Category Archives for "Vegetables"

Calories count, but counting calories? Part 1 [Infographic]

Part 1: Calories In

Compiled by Dean Carlson, Pn2. Infographic created by John Berardi Ph.D. and Helen Kollias Ph.D.


Most of us go down the "calorie counting" path at least once in our efforts to lose weight. After all, everybody knows "calories in - calories out" is the key to weight loss success, right? But is it that simple? This article and accompanying infographic outlines 5 reasons why all those food calculators may not be as helpful as we thought.


Actually the principle of energy balance does work:

Take in more calories/energy than you burn, you gain weight. Take in fewer calories/energy than you expend and you will lost weight.

It's not the principle that is flawed, it's the counting that is so hard to actually do correctly and accurately enough to make it worth while. 

There are so many factors working against you, on both ends of the energy equation - in and out.  Part 1 highlights the problems with "calories in".

Download your own printer friendly copy of the infographic right here.

25% Margin of Error?

That would make a very significant difference when trying to figure out while all those calories counting apps aren't really helping, wouldn't it?

Now I am not saying you have to never track your calories, but here are my recommendations if you do.

Understand the limitations of the methodology. If you are not seeing the results you expect, take another look at the infographic for potential reasons why. The important thing is results, not the actual number of calories the tracker says you are eating. If you are working on losing body fat, and it ain't happening, it doesn't matter how many calories the tracker says you are eating, you need to eat less.

There are times that I track calories, usually as a "sanity check". In other words I am not seeing the results I want, and when I track for a couple weeks it is easy to see why. I am usually eating a lot more food or a lot more times than I think I am. But even I don't want to reduce the enjoyment of eating to a math problem all the time. That's just no fun!

There is a better way, and it doesn't involve calculators and fitness apps. It's portable, reusable, and effective. It's the Calorie Control Cheat Sheet.

Stayed tuned for Part 2: Calories Out, coming up in a couple weeks!

The real cost of getting and staying lean [Infographic]


Is It Worth The Trade-Off? It's Your Choice.

by Dean Carlson, Pn2


We have a picture in our head of the "ideal body". But are the pictures in the magazines a realistic picture of what is achievable? Do you have to look like superman or a supermodel to be healthy? And at what cost?

Regardless of your goals, there is going to be work - hard work - to lose fat and get leaner. And there are amazing health benefits to doing do. But there are trade-offs, particularly as you get leaner and leaner. This infographic outlines them and shows you what's involved. We'll take a look at the extremes on both sides, and then have you consider what's healthy and achievable.

Click Here for a fully printable version of this Infographic.

For a complete explanation of the infographic, including a review of the research by our friends at Precision Nutrition, check out the accompanying article: The cost of getting lean: Is it really worth the trade off?

Cauliflower and Sausage Hash

We're continuing with my favorite cauliflower recipes! This one can be a side dish for any meal, or you can add a few eggs to it and make it your breakfast.

  • Ground sausage, browned
  • 3/4 lb. cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 2 tsp. fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 4 eggs, fried (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook the sausage in a skillet over a medium-high heat until crispy (about 10 minutes). Remove from the skillet and set aside. In the same skillet, add the cauliflower, garlic, and onion. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until it starts to golden. Add the smoked paprika and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the water. Cover the skillet and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes. Return the sausage to the skillet. Add the lemon juice and cook for another 2 minutes; then remove from the heat and sprinkle fresh parsley on top. Serve with eggs, or as a side for any meal.

Cauliflower Rice

Here is another of my favorite cauliflower recipes! This is a great side dish that is super easy to make and will go great with any meal.

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, grated (I run it through a food processor)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Heat olive oil in a large pan and start to sauté the grated cauliflower over medium heat. Add the chicken stock. Continue sautéing, stirring, until the cauliflower is al dente. Don’t cook it too long or it will turn to mush. I estimate this takes 5-7 minutes, but just taste it as you go and pull it off the heat when it’s done.

Stay tuned for more cauliflower recipes!

14 Ways to Make It Happen at Breakfast

Breakfast can be tough because so many times we are in a rush. Here are some ideas to help you make breakfast happen!

1. Cook eggs the night before. This is what Dean has for his breakfast each day. I precook his eggs, mixed veggies, a small container of salsa and black beans.

2. Yummy for my Tummy Oatmeal

3. Grab and go breakfast - hard boiled eggs served with cut veggies

4. Lunch meat with salad – who says you can’t have it at breakfast?

5. Breakfast Sundae

6. Breakfast burritos

7. Cottage cheese and cut veggies

8. Protein icing - you’ll never be bored with breakfast after this one

9. The Breakfast Stack – a slice of ham, a slice of cheese, with a poached egg on top

10. The Wonder Bowl - cottage cheese and a scoop of UMP

11. Eggs in a Mug

12. Better than Eggs for Breakfast

13. Crustless Sunday Quiche

14. Super Shakes

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

My Favorite: Cauliflower

My favorite vegetable this week is cauliflower. I have it just about every day. Yesterday I had it in cauliflower bacon hash for breakfast and at dinner I love Mexi-cauli Beef. It’s already in the oven along with broccoli and carrots to roast for dinner.

