Cooking the Weight & Wellness Way

May 10, 2020

While everyone is doing more home cooking chef and nutritionist explain the basics of cooking the Weight & Wellness Way – an anti-inflammatory eating plan and how that supports your health and overall well-being.

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LEAH: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I am Leah Kleinschrodt and I'm a registered and licensed dietician. Today we're going to discuss what it means to cook the Weight & Wellness way. I know often in our show we talk about eating the Weight & Wellness way, but today we're going to shift that focus a little bit, look a little further upstream in that process to cooking the Weight & Wellness way and how we go about cooking real food. Many of our listeners over the last couple of weeks and couple of months have called or emailed us questions about how to cook certain recipes. So we actually had one of our dietitians, Teresa Wagner, she's a registered and licensed dietitian and she's a parent of three young kids herself. She offered up some really great ways to engage kids in this cooking and food preparation process. Her blog is called, *Ugh! My Kids Want to Eat ALL THE TIME! + 4 Snacks to Make Together for “Math” Class*. I love that title. She really goes into some really great tips and tricks and ideas on how to set some routines, some schedules, get some boundaries in there for kids when they need that structure that they don't have from going to school every day right now and how to set up some of those, some of that structure at home and as parents how we can make our job easier now that we are homeschool coordinators and parents who are wearing many different hats at this point. So even though I'm not quite as seasoned of a mom as Teresa, I actually found this blog post really helpful. And anyone, some of our listeners out there have probably talked with Teresa, had her as their nutritionist and you can really sense her personality and her sense of humor coming through in this blog. So I thought she did a really great job with the writing in this particular article. So thank you Theresa for that. And you can find Teresa's article and any of the articles, the blog articles that we write, at our website, weightandwellness.com. All right, so when we say cooking and eating the Weight & Wellness way, what does that really mean? You've heard us say eating the Weight & Wellness way for many, many years now. And very simply when we say eat the Weight & Wellness way, we mean that this is an anti-inflammatory eating plan that is based on real food. I want to put a pin in that term anti-inflammatory. We will be circling back to that. And for your overall health and wellbeing, we recommend eating real food and that's a term you all as listeners have now heard many, many times: REAL FOOD. And you may have also heard terms like whole foods, unprocessed foods, foods that your grandparents ate, or foods that are plucked from the farmer's field as Melanie is famous for saying. But when we talk about eating real food, this is protein from grass fed animals, vegetables that you could grow in the garden or that you could buy from the farmer, and natural beneficial fats. And we will really elaborate on those good fats later on in the show. It may surprise you to learn that most grains, lentils, some bean products are actually inflammatory foods for many people. So we suggest limiting the amount of these foods to no more than a half a cup per serving. I have some clients who are really sensitive to those foods and we do have to remove them completely sometimes, but a lot of the times, even just that half cup serving is enough to help people bump their blood sugar up, get a little bit of energy, and still feel good. Now we have listeners that are here with us all over the world. So we hope to offer each one of you a pearl of wisdom that will have you saying, "Oh, I didn't know that!" in the kitchen or the next time you're doing some meal prepping. I'm happy to share the mic this morning for the first time with Marianne Jurayj. But before Marianne introduces herself, Marianne, I'm going to ask you about garlic because you had, I attended one of your, kind of previews in the cooking classes that you did and you had some really interesting things to say about garlic. And I think even most of us in the room were really surprised by the information you shared. So I'm going to hand it over to you. 

MARIANNE: Great. Thanks Leah. I am a big garlic lover. I like to put it in a lot of my recipes. And so, when I make my garlic, the trick to getting all of the heart healthy or cancer-fighting benefits out of that garlic is to allow it to sit for 10 or 15 minutes after you chop it or you crush it or mince it. And it actually releases an enzyme which allows it to be more nutritious for us. So once you let it rest then you can go ahead, throw it into a pan and let it do its magic. 

LEAH: That's super interesting because I have always just chopped the garlic and then boom, right into the pan with the onions and everything like that. So I think... I know I really took that pearl away from you the time I heard you say that.

MARIANNE: Yeah. Yeah. We just have to be a little patient and so then we throw it on in and let it do its thing. So my name is Marianne Jurayj. I am a farm to table chef and culinary nutrition educator with a company called The Cooks Cure. And I work with Nutritional Weight & Wellness to create some really fun cooking classes. We've develop some recipes and teach clients how to put their meal plans into practice. Into the kitchen. 

