Holiday Recipe Remix: Sweet Potato Pecan Tart

Welcome to another webisode of Holiday Recipe Remix! In case you’re tuning in for the first time, here’s the story so far: a few weeks ago we asked you to submit your favorite unhealthy holiday recipes so Elle, the MyFitnessPal Registered Dietitian, could remix them into more nutritious versions of their former selves.

Earlier this week we shared Elle’s remixed recipe for a delicious, Spicy, Not Sinful Pumpkin Spice Latte. This time around Elle is making over a recipe for an  Utterly Deadly Pecan Pie from MyFitnessPal user RaeLynn. Sounds scary good, doesn’t it?

Bourbon-laced pecan pie topped with whipped cream is undoubtedly a holiday staple; we certainly love it here at the MyFitnessPal office (we log and track, promise). It’s probably not much of a surprise that pecan pie is usually loaded with corn syrup, which translates to lots of added sugar and empty calories. RaeLynn’s recipe called for 1.5 cups of corn syrup alone. Forget we said good – that just sounds scary.

Elle got her hands on the recipe and swapped out the corn syrup for vitamin-packed sweet potato, brown sugar and a little maple syrup. She also ditched the frozen pie crust and made her own pecan tart crust. One thing Elle did keep? The bourbon, of course!

recipe remix sweet potato pecan tart

The end result? A lighter, more flavorful pecan dessert that, per slice, has:

  • 200 fewer calories
  • 10% less saturated fat
  • Over 30 fewer grams of sugar
  • Approximately 150% of your daily Vitamin A
  • About 10% of your daily iron

Here, Elle explains how she remixed the recipe:

So break out of your shell this season with this Sweet Potato Pecan Tart–just be sure to log your slices in MyFitnessPal! Just search Holiday Recipe Remix in the food database. There you’ll find the full nutrition info and be able add a slice to your food diary!

mfp_pecan_remix_label

If you don’t yet have MyFitnessPal account, you can sign up on the web, or through downloading the free app for your iPhone, iPadAndroid or Windows mobile devices.

recipe remix sweet potato pecan tart 14

For submitting her favorite delicious-but-deadly recipe, RaeLynn won herself a MyFitnessPal apron, a Withings Smart Body Analyzer scale, and two cookbooks full of healthy, delicious recipes from Cooking Light! ReaLynn is committed to improving her health and is looking for fitness pals, so feel free to add her as a friend on MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal users that have 10 or more friends lose 4 times as much weight compared to those who aren’t connected to friends!

Photos by Elle Penner | MyFitnessPal

7 Ways to Better Manage Diabetes with MyFitnessPal

mfp_blog_7ways_diabetes

Managing diabetes can be complicated and maybe even overwhelming for some. In our last diabetes-related post we mentioned 25 important facts about the disease. This time let’s talk about seven ways that you can better manage diabetes using MyFitnessPal.

1. Set your macronutrient goals. One great feature of MyFitnessPal is being able to customize your individual nutrient goals. The American Diabetes Association recommends diabetics get around 45% of their calories from carbohydrate, which is slightly less than the MyFitnessPal guided goals that are automatically calculated when you sign up. Once you check in with a medical professional and determine what percentage of calories from carbohydrates you should be eating, check out this post to learn how to set your personal macronutrient goals. You can then use our Reports feature to see just how your daily intake aligns with your adjusted goals.

2. Track carbs at each meal. Those with diabetes are encouraged to take in a consistent amount of carbs at each meal throughout the day to avoid spikes and falls in blood sugar. An easy way to track carbohydrate intake throughout the day is by looking at the distribution of carbs from foods logged at each meal. If you’re trying to control your blood sugar, aim for 3 balanced meals and 2 small snacks that fall within the following carbohydrate ranges:

  • Women: 30-45 grams carbs per meal (3 times per day)
  • Men: 45-60 grams of carbohydrate at each meal
  • Snacks: 15-30 grams carbs

Now that you know roughly how many carbs you should be eating at each meal and snack, you need to start tracking them! If you’re under at a particular meal, eat something small that can bump you up to your goal. If you’re over, look at the distribution of carbs in the foods you just ate and eat less of the high carbohydrate foods next time.

3. Track blood sugar. Another great feature within MyFitnessPal is the ability to track just about anything you want, including your daily blood sugar levels. Check out this blog post to learn how to do this. The app will even generate a graph of your blood sugar over time, which can be useful for you and your doctor or dietitian to look at if maintaing fairly consistent blood sugar is a challenge.

