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Banana walnut muffins & The Best Mango walnut and feta salad

Posted Jul 17 2010 2:23pm
I have been doing some brainstorming about my community nutrition project.
I question why people don't eat more/enough/any fruits and veggies on a daily basis.
I hear all the time from people who are on diets, such as weight watchers, paleo, gluten-free, Mediterranean Diet, Best Life diet, Eat this/Not that diet and the Zone diet (want more examples, they are all listed on this page http://www.webmd.com/diet/evaluate-latest-diets) and how they feel much better on the diet and ask my thoughts of whether or not I support the diet. Primarily, I hear a lot about gluten-free, paleo, mediterranean and the zone diet from athletes.
I believe in a balanced diet and taking time to understand your personal individual dietary requirements which support your lifestyle and your exercise routine. Although there are pro's in several of these diets, I do not believe that a person should feel restricted in an effort to live a long and healthy life.
The benefit of several diets is that you become more aware of your eating habits and perhaps your body. By making swaps and replacing foods, you likely add in foods which you have been neglecting or that your body requires....specifically fruits and veggies.
For example, there are several research studies demonstrating the inflammatory effects of foods high in sugar. Many athletes feel better when they "go" gluten-free. My guess is that you are replacing the refined sugars w/ more fruits and veggies and perhaps a little more thought in your food choices. In my opinion, if you are eliminating healthy foods in the diet in an effort to be healthy and abide by a certain diet, you are simply sabotaging yourself to feel satisfied throughout the day and help meet your fitness goals.
If you have a chance in the next few days, I would love to hear your opinion, comment or feedback to the following questions. Don't feel as if you can't be detailed. Please leave a comment or email me mrakes1@hotmail.com. Based on your comments I will be creating my community nutrition project to encourage people to adopt a more plant-based diet.
(you don't have to answer every question)
1) Do you feel as if you eat at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies on a daily basis?
If so, do you feel satisfied during the day or hungry?
If not, why is it challenging for you to meet recommendations?

2) Do you eat fruits and veggies for health benefits or for the taste..or both?

3) Are there factors that stop you from eating fruits and veggies? ex. cravings for other foods, enjoyment of processed foods, money, availability?
Do you feel as if it is cheaper to buy process food/fast food than buy/eat fruits and veggies.

4) Would you buy more fruits and veggies if you could buy from a farmer's market?
Do you shop at farmer's markets and if so, how often (week/month/year).

5) Do you feel healthier when you eat fruits and veggies?

6) Are you on a "diet", an athlete looking to improve performance, trying to maintain weight and/or trying to lose weight?

7) Do you feel as if you eat too many fruits and veggies and not enough grains, fat and protein?

8) Although there is an abundance of articles, books and articles on the benefits of fruits and veggies, what resources would you like to encourage you/hold you accountable to eating a more plant based diet? ex. recipes, health benefits of fruits and veggies, grocery list of seasonal produce, more farmer's markets, guides/checklists, etc.

9) Any other thoughts.....



Banana walnut muffins
Dry1 cup oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 tsp all spice
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp flax seeds (ground)
2 tbsp wheat germ
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Wet2 spotty brown bananas
1 tbsp almond extract
2 eggs (1 whole, 1 white)
2 tbsp 0% plain greek yogurt
1/3 cup skim milk
1 1/4 cup carrots (shredded) - YES carrots. There is over a serving of veggies in this recipe.

Topping: chopped walnuts and golden raisins

Makes 14-15 muffins
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Mix together dry ingredients in large bowl.
3. Mash bananas w/ a fork in small bowl. Mix together wet ingredients in small bowl.
4. Add wet to dry and mix well. May need to add a splash or two of water to help with stirring. You should be able to stir with ease but it should not be drippy. More like thick pancake batter.
5. In a non-stick muffin tin sprayed with a little non stick spray, fill muffin tins 3/4th full.
6. Top each muffin w/ a few chopped walnuts and raisins.
7. Bake for 25-35 min or until top of muffin is firm.






The Best Mango walnut and feta salad

Spinach
Feta
Walnuts
Firm Tofu
Garlic
Carrots (shredded)
Onion
Tomato
Olive oil
Quinoa

1. On a non-stick pan on medium heat, cook garlic in 2-3 tsp olive oil. Add firm tofu (about 1/4 cubed per person). Cook for 5-8 min. or until tofu turns golden on most sides.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl and top w/ tofu.


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