Included on our menu this week is our Skinny Shrimp Scampi with Broccoli. You’ve probably heard the term “scampi” before, but what does it mean?
• Technically, “scampi” is the Italian name for a small type of crustacean in the lobster family. By that definition, saying “shrimp scampi” is kind of like saying “shrimp tiny lobster”, but the term has evolved over the years.
• Italian cooks in the US started swapping the scampi species with shrimp, as scampi were very hard to come by.
• They would prep everything the same way and call it “shrimp prepared scampi style” which was eventually shortened to “shrimp scampi”.
• ”Scampi” as we know it today means that shrimp are sautéed with garlic in a sauce made from butter, white wine, and lemon juice. Italian parsley is also usually added.
• After the shrimp and sauce are done, we like to add in broccoli and some whole wheat pasta or swap the pasta for cauliflower for a low carb option.
thy levels of iron in your body are dependent on what you eat and how well you absorb it. Earlier this week we looked at plant-based sources of iron that most diets can accommodate. Now let’s look at tips to maximize the absorption of iron:
• Add in Red Meat, Chicken, and Fish
It’s been found that consuming sources of heme iron from animal sources also boosts absorption of non-heme iron from plant sources when eaten at the same meal. So if your diet allows it, red meat or chicken or fish are all good sources of heme iron that are easily absorbed and boost absorption overall.
• Add Vitamin C
Combining vitamin C with foods rich in non-heme iron can increase absorption by up to five times. Some iron-rich foods like broccoli and tomato paste already have vitamin C or you can go with combos such as beans and rice with salsa or falafel with tomatoes and hummus with lemon juice.
• Add Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene
Including vitamin A and beta-carotene rich foods can also increase iron absorption, among many other benefits. Think carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, squash, apricots, and peaches.
• Space Out Coffee, Tea, and Dairy
Coffee and tea contain tannins and polyphenols that inhibit iron absorption so it’s recommended to keep a couple of hours between them and a meal for maximum iron absorption. Also, calcium-rich foods can cut iron absorption by 50% so try and space out your calcium and iron intake.
Plant-Based Sources of Iron
• Iron helps your body do things like move oxygen around, grow hair and skin, strengthen immunity, and keep muscles functioning properly.
• There are two types of iron you can find in food: heme, found in animal sources, and non-heme, found in plant sources.
• Non-heme iron is not as easily absorbed by your body, so it’s recommended that vegans and vegetarians get a daily iron intake that’s higher than meat-eaters.
• That doesn’t mean it’s harder to meet those requirements - you just have to know where to look.
Here are some great plant-based sources of iron:
Lentils, soybeans, tofu, tempeh, chickpeas, lima beans.
Quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, fortified cereals.
• Nuts and Seeds:
Pumpkin, pine, pistachio, sunflower, cashews, hemp.
Tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens.
Dried apricots, dried figs, raisins, prune juice, olives.
1. "Spaghetto" is the singular form of the word “spaghetti”. That’s right. In the Italian language, an “i” at the end of a word usually means it’s plural and an “a” or “o” means singular. So “tortellino” is the plural of “tortellini” and you can say “raviolo” if you have one of many “ravioli” on your fork.
2. Peaches and nectarines are genetically identical except for the fuzz. There’s a misconception that nectarines are a cross between a peach and a plum, but that’s not true. Peaches and nectarines are the same except for one gene that determines whether their skin is fuzzy or smooth.
3. Indiana’s most popular Halloween candies are... Starburst in first place, then Hot Tamales, and third place is Jolly Ranchers. This is according to over a decade worth of sales data at candystore.com.
4. There are more than 3,000 varieties of pears in the world… and the United States produces 84% of them.
5. Margherita pizza was named after a queen. Queen Margherita and King Umberto I were visiting Naples in 1889 and wanted to switch up their usual fancy meal options and asked for pizza. They were served a pizza topped with soft mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil leaves. The queen raved about it and the combo has been named after her ever since.
Pasta is typically one of the first foods to go when people are looking to reduce calories and carbs in their diet. But with some knowledge of what pasta does for your body, you can easily make it part of your diet and keep it around.
• Calories and Carbs and More
Most pasta contains around 200 calories and 40g carbs per cup, so it’s not really considered a low-calorie or low-carb food. That doesn’t necessarily make it bad, but it’s important to have this knowledge and adjust accordingly to your dietary needs. Pasta also contains a good variety of nutrients like protein, B6, manganese, iron, and thiamin, among others.
• Whole-Grain Can Help
Going with whole-grain pasta over the usual white pasta can help shave off calories and carbs and also increase fiber intake. This will help increase your feelings of fullness as it takes longer to digest. It’s worth noting too that pasta is considered a low-glycemic index food, which means it won’t spike your blood sugar levels like high-glycemic foods do.
• Watch the Sauce
Most off-the-shelf pasta sauces are very high in sugar and add lots of calories (usually around 70 calories per ½ cup) to your dishes unknowingly and unnecessarily. Consider making your own using tomato sauce and adding spices. Or keep things simple and go with just roasted garlic and some olive oil and spices like red pepper flakes, basil, and oregano.