LEAH: Yes. And isn't that kind of, that's the key thing is like you have all this knowledge about foods, what they do for you, but then how do you translate that into actually getting it onto your plate?

MARIANNE: Exactly, exactly. 

LEAH: So yeah, Marianne, you mentioned the cooking classes that you offered and we were able to get those in just before all the stay at home order stuff went into place. I know that it was a big request from a lot of our clients for many years to get some sort of education or just some sort of class around that. And as soon as we opened it up for the masses to be able to enroll, those classes filled up immediately. So we knew there was a demand and an interest for that. And according to the reviews, everyone really loved these classes for one reason or another. And some people enjoyed learning the new recipes. Others said that they love the time saving tips. And I promise for those of you with local here to the twin cities that we will be offering these classes again as soon as we're all able to safely get back into meeting as a large group. Marianne, I wasn't able to attend those classes, but do you remember anything in particular or one or two little things that really people seem to lock into where it really seemed to hit home for people that they were able to take away? 

MARIANNE: Absolutely. You know what, we all had a lot of fun. They were great classes. They were full. You know what was great is we had beginners and people that love to cook all in the same room and we learned from each other and we asked each other questions. It was fantastic. And the other little nugget that was fun was exposing people to vegetables that they might not try normally. We tend to get into these ruts and, and in our routine of eating the same vegetables. And so introducing something a little unusual was really fun and everybody was really curious. And I so enjoyed that it was a ton of fun. I hope that we get back very soon so that we can do those classes again. And so, you know, now that restaurants are closed indefinitely and people are staying at home, almost everybody is dusting off their slow cookers and their instant pots and they're pulling out that collection of cookbooks and they're getting back into the kitchen, which is a fantastic thing for me. It's the thing that I love, so I'm thrilled that people are doing that. And so today Leah and I want to share some recipes and cooking tips and some reasons why cooking the Weight & Wellness way is changing lives here and all around the world.

LEAH: Yes. I have been hearing that from clients too Marianne that we're kind of forced into necessity at this point to actually have to dust off those aprons and get some of that cooking equipment out and dust off those skills a little bit.

MARIANNE: Absolutely.

LEAH: And right now we want to just touch on a few reasons why cooking the Weight & Wellness way or cooking and eating that real food at home is so much better for you and your family's health. As a dietitian, I understand like some of the technical and the logical reasons to avoid cooking with those unhealthy, refined fats and oils and Dishing Up Nutrition, we have said so many times that it is best to avoid the refined factory fats and oils in those foods and to actually eat for your health. Marianne, why don't you just at least mention what some of those refined oils are.

MARIANNE: You are so right, Leah. So some of those really unhealthy, refined oils that some people might find are soybean, vegetable, canola, corn, and cottonseed oil. And at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, we recommend avoiding these refined fats and replacing them with real natural beneficial fats such as butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and even bacon grease or lard.

LEAH: Ooo yum!

MARIANNE: Yeah, the kind that our great grandparents used to use. They used to have a little coffee can underneath the sink and save their grease. Yeah! 

LEAH: Definitely.

MARIANNE: So go to your cupboard and read the label on each oil and if you are still cooking with these refined damaging fats, maybe now is the time to walk over to the garbage can, toss out each bottle one by one and say to yourself: "I am done using damage factory made fats and oils". 

LEAH: All right, perfect. Well Marianne, let's put a pin in that for a second. We have to go to break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and today we're sharing a number of reasons why many people are cooking the Weight & Wellness way and we're going to be providing some tips to help you make the most of your time in the kitchen. So we'll be right back.

MARIANNE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I've worked in many restaurants and I've worked every station in those restaurants and one of the tricks that I learned was to always have lots of onions, celery, and carrots chopped because they are often the foundation of so many recipes. And I like to add them to a lot of the recipes I'm preparing and I always have homemade bone broth to use in soups or anywhere a recipe calls for water. That's my little trick to add a little nutrients. I usually add bone broth to add more protein and to make it more nutritious. And we'll talk more about that later when we get into a recipe. But we have a recipe on our website, weightandwellness.com.

LEAH: Perfect. Bone broth. I love that tip for, I'm guessing if you are cooking grains or if you're, like you said, any kind of soup that calls for a broth or you just need that little something extra, that homemade bone broth can be really great. 

