Nutrition Tip of The Week
Spaghetti squash is a great low-carb alternative to pasta. Pasta nets about 220 calories per serving vs. only 42 calories in spaghetti squash! This is a great way to lower your calories and carbs if you are watching your weight. (You can also microwave the squash for quicker cooking time). You can put homemade tomato sauce and some parmesan cheese over the squash as an alternative or try the recipe below for a slight twist. Enjoy!
- 1 spaghetti squash (about 4 pounds), halved lengthwise, seeds removed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 tablespoon packed light-brown sugar
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup blanched hazelnuts (1 ounce), toasted and coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush cut sides of squash with oil, and sprinkle with sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Place squash, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly on sheet on a wire rack, about 10 minutes.
- Scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands. Place in a large bowl. Add oil, Parmesan, parsley, cilantro, hazelnuts, one teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Toss, and serve immediately.
Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2008
Greek Yogurt Smoothies and Popsicles
One of the best parts of summer is the abundance of fresh, in season, cheap fruits and vegetables. Why not make some homemade smoothies and treats with all those extra fruits lying around? Smoothies are great because you really don’t need a recipe. There are three main versions of smoothies:
- Fruit, ice, juice and water (fruit smoothie)
- Fruit, ice and yogurt (yogurt smoothie)
- Fruit with yogurt, juice or water, and protein powder (protein shake)
Whichever method you like best, all you need to do is pick two or three fruits, blend with some Greek yogurt, low sugar juice or water, and viola! You have yourself a smoothie. You can also save your leftover smoothie and freeze it into popsicle molds or freeze in small dixie cups with a stick in middle. (Enter popsicle molds into any search engine and results will show fantastic molds available to purchase.)
Greek Yogurt Smoothie
- 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons old fashioned oats
- 1-2 tablespoons agave
- Combine strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, banana, Greek yogurt, oats, agave and 1 cup ice in blender until smooth.
- Serve immediately.
- You can combine any fruit combos in a smoothie. Add 1 scoop whey protein powder for some added protein.
Strawberry Mango Yogurt Swirl Pops
- 3/4 cup pureed strawberries (about 1 ½ cups of whole ripe strawberries)
- 3/4 cup pureed mangos (about 1 ½ cups of ripe mango slices)
- 1.5 cup white grape juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 16 ounces Greek yogurt (I used Yoplait honey vanilla, but any flavor will work!)
- In a blender, puree strawberries with 1 tablespoon of honey and 3/4 cup white grape juice, set aside.
- Clean blender, then puree sliced mango with 1 tablespoon of honey and 3/4 cup white grape juice, set aside.
- Layer the popsicles as follows; 2 teaspoons strawberry puree, than 1 teaspoon yogurt, 2 teaspoons mango puree and repeat. Make a fruit puree your last layer. Use a small spoon to drag vertically from the bottom to the top of the mold a few times to create a swirled pattern. Gently tap the molds on the counter top to remove any air bubbles.
- Insert the popsicle sticks, then freeze for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
Quickie Microwave Egg Breakfast!
This is a GREAT quickie breakfast for you to make before heading out to work or school. I also encourage kids and teens to try this as well.
- 3 large or extra-large egg whites OR 1-2 large or extra-large eggs
- Place desired diced veggies in a bowl with a splash of water and cover with a paper towel. Microwave for about 30 seconds so veggies are cooked through.
- In a small to medium microwave safe bowl, place the egg whites or egg with veggies and add seasonings (sea salt, pepper, garlic, basil, oregano, paprika, cumin, chili powder, you name it. Pick a few and get creative!).
- Using a whisk or fork, mix until frothy. (Add a dash of milk if wanted.)
- Place in microwave and cook on full power. Cook egg whites for 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds or regular egg about 30-45 seconds.
- When finished, sprinkle some shredded cheese on top and microwave for 10-15 more seconds.
- Add cooked egg to a whole grain or low carb wrap, bagel thin or English muffin (I recommend Thomas Light English Muffins).
This is a great way to start off your day with more protein. Balance out your eggs with a side of carbs or fruit and a glass of milk or juice. Enjoy!
Watermelon… Magic Fruit?
Having difficulty with eyesight? Body fat reduction? Or cardiovascular health? Who knew watermelon can assist with all of these issues! Watermelon is not only an amazing and fun summer treat, it is also beneficial in the following ways:
- Body Fat Reduction: Watermelons contain the amino acid citrulline, which goes through a series of steps that results in our fat cells creating less fat than usual.
- Bone and Cardiovascular Health: Large amounts of watermelon has been linked to improved blood flow through relaxing blood pressure. Additionally, watermelon contains lycopene which promotes bone health, due to the lessening of oxidative stress, therefore improving bone strength. Watermelon also contains potassium which assists in calcium retention in ones bones.
