Plant Based Substitutes
Recently in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, there was a study that compared the vegan diet to the Mediterranean diet. The results might surprise you. When following a low fat, plant based diet for 16 weeks, study participants achieved much higher reductions in fat mass and visceral fat, as well as total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels compared to those following the Mediterranean diet recommendations. However, the mediterranean diet had ties to greater reductions in blood pressure (1). It is important to keep in mind that there are healthy fats, such as mono and polyunsaturated fats that should be included in our diets in moderation- with studies in the past supporting their correlation with improved HDL cholesterol particularly (2). Below are some plant based substitutes that can be made in place of animal based substitutes in baking.
After a long week interning in critical care, I decided to do something extra to celebrate the weekend. Something I always do after a long week is go to either Trader Joes or Wegmans (sometimes both) and purchase random items- and then brainstorm what I can do to make something out of it. This week- I bought sweet potatoes. I ended up making a sweet potato breakfast sandwich in a few simple steps. Instructions below:
- 1 medium, round sweet potato
- 2 eggs
- 2 alfresco's Chicken sausages ( I like this brand because it has a chicken sausage option and is lower in saturated fat, sodium, and is made without preservatives)
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 tbsp olive oil
1) Slice the sweet potato into 1/2 -1 inch rounded pieces. Coat in olive oil and bake at 400F for 15 minutes.
2) Microwave or pan-fry chicken sausages. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
3) Prepare eggs on stove top, omelette style (this makes it easy to cut out for the sandwich, and you can add cheese or vegetables as you wish)
4) Slice avocado
5) Put together your sandwiches and enjoy!
This past weekend, I took home a great deal of my week's unfinished carrots. As I always strive to finish an entire bag by myself at school, I was excited to brainstorm ways to finish them. The recipe I ended up preparing was called "Garlic Parmesan Baked Carrot Fries" on Tasty.co. It is one of my little sister's favorites. After making slight modifications, I followed the following instructions:
- 2 large carrots
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley or basil (chopped)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
(Link to vegan option):
1. Preheat the oven to 400F
2. Slice carrots into 3 portions lengthwise, and in halves for width
3. Toss with garlic, pepper, cheese, and avocado oil
4. Lay carrots evenly onto baking tray
5. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top of carrots
6. Bake for 20 minutes (I like them to be crispy!) :)
I ended up using a total of four carrots because I enjoyed them that much. These would be a great snack to include at a family dinner or for a social gathering with friends. If you click the button below, you can also see a dip that Tasty.co created for them.
Avocado Cilantro Dip
As I have been missing the warmer months, I reflected on the recipes I would prepare for my beach trips in the summer. I remembered craving a dip with a summery twist before leaving for my friend Allison's beach house. The dip I had decided to make was modified from Rachael Ray’s Creamy Avocado-Cilantro dip. The ingredients were simple. It had avocados, sour cream, cilantro and lime juice. Modifications I made were replacing the sour cream with plan Greek yogurt, while adding a higher exchange of yogurt in place of sour cream. My reasoning behind this change was that it would add more protein while decreasing the calories in the dip.
Below are the ingredients I made the dip with:
Yield: 1 ½ cups
2 large avocados
6 oz nonfat plain Greek yogurt (I used one single serve container of Chobani’s brand)
1 tbsp lime juice
½ cup fresh cilantro
After combining these ingredients in a blender, you can mix all of them together. I personally like to use my NutriBullet, because it is easy to transport.
In my opinion, Mollie Katzen created one of the best healthy cookbooks. As a result of her book, a Moosewood restaurant opened in Ithaca, New York. My boss as a research assistant was obsessed with this restaurant and the abundant number of vegetarian recipes. Curious, I decided to make one. The recipe I prepared was the cucumber yogurt chilled soup. Slight modifications were made in the process.
Ava is a Registered Dietitian with a BS in Nutritional Science from Penn State University. She completed her postgraduate dietetic internship at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center where she had a critical care concentration. She started her RD career working at a level one trauma center providing Medical Nutrition Therapy to patients in the Greater New York City area. She now resides in South Florida as her hospital's full time outpatient dietitian, overseeing outpatient nutrition for cardiometabolic, bariatric, and hospital medical nutrition therapy.