Saturday, July 3, 2010

a fourth of july menu to truly delight about

as a vegetarian, i have been dreading the fourth of july for several days. every summer barbecue i have been invited to seems to be lacking in the vegetarian options. so when i found out that i would be spending the fourth of july with my family of non-vegetarians, i began to worry.
however, my worries quickly went away today when i saw that the daily green has posted a wonderful menu that can cater to both herbivores and carnivores alike.
if you're like me and looking for a menu to cook your friends or family members a meal that doesn't involve meat, take a look at this menu. the bulgur bean burgers (pictured) are a delicious alternative to the normal beef burgers, and the wonderful flavor will keep your friends coming back for more.
another great alternatives to a regular burger is to have a teriyaki inspired burger. the black beans go great with a teriyaki sauce on the bun, and a slice of pineapple adds the perfect touch of sweetness. together, the spicy black bean and the pineapple create a burger that's both sweet and savory, and sure to please a crowd.
their honey glazed grilled plums are also a wonderful recipe that i tried in the early days of my vegetarianism. it's a healthy alternative to the traditional pie and is a great way to mix things up at your upcoming barbecue.

Friday, July 2, 2010

the facts about protein bars

many of my friends and family members have a go-to nutrition bar to rely on when they are on the go and do not have the time to eat a real meal. for me, i tend to always keep a luna bar in my purse. even when i am caught up in my studying at home and i'm unable to really cook, i turn to luna bars.
with protein bars serving as a huge staple in the lives of many vegetarians, i started to wonder- just how healthy are nutrition bars? and which ones are the healthiest choices?

[the facts]
high in protein and vitamins, protein bars are a great way satisfy your health needs and fill up while you are on the go.  
protein bars are also a great snack for vegetarians, since they can provide you with the protein that you are unable to get in your diet.
however, many protein bars are unable to support their claims- they are not as healthy as their advertisements would lead you to believe. in fact, only 1 out of 12 protein bars actually meet the requirements to be considered a protein bar. many bars are packed with as much sugar and saturated fats as a candy bar. if you are shopping blind, without reading the labels, you may end up with just another chocolate bar instead of the nutritious and healthy bar you were wanting. 

[know what you're looking for in your bars]
so what should you look for when shopping for your protein bar?
the first thing you need to do to is determine that you are looking at protein bars. there are three bar types- each created to meet a particular need. however, if you are not careful, you can easily pick up a meal replacement bar instead of a protein bar.
a protein bar is created to provide you with additional protein for your dietary needs, and to provide you with extra vitamins. you will typically find 15-35 grams of protein in every protein bar.
an energy bar is usually high in fiber or protein to provide you with an extra energy boost. these bars often have fewer than 10 grams of protein and are low in carbohydrates.
a meal-replacement bar is meant to replace a meal, and so will often have a high calorie content of around 200-500 calories. these bars are high in protein (15-20 grams) and have 30 grams of carbs and 5 to 10 grams of fat.

[choosing your protein bar]
the best protein bars will be made with soy, milk and whey products. these mixtures of ingredients enable the bars to provide you with three different types of protein. whey protein (a popular type of protein among body builders) reduces your appetite and improves glucose regulation. milk protein will reduce body fat and improve lean muscle mass. and protein from soy will reduce your risk for heart disease.
when looking for your protein bar, be sure to check the content of saturated fat. a good bar will have fewer than 5 grams of saturated fat. 
also be sure to check the calorie content. you will see many bars with 500 calories, which needs to be avoided. there are protein bars that have fewer than 200 calories and can still provide you with 15 grams of protein. you do not need to sacrifice calories in order to obtain all of the protein you need for your diet. 

[best protein bars]
permalean protein bars provide 21 grams of protein for under 190 calories. if you have a difficult time fitting any protein in your diet, these bars are the best choice for you.
clif bars are a popular type of protein bars among the health nuts. they often have 11 grams of protein and 230 calories. 
luna bars are the women's only type of protein bars, with an average of 9 grams of protein, 180 calories and nutrients that cater specifically to women.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

eggplant tomato bake

i've recently been in an eggplant mood and i just can't seem to get enough of it. so when i came across this eggplant tomato bake, i was really excited.

this recipe is a new staple for my diet- it's really easy and requires only three ingredients.

  • 1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2" rounds
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated fat-free parmesan cheese

preheat oven to 400 degrees F
spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray; arrange eggplant rounds on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with parmesan. 
layer one slice of a tomato on top of each eggplant round.
sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
bake for 10 to 15 minutes.


this recipe serves 4 and is a healthy option with only 55 calories per serving with 0.3 grams of total fat. i love to serve this for an italian dinner at home, with a side of parmesan asparagus. 

happy eating,

college vegetarian cooking

while it's titled "college vegetarian cooking", i think this cookbook is perfect for just about anybody. it initially piqued my interest because it was labeled as a cookbook for vegetarians. however, what made me love it most was that it provided cheap, inexpensive and quick recipes that any vegetarian can come to love.
i think everyone has days where they just want something low-key and delicious. as a vegetarian, it's hard to find those options. if you want quick, you have to go with a salad. anything else, and it's pretty much you spend half an hour or more. i could stick with mac and cheese from a box, but i like to make everything fresh. the fresher the ingredients, the fewer the preservatives and other unhealthy additions. i eat it the way nature made it.

back to this cookbook, though. the recipes in this book range from simple recipes from your childhood, to unique dishes like pasta with broccoli and caramelized onions (yum!). this book also has many recipes influenced by both asian and indian dishes. two recipes which i can't wait to make are vegetable kung pao and spicy potato samosas.

the skinny vegetarian rating: B+
pros: many simple dishes that require little time to cook and few ingredients.
cons: the way the cookbook is divided is confusing; there is not the traditional "appetizer", "salad", "slow-cooker", etc. this cookbook divides the recipes by "cheap eats", "basics", etc.