Black Bean Pasta

Pasta. It is a staple in many diets. I grew up eating buttered noodles and my love for pasta never really went away. Unfortunately, pasta is filled with tons on empty calories (calories that have little or no nutritional value). All of the simple carbohydrates that are quickly and easily digested make blood sugar spike and then drop. This is what causes you to be hungry an hour or two after a big bowl of spaghetti.

Black bean pasta have become my favorite alternatives to regular, nutrient poor pasta. The only two ingredients are black beans and water, meaning no crazy additives or chemical preservatives. They are high in protein and fiber packing in almost 50% of your daily value of fiber per serving.

Also, compared to an equal amount of regular white pasta, black bean pasta have less than half the amount of carbs. For people who are on a low carb diet or have diabetes, this makes black bean pasta a great option.

Black Bean Noodles

Aside for all the great nutrients in black bean pasta, guess what the best part is? They taste great! I even like the black bean pasta better than regular pasta. They are cooked the same way and can be enjoyed in the same ways too. My favorite is with a drizzle of olive oil and grilled vegetables.

I use the “Explore Asian” brand. They are a little hard to find but you can buy them on their website. I have also recently discovered edamame pasta by the same brand and am looking forward to trying them!

Airport Snacking

Last Friday I packed my backpack and hopped on a plane to New Jersey to spend the weekend at a family gathering. My parents and brother were flying home 4 hours before my flight back to school so as I had a good chuck of time to wander the Newark airport. As I explored the terminal, I realized that an airport is pretty much one long hallway trying to give you a heart attack. No matter what airport you are at, or which terminal you are in, you probably won’t get to your gate before passing a McDonalds,Cinnabon, Burger King, or Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, (or all of the above!). It can be hard to avoid these cheap, unhealthy restaurants when so many hours are spent at airports just sitting around and waiting.

With all the hype of healthy eating recently, it is getting easier and easier to find healthy foods in the airport, but I personally like to pack my own snacks. Here are some of my flying favorites:

  1. Apples: I am kind of an apple-aholic so I usually have an apple with me wherever I go. Apples are easy to throw in your bag last minute and don’t require any utensils to eat.
  1. Red Peppers: Having sliced red peppers on hand is a great way to pack in some vitamin C while you are traveling. Planes are covered in germs so getting the extra immune boost will help prevent you from getting sick. Why red peppers? They actually have almost 3x the amount of vitamin C you would find in an orange!
  1. Yogurt: Yogurt is a good source of protein, which can keep you energized during those long hours in the air. Watch out though; I once got my yogurt confiscated at security because TSA said it was a liquid! Now I try to bring a small enough cup that it fits in my quart size liquids bag.
  1. Water: High altitudes can lead to dehydration so it is critical to drink lots of water while traveling. I hate using tiny airplane bathrooms so I try to drink lots of water before and after I land. And, of course, my water usually has a wedge of lemon in it for an extra vitamin C boost!

Did your flight get delayed and you need some more substantial food? Burger King has a grilled chicken sandwich, and most fast food places also have grilled chicken salads for a healthier option.

Also, don’t forget to stay active on travel days. Instead of sitting at your gate waiting to board, go for a walk through their airport. You are going to be sitting for the next several hours on the plane so you might as well keep yourself moving while you can!

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Craving some late night pizza? Ready to call the delivery man? STOP! Try these Zucchini Pizza Bites. They are super yummy and will be done before the delivery man shows up.

Using zucchini as your pizza crust gives you and extra serving of vegetables and significantly decreases the calorie count compared to regular pizza.

pic

I’ll admit, it is not the same as fatty, oily pizza, but they are a great alternative. They also are a little messy, but nothing a little napkin won’t fix.

recipe 

Justin’s Hazelnut Butter

I want to introduce you to my new friend Justin. I have never met him before, but he makes some pretty amazing hazelnut butter similar to Nutella. Nutella is made out of hazelnuts, along with many other ingredients, including sugar- lots and lots of sugar. In fact, the first ingredient (the most prominent by volume) in Nutella is…Can you guess?…SUGAR!

So what makes Justin’s Hazelnut Butter so special? When compared to an equal amount of Nutella, it has about twice as much protein and fiber and less than half as much sugar. Not to mention, almost all of the ingredients are organic. Overall it is a much more nutritious option when is comes to sweet, chocolatey snacks.

Justins Hazelnut pic

My favorite is to enjoy this one plain, directly out of the 1.15oz squeeze packs. If plain hazelnut spread is not your thing, try it on strawberries, apples, bananas, pretzels, or marshmallows. I like the squeeze packs because they are easy to grab on the go and I don’t have to think about how much I am eating, although it does also come in a 16oz jar.

Next time you have an after-dinner craving for something sweet, Justin’s Hazelnut Butter is the way to go.

Here is a link to some recipes Justin has come up with using his hazelnut butter. You can also try some of his other products (his almond butter is pretty tasty too!).