Nutrition Tip of the Week

Nutrition Tip of The Week

March 2015

March 23

Spring Clean Your Pantry!

Alright, it is time to toss the junk food and stock your pantry and fridge with fresh and healthy foods! The weather is looking brighter, so why not make our food choices brighter? Here are some helpful tips for cleaning out your pantry/fridge and keeping it clean!

  1. Get rid of all the junk food and expired products: Getting rid of some of the junk food will help with the process of trying to eat well! Some of those items would be: 
    • Soda: lots of sugar and added calories
    • Chips: lots of sodium, fat, and calories
    • High fat cheeses, dips, etc.: just that – FAT!
    • Fruit drinks/juices: a lot of added sugars, minimal fruit juice
    • Ice cream: lots of sugar, fat and minimal nutrient value
    • Processed foods/TV dinners: a lot of sodium, minimal nutritional value
  2. Make a Spreadsheet: This will be very helpful if you have a larger pantry or additional space for storage. The spreadsheet will be a useful way to remember what you have without buying doubles or triples of an item. The spreadsheet can be separated by location and items. (dry/refrigerator/freezer).
  3. Store Like with Like: Try to keep all like items in the same location (Example: All pastas in the same pantry location; not a few boxes in multiple locations). This will make the spreadsheet run smoother and you will always know what you have at home. The spreadsheet will also help you make your shopping list. You will not be spending extra money on items you do not need.
  4. Use what you have left; be creative: There are some apps (depending on phone type) and websites that you can put what ingredients you have and it will search for a recipe (www.supercook.com). This is a nice way to put those ingredients to good use before they expire!

Here is a recipe using that website: The ingredients selected were: mushroom soup and chicken.

Easy Lemon Chicken      

Servings: 6
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total Time: 55 mins 

  • 1 cut up chicken or 6 chicken breasts
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Place chicken in bottom of baking dish, pour mushroom soup over the chicken, squeeze lemon juice on top, add water and salt and pepper. Serve with rice.
  2. Bake at 350° about 45 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.


March 16


Going meatless once a week can reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity along with reducing your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel (meatlessmonday.com). I encourage people go to meat free once or twice a week as it has many benefits!

  • Helps to increases your fruit and vegetable intake throughout the day.
  • Helps reduce your carbon impact. Decreasing meat intake has been shown to slow pollution, and water usage.
  • Going meatless is much cheaper! Plant based proteins are cheaper than fresh or frozen meat and poultry.
  • Helps to reduce your intake of saturated fats and helps to reduce inflammation in your diet.

Sources of protein for meat free dinners:

    • Soy, tofu, legumes, beans, lentils, nuts and nut butters, eggs and yogurt are all great alternative sources of protein.  

Meat free meal ideas:

  • Veggie omelets with feta cheese, side of fresh fruit
  • Pasta dishes (can use Morning Star Farms veggie meat crumbles to add to sauces, tacos and chilis!)
  • Veggie Pizza with home-made or premade wheat crust
  • Breakfast for dinner: buckwheat pancakes, whole grain waffles, etc.
  • For more recipes and info visit: www.meatlessmonday.com

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Feta Cheese                 

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)


  • 1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fresh linguine
  • 3/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, drained
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons pre-shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese


  1. Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain through a sieve over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pan.
  2. While pasta cooks, place tomatoes and next 6 ingredients (through black pepper) in a food processor; process until finely chopped.
  3. Combine tomato mixture and the reserved 1 cup cooking liquid, stirring with a whisk. Add to pasta; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with feta.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 300  Calories from fat: 30%  Fat: 9.9g  Saturated fat: 3.3g  Monounsaturated fat: 3.9g Polyunsaturated fat: 1.6g  Protein: 12.3g  Carbohydrate: 42g  Fiber: 4.3g  Cholesterol: 61mg  Iron: 3.1mg Sodium: 570mg  Calcium: 141mg


March 9

Use this Jumpstart Plan to hit your Biggest Loser Challenge weight loss goals!

Are you hitting a plateau with your weight loss? Or have you not hit your goal yet? Here are some tips on how to jump-start your weight loss for the last few weeks of the challenge!

