Homemade Chili with Italian Sausage

Now is a great time to pull out your slow-cooker, or buy one if you don’t already own one. These gadgets are amazing! They help you save time on prepping, cooking, and even clean-up! I’ve got an easy Homemade Chili recipe you can make this weekend! It’s a crowd-pleaser and sooo easy to make!

Cozy up to a hot bowl of homemade chili with Italian Sausage. This is an easy recipe that cooks slowly over 4 hours with little supervision, so you can catch up on work or just relax, knowing there’ll be a full meal waiting for you. You may substitute ground mild Italian Sausage with ground beef.

Make this delicious Homemade Chili with Italian Sausage in your slow-cooker

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How to Get Your Holiday Cooking Done Faster

Good Pregnancy Eats

 

Oh my goodness – The office holiday party is in two days and I totally forgot to make that scrumptuous dish I promised my colleagues!

Sound familiar? Between the hustle and bustle of the holidays, gift shopping, and work it’s a challenge to cook anything at all. That’s why I want to help you get your holiday cooking done faster. Whether you’re planning a big feast or contributing a delicious dish to a holiday party, no worries! A little preparation can go a long way to save you time in the kitchen. Keep reading to avoid frustration, messes, and accidents with these 3 quick tips.

 

Christmas photo

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Pregnancy Quiz: Do You Know How to Eat Well for Baby at a Summer Picnic?

Good Pregnancy Eats

Do you know how to eat well for baby at a picnic?Summer is a wonderful time for a picnic, whether you’re celebrating a birthday, attending a wedding, or enjoying a Saturday afternoon outdoors.

Did you know bacteria can grow in the summer heat? Test your summer food safety knowledge with these 3 questions.

At a picnic, do you keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot?

Bacteria love to grow between 40-140°F (4-60°C). This is called the temperature danger zone. When temperature-sensitive foods are within this range, like on a hot summer day, bacteria start to grow and multiply within the food. Foods that are particularly affected are meats, dairy products, eggs, fish, and poultry.

When it comes to a picnic, it’s important to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Get yourself a plate when the food is first served. Avoid foods that have been sitting out in the sun for more than 2 hours. 

At a picnic, keep cold foods, like potato salad, cold. Do you like to eat potato salad, chicken salad or egg salad?

Be careful with these. They are supposed to be served cold (less than 40°F/4°C) but are often left sitting out in the summer heat for hours. This means they warm up to the temperature danger zone where bacteria start to grow. The best thing is to get a serving right at the beginning when the salad is still cold. Definitely avoid it if it has remained un-chilled for 2 hours or more.  

Cook hot dogs and hamburgers to steaming hot. Do you love to eat hot dogs or enjoy a hamburger off the grill?

If your answer is yes, remember:

Hot dogs are known for possible contamination of a bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes.  During pregnancy, do not eat hot dogs cold out of the package. Always cook them until they are steaming hot.

Similarly, hamburgers are at risk for contamination of E. coli. They must be fully cooked and steaming hot.

Be sure to eat meats when they are coming right off the grill. Avoid hot dogs or hamburgers that have been sitting out in the summer heat.

 

While it may sound overwhelming, these food safety tips keep mom and baby healthy. It’s definitely worth waiting those extra 3 minutes for the hot dog to cook or taking an extra picnic cooler filled with ice to keep the potato salad cold.

Which tip was the most helpful to you? Do you have tricks of your own to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot at your picnic outings? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

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Sources:
Duyff, Roberta Larson. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2012. Print.

 

 

7 Ways to Use Ripening Bananas

Good Pregnancy Eats

You’re probably familiar with the brown spots, moist patches, soft skin, and increasingly strong scent of bananas turning brown. This means they’re about to go bad and it’s hard to stop this process. I know you want to avoid waste, so check out these 7 ways to use ripening bananas.

 

Sweeten a smoothie

Bananas are great for sweetening a smoothie. Just add 1 banana to a smoothie and blend until smooth.

Freeze for later

Just freeze any bananas that are about to spoil and take one out each time you want to make a smoothie. Keeping ingredients on hand will cut down on prep time and avoid wasting food. Click here for more ways to use fruits and vegetables to make a smoothie in zero minutes.

 

Make Banana Milk

Check out this 2 ingredient recipe for homemade banana milk.  

