Nutrition Tip of the Week

Nutrition Tip of The Week

May 2016

Week of May 23

National Hamburger Month!

Hooray! A food holiday I can really get on board with!

May is National Hamburger Month! Ditch those high-fat, fast-food burgers and add some of these LEAN recipes to your grill the next few weeks, while pairing it with baked sweet potato fries or Yukon Gold baked potato and fresh veggies for a healthier, quick meal option in less than 20 minutes!

Good Ol American Burger

Yes, beef is slightly higher in kcals than turkey but packs quite the nutrient punch! Beef is a great source of iron, zinc, vitamin B6, and alpha lipoic acid.

  1. Buy a package of 96 percent lean ground beef.
  2. Form into patties.
  3. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic and place on the grill.

Use a reduced-calorie or whole-grain bun and top with your choice of veggies.

Turkey Cilantro Burgers

1 pound 93 percent lean ground turkey
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic (or 2 cloves)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic Powder
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
5 slices of pepper jack cheese, Sargento Thin Slices
1 avocado, thinly sliced (optional)
5 slices of tomato
5 whole-wheat hamburger buns

Week of May 16

Nutrition, Fitness and Recipe Apps!

The saying, “There’s an app for that!”, is mostly true. There seems to be an app for just about anything we need now-a-days! Here are some apps I’ve tried or my clients have tried... check them out! Do you have any favorites?  

Apps I love:

7-Minute Workout - Puts you through a quickie workout to blast 100 kcals!

Stand Up- App - Reminds you to stand up and move every hour. Great for people who have desk jobs!

Myfitnesspal –  Great way to track your calories and nutrients.

Streaks - The Streaks app is the “to-do list that helps you form good habits.”  I just downloaded this app, so I will let you know how it goes.

Superfoods - Superfood HD gives you the power to stay on track in the New Year. Get inspired and incorporate these amazing foods into your diet every day!

Recipes by Ingredients (free) – The idea is to load all your random ingredients into the app, and it will suggest various recipes.

All Recipes - My go-to website for recipes. Keep in mind, these are not ALL HEALTHY recipes, so you may need to modify.

Fit Men Cook – Born from the founder’s popular Instagram community of almost 1 million followers. Fit Men Cook is a healthy recipe app with a focus on meal prep and fitness in the kitchen.

Kelly Devine Rickert

Week of May 9

Workout Power Foods!

Power foods are food that help decrease inflammation and help you recover after workouts, at least in my opinion. Here are some great power foods to start incorporating into your daily diet:

Omega 3 rich foods help decrease LDL cholesterol and fight inflammation. Examples include salmon almonds, pistachios, nuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds (There is a great mix at the store I found with both chia and flax seeds. I sprinkle it on my Greek yogurt for a great snack!)

If you are NOT a fan of these foods and consume them 2-3 times a week, then I would add in 1,000 mg of fish oil daily.

Antioxidants-Anthocyanin's are compounds found in fruits and veggies. They are believed to reduce inflammation and help with recovery. Cherry juice has found its way into the limelight lately. You can take 1 oz. of tart juice (drink as is) or you can mix in a calorie-free mixer, like club soda. Other sources include blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, red cabbage, kidney and black beans and asparagus.

Week of May 2

Are YOU eating five a day?

How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you consume in one day? The recommended amount is five to nine servings. Many people fall short of this goal. Here are some example serving sizes and ways you can sneak some more fruits and veggies into your diet!