4. Track water intake. Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water actually helps dilute the blood, which lowers blood glucose. Along with carbs and blood sugar, you can track the amount of water you drink each day directly within the app or on the web. To do this, simply hit Add to Diary and then select Water to log the amount.

5. Get moving and log physical activity.  Exercising helps move glucose into the cells to be used for energy, and any exercise helps lower blood glucose for 24-48 hours afterward. MyFitnessPal makes tracking exercise easy. Use it by itself or connect one of our partner’s physical activity trackers to have your exercises synced directly into the app. Again, by looking at those reports, individuals who increase physical activity – even by only a few minutes per day – can still see the benefits it has to their blood glucose and overall health.

6. Note the timing of your meals. With diabetes, timing of meals is very important. After the first meal of the day, we want individuals to eat at least every 4-5 hours. It’s important not to go longer than 10 hours without eating from the last meal or snack of the day to the first meal the next morning. This can actually help lower fasting blood glucose by preventing the liver from releasing extra blood sugar.  Make sure to write the timing of meals in the “today’s food notes” section.

7. Look at the log and make adjustments. If blood sugar is consistently high or carbohydrate intake is either too low or too great, look back into your log. If you log diligently, a Registered Dietitian can even help you pinpoint problem foods and find patterns in your eating behaviors that can be addressed to help you better meet your goals.

As always, double check food packages when possible to ensure the nutrition information you’re logging is accurate, and check in with your doctor or Registered Dietitian before making changes to your diet.

I just want to thank my colleague Lori Zanini, a fellow Registered Dietitian who is also a Certified Diabetes Educator for providing a couple of the tips! If you found this post helpful, feel free to share it with friends and/or family members who may benefit from reading it too.

Do you have any experience with managing diabetes? Tell us about it in the comments section below or on Facebook.

Pumpkin Pie Power Bites

Hello, friends!

I recently met up with Lunden, the Runtastic Fitness Coach, to whip up these yummy Pumpkin Pie Power Bites for you!

Runtastic is one of our partner apps and is made for anyone who likes running, hiking, walking, cycling or just being active in general. The app, which is available through our gallery, uses your phone’s GPS tracking to automatically record time, distance, calories burned, speed, and elevation in your daily exercise adventures. They also have a new 6 Pack Abs Workout app for those who want a stronger core too. Best of all, your workouts seamlessly update your MyFitnessPal account.

Pumpkin pie power bites mfp3

Pumpkin pie power bites mfp2

Elle Penner | MyFitnessPal

At 95 calories each, these little Pumpkin Pie Power Bites contain protein, fiber and real pumpkin, which makes them a great on-the-go breakfast or mid-afternoon treat. For those of you traveling over the holidays, they also make a great snack  for road trips and also fit nicely in those carry-ons. These power bites will keep for a week in the fridge, or up to three months in the freezer, so make a double batch and have a backup stash in the freezer!

Watch Lunden and I whip these up and you’ll see just how easy and delicious they are!

The full nutrition info can be found in our food database. Just search MyFitnessPal Pumpkin Pie Power Bites to easily log them in your food diary. For those of you who give this recipe a try, let me know how you like them in the comments below!

Holiday Recipe Remix: Spicy, Not Sinful Pumpkin Spice Latte

Welcome to the inaugural blog post of Holiday Recipe Remix! A few weeks ago, we asked you to submit your favorite unhealthy holiday recipes so Elle, the MyFitnessPal Registered Dietitian, could ‘remix’ them into more nutritious versions of their former selves.

The first recipe Elle tacked was the ubiquitous coffee shop Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Pumpkin spice lattes are everywhere this time of year. It’s hard not to walk into a coffee shop that doesn’t make their own version of this popular holiday drink. What you may not know though is that those coffee shops usually lace them with loads of artificially flavored pumpkin syrup, whole milk and whipped cream. Some baristas even drizzle caramel syrup on top – as if they’re not sweet enough with 4 pumps of simple syrup.

Elle got her hands on the recipe for a popular coffee shop Pumpkin Spice Latte and remixed it into this delicious Spicy, Not Sinful, Pumpkin Spice Latte.

mfp spicy not sinful pumpkin spice latte1

The key ingredient in Elle’s latte is her homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup, which contains only real ingredients–100% pumpkin puree, brown sugar, water, and a few spices. Elle swapped out the whole milk for 1% low-fat milk, which seriously cut the fat without losing any of the amazing flavor.

mfp spicy not sinful pumpkin spice latte3

The end result? An all-natural, spicy-but-not-sinful pumpkin spice latte. Compared to that popular coffee shop’s latte, this healthier morning mug has:

  • 182 fewer calories
  • 13 fewer grams of fat
  • 15 fewer grams of sugar
  • 34% of your daily Vitamin A – because it contains real pumpkin!

