The $2.25 Salad

Hey ya’ll! I’m pretty exhausted today. Seriously almost too tired to post, but then I was like I can’t leave my loyal followers out of the daily loop. I’m tired because I took my brother and his friend on a self-made food tour (I should totally do for money in real life), and we walked for hours upon hours around the lower part of Manhattan. After that I had around 4 hours of straight class, which can get pretty exhausting. However I am pushing through and showing ya’ll one of the recipes I made during my SNAP Challenge. With the SNAP Challenge, each meal is only supposed to be around $1.50, but this was 2.25$. I got two lunches out of it though, so I think it was pretty good. Plus some of my other meals were pretty cheap.

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Cranberry Almond Apple Salad

1/2 bag of Romaine Lettuce (.96 cents/serving)
1/10 of Granny Smith Apple (.07 cents/serving)1 chicken breast (1.07/serving)
a pinch of cranberries (.05 cents for a pinch, actual serving is 1/4 c so .15 cents if use that)
a pinch of almonds (.05 cents for a pinch, actual serving is 1/4 c, so .13 cents if use that)
light drizzle of mashed raspberries with water (.05 cents/serving)

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1. Take a single chicken breast and slice it up into tiny chunks.

2. Place in a medium sized pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cook the chicken until it is cooked through.

3. Place Romaine lettuce in a bowl. Then add in the cooked chunks of chicken.

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4. Slice up a Granny Smith apple into 10 slices, only use one of the slices to chop it up into fine pieces to place over the salad (you can use the rest of the apple for whatever you please. I ended up eating mine for a snack a few hours later by just placing the slices in a plastic bag and placing them in the fridge).

5. Add a pinch of almonds and craisins to the top of the salad. I didn’t add that much because I wanted to save my nuts and craisins for snacks for the other days, which would provide me with energy from the healthy source of fat.

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6. Mash a few raspberries in a small plastic container. Add a little bit of water and olive oil until it becomes a runny dressing. Drizzle over the top of the lettuce and you are good to go.

I was actually pretty proud of myself for making this salad and having it under 7$. Salads are so expensive, and I don’t understand why. You can make them really cheap, so why are you charging more for a salad in comparison to a hamburger. Get with the program people! America is fat, so why don’t you charge more for the fattening stuff and less for the healthy food items. I know there is much more to this situation since I am a nutrition masters student, but still it just bothers me that people don’t have the access to healthy foods like they do with the fattening junk. I am going to reflect on my SNAP Challenge on my Thursday post about life as a nutrition student. Ya’ll will get to hear my struggles through this experience and my realizations about people who live on SNAP. Anyways back to the deliciousness that is this salad. I was so impressed with it that I am actually going to be adding it to my regular routine of meals. I like having a salad a few times a week because they are fun to just mix in random things with and create whatever you desire at the moment. Plus it is an easy way to get in a large amount of fruits and vegetables, so definitely go for creating your own salad to help get nutrients!

I know I promised this post last night, but I ended up getting distracted by working on my SNAP challenge paper. Plus my internet was pissing me off while I was trying to upload pictures of my salad. How rude! Anyways lucky for ya’ll, I’m giving two posts for one! So stay tuned for my WIAW post.

Nutrition Fact Friday: Calcium

Hey ya’ll! Friday is the best day because that means it is Nutrition Fact Friday. Every Friday of the week, I will be providing ya’ll with a mini nutrition education lesson on a nutrient, food, or something nutrition related. This week I have a special guest who goes by the name of Calcium. Calcium is considered to be the most abundant mineral in the body. It is found in some foods, added to others, and it can be in some medicines. This mighty mineral is needed for a variety of things to function in your body. Some things calcium impacts are vasodilation, muscle contraction, and hormone secretion. Calcium, in the average person’s mind, is considered to be a bone mineral. They are right in some ways because 99% of calcium is stored in the bone, but there are so many functions of calcium! One of the most common problems in society is that most people assume calcium is found in milk, so they push milk consumption like crazy. However this is not completely true! Calcium is found in a ton of options, so lets check them out:

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Since calcium is found in so many foods, you can plan your diet around many options in order to get your daily intake amount in. This is especially important to notice if you are vegan or lactose intolerant because you don’t consume milk in those populations, so having many options like different vegetables allows every population to not be calcium deficient. Calcium deficiency, also known as hypocalcemia, can be a huge problem since calcium regulates many things such as blood pressure and it helps construct bones. Side effects that occur when there isn’t enough calcium in the body are osteoporosis, eye damage, and abnormal heartbeats. Therefore it is extremely important to consume calcium regularly in the diet.

The recommended intake for individuals, male or female, from ages 19-50 is 1000 mg. This is a pretty good number to try to reach every day. For individuals that are younger the requirement is usually less than 1000 until children reach the age of development, which is 9-18 years old and they consume around 1300 mg. The same is true for the population as it ages because there is an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. There is no maximum amount of calcium to limit yourself to because no adverse effects have been seen. It is important though to mix up your sources of calcium because when you consume things such as spinach, collard greens, and oranges you are giving your body other vital nutrients and minerals that are needed for the daily intake. One of the key things of living a nutritious and healthy life is following variety!