MARIANNE: Yeah, it's fantastic.

LEAH: Wonderful. Marianne, before we went to break, you were mentioning and listing off some of those more refined damaging oils that we need to watch out for. So that was soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil. Those are a couple of the oils to watch out for. Some of our clients still use those as cooking oil. So we encourage getting away from those. We'll talk about the better substitutes here in just a minute. I would also encourage our listeners here this morning if you're at home to go in your cupboards and also look at what are the oils, look in the ingredients list for your salad dressings, for your mayonnaise, for any baked goods that you might have, or the crackers that are sitting in your pantry. Because these are where some of these oils sneak in as well. Sometimes it's not only the oils that we are cooking with, it's the things where these products where these oils are hiding also. If you're wondering why do we as dietitians and nutritionists, why are we so opposed to using these types of refined factory fats and oils? But let's just take a look at soybean oil specifically. And soybean oil is the most widely consumed oil in the United States. So let's, let's just pick on soybean oil for a moment. In January of 2020, so this was very recent, new research from the University of California Riverside found that soybean oil can cause neurological problems such as autism, Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, and depression. And they had done some previous research back in 2015, so a couple of years earlier. And they reported that soybean oil was linked to obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and even fatty liver disease in mice. Now we have this oil that is really affecting our bodies metabolically but also neurologically or like thinking about our brain. And so we would say what is not good for mice is also not good for man and the research team at the University of California Riverside... the same team of researchers discovered that about a hundred different genes can be negatively affected by soybean oil. So soybean oil really does wreak havoc on our bodies.

MARIANNE: Yeah, it really does. Oh my gosh. And I will say that I've spent a lot of time in these restaurant kitchens and you will find that most of them are using soybean oil for cooking and for frying. So in fact that deep fryer in most of those restaurants are filled with soybean oil and that oil is kept at 380 degrees all day long.

LEAH: Oh my goodness.

MARIANNE: Yeah. So that is not good. And it may actually surprise you to know that as recently as up to 1990, many of the original fast food restaurants used beef tallow in their fryers, which was actually a much healthier and safer oil to fry all those fries and the onion rings and the chicken nuggets.

LEAH: Yeah. Actually funny Marianne, one of the first classes that I ever taught for Nutritional Weight & Wellness, it was our six week Weight & Wellness series. And there was a gentleman in that class who used to, I believe is in the 1950s or 1960s he used to work in more kind of like the drive in type of setting. And he said they used to use beef tallow to cook their fries in. And so that was, he was like, we had it right back then. 

MARIANNE: Yeah, it's amazing, isn't it? Yeah. But we know that eating these fast foods has been linked to obesity and diabetes, but now foods are fried in soybean oil are also linked to very serious neurological disorders. 

LEAH: Uh hmmm. So have you, as you all listeners have just heard soybean oil, it's, it's not good for your body, it's not good for your brain, but you still may want to have like getting that French fry fix every now and again. So Marianne, why don't you walk us through, take a couple minutes to walk us through how we might do this at home so that we can get that little bit of fix without the damaging results to our brains or our bodies.

MARIANNE: Oh yeah, of course. And we all, we all feel like we need that, that fix every once in a while. So first of all, I always start with organic potatoes and nonorganic potatoes are on the dirty dozen list of vegetables to avoid when they're grown conventionally. So always try and get your potatoes organic. And I use the smaller sized red potatoes. Sometimes they're called new potatoes and those are best because they contain less starch and less sugar. In fact, a large russet or a baking potato contains 52 grams of carbs, which breaks down to 13 teaspoons of sugar.

LEAH: That's a hit. 

MARIANNE: Yes, it's a huge hit. And in fact most fast food companies commission potato farmers to grow the biggest potatoes possible so they naturally have more starch than a small potato. So take your red potatoes and we're going to slice them nice and thin, probably no thicker than a quarter inch. And then we'll toss some in a bowl with a tablespoon of avocado oil and you sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper. And if you wanted you could add some dried herbs to that and then spread them onto a parchment lined baking sheet and roast them at 425 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes depending on your oven. And they come out nice and crispy and they are going to satisfy that French fry fix. 