Here, Elle explains how she remixed the recipe and shows you how you can make this drink at home, without a fancy espresso machine. Watch the video below:

You can also watch it on our YouTube channel.

If you’re a pumpkin spice anything fan, we highly recommend you make this Spicy, Not Sinful, Pumpkin Spice Latte. Just be sure to log it in MyFitnessPal! To find this lightened up drink, search MyFitnessPal Holiday Recipe Remix in the food database. There you’ll find the full nutrition info and be able add it to your food diary.

mfp spicy not sinful pumpkin spice latte nutrition_edited-1

If you don’t yet have MyFitnessPal account, you can sign up on the web, or through downloading the free app for your iPhoneiPadAndroid or Windows mobile devices.

Recipes for both the Pumpkin Spice Syrup and lightened-up latte are below!

Check back next week for another Recipe Remix, and if you make this recipe let us know how you like it in the comments below, or over on Facebook

Healthfully,

The MyFtnessPal Team

Photos by Elle Penner | MyFitnessPal

5 Make-Ahead Travel-Friendly Snacks

honey toasted almonds & chocolate chip peanut butter bars

John Autry | Cooking Light

In a moment of desperation, I once paid four dollars for a Greek yogurt at an airport shop–about the same price as a double cheeseburger and fries from the food court. It tasted great and the protein kept me satisfied but I will admit, that yogurt was a little hard to swallow.

When hunger strikes while you’re on the go, there never seems to be a shortage of fast food, candy bars, sodas and cinnamon rolls. And when they’re the same price as one Greek yogurt or a small bag of nuts, those yummy, high fat, high calorie foods seem to get exponentially more tempting, don’t they?

Because of that one yogurt, I now rarely enter an airport without a stash of 2-3 healthy snacks in my handbag. With the holidays right around the corner and travel arrangements being made, I wanted to share a few delicious, homemade travel-friendly snack ideas. They’re all quick, most contain ingredients you likely already have at home and they’re already in the MyFitnessPal food database, ready to be logged.

One thing I really enjoy when I travel are nuts. They pack lots of  fiber, protein and healthy unsaturated fats, and they take up hardly any space in my already overstuffed bag. An ounce or two of these Honey Glazed Almonds would be perfect for your next trip.

NEW2010 Cooking Light LOGO

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups raw, unblanched almonds
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions 

1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place the almonds in a medium nonstick skillet; cook over medium heat for 6 minutes or until lightly toasted, shaking pan frequently. Combine the remaining ingredients in a 2-cup glass measure. Microwave at HIGH for 30 seconds. Add honey mixture to pan, and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Arrange almond mixture on prepared baking sheet in a single layer; let stand 10 minutes. Break apart any clusters.

Speaking of perfect, how about a healthy snack with chocolate? These Chewy Oat Squares (also shown above) are made with oats, dates and chocolate chips, which will satisfy both your tummy and your sweet tooth.

A few other quick & easy, travel-friendly bites to try:

No time for these homemade bites? Rather than spend money on unhealthy, high-fat, salty or sugary snacks, stop by a grocery store or simply pack up some of these items that may already be in your fridge before you go. I personally like the challenge of using up leftovers or raiding my pantry for healthy snack items before heading out of town. Any of these make great travel-friendly snacks as well:

  • Bite-size veggies like baby carrots, broccoli florets, bell pepper slices
  • High-fiber cereal in single-serving baggies
  • Cheese, such as string cheese or cut up some 1-ounce bites
  • Dried fruit
  • Fresh fruit
  • Granola bars
  • Instant oatmeal packets – simply ask for hot water once you’re in flight
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Trail mix – just choose ones with less chocolate than nuts

Eating healthfully on the go can be challenging, and expensive–but it doesn’t have to be. Just remember, the Transportation Security Administration has rules for carry-on foods and beverages that are liquids or liquid-like–so leave your yogurt at home.

To find the full nutrition info and log these foods in MyFitnessPal, simply search Cooking Light  and the recipe name in our food databaseLogging on the go can’t get much easier than that!

For more healthy travel eats, check out these links from our friends at Cooking Light: