The Silly Nutrition Undergrad

Posts Tagged ‘health

[This picture isn’t the best quality, but considering I was in a rush to enjoy it, this was my best shot! Next time I eat it, I’ll take better photos…]

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Oatmeal, hands down, is the ultimate healthy breakfast option for me, the perfect wake-up call to a busy weekday morning.

Today is the start of the school week, and it is also the finish-the-leftovers day. So, combining the goal of pumping myself up with fuel for a busy day at school and the objective of getting rid of last week’s leftover produce, I came up with a crazy oatmeal  flavour. It is a meatless dish that includes bean sprouts and Taiwan cabbage as the key ingredients, infused with Sichuan flavour (inspired by one of my favourite Sichuan dish, Dan Dan noodles).

Quite frankly, if I didn’t need to finish the not-so-fresh product, I would never have thought about putting bean sprouts and Taiwan cabbage in oatmeal. And I would definitely would never consider extracting the flavours of Dan Dan noodles and working it into my oatmeal. Even as I was cooking the dish, I knew this was a risky attempt and I prepared myself that it might not taste as good as it sounds in my head. But somehow, in the end, my oatmeal turned out creamy, spicy, peanutty, and overall, very flavourful. I enjoyed every bite.

So far, my adventure to discover new ways to enjoy oatmeal has taken me in all directions; I’ve tried many new food combinations and played with the sweet and savory flavours. But this episode has really got beyond my imagination, and I must say, from the looks of it, this adventure will only get more crazy, more exciting and more dangerous. Can’t wait until a new crazy oatmeal idea pops into my head!

Oatmeal, Sichuan flavour

What you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup cooked steel cut oats (regular / quick oats work as well, just not instant oatmeal)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon chili sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon Chinese sesame paste
  • A drizzle of sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup Taiwanese cabbage, shredded (Taiwanese cabbage is a different variety from Green Leaf cabbage; it has a sweeter flavour and a more tender texture.)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock, low sodium preferably
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, finely chopped

What to do:

  • I’m assuming that you have already cooked up a big patch of steel cut oats and have them in individual servings sizes alright — If not, follow these instructions and make some now!
  • Boil a pot of water, put in bean sprouts and Taiwan cabbage, simmer on medium heat until tender. Drain and set aside.
  • In the same pot, pour in chicken stock and stir in the oatmeal and the veggies. Heat mixture on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together chili sauce, peanut butter and sesame paste. If mixture is too thick to stir well, add in a splash of hot water to help the paste blend together better. Set aside.
  • When oatmeal is heated thoroughly, add the sauce and scallions. Stir well. (At this point, you can adjust the seasoning to taste – if you want a more prominent sweet, nutty flavour, stir in more peanut butter, or if you are looking for more heat, add in chili sauce or chili oil for an extra kick.)
  • Remove from heat, cover pot and let sit for 2 – 3 minutes (let the flavour of the scallion infuse into the oatmeal). Drizzle on sesame oil before serving.

This is really a delicious way to start the day. I can savour the flavours of my favourite lunch dish while treating my body to a bowl of whole grain goodness.

If you’re the type of person who prefers savory breakfasts over sweet ones (and if you enjoy hot and spicy food), then you’ve got to try this recipe, it won’t disappoint you. I promise!

Picture by Marco Bellucci

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The internet is a dazzling arena with a lot of information bouncing around, waiting for people to read and absorb. But there is one major flaw with having so much advice flying around: information overload. How do you know what to believe and what not to believe?


People are free to speak their own minds online. And when it comes to health and nutrition, everyone seems to have their own stance. Hence, in search of accurate health and nutrition advice, it is critical to read online information with the discriminating eye of a food critic, picking up hints to decide for yourself whether or not the information is credible or if the writing is merely nonsense.


To supercharge you to become a master food critic, here are four questions that can guide you to pinpoint out credible health and nutrition articles:

1. Which website did you find the article on?

The website that hosts the article you’re interested in is a telltale sign of how valid the information is. When the article is hosted on websites of credible health organizations, such as the Canadian Diabetes Association or Health Canada, you can be assured that the information presented will be accurate and valid. On the other hand, if you come across a health article written by some unknown individual, hosted on a personal website or blog, then you need to be more critical of what you see and read, and apply the next guideline to help you determine if you should continue reading the health article.

