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High Fiber, Healthy & Hearty Meat Sauce

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High Fiber, Healthy & Hearty Meat Sauce

I planned to post this 2 weeks ago when Long Island was hit with that nasty snow storm. It would have been perfect. But, time got away from me and then a week later it was 67 degrees and we were at the beach with our new puppy!

Now that it’s cold again, i decided today would be the best day. A nice, warm, home-cooked meal on a cozy Sunday.

This is my family’s and my favorite tomato sauce for pasta. I originally found it in a Clean Eating Magazine (or maybe it was Oxygen) but it was a clean eating pasta sauce. I had posted it on my Nutrition & Exercise Smoothie Facebook Page  but never got around to making it. My cousin Debbi invited us down for Thanksgiving weekend one year, and was making it!  I was so excited. She said she makes it all the time and her kids love it.  I was equally excited to try it – which we all did and it was indeed delicious.

Since then, I make it, and tell everyone about it. Today I will share the recipe with you.

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This is her original email she sent me almost 7 years ago!  I still have the scrap of paper, although it doesn’t look as shiny & new as this one.

The part that takes me the longest is the chopping up of all the veggies. I don’t have a food processor, and my Mini-Chop it too small. I must admit, the last time I made this, there was a large bag of chopped carrots, celery and onions in the supermarket, just sitting there on the shelf, smiling at me. I did a double take and then snagged the bag off the shelf. It was all there: the 3 ingredients I needed, already chopped and waiting for me. It cut my prep time in half.

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After chopping up all the veggies (or if you’re lucky enough to find a bag like I did) add to a large pot that has olive oil heating up on the bottom of it (I found the cooking spray was too little, but I did use it to coat the entire bottom of the pan, and then added a tiny bit of the olive oil) and then add the turkey breast crumbles. My husband was wary of using turkey chop meat but once he tasted it – with all these wonderful ingredients – he absolutely loved it.

Afterward, I just added the flour, milk, can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and water, with all the seasonings, and stirred. That was really it. I let it simmer for at least a half hour. I used such a large pot because I usually double the recipe above. One time I tripled the recipe! (Of course that was the time I didn’t have that nice bag of chopped up veggies. It took me three times as long to make this!)

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Mmmm. Can you smell it! The whole kitchen smells great. Time for a sauce sandwich! (Anyone know what that is?)

After it cools for a bit, I transferred it all to plastic containers and stored it in my freezer. There’s always sauce ready and cooked in my house. One year, when we had a huge veggie garden, my husband used the plum tomatoes from the garden to make sauce. It took forever but was delicious. Unfortunately several of the glass jars cracked and we had to throw it all out! Now we use plastic and make sure we don’t fill it to the top.

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Healthy, hearty, packed with protein, high in fiber from the veggies, and delicious.

What do you think? Do you have any favorite recipes to share?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Beware of Fake Nutrition Claims on Food Labels

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fake foods

Fake Nutrition Claims on Food Labels

I’m not a salesman, but if I wanted you to buy my food product, I would say whatever I wanted to GET you to buy it. Especially if there was just a news story covering some exciting new breakthrough. Everywhere you go, you see low-fat, low-sugar, no trans-fats, no cholesterol, all natural, etc. But many of these foods never had these things in them to begin with, and many take one item out to put another one in.

All Natural

What does that even mean? A lot of things are ‘naturally’ occurring but would you eat them? How ’bout some Arsenic pie? Yum! But hey! It’s all natural. Natural just means it was not chemically made, but it still can be a product that’s high in calories, or low in nutrients. Ignore this claim.

Cholesterol-Free

Many of us are watching our cholesterol, but did you know that many of the products with this claim, never HAD cholesterol? Cholesterol only comes from animals, (meats, eggs, seafood, dairy) so something like potato chips (that come from the ground) never had cholesterol!  What they fail to mention is that the product is extremely high in fat and salt. But hey, don’t worry: there’s no cholesterol in here! If it comes from an animal, it’ll have it. If it came from the ground, it never did.

