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Healthy Party Treats for Tailgating

By Jamie Miller, Registered Dietitian, Village Health Clubs & Spas

Fall is quickly approaching, and that means one thing — football season is here! Whether you’re a loyal football fan, or don’t know a thing about the game, everyone loves the tasty dishes served up at a football tailgate. If being healthy this fall is on your mind, you can still enjoy some game day treats without derailing your progress and goals. From apps to dessert, we’ve got some creative tips and healthy recipe ideas to serve up at your next tailgate that will impress and satisfy your crew while also leaving you feeling your best!

 

Smoked Turkey Sausage & Vegetable Kebabs

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package smoked turkey sausage, sliced into 1½ -inch pieces
  • 3 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 green), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ large red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 large baby bella mushrooms, whole or halved
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil, plus more for the grill
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground pepper

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (about 450 to 500 degrees F).
  2. In a large bowl, add the avocado oil and spices, and stir to combine.
  3. Add sliced vegetables and sausage pieces and toss until everything is evenly coated in the spice mixture.
  4. Thread vegetables and sausage onto metal or wooden skewers, first adding one of each type of vegetable, then one slice of sausage, and repeat. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 to 30 minutes prior to preparation.
  5. Liberally oil the grill, then place the skewers on the grill and close the lid.
  6. Cook for three to four minutes and then flip on the other side and cook for another three to four minutes or until veggies are softened to your liking and sausages are lightly charred.

 

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. fat free or low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • ½ plain Greek yogurt
  • 1½ dry ranch seasoning mix
  • ½ blue cheese (or shredded mozzarella)
  • ½ Franks Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce (more or less depending on desired spiciness)
  • 1½ chicken, cooked and shredded
  • Veggies and crackers for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a small baking dish with non-stick spray.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the first five ingredients.
  4. Add the shredded chicken and stir until well combined.
  5. Spoon mixture into a baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until dip is warmed through and cheese is melted.
  6. Serve warm with crackers, carrots, cucumber, celery sticks, or other veggies.

 

Black Bean & Corn Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz. can no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 c. fresh corn (kernels cut off the cob) or frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1 jar (about 1 c.) roasted red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes, quartered
  • ¼ c. red onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground pepper
  • ⅛  tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp. lime zest and 3 Tbsp. lime juice (from about 3 limes)
  • ½ c. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 large avocado, diced

 

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, add honey, oil, lime zest and juice, and spices and stir to combine.
  2. Add in the black beans, corn, roasted red pepper, tomatoes, and red onion; mix well.
  3. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  4. Right before serving, add avocados and fold gently, being careful not to mash them.
  5. Serve cold or at room temperature as a side dish, as a dip with chips, on a salad, or in tacos, etc.

 

Flourless Banana Peanut Butter Brownies 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½  c. ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½  c. smooth peanut or almond butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ½  c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated monk fruit, coconut sugar or sweetener that measures like sugar
  • ¼  tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. semi chocolate chips (use sugar-free chips to keep recipe sugar free)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • White decorating icing

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. To do so, grease the pan with oil before placing the parchment paper down to help it stay in place. Have the parchment paper hang over the sides to easily remove brownies from the pan once baked.
  2. In a large bowl or standing mixer, mash ripe bananas with a fork or mixer.
  3. Add nut butter and eggs to the mashed bananas and mix until smooth and well combined.
  4. Add cocoa powder, sweetener, baking soda, and salt to the wet ingredients; mix until combined.
  5. Stir chocolate chips into the batter.
  6. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the brownies are just set.
  8. Let cool, then remove parchment paper from the pan and cut brownies into squares or use a football cookie cutter to cut out football shapes. If you don’t have a cookie cutter you can alternatively use a sharp knife to cut brownies into a football shape. Use white decorating icing to add the laces to the football (optional). Let icing set before serving.

 

Interested in learning more about how to reach your healthiest self while eating delicious foods? Reach out to Village Dietitian Jamie Miller today to set up a nutrition consultation! E: jamiller@dmbclubs.com P: 713-494-2030

Post Quarantine Nutrition Reset

By Jamie Miller, Registered Dietician for The Village

The summer of social distancing is ending and slowly, but surely, life is seeming to return to a bit of what once was. But as you swap your “life in lockdown” sweats for regular attire, you may be frustrated to find that your old jeans are not as forgiving as your athleisure wear. Or maybe you’re not feeling the same energy level you had in pre-pandemic life. If the last few months of quarantine have left you feeling less than your best, there is a smarter solution than resorting to an extreme diet or expensive programs that promise a “quick fix.” Check out these tips for a post quarantine nutritional reset!