  1. Drink up--Water, that is! Ditch the soft drinks, wine with dinner (yes, I know) and extra calories in your coffee drinks. Replace with good old fashioned ice cold water!
  2. Ditch the processed foods (aka salty snack foods). The more salt (or sodium) you consume, the more water you retain, which increases your weight. Try to limit foods such as crackers, pretzels, baked chips, 100 calorie packs, desserts, prepacked pasta and rice mixes, etc.
  3. Increase the produce! Eating more servings of fruit and veggies will ensure you are getting more minerals and vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals, but you will also be consuming more of nature’s natural appetite suppressant… FIBER! Fiber helps fill you up. Aim for 5-9 servings a day!
  4. Watch the dining out and salt consumption on the weekends. Often times this is where people go astray in a weight loss program. Buckle down these next few weekends and stay on track.
  5. Keep up those workouts! If you haven't already, switch up your workouts so you don't get bored. Try some intervals, a new video or workout app or take a class at the Shannon Center.
  6. Try replacing one meal a day with a green protein smoothie. There are tons of recipes out there, but try this one:


  • 8 oz. water
    2 giant handfuls of spinach
    1 mango, peeled and diced (or 1 cup pineapple)
    2 heaping tbsp plant-based or whey protein powder (ideally vanilla flavor)
    1 tbsp. ground flaxseed

Blend all ingredients until smooth. 


March 2

8 Ways to "Bite" into a Healthier Lifestyle!

March marks the start on National Nutrition Month!  Here are 8 tips on how to dedicate yourself to a healthier lifestyle. 

  1. Eat Breakfast. There’s no better way to start your morning than with a healthy breakfast. Include lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Try oatmeal cooked with low-fat milk, sliced almonds and berries, or top a toaster waffle with low-fat yogurt and fruit. Find more quick breakfast ideas at www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets.

  2. Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables. Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber to your plate. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Don’t let cost stop you from enjoying produce. Frozen and canned are great alternatives. See “20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits and Vegetables” at www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets.

  3. Be Active! Regular physical activity lowers blood pressure and helps your body control stress and weight. Start by doing what exercise you can for at least 10 minutes at a time. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get 2 hours and 30 minutes per week. You don’t have to hit the gym—take a walk after dinner or play a game of catch or basketball.

  4. Drink More Water! Drink water instead of sugary drinks and let thirst be your guide. A healthy body can balance water needs throughout the day. Drink plenty of water if you are active, live or work in hot conditions, or are an older adult.

  5. Dine Out without Ditching Your Goals. You can dine at a restaurant and stick to your healthy eating plan! The key is to plan ahead, ask questions and choose foods carefully. Think about nutritious items you can add to your plate—fruits, veggies, lean meat, poultry or fish—and look for grilled, baked, broiled or steamed items.

  6. Enact Family Meal Time. Research shows that family meals promote healthier eating. Plan to eat as a family at least a few times each week. Set a regular mealtime. Turn off the TV, phones and other electronic devices to encourage mealtime talk. Get kids involved in meal planning and cooking and use this time to teach them about good nutrition.

  7. Fix Healthy Snacks. Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals. Whenever possible, combine your snacks. Choose from two or more of the MyPlate food groups: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy, lean protein or nuts. Try low-fat yogurt with fruit, or try a small portion of nuts or peanut butter with an apple or banana.

  8. Explore New Foods and Flavors Add more nutrition and eating pleasure by expanding your range of food choices. When shopping, make a point of selecting a fruit, vegetable or whole grain that’s new to you or your family. Try different versions of familiar foods like blue potatoes, red leaf lettuce or basmati rice.

For more free info and tip sheets for National Nutrition Month, visit http://www.nationalnutritionmonth.org/nnm/


February 2015

February 23

Staying Motivated! 