Fruit: size of tennis or baseball, or 6 oz juice
Vegetables: 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw

What you need:
Snack-sized baggies
Reusable plastic containers for fruits and small containers or dips

Fruit/Vegetables of choice, fresh or frozen
Low fat or light yogurt or Greek yogurt
Light Italian dressing
Light ranch dressing
Light vinaigrette dressing
Low-fat cheese cubes
Egg beaters
Wheat tortillas

* Dice up green peppers, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, spinach, etc. and put into small baggies or containers or buy frozen bags of each to keep handy in freezer. Throw in an egg beater scramble in the morning for a quick veggie omelet. Wrap in a wheat tortilla with some salsa to add some fiber.
* Chop up your fruit and vegetables and put into snack-sized baggies or containers so in the morning they are ready to go. Also buy small salad dressing containers to add in dips.
*Make a fruit kabob (Great for kids!). Put cut-up fruit and low-fat cheese cubes on a wooden kabob. Dip in low-fat yogurt.
* Throw one piece of fruit and one light yogurt in the blender for a quick smoothie.
* Instead of a plain sandwich with bread and meat, add lettuce, tomato, spinach, onion, etc. to add more volume and fiber. (Don’t forget the whole grain bread and lean low-salt lunchmeats from the deli.)
* Try to have a salad each night at dinner.
* Make a rule to bring at least one fruit or vegetable with you to work each day to snack on in between meals.
* Add vegetables to chicken kabobs over brown rice with a salad for a quickie dinner.

The key is preparation! Those fruits and vegetables are not going to cut themselves. When you get home from the store, cut up all your produce so it’s more accessible throughout the week.

Kelly Devine Rickert, M.S. RD CSSD LDN

April 2016

Week of April 25

How to make a protein shake!

You may have read about protein shakes and have wondered if you should be drinking them too? Here are some benefits and reasons to jump on the protein shake bandwagon!

1. Protein shakes will help you recover faster after a workout. The ideal time to consume one is within 30-45 minutes post workout.
2. They can help to increase your percentage of lean muscle.
3. Protein shakes can act as a healthy alternative for a meal. Aim for about 300 calories for a meal replacement protein shake.

You can buy some already pre-made, or for less money, make one at home for yourself!


1 cup milk (skim-2%, almond or soy)
1 scoop whey protein powder (if allergic you can substitute for soy or try whey isolate)
1-1.5 cups fruit
Ice/water to blend if needed
Juice- if needing some flavor or more calories
Sweetener- if needed
Peanut butter- if needed to boost calories


Some recipes:

Strawberry Protein Shake- Makes 1 serving

1/2 cup sliced frozen strawberries
30 frozen blueberries
1 cup Silk light soymilk or skim milk
1 scoop whey strawberry protein powder
Blend well!
280 calories per serving


Chocolate Banana Smoothie- Makes 3 servings

1/2 c light vanilla yogurt
2 c 1% milk
2 scoops whey protein powder (chocolate or vanilla)
1 large banana
1 c ice

Blend well!
About 215 calories per serving

Week of April 18

Wondering what you can do to minimize your impact on Mother Earth? Look no further! These are, in my opinion, easy ways you can start to reduce, reuse and recycle more often.

1.Make a grocery list and go shopping. If you go grocery shopping, be sure to take your reusable bags or opt for paper bags and recycle them when you are finished. Look for items you can cook from home, pack in your lunches and take as snacks on the go. You'll be reducing your waste compared to dining out, whether it be at a fast food restaurant, food truck or grab and go’s, like vending machines and gas stations, because you won't be contributing as much to throwing out garbage, containers and wrappers from fast food.

In most recent stats, 44 percent of Americans eat at a fast food restaurant each week. That is a lot of waste!

Example lunch from home:
Leftover taco meat from last night (in reused Brummel and Brown container)
Salad with veggies and cheese in Bento box
Salad dressing in mini container
Fork from home

All can be washed at home and reused!


Lunch from Panera Bread
Salad and sandwich
2- Plastic/cardboard boxes
plastic utensils
large brown paper bag

2. Buy in bulk. Yes, 100-calorie packs and mini containers of pre-cut veggies save us time, but also increase our waste. Here are items to buy in bulk, to cut up and portion out at home; it’s cheaper and better for the environment!