- Antioxidant: Watermelon is rich in flavonoids, carotenoids and triterpenoids. Lycopene is a cartenoid that reduces chances of inflammations by eliminating free radicals that can infect the body.
- Diuretic and Hydration: Watermelon is about 92% water content. Therefore it is a natural diuretic that increases urination without putting stress on the kidneys like alcohol or caffeine does.
- Improves Eye Health: Watermelon is a wonderful source of beta-carotene or vitamin A. Vitamin A assists in skin, teeth and eye health.
So make sure to indulge in this sweet treat as often as possible this summer!
3 cups watermelon
1 1/2 cups strawberries
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup ice
sugar, to taste (I use Stevia sweetener)
Read More: Watermelon Strawberry Smoothie Recipe
Here are some suggestions on how to navigate summer BBQs without adding on the pounds!
- If you know you are heading to a party, cut back a little on calories the couple meals before you go. For example, eat a salad instead of a sandwich for lunch.
- Add in some extra time in your workout if you know ahead of time you are heading to a party. Or if you overdid it at the party, tack on extra time in your workout the next day.
- Don’t go to your party hungry! Eat a small snack an hour or two before you head out so you don’t start picking at all the appetizers at the party.
- Scope out the buffet ahead of time to see what's on the menu. Then pick and choose.
- Limit items with mayo (potato salad, coleslaw, pasta salad).
- Always choose salad, vegetables or fruit as one of your sides.
- Choose leaner meats such as grilled chicken. If you are serving hamburgers, make the patties out of 90-95% lean sirloin instead of the boxed burgers from the freezer section.
- Limit the chips and desserts. If you choose one just watch your portions.
- Don’t forget that high calories beverages (alcohol, soda, lemonade, etc) can add in a lot of extra calories.
- The main goal is to not overeat, so watch your portions but don’t forget to have a great time!
Have a safe and fun filled Fourth of July Holiday!
God Bless America!
Wave Your Flag Cake
- 1 quart strawberries, divided
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 pkg. (8 serving size) JELL-O Brand Gelatin, any red flavor
- Ice cubes
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 (12 ounce) package pound cake, cut into 10 slices
- 1 1/3 cups blueberries, divided
- 1 (8 ounce) tub COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
- Slice 1 cup of the strawberries; set aside. Halve remaining strawberries; set aside.
- Stir boiling water into dry gelatin mix in large bowl for 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Add enough ice to cold water to measure 2 cups. Add to gelatin. Stir until ice is melted. Refrigerate 5 minutes or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites). Meanwhile, line bottom of 13 x 9-inch dish with cake slices. Add sliced strawberries and 1 cup of the blueberries to thickened gelatin; stir gently. Spoon over cake slice.
- Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Spread whipped topping over gelatin. Arrange strawberry halves on whipped topping for ‘stripes’ of ‘flag.’ Arrange remaining 1/3 cup blueberries on whipped topping for ‘stars.’ Store leftover cake in refrigerator.
During these hot summer months it can be difficult to stay motivated to run or stay active. Intrinsic motivation is key to continuing to run throughout the summer. Try using running in the morning as a mechanism for relaxation -- prepare and plan your day and clear your mind as you run.
In order to continue running for long-term, you need to find one main reason why you enjoy it and focus on that reason every time you want to skip a day.
Most important part of running in summer is hydration!
- Compete against yourself and others: sign up for that 5 or 10K or simply run with a neighbor every morning or try to improve your mile each week.
- Challenge yourself: try logging more miles in July than you did in June.
- Join mall walking or biking clubs to stay active this summer!
- Participate in water aerobics or swimming lessons with the kids
- Incorporate physical activity in every family outing
- Start everyday of a summer vacation with a long walk or run to appreciate where you are
- Get together a picnic bag and go for a hike
- Bike ride on Lake Shore Drive for a great view of the city!
Source: Runner’s World Magazine.
Here are 15 ways to incorporate fresh vegetables to vegetable haters!