Here are some tips to stay motivated when trying to lose weight:

  1. Fat weight loss will be slower so don’t expect to post huge numbers the whole program. Often times people lose a lot at first but the weight loss eventually slows to 1/2 to 1 pound weight loss per week. This is normal and helps to ensure that it is fat weight you are losing and that it will stay off for good!
  2. Weigh yourself once a week and keep track of it so you can track your progress. No matter how frustrating it is, keep up with the weekly weigh-ins!
  3. Don’t forget to do the food journal. By and far, this is the one trick successful people use to lose weight. I know it can be tedious, but it will hold you accountable for every food choice you make.
  4. If you are not losing as fast or as much as you would like, reassess your food journal once a week. Here are some things to look for: Are you skipping meals? Are you bored or stress eating? Are you eating out or eating fast food too much? Are you drinking too much juice and soda (regular or diet) and not enough water? If you notice one area that needs improving (example, I keep eating a candy bar in the afternoon) then make a goal (I will bring a healthy snack to school or work every day so I don’t snack on candy).
  5. Are you not hitting your goals for exercise? Take a look and see for yourself how you are doing. Don’t forget to increase or change up your exercise routine! Interval workouts are great.
  6. Vary your food from day to day. If you eat the same foods day in and day out, your body gets used to your diet and you will stop losing weight. Change things up a bit. Alternate about 2-4 choices each for breakfast, lunch and snacks. This way you will be eating different combinations of foods each day.


February 16

How to Lower Sugar Intake… Myths and Suggestions

When trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, cutting out excess sugars is usually a recommendation. (A pretty good one at that!). But still, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to sugars. How much should one consume? What about sugar substitutes? Sugar alcohols? Natural vs. added sugars? Natural sweeteners, such as honey and maple syrup? The list goes on!

How much sugar should I have in a day?

  • The least amount possible from ADDED sugars such as white or brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc. These added sugars are what increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes and what increases your weight over time. When trying to eat healthy and to lose weight, cutting out processed carbohydrates (white breads, buns, snack foods, junk foods, etc.) and added sugars is always my first recommendation!
  • NATURAL sugar is the sugar that comes from fruit, yogurt and milk products (AKA, lactose and fructose). These sugars are ok in moderation. (I advise 2-3 servings of low sugar dairy products like milk, light yogurts and 2-3 servings of fruit a day to minimize your natural sugar intake).
  • Sugar substitutes are ok in moderation but I do suggest eating "real" wholesome foods vs. a lot of fake/sugar free foods (i.e. sugar free jello, pudding, cookies, etc.). You will be more satisfied and crave less sweets if you treat yourself every now and then to the "real" food. If you are going to use artificial sweeteners, I recommend Truvia, Stevia or Splenda. (I do also recommend decreasing as much diet drinks as you can out of your diet and increase the water!).
  • "Natural sweeteners" such as table sugar, honey and syrup are still added sugars so decrease as much as you can.
  • Don't forget to look at the ingredients on ALL of your food labels. Sugar sneaks it's way into a LOT of foods!

The less sugar you eat, the less you crave! I recommend eating small frequent meals with a combo of whole grains (think foods HIGH in fiber) with some lean proteins to help minimize sugar and carb cravings.

February 9

Winter Diet Reboot!

Do you find yourself stuck in a food rut? Even though the groundhog saw its shadow and we have another six weeks of winter, doesn’t mean it’s too early to start spring cleaning our cabinets! Here are some simple tips to reboot your winter diet. 

  1. Prep, prep, prep! That healthy snack or lunch is NOT going to magically appear before you when it’s time to eat or snack. You first need to make a grocery list and go shopping. Think you’re done? Wrong! Help yourself out and take a couple minutes after grocery shopping to cut, chop and package those fruits, veggies, nuts, low fat cheeses and pretzels into ready to go containers or baggies.
  2. Aim to eat a meal or snack every few hours to boost your energy levels and curb hunger. Beside your lunch, pack at least 1-2 healthy snacks so you always have something on hand to munch on. Try to keep the snacks low in fat and aim for some protein as well as a healthy carbohydrate. Some examples: apple and a tbsp. of peanut butter, 1/2 cup  trail mix, 1 serving of pretzels and a string cheese or some chopped veggies and hummus.
  3. Skip the processed foods. The more foods you prep and cook from home, the more control you have over what foods (AKA fuel) you put into your body. For your meals, aim for fresh lean proteins such as chicken, turkey or fish paired with fresh vegetables and a whole grain starch (quinoa, sweet potato, whole grain pasta to name a few).   
  4. Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables a day to boost your intake of key vitamins and minerals! Skip the supplements and eat real wholesome food first!