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts/seeds
  • Beans
  • Grains
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Yogurt

3.Ditch the water bottles ONCE AND FOR GOOD. I have not bought a case of water bottles in probably over 18 months thanks to my handy Aqua Tally cups. (Anyone who knows me I never go anywhere without it.). Keep a BPA-free, dishwasher-safe water bottle on hand and refill it. Some water bottles even have their own filtration system. Go to Target or email me for an Aqua Tally cup if interested ($10).

4.Go meatless once a week. Ditching the animal proteins once a week will save your pocketbook AND it will reduce your carbon footprint. By reducing your animal protein intake just once a week, you can decrease fossil fuel usage, water usage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For my Meatless Monday (which will actually be today’s dinner in honor of Earth Day), I am simply making homemade pasta sauce with whole grain pasta, side salad with fresh veggies and a side of whole grain garlic toast. Easy Peasy.

5.This one is obvious and you probably knew it was coming...EAT local. By buying foods close to your home, you are reducing the distance your food must travel, thus the energy it takes to do so. Visit your local farmers market or at least shop for foods that are in season. To find a farmers market or CSA near you, visit the National Farmers Market Directory on the United States Department of Agriculture website.

6.Plant a garden... or at least some pots of homegrown veggies. Save the water for your lawn and instead use it for a garden. Don’t have enough room? Join a community garden! I do believe Oak Forest and Tinley Park each has one.

Check out my last post on the benefits of starting a garden on my website.

Making one or two small changes can really add up over time!

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." ~Native American Proverb

Week of April 11

Looking to boost your energy levels and decrease hunger at night? A well-timed afternoon snack may just be your answer! While it is true, snacking too often, especially on salty or sugary snacks, can add pounds; a healthy snack, a combination of healthy carbs high in fiber and some lean protein, can help satisfy those mid-afternoon cravings and actually help you lose weight.

Rule of Thumb: Aim for a snack about 2.5-4 hours after your lunch every day.

Guidelines: Keep it low in salt when possible (unless you are going for a run in warm weather after work) and high in fiber with some protein.


  • Cut up veggies (peppers, snap peas, cucumbers) with garlic hummus (Cedars Point is best)
  • Greek yogurt (LOVE Siggi's) with 2 tbsp. Hodgson Mill Flax Chia seed blend
  • 1-2 tbsp. peanut butter with cut-up green apple
  • String cheese stick with 1 cup grapes or berries
  • 1 Kashi or Kind bar
  • 1 hard-boiled egg and 12 Kashi crackers

Happy Snacking!

Week of April 4

Post Workout Nutrition

Current research shows that the first 15-45 minute post workout is your best opportunity to help your body recover faster from your workouts and help repair muscle tissue. Why is this so important? Eating or drinking a carbohydrate and protein snack during the 15-45 minute “window of opportunity” post exercise can help your body replenish its healthy energy levels and quickly recover from tough workouts or games. 

Aim for at least 8-15 grams of protein and 15-60 grams of carbohydrates. Snacks in liquid form are your best option, but solid food can also work. Examples of carbohydrate/protein snacks include:

  • A fruit smoothie made with yogurt or one scoop of whey protein powder
  • A sports drink that contains protein
  • Greek yogurt and a piece of fruit
  • One cup of skim milk and one scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • Half a bagel with one tablespoon of peanut butter
  • A protein/carbohydrate bar

March 2016

Week of March 28

Did you overindulge during the Easter holiday? Below are some tips to get you back on track!

  1. Limit yourself to one small treat a day (or donate your leftover candy!)
  2. Increase the water! Most post-holiday weight gain is from excess carbs and salt so drink up to help flush your system! Aim for at least 64 oz. a day, more if you are working out. 
  3. Get a moving! 

Below are some quick ways to burn 100 calories:

  • 15 minutes of an aerobics class
  • Elliptical machine (arms and legs) for 12 minutes
  • Walking or running 1 mile
  • Biking for 20 minutes
  • 20 minutes of yard work
  • Life weights for 20-30 minutes
  • Playing tennis for 20 minutes
  • Play Wii boxing or tennis for 20 minutes
  • Swim laps for 12 minutes
  • Running Stairs for 6 minutes
  •  Yoga for 20 minutes


Week of March 21

6 Ways to Combat Sitting Disease!

Medical experts have started referring to the long periods of inactivity and its negative consequences as "Sitting Disease." Please view the Sitting So Much Should Scare You chart for an example. 