 

Crash diets and cleanses can actually do more harm than good to your metabolism and long-term weight loss success; however, a proper reset of nutritional habits can be helpful to kick start weight loss and get you back on track. Consider committing to a set time where you are focused and intentional on your nutritional choices. This can help end chaotic eating patterns that don’t serve your health by introducing order and repetition back into your lifestyle. Clean eating can also reboot your taste buds to decrease cravings for salty, fatty, and sweet foods. Consider committing the next seven to 30 days to making intentional choices to “reboot” your health. During this time, focus on the following four factors and you will feel even healthier, stronger, and leaner than you did pre-quarantine!

 

Fill Up the Water Bottle

Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces (or more if sweating in excess) of water every day. Our kidneys are one of our body’s natural detoxifiers, but they need ample water to do their job. You can even start your day with a glass of (warm or cold) lemon water. The pectin from lemon aids in digestion and lemon also shows to curb appetite and boost satiety. So drink up!

 

A Smart, Squeaky Clean Diet

Extremely low-calorie, crash diets are not the answer to maintain long-term health and weight loss. However, we can commit to eating clean, quality ingredients to feed our body well. Load up half or more of your plate with veggies; ensure you have a lean protein at every meal (grass-fed beef, poultry, wild-caught fish, eggs, etc.); choose quality carbohydrates (fruits, beans, peas, potatoes, corn, whole grains, etc.); and focus on healthy fats (nuts, seeds, olives, avocado or coconut, oils, etc.). If you feel like you have any sort of sugar addiction, it’s particularly helpful to cut out all added sugar and artificial sweeteners for this time period in order to “retrain” your tastebuds.

 

Sweat it Out

Sweating naturally allows our bodies to “detox” themselves. So hit the gym and try out the sauna. Increasing your heart rate and blood flow through exercise can also help your body to flush out toxins naturally. If taking a brisk walk is about all you can handle right now? There’s no better time to start than now.

 

Support Your Gut

Both stress and a poor diet can disrupt good gut health. If the pandemic left your stomach feeling upset, we can improve digestive health through prebiotic fiber in wholesome foods (such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, etc.) and through supplementing with a probiotic. Incorporating live-culture yogurt, kefir, kombucha tea, and other fermented foods can also help keep your gut flora thriving and happy.

 

Creamy Berry Smoothie

  • 1/2 large ripe banana (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2/3 cup sliced zucchini (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 big handful of greens, such as spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 scoops collagen powder or 1 scoop protein powder
  • 2 Tbsp. flax, hemp, chia seeds, or 1 Tbsp. nut butter
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened nut or coconut milk
  • Ice to desired consistency
  • Optional: stevia or monk fruit to taste

Add all ingredients to a blender, and blend on high until creamy and smooth.

 

Niçoise Salad

For the tuna salad:

  • 1 small shallot or 1 Tbsp. red onion, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. capers
  • 1 6-ounce tin of good quality tuna (like Wild Planet or Safe Catch)
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice

 

For the dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1  Tbsp.  olive oil
  • ¼  tsp. salt
  • ¼  tsp. black pepper

 

For the salad:

  • 1 cup arugula leaves

1/4  cup green beans, blanched

  • 1/3 small avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. pitted oil-cured black olives (or your favorite olives)

Combine the shallot, capers, and tuna with lemon juice in a bowl and set aside. To make the dressing, whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. To assemble, toss the arugula and green beans with half of the tuna mixture. Arrange the avocado, olives, and boiled egg on top and finish with the remaining tuna salad.

 

Apple Nachos

  • 1 apple, sliced thinly
  • 1 Tbsp. natural nut butter
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • Optional: shredded unsweetened coconut, hemp seeds, flax, chia seeds, etc.

 

Slice apples into thin, chip-like slices, about a fourth-inch thick and spread onto a large plate. Use a spoon or spatula to drizzle the nut butter over the apple slices. If your nut butter is too thick to drizzle, warm it briefly in the microwave. Sprinkle cinnamon and any additional toppings over the apple slices.

 

Have questions about how to apply these measures to your personal lifestyle and health needs? Village dietitian, Jamie Miller, is here to help create a personalized reboot for you! Reach out to her today! (E: jamiller@dmbclubs.com, P: 713-494-2030)