Eat Well this July 4th – Grilled Peaches

It’s one of our favorite seasons…peach season! Walk into any grocery store right now and you stand a good chance of being overwhelmed with that juicy sweet fragrance enticing you to buy, buy, buy!

Peaches are, of course, perfect to eat fresh while leaning over the sink or with a bib, but this Fourth of July we’re adding them to the grill for the perfect dessert for our celebrations. Those fuzzy fruits are a great source of fiber, potassium and vitamins A and C.

If you haven’t ventured into the grilled fruit territory, grilled peaches are a delectable introduction.

Even without adding herbs and spices, grilling turns fruit and vegetables into amazing little bites. Grilled fruit can be added to salads, served as a garnish for meat, and it makes a luscious dessert, especially when served over a modest serving of ice cream.

grilled peaches

Grilled Peaches

One peach per person (freestone)

Olive oil or grapeseed oil

Balsamic Glaze

Instructions

  1. Slice peaches in half. Once halved, pit the peach. Generally the peaches we find in the store are freestone peaches which allow the stone to be pitted easily.
  2. Lightly brush the cut surface of the peaches with oil. Just enough to prevent it sticking to the grill.
  3. Turn grill to medium heat.
  4. Grill peaches cut side down for 3-5 minutes, then flip and grill for an additional 4-5 minutes more. Your peaches should be soft to the touch.
  5. Serve with a drizzle of balsamic glaze or some vanilla ice cream.

If you are new to grilling fruits, here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Heat your grill to medium or medium-high. If the heat is too high, the food can burn on the outside while remaining raw inside. The delicate skins of most fruit are especially susceptible to damage from very high heat.
  2. Unless you plan to grill entire apples, carrots, peppers or other large vegetables, use a grill basket to keep items from falling through the grate.
  3. Brush or toss vegetables with olive oil to add flavor and keep them from sticking. With fruit you might want to use a neutral-flavored oil, such as safflower or grapeseed.
  4. Add more flavor with herbs, spices, lemon (juice or peel) or a marinade. Black pepper or ginger adds a little kick to the fuzzy delight of peaches you might want to try.
  5. Keep an eye on that grill! Some items cook in as little as four minutes, so you don’t want to walk away and let them turn into charred nuggets.
  6. To test for doneness, stab them with a skewer or fork. They’re done when you feel the texture you like.

Hope you have a pleasant grilling adventure.

Laurie Ledford

Laurie Ledford RDLaurie Ledford is our very own Georgia peach, a registered dietitian from Atlanta, Georgia, the land of grits, collard greens and super-sweet iced tea. She now works as a registered dietitian  in the Tucson Medical Center Wellness Department. She enjoys helping people improve their health through sustainable dietary changes while still relishing occasional indulgences. In her off hours, Laurie engages in foodie pursuits such as sampling unusual flavor combinations (olive oil and basil ice cream was a good one) as well as hiking and cycling.

 

Small changes add up to 50 pound weight loss for Lindy

LindyWhen 36-year-old occupational therapist Lindy Schoch decided to do a weight management campaign a year ago, she was feeling kind of blah.

Her energy was down. She was carrying too much weight. And even though she was working out five days a week, her scale wouldn’t budge.

Schoch consulted with a member of the wellness team and registered dietitian Laurie Ledford to come up with a solution.

“I thought I was eating healthy – and I was – but you can eat too much even if it is healthy,” she said. “Decreasing portion control was a big key for me. The important thing is to take small steps instead of trying to do everything at once. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed.”

Over the course of the year, without making drastic changes, Schoch lost 50 pounds, with a goal of another 30 by her spring 2019 wedding.

Here’s what helped:

  • Breakfast: She swapped out her breakfast Greek yogurt for one that has half the sugars and all the protein. She supplements her breakfast with two hard boiled eggs.
  • Lunch: She stopped putting cheese and ranch dressing on her six-inch submarine sandwiches – stuffing them with flavorful vegetables, pickles and pepperoncinis instead – and switched to flatbread instead of sub rolls. Over time, she switched to salads with chicken and avocado, forgoing the sandwich altogether.
  • Snacks: Ledford told her she should eat something in between meals so she wasn’t ravenous for her big meals, since that makes it harder to control portions. She takes an apple or banana for a quick snack in between meals.
  • Drinks: Sodas are rare for her. She usually opts for unsweetened tea. She did have to completely give up coffee. “I actually hate coffee, but I love creamer. I had to give up coffee because I couldn’t have it without half a cup of creamer in it. That helped cut out a bunch of fat and sugar calories.”
  • Sugar: She’s the first to admit she’s a cookie fiend. And she likes chocolate. And while she’s pretty disciplined about steering clear of office goodies, she has learned one important lesson: “If I really want a piece of chocolate, I will have it. When you crave it, have one of that item and have it right away when you first feel like having it. I’ve made the mistake of trying to resist and then later, eating too much of something because I’ve been wanting it all day.”
  • Be patient with yourself. “Six weeks into my 12 week program, I had done all this and I hadn’t lost one pound. Not one. This is where people get discouraged, because they make changes for a certain time and they give up, but your body needs time to adjust to the changes you’re making. By the twelfth week, I had lost 11 pounds and then it just poured off, six pounds every other week.”
  • Let technology help. There are a lot of fitness apps on the market, but Schoch particularly likes My Fitness Pal, a free app that logs her caloric intake and activity levels and helps her stay on track for her long-term weight goal.

