….nutrition and exercise!

I am so excited to say that I have finally reached a goal that I’ve had for a long time, and that is to become a certified personal trainer!

I look forward to helping myself and you become more fit, lean, and energetic.

Benefits of Exercise

We know that we need exercise and that we will benefit from it, but sometimes we just need to hear what those benefits are to motivate us to get moving!

1. Metabolism Boost

You will burn more calories all day long if you increase your muscle mass.  So, if you want to burn more calories without even trying (i.e. while you sleep), then carve out a few minutes every day to get rid of fat and add some muscle!

2. Mood Boost

Exercise can be a natural anti-anxiety and anti-depression “drug” that doesn’t even have side effects that medications do!  Almost everyone has some stress in their lives, and stress can lead to depression and anxiety.  Exercise can relieve tension and even creates a post-exercise relaxation response by affecting neurotransmitters.  To prove how much exercise can affect your brain, studies have shown that it actually causes neurogenesis (new neurons in the brain)!

3.  Confidence Boost

Who doesn’t want to look more fit?  Most of us (especially moms) have had new “pooches” or “muffin tops” added to our bodies after having kids.  Exercise can cause noticeable changes in our bodies in a short amount of time, especially when paired with dietary changes!

These are just a few of the benefits of exercise, but the list does go on!

The good news for us busy moms is that if we exercise smart we don’t have to spend as much time doing it.  I don’t know about you, but 15 or 20 minutes is about as long as I have some days to fit it in.

I will start sprinkling in some exercise information/motivation for you, as this is vitally important to add to healthy eating!

And one other thing that is so exciting…..

exercise

Your whole family will benefit!  When I was outside doing a workout with my kettlebell, my boys started trying to mimic what they saw.

Write down some of the benefits of exercise and post on your refrigerator for those days when you just need the motivation to exercise!

 

 

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I’ll be back…

I have not been posting frequently recently, but there is a good reason!

 

I am working on something that I hope will only help me help you live a healthier lifestyle.

 

I’m taking a short break from posting (just a couple of weeks) but I will be back, with a new, focused intensity.  I’d much rather give you quality posts after this break than half-hearted ones!

 

Thanks for sticking with me and I’ll be back soon!

 

 

 

 

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Beet Shake Recipe


Today I came up with a beet shake recipe, and it was so good I had to share.

beet shake recipe

The other day, my Little Buddy asked me if we could buy a beet.  A BEET!  This is coming from my picky eater!

So…I of course made sure to pick some up from the store.  I’ll admit, I’ve never bought beets.  I know, horrible that a dietitian has never purchased a single beet.  I did not grow up eating beets and I’ve never really eaten a beet that tasted good to me!

Well, this week for our food chart, we are doing strawberries.  Every day this week the Little Buddy has been eating fresh strawberries with cool whip, but his little brother finished those off this morning, so we decided to do a shake in the Vita-mix with frozen strawberries.

And what better time to add some beet?!

It was absolutely delicious!

vita-mix beet shake

Beet Shake Recipe

1 cup vanilla low fat yogurt

1 banana

6-8 frozen strawberries

1/2 beet

water as needed for consistency you like

(note: we added a little bit of apple juice to make it sweeter but you could skip this – and I may next time!)

 

The Vita-Mix allows you to just throw in the raw beet in big chunks and completely pulverizes it, but if you are using a regular blender you could always cook the beet and puree it if needed.

This beet shake was seriously delicious and was a fun hot pink color!  Both of my boys liked it, but my picky eater actually loved it and asked for a refill!

Beets are a great source of fiber, folate, potassium and manganese.  I’m going to be trying some other fun things with beets, and if any of them taste good I’ll share them soon!

But for now, I’ll be making beet shakes.

 

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How to Get Motivated

 

The other day, my adorable mom just said, in passing, that she did 25 push-ups.  And not the “girl way.” {on your knees}

I was in shock!  25 push-ups?!

When she told me this, I immediately started trying to remember how many I was able to do the last time I did them.  I was pretty sure that  it was less than 10.

I’ll admit, I’ve got a competitive streak in me.  So what did I do?

