Elite Recipe: Salad or Pizza? It’s Pizz’alad!

Pizz’alad Recipe

Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 27 mins

Yield: 1 pizza
Serves: 4


Pizzalad Salad Pizza

About This Recipe:
This is a great option if you are getting sick of plain old salad and need to liven it up a bit. I tasted this in a restaurant in Italy that suggested putting salad and pizza together. Today, eaters enjoy this combination to increase the taste of salad greens and still get the pizza they love. Great for a light summer meal. -Rita Larsen, RD; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition Counselor

Salad Pizza Crust Preparation

Crust:

  • 1 (10 ounce) packages prepared pizza crust
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves

Salad Pizza Toppings

Topping:

  • 5 cups romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pitted ripe olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fat-free Italian salad dressing
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese, divided

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out dough into desired shape.
  2. Press garlic over dough and spread.
  3. Sprinkle with oregano and basil.
  4. Place on bottom rack of oven for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. While crust is cooking, place lettuce, onion, tomato, olives, and dressing into a large bowl and toss to coat.
  6. When you remove the crust from the oven, immediately sprinkle with mozzarella and 1/2 of the parmesan cheeses.
  7. While still warm top with salad mixture.
  8. Use remaining cheese to top salad.
  9. Serve immediately.

Pizzalad Nutrition Facts

For more recipes like the one above, follow our nutrition blog posts or get started in a nutrition program with Rita. You can even stop in during one of her open office-style “Ask the Dietitian” programs offered regularly throughout the week at multiple Elite Sports Clubs locations, free to members!

Youth Nutrition for Tennis

There are two main parts to the optimal sports performance puzzle.

1. Proper nutrition.

2. Proper exercise and training.

That’s why no discussion of athlete training and development is complete without considering proper nutrition – the fuel for the roaring motor that is your child. Being the cute chunk of moldable clay that they are, laying down foundational nutrition habits now will help propel them to tennis legendry in the future (also when they get to college and a normal “meal” consists of Ramen Noodles, soda, and beef jerky).

A young athlete requires a bit more than just the basics of a healthy meal and sports nutrition, like exercise. They also require an individualized approach that takes a young athlete’s age, developmental stage, calorie expenditure, body composition, and the effect of exercise on the body into consideration. Think of it as a complex, interlinked Jenga stack – one missing piece can send the whole thing crashing down.

To keep your young one’s “Jenga stack” of nutritional health from crashing to the ground, it’s best to work with a professional.

BUT, in the meantime, here are a few nutritional morsels for you to “chew” on (please don’t actually chew on your computer screen….)

A Few Basic Youth Tennis Nutrition Tips

Rafael_Nadal_Tennis_Food_Mmm

 

  • Eat every 2-3 hours
  • Eat lean complete protein with each meal ­­– fish, eggs, low-fat dairy
  • Eat vegetables with each meal – spinach, carrots, tomatoes
  • Eat fruits with each meal – apples, oranges, berries
  • Eat healthy fats daily ­– avocado, fish oil, nuts & seeds
  • Eat whole foods instead of supplements whenever possible
  • Break the rules 10% of the time
  • Plan ahead and prepare meals in advance
  • Eat as wide a variety of good foods as possible
  • Eliminate most empty calorie high sugar / high fructose corn syrup drinks – aside from Gatorade during training / competition
  • Finally, one of the most important and oft ignored tennis nutrition we can impart upon you is HYDRATION Child_Drinking_Water

While still growing and developing, a child’s internal thermostat is less efficient than their incredibly cool parents (pun intended). Because of this, keeping the kiddies hydrated is extremely important, especially when they’re training or playing on a hot summer day. During training or a match your young ones should drink liquid with sodium chloride and carbohydrates, like Gatorade, every 15 to 20 minutes. This will help to replace fluid lost and help the body retain what they’ve just replaced.

It’s important to remember that proper training and nutrition for a youth are complex, so it’s okay to reach out for help! Hey, we only want what’s best for you and your young tennis pro! Proper guidance from a qualified individual is the question and the Elite Jr. Tennis Program is the answer! .

8 Tips for Knife Safety in Your Home

By Rita Larsen, RD; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition & Diet Counselor

For class presentations at Elite Sports Clubs, we have often spent a fair amount of time talking about knife safety for preparing foods. It is a serious matter, as we often have children helping for food preparations. And keeping them safe, and ourselves, should be a primary goal. Purchase the best possible knives that you can as it is an important part of a wonderful meal. A good idea for a gift!

