Thursday, December 17, 2015

My Favorite Ways to Prepare Oat Bran

My oat bran I packed for work this morning: made with oat bran, cashew milk, mixed
cooked fruit (strawberries, cranberries, apple, and banana), a spoonful of
Breakstone's 2% cottage cheese, and dash of pumpkin pie spice. 
If you are a client of mine, or have talked to a client of mine, you know that oat bran is my #1 recommended food. My previous blog on this magical food explains all the health benefits; primarily for its abilities to help lower cholesterol, aid in weight loss, keep blood sugar even, and providing satiety for several hours after eating. 

Oat bran is prepared the same way you would instant oat meal, so it’s a super quick and healthy breakfast. However, some of my clients are initially turned off the first time they make it if it is just prepared with water. That being said, I have listed below some of my favorite ways to prepare it so hopefully you will learn to love it like I do. While some combinations may sound bizarre, you just have to trust me and try it out yourself! 

You can find oat bran in the bulk bins at Whole Foods or Wegman’s (I really like Wegman’s Fine Oat Bran in bulk), or can purchase Bob’s Red Mill, Hodgson Mill, Quaker, and other brands in a normal grocery store (typically in the “natural food” aisle), and Trader Joe’s has their own version. I personally also top my oat bran with a high fiber cereal like Trader Joe’s High Fiber or All Bran twigs- adds a nice crunch and extra dose of fiber to fill you up!

I have listed the calorie breakdown of the traditional oat bran recipe, so you can have a better idea of how the tweaks in each recipe will change the nutrient composition.


Traditional Oat Bran Preparation
1/3 c dry oat bran [~130 calories]
1 c skim milk [~80 calories]
½ c berries [~35 calories]
½ tsp Cinnamon [~10 calories]
1-2 tsp pure maple syrup or honey (optional) [~20 calories per teaspoon]

Traditional Prep Nutrition Info w/o sweetener: 255 calories, 3.5 g fat, 47 g carb [18 g sugar, 10 g fiber], 15 g protein (using unsweetened almond or cashew milk instead of skim cuts calories to 225, carbs to 43 g [sugar to 11 g] and protein down to 9 g)

Peaches ‘n Cream Oat Bran
1/3 c dry oat bran
¾ c unsweetened cashew milk
½ c sliced peaches
½ tsp cinnamon
Dash of salt
2-3 tbsp plain yogurt or kefir (add after cooking)

My Favorite Pumpkin Oat Bran:
1/3 c dry oat bran
½ c canned 100% pure pumpkin
1 c light vanilla soymilk
2 dashes pumpkin pie spice
1-2 tsp pure maple syrup (optional)

My Favorite [Cottage Cheese] Pumpkin Oat Bran
1/3 c dry oat bran
¼ c canned 100% pure pumpkin
¼ medium banana
¼- 1/3 c low-fat cottage cheese
¾ c light vanilla soymilk
2 dashes pumpkin pie spice
1-2 tsp pure maple syrup (optional)

Apple Pie Oat Bran
1/3 c dry oat bran
1 c milk (almond, skim, soy)
½ c chopped apple- cooked on stove or microwave until soft
Dash of salt
Dash of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
1 tbsp no sugar added apple butter

High Protein Oat bran
1/3 c dry oat bran
1 c milk (almond, skim, soy)
½ - 1 scoop flavored protein powder (I like Garden of Life RAW)
½ c cooked mixed fruit

Even Higher Fiber Oat bran
1/3 c dry oat bran
1 c milk (almond, skim, soy)
2 tbsp wheat bran
1 tsp inulin or other powdered fiber
2 tsp ground flax seeds
½ tsp cinnamon
½ c cooked mixed berries
·         Top with High Fiber cereal

PB banana honey Oat Bran
1/3 c dry oat bran
1 c milk (almond, skim, soy)
2 tbsp PB2 or powdered peanut butter
½ medium banana
1-2 tsp honey (optional)

Nutty calorie packed oat bran
1/3 c dry oat bran
1 ¼ c milk (almond, skim, soy)
½ medium banana
½ tsp Cinnamon
1 tbsp hemp/flax/chia seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp pure maple syrup

Feel free to leave comments with your favorite way to prepare this breakfast staple!

Source for nutritional analysis: Diet Master Pro 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Powers of Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is an amazing food and something that everyone should incorporate in their diet. First, sauerkraut is made from cabbage, which I rank as one of the healthiest, and cheapest, vegetables on earth. Cabbage is an all-star when it comes to cancer fighting benefits, because of beneficial compounds called isothiocyanates. When making sauerkraut, cabbage is fermented which results in the breakdown of glucosinolates, which works to enhance the carcinogenic properties, making sauerkraut an even stronger cancer-fighting food. In fact, in a study from 1998, researchers compared the breast cancer incidence in Polish women and Polish women who had immigrated to Michigan. The immigrants were 4-5x more likely to develop cancer compared to the women who had stayed in Poland. The researchers explained the main difference was the amount of cabbage and sauerkraut the women ate; with the women in Poland eating significantly more.

