Sunday, November 7, 2010

Breakfast with Cheryl Forberg, RD

I had a fantastic opportunity last week.  I attended a breakfast event featuring Cheryl Forberg, RD.  Cheryl is a chef and a Registered Dietitian and is the nutritionist for NBC's The Biggest Loser. The event benefited  Days of Taste.  Days of Taste is a program that teaches 4th and 5th graders where their food comes from so it is a very worthy cause.  This event was a short distance from my home so there was no way I was going to pass it up.

Cheryl was very nice and it was great to be able to ask her questions and get a lot a valuable information.  I also had a chance to thank her for the Hershey Moderation Nation promotion that enabled me to have a free consultation with a registered dietitian.  Stasha helped me so much.  Cheryl is one of a group of RD's who use successfully use social media.  It's great to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.  I learn so much on a daily basis.

Since I'm not a dietitian, I took notes because I knew there was no way I would remember everything. Some points re-emphasized things I knew and some were things I didn't know. I am putting my notes in the weekly newsletter that I write for our weight-loss challenge at the office. I am considering just blogging about one tip per day until I go through my list.

We also had a chance to ask "behind the scenes" questions about The Biggest Loser.  I feel that there is just not enough shown about the nutrition of the contestants.  They don't seem to show the nutrition portion unless a celebrity chef shows up or they're plugging a sponsor.  This is very important.  We can all move more, but unless we have the proper nutrition and know how many calories we need it just doesn't work.  I know this from my own experience!  We have to have the full picture.  (OK, I'm off my soapbox now.)

Now for the food.  Chef Whitey Hershorn at Sysco foods (our location for the event) prepared the food. He prepared egg whites with brown rice and caramelized onions and Cheryl's recipe Sweet Pumpkin Polenta. (Cheryl demonstrated the preparation of the polenta dish.)  The food was awesome! We also had yogurt and berries (which is a great side for the polenta), turkey bacon, english muffins, peanut butter, granola......I probably forgot something, but you get the idea.

Here's the recipe for the polenta.  I made it this weekend. It didn't taste exactly like Chef Whitey's but it was good.  Really, it would have been better but I didn't have the full amount of agave and I was didn't want to wait until I could go to the store for more.  Also note that a can of pumpkin is not quite 2 cups. This dish works for breakfast or a desert.

Sweet Pumpkin Polenta 

from Positively Ageless: A 28-Day Plan for a Younger, Slimmer, Sexier You 
Cheryl Forberg, RD

The smell of sweet spices will fill the air while this creamy dessert is baking. It’s divine straight from the oven but tastes heavenly the next day when it’s cold—if there’s any left the next day.
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
  • 1 large omega-3 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup stone-ground cornmeal or polenta
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup low-fat, or fat-free milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • toasted pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 2-quart soufflé dish or casserole with olive oil cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, egg, agave, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and vanilla extract. Stir well to combine. Set aside.
In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the cornmeal, water, milk, and salt; mix well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring, 10 minutes or longer until thick and smooth. Remove from the heat. Carefully pour in the reserved pumpkin mixture and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 50 minutes, stirring well once, halfway through.
The mixture will be thick and bubbly. Serve warm, sprinkled with toasted pecans, if desired.

PUMPKIN FACTOID: Pumpkin’s high concentration of antioxidants and beta-carotene make it a favorite antiaging ingredient for skin-care products.

127 calories, 3 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 2 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 5 g monounsaturated fat, 30 mg omega-3s, 2 g fiber, 17 g sugar, 254 mg sodium

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