Tag Archives: dairy

Dealing with Food Allergies and Intolerances

I recently had some people over for dinner.  I was craving nachos, so that is what I served.  As I was about to cuchocolate cake for dessert, one of them tells me that he has celiac and can’t eat gluten.  I had no idea before dinner.  Sadly, I didn’t have any dessert alternatives for him.  But I’m grateful I made nachos instead of my other idea of spaghetti and meatballs!

This is one of many encounters I have had recently with food allergies and intolerances.  I will admit, I am extremely thankful that I don’t have to deal with any of these problems in my little family.  Reading labels, buying specialty products, cooking from scratch, and teaching children, friends, and family can be a full time job in many cases.  Following these diets isn’t optional; for many, it is life or death.

Here are a few tips on following a food allergy diet:

-Try to focus on what you can eat.  If you try to change all of your regular recipes to be free of a particular allergen, you can go crazy.  For example, if you can’t cook with dairy, don’t start with a lasagna recipe, which has multiple dairy ingredients.  Instead, think of something similar without dairy, such as spaghetti.

-Similar to above, build recipes with ingredients you know you can eat.  Make lists of ingredients you have in your pantry or you know you can buy.  Then start picking ingredients from the list that go together.

-Find good resources.  There are many cookbooks and websites out there.  A good place to start online is nutritionblognetwork.com.  All of the blogs in this database are written by registered dietitians.  You can trust that they are providing accurate information.

-Try to be as liberal as possible with the diet.  I’m not saying eat foods you shouldn’t.  For any of us, it is easy to get in a rut with what we eat.  If you are limited by a food allergy, you can easily eat a very limited diet of a few foods over and over.  Try to keep things as lively and interesting as you can.  The less deprived you feel, the better off you will be.

If you or someone close to you has a food allergy or intolerance, I’d love to hear about how you cope in the comments.  Good luck to all of those dealing with food allergies out there!  Happy eating!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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BBQ Pork Macaroni and Cheese

My apologies for my 2+ week disappearance.  Between moving and internet struggles, I have been a slacker.  Now that my life has calmed down a bit, I should be more regular in posting.

Macaroni and cheese finds its way on to my menu more often than not since it is delicious, easy, quick, and sure to please everyone.  While the boxed stuff is just fine for lunch every now and then, homemade mac and cheese casserole-style makes something ordinary a little more special for dinner.

The basic recipe is great, but I do like to make things interesting with “mix-ins” occasionally.  One of my favorites for a special treat is caramelized onions and BBQ pork.  Inspired by a restaurant meal I had years ago, this dish makes an average dinner worthy of company or any special occasion.

Enjoy!

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BBQ Pork Macaroni and Cheese (Serves 6)

½ tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 box (13.25 ounce) whole wheat macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup flour
2 ½ cups skim milk
1½-2 cups grated cheese (cheddar, colby, or colby jack work well)
8 ounces cooked, shredded pork
½ cup BBQ sauce (more per personal preference)
½ cup breadcrumbs, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Melt ½ tablespoon olive oil or butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion slices; sauté for 3-5 minutes until beginning to soften and brown. Reduce heat to low. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until onions are a nice brown color, about 15-30 minutes. Place in the bottom of a well-greased 2 quart or 8×11 baking dish.

3. Mix pork with BBQ sauce until well moistened (add more if you really like BBQ). Layer on top of onions in baking dish.

4. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add macaroni and cook until just al dente – the minimum time on the box or even a minute less. Drain.

5. While macaroni cooks, melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan. When melted and beginning to bubble, add in black pepper and flour. Stir constantly, cooking for 1-2 minutes until just beginning to brown. Whisk in milk, stirring constantly. Cook until sauce thickens, stirring frequently to prevent lumps, about 5 minutes.

6. Remove sauce from heat. Stir in cheese until melted and smooth. Add in drained pasta. Stir until well combined. Layer over pork in baking dish.

7. If using, lightly toast breadcrumbs in a small skillet over medium heat, about 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle over the top of casserole.

8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until casserole is bubbling.

Nutritional Information: (Amount per Serving)

Calories: 606
Protein: 32 g
Fat: 21 g
Saturated Fat: 10 g
Cholesterol: 79 g
Carbohydrates: 75 g
Fiber: 6 g
Sodium: 561 mg

Recipe notes: Any short pasta will work. I often use rotini or penne. But there is something extra satisfying about macaroni and cheese made with actual macaroni noodles. You may need more or less BBQ sauce. It depends on how moist your meat is and how saucy you like it. I use meat leftover from making BBQ pork sandwiches, which is generally pork shoulder. Any shredded pork will work. You can save some cheese out from the sauce to sprinkle on top. I usually forget, but it is delicious that way.

Skip the steps about the onion and pork, and this is my go-to macaroni and cheese. I often add just the onions. They don’t take much effort and cook in about the same time as getting the noodles and sauce together.

I know the nutrition doesn’t look great on this. But I cut down to skim milk and scaled back the cheese a lot. Think how much worse it could be!

Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman and inspired by a restaurant meal

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Q&A: Yogurt Smoothie

Q:  So I have started drinking this yogurt smoothie… what can you say about its nutrition facts? How much can I drink in a day?

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A:  Thanks for the question.  There have been a lot of new yogurt and yogurt smoothie products in the last few years, so it could be helpful to know what makes them different.

As a general rule, adults need three servings (cups) of dairy a day.  This smoothie is seven ounces, which is close enough to a cup to count as a serving.  So, you could drink three in a day if you wanted this to be all of your dairy.

But I don’t know that you are getting the most bang for your calories with this smoothie.  Here is a table comparing the smoothie to some other dairy options.

Smoothie

(7 oz)

2% Milk (8 oz)

Yoplait Greek (5.3 oz)

Yoplait Original (6 oz)

Yoplait Light

(6 oz)

Calories

170

122

150

170

90

Fat (g)

4.5

4.8

1

1.5

0

Protein (g)

5

8

11

5

5

Sugar (g)

24

12

19

26

10

As you can see, the yogurt cups are lower in fat, but that is because they are made with 1% or skim milk, while the smoothie is made with 2% milk.  With the exception of Greek yogurt, everything has less protein than a cup of milk.  The light yogurt has less sugar only because it uses artificial sweeteners and started with less than one cup of milk.

Bottom line:  I think the smoothie is probably fine every once in a while.  Variety is the spice of life, so consume lots of different dairy products.  Drinking skim milk or eating a Greek or light yogurt might be a slightly better option, but if you don’t like those, then I think the smoothie is fine.

Thanks again for the question and happy drinking!

This post is not an endorsement for any product.  Yoplait products are used as an example only.  No compensation was received for this post (unfortunately).

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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