As we learned last week, figs can be a great source of nutrition, but in processed cookies, granola and energy bars they are commonly smothered in refined flour and sugar decreasing the health benefits of figs. This recipe is a healthier alternative by paring figs with high fiber oats, and honey decreasing the sugar and increasing healthy nutrients. This recipe makes about 16 squares.
Nutrition profile: Low calorie, low cholesterol, low saturated fat, low sodium, high fiber, heart healthy, and appropriate for maintaining healthy weight.
24 dried Mission figs
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup nonfat milk
1 ½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
½ cup rolled oats
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 305 degrees F. Place dried figs in a small sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and allow figs to soften for 5-7 minutes.
2. Lightly coat an 8×8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix oil, honey, and milk. In a medium bowl, combine flour, rolled oats, baking soda, and salt. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.
3. Remove softened figs from water and place into a food processor or blender. Add 3 tablespoons of the re-hydrating water. Puree until smooth.
4. Place a little more than half of the oat mixture in the prepared pan; spread evenly across pan bottom. Spread figs evenly on top. Add remaining oat mixture atop of fig layer allowing some of the fig to show. Plat lightly until flattened.
5. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cooling completely. When cooled cut into 16 squares.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving (2×2-inch square): 170 Calories, 4g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3g protein, 33g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 80mg sodium.
Undoubtedly we all know that if you consume more calories than your burn, you will gain weight and if the opposite happens you will lose weight. But do you know where your calories are coming from and what the best way to burn them is? Test your calorie I.Q. and see how well you do with the following quiz, based on the information from Carole A. Conn, PhD, RD, instructor of nutrition science at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; and Len Kravitz, PhD, researcher and coordinator of exercise science at UNMA.
1. True or False: The primary source of calories are carbohydrates.
Answer: True. All foods come either from plants or from animals that have eaten plants. Plants create carbohydrates, which is the primary food molecules that contain energy known as calories. From carbohydrates plants can create other molecules (including fats and proteins) that also contain energy. Like plants, humans can use carbohydrates to make fats and proteins. However, the primary source of all calories remains carbohydrates themselves, which plants alone can create.
2. True or False: Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats provide the same amount of calories per gram.
Answer: False. Different foods will have various calorie levels, because their regular servings contain different amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. These nutrients provide different amounts of energy per gram. Fats supply the most energy at 9 calories per gram. Carbohydrates and proteins both provide 4 calories per gram.
3. True or False: Strength training is critical for calorie burning.
Answer: True. Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the calories you need to maintain all of your body’s vital processes and systems at rest and uses the largest component of calories you intake. Increasing your RMR helps enhance calorie burning. There are various factors that can influence your RMR but the amount of muscle tissue (which is the tissue that burns the most amounts of calories in the body) is particularly important. As you may know, strength training builds muscle and the more muscle you have the higher our RMR. The higher your RMR, the more calories you will burn.
4. True or False: Dietary supplements can enhance calorie burning.
Answer: False. There are many supplements on the market that claim to enhance calorie burning and trigger weight loss without changes in diet or activity level. Ephedra or ephedrine are usually the major components found in the supplements, however these supplements cannot be recommended for maintaining a healthy body weight. The reason is because they have not been proven effective in humans or because the risk of heart or nervous system problems associated with these supplements outweigh the benefits. The only FDA approved weight loss supplement on the market is Alli but this too should be used only after consulting your physician first.
5. True or False: Endurance training is important for calorie burning.
Answer: (All together now…) True. Endurance (aka cardiovascular) exercise contributes to several changes in the body that enhance calorie burning. Using large muscles of the body in a continuous, rhythmic fashion that is easy to maintain at various workout intensities, and satisfy your personal interests are all necessary for endurance exercise to be most effective. Alternating the mode of endurance training should be incorporated to avoid overuse injuries. Also interval training can be incorporated into your endurance workout to add an element of interest, challenge, and to super charge your workout.
Until next week…