About Sonja

Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is a registered dietitian at Zesty, Inc. She is passionate about helping others improve their health through diet and physical activity and believes eating nutritious food should be easy and taste great. You can follow her href="https://twitter.com/SonjaGoedkoopRD">twitter @SonjaGoedkoopRD.

Sprucing up your office snack with sweet and spicy pecans

Eating small snacks throughout the day helps you avoid dips in energy to keep you productive and alert at work. Choosing the right type of snacks can also help you maintain a healthy body weight, which is important for cancer and chronic disease prevention.

Foods that contain protein, fiber and heart-healthy fats slow the digestion process and lead to a longer feeling of satisfaction compared to processed, sugary snacks. A great snack option that includes all of these nutrients are nuts. Research has shown that eating nuts at least 4 times a week can reduce your risk of cancer. Nuts contain a variety of cancer-protective nutrients and phytochemicals, and are a good source of heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids.

This weekend I spruced up my usual snack of plain nuts by making homemade spiced pecans with a touch of sweetness and heat. Most candied nuts you buy in the grocery store are laden with sugar and excess fat, and expensive. Instead, I prefer to make my own – it’s surprisingly easy and with a few tweaks you can make a tasty, nutritious option at home.

This recipe only takes about 20 minutes and includes just 6 simple ingredients! Here’s the full recipe: Maple Cayenne Pecans.

3-1

To prepare, mix the pecans with all the ingredients except the coconut oil in a medium bowl so they are evenly coated. Continue reading

Can Whole Grain Vegan Chocolate Chip Bites Be Tasty? Indeed.

Even though I’m a registered dietitian, I still love sweets. It’s important to find balance and moderation when it comes to your eating patterns. This means following AICR’s recommendations for a New American Plate most of the time, while allowing for the occasional treat. This type of balanced eating pattern will help you reduce your risk of cancer and chronic disease while staying satisfied and enjoying all the foods you love.

One of my favorite treats is a homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Most cookies are made almost entirely with sugar, butter and refined (white) flour – ingredients that can quickly lead to weight gain and increase your risk of cancer. However, in my numerous past attempts to make healthier cookies I’ve generally ended up with bland or dry tasting “healthy cookies.”

I recently found the perfect solution to making healthier cookies that also taste great. This recipe combines the sweet, gooey-chocolate and nutty flavor I love in oatmeal chocolate chip cookies while using minimally processed, nutritious ingredients.

OatmealCookieingredientsThey are made with fiber-rich whole rolled oats and almond flour, which add great flavor and make the cookies gluten free. The fat from the flaxseed and nut butter are rich in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids and make this recipe more suitable for following a plant-based diet. Continue reading

Sweet, crunchy and spicy, coleslaw made healthy

Coleslaw is a staple side with barbecue and Tex-Mex style dishes because of the cool, refreshing crunch it adds to a heavier meal. I’ve always been a fan of citrus or vinegar-based slaws rather than traditional mayonnaise-based ones. The acidity from this type of slaw pairs well with the sauces and flavors that are common in BBQ and Tex-Mex dishes. The lighter dressing also helps brings out the natural flavors of the veggies in the coleslaw.

For today’s Healthy Recipe, I made a modified version of AICR’s fiesta slaw featuring a variety of colorful bell peppers instead of traditional cabbage and carrots. Bell peppers are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C. Additionally, they contain numerous phytochemicals, which may help reduce your risk of cancer.

I love that this recipe includes a variety of naturally sweet, crunchy and spicy ingredients – the sweetness from the orange juice, mango and apple cut some of the heat from the jalapeño pepper.

It’s also one of the most vibrant veggie sides I’ve ever made. I always emphasize the importance of eating a rainbow to my patients and clients. The colors in foods represent different nutrients and phytochemicals, so the more (naturally) colorful your foods are the better! Veggiespic1_SG

Continue reading