Uninspired? Improvise!

Uninspired? Improvise!

by Sherri Meyer, Corporate Dietitian

veggie-bowl

My bookshelves are lined with many cookbooks.  Despite my wide variety of culinary instruction my wish list on Amazon remains filled with desired books.  However, overflowing bookshelves does not always lead to motivation to create meals.  Feeling uninspired this weekend I stared at my farmer’s market purchases-green beans, zucchini, squash, carrots & tomatoes. Because no particular cuisine was calling to me I thought what better way to combine this produce then a colorful late season vegetable soup.  I remembered a gem of a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Herb and Garlic broth.  Not having all the ingredients on hand, I improvised with garlic, carrots, fresh thyme & parsley to come up with a quick stock for my impromptu vegetable soup.  Dinner ended up being a delicious, warm, homey soup served with a side of cornbread muffins. Not bad for an uninspired dinner.

Finding Your Fiber

by Sherri Meyer, Corporate Dietitian

grains

Most of us know that eating fiber-containing foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are good for our health. Unfortunately the great majority of us consume less than half of the daily fiber recommendation. Never fear, food manufactures have come up with a way for us to consume our daily fiber intake without even so much as picking up a fruit or vegetable. The grocery store shelf is loaded with “high fiber” products such as cookies, brownies, bars, “fruit” snacks, drinks, muffins, and white-flour pastas and breads. A chocolate brownie with “4 grams of fiber” must be healthy, right? However, these processed foods get much of their “fiber” from something called isolated functional fibers like inulin, polydextrose, and modified starches. What exactly are these isolated “functional” fibers that they are putting into these “healthy” foods? Isolated fibers are either extracted from foods or chemically synthesized and are added to foods not naturally rich in fiber. Marketers claim that eating  these fibers will lead to weight loss by making you feel full. While we know that a diet high in natural fiber contributes to satiety, most added fiber in food or drinks is unlikely to have the same affect.

 

The bottom line, stick with real plant based fiber rich foods (beans, fruits, vegetables, whole grains) that can lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity as well as help prevent constipation. And as Nutrition Action puts it so well “added processed fibers don’t turn cookies, brownies, bars, and shakes into beans, bran, berries, and broccoli. But they do turn little white powders into bigger profits.”