LEAH: Yes. Cause that's what we're looking for, right? Usually it's like that little bit of salt, that little bit of crispness crunchiness. But you can do this without having to use the soybean oil or some of those more refined oils. You mentioned avocado oil being one of those good healthy oils. And so we'll mention, we'll circle back to that in just a second. And I like what you said about using the smaller potatoes. They don't, they won't have as big of a blood sugar impact cause they are less starchy. And if you think about it, it's like a little built in portion control there. When you use smaller potatoes, you can kind of decide how much or how many you want to use at a time.

MARIANNE: Right. You can count out how many people you have and how much everybody gets.

LEAH: So to your point about the dirty dozen. So that's the Environmental Working Group's list and those are the produce items that tend to have the most pesticides, insecticides residues on them. So those would be the produce items that most people would want to choose organic. Now potatoes specifically have as many as 35 different pesticide residues. And these are on conventionally grown potatoes. So for those of you who are at home a lot more right now, maybe this is the year that you decide I'm going to plant my own potatoes in my very own garden and I know what's going into that soil and I can control it. And so then we can get some good pesticide free potatoes. If you buy them from the grocery store, again, see if you can find organic and see if you can find those smaller, more the little red potatoes like you said, Marianne.

MARIANNE: Yeah, exactly. So, so let's talk about some, some oil that is best to cook.

LEAH: Actually, I'm sorry Marianne, I'm going to have to cut you off. We do have to go to break really quick, but you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and because COVID-19 is now escorting us back into the kitchen, we want to share more recipes and reasons to cook real food and Marianne will get to those good oils that we want to cook with at high heat. So stay tuned and we will be back with some great recipes and some more cooking tips.

MARIANNE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Leah and I each want to share one way that we use coconut milk that you may not have already known. I have to say we love coconut milk at our house and we use it in our coffee and our smoothies because actually both my husband and my daughter are sensitive to dairy, just like many of our clients at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. So what about those yummy creamy soups? Well, I'm happy to say that you can make any broth type soup into a creamy one simply by adding a can of organic coconut milk.

LEAH: Marianne, just to clarify for our listeners, when we talk about coconut milk, we're talking about the stuff in the can, right? Not the stuff in the carton.

MARIANNE: Exactly. 

LEAH: Yep. And to your point, I do the exact same thing. I've made a creamy chicken wild rice soup many times just by using that canned coconut milk and that little bit of coconut flavor doesn't even come through once you add in the garlic, the onions, and kind of get some of those savory flavors in there.

MARIANNE: It blends right in. It's nice.

LEAH: It does. Because I am dairy sensitive, I am also a huge fan of canned coconut milk in my house. And what I've done is I've used the solid part of the coconut milk. So usually when you open up the can, it's separated out a bit so that there's some water at the bottom and then that coconut fat is sitting on the top. I've taken that coconut fat and whipped it up just like you would make like heavy whipping cream and whipping it up and making it like a whipped topping. I might use it on blueberries. My son digs blueberries big time, so I'll dollop some on that for him or strawberries, you know, it's, it's coming to be berry season here pretty quick too.

MARIANNE: Yeah, exactly. And you know what a nice trick with the cans and how they separate, if you blend it up and keep it in your fridge, it'll actually stay emulsified. It'll stay together. Then you can just have it for your coffee and to put in recipes. So we just keep it in our fridge in one of those blender containers all the time.

LEAH: Yeah. Same as, yep. I do the same thing.

MARIANNE: Yeah. It's nice. Instead of adding that can of creamed soup to that casserole, try and add a can of coconut milk. The casserole tastes delicious and you're going to avoid all those chemicals and the flour and the damaged fats that are in that cream soup.

LEAH: Yeah, that's a great substitution. Just that can of coconut milk for any of the cream soups. Exactly.

MARIANNE: So getting back to the oil, the high heat oil, let's talk about that for a little bit. Cause now that we've had our French fry fix, I used avocado oil. What are the best high heat oils to cook with? And this is like when you're stir frying or you've got your oven up above 400 degrees. So depending on the flavor profile, I recommend coconut, ghee, which is clarified butter, or avocado oil. And they have the highest smoke point, which is when they start to smoke and you don't want that, it starts to damage that fat. Avocado oil has a really nice neutral flavor. I use it a lot in Asian cooking. Olive oil is a wonderful and a healthy oil and we love it, but it is very delicate and it breaks down really easily. So it really shouldn't be used to cook at high heat. You can cook, you can braise something at a lower heat in olive oil. But we really like to save our olive oil for salad dressings or for drizzling over those steamed vegetables. It's fantastic. In fact, in the restaurant we would call olive oil a finishing oil.