Now for the fun part of the nutrition fact Friday. The recipe ideas to help you consume more calcium. Each week on Friday, I will round up some of my favorite recipes that utilize a major source of that week’s topic in them. So this week it is all about those delicious calcium recipes!

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What a good way to get a good amount of calcium then by consuming more than one source in one sitting! This amazing recipe from Simply Life uses tofu and broccoli to create a stunning Chinese inspired dish. For one thing, it is sesame tofu, which maybe one of my favorite dishes to order at a Chinese restaurant (specifically Rice Bowl in Austin, currently having a drool sesh right now as I write this post). This recipe is incredibly easy to follow, it contains tons of healthy ingredients, and it is packed full of awesome flavors. This probably contains around 446 mg of calcium in it. That is a pretty great amount. The more broccoli you put in the dish, the more the calcium level will increase. A great idea would be to include some bok choy too. That way you are getting a large amount of fiber with your calcium, so you will feel fuller for a longer period of time.

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Another great recipe to get in your calcium requirements is seen on the Preppy Paleo. This recipe is for Maple Almond Salmon. Once again the recipe is using two sources of calcium, which is amazing. Coating fish in a crust is a good way for people that don’t eat a lot of fish or particularly like the texture of fish to enjoy it. I love almonds and salmon, so I will definitely have to try this one out. This recipe has a little lower average value of calcium, which would be around 250 mg for a serving. However you could definitely increase your amount by adding a side of broccoli to the dinner or a nice plate of collard greens, which pack in a total of 357 mg of calcium (wow, those Southerners sure now how to get that calcium in their diet).

Calcium is really easy to consume throughout the day as long as you are having balanced meals. One of the easiest ways to get a dose in with breakfast is to consume dairy products, such as yogurt, cheese, or milk. However for those who don’t want to go the dairy path, focus on having an orange or a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice. Other options include a vegetable omelet with spinach. Snacks are easy to because you can just grab an orange or a handful of nuts to take along with you.

Keep those bones and teeth strong and the heart pumping! Don’t forget to get your calcium in daily. A healthy reminder is that consuming calcium chews or multivitamins does not help you reach your daily value. When you consume those, they tend to go out of your body immediately through your urine. That means that you need to eat fresh foods daily in order to consistently reach your daily requirements!

What is your favorite source of calcium?
Do you have any good calcium rich recipes?

Baked Peaches

Hey ya’ll! Sorry I’ve been totally awol lately. I’ve been busy with graduate school and exploring the wonderful city that I live in. However I’ve still kept ya’ll in mind and have tons of restaurant reviews, adventures, and recipes to share with ya’ll. For today, I have a delicious healthy snack. Baked peaches. Pretty much it tastes like a donut, but instead of the millions of calories and tons of fat, you are getting nutrients while eating something sweet. So lets get cooking!

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Baked Peaches

3-4 peaches, cut in half and seeds removed
4 tsp of butter/margarine
4-6 tsp of brown sugar
sprinkle of cinnamon
optional: ground almonds and dates

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1. Preheat oven to 375. Split peaches in half, remove the seed, and place in a 9 by 13 or 8 by 8 pan depending on how many peaches you have.

2. Place a small amount of the butter or margarine in the middle of the peach, where the seed used to be.

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3. Top each peach with a heaping of brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon. You can add as much as you would like. It depends on each individual’s taste preference.

4. An option topping is to grind almonds and dates in a food processor. This gives a streudal like topping, which you can place on top of the brown sugar.

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5. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Once they are done, let them cool down and enjoy!

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The dish is best served warm. The sweetness that comes out from every bite is amazing. The butter is what makes it taste doughnut like as well as the brown sugar. The combination bakes into the skin and inside of the peach, making it soaked with sweet flavor. It is one amazing dish. Each entire peach (consuming both halves) is only around 95 calories, so compared to a doughnut, which can be around 300-400 calories plus tons of fat, it is a much better option. In my opinion it is very tasty too. The peach with the almonds and dates is also incredibly delicious. The almonds provide a nice crunch to the soft sweetness of the peach. It is a perfect dish to serve after a dinner or to have on a cold day.

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I definitely recommend making this dish! Peaches are probably going to be very hard to come by pretty soon, so you better go make this dish immediately. Otherwise you will have to wait until the summer to have this delicious treat. Anyways I’m off to go do more graduate homework and study for my midterms! Wooot! Grad school life. I do have some other exciting news though. For one thing, it is my birthday tomorrow, so maybe I’ll do a fun post about myself because let’s face it, I think I’m pretty awesome! Other news is that next week I have a job interview for a really awesome opportunity being a nutrition educator for youth! I hope all goes well! Have an awesome Friday, I’ll be spending mine studying and finishing assignments. Nerd session!

What is your favorite fruit to bake with?
Would you rather have a peach or a doughnut? What is your favorite doughnut?