A growing body of research shows that long periods of physical inactivity raise your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. In January 2010, British experts linked prolonged periods of sitting to a greater likelihood of disease. And that same month, Australian researchers reported that each hour spent watching TV is linked to an 18% increase in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease -- perhaps because that time is spent sitting down. (Source: WebMD.)

So what can you do if your job requires you to sit most of the day?

Here are some tips on combating sitting disease and ways to get you moving more!

  1. Wear a pedometer! Pedometers help get you moving throughout an entire day, not just while you are exercising.  I personally LOVE my Fitbit but there are many other devices you can use as well. (Fitbit, Nike Fuelband, Jawbone, Omron, etc). (Friend me if you have a Fitbit so we can compare steps weekly at devinenutrition@hotmail.com on Fitbit).
  2. Find ways to move more! Park farther in lots, take the stairs to the next floor for your bathroom break, walk to your co-workers desk and ask a question versus emailing.
  3. Schedule exercise! For exercise to be consistent, we need to schedule it! The ideal amount of minutes for exercise is 30-60 minutes, 5 days a week.
    • Add some 10-15 minutes sessions of exercise in:

      • Before you get ready for work
      • After you eat lunch go on a mile power walk or use the hospital fitness center (Not a member? All Franciscan Alliance employees have a free membership to the NIR hospital fitness centers. Email Carlos for more details at Carlos.Celis@franciscanalliance.org).
      • Walk hallways if you have an afternoon break
      • Pack your gym bag for a post work gym session at Omni or one of the hospital fitness centers.
  4. Take mini breaks every hour to get up and stand, stretch, bend etc.
  5. Stand when you can whether it be when you are on a call, or talking to coworkers.
  6. When you watch TV, stand up and move around, or fit in activities on commercials. I love doing the 7 minute workout app during commercials. (Free download).

Week of March 14

Food Journal -- Rate Your Plate!

Food journaling is one of the ways you can help ensure weight loss success! Why is that? Journaling everything you eat and drink helps you to become more accountable for your food decisions. Food journaling can also help you troubleshoot your diet to see why you may not be hitting your weight loss goals. Here are some tips for keeping a food log.

  • Keep a small notebook close by to record the time of your food intake, what you ate or drank and how much (portion size).
  • If you are a smart phone or tablet user, I suggest downloading Lose It! or MyFitness Pal to journal electronically. (Friend me on MyFitness Pal at devinenutrition@hotmail.com.)
  • Journal the food as you eat it and not at the end of the day when you have trouble remembering everything you consumed.
  • Don’t forget to record the drinks such as Gatorade, juice or supplements.

Some things to review once you have been journaling a week or more:

  • Are you a bottom heavy eater? (Eating most of your calories at night?) If so, start eating more food earlier in the day.
  • Are you heavy in your fat consumption? Aim for no more than 40-50 grams a day.
  • Are your portions too large? Aim for 250-400 calories per meal if you can.

Happy journaling!

Week of March 7

Example of how fast added sugars add up!

Starbucks Frap (14 oz.) 47 grams
Oatmeal packet 12 grams
Meal Total 59 grams
Lean Cuisine Chicken Pecan            15 grams
Vitamin Water (1 bottle) 32 grams
Meal Total  47 grams
Pasta 0 grams
Pasta Sauce  10 grams
Can of Sprite (12 oz.) 38 grams
Salad greens 0 grams
Honey Mustard dressing (2 tbsp.) 5 grams
Meal Total  53 grams
Yoplait yogurt 26 grams
Laughing Cow ice cream bar  11 grams
Snack Total  37 grams
Daily Total for Added Sugars 196 grams

February 2016

Week of February 29

Happy Nutrition Month to you! I'll kick off #NNM with a post on some of my favorite foods, technologies and kitchen gadgets!