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Low-Fat – Low-Sugar 

Unfortunately, for many processed, packaged foods, they need to make the end product taste good. So, they either need to add sugar, or fat. (or salt). Guess what? When they take one out, they add the other. They won’t tell you that, but trust me, when the fat comes out they add a ton of sugar and vice versa. (I’m still talking about processed foods. When they remove fat from things like milk and yogurt, they just remove the fat). Or worse, they add weird additives, chemicals and food-alternatives to make up for the missing consistency. Stick with REAL food and just eat less of it.

Low-Sodium

Again, depending on the food, this may mean nothing. Sometimes it’s just good ol’ less salt being added. Sometimes the item never had salt. Sometimes, there is “less” salt, but it can still be very high in fat and calories, like chips. No-Salt-Added or Unsalted → just mean no salt is added during processing, but not necessarily sodium-free. Reduced Sodium → just means at least 25% less sodium than in the original product, but the original product could be extremely high in salt! Here’s a better guide. Shoot for less than 2,400mg of sodium a day.

  • Salt/Sodium-Free → Less than 5 mg of sodium per serving
  • Very Low Sodium → 35 mg of sodium or less per serving
  • Low Sodium → 140 mg of sodium or less per serving

Organic

Organic just let’s you know how the food was grown and processed. It can still be high in sodium, fat and sugar. Read the Label.

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Multiple Grains

Another claim that means nothing. Multiple what-kind-of-grains? 7 grain bread may sound healthy, but it can be several lame grains that are refined and mixed together. Also if it says “made with whole grains” it might have 1% whole grains and the other 99% can be refined. It must say 100% whole grain, or 100% whole wheat. Look for the percentage and the word “whole”.

Good Source of Something

This is a big joke. Ice cream and cheese  are a good source of calcium, but should you eat tons of it? No. Juices may be a good source of Vitamin C, but it can still be extremely high in sugar AND they might have added the Vitamin C to begin with! They could add calcium to things like waffles, and if you are lactose intolerant, that may be a way for you to get your calcium, but the food itself can be crap. Look at your source. Is that really where you want to get your nutrients from?

Trans Fats

Although companies are removing the Trans fats, and many food labels may claim there are no Trans Fats in the product, there may still be some. A product can have up to .5gm of Trans Fats per serving and be allowed to claim that it contains ZERO! If the words “partially-hydrogenated” is on the food label, you can be sure it contains some Trans-Fats. Also, if they’re taking out the Trans-Fats, they’re just adding in another Saturated fat in it’s place.

If Something Claims Something, it has to have this: (but the product can still be bad for you, as above)

  • Low fat – 3 grams fat or less per serving
  • Fat-free – Less than 1/2 gram fat per serving
  • Low sodium – Less than 140 milligrams sodium per serving
  • Low calorie – Less than 40 calories per serving
  • Calorie free – Less than 5 calories per serving
  • Low cholesterol – Less than 20 milligrams cholesterol and 2 grams saturated fat

Other Tidbits

  1. Read serving sizes. Even those little snack bags MAY contain more than 1 serving!
  2. Good Source of fiber: it better have at least 3gms per serving (5gms is better)
  3. The longer the list of ingredients, the more processed it is. Find ones that have 5 ingredients or less. Or don’t buy it.
  4. Reduced fat products will not help you lose weight, especially if fat is replaced with sugar, and the product still contains a lot of calories.

Still Confused? (I don’t blame you)

For a more detailed explanation of How to Read a Food Label, click HERE and HERE

P.S. It’s a lot easier eating something without a food label on it!  So what do you think?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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What to Snack on After School to Fight Obesity

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After School Snacks

You packed up that great lunch for them, maybe even a snack, but now they’re home, and they’re starving. I recently had a problem where my kids, whom both have an early lunch in school, and are too old to have “snack-time,” would come home from school around 3pm starving, searching every nook and cranny for where I hid the snacks, and eat themselves silly because dinner was not until 7pm.