2. Who is the author of the article?

Considering that everyone can say whatever they want on the Internet, it is essential to pick out authors who write responsibly. It is hard to hold anyone accountable online for what they say, so it is best to learn a little bit about the author’s background and that will help you determine how credible that person is. One easy way to find out a person’s background is to look for any titles he / she may hold; look for abbreviations that identify them as health professionals, e.g. MD and RD. Having those titles identify them as experts in the health and nutrition field and tells you that they are a credible source for health and nutrition knowledge. Another way to learn more about the author is to read the “About” section (this is especially important when you read blogs!). Written by the author him/herself, the About page offers a quick glimpse of the author’s personal background and that will help you to better understand the motives and interests of the author. Based on that plus the feeling you get from the author’s writing style and tone, you will be able to get a pretty good sense of whether the author is sincere, or whether the author is just goofing around. Based on my own encounters, I find that authors who write in a sincere manner (doesn’t necessary mean formal though) genuinely cares about sharing their own knowledge and experience with the rest of the world and the information they present are often quite valuable in one way or another.

A Quick Note on Registered Dietitians (RD): Registered dietitians are health professionals that have received extensive education on food and nutrition. Dietitians know how food works in the body. They know how to enjoy food in ways that will maintain and promote health. They are also trained to provide nutrition support to enhance the recovery for those people who are ill. Ultimately, dietitians are truly the health experts who have a strong expertise in using food as their tools to promote optimal health. When it comes to food and nutrition, dietitians are really THE number one expert!

3. Does the article offer any evidence?

When reading the article, it is important to distinguish whether the author is merely expressing his/her own thoughts or is he/she is offering  solid advice supported by scientific research findings. Health articles that provide references to relevant scientific papers or include links to other credible sources will be a lot more trustworthy than an article that makes a lot of assumptions without citing any sources what so ever. Watch out for articles that has a heavy use of the word “I”, that often indicate that the author is inputting a lot of his/her personal comments.

4. When was it published?

The first three steps will help you pick out credible information sources. But even after you have narrowed down the reading list, there is still a ton of information that tries to address whatever concern you have, so it is important to prioritize your readings so you can get the most timely and most relevant information available. Always place most value on the most recent articles because they will give you the most updated recommendations based on the most current scientific research findings.


Knowing how to filter information based on credibility is only the first step.  To truly locate information that is helpful and relevant for you, you need to take one extra step. The advice available online does not work for everyone. So it is essential to go through what is available and highlight the suggestions that are most relevant to your situation. First read through the different sources to get different perspectives on the health topics that you care for. This will allow you to gain a thorough insight on the  topic. Then from those sources, pick out the advice that you think may be the best fit for you. Never try to force yourself into following recommendations that does not feel right for you. Keep in mind that you are the person who knows your body the best. Perhaps the single most important tip that I can offer you is simple give your best effort to dig out and highlight the advice that works for you, and not try to force yourself into abiding to anything and everything that are being suggested! Listen to your body, you know yourself best – let thyself be in charge of your body and not let someone else’s advice drive you!

Now that you are armed with great skills to identify and extract valid and insightful health information from online sources, I’ll like to introduce you to a few of my favourite websites that I frequently visit for trustworthy, accurate, and relevant health and nutrition information.

WebMD – This website covers a wide range of health topics. The articles are written by MD and RD and they always support their advice with recent scientific research findings. In addition to health articles, this website offers recipes, handy tools to keep your diet in check (food-o-meter and fiber-o-meter), and videos and slideshows that offer clear and simple health and nutrition tips. I especially love the visual guide to portion size. Overall WebMD is a well-rounded site with many credible and useful knowledge.

Mayo Clinic – They have a comprehensive section on Healthy Lifestyle. In particular, I really appreciate that they offer a selection of articles that gives basic knowledge and another section that provides a more in-depth discussion of the various health topics.

World’s Healthiest Foods – This website has a clear mission to identify the top 129 foods that it considers as the “world’s healthiest foods”. For each food, a detailed nutrient analysis is provided, followed by a list of proposed health benefits (with supporting evidence from different nutrition studies, of course).

NutritionData – This website hosts an extensive nutrient analysis database for almost any food you can imagine. When you search for a particular food, the accurate numerical values for the  nutrients will be listed, and there will also be a short summary of the food’s rating based on different criteria (weight loss, optimum health, weight gain) and a concise description of the pros and cons of the particular food item that you search. The website also provides a powerful search function that allows you to find foods using different filters (high in fiber, low in carbohydrates, best choice for weight loss, etc.). Additional functions are available for registered members (free to register). Members can use the website as an online food diary – record what you ate in a day and it will generate a detailed diet analysis. Members can also can input their own recipes and the website will generate a food label for that recipe. These two additional functions come in really handy when you need extra support and encourage to keep you committed to healthy living!