Have to start out with my most favorite gizmo:

  1. The Fitbit. Not A Fitbit. THE Fitbit. This pedometer is awesome. It not only tracks steps but also active steps...meaning the ones you REALLY have to earn. I could average in the spring and summer 15,000+ steps a day and not have 1 active minute. This drives me to make sure I am having "steps that count" most days of the week. And I love a good competition. In the Fitbit app you can track to see who is close to you in steps. What better motivation to kick it up a notch. (For free shipping click on the fitbit link on my website!)
  2. This one is for all the mom’s out there sick of cutting their kids foods. Pizza cutter. Just make sure it’s a good one! You can cut most anything with one of these babies. Waffles? Pancakes? Chicken? You name it, the pizza cutter is a huge time saver, especially when you have 4 kids!
  3. On the Go Blender like this one sold by GNC. These quick blenders are AWESOME because they are made for people on the go. I blend quick smoothies with yogurt and protein, quickie protein shakes or meal replacement shakes. Makes for a great quick breakfast and I can screw the cup off the blender and take it with me.
  4. I cannot do a post on my favorite things unless I mention hummus. Cedar's Point garlic lover’s hummus is just 40 kcals per serving. Pairs GREAT with sliced veggies (cucumbers, carrots, peppers, etc.), pretzels or pita chips. My most favorite snack right now.
  5. Tin foil. As a busy mom on the go, I have to say tin foil has made my nights a lot easier! Tinfoil packets: throw some olive oil spray, cut up veggies, salmon or chicken breast in a self-made tin foil packet...and voila! Throw in oven or grill for 10-15 minutes. The meat steams right up and no clean up! Roasted veggies -- cut up whatever veggie you want for dinner, coat with non stick spray, salt, pepper and some garlic and roast in oven for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. No pans to clean up after!
  6. Bolthouse Farms Cilantro and Avocado dressing. (If your store does not carry, ask them to order it!). Found in the produce section. Great, low calorie dressing for taco/Mexican salads or just as a dip for veggies. Goes great in grilled chicken wraps as well!
  7. Aqua Tally cupsThe single reason I consume as much water as I do in the last 18 months. Helps track your water intake throughout the day. But that’s not even why I like it. It’s because it keeps my water ICE COLD. I have like 5 of them in every room of my house. Just love them! (Will most likely be doing another group order soon if you are interested or you can go to their website above to order!).
  8. Brown paper bag + popcorn kernels. Easiest snack ever.
    Toss some kernels in the bag, fold down a few times and throw in microwave on popcorn setting. Voila! For topping suggestions and recipes view my past blog post!
  9. This salad dressing bottle! Want to make your own recipes but don’t know how? Check out this bottle then. On the bottle it has recipes for numerous salad dressings. I found it at Target but it is also on Amazon.
Hope you enjoyed some of my favorite things! What are some of yours? Email me at devinenutrition@hotmail.com

Week of February 22

Support your cardiovascular health by adding these five foods to your diet this February and all year round. Your heart will love you for it!

