Chestnuts Roasting in Your Oven

roasted chestnuts

Chestnuts

The tradition of roasting chestnuts dates back to sixteenth century Rome where street vendors sold them, much like we see here in Toronto.

Nutritional Content of Chestnuts

 

Chestnuts crumble in the mouth to give a sweet flavour, they are low in fat and are in fact a seed, not a nut. They are a good source of dietary fibre, and minerals like manganese, potassium, copper, phosphorous, magnesium and iron. They are also a vitamin powerhouse with Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Thiamine, Folate, Riboflavin, Niacin and Pantothenic Acid. Zinc and calcium are also present in small amounts.  They contain lower amounts of fat and protein than most nuts and seeds and relatively higher amounts of carbohydrate and sugar.

How to Choose Good Chestnuts

These “nuts” are freshest between October to December.  Look for fresh ones that are hard, shiny, heavy for their size and do not rattle when you shake them. Because of their starch and sugar content they, they can harbour mold, discard any with visible mold.  They are highly perishable, so refrigerate them for up to one week or freeze for up to one month.

Roasting Chestnuts

You can roast them yourself by nicking the skins so that they don’t explode as they heat up. You should cut an X in the skin with a very sharp knife. Cut right through the skin, they have very tough skin so a little pressure is needed. Watch your fingers!

Heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, spread chestnuts out on a roasting pan and pop them into the oven for approx 15-20 mins.

Take them out of the oven and let them cool a bit before eating. If you place a towel over them while they cool, the trapped steam will help loosen the skin. When you are ready to eat them, peel them by squeezing them to loosen the skin.

Here’s a link to some chestnut recipes: http://www.epicurious.com/ingredient/chestnut

Looking for more healthy food ideas or nutrition advice?  Talk to one of our licensed naturopathic doctors.  

Comfort Food

 comfort food baked apples low carb dessert

Reaching for Comfort Food? How not to Gain Weight over the Holidays

As the weather is getting colder everyone starts reaching for the comfort food. Unfortunately most of us don’t reach for “skinny” comfort food. Usually we reach for the starchy, sweet and creamy and in doing so we gain some extra weight. A little extra weight over the winter is a perfectly natural thing, provides a little more insulation against the elements. But if you had enough padding already and don’t need to add some, then it’s time to rethink comfort foods or at least do some behavior modification:

  • Have just one bite – Remember how awesome the taste is of that first delicious bite of pumpkin pie? Do the rest of the bites have the same impact?  Probably not.  The biggest kick is in that first bite.  So savor the first bite (or two or three), but once you’ve lost that initial oomph, put the rest aside.
  • Move more – You can buy yourself some wiggle room by adding some extra exercise to your day.  Know you’re going out for a big meal?  Throw in an extra bout of cardio or weights to burn off some extra ahead of time.  It may also put you in a more healthy mindset that you don’t really want to undo by binging on junk.
  • Pick your Poison – Love, love, love pumpkin pie but only so-so about the whip cream?  Have it plain then.  Not a fan of stuffing but love yams?  Take one and not the other.   Be selective and be moderate.
  • Healthy alternatives – No one wants to feel deprived, especially over the holidays. Here are some healthier swaps for some of your favourites:

Healthier comfort food recipes:
Replace high fat cream soups with our Cream of Squash Soup
Replace regular pumpkin pie with our Crustless Pumpkin Pie
Replace apple pie with a Baked Apple
Replace milkshakes with Fresh Fruit Smoothies