LEAH: Yeah, so just the olive oil, especially keeping that at lower temperatures if you are cooking with it or use it just like you said, it's the on raw like salads and keeping it raw. So that's great. Perfect. So I want to give our listeners just a little more information about what it means to eat and cook the Weight & Wellness way. So just thinking about reasons why our listeners may want to make some of these transitions, start making some of these substitutions, and start getting in the kitchen a little bit more. The Weight & Wellness eating plan or the way we talk about real food. I mentioned before, I use the term anti-inflammatory meal plan and I said I wanted to put a pin in that and come back to it. So here it is. So anti-inflammatory. This means that if you experience things like knee pain or headaches and migraines or memory problems or if you have an autoimmune type of condition like lupus, thyroid disease, Hashimoto's is probably the most common one we see there. Or if you struggle with arthritis somewhere in your body or if you struggle with heart disease or cancer. Any of these types of conditions are really driven by a lot of inflammation in the body. So then it makes sense to eat an anti-inflammatory eating plan. And food is wonderful because food affects us systemically. And what that means is the foods that we eat affects our entire body. So if you have one of these conditions, a lot of our clients have multiple types of inflammatory conditions. The nice thing about food is you can use food to cut through all of these conditions because when you generally lower inflammation, you're going to improve your pain, you're going to improve your brain function, you're going to improve your heart function, you're going to improve your digestion. All of these things get better. And you just need one tool. And that is real food. So this is just another reason why cooking the Weight & Wellness way is just so much better for you.

MARIANNE: Yes, absolutely. Whatever reason we can get people into the kitchen, I love it. So as you step into your kitchen and you start to prepare your lunch, you want to find a recipe that will provide you with three to four ounces of meat or fish, and at least one cup of a low starch vegetable. And these vegetables are like peppers, asparagus, which is coming into season, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, those dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale and summer squash. In fact, many of our clients like to have at least two to three cups of low starch, high fiber vegetables with every single meal. To satisfy their hunger, they like to add a half a cup of a starchy vegetable, or as we like to call them, a concentrated carb such as a sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, maybe beets. Rutabagas are good. And in fact, I like to keep a container of roasted vegetables in my fridge all the time. Just for easy meal prep. You can throw them into soups or throw them into a salad. You've just always got a really easy, a easy vegetable option. And so the trick to making this meal really satisfying is to cook that meat and those vegetables in about a tablespoon of natural beneficial fat like that coconut oil or avocado oil or some grass fed butter. Because when you eat real whole foods in balance, you are naturally eliminating those inflammatory foods and you're going to feel better. And this helps to balance your blood sugar. So also be sure to keep in mind that grains such as pasta or bread are considered inflammatory foods. You might eat that pasta and your knees start to ache and now you're going to make that connection. So it is a perfect eating plan for those people who are experiencing pre-diabetes, diabetes, or even weight issues. 

LEAH: Yeah. So you mentioned weight there, Marianne. And thinking about that, I've heard this term come up a couple of times in the media now. They've talked about the quarantine 15.

MARIANNE: Oh yeah.

LEAH: So think about, you know, we've been in this, in the stay at home order, most of us for the last six to eight weeks or so. Back in my day, it was called the freshman 15 when you went off to college, you kind of had free reign for the first time. You could make choices on your own, which might have not always been the best choices, but now they're talking about the quarantine 15.

MARIANNE: Yeah, I think the freshman 15 was a little more fun. But because of these troubling times, so many people are really stressed and they have to stay at home for weeks on end and some people are getting laid off from their jobs. So to help them cope with their stress, many people are eating more junk foods that are filled with processed carbs. They're eating more sugary treats and drinking more soda, and they're drinking more alcohol, which has led to significant weight gain. So that is how we got to the quarantine 15. So however you take a different approach to deal with your stress and try following the Weight & Wellness eating plan, you are most likely going to lose weight, instead of gaining that quarantine 15, and best of all, you're going to have less inflammation. You're going to think better, feel better, and it'd be nice we even looked better. Yeah. So just one more reason why cooking the Weight & Wellness way has so many people asking us to share more recipes and more ideas for their meals and their snacks. 