  1. Beets: Looks like a heart, works for your heart. Beets pack tons of nitrates that help expand veins and arteries when converted to nitric oxide in the body, letting blood and oxygen flow more easily. In one study, middle-agers with hypertension saw an 8% to 11% drop in blood pressure from drinking one cup beet juice compared to others drinking water. Beets also contain betalains, phytochemicals that may help tame LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  2. Tomatoes: You say tomato; we say “let’s eat!” Tomatoes are a wonderful source of lycopene, potassium, flavonoids, and vitamin C-- all nutrients that may help keep your ticker ticking.  A study from Tufts University found people who got the most lycopene in their diets, primarily from tomato sauce and fresh or canned tomatoes, saw a 26% reduction in coronary heart disease risk and 17% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Try Shakshuka, a spicy tomato sauce with poached egg whites, which uses tomato paste, possibly the most bioavailable source of lycopene in the diet.
  3. Apples: Could an apple a day really keep the doctor away? British researchers say maybe. According to their study, prescribing an apple a day to everyone over age 50 is likely to reduce the annual number of heart-related deaths just as well as if everyone were prescribed statins, medication that can lower cholesterol (and apples are much tastier!). Apples contain health-promoting nutrients such as quercetin, which has been shown in studies to help lower blood pressure, and other phytochemicals linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
  4. Cocoa: No wonder Valentine's Day and chocolate go hand in hand. Cocoa is packed with heart-healthy antioxidants like catechin and epicatechin and also contains a little fiber. According to research presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in 2014, the real chocolate power comes from good bacteria in the gut: friendly microbes such as lactic acid bacteria also snack on cocoa and ferment it, producing anti-inflammatory compounds that may lessen inflammation and reduce risk of stroke. Choose dark chocolate varieties with at least 70% cocoa to treat your heart decadently right.
  5. Strawberries: In a study from the University of Toronto, patients at risk for heart disease saw a 13% drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol after adding three cups of strawberries to their diets. Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C and manganese, both nutrients that can help fight free radicals, which can be damaging to the heart. Dark chocolate covered strawberries, anyone?

Source: http://newsletter.dole.com/2015/take-foods-heart/#sthash.EPGIiSJH.dpuf

Week of February 15

Lenten Heart Healthy Recipes!

Whole Wheat Tortellini with Broccoli


  • 9 ounces refrigerated whole wheat or regular three cheese-filled tortellini
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 15 ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup slivered pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup quartered cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh basil

In a deep large skillet bring 1 to 2 inches water to boiling. Add tortellini; cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in broccoli; cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Drain in colander. Return tortellini and broccoli to skillet.

Stir in beans, olives, oil, vinegar and red pepper. Heat through. Sprinkle with tomatoes, feta and basil.


Week of February 8

Food labels can be confusing. What should you look for when you want to buy foods healthy for your heart?

  1. First, check out the fat section of the label. Aim for foods low in saturated fat with zero grams of trans fat. Unsaturated fats are your heart healthy fats (found in healthy oils, nuts, seeds and avocados) so don't be afraid of these. They are actually good for you! Most people's total fat intake should in general be between 35-50 grams per day, with 90% of those fats coming from your heart healthy sources.
  2. Next up, the carbohydrate, sugar and fiber section. Aim for foods with a higher content of fiber (especially the soluble fiber!) and lower amounts of sugar. Aim for 25-35 grams of fiber per day to help fill you up and lower those LDL cholesterol levels.
  3. Last but not least, check out the ingredient section. Avoid foods with ingredients such as palm kernel oils, hydrogenated fats and bleached white flour.

Make your own trail mix recipe:

I find it healthier to mix your own trail mix than to buy those that are prepacked, which may or may not have added salt and sugars.

In a gallon size baggie, mix a variety from the following ingredients:

  • Carbohydrate options: Low salt pretzels, Cheerios (multigrain and regular), Kix
  • Fruit: dried fruit with no added sugars such as apples, bananas, strawberries
  • Seeds: sunflower, hemp, sesame, flax or pumpkin (Target has a great selection!)
  • Nuts: pistachios, walnuts, almonds
  • Sweets: Dark chocolate pieces, yogurt covered raisins, or chocolate covered nuts (in moderation!)
  • Spices: It's nice to spice up your trail mix every now and then to jazz it up a bit. Try cinnamon, curry, ginger, nutmeg, cayenne pepper.

In general a serving of trail mix is about 1/4 - 1/2 cup.  


Kelly Devine Rickert MS RD CSSD LDN

Week of February 1

Easy One Pot Beef/Pasta

Serves 6 (enough for leftovers!)