Bake a cake!

Bananas also provide sweetness and some moisture to a cake. You can find delicious banana cake recipes online or try substituting 1 banana for about ¼ cup of sugar in your favorite cake recipe.

 

 

Slice over cereal or oatmeal

Cut a banana into slices and add to your breakfast cereal or oatmeal.

Slice over a pancake

Cut a banana into slices and drizzle a little bit of chocolate syrup on top.

Slice over a scoop of vanilla ice cream

This is a great dessert, especially in the summertime. Again, chocolate drizzle optional.

What are your culinary tips for using bananas before they go bad? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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3 Ways to Save Time on Cooking this Week

Good Pregnancy Eats

You’re probably familiar with this scenario. You come home after a long day and don’t have much time to get dinner on the table. Check out these 3 tips to get dinner ready quicker.

Use a slow-cooker

This wonderful counter-top kitchen gadget cooks almost any dish on its own without overheating your kitchen. A slow-cooker requires minimal supervision, so you can be busy all day and come home to a finished meal. Check out this post which explains all about slow-cookers and how to choose the best one for your family.

Use speed scratch

Speed scratch is a term that describes fresh ingredients which have been prepared for you in some way.

Think shredded carrots, shredded cheese, ground meat, sliced cooked ham, canned beans (they’re already cooked), and frozen chopped spinach. There are lots of examples, but they all have been prepared for you in some way to help you save time.

Bonus: these foods retain their fresh quality so you can make a healthy meal for your family.

Prep ahead of time

Certain ingredients take a long time to cook, like potatoes, rice, pasta, or meat. You can prepare these ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 3 days. This will save you time when making pasta alfredo, potato salad, fried rice, beef tacos, and more.

 

Which of these tips will you use this week to save time on dinner? Do you have time saving tips of your own? Share them with me in the comments below!

 

 

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3 Essential Nutrients for Pregnancy

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During pregnancy, nutrition can take on a brand new meaning. Certain nutrients are directly related to improving the health of mom and baby. Check out these 3 nutrients which are especially important during your pregnancy. 

 

Folate 

This vitamin is very important for the formation of baby’s brain and spinal cord, which occurs within the first trimester. Folate is found in spinach, broccoli, lentils, and peanuts. Foods enhanced with the synthetic form folic acid are called fortified foods. These foods will be labeled and include dry cereal, pasta, and bread.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about getting enough folate, and ask about a folic acid supplement that is safe to take during pregnancy.

Iron

During pregnancy iron plays a major role in making hemoglobin. This is a protein found in blood and helps carry oxygen to all of the cells in your body, including baby.

As your blood volume increases by 50 % during pregnancy, your body’s demand for iron also increases. Foods that contain iron are meats, beans, spinach, kale, and eggs.

smart-babyDHA

DHA is a type of omega 3 fatty acid which helps with development of baby’s brain, cognitive function, and eye sight. Most women do not get enough DHA during their pregnancy. Research indicates DHA can improve baby’s IQ and cognition. Knowing that DHA is found in certain types of fish, it is recommended to eat 8 to 12 ounces of fish per week during pregnancy.

 

Click to download your free copy of this 3-step nutrition guide to eat healthy during pregnancy.Loving this article?

Click here to get your free copy of this 3-step nutrition guide,

“3 Time-Saving Tools to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy”. 

 

“Food for Health: Every Age, Every Stage of Life.” American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2012. 488-507. Print.

How to Make a Healthy Habit Stick

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Are you still committed to your New Year’s resolutions to start a healthy habit? Don’t give up yet! Check out these 4 tips to make a healthy habit stick.

Disclaimer: These suggestions are specifically for health, nutrition, and exercise goals, but they can also work well for other resolutions. Try these out and adjust them how you see fit.

 

Take small steps to make a healthy habit stick!Small steps count

This is probably the most important tip: small steps absolutely count. Habits are difficult to change and some things may not change overnight. Be gentle with yourself. Take small steps in the right direction and you will reach your goal.

 

Make it easy for yourself

Remove barriers and make the healthy choice the easy choice.  For example, if you want to be more physically active, give yourself a visual reminder by setting out your active clothes or shoes where you can see them.

If you prefer to schedule time for exercise, pick a time of day where you feel the most active and energized. The point is to make it easy for yourself.

