Sugar

North American diet equals sugar, more sugar and hidden sugar!

Limiting sugar intake can lower the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and tooth decay.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the recommended sugar intake for Canadians is about 5% of the average 2,000 calorie daily diet.  This equals to about 6 teaspoons per day.  With pre-packaged foods and pop vending machines readily available, this can be tricky!

There are several ways to cut down on sugar intake.  Choosing sugar-free snacks like cheese, almonds and plain yogurt.  Another option is to consume “no sugar added” fruit juices instead of cola or sports drinks.

Here are some great recipes to try for a healthier option:

 

SPRINGTIME BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

(Credit: The Gracious Pantry)

6 large eggs

½ cup light coconut milk (from the can)

1 large red bell pepper chopped

1 cup grated sweet potatoes

1 lb lean ground turkey

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp onion powder

   1 Tbsp basil

2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp turmeric

Salt to taste after serving

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Brown the ground turkey in a skillet with the coconut oil
  3. While the meat is cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients and whisk together in a large mixing bowl
  4. Oil a casserole dish and put the browned meat on the bottom, spreading it out to make the first layer
  5. Pour the egg and veggie mixture over the meat
  6. Bake for 60 minutes
  7. Allow to cool slightly before serving

 

ZUCCHINI LASAGNA

(Credit: Diabetic Connect)

 

1 lb lean ground beef

3 cloves garlic

½ medium onion, chopped

 25 oz tomato sauce

1 Tbsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp marjoram

¼ tsp fresh ground pepper

3 medium zucchini, sliced ⅛ inch thick

2 cups fat free ricotta cheese

1 egg

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

 2 cups mozzarella cheese

 

  1. Start with the zucchini by grilling or baking it until softened.  Place on a paper towel to soak up the extra moisture and set aside
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F
  3. In a large skillet, cook the beef, garlic and onion over medium-high heat until the meat is browned and the onions are tender
  4. Add the tomato sauce and the seasonings
  5. Reduce the heat to low and cover to let simmer until heated through
  6. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, egg and parmesan cheese.  Set aside.
  7. To put the lasagna together, spoon just enough of the sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 dish to coat the bottom so the lasagna won’t stick
  8. Begin layering, starting with the zucchini, laying slightly overlapping them until the pan is covered
  9. Next spread ⅓ of the ricotta mixture evenly over the zucchini, spooning dollops all around and then gently spreading it around to coat.  Sprinkle with ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese
  10. Repeat, using ½ of the remaining sauce, ½ of the remaining zucchini, ½ of the remaining ricotta mixture and ½ of the remaining mozzarella
  11. Repeat one more time, ending with the mozzarella cheese
  12. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes
  13. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese on top is bubbly and lightly browned
  14. Let set about 5 minutes before serving

 

HEALTHY AVOCADO CHOCOLATE COOKIES

(Credit:TheSmoothieLover.com)

 

100g (¾ cup) avocado flesh (very ripe, but not brown)

½ cup (120ml) coconut sugar*

1 egg

½ cup (120ml) dark cocoa powder

50g dark chocolate chunks

½ tsp baking soda

 

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C/350°F
  2. In a bowl using a hand mixer (or make everything in a food processor), mix together avocado and coconut sugar until smooth.  Add in the egg.
  3. Mix in the cocoa powder and baking soda.
  4. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  5. Using two spoons place dollops of cookie dough in a baking sheet with parchment paper.  The cookie won’t spread as much as usual cookies when baking, so make sure to flatten them out a bit with the back of the spoon.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies don’t stick as much to the paper as they did before baking.
  7. Cool down.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

*Instead of coconut sugar you can use ½ cup of honey for a sweeter cookie.  You can also use 1 banana instead of the coconut sugar.  If using a banana, making the cookies using the food processor is highly recommended.

NOTE:  These cookies are absolutely best when completely cold.  Storing them in the fridge overnight makes them perfect.

 

Happy cooking!

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