  • 1 pound of ground sirloin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 8 oz. dry whole wheat penne
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, low sodium
  • 4 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese
  • 3 oz. package fat free cream cheese
  • 3 oz. (3/4 cup) shredded Mozzarella Cheese


  1. Cook pasta according to directions, set aside.
  2. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a 5 quart pot or skillet over medium-high heat and cook beef. Set aside beef.
  3. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a 5 quart pot, add onion, sauté for 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 3 more. Add beef and sprinkle in a dash of salt. Add flour, cook 1 minute.

Like this recipe? Check out the Devine Nutrition Menu Planner! The “On the Go” dinner meal plan is designed for the individual or family that wants to eat healthier at home, but doesn’t know what to make or where to start. For $8.95 a month, you will receive 16 dinner meals (4 each week and a weekly shopping list)! All meals are designed to prep and make in 30 minutes or less. Along with your weekly email that includes your upcoming week’s menu and shopping list, you will also be able to login the Devine Nutrition website where you will have access to previous meal plans and shopping lists!

January 2016

Week of January 25

Tips to Avoid the "Freshman 15!"

Gaining weight when you first go away to school is not uncommon. But fortunately you can help prevent that weight gain by following these tips…

  • Weigh yourself once a week so you are not surprised by a fast gain in a couple months' time.

  • Schedule your workouts in your calendar just like you do classes. The Shannon Center has many options to choose from such as intramurals, exercise classes, running programs, the track and exercise equipment and much more. Utilize these services!

  • Stick to an eating schedule. Try not to skip meals and start the day off right by eating breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day! Even if you don’t have time to head to the cafeteria before class, grab something quick to eat from your room.

  • Keep healthy snacks on you to eat in between classes so you don’t rely on junk foods. Some ideas are protein or fiber bars, trail mix, fruit, nuts, peanut butter and crackers, low fat popcorn or pretzels. The Shannon Center also has a healthy vending machine just outside the gym.

  • Skip the sugary drinks and energy drinks and drink primarily water based beverages (least amount of calories) throughout the day. This will keep you more hydrated and craving less snack foods.

  • Sounds silly but wear fitted pants or jeans. If all you wear to class are pajama pants, you're less likely to realize you are full when eating. If you are wearing jeans every day and they start to feel a little snug, you know you need to head to the Shannon Center for some workouts!

  • And last but not least, the biggest offender of college weight gain is the late night eating/fast food consumption. Try and cut off your snacking at night to 10 p.m. (especially during midterms or finals!). Try and limit the fast foods or ordering take out late at night. Your waistline and wallet will thank you!

Week of January 18

Jump Start Plan!

Now is that time of year to pitch all the leftover cookies, dust off that treadmill and make those New Year’s resolutions. Focus on LIFESTYLE changes this year, not just quick fixes. Here are some tips to help you get jumpstarted!

  • Try to cut out ALL drinks except water, sugar free teas and Crystal lights and coffee (minus the sugar and creams). This includes juices, caffeine/energy drinks, sweetened teas and soda pops (diet and regular).
  • Start a food journal so you can keep track of the following items: time you eat, food or drink you consume, portion size, amount of time exercised, and weekly weight. If you are not losing at least 1 pound per week, go through the journal with a highlighter and see where you can improve. I recommend downloading My Fitness Pal on your smart phones if you want to journal electronically. (Find me as a friend by searching my email, nutritees@hotmail.com).
  • Eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day about every 2.5 to 4 hours. This will increase your metabolism and cut down on the amount of food you consume at your large meals.
  • Cut back on your portion of carbohydrates such as potatoes, fries, chips, buns, rice, breads, cookies, sweets, donuts, etc. Aim for a lean protein source at each meal with 1 or 2 vegetables.


Needing motivation? Check out the SXU Weight loss starting this Tuesday!

Shannon Center 8 Week Nutrition Weight Loss Program

  • Tuesday, January 19 from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

The class will meet every Tuesday night for 8 weeks. View the Nutrition Weight Loss flier (PDF) for pricing and information. For more information email Jennifer Quinlan at quinlan@sxu.edu.