 

Try doing the opposite to make a healthy habit stick.Catch yourself slipping? Do the opposite

If you catch yourself slipping into old habits, try doing the opposite. If you’re about to eat one too many [insert must-have food here], try going for a short walk or eating a piece of fruit instead. Nutrition and physical activity have lots of healthy opposite-options, so try this out and watch your old habit disappear.

Trying to stop an unhealthy habit?

If you want to quit an unhealthy habit, try replacing your current habit with a more healthy habit. For example, if you find you have a candy craving in the middle of the night try having a small snack before going to bed. If you want to change your day-time snacking habits, plan ahead and pack some healthier options to take with you. This way you’ll have a healthy snack available at work.

 

What healthy habit are you trying to make stick? Let me know in the comments right below!

 

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Fancy and Hassle-Free New Year’s Eve Appetizers

Good Pregnancy Eats

Here are 3 quick appetizers you can prepare in no time to keep your guests happy and munching until the big fireworks & midnight sendoff to the New Year.

Want to look fabulous while cooking? Click here to pick your favorite apron & matching pot pinchers!

woman with fireworks

Mixed Skewers

On a toothpick mix and match 3 layers of the following ingredients.

  • Cubed cheese (Cheddar, Pepper jack, Swiss, Muenster)
  • Grapes
  • Olives
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Dried cranberries

Place skewers on a colorful plate for serving. For better balance use cubed cheese on the bottom to stand up each skewer or cut a grape or cherry tomato in half.

Mini-quesadillas

Use small whole wheat flour tortillas. Cover each tortilla with a short layer of diced bell pepper (yellow, orange, or red), black beans, and grated cheddar cheese. Cover with another tortilla. Bake in the oven on 350*F until the cheese is melted.

Carefully slice each quesadilla into 6 pieces. Layer the slices on a serving plate and serve with mild tomato salsa and mango salsa on the side.

Veggies-in-a-Glass

This is a spin on the classic vegetable plate.

Start by washing carrots, celery, and cherry tomatoes. Then cut away the stems of the carrots and celery and slice into 2 or 3 inch long sticks. Evenly divide the carrot sticks, celery sticks, and cherry tomatoes into small drinking glasses. Serve with a choice of dressing on the side (Ranch, cranberry sauce, Thousand Island are some ideas).

 

Which appetizer was the fastest to make? Do you have a quick appetizer of your own?

Leave us a comment below.

 

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Everything You Need to Know About Weight Gain during Pregnancy

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During pregnancy you gain weight to support your growing baby as well as the many natural changes occurring in your body.  It is natural for a mother to gain more weight than what her baby will weigh at birth.

How much weight will I gain during my pregnancy?How much weight will I gain during pregnancy?

Weight gain can vary based on your starting weight, your height and age, and the number of babies you’re expecting.

For this reason it’s best to have your doctor monitor weight gain during your pregnancy. You can also ask what a healthy weight gain looks like for your pregnancy.

 

A newborn weighs about 7-8 pounds (3-3.5kg)Where does the weight go?

Typically a baby weighs 7 to 8 pounds (about 3-3 1/2 kg) at birth. In addition, parts of mom’s body will grow during pregnancy.

 

Weight gain on Average

Placenta                                                              1 5 pounds                         680 g

Amniotic fluid surrounding baby                   2 pounds                              907g

Mammary growth                                              2 pounds                              907g

Uterus growth                                                    2 pounds                               907g

Maternal stores of protein & fat                     7 pounds                                3 17kg

Expanded blood volume                                  4 pounds                               1 81kg

Body Fluids                                                         4 pounds                               1 81kg

 

Losing the extra weight after pregnancy depends on what you eat, your level of physical activity, and length of breastfeeding. How do I lose the extra weight after birth?

By giving birth you can lose up to 10 pounds right away from fluid losses and the weight of your baby. Weight loss varies for each mother. It’s possible to lose around 5 pounds within the first month after birth, but other moms may lose their weight slowly over 6-12 months after birth. How fast you lose the extra weight depends on how much you eat, your level of physical activity, and length of breastfeeding.

Which fact stood out the most to you from this article? Were you surprised about some of the numbers? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

 

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Chart adapted from Duyff, Roberta Larson. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2012. Print. Where Does Weight Gain Go, p 496. Original Source: American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, 2010.