February 2

Diet Pitfalls 

Looking to meet your New Year, new you goals? Want to jump start that weight loss? Here are some diet pitfalls I often see and how to avoid them!

Diet Pitfall #1: Skipping Meals
Skipping meals only leads to being more hungry later in the day which leads to overeating and loss of control in the evenings. Start your day with breakfast, then try and eat something every 3-5 hours to maintain steady blood sugars. Skipping meals or fasting does NOT equate to long term weight loss.

Diet Pitfall #2: Eating diet, sugar free or fat free foods all day
Real food will fill you up and satisfy you. “Franken-food” will not. (AKA food that has been chemically processed). Eat real, wholesome foods. You will feel better. Look better. Have more energy and less cravings.

Diet Pitfall #3: Not exercising
You can lose weight by diet alone but it is very rare when someone can maintain long term weight loss without some exercise involved. Get moving! 30 minutes a day for long term results. You will have more energy, fit into your clothes better, lose more inches with exercise AND diet vs. diet alone.

Diet Pitfall #4: Not drinking enough water/drinking diet pop or coffee all day.
Water is the BEST way to hydrate yourself. Add a slice of lemon, cucumber or sliced berries to flavor your water naturally. Increasing the water will hydrate you better, give you longer lasting energy levels AND help you burn more calories when you work out.

For nutrition/exercise questions or for more tip ideas, email Kelly at devinenutrition@hotmail.com.

Visit kellydevinenutrition.com to sign up for a FREE monthly nutrition newsletter!

January 2015

January 26

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Water is essential to healthy living. The minimum amount for people to drink a day is 64 oz. a day but that amount should be increased as you exercise or feel thirsty. Especially with the dry air of winter, try to make increasing your water a priority this week.

Here are 5 tips on how to increase your water intake:

  1. Before having that second cup of coffee, drink a bottle of water first before refilling your mug.
  2. Drink a bottle of water first thing in the morning to re-hydrate yourself after a long night sleep.
  3. Bring a BPA free water bottle with you to work and refill often.
  4. Rule of thumb: Drink 8-16 oz. water for every 30 minutes you exercise. 
  5. Flavor it up with natural flavors such as lemon, cucumber, or berry slices.

For nutrition/exercise questions or for more tip ideas, email Kelly at devinenutrition@hotmail.com.

Visit kellydevinenutrition.com to sign up for a FREE monthly nutrition newsletter!

January 19

Detoxification and cleanses

Detoxification and cleanses are becoming quite popular now. The idea behind them is to “purge” your body of all its unwanted toxins that get built up in your system over time. Most detox systems claim you can lose up to 10 pounds of undigested matter from your colon (pretty image isn’t it?), get more energy, lose inches off your stomach, etc. etc. etc.

The problem is sometimes these cleanses are just expensive forms of fiber supplements and some products can even interact with your medications. Here is a plan on how to detox the healthy way and it is dietitian approved!

First foods to REMOVE: (Try this for a solid two weeks)

  • Soda (including diet!) 
  • Energy and caffeine drinks
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Sweets
  • Candy
  • Prepackaged foods (100 calorie packs, granola bars, pasta and rice sides, etc.)
  • Fast foods

Basically anything that comes from a package or has more than 3 ingredients gets eliminated for 14 days.

Here are some foods and beverages to ADD to your diet to detox your system:

  • Plain, old water! (Flavored with a slice of lemon or cucumber if needed) 
    • Aim for 8-10 cups of water per day
  • Green tea
    • Aim for at least 1 serving a day (No added sweeteners)
  • Fruit
    • Aim for 2-3 servings per day
  • Vegetables- the more the merrier! (Don’t forget to rinse before eating)
  • Whole grains
    • 100% whole grain bread on occasion is ok
  • Lean, fresh proteins in small amounts, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs
  • Limit the cheese, nuts and peanut butter as it tends to slow down digestion
    • Can add more of these in after the first 2 weeks

Notice your energy levels. The goal is to have more energy, flush out any excess sodium or fluid you have carrying with you, sleep better and have consistent bowel movements each day.