Everyone need to know how to find valid and accurate health information online because it can make a dramatic difference in your life.  Finding the right information and following the suitable advice will aid you to maintain and even improve your health and help you to avoid falling into the traps of misleading information that will not only not better your health, but more likely ruin your well being in the long run. Being able to distinguish the credible knowledge from silly nonsense can mean such a great deal to your health!

Do you have a favourite site that you always visit when you have a health / nutrition questions?

Picture by sweetbeetandgreenbean

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To me, brown rice is craveable. I eat it everyday. Whenever I cook a dish that needs to be served over something, brown rice is my number one option. There are a lot of reasons why I enjoy brown rice and here I have boiled them down into 4 main points:

Brown rice is a whole-grain option.

As a population, we overconsume refined grains and gravely underconsume whole grains. Refined grains are highly processed food products and hence, they are stripped of virtually all nutrients (even though food manufactures will enrich their final product, the added nutrients will not completely replace what has been lost). Essentially, refined grains offer nothing but empty calories.

Whole grains, on the other hand, undergo minimal processing. Much of the nutrients are retained and they act in a synergistic manner that offers many health benefits:

Heart Health – Whole grain consumption has been shown to have strong inverse correlation with heart disease risks; the ability for whole grains to help control and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) plays a strong part in contributing to this potential effect. Brown rice is also rich in magnesium; this nutrient is involved with coordinating muscle contractions and considering that our heart is a major muscle group, magnesium will have an important role in keeping the heart going.

Diabetes management – Whole grain foods often have low Glycemic Index (GI) scores because they contain a whole lot of fiber which helps to slow down digestion and prevents rapid fluctuations in blood glucose level.

Weight management – Fiber is the major player here. The indigestible fiber bulks up the whole grain foods and make them less energy-dense. Fiber will also makes you feel fuller and more satisfied; it helps to lowers the tendency for you to nibble and stack on extra calories after your meal.

There is so many good reasons to choose brown rice more often. If you’re interested in finding out the scientific evidence about how brown rice can benefit your health, I strongly encourage you to visit WHFoods: Brown rice and to take a thorough look over at the nutritional analysis of brown rice vs white rice.

Brown rice is not just a whole-grain, it is an intact grain.

Under the new FSA guidelines, “whole grain” is defined in a more elusive manner.

“Cereal grains that consist of the intact, ground, cracked or flaked caryopsis, whose principal anatomical components – the starchy endosperm, germ and bran – are present in the same relative proportions as they exist in the intact caryopsis – should be considered a whole grain food.”

To consumers, what this really means is that now when you see a food product that is labelled “whole grain”, you cannot be absolutely sure that it does contain the goodness of wholesome ingredients because the food processors could have easily broken down the whole grains, processed it in crazy ways and then just added back in components of whole grains to make their products fulfill the criteria to be called whole grain.

In this recent journal article, researchers looks at the impact of the new FSA guideline. They reviewed past studies that involved whole grains and tried to apply the FSA new definition  and see if the health claims of whole grains’ ability to reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases could still hold true. They found that most studies done in the past defined whole grains on broader terms. Based on only a handful of studies that fulfilled the FSA definition, the researchers were unable to find strong evidence to suggest whole grain consumption could reduce cardiovascular risks.

So, it would definitely seem to be wiser to choose whole grains that are wholesome and intact, rather than whole grain products that have been processed and packaged into a box.

The bottom line is choose intact grains, like brown rice, and pass on processed whole grains, like whole-grain pasta.

Brown rice is the ultimate substitute for white rice.

If you are a huge rice lover, brown rice is definitely the choice for you.

Don’t even think about white rice — it’s a refined grain and it is no different from dumping white sugar straight down your throat. Brown rice is a lot more nutritious for you (re-read the long list above!).

It’s really simple to kick the white rice habit. All you got to do is pick up a bag of brown rice from the grocery store today. Then, you just prepare it like you would with white rice (rice-cooker, stove-top or oven-baked, you name it). Just keep in mind that brown rice is chewier and so if you’re looking for a more soft, more mushy mouth-feel, just add more liquid and cook your rice longer.

Brown rice can replace white rice in any recipes. This exchange will not reduce your dining pleasure. In fact, it will most likely enhance your meal, making it taste more full-body, more satisfying and more deliciously healthy!

Brown rice taste good!