Knife Safety-Elite Sports Clubs

The safe use of knives is imperative for obvious reasons. There are only a few rules to remember, but they are crucial:

  1. A sharp knife is a safe knife. Using a dull knife is an invitation to disaster. If you try to force a dull knife through the surface of a food product, it’s more likely to slip and cause an injury. Also: if you do happen to cut yourself, a sharp knife will result in an easier wound to attend to.
  2. Never, ever grab a falling knife. The best way to avoid having to think about this rule is to make sure your knife is always completely on your work surface, without the handle sticking out into traffic areas. Inevitably, however, it will happen from time to time that you or someone else will bump a knife handle, resulting in a falling knife. We all have a natural instinct to grab for anything that’s falling. You must overcome this inclination. Remember: a falling knife has no handle. Just get your hands and feet out of the way.
  3. Use the right knife for the right job. Many knife injuries occur when laziness induces us to use the knife at hand rather than the correct knife for a job. Place your knife inventory where it is easily accessible so you won’t be tempted to make this mistake.
  4. Always cut away from – never towards – yourself. Sometimes this is a hard rule to follow. Again, don’t be lazy! If the angle is wrong, turn the product around. Or turn your cutting board around. By the way – if your cutting board doesn’t have rubber feet, you should place it atop a damp kitchen towel to make sure it doesn’t slide while you’re cutting.
  5. When you have a knife in hand, keep your eyes on the blade. This rule stands whether you are cutting something or carrying a knife. The simple fact is: you’re unlikely to cut yourself if you’re watching the blade, especially the tip. Another idea, don’t talk and cut.
  6. Carry a knife properly. If you’re carrying a knife through the kitchen, especially a busy kitchen, there are often people, and better, pets hurrying around. You must get used to the idea that the only way to walk with a knife in hand is to carry it pointed straight down, with the blade turned towards your thigh. Keep your arm rigid. You don’t want a family member going to the emergency room with a puncture wound from your knife.
  7. Never, ever put a knife in a sink full of water. In addition to soaking probably being bad for your knife handle, putting a knife in a sink full of (likely soapy) water is just asking for trouble. Wash your sharp knives by hand (not in a dishwasher!) and put them away immediately.
  8. Always cut on a cutting board. Don’t cut on metal, glass or marble. This will ultimately damage a knife’s edge.

At what age did you start including your children in the cooking of meals? When did you let them start using knives in the process? How did you teach them about knife safety?

Coming this Fall: “All in the Family Nutrition” a health and nutrition program offered by Elite Sports Clubs’ Registered Dietitian, Rita Larsen that involves each member of the family. Members work together for family-centered nutrition planning for meals and set goals for improved health and wellness. Each family member also monitors his or her own food intake. Plans are made for meal selections, grocery shopping, eating meals out, and making better snack choices. Offered by appointment to fit your family’s schedule. Contact Rita for pricing options and availability to start your “all in the family nutrition” program today!

Off to School (or Work) with a Safe Bag Lunch

By Rita Larsen, RD, CD, Elite Sports Clubs Dietitian and Nutrition Counselor

There is nothing more exciting than purchasing a new school lunch bag for the year!

Whether it’s off to school or work we go, millions of Americans carry “bag” lunches. Food brought from home can be kept safe if it is first handled and cooked safely. (Check out tips for safely cooking at BBQ’s & Tailgates too!) Then, perishable food must be kept cold while commuting via bus, bicycle, on foot, in a car, and on to the lunch table. After arriving at school or work, perishable food must be kept cold until lunchtime.

Labeled Lunches Office   Named Lunches

Why keep food cold? Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly in the “danger zone” — the temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees F. So, perishable food transported without an ice source won’t stay safe long. Here are safe handling recommendations to prevent food-borne illness from “bag” lunches.

Begin with Safe Food

Perishable food, such as raw or cooked meat and poultry, must be kept cold or frozen at the store and at home. Eggs should be purchased cold at the store and kept cold at home. In between, transport perishable food as fast as possible when no ice source is available. At the destination, it must be kept cold. Food should not be left out at room temperature more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees F).

Prepackaged combos, you know the ones, that are popular with your kids that contain luncheon meats along with crackers, cheese, and condiments must also be kept refrigerated. This includes lunch meats and smoked ham which are cured or contain preservatives.

Keep Everything Clean

Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter-tops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item. A solution of 1 teaspoon of bleach in 1 quart of water may be used to sanitize surfaces and utensils. Keep family pets away from kitchen counters.

Cross-Contamination (Know what that means!)