All of these are good side effects of a healthy diet!

January 12

Is it a Fad Diet? You be the judge!  

It’s that time of year again when contests, new diets, resolutions and promises to make you lose 10 inches in 6 weeks abound EVERYWHERE you look. On TV, in mailers, on social media, at your work, in magazines, at your gym, EVERYWHERE. So how can you tell if a plan is right for you? Is it a fad? Is it healthy for you? Check out the list below to get your answers! 

If you answer yes to the following questions, it’s a fad diet.

Does the weight loss plan…

  • Promise to lose X amount of inches or X amount of pounds in less than 12 weeks
  • Consist of an all liquid or mainly liquid diet
  • Require frequent fasting
  • Require expensive supplements with little or no research supporting  the truth their claims
  • Cut out major food group(s)
  • Teach you zero knowledge of nutrition and meal planning
  • Have support from a company or people not training with a medical degree, Registered Dietitian license or state license credentialing them to practice nutrition 

So what defines a legitimate diet and exercise plan?

Many things! But here are a few:

  • It is a diet that you can adhere to for the long term
  • It is a plan that not only works for you but for your family as well
  • Involves real food
  • Involves education about meal timing, what to eat, portion sizes, etc.
  • The best plans truly educate you on sound nutrition and exercise principles
  • Involves a wide variety of foods

I advise you to thoroughly research any program you would like to start. You can also email Kelly, the Shannon Center RD, at devinenutrition@hotmail.com to help you decide if the program or product would be a good fit for you.

One great program at your fingertips is the SXU 8-Week Nutrition Weight Loss program! Taught by Kelly, the class includes food demos, grocery store tours, education on nutrition and exercise and more! Next class will start again Tuesday January 20! For registration information, visit http://kellydevinenutrition.com/group-weight-loss-class/or for questions contact Kristy at kallen@sxu.edu.

January 5

Goal Setting

Almost time to start making those new years resolutions! With 2014 ending and looking towards 2015, we need to focus on our health and fitness goals once again!  What are your New Years Resolutions? Did you meet all of your health and fitness goals last year? If not, here are some tips on how to make a better New Years Resolution!

  1. Write down all of you goals for the up coming year and keep them in a journal or in a safe place so you can reference it often. (I keep mine in my wallet so I can look at them every now and again).
  2. Make short and long term goals with an end date in mind.
  3. Be realistic!
  4. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise! Exercise is key for optimal health and for faster results. Plan your exercise sessions in your daily planner just like you would schedule any other appointment. That way, you can plan accordingly (bringing your workout clothes with you to work so you can hit the gym on your way home) and make exercise a priority.
  5. Make yourself accountable for your new goals. Enlist family or friends to help you attain those New Years Resolutions. And remember these are goals for the whole year, not just for January! Look over your goals every month so you can evaluate if you are on task. If you aren't, it’s not the end of the world!  Give yourself a break.  Set a new goal and you’ll be on track again in no time!

Need accountability in reaching your goals in 2015? Look no further than the SXU 8-Week Weight Loss Class starting January 20! For more information, email Kristy at kallen@sxu.edu.

Here are some great healthy New Year's resolution ideas:

  • Avoid soft drinks and teas that are sweetened with sugar
  • Take the stairs instead of elevator
  • Exercise as soon as you come in from work
  • Park your car at the opposite end of parking lot (when safe to do so)
  • Get only the smallest portion sizes when eating fast foods (kids meals)
  • Include vegetables or fruit at all meals
  • Bring your lunch 4 days a week
  • Walk on a break at work daily
  • Train for a local 5K race (www.chicagoaa.com)
  • Share an entree when eating out
  • Start an exercise group with friends or colleagues
  • Go down one size in your jeans
  • Run a half or full marathon
  • Get your yearly physical
  • Learn a new sport
  • Eat only when hungry
  • Drink at least 7-9 glasses of water per day
  • Go grocery shopping once a week
  • Moderate your drinking
  • No late night snacking
  • Try a new sport


Devine Nutrition, Inc.
Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CPT

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Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Media Spokesperson
Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics 
Registered Dietitian and ACE Certified Personal Trainer