A few years ago my husband and close friends realized two things when eating with me:
I stopped sharing my creations and just enjoyed them myself. Then one ordinary day while hanging out in the kitchen my husband complained that I was “holding out on him” when he discovered brownies I had made. I didn’t say anything but just passed the plate of brownies his way, gesturing for him to take one, and I went back to cleaning the kitchen. When I reached for another brownie myself the next day I knew there was going to be trouble - there was only one left (at least he saved me one). The problem is, that meant he ate six brownies yesterday. Clearly there was a portion control issue, but more importantly – there was a fiber issue. You see, he had no clue that I replaced the flour with pureed black beans. It wasn’t my sneaky ingredient itself that caused his issues; it was the quantity he chose to consume. A few trips to the bathroom, as well as a few years and lessons on portion control later, and we can all laugh about this.
I’m still sneaking in foods to fool friends & family, occasionally – but I do not do this if I do not know their food allergy history! New friends always get a full disclaimer on what is in my creations. So, if you have someone you want to fool coming up on April 1st or you just want to boost the nutrition of some familiar foods, here are a few of my go-to’s these days and who they might work for
Fool: Black Beans
Recommended Consumer: Co-workers
Why the switch? Replace refined carbohydrates with fiber and protein but keep the decadent flavor.
Preparation Details: Black Bean Brownie recipe adapted from http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-gluten-free-black-bean-brownies/)
Food: Macaroni and Cheese
Recommended Consumer: Toddler
Why the switch? Same creamy texture and rich taste but with less fat and more fiber and nutrients.
Preparation Details: Start with a box of whole wheat mac & cheese and cook noodles according to the package directions. While the noodles are draining, add ½-1 cup of pureed cauliflower (if using a white cheese) to the warm pot along with 2-4 Tbsp milk and the cheese packet. Mix until the cheese dissolves and you achieve your desired consistency (start with less veggies and work your way up to more!). Add the noodles back to the pot with the cheese sauce, toss to combine and serve.
Alternative: If you are using a yellow cheese, you can use pureed carrots, butternut squash or sweet potato in place of the cauliflower. I keep ½ cup portions of pureed veggies on hand in my freezer for quick veggie-filled meals!
Food: Ice Cream
Recommended Consumer: Spouse
Why the switch? Maintain the texture and mouth feel with no fat, less sugar and more fiber and vitamins.
Preparation Details: When you have bananas on the counter that are past your preferred ripeness, don’t throw them away! Peel them and store properly in the freezer. In a food processor or high-powered blender, simply add in frozen bananas and blend until they are the consistency of ice cream. Two medium bananas usually gives me 1 cup of ‘ice cream’. Top with crushed almonds , peanut butter, or mini chocolate chips and enjoy your fruit-filled frozen dessert!
Some simple swaps make it possible to fool someone and boost the nutrition of familiar foods – just remember to be transparent if food allergies are a possibility.
Do you have experience fooling with food? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
If you prefer to really fool with food, that may or may not be edible, check these out:
According to "What's Trending in Nutrition" plants will be powering consumers’ plates in 2017. So who better to talk trends with than Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian?!
This annual survey conducted by Today’s Dietitian and Pollock Communications asks dietitians (1700 responded) to weigh in on what we think will, and won’t, be weighing on our clients’ minds in the coming year. Below is a summary of our discussion on the survey:
Sharon and I agree that the term Superfoods can send shivers up the spines of some registered dietitians, since it’s not a clearly defined or regulated term. Additionally, it’s not up to one food to provide the necessary nutrients for each unique individual. This survey calls out 10 foods themes, or Superfoods, that dietitians feel Americans will consume more of this year. Eight out of these 10 food themes are centered on plants with a focus on fats taking the top 3 spots [Seeds, Avocado & Nuts]! As a dietitian, I would be thrilled with an increase in consumption of these food themes this year - they are nutrient rich and have potential health benefits, when eaten in moderation and are balanced with high-quality foods from all food groups and an active lifestyle, of course.
Speaking of moderation and balance – Sharon and I also discussed our excitement around a focus on overall Meal Patterns as opposed to ‘Diets’. Let’s continue to focus on what we CAN eat and how to ENJOY all of it, over time! When we eat due to physical hunger, stop when we are full and get a balanced intake of varied nutrients throughout the day and over the week, we are eating mindfully. When was the last time you stopped, closed your eyes and smelled your food before eating it? When was the last time you slowed down at mealtime and really tasted your food? Heck, when was the last time you didn’t multi-task while eating? These are all examples of being more mindful around eating, and practicing them more often will help clue you in to your bodies’ signals of true hunger and fullness. I asked Sharon about her favorite resources on mindful eating and she said that she likes Brian Wansink’s work and added that food diaries and apps can play a part in mindful eating if it helps someone to be more aware and “avoid the nonstop noshing”.
Compared to 2016, dietitians report there will be less concern in 2017 over things such as GMO-free, sustainable or gluten-free. This doesn’t mean consumers aren’t still thinking about these things; it’s just that there are other areas creeping into the minds of consumers ahead of them. Sharon and I agree with the surveyed dietitians that an increase in transparency on the part of the food industry is likely a contributing factor. I hope the decrease in concern is also a result of registered dietitians educating shoppers on food facts and more consumers understanding how individual nutrition advice really is!
I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions on these topics so keep the conversation going in the comments section below!
For more information on the "What's Trending in Nutrition" survey, visit: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/national-survey-taps-over-1700-dietitians-to-predict-top-2017-food-trends-300376374.html
For more information on Sharon or to read her blog, check out: http://sharonpalmer.com/meet-sharon/
I'm a busy mom with a passion for sharing practical advice to help you live the healthy and balanced life you envision. Warning: the information is evidenced-based, but the delivery will often contain humor!