Shopping tips for canned foods

Canned foods tend to have a bad rep, but not all canned foods are bad. Within an overall balanced and healthy diet, canned foods can have a role in it. Examples include bean products that are ready to eat in your next vegetarian meal or canned tuna soaked in olive oil that can be a convenient, nutrient dense snack on the go. Additionally, when fresh or frozen is not an option available for any reason, it’s recommended to include canned forms of protein, fruits and vegetables than to skip them entirely in your diet.

Surprising signs related to nutrient deficiencies

In America, access to and intake of high caloric foods are prevalent. These are foods that meet our energy or calorie needs. However, access to and intake of nutritious foods is another story. The concept of being “well fed, but undernourished” can be defined as consuming adequate or excess calories, but not getting adequate nutrients such as essential vitamins, minerals and other health-promoting substances in the diet.

Studies using information on nutrient intake from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) have indicated that up to 9 out of 10 Americans get less than the recommended amount for one or more vitamins and minerals in their diets. That’s a huge number! Inadequate nutrient intakes could lead to deficiencies and some of the most common nutrient deficiencies in America are iron, Vitamin D, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin B12 and calcium. One thing that many of us may not realize is that nutrient deficiencies can be tricky to identify. Aside from lab results, they can present themselves in a variety of physical and mental symptoms. If deficiencies are not addressed appropriately, they can lead to a variety of health problems.

Holiday fitness challenge

Holidays are approaching fast. What are YOUR health goals? Whether you’re just getting started or have been working towards them this year, don’t lose track of your health goals. Make health your priority, it’s the best gift you can give yourself!

One way to help you stay focused is to join a holiday fitness challenge. You can do one with family, friends, coworkers or anyone else you’d like. Make things fun! Right now, there’s an opportunity to join an online holiday fitness challenge hosted by fitness expert/coach David Wick of Fresh Focus Fitness. In collaboration with Fresh Focus Fitness, as part of the challenge’s program, you’ll receive my nutrition tips and tricks to let you enjoy the holidays and stay on track towards your health goals. You’ll be entered to win several prizes, one of them being a free consultation with me (eligibility rules apply, please read the details of the challenge here). For any questions about the challenge, visit facebook.com/freshfocusfitness or contact @freshfocusfitness on Instagram.

Veggie packed DIY Vietnamese lemongrass beef vermicelli bowl

This Vietnamese lemongrass beef vermicelli bowl is a noodle salad dish that’s great for hot summer days when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. The dish is often treated like a salad and eaten cold. You can usually find this dish at a Vietnamese restaurant, but you can also easily recreate it at home. The best part of recreating your favorite restaurant dishes at home is that you get to be creative and customize it to your liking. As long as you have a few of the essential ingredients and the final product tastes good, there’s really no right or wrong way to make it. Make sure you load it up with veggies, herbs and lean protein to make it a healthy dish. Check out this quick recipe below!

INGREDIENTS

1 lb beef sirloin; thinly sliced or another protein of your choice such as chicken, tofu, shrimp, pork or ground turkey

FOR THE PROTEIN MARINADE
2 garlic cloves; minced
4 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp lemongrass powder or 3 tbsp finely chopped lemon grass

TO ASSEMBLE
1/2 cucumber; peeled, seeded, and julienned (or zucchini)
4 cups shredded lettuce
handful fresh, chopped cilantro
sprinkle of sesame seeds or chopped peanuts
1 package thin vermicelli noodles; prepared as per package directions

Optional additions:
(Unfortunately, I didn’t have these on hand when I made the dish)
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
4 cups mung bean sprouts, washed
handful fresh mint or basil leaves
1 red Thai Chili; finely minced

FOR THE SAUCE
1/4 cup warm water
5 teaspoons sugar (for a healthier sub, try 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp monkfruit sweetener or 6 tbsp 100% apple juice)
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
optional: julienned carrots and/or sliced chilies to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

PREPARE THE BEEF
In a medium bowl, combine minced garlic, fish sauce, sugar, fresh lime juice and lemongrass powder/chopped lemongrass. Add the the beef slices and add to the marinade. Let sit for about an hour or so. Then heat a lightly oiled pan or wok on medium-high heat. Stir fry marinated beef in batches.

FOR THE SAUCE
Combine the water, sugar, fresh lime juice, rice vinegar and fish sauce together. Stir well and let it sit.

FOR THE VERMICELLI NOODLES
Prepare as per package directions. Drain and set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE THE BOWLS
Arrange lettuce in the bottom the bowl or have it on the side. Top with vermicelli noodles. Place cooked beef on top of vermicelli noodles. Finish off with toppings of cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, mint, sesame seeds or peanuts. Drizzle the sauce on top of the dish and enjoy!