Thinking about throwing in the towel on those New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier?
Don’t trash them just yet.
OK, maybe you haven’t been as diligent in reforming your eating habits as you had hoped since the first of the year, but there are still 11 months left in 2013 to get it going. We asked three local health professionals to share a favorite healthy recipe with The Star.
• Shelly Summar is a registered dietitian and the coordinator of the Weight Management Program at Children’s Mercy Hospital. Summar is also the mother of two teenage daughters.
She shared her recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup, which is easy to make on a busy night when it seems everyone in the family is headed in different directions. The recipe features the convenience of rotisserie chicken and adds garnishes such as reduced-fat cheese and fat-free sour cream.
• Andrea Hudy’s message to the college athletes she works with at the University of Kansas? Eat fewer carbohydrates, and you can eat more. Hudy is the assistant athletic director for sport performance. She shared a recipe for pizza that replaces a conventional crust with one made of cauliflower.
• Joan O’Keefe is a mother, registered dietitian and the wife of a cardiologist. She offers nutrition counseling sessions for schools, sports teams and professional organizations. For her upcoming book, she created the Flat Belly Salad, a recipe featuring kale. The nutrition-packed leafy green makes a salad that can keep all week in the refrigerator.
SHELLY SUMMAR | Registered dietitian and Weight Management Program coordinator at Children’s Mercy Hospital
Making wholesale changes in the way you eat probably won’t be effective.
Summar’s professional experience has shown that when we’re told to restrict calories or portion size, it’s a difficult task to sustain on a long-term basis. Rather, she gives her clients a couple of manageable and affordable tips to help make changes that turn resolutions into a lifestyle.
For starters, a meal involves more than one food.
“We need to add sides to our meat,” Summar says. “Vegetables and fruits, not just a starch, make the meal more well-rounded. You feel more satisfied with a smaller entree because you’ve filled up on other dishes.”
Summar also recommends cooking with lower fat and lower calorie ingredients, such as light sour cream or skim instead of whole milk. Substituting these products will make a significant difference in your calorie intake.
“It’s fine to use convenience items from the grocery store when making a meal at home,” Summar says.
Buying a rotisserie chicken to add to her tortilla soup will cut down the time it takes to get a meal on the table and increase the odds of cooking for your family rather than stopping at the drive-through window at a fast-food restaurant.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1/2 bunch cilantro, rinsed
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 to 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 1/2 to 2 quarts low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
2 to 3 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) can low-sodium tomato sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 rotisserie chicken breast, shredded
Fresh whole-wheat tortillas, for garnish
6 to 8 tablespoons shredded low-fat cheddar cheese, for garnish
6 to 8 teaspoons fat-free sour cream, for garnish
4 to 6 sprigs cilantro, for garnish
In a food processor or blender, puree cilantro, onion, jalapeño, garlic and diced tomatoes.
In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth, cumin, salt and tomato sauce to a boil. Lower heat to medium and add blender mixture; simmer for 1 hour.
Dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 cup water and add to the soup. Return soup to a boil then simmer, allowing to thicken, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add shredded chicken 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut whole-wheat tortillas into strips and bake 10 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure not to burn.
Spoon about 1 cup of soup into a warm bowl and garnish evenly with tortilla strips, cheddar cheese, sour cream and a sprig of cilantro.
Per serving, based on 6: 118 calories (20 percent from fat), 4 grams total fat (trace saturated fat), 18 milligrams cholesterol, 12 grams carbohydrates, 21 grams protein, 461 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.
ANDREA HUDY | Assistant athletic director for sport performance at the University of Kansas
Hudy oversees sports strength performance at the Anderson Strength and Conditioning Complex in Lawrence for all sports except football. She was recently named the National College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She is only the second woman to win the award.
While Hudy agrees that portion control is important, for her world-class athletes it’s more about what goes in their mouths, not how much.
Hudy maintains that people who eat high-density minerals, high proteins, less fat and fewer carbohydrates can eat almost as much as they want. The key is to watch your simple sugar intake. Like Shelly Summar, Hudy stresses that this works only if it’s a lifestyle change. Quick diets and fad foods don’t do the trick.
Fortunately for all of us with a sweet tooth, Hudy gives her blessing to dark chocolate. “It’s more bitter, but healthier,” she explains, because it has fewer carbs compared with milk chocolate.
Hudy is also on board with pizza, at least if the crust is made with cauliflower and not flour. She advises not going wild by topping it with mounds of cheese, which ups the carbs and takes it out of the healthy category.
Hudy shared this recipe from KU sport nutritionist Kayli Hrdlicka.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Makes 1 (9-inch) crust, or 8 servings
1 large head cauliflower
1 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, plus additional for topping
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Vegetable toppings of your choice, such as broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes and olives
Wash cauliflower and remove stems and leaves then chop into chunks. Place cauliflower in a food processor or blender and pulse until the pieces resemble rice. Place riced cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl, add 1/4 cup water and microwave on high for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a pizza pan or cookie sheet with nonstick vegetable cooking spray.
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup riced cauliflower, cheese and egg. Add oregano, garlic powder and garlic salt and stir. Transfer mixture to the prepared cookie sheet and shape into a 9-inch circle. Bake for 15 minutes until the crust is browned. Remove from the oven and add toppings of your choice. Place under broiler until additional shredded mozzarella cheese is melted, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Per serving: 51 calories (52 percent from fat), 3 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 34 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 215 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber.
JOAN O’KEEFE | Registered dietitian
When you’re a dietitian and married to a cardiologist, it’s a fair bet that the family table is a healthy one.
