3 of My Favorite Fall Foods

Do you find it challenging to eat healthy this time of year?

As the weather turns cool I seem to crave heavier foods and more carbs like fresh baked warm cookies! But if you are like me you can’t make those too often and still fit into your favorite jeans. So I thought I would share 3 of my favorite fall foods that are a little more waistline friendly.

All 3 of these foods are great for helping lower cholesterol, slow blood sugar rise and control hunger! iStock_000012570640Medium

#1 Apples: There is a lot of truth to the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apparently there are several ways that the phytonutrients in apples help control blood sugar.

My favorite apple is SweeTango. Just like the name it’s a crunchy, juicy apple with a sweetness and tang all in the same mouthful. Take advantage of apple season and take a trip to an orchard where you can sample and find your favorite.

#2 Bean Soups. Chili is one of my favorites. I almost always make it in the crock pot and here’s a little tip . . . when you are browning ground beef make and extra pound, throw in freezer and when you want to make chili you just have to pull it out and dump everything in the crockpot.

Chili is packed full of body healing nutrients for your immune system, diabetes, digestion and cancer prevention.. Plus, if you are low in iron, the beef, cumin, and beans are all great sources of iron. The cumin is also a good source of manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin B1. Did you know that magnesium is a natural blood pressure medicine that helps relax blood vessels?

Here’s my favorite Chili Recipe  (with helpful hints)

1 lb lean ground beef browned  (keep a pound or two in freezer for meals like this)

1 cup chopped onion (I usually add the onion and garlic at the end of browning the meat or saute them for a short time in a little olive oil before adding to the chili – but it’s not absolutely necessary)

1 clove garlic minced (or 1/8 tsp garlic powder if you don’t have garlic cloves on hand)

28 oz canned tomatoes (chopped or pureed, or better yet home canned stewed tomatoes)

2 cans kidney beans (or whatever beans you like- I have used black beans and pinto beans also)

1 15-oz can tomato sauce

1 Tbsp chili powder (can use more or less depending on your taste preference)

1 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper to taste (I use a small amount of sea salt but you may prefer not to add salt)

Put all ingredients in the crockpot, stir and let it cook according to your crockpot instructions, usually 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

#3 Oatmeal: If you like oatmeal there is nothing better on a cold morning than a warm bowl of oatmeal with a little brown sugar and plenty of cinnamon. That’s my favorite but maybe not yours. You can add honey or fruit or any other natural sweetener but my point is to find the combination YOU like. Try to avoid the instant and find your own combination of flavors. For some great ideas check this blog post at FoodHappy.

Hope you enjoyed these tips and please share your favorite fall foods in the comments!

“True health-care reform starts in your kitchen, not in Washington” -Anonymous

Try the Healthy Fat & Fiber of Flax Seed to Lower Cholesterol

Diabetes or no diabetes, many people struggle with high cholesterol. If you are looking for ways to naturally lower cholesterol so you can avoid medication, this grain that has been grown for thousands of years could help. Why should you try flax seed? 

  • Nice balance of healthy omega fat and also fiber
  • Low cost. A box of ground flax can be purchased for $2 to $3
  • Nice, mild nutty flavor
  • Easy to use. Just add to cereal, casseroles, salad, yogurt, muffins, or anything you like!
  • Also helps digestion, controlling constipation, and is gluten free.

Add ground flax to your oatmeal and you've got double the power for lowering cholesterol. Today I found a recipe for Flax Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and gave them a try. They were quite tasty and turned out very much like the standard cookies as far as texture. I like the fact that they have flax seed, oatmeal and walnuts in them  -  three healthy ingredients that I love. You still need to be careful of how many you eat. I have a hard time with portion control when it comes to homemade chocolate chip cookies.

A couple more tips for flax:

  • If you take flax oil, remember that you will not get the fiber benefit.
  • Be sure to refrigerate your ground flax seed to keep it fresh. Use it up in 2-3 months.
  • For cholesterol benefit, use it daily about the same time like medicine so you don't forget. 
  • Usually found in the baking isle or health section of your supermarket.

I would love to hear your ideas on recipes using flax seed. Please share in the comments.

Chili is a recipe loaded with diabetes fighting ingredients!

Chili is one of my favorite cold weather foods. Besides tasting great and warming you up on a cold day, almost every ingredient in chili has health benefits. Here is my family's favorite recipe. It's easy and good for you too!

  • 1 lb lean ground beef, browned and drained
  • 2 cans kidney beans rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans tomatoes
  • 1 medium to large onion chopped
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt to taste

My favorite way to cook chili is in the crock pot and often I do soups overnight because I cook the ground beef, onions and garlic and then throw everything in the crock pot while I am cooking another dinner. That way I cook two meals at once. When I get up in the morning I turn it off, let it cool and before I go out the door put it in the fridge. All that's left is to heat it up for supper in the evening!

The health benefits of chili for diabetes are numerous. Kidney beans are one of the best food sources of fiber providing almost half our daily requirement. Even though the beans are carbohydrate the fiber slows down the blood sugar rise after the meal. Kidney beans also have 57% of our daily need for folate, which lowers homocysteine levels and 20% of our need for magnesium, a natural blood pressure medicine.

Chili powder, ground from red chili peppers, contains capsaicin, which fights inflammation, reduces insulin needs and helps lower blood sugars.

If you go easy on the salt and choose lean ground beef, every other ingredient in chili will help you fight diabetes in one way or another.  If you are watching your weight, 1 small to medium bowl of chili will provide about 500 calories. My problem is that I love bread with my chili, which puts me well over my weight control portion.

The great thing about making chili and other soups is that you can add and subtract ingredients to your liking and create your own favorite recipe. If you have a favorite chili recipe please share!