The Bomb Mashed Cauliflower 

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • ¼ cup cashews
  • ¼ cup water or coconut milk

In a large pot with a tight fitting lid, steam the cauliflower and cashews in water until cauliflower is tender. Drain water and transfer cauliflower mixture to a food processor or blender. Add coconut milk and puree (in small batches, if needed). Top with butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Stay tuned for more of my favorite cauliflower recipes! 🙂

Asian Slaw

Deb from Concord loves to experiment with new recipes. She received this one from a friend out west. This Asian Slaw recipe combines the tang of rice wine vinegar with the sweetness of mangoes, the slight zing of scallions, and the crunchiness of cabbage.

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 3 medium scallions, chopped
  • 1 mango, not fully ripe, diced
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon black and white sesame seeds

Combine the cabbage, carrots, scallions, and mango. Toss together in a large bowl. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the rice vinegar, lime juice, and soy sauce. Slowly whisk in the peanut oil. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Let it sit at least 15-20 minutes to let the dressing soak in. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds.

I made this and my family loved it too. I grilled up some chicken and used this as a side dish. It was even better the next day.

Enjoy great food that is great for you,
Coach Nancy

Are You Sensitive (to food that is)? [Infographic]

Could giving up make you feel better?

Dean Carlson, Pn2


True story. I had been eating the same breakfast almost every day for a couple years. Greek yogurt with a scoop of UMP whey protein mixed in. It was my favorite! High protein, really tasty, and so quick and easy to make. What I didn't know is that it was also the cause of some of the "intestinal distress" I was having at times.


And then we did our first "21-Day Detox", which is really more accurately called an elimination diet. The purpose is to remove some foods that are associated with allergies and sensitivities, and then gradually add them back in and see what happens. What I found out after adding dairy back in is that it made me really sick! My stomach was not happy at all. And I confirmed it was not a "one off" situation by trying to add it back more than once, and each time things didn't go too well.

It's a possibility that you also have a food sensitivity, and like me, you don't even know it. 

There are a wide variety of foods that can contribute to sensitivities, two of the more common being dairy and wheat, but also certain citrus fruits, nightshades (ask Tom Brady), and even certain spices and sweeteners.

So what?

Well, food sensitivities can affect anything from your general health, your skin, even your mood. And they are not necessarily benign, as the GI issues they can cause can create a damaging cascading effect on the rest of your body.

Elimination diets seek to "hunt down" what might be causing the issue by removing certain foods, temporarily, and then slowly reintroducing them. Like me, you might find a certain food make you feel pretty ucky. Other times you may notice other symptoms, such as a runny nose, which can often happen when reintroducing wheat. Hmmm....

Take a look at the infographic below, and then Print This Guide and see if an elimination diet might be a good idea for you.

Sound like a daunting task? Knowing what to do isn't always easy, but we can help you make sense of it. Contact Us Here to find out how The Grateful Plate nutrition coaching works, and why nutrition coaching can help smooth out the rough spots.

You can also check out the accompanying article by our friends at Precision Nutrition: Food sensitivities and intolerances: How to do an elimination diet.  for a more in depth study of elimination diets.

You po-TA-to I po-TOT-o. Who wins? [Infographic]

There is no debate!

Dean Carlson, Pn2


I'll raise my hand and plead "guilty", because I too have been caught up in this debate. The reality is that choosing between sweet potatoes and "regular" potatoes is like choosing between a BMW and a Mercedes. I think most of us would be happy with either. So it's even cooler when we don't have to choose and can have both!


It's really easy to get caught in the weeds when we are talking about what we "should" and "shouldn't" eat. 

We are bombarded daily with seemingly contradictory "evidence" that this or that food is good or bad.

So it's really no surprise that something as humble as the potato got caught up in one of these fierce discussions. I mean it seems to make sense that since potatoes are one of the dreaded "white" foods, like bread, pasta or rice, that avoiding them is probably better.

And if the only way you are eating potatoes is in the form of french fries, you probably are better off keeping them off your plate. 

But both white and sweet potatoes, as part of a balanced and intentional diet, provide a great variety of nutrients and are just plain tasty!

Download this infographic from my friends at Precision Nutrition to learn more and find out when you can and should consider adding them to your nutrition plan.

Pretty cool huh? Share this infographic with your family and friends by downloading it here.

Want to learn more?

Most of us know that getting enough sleep, moving more, eating well and stress management are important for looking and feeling great. But often there is a gap between knowing and doing, right?

At The Grateful Plate, we help you close that gap and make it easier in the context of an already too busy, stressful life. Check Out how we help people stop dieting and start living healthier lives, one step at a time.

Garlic Roasted Broccoli

I love broccoli, but I can't eat it plain every time! This is a great way to add some flavor to your broccoli but still keep the prep and cook time simple. It comes out delicious!

  • 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss the broccoli florets with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until florets are tender enough to pierce with a fork and the edges are browning, about 15 minutes. Turn once halfway through the baking process and add red pepper flakes, if using. After baking, squeeze lemon juice liberally over the broccoli before serving.

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