Harmful bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, and counter-tops. Always use a clean cutting board. When using a cutting board for food that will not be cooked, such as bread, lettuce, and tomatoes, be sure to wash the board after using it to cut raw meat and poultry. Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for meat and poultry. That is a must!

Preparing a Bag Lunch

At lunchtime, discard all used food packaging and paper bags. Do not reuse packaging because it could contaminate other food and cause food-borne illness.

Now for the Packing

Pack just the amount of perishable food that can be eaten at lunch, that way, there won’t be a problem with storage or safety of leftovers.

It’s fine to prepare the food the night before and store the packed lunch in the refrigerator. Freezing sandwiches helps them stay cold. However, for best quality, don’t freeze sandwiches containing mayonnaise, lettuce, or tomatoes. Add these later.

Insulated, soft-sided lunch boxes or bags are best for keeping food cold, but metal or plastic lunch boxes and paper bags are fine as well. If using paper lunch bags, create layers by double bagging to help insulate the food. An ice source should be packed with perishable food in any type of lunch bag or box.

Keeping Cold Lunches Cold

Prepare cooked food, such as turkey, ham, chicken, and vegetable or pasta salads, ahead of time to allow for thorough chilling in the refrigerator. Divide large amounts of food into shallow containers for fast chilling and easier use. Keep cooked food refrigerated until it’s time to leave home.

To keep lunches cold away from home, include a small frozen gel pack or frozen juice box. These work very well! Of course, if there’s a refrigerator available, store perishable items there upon arrival. Some food is safe without a cold source. Items that don’t require refrigeration include fruits, vegetables, hard cheese, canned meat and fish, chips, breads, crackers, peanut butter, jelly, mustard, and pickles.

Keeping Hot Lunches Hot

Use an insulated container to keep food like soup, chili, and stew hot. Fill the container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty, and then put in the piping hot food. Keep the insulated container closed until lunchtime to keep the food hot- 140 degrees F or above. Few people use these containers anymore, but they work very well and can be a good addition to a lunch meal.

Microwave Cooking / Reheating

When using the microwave oven to reheat lunches, cover food to hold in moisture and promote safe, even heating. Reheat leftovers to at least 165 degrees F. What does that look like? Food should be steaming hot. Cook frozen convenience meals according to package instructions.

Microwaving a Lunch


Lunch at school or work needs to be a pleasant experience for your child and family members. If hot lunch is available, that is a good solution too. The primary goal for preparing lunches is to make sure that good choices are made for foods that children and adults need at that time of day, and that they are of the highest quality to withstand transportation and storage. Sometimes we can get carried away with bright packages and trendy new food products. Taking the time to provide the best foods possible from a variety of food groups and packaged safely should be the primary goal in good, safe school lunches.

What are your go-to meals for bagged lunches? Do you brown bag it, have a fancy insulated soft-sided bag, or rock a retro metal/plastic lunch box? Tell us in the comments!

Looking for more nutrition advice on healthy (and safe) daily lunches for work or school? We offer a great drop-in program called “Ask the Dietitian” plus other programs that allow you to meet with Rita, and learn the best ways to eat healthy! Not sure where to start? Let us help get you on track with a healthy diet plan!

Eating Healthy at BBQ’s, Tailgate Parties, and All Your Outdoor Gatherings

Interview with Rita Larsen, Elite Sports Clubs Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Counselor

Summer and fall are great times to enjoy eating outdoors with friends and family. Who doesn’t love the smell at a barbecue, or the fun of a tailgate party or picnic? However there are definite ways to make these outdoor feasts healthier for everyone.

Rita Larsen, RD, CD, dietitian for Elite Sports Clubs, who has hosted many outdoor picnics and barbecues, has some tips for these outdoor festivities.

Grilling BBQ Tailgate

Since there have been some questions on how safe barbecuing actually is, Larsen suggested a safe way of barbecuing is to slow cook the meat until it is very well done. Larsen gives this great shortcut, “prepare what you are going to barbecue indoors in an oven, slow cooking it at 250 to 275 degrees and finish on the grill, then there is no burning fat on the meat. If you are going to serve it somewhere else then you can still cook it for several hours at home. In both instances you can then brown it with the sauce on the outdoor grill itself. Keep it cool on the way to the site of the outdoor feast. Always cover with aluminum foil.”

Larsen gave added tips for safety. “Keep meat about to be barbecued in a safe condition. Place it as high as possible on your racks. Use as little fat as possible to grill with and don’t char it, which could be carcinogenic. Research shows that with charring comes HCA, which are carcinogens. Charred meat is no longer chic.” She added, “Cook on grayer briquettes and hold a nice heat.”