O’Keefe says their eating philosophy is simple: “We eat one protein and two to three colors three times a day,” she says.
O’Keefe points out that the protein can be fish or meat, as long as the meat is lean and not burnt. As for those colors, they should include fruits and vegetables.
Most people think grains are a good choice, but that depends. Whole grains like wild rice, steel-cut oats and barley are fine because they are digested slowly, but wheat is another matter.
“Grains aren’t that good for you. The more quickly they are digested, the faster they get in the bloodstream and raise insulin levels,” she says. “When your sugar level shoots up, it comes crashing down, and then you don’t feel well, so you crave that high again.”
O’Keefe mixes up a huge batch of her Flat Belly Salad at the beginning of the week and then sticks the bowl in the refrigerator, where it improves with age and can last several days, although her kids and husband eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Flat Belly Salad
Makes 4 to 6 servings
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed
1 head red cabbage, diced (buy pre-cut for convenience)
1 bell pepper, green or red, cut into small chunks
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 red onion, chopped into small dice
Mix oil and vinegar together. Toss salad with dressing and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend. The salad will keep in refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Variation: You can add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and low-sodium seasonings including lemon-pepper, garlic powder or Mrs. Dash.
Per serving, based on 4: 219 calories (81 percent from fat), 21 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 9 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 12 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.
JAMES O’KEEFE | Breakfast
Editor’s note: This excerpt is part of a story about healthy breakfasts from April 8, 2009.
Hectic households are waking up to the new family hour. Breakfast is becoming the main meal for today’s busy families, when schedules don’t allow for a traditional evening supper together.
Now more than ever, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, says James O’Keefe, director of preventive cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Hospital. With four active children, the O’Keefes have made breakfast around the dinner table family time in their Mission Hills home.
“Our breakfasts aren’t a long, drawn-out process but a way to get our day going, “ he says. “It’s good to have family time and know we’re starting the day in the right way, especially when there are competing schedules after work or school.”
O’Keefe thinks outside the cereal box when it comes to healthy choices. He co-authored “The Forever Young Diet & Lifestyle” (Andrews McMeel; $22.95) with his wife of 25 years, Joan O’Keefe, a registered dietitian.
O’Keefe likes to start the day with a lean protein and two colors — foods such as an egg-white omelet, low-fat plain yogurt with a variety of berries and low-sodium vegetable juice.
The incredible, edible egg, sans yolk, is a healthy source of protein. An egg-white omelet, loaded with veggies and topped with avocado, is both delicious and nutritious, he says.
“There’s a saying that goes: ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper, ’ “ he says. “Making healthy choices for breakfast sets the stage for the rest of the day and gets your metabolism and brain in gear.”
James O’Keefe’s Omelet
Makes 1 serving
4 egg whites
2 teaspoons water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
4 tablespoons thinly sliced bell pepper
1 cup whole leaf spinach
Fresh avocado slices, for garnish
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, water, salt and pepper with a fork about 15 seconds. Heat olive oil in a nonstick 8-inch omelet pan over medium-high heat for about 1 minute. Sauté mushrooms and bell pepper until tender, about 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer ingredients to a separate bowl and set aside.
Pour eggs into pan and stir gently with a wooden spoon, folding the egg mixture over itself and allowing the uncooked egg to run under the cooked egg. Cook about 1 minute. Add veggies and cook 1 minute. To turn omelet out of the pan, hold the pan handle and tilt the edge of the pan down slightly, over the serving plate. Using a rubber spatula, roll omelet out of the pan, starting at the top of the pan. Top with avocado slices. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 128 calories (33 percent from fat), 5 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 6 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams protein, 245 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.
Source: To read excerpts of James O’Keefe’s book, go to: www.foreveryoungdiet.com
• Paula Deen’s son Bobby has found ways to tinker with his famous mother’s calorie-laden dishes using low-fat ingredients that don’t sacrifice flavor. Bobby Deen’s cookbook, “From Mama’s Table to Mine: Everybody’s Favorite Comfort Foods at 350 Calories or Less” (Ballantine Books , $22), serves up traditionally fattening foods like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, all of which have been approved by a certified nutritionist.
Deen’s book goes on sale Feb. 5. He is scheduled to appear in Kansas City on Feb. 11 at Seasons 52 on the Country Club Plaza. Tickets are $60, which includes dinner and a copy of the book. For reservations, call Seasons 52 at 816-531-0052; for more information go to rainydaybooks.com.
• James and Joan O’Keefe are coming out with their second book, “Let Me Tell You a Story: Real-Life Stories That Will Inspire You to Achieve Health, Happiness, and a Sexy Waist” (Andrews McMeel Publishing; $16.99; release date Feb. 26).
He’s a cardiologist, she’s a registered dietitian, and their first book, “The Forever Young Diet and Lifestyle,” outlines a sensible program combining healthy eating habits and exercise. Their new book highlights real-life stories of individuals who have followed the O’Keefes’ advice about every aspect of their lives, from sleep, diet and exercise to supplements and sex.
The couple strive to help people live “quality minutes,” where health isn’t a limiting factor in what can be accomplished in life.
• Local author Kate Newell found that changing the foods she cooked with dramatically altered her overall health, so she wrote a cookbook detailing how she did it. In “Feeding Our Families: Bringing Back the Made-From-Scratch Family Dinner” (Healthnut Foodie; $24.50), Newell discusses the health and healing benefits of every ingredient she uses in her recipes.
A former junk food junkie, she also writes a blog called Healthnut Foodie (healthnutfoodie.com), in which she shares tips for making her family’s meals exciting yet nourishing.