Got down on the floor right then and there to see how many I could do.  As I got to 10, I was surprised how decent I still felt, and then it started getting harder with each one.

I made it to 15!

 

What Motivates Me

Obviously, my mom is a few years older than me, and knowing she could do way more push-ups than I can definitely motivated me.

But that’s not all that motivates me to try to stay in shape. Here’s a short list:

  1. I need energy to chase after 2 boys.  Lots of it.
  2. I want to feel confident in myself so that I can be the best mom and wife I can be.
  3. I want to feel good in my clothes.  I get in a bad mood when my clothes don’t fit right.
  4. I want to be a good role model for my boys.

What Motivates You?

It’s so important to spend some time really thinking about what motivates you.  Especially when it comes to health and fitness.

Everyone has different things that really drive them.  That really get them going.

Though disease prevention should motivate us all, it doesn’t tend to be most people’s main motivator.  Oftentimes, our appearance and confidence really motivates us.

 

Stay Motivated

The only way to stay motivated is to set some realistic goals and remind yourself of them constantly.

Our culture is one of instant gratification, where diet pills and fad diets are the norm for many.  The problem is that most of these are only short term.

We’ve got to set long term goals that are reached by constantly setting short term goals and patiently working towards them.  Do whatever it takes to constantly keep your goals on your mind.  Here’s an example of a motivational image that I need to look at daily:

 

workout inspiration {Source}

 

Take it day by day, moment by moment.  Getting fit or losing weight does not happen overnight.

 

Check out this guy doing some CRAZY push-ups:

 

 

What motivates you?  I’d love for you to leave a comment.  {And yes, you can say “swimsuit season”}

 

 

 

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Roasted Garbanzo Beans

Roasted garbanzo beans {aka chickpeas} are quite the craze…and for good reason!

roasted garbanzo beans

 

They are:

  1. Delicious
  2. High-fiber
  3. Good source of protein
  4. Easy to make
  5. Cheap
  6. Tasty…did I mention that already?!

Who would have ever thought a legume could be transformed into a sweet or salty, crunchy snack?

Garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, are legumes whose seeds are high in protein.   They can be prepared and eaten many different ways, from eaten cold on a salad to being thrown into a food processor to make one of my favorites: hummus.

Below you will see the chickpea plant, which grows 8-20 inches high and needs tropical or subtropical climate to thrive.

 

chickpea plant Source

 

Enough about the history of the garbanzo bean, let’s get to the good stuff.

I finally bit the bullet and tried something new, which I have heard others rave about: roasted garbanzo beans.

What You’ll Need:

  • At least one can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Seasonings (see different seasoning ideas below)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

2. Pour garbanzo beans into colander and rinse with lukewarm water for a few seconds (this helps to loosen the skins)

roasted chickpeas

3.  Put paper towel in bottom of a pan and pour the wet garbanzo beans on top.  Remove skins from the garbanzos.

garbanzo beans

4.  Once all of the skins have been removed, pat dry with a paper towel.

chickpeas

 5.  Remove paper towel and drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over the garbanzo beans.

6.  Stir the garbanzos to be sure the oil is even coating them.

7.  Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes, and then sir.

8.  Roast for another 10  minutes and then check the garbanzo beans to be sure they are cooking evenly and not burning.

{this is where I recommend taking a couple out of the oven, letting them cool a little, and tasting…this will help you gauge how much longer to cook them!}

9.  If they are not ready, cook for another 5-10 minutes.

10.  Let them cool before eating/serving!

  spicy roasted chickpeas

I experimented with different flavors!  Add the seasonings after they have cooked.  Here are some different flavor ideas:

  • Cocoa powder and sugar sprinkled on top
  • Onion powder/Garlic powder (salt optional)
  • Cayenne pepper, onion powder (salt optional)

My Little Buddy (the picky eater of the family) ate the cocoa ones!

(*Tip: You have to watch these carefully as they are roasting.  They can easily burn, but you also need to let them cook long enough to get crispy!)

 

Enjoy roasted garbanzo beans as a healthy snack!

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