Ocnutrition’s Blog


Baked Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash
February 19, 2012, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Recipes

A whole grain twist on classic risotto.

 Ingredients

  •  2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 ½ pounds)—peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

 Preparation–Hands on time: 20 minutes, Total time: 50 minutes

  1.  Heat oven to 400˚F. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large oven-safe saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the squash, onion, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add the barley to the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  4. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until evaporated, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the broth and bring to a boil; cover the pot and transfer it to oven. Bake until barley is tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
  6. Stir in the spinach, Parmesan, and butter and serve.

 Makes 4 servings.

 *This recipe was adapted from Real Simple magazine.

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills, and Long Beach.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS,MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
(949) 933-6788
kristy@ocnutrition.com
http://www.ocnutrition.com



Focus on Fiber
February 19, 2012, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Dietary Supplements, General Nutrition, Heart Health, Label Reading

Recently there has been a strong push for Americans to increase their fiber intake. Fiber has been added to food products such as cereals, yogurts, and sweeteners, and the market for fiber supplements has taken off. The majority of Americans are getting less than half the daily fiber recommendation (25 grams/day for women and 38 grams/day for men), so this push for more fiber is a good thing.

Simply put, dietary fibers are non-digestible carbohydrates that help maintain a healthy digestive tract and may improve heart health, immune function, and blood sugar control. Two major categories of fiber are soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber has been found to lower cholesterol and promote digestive health. Good sources are oats, dry beans, peas, lentils, fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool to help it pass through the gut more quickly. Foods containing insoluble fiber include wheat bran, whole grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds. A mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber is suggested for optimal health.

Functional fibers are fibers that have been isolated from food products or manufactured for therapeutic use. The use of fiber supplements has been linked with lowered cholesterol, increased weight loss, and improved gut and immune function. It is important to be aware of the type of functional or added fiber so you can receive the desired benefits. Listed below are some of the most common functional and added fibers, what they do, and the products they are found in.

Psyllium

  • Effects– May help lower cholesterol/lower blood pressure/regulate blood sugar, soluble, prevent/relieve constipation
  • Common Products– Metamucil: stir-in powder, wafers, caplets (assorted flavors)

Methylcellulose

  • Effects– Adds bulk to stool, relieves constipation, soluble
  • Common Products– Citrucel: caplets, stir-in powder (unflavored or orange)

Inulin

  • Effects– Supports good gut bacteria, may help absorb calcium, bulking, prevents constipation
  • Common Products– Fiberchoice: chewable tablets (assorted flavors), Activia with Fiber, Fiber One: pancake mix, chewy bars, etc.

Wheat Dextrin

  • Effects– May help lower cholesterol/assist in weight loss/boost immune function, relieves constipation, soluble
  • Common Products– Benefiber: stir-in powder, chewable caplets, tablets, to-go drink mix-ins

Bran

  • Effects– Bulk stool, relieve constipation, insoluble fiber, blockage risk (use in moderate amounts)
  • Common Products– Ready-to-eat cereals (All-Bran, Quaker Oat Bran, Raisin Bran), Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Bran: to be used in food preparation (i.e. baking)

The importance of fiber in our diet is becoming more and more undeniable, which is why finding ways to increase your daily fiber intake is worth the effort. Don’t forget to increase fiber gradually and drink plenty of water to prevent digestive discomfort. Before turning to supplements, try adding more whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds to your diet. Be creative and remember that fiber is just one component of a healthy lifestyle!

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice, and Sarah Trinajstich, CSULB Dietetic Intern.  OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills, and Long Beach.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS,MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
(949) 933-6788
kristy@ocnutrition.com
http://www.ocnutrition.com



“Healthy Fat’’—a Contradiction or Not?
February 19, 2012, 9:13 pm
Filed under: General Nutrition, Heart Health, Label Reading, Weight Management

Fat has gotten somewhat of a bad rap in the past and you increasingly see more and more “low fat,” “reduced fat,” and “non-fat” food items popping up in supermarkets. However a balanced diet should have 20-35% of your daily calories coming from fat. What’s important is to pay attention to the kinds of fat you’re eating, decrease unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fats), and focus on healthy fats (monounsaturated and omega-3).

Saturated fat and trans fats are considered unhealthy because they promote unhealthy cholesterol levels, plaque formation, and inflammation in the body. Saturated fats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your calories and they are found in foods like butter, cheese, beef, whole fat dairy, and other animal products. Trans fats shouldn’t make up more than 2% of your calories and they are found in fast food, fried food, and other processed food with hydrogenated oils.

The healthy fats which have been found to have the most health benefits are monounsaturated fats and omega-3s. Monounsaturated fats can improve your cholesterol and decrease risk of heart disease and stroke. These fats are also needed to keep your body’s cells healthy. Monounsaturated fats can be found in nuts, canola oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, and avocado. Omega-3 fats can improve heart health by preventing plaque buildup, lowering blood pressure, and preventing irregular heartbeats. The USDA recommends daily intake of 1.6 g (1,600 mg) for men and 1.1 g (1,100 mg) for women. Omega-3 fats are found in fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna, etc.), canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed, and leafy green vegetables.

A few ways you can include more of these healthy fats in your diet are to:

  • use healthy fats instead of unhealthy fats when cooking (ex. canola instead of butter)
  • have a handful of nuts or trail mix for a snack
  • make an effort to have fatty fish at least twice a week
  • dip bread in olive oil rather than spreading on butter

Remember, not all fats are created equal and monounsaturated and omega-3 fats are necessary for optimum health. Maintaining a well-balanced diet with an emphasis on these healthy fats will improve your body’s function now and help prevent diseases in the future, a win-win!

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice, and Jenna Haug, CSULB Dietetic Intern. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills and Long Beach. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
kristy@ocnutrition.com
http://www.ocnutrition.com
(949) 933-6788