Understandable. 4 hours is a long time to wait until they eat again and 2 Oreos is not going to cut it. I decided that they really needed to have a second lunch. I told them to start making themselves a sandwich, have a bowl of cereal, a leftover slice of pizza, or even some soup. Something substantial that will fill them up. Still hungry? Then they can have a snack.

Let me show you a 3 tier Snack Pyramid so you can see what they really should be having when they do snack.

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Special Treats means: at that occasional party or get-together. Let these be special. Not a daily thing. When I see people buying BAGS of candy when it’s nowhere near Halloween, I wonder what they’re doing with it.

As for the 3-4 Times a Week: these foods provide very little nutrition but can be worked in with something more healthy. For example:

  1. Pretzels with 2 Clementines
  2. Ice Cream with Strawberries
  3. Vanilla Pudding with a Banana
  4. Vanilla Wafers with Cantaloupe
  5. Pizza Bagels with Baby Carrots
  6. Granola bar with an Apple
  7. Saltines with Peanut Butter

Have an Overweight child? (or adult?)

Here are some calorie and portion controlled snacks

100-150 calories 

  • 1 cup Low-Fat Yogurt
  • 1 Cup Applesauce
  • Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese over Hot Air Popped Popcorn
  • 1 oz String Cheese with 2 Crackers
  • 1 Cup Cereal with Milk
  • 1 Slice Whole Grain Toast with Avocado Spread
  • Hard Boiled Egg with Whole Wheat Toast
  • Peanut Butter Spread on Half an Apple
  • Fruit Kabobs
  • Whole Grain Waffle smeared with Yogurt and Sliced Peaches
  • Handful of Baked Tortilla Chips with Fresh Salsa
  • Scoop of Tuna on a small Dinner Roll
  • Sprinkle Grated Monterey Jack Cheese over a Tortilla, fold/microwave
  • English Muffin half with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese

200 calories

  •  Veggies and Hummus or Vanilla Greek Yogurt Dip
  • 2 Brown Rice Cakes & Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Homemade Trail Mix
  • 1/2 Sandwich with Turkey, Lettuce, Tomato on Whole Wheat Bread
  • Baked Sweet Potato with Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Roll Turkey around String Cheese
  • Banana Rolled in Yogurt & Cereal
  • Pretzel Rod with 1 oz Cheese Cubes
  • Whole Wheat Pita Spread with Hummus or Avocado
  • 1 oz Cheese cubes and Grapes
  • Oatmeal, TBSP Peanut Butter, Berries
  • 1 Cup Yogurt with a Sprinkle of Kashi Go-Leach Crunch Cereal
  • Tomato Soup with 4 Whole Wheat Crackers

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Examples

Breakfast Cereals – Less than 8gms of sugar per serving(add fruit to make it even healthier)

  1. Cheerios
  2. Special K
  3. Frosted Mini Wheats
  4. Raisin Bran
  5. Wheaties
  6. More at this Link http://greatist.com/health/best-healthy-cereal-brands

Crackers etc.

  1. Triscuits
  2. Kalvi Rye Crackers
  3. Whole Wheat Matzos
  4. Finn Crisp
  5. Brown Rice Cakes
  6. Baked Tortilla Chips
  7. More about Healthy Crackers: http://bit.ly/1s2lwU4

Protein Bars

For big kids or little kids, try CLIFF bars. Here’s a list:

  1. Big Kids (like me!)
  2. Little Kids

Dips

  1. Dip Baby Carrots & Cherry Tomatoes into Ranch dressing
  2. Dip Pretzels into Mustard
  3. Dip mini-Waffles into Cinnamon Applesauce
  4. Dip Strawberries or Apples into Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  5. Dip Pita Chips into Hummus
  6. Dip Graham Crackers into Pudding

So give your children, and yourself, more substantial snacks after school so they won’t raid the fridge every 20 minutes. Make up for what they didn’t eat in school, and provide good nutrition until dinner is ready.

What’s your favorite snack here?

I love hearing from you!
CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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