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.
Item: Stroll home from my local boulangerie with a fresh baguette tucked under my arm, like a true Parisienne. Check – I did it many times when I lived in Paris apprenticing as a cook.
Item: Eat freshly made ricotta cheese in the mountains of Sicily. Check – It was as rustic and delicious as it sounds, arriving at sunrise with mist rising from the valley and a light breeze carrying sheep smell as we warmed our hands around wooden bowls filled with creamy, slightly grainy curds of ricotta just made by shepherds over a wood fire.
Item: Eat genuine barbecue. Double Check. The first time was while driving through Texas Hill Country. I cannot recall the name of the place but their brisket, slow-cooked over wood, was to die for. The second time was pickin’ pig with Julia Child in Atlanta. Standing with other guests, including Julia, at a specially arranged barbecue, around a whole pit-roasted pig arrayed on a picnic table, pulling off meltingly tender strands, we agreed it was divinely messy and memorable. Read more… “Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken, A Juicy (Healthier) Barbecue”
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!