“I don’t deprive myself and I’ve found that what I’m doing now is sustainable,” she said. “I feel lighter now. I can run and it’s less taxing. I have more energy and I feel good about the direction I’m heading.”

TMC Wellness offers one-on-one appointments and small group counseling with a registered dietitian or exercise physiologist. 

Keep the Yummy, Healthy this Holiday Season

healthy holiday recipe modificationsWelcome to the season of festive gatherings and indulgent eating. Nutritionally speaking, this is a tough time of year. We don’t want to give up delicious holiday dishes; however, we would rather not wreck our health through weeks of unhealthy eating. Fortunately, with a few modifications and a little moderation, we don’t have to do either.

There are three magic ingredients most cooks rely on to make their dishes taste better: salt, fat and sugar. Unfortunately, these ingredients can damage our health when used too heavily and consumed too often. Here’s the good news: you can still get that delicious taste by using salt, fat and sugar in moderation. Let’s look at ways we can reduce them.

Cutting the salt

  • Before adding salt to a recipe, think about why – or even if – it is necessary. Maybe you don’t really need it, or perhaps you could use half the amount called for.
  • Instead of salt, try herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of your food. Other seasonings to try: pepper, citrus juice or zest, onion or garlic, vinegar, salt-free seasoning blends, nutritional yeast. Beware of spice mixes that may contain salt.
  • If using canned tomatoes, beans or broth in a recipe, choose a no-salt-added or low-sodium version of the product.
  • When baking, be careful about how much salt you remove from the recipe, as that can change the texture of the final product.

Lightening up with less saturated (bad) fat

  • In cooking, replace butter and coconut oil with olive oil or canola oil. This won’t work in baking, however, because you would get a completely different texture.
  • Pie crusts are full of butter or other highly saturated fat. Try a crust-less version of your dessert instead.
  • Buy lean cuts of meat: chicken and turkey breasts, beef “loin” or “round,” pork tenderloin. Consider serving fish in place of meat.
  • Try replacing some full-fat dairy products with low-fat or fat-free versions. For example, do you need both butter and cream in mashed potatoes, or could you do with butter and low-fat milk?
  • Roast, grill, broil or stew food instead of frying.

Scaling back on sugar

  • Bring out the natural sweetness in food by adding spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, mace, vanilla or almond extract.
  • When baking, try reducing the amount of sugar in the recipe by a quarter, or 25 percent. (For example, use 3/4 cup instead of 1 cup of sugar.) You may be able to reduce it further, but this may affect the browning and texture of your baked goods.

A few more things to remember

  • Choose good quality ingredients, so that their natural flavors make the dish delish!
  • To boost the nutritional value of your meals, add more fruits and vegetables. Try adding dried fruits or extra vegetables to traditional recipes such as stuffing, quick breads and salads. An simple, tasty addition to any meal is to cut up a variety of your favorite veggies into similar-sized pieces (about 1 ½-inch), coat them in olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite herbs. Spread them on a sheet pan and roast at 400 degrees until golden on the outside and slightly tender on the inside.
  • Indulge mindfully. If you have a generally healthy diet most of the time, you can allow yourself room for some holiday indulgences. The key is to enjoy them, with all your senses and without a shred of regret.

We wish you happy, healthy and tasty holidays!

Laurie Ledford is a registered dietitian from Atlanta, Georgia, the land of grits, collard greens and super-sweet iced tea. She now works as a registered dietitian  in the Tucson Medical Center Wellness Department. She enjoys helping people improve their health through sustainable dietary changes while still relishing occasional indulgences. In her off hours, Laurie engages in foodie pursuits such as sampling unusual flavor combinations (olive oil and basil ice cream was a good one) as well as hiking and cycling.

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