• Balance It Out
Pasta is great because it’s so versatile. Add plenty of vegetables to your pasta dish and top it with your choice of lean protein to make it a complete and balanced meal. You’ll also increase everyone’s satisfaction and fullness with these additions.
Those with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity have options as well. There are gluten-free varieties of pasta available that switch out the wheat ingredients with things like brown rice or quinoa.
Like most things you eat, moderation is key. If you’re realistic with your pasta serving sizes and what you put on top, pasta can definitely be part of your healthy diet.
Zucchini is a type of squash (technically a fruit) that's wonderfully-green and can be enjoyed raw, cooked, in bread or muffins, or you may have seen it on our menu in our Grilled Zucchini Wrap with Eggs and Mozzarella. There’s lots to love about zucchini:
• Heart Health
Zucchini’s heart health benefits come mostly from its ample fiber content. Studies have shown diets high in fiber reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, the potassium in zucchinis helps to open up your blood vessels and can reduce high blood pressure.
A lot of what makes up zucchini is water, which can reduce your chances of constipation. Also, it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber to keep things moving and feed healthy gut bacteria.
• Vitamin A
You’ll get 40% of your daily Vitamin A requirement from one cup of zucchini, which supports healthy vision and a strong immune system.
Zucchini is rich in antioxidants including a type called carotenoids that are beneficial for the health of your eyes, skin, and heart. Note that the highest concentration of antioxidants are in the skin, so try and include it when you can.
• Variety of Nutrients
One cup of zucchini only has 28 calories but is packed with a variety of nutrients we haven’t mentioned yet such as manganese, vitamins C, K, and B6, magnesium, folate, copper, and iron.
Snacks are a part of life. They keep things interesting and keep your stomach quiet between meals. When you’re working, a snack can be an exciting part of the day, but it shouldn’t be something you regret either. Here are some tips for smart snacking at work:
• Take a Serving With You
Don’t sit at your desk with the entire box of your snack. Instead, take a serving of it with you (whether your office is down the hall or down the street) because it’s easy to eat half the box while you’re distracted reading emails.
• No Fridge? No Problem!
Things like nuts, bananas, and oranges don’t require a fridge and you can easily keep them at your desk with no hassle.
If you eat fruits like apples and peaches with the skin on, you’ll get more fiber from them which will help your digestion but also leave you feeling full longer.
• Drink Your Snack
Consider going for drinks like tea or maybe a bottle of kombucha instead of eating a snack. You’ll get some hydration and it’ll bring more variety to your afternoons.
• Stick To A Schedule
You have to block out times for meetings, but you should also block out time for your lunch. If you delay your meal for too long or skip it altogether, you may make some not-so-great decisions at the vending machine later on. Try and stay within an hour of your normal meal break to keep your body happy and stay productive.
• Stay Hydrated
The brain’s signal for thirst can sometimes come across as hunger. Before you go for a snack, ask yourself if you’ve drank enough water today and make sure to take care of that first. Sometimes that’s all you need.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated to be good. Here are some ideas that only require a few ingredients but make for a delicious breakfast that’ll help fuel your day:
• Greek Yogurt Parfait
Start with Greek yogurt, add in fruit (blueberries, raspberries, banana), drizzle with some honey, and add a crunch with your favorite whole grain cereal or chia seeds. Lots of possibilities for mix-ins with this!
There are so many things you can do with eggs, but you can’t go wrong with a couple scrambled or fried eggs placed on a piece of whole-grain toast (try pumpernickel sometime). Consider adding slices of avocado or cheese.
• Banana, PB, Honey, and Chia
Cut up a banana into round pieces and lay them flat, add peanut butter to each slice, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle chia seeds over it all for a delicious and filling start to your day.
• Almonds and Dried Fruit
Combine dry roasted almonds and dried fruit like cranberries in a small bowl or ziploc bag and you’re good to go!
• Protein Platter
Slice up some hard boiled eggs, cheese, and an apple or two for a nice mix of protein, calcium, and fiber that the whole family can enjoy.
Pork tenderloin is a tender cut of meat that’s low in calories, high in protein, and was featured on our menu this week. It also offers a good amount of a wide variety of vitamins.
Let’s take a look at the many things a 3oz serving of pork tenderloin can provide:
• Calories: 122
• Carbs: 0g
• Fat: 3g
• Protein: 22g
• Thiamin: 54% DV (daily value)
• Selenium: 46%
• Niacin: 32%
• Vitamin B6: 31%
• Riboflavin: 19%
• Zinc: 14%
• Potassium: 10%
Oatmeal is a great way to start the day and it’s even better when it’s loaded with protein. Here are five ideas for giving your standard oatmeal a protein boost:
1. Use Milk
Instead of using water to cook your oatmeal, consider using milk instead.
2. Greek Yogurt
Once the oatmeal is cooked, fold in Greek yogurt to add some creaminess and also protein.
3. Nut Butters
Stir in the nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew) of your choice to not only add protein but switch up the texture and flavor of your oatmeal.
4. Top With Nuts or Seeds
Simply add almonds, walnuts, hemp hearts, flax, or chia seeds on top of cooked oatmeal.
5. Go Savory
It may sound a little strange, but if you go savory instead of sweet with oatmeal there are lots of possibilities for protein. Think eggs, cheese, bacon, or sausage.