Let me repeat myself: it taste good! You have to believe me on this. I come from a Chinese background where I lived and breathed white rice my entire life. Considering that I’ve been fed white rice all my life, and now I say that brown rice is more tasty than white rice, then it definitely is! Period. No doubt about it.

If you say you’ve tried brown rice before and it just didn’t taste good, it’s probably because it wasn’t prepared in a way that brought out the goodness of it. Give it one more chance and bake it – it is the foolproof method for making brown rice sing.

When I first made the switch to brown rice, I prepared it with a rice cooker. It tasted similar to white rice, nothing extraordinary. Then, I tried the stove-top method using chicken stock instead of water; that method made brown rice more aromatic and gave it more flavour, but it also made it slightly too salty for me. Then, I tried the oven-baked method by Alton Brown. The method was easy; it required only water and salt and 1 hour unstirred and covered cooking time in the oven. And the result? Unnnnbelievably flavourful brown rice that was not too chewy nor too mushy, just right. This method is truly a 5-star method. Try it and you’ll love it.

Brown rice is seriously better tasting than white rice. If rice is a blank canvas that allows a dish’s flavour to shine, then brown rice is the top quality canvas that has the magical power to turn a ordinary dish into a good dish and turn a good dish into a remarkable dish. Trust me on this one! And if you are still not convinced, read what Siri has to say about brown rice!

Conclusion: Buy brown rice now and start cooking!

If the idea of eating more healthily has crossed your mind lately, then you should making brown rice the first thing on your to-do list for tomorrow! Adding brown rice to your diet or substituting it for white rice is only a small change in your diet, but it can really make a huge difference in your health!

As a bonus, here are two recipes that pair perfectly with brown rice: Ginger, Jalapeno & Coconut Cauliflower and Creamy Coconut Tofu Rice. YUM!