For nutrition or exercise questions, contact:

Devine Nutrition

Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, CPT

ShannonCenter Nutritionist


* Not all products and advice are intended for each and every individual. It is recommended that individuals seek advice from their physician before starting on any diet or exercise routine.

Week of January 11

Looking for a jumpstart in 2016? Try these 5 rules over the next two weeks to rev up that metabolism and increase your energy!

Rule 1: Hydration
Rule 2: Sugar Detox
Rule 3: Small frequent meals
Rule 4: Protein at all meals
Rule 5: Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!

Rule 1: Hydration

  • Ditch the sugary and flavored drinks (Juices, sodas, sugary teas, diet sodas, flavored coffees, energy drinks)
  • 1-2 cups of coffee is still ok, but instead increase the amount of water you consume.
  • Flavor your water with lemon, cucumber, or fruit
  • How many ounces of water should you consume daily?
  • Minimum 64-80 oz. a day (or half your body weight)
  • More if exercising or if you have a higher sweat rate

Rule 2: Sugar Detox

  • Foods to omit the next two weeks:
  • Sugar (or High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • Equal/artificial sweeteners
  • WHITE foods (breads, rice, pasta, etc)
  • Sugary cereals
  • Potato by-products (fries, chips, etc)
  • Candy/junk food

Rule 3: Small Frequent Meals

  • Eat breakfast or a snack within 1 hour of waking up
  • Eat every 2.5-4 hours throughout the day
  • Stop eating 1-2 hours before bed
  • Balance your meals and snacks (no all carbohydrate meals or snacks)

Rule 4: Eat protein at all meals
Balance some protein with fiber at EVERY SINGLE MEAL OR SNACK.

  • Helps to maintain more steady blood sugar levels
  • Keeps you fuller longer
  • Maintains your muscle mass on a weight loss diet
  • Helps repair muscle fibers post exercise
  • Decreases sugar cravings!


  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week
  • Break it into smaller sessions if needed
  • Highly suggest a pedometer (Love me my Fitbits!)
  • Average your steps and increase by 1-2,000/day

Good luck!

~Kelly Devine Rickert MS RDN CSSD LDN

Week of January 4

Happy New Year!

I hope all of you are having some great successes in the start of your New Year's Resolutions. How can you be consistent in your goals? Take a look at these tips to help keep you motivated!

  1. Team up with a partner or group. Accountability is key no matter what your goal is. Set a specific meeting time and date and stick to it no matter what!
  2. Start going to an exercise class at the Shannon Center. HIGHLY recommend Bootcamp 101!
  3. Sign up for Kelly's 8 week weight loss class, starting January 19 or come to our monthly weigh in program! Contact Jen Quinlan at the Shannon Center for more details at 773-298-3778.
  4. Write your goals down and tape them somewhere where you can see them. Bathroom mirror or door, work cubicle, your planner, bedroom etc.
  5. Give yourself incentives. Money in a jar, new music, clothes, jewelry.

Good luck with staying on track with your goals this year!


Shannon Center Monthly Weigh-In and 30 Minute Nutrition Talk

  • Tuesday, January 5 at 12:30 p.m. or 7:00 p.m.

Do you need help staying on track?
Do you need accountability and education?
Do you want to continue your weight loss?

Then the monthly weigh-in program might be for you! The cost is $12 per person per month and it includes a 30 minute nutrition talk. Payment is due on the weigh-in day. For more information, please view our Monthly Weigh-In flier (PDF) or email Jennifer Quinlan at quinlan@sxu.edu

Shannon Center 8 Week Nutrition Weight Loss Program

  • Tuesday, January 19 from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

The class will meet every Tuesday night for 8 weeks. View the Nutrition Weight Loss flier (PDF) for pricing and information. For more information email Jennifer Quinlan at quinlan@sxu.edu.

For nutrition or exercise questions, contact:

Devine Nutrition

Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, CPT

ShannonCenter Nutritionist


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

For a FREE online nutrition newsletter, sign up at website above and enter your email.

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