LEAH: Yes, yes. Like you said, Marianne, it's sometimes.. it's a mindset thing, but we can really focus on those real foods and come out kind of for the better at the end of this quarantine. So the trick is to find recipes that call for real food, that call for that real protein, the real vegetables, the real fats, and that taste great. I mean that is really an important thing. And Marianne, I know you know that as a chef. It's very important to... that food tastes good.

MARIANNE: Oh yeah, of course.

LEAH: I often still hear clients occasionally though, they'll say to me, you know, they're still afraid of those fats because they think that eating fat will make them fat. In a logical way, the way our brains think that would make sense. And we get how you feel. I have been there, done that. And for, I mean for the past 50, 60, 70 years or so, we, that's what we have been told in that way we've been hurt hearing is that the, it's the low fat message and it's a myth. So now it's time to throw out that preconceived notion. It's time to switch that thinking around that eating fat is bad because actually eating natural real fats help us lose weight and help us have less inflammation in general. So just yet another reason why cooking the Weight & Wellness way has become so popular. I do want to mention a couple of research studies, but I think we'll do that on the other side of break. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. If today's show still has you reaching for comfort foods or sugary treats, we definitely understand that and because the of the COVID stay at home order, all of us dietitians and nutritionists are still available to meet with our clients. It's just by phone or via live video. You may want to check with your insurance provider to determine if your nutrition counseling is a benefit that your health insurance company offers. Otherwise, We are also offering a couple special discounts on our nutrition counseling services just to get people in that door of eating real foods. You can give us a call at 651-699-3438 to set up an appointment or check us out at our website at weightandwellness.com and we'll be right back 

MARIANNE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you have questions about eating real whole food that can help your health and perhaps what supplements will help you sleep better or any questions you have, just email us at weightandwellness.com and we'll be sure to answer your questions. Now, Leah, you were talking about some studies, some diet studies. 

LEAH: Yes. So yes, when we went to break, I just wanted to mention one study where we were talking about like how actually these healthy fats are, why these healthy fats are actually beneficial for weight loss. This was a study that was reported in the journal of the American Medical Association. This is a pretty prestigious journal. It was back in 2007 so it's a little oldie but it is a goodie. And they used 310 overweight women. They followed a high fat diet for one year. So this is a pretty extensive study. They found that these women who followed the high fat diet had greater weight loss and better fasting glucose levels than women on the low fat diet. And what they really did is they compared these women that followed more of an Atkins style diet, so that was the high fat diet, a zone diet, which was kind of middle ground fat diet, and the Ornish diet, which is low fat. So utilizing this research as we put together the Weight & Wellness eating plan, we suggest that using approximately a tablespoon of those natural good fats per meal and snack, which equates, in the course of a day we're talking six to seven tablespoons of fat per day. But using that to bring inflammation levels down and to help our clients lose weight. Now that we, everyone has a little bit better understanding of our Weight & Wellness eating plan, Marianne, this is where you're really coming in. Like how does an experience chef put his or her skills into practice so that the cooking, it just flows with ease, it isn't all time consuming, and most importantly, like we said, that the food tastes great and it's healthy for you.

MARIANNE: Yeah. If it doesn't taste good, nobody's going to want to eat it. So I'm happy to tell you how. Let's start with something really simple like a chicken salad and on our website weightandwellness.com we have several, chicken salads are really delicious and of course they all start with chicken. So let's talk about how we might make up a nice big batch of chicken and I almost always cook my proteins in a large batch, so I have some in the freezer extra, so I always have some. So I like to buy my chicken breast on the bone and with the skin on. It tends to be less expensive and it actually keeps the meat really moist and tender, but you can certainly get boneless skinless to save some time if that's helpful. And so I tossed my chicken with avocado oil and a little salt and pepper and whatever herbs you want to throw in there, dried herbs, and then I roast them skin side up on a baking dish at 375 for 18 to 30 minutes. And that's really a stretch, 18 for the boneless skinless and then 30 minutes if you were doing it on the bone with the skin. 

LEAH: Okay. Well that's a good thing to know, like you said, of like there is a difference between the boneless and the skin, the boneless versus the bone in, and things like that. 