In addition to the antioxidant properties of sauerkraut, like raw cabbage, sauerkraut contains lots of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Furthermore, sauerkraut is a very low calorie food, making it an excellent way to beef up your meals for very few calories. 1 cup of sauerkraut contains about 27 calories, compared to 1 cup of cooked spaghetti at 220 calories! I have clients mix sauerkraut into their salads, pasta dishes, and eggs to not only enhance the nutritional profile, but also to add bulk to their meals as to dilute the calories. Sauerkraut is also a great source of healthy probiotics, so if you aren’t a yogurt eater, this is another way to get beneficial bacteria into your diet. Just be sure not to heat sauerkraut as doing so can kill the healthy probiotics which are a product of the fermentation process. For more info on probiotics, visit my previous blog on the topic.

My recommendation:

Begin incorporating sauerkraut and other fermented foods in your diet on a regular basis. Make sure you buy sauerkraut in the refrigerator section (by the pork and other meats) in bags which say “barrel aged” or in the can – but look at the ingredients to make sure cabbage, water, and salt are the only ingredients going into canned sauerkraut. If there is any vinegar or acid added most likely the product is not actually fermented and won’t contain the healthy components discussed above. I always recommend rinsing the sauerkraut to rid it of excess sodium. Also, try making your own! It’s not that difficult and can be a fun science experiment.  You can easily find recipes on the internet to make counter top fermented sauerkraut. Kimchi, a Korean fermented cabbage product, is very healthy too, though tends to be higher in sodium and very spicy, so not great for those with reflux or ulcers. So I urge you to try to incorporate more sauerkraut, and cabbage, into your diet- just don’t pair it with things like sausage, hot dogs, brats, and other harmful processed meats :/.


1. Eeva-Liisa Ryhanen, Ph.D., research manager, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Jokioinen, Finland; Yeong Ju, Ph.D., researcher, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Leonard Bjeldanes, Ph.D., professor, food toxicology, University of California, Berkeley; Oct. 23, 2002, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Kelly's Whole Grain Beer Bread

Most of my clients and my readers know that I am large proponent of whole grains- there are countless studies showing people who eat whole grains tend to be much healthier than those that don't. These people tend to live longer, have reduced rates of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, etc. Much of those findings can be attributed to the high fiber content, antioxidants, and nutrient quality of most whole grains. However, I am not advocating that people eat processed grains- as with everything food related, the closer to nature it is, the better it is. That is why I have my clients eating oat bran for breakfast and trying to cook bulgur, barley, quinoa, farro, freekeh, buckwheat, etc as their grains for lunch and dinner.

However, I realize sometimes it is unrealistic to expect a busy or traveling person to have cooked grains on hand at all times. I, personally, do enjoy a hearty piece of whole grain bread from time to time. However, with my affinity for baking, I realize it's silly to buy bread from the supermarket. Not only is this a pricey way to feed yourself, but it is not the healthiest with all the sugar, stabilizers, preservatives, etc that most manufacturers add to the product.

When I have time, I love to make a good homemade yeast bread or pitas. However, those are time intensive, and most of us don't have that kind of time every week to dedicate to preparing our family's bread basket. Enter the super simple, super delicious, and super quick BEER BREAD! Believe it or not, you can make beer bread healthy. I've adapted a recipe (which I modify slightly every time I make it depending on the ingredients I have on hand and the types of beer). While you may think using a light beer will really reduce the calories of the bread, I recommend going with something more flavorful- since the beer is diluted through the bread, a 120 calorie beer versus 200 calorie beer isn't going to make that big of a difference in 1/12 of a loaf. Below is my recipe (average) of what I generally put in my beer bread. This is a big crowd pleaser since I make it slightly sweet, and it has a very crusty crust and soft center that make it oh so delicious. But as with every carb, make sure you MOVE after you eat it- DO NOT SIT for a while after eating. ;)

Kelly's Whole Grain Beer Bread


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I get in the bulk bins at Whole Foods)
  • 1 1/2 cups even mix of old fashioned oats, wheat flakes, wheat bran, and oat bran
  • 1 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4- 1/3 c pure maple syrup, honey, or agave
  • 1 - 12 oz bottle of a good beer (I recommend 5-7% ABV)


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray loaf pan with light oil coating
3. Mix all dry ingredients, then add in beer and sweetener. 
4. Mix until just combined- do not overmix.
5. Pour into loaf pan.
6. Bake about 45-50 minutes until crust is browned and a knife inserted comes out clean.
7. Enjoy!