PREGNANT WITH PURPOSE

February 16, 2011Read: Luke 1

"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb." --Luke 1:41

Though he couldn't yet see, he was already focused. And though he couldn't yet walk, he jumped. You see, Jesus was in the room, and John knew it. So, let's face it: Elizabeth was pregnant with purpose.

It's true...Jesus in a room makes all the difference. When it comes to our jobs, school and even our health, when our purpose walks in, we know it. Sure, someday we'll all bow, but until then, let's jump.

--J.P.

NUTRITION: STIR-FRY BASICS "Wok" this way for healthy, easy-to-prepare meals

Stir-fry is a quick and easy weeknight dinner. They make a well-balanced meal with a bit of protein, tons of veggies and healthy carbs from rice. We’ll run you through the basic steps to get you started, then share a few ideas to liven things up.

A basic stir-fry is made from a protein and veggies. The slicing and dicing takes a little time; you can do it either the night before or in the morning work to save some time in the evening. In a pinch, look for pre-sliced veggies in your grocery store’s produce section.

Once the ingredients are prepped, here are your basic steps:

Heat oil: Heat up your wok with a touch of oil. Use a flavorless oil with a high smoke point, like canola or grapeseed. This is what makes or breaks the calories of your stir-fry.  Remember, every tablespoon of any oil contains 120 calories, so use it sparingly!

Add protein: Raw foods like beef, pork, fish, shrimp, tofu and chicken should be cooked first. Don’t forget to brown all sides of the food to create flavor.

Add veggies: Add veggies and cook them until just tender — overcooking will destroy important vitamins, not to mention flavor. Whatever mixture you choose, cut veggies in so they’ll all finish cooking at the same time. For instance, carrots take longer to cook than snow peas, so they should be cut smaller.

Add  flavor: A touch of soy sauce or spices to finish it off.

Serve over carbs: Cook up some healthy carbs like brown rice or rice noodles to serve your stir-fry with.

The Protein If you’re used to using chicken, shake it up by using beef or pork. Or try shrimp, which is ridiculously low in calories. If you’re looking for a Meatless Monday dish, try a using extra-firm tofu.  It contains the same amount of protein as chicken or beef, but without the cholesterol.

The Veggies Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, snap peas, bell peppers, water chestnuts, baby corn or peas…the possibilities are endless! Use as many or as few veggies as you want. If you’re cooking for kids, you may want to choose only a few veggies (younger kids especially like simpler dishes). Remember, the more colors you have, the more vitamins and minerals you’re taking in.

Flavor Some simple flavor enhancers include garlic, ginger, chili sauce, chicken stock, rice vinegar, dry sherry, scallions and hoisin sauce. Dana’s stir-fry secret is to use a tablespoon of natural peanut butter and let it melt in with soy sauce – delicious!

The Carb Choose brown rice for some extra whole grain goodness. Remember to read the cooking instructions as it takes a bit longer to cook up than white rice. For a change of pace, try serving over whole grain pasta or rice noodles. Keep portions to no more than 1 cup per person of whichever cooked carb you choose.

--Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC

PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.
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