For healthier grilling she suggested using fish, rather than beef and poultry. “Lightly oil grill with canola oil, as it lasts longer than olive oil, and keep temperatures low.” A clean grill is also paramount. “Scrape off black residue with a brush after each use.”

Larsen said that just about anything could be grilled. She suggested that vegetables should be moistened and soft. Marinade food just before you cook. However barbecue sauce can be put on afterwards. Put corn on the top shelves of the grill.”

Grilled Pineapple Peaches

A surprisingly wonderful treat, Larsen suggested, was grilling pineapple and peaches. “They taste sweet like candy. They are absolutely delicious.”

So many people today are vegetarians, so it’s a good idea to inquire ahead of time if any of your guests are in that category. If you’ll have vegetarian or vegan guests there are a number of such products you can buy or you can even make your own veggie patties.

Larsen added a couple more safety tips. “Try not to use gasoline as a fire starter, for health reasons. Also always try to keep any perishable food you are transporting cooler than forty degrees.”

Larsen strongly suggested discarding any perishables instead of bringing them home. “If they are out in the heat or in bright sunlight beyond a couple of hours, you’re taking a big chance bringing them home. It would be a heck of a risk, especially with all those spoons in and out. The food starts to break down.”

If you can keep it from melting, Larsen said that “the best desert is ice cream, for health and nutritional value as well as taste.”

Larsen also cautioned people about overeating at outdoor feasts. “Eat what you think your system can handle. A client of mine actually felt ill after overeating at a rich Texas barbecue.”

Serious Barbecue Book Adam Perry Lang

She also explained that though “tailgate food, picnic food, and certainly our favorite BBQ is the highlight of summer cuisine, it does not need to be high in calories, fats, sugars, or salts. Many families today want to cut the calories of outdoor foods, simply by searching cookbooks for the best taste with the least caloric output. In his book, “Serious Barbecue,” author Adam Perry Lang, encourages cooks to use, among other things, wine, seasonings, and herbs to enhance the taste of good pieces of meat. I recently tried a flatiron steak marinated in red wine. It had a wonderful flavor, it was lean but chewable, and the combination of flavors was memorable.”

Adding, “Too often, we resort to quick combinations of flavors, such as bottled BBQ sauces and prepared salads, or store-bought desserts, which really drive up those calories. However, if you are a seasoned cook, you can often taste the preservatives and extra fat that have been added to picnic deli foods that keep them on the grocer’s shelf for weeks. Consider making these substitutions for your next events. Switch to oven baked-off meats with basic seasonings, adding a little BBQ sauce of your own rather than to use a heavy, sweetened sauce bought off the shelf.”

“Make your own coleslaw with fresh lime juice,” Larsen suggested. She felt that it would be much healthier than deli coleslaw and potato salad, both which have added preservatives. “Making your own will have fewer calories, and be fresher in taste. You can even add the light mayo at the outdoor event. Make homemade potato or pasta salad, using light mayonnaise and fresh garden vegetables and herbs; rather than prepared salads from deli counter, which may contain a lot of preservatives. Oven-baked potatoes are also a good substitute; using just a little olive oil and fresh herbs to taste.”

“Also limit the number of chips, and salty snacks that you have available for guests. The best choices would be homemade Chex mix, baked chips, and bagel or tortilla chips that you have prepared yourself. Even make your own salsa. Plan a good time, and a healthy one that is conscious of the overall experience for your guests!”


“Best Ever Tomato-Based BBQ Sauce”

Rita's Best Ever Tomato Based BBQ Sauce 1 large sweet white onion; diced
3 large cloves of garlic
1 green pepper; sliced or diced into small pieces
2 Tbsp. canola oil

Cut up ingredients into 2-3 inch-sided sauce pan. Cook briefly to a softened state; and then add 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 cup water to mixture. Let the mixture blend; then add ¼ cup of white wine vinegar to taste. Add ¼ cup of fresh herbs, perhaps from your garden, such as sage, Italian parsley, fresh parsley, and tarragon.

Next, add the final touches to your self-styled sauce, to your taste:
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Keep in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.


What are your favorite (healthy) BBQ & tailgate foods? TRUTH: Would you rather attend an outdoor party empty handed, than with a store-bought side dish? Tell us in the comments!

If you have more questions about healthy outdoor eating you can contact dietitian Rita Larsen at
Elite Sports Club-Brookfield at 262-786-0880. You can also contact us online for more health & fitness advice.