Photo by norwichnuts

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A while ago, Craig from Gettin-Ripped asked me for my thoughts on protein and here’s my response.

~~~~+~~~~

What is the first word that appears in your mind when I say “protein“? Did the word “meat” pop up in your mind instantly?

Indeed, meat is a key protein source for many people, but there are actually many other great protein options out there that have long been overlooked (or forgotten). In this post, I’ll like to introduce you to my top 5 protein food choices:

Tofu

150g tofu is roughly a serving of meat alternative under Canada’s Food Guide for Healthy Eating. Tofu is not only rich in protein, it can also a good source of iron and calcium. A serving of firm tofu contains about 11g protein, 30% of the daily value for calcium and 15% of the daily value for iron. Plus, tofu is plant-based, so you don’t have to worry about consuming too much saturated fats or cholesterol when you golf down that block of tofu (you won’t have to picture your arteries getting plugged up by blobs of floating fat in your blood vessels! Yay!) To find out more about the awesome health powers of tofu, visit WHFoods: Tofu. Miso-marinated tofu (same method as mis0-marinated eggplant) makes a delicious main dish for a simple weekday dinner, and make sure you grill extra so you have some tofu left for next day’s lunch (great on a bed of brown rice or a special spinach salad topping).

Beans and legumes

Beans and legumes is another great protein-rich meat alternative. A 3/4 cup portion size counts as one serving, which contains about 8g – 14g protein, nearly 30% of the daily value for iron, and a whole lot of fiber! A serving will give you about10 – 13g of fiber — that’s a huge boost in helping you to get the recommended daily fiber dose of 25g). Fiber has multiple health benefits. The obvious benefit of keeping you regular and helping your body to maintain good digestive health. Fiber can also help to slow down digestion and hence plays a role in regulating blood sugar level. It will keep you full for longer, help to diminish the craving for nibbling and avoid the evil sugar spike that makes you tired and sleepy. Among all beans and legumes, my favourite choice is edamame. Shelled edamame comes in convenient frozen packages. So whenever you need a protein quick-fix, you  simply take it out from the freezer and throw it into whatever you’re cooking without needing to thaw or do any preparation beforehand. How convenient! Try adding edamame to tofu oatmeal for an additional protein punch to jumpstart your morning.

Eggs

Eggs are the ultimate fuss-free, healthy and protein-rich on-the-go snack. They can be prepared within minutes and it can be incorporated into different dishes. The simplest way to enjoy eggs is to cook up a big batch of hard-boiled eggs and keep them in the fridge (they keep well for about a week). Then, when you’re hungry after a hard workout, you can easily open the fridge and get a quick protein boost by peeling some eggs. Reaching for eggs instead of going for a protein bar will satisfied your protein needs (each egg contains about 5.5g protein) and provide additional good-for-you nutrients. In particular, eggs is an excellent source of lutein, which is an important nutrient that helps to maintain eye health and  skin health. Although lutein can be found in other sources, the lutein found in eggs is much more bioavailable (a.k.a. the body can readily access the lutein in eggs, absorb it and use it). For more information on eggs, visit WHFoods: Eggs.

Yogurt

An 8oz container will give you about 10 – 14 grams of protein, and it will also count as a dairy serving, fulfilling your calcium needs for strong bones and teeth. I prefer yogurt over other dairy foods because it is a fermented dairy product that has added bacterial culture. These bacteria helps to improve the overall health of the digestive system by altering the environment of the small intestine so that it favours the growth of the “good” bacteria and makes it less desirable for the “harmful” bacteria to cultivate. To get optimal health benefits from yogurt, make sure to choose yogurt with probiotics and consume it on a regular basis to keep the digestive system healthy! To get an extra protein boost, try topping low-fat, plain probiotic yogurt with granola or nuts. To learn more about the goodness of yogurt, visit WHFoods: Yogurt.

Nuts / nut butter

I’ve written an extensive article on the goodness of nuts before — nuts are seriously that good for you that they deserve a separate post dedicated to praising them! I really enjoy tossing in a quarter cup of nuts into my salad or my morning cereal because they give an extra crunch plus an additional flavour. Nuts are also easy to carry around – I like to pack a small handful of nuts with me when I’m on the road so when I get hungry, I can munch on nuts instead of blindly rushing into a fast food store around the corner. Adding in a quarter cup of nuts or two tablespoons of nut butter is an easy way to add 4g – 5g protein to your diet. Honestly go nuts with nuts! 🙂

There you go! My top five protein choices.

At this point you may think I dislike meat? No, no, no! I enjoy meat, but I just tend to choose these foods more often because they offer a lot more than just protein.


I find that these foods will not only satisfy my protein needs, but also give a dramatic nutritional boost, making it a lot more easier for me to adopt a healthier lifestyle.Next time you dive into your huge steak thinking it’s the only way to get enough protein, look around and think again! Have a yogurt with nuts, or serve beans as a side dish — try to get protein from different sources.

Expand your diet, get healthier!

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Cashews, walnuts, almonds, peanuts — I love them all!

What’s so great about nuts?

Nuts are not only tasty, they are also a superfood that offers many health benefits:

1. Keeps the heart healthy. They are a great source of heart-healthy fats — unsaturated fats and omega-3 oil. Numerous research have indicated that unsaturated fats can help to lower LDL (bad cholesterol). High LDL is linked to increased risks of heart diseases so keeping LDL level low will have protective effect against heart issues. Omega-3 fatty acids helps to prevent blood clot,  thereby reduces the risk for strokes. Also, Diets rich in omega-3 oils have been shown to improve blood lipid profile by lowering triglycerides levels. Plus, studies have shown that nuts can help to relax blood vessels and aid in keeping blood pressure in check. All in all, the heart-healthy fats in nuts work in multiple ways to protect the heart and reduce the risks of developing heart diseases!