MARIANNE: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And then, and of course as with any protein, you want to let it rest for at least 10 minutes before you're slicing. And that allows the juices to go back through the meat. So they're well distributed and it keeps it moist. So now you've got all this chicken and all the chicken salad recipes are really simple. Literally they are throw everything into a bowl, you mix it up and you're done, which is so great. And besides the chicken, they all use good beneficial fat mayonnaise. They have chicken and this mayonnaise in common and the mayonnaise is made with good beneficial fats like avocado or olive oil in common. And they can hide some of those bad oils in there, so be sure to check that label. 

LEAH: Yep, definitely. Yes, I do a lot of checking and educating with my clients around, hey, if you have mayonnaise at home, turn the bottle over, look at the back. What are those main oils that are in there? So the avocado oil mayonnaise is a really good brand. There's a couple of good brands out there like Primal Kitchen and Sir Kensington and Chosen Foods. And there is the Hain brand is one that we've recommended for quite a while too. They use an expeller pressed safflower oil. So any of those brands that use the good oils would be wonderful for these recipes. So let's actually, Marianne, let's transition more to like snacky type foods. Since a lot of us and especially our kids, we're all spending a little bit more time at home right now. We mentioned Teresa's blog earlier where you might be getting bugged a lot saying, "Mom, I'm hungry. What can I eat?" So let's do at least one or two snack ideas just to give our listeners some ideas for "okay, what could we try in the next week or two while we're still stuck at home?" 

MARIANNE: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So one of my favorite snack ideas from the website is the Family Fun Sushi Rollups and there are so many variations, you could throw anything into. It's a vehicle. So these are gluten free and they're dairy free. And there's so much fun to put together. The kids are going to love to do this. So you fill the Nori rolls and Nori rolls are those seaweed wraps and, like I said, it's a vehicle. It's a blank slate that you can put so many things in and in the recipe I think we do shrimp, you can put some of that chicken that we just prepared. You can put that in there. In fact, you could put the chicken salad into this Nori roll and wrap it up.

LEAH: Oh, well that's a great idea!

MARIANNE: Yeah! You can do avocado or guacamole. Throw in some cucumber and carrots. A little of that healthy mayo that we just talked about, that sort of is the sticking element that keeps it rolled up. And the best part, the kids are going to love it. They're gonna find it so fun to put together and they can be in the fridge just ready for them to grab any time.

LEAH: Yeah. Oh, I love that. So, you think about sushi roll ups and I mean, this particular recipe, I think even in the notes they say it is a little more messy than like say the stuff that you would get at the store in a restaurant. But guess what? Kids love messy too.

MARIANNE: Yes, they love messy!

LEAH: They don't mind that stuff. So it's, you know, if it gets them engaged and they think it's fun and they want to do it and they want to do it again later, that's probably a win win for all of us parents, especially if you are again, playing more homeschool coordinator these days. We're all juggling a lot of hats.

MARIANNE: Right. Yeah, exactly. 

LEAH: I wanted to just mention one recipe before we wrap up for the day. It's our Peaches and Cream Smoothie. That one's also on our website. Smoothies now that it is... even here in Minnesota it is starting to warm up for the most part, but a nice smoothie is just starting to sound really refreshing and creamy and just satisfies those little snack attacks, especially in the afternoon. This particular recipe uses a little vanilla whey protein powder, some yogurt, getting in some extra good fat from the heavy whipping cream. We could also... I usually use the canned coconut milk in there instead. And then you can get peaches. So I typically use frozen peaches. The frozen fruit is a little easier to come by, especially for those of us living in the more tundra land in the winter. But then you throw the peaches in there, you can certainly substitute other fruits. You add half a cup of water, maybe half a cup of ice, and then you just blend it all up together. To make, I mean, if you are making it, say for a family, just get out your big blender. You only have to wash it once. Maybe you stock them away in the freezer, but get out the big blender, get a serving for everyone, and everyone's going to be happy. And then everyone's brains are going to work, especially if you do have those kiddos that are still doing their schoolwork at home. Our goal here at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is just to help you be physically, and mentally, healthy and strong during this challenging time and beyond. I really want to thank Marianne for coming in very early on this Saturday morning to share her knowledge and her expertise in the kitchen and in your teaching. We really do want to get those cooking classes back online again once we're all able to gather again once it's safe to do so. It all really starts with cooking the Weight & Wellness way. In order to eat, you have to cook and to cook your foods in your very own kitchen. Our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. We say it every week, but it's a simple yet very powerful message that eating real food is life changing. So thank you very much and have a wonderful day. 

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