2. Help reduce saturated fat intake. Nuts and nut butter serve as a great meat alternative. By swapping out some of the meats in our diet with nuts, you can decrease your consumption of unhealthy saturated fats and increase the intake of heart-healthy fats at the same time (sounds like a 2 bird in 1 stone deal to me!).

3. Help to lower blood cholesterol level. Nuts contain fiber and plant sterols. Fiber may reduce blood cholesterol level. Having similar function to fiber, plant sterols, a  naturally occurring component in plants, is a potent substance that has been clinically proven to significantly reduce blood cholesterol levels.

4. Protective effects against Type 2 Diabetes. The latest studies suggest that eating nuts on a regular basis can improve insulin sensitivity, which will have a positive impact on Type 2 diabetes risk. Scientists propose that the many nutrients in nuts (fiber, healthy fats and magnesium) work in a synergistic manner to regulate and improve blood sugar levels and insulin levels.

5. Keep you full and satisfied. Packed with many nutrients and fiber, nuts will keep you full longer so you will be less likely to nibble on unhealthy snacks. Nuts make a great snack choice since it is packed with many nutrients, easy to carry around, and costs comparatively cheaper than other snack items. In addition, research has shown that including a small amount of nuts as a daily snack in a energy-restrictive diet can actually enhance weight loss. Stop loading empty calories into your body, grab a handful of nuts and nourish your body!

How to eat it?

Nuts are so versatile, you can practically add it to anything. To help you get creative as to how to enjoy nuts, here are a few of my favourite ways:

How much to enjoy?

Nuts offer a wide array of health benefits, but keep in mind that it is a high-calorie food. The key to eating nuts is to choose them instead of, not in addition to, other foods. Try to stick to a serving of nuts per day. A serving of nuts is a quarter (1/4) cup , or about an ounce (30g). Be sure to choose no-salt added variations and avoid candied nuts so you don’t get extra calories that you don’t need. When choosing nut butter, try to keep the limit to two tablespoons. Make sure to find a brand without added sugar, salt or vegetable oils (look for these keywords: “no added salt”, “natural”, “100% peanuts”). Nuts and nut butter are an excellent source of protein and according to the Canada’s Food Guide, they are considered a meat alternative — use them as a substitute for meats!

More Resources:

Do you have a favourite to enjoy nuts? Share it here!

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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Grilled cheese sandwiches is the ultimate comfort food.

Yet, it isn’t the best option for an everyday lunch because a typical grilled cheese sandwich (2 slices of white bread + 3oz Cheddar Cheese + butter) will contain 27 grams of fat (18g saturated) and nearly 550 calories (enough to fuel a 60kg person to jog for 60 min).

To enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich in a healthier way, try these 3 simple modifications:

Choose cheese with lower fat content, or stronger flavour.
Choose cheese that are naturally lower in fat (ex. Mozzarella or American). You can also substitute reduced-fat cheese for regular-fat cheese. By doing so, you instantly reduce the fat content of the sandwich, and thereby cut out a big chunk of the calories. Another option is to use sharp cheeses; you will need less amount since they have a strong flavour.

Choose whole-grain bread.
Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as potassium, selenium and magnesium. The chewy texture of whole-grains will also encourage you to eat slower, allowing you to savour every bite. Whole grain breads have a lower Glycemic Index (GI) value, which makes it better option for preventing blood sugar spikes and crushes. The higher fiber content will help you stay full longer. For more nutrition information on whole grains, check out Mayo Clinic’s post on Whole Grains vs Refined Grains.

Use cooking oil spray.
Instead of generously buttering your toast before putting it on the grill, try spraying it with cooking oil and then grilling it on a dry skillet. You will still get a nicely brown, crispy toast with gooey, melted cheese centre.

These tips are just a few easy ways to lighten up your grilled cheese sandwich. To take it one step further, try making Sweet-and-Spicy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches — by adding caramelized onions and beefsteak tomatoes, Ellie cooks up a delicious, sweet and spicy variation of the traditional grilled cheese sandwich — a 5-star recipe!

Love grilled cheese but doesn’t have the equipment or the time to make it? Try making grilled cheese sandwich this way — Grilled Cheese! With an Iron!

Do you have a favourite grilled cheese sandwich recipe? Share it here!

Maple Glazed Walnuts

Delicious maple-glazed nuts that taste a-a-a-amazing!

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It’s rainy. It’s windy. It’s the winter season approaching Vancouver. What’s better to do in this weather than staying indoors – dry and cozy – and cooking up a delicious snack for myself? I’ve wanted to make Ellie’s Maple Glazed Walnuts for a really long time now, and finally, here it is!

Plain walnuts taste good on its own, but when you add on a warm maple glaze, it’s truly satisfying. Perfect with a hot cup of tea and a great novel.

I mostly followed Ellie’s instructions, except I added in sesame seeds (I absolutely adore sesame seeds!).  Ellie’s original recipe makes 2 cups of walnuts — I modified the recipe to make only 1 serving (1/4 cup).

Maple Glazed Walnuts

Serves 1.

  • 1/4 cup walnut halves
  • 2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • A pinch of salt
  • A sprinkle of sesame seeds
  1. Preheat a dry skillet over medium high heat. Add in walnut halves and slightly toast until warm, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes. (This step makes the nuts extra crunchy.)
  2. Add in maple syrup, salt and sesame seeds. Cook, stirring frequently, until syrup is caramelized, about 3 minutes. Let cool.

Warning: This snack is truly addictive and it will probably not last you more than 1 day! (Mine was gone within 10 minutes, no joke.)

Nuts make a delicious and healthy snack. They are a great source of protein, unsaturated fats (a.k.a. heart-healthy fats that helps to protect your heart) and antioxidants!

Maple Glazed Walnuts on Foodista