- Vegetables/fruit smoothie: Banana, peanut-butter, milk and kale smoothie
- Grilled vegetable kebobs
- Serve them as the only appetizer: vegetables and humus
- Add vegetables to dishes you already love: macaroni & cheese with peas
- Sneak vegetables into spaghetti and pizza
- Celery sticks with peanut butter or light cream cheese
- Stuff tomatoes and bell peppers with brown rice, spices and vegetables
- Add sundried tomato to sandwiches
- Stir fry vegetables
- Mix vegetables into your morning eggs
- Sauté vegetables with a sprinkle of cream cheese and add to your oatmeal
- Use squash as noodles
- Try a veggie grilled cheese
- Bake an egg in an avocado
- Lightly coat kale with olive oil and a pinch of salt and place in oven for kale chips
Fresh Vegetables This Summer Include:
- High fiber, antioxidants and vitamins C and K
- Try them in pasta dishes and spinach artichoke dip
- Asparagus contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E and the antioxidant GSH
- Try them grilled or roasted with fresh parmesan cheese or lemon sprinkled on top or in pasta or salad dish
In addition: spring onions, radishes, baby carrots, rhubarb, fennel, leeks, mint, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, fava beans and beets.
June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month!
It’s time to start hitting those Farmer’s Market’s! A common complaint people make about produce is the amount of produce they throw away from spoilage or from not being used.
Here are some ways to store your fruit & vegetables for optimal flavor.
Store in the Refrigerator
- Fruit: apples (more than 7 days), apricots, Asian pears, berries, cherries, cut fruits, figs, grapes
- Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, green beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cut vegetables, herbs (expect basil), leafy vegetables, peas, mushrooms, radishes, spinach, sweet corn
Ripen on the Counter First, then Refrigerate
- avocados, kiwi, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums
Store Only at Room Temperature
- Fruit: apples, bananas, citrus fruits, mangoes, melons, papayas, pineapple, plantain, pomegranate
- Vegetables: basil (in water), cucumber, eggplant, garlic, ginger, onions, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes
Refrigeration can cause cold damage and prevent ripening to an optimal flavor and texture. For example, pink tomatoes will ripen and turn red only at room temperature. Keep fruits and vegetables away from direct sunlight, store in a well-ventilated pantry. Rinse produce under running tap water immediately prior to use.
Summer, Sun and Eating Smart!
- Eat before going to a party.
- Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables and the other half grains and protein sources.
- Avoid sitting or standing near food tables.
- Use smaller plates, and fill it ONCE!
- Avoid crème based foods.
- Split your dessert with someone.
- Stay hydrated.
Tomato & Mozzarella Kabobs
- 20 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 20 fresh basil leaves
- 20 small balls fresh mozzarella cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 20 toothpicks
- Using a toothpick, spear a half of a tomato, a leaf of basil, a mozzarella ball, and another half of a tomato. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- Place on a serving dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix the vinegar and oil together in a small bowl to serve as a dipping sauce.
Tropical Chicken and Brown Rice
- 3 ounces raw, skinless, boneless chicken breast (thawed)
- 1 cup frozen vegetables (Green Giant Antioxidant Blend: Olive Oil Seasoning)
- 1/3 cup bagged dry brown rice
- 4 ounces pineapple
- ¼ cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 dash Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper, lime juice, lemon juice (optional)
- Place dry rice in rice cooker. Add roughly 2/3-1 cup of water. Close lid to rice cooker and press button to start.
- Season chicken as desired (optional).
- Turn griddle on to medium heat. Allow to heat up for roughly 10 minutes. (The low heat setting may not cook the chicken completely, while the high heat setting may char the chicken or cause it to cook too dry.)
- Place chicken on griddle. Flip chicken as soon as downside of meat appears cooked. Remove chicken from griddle when other side appears cooked. (Before eating, cut into chicken to make sure that it is white all of the way through, with no pinkness or rawness even in the middle. If chicken is found to not be thoroughly cooked, place back on griddle until it is fully cooked through.)
- To steam vegetables in microwave, follow instructions on package as directed.
- Putting it All Together
- When rice, chicken and vegetables are finished cooking, place prepared rice, chicken and vegetables on each plate
- Add pineapple, reduced-fat shredded cheese and seasoning as desired (optional).
- Enjoy your tropical creation!
Don't forget! Shannon Center Eight-Week Nutrition Counseling Class begins on Wednesday, June 4. There will be eight classroom lessons (a mix of in-person sessions and online lessons) provided from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Shannon Center. If you are interested, please Contact Kristy Allen at 773-298-3586 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas
Broccoli and Feta Omelet and Toast
(Yields 1 omelet, 2 pieces toast):
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
- 2 slices rye bread, toasted
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add broccoli, and cook 3 minutes.
- Combine egg, feta, and dill in a small bowl. Add egg mixture to pan. Cook 3 to 4 minutes; flip omelet and cook 2 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with toast.
Per Serving: Calories 390, Fat 19g, Saturated Fat 6g, Monounsaturated fat 5g, Polyunsaturated 2g, protein 23g, Carbohydrates 35g, Fiber 6g, Cholesterol; 440mg, Sodium 550mg,
BBQ Turkey Burgers *15 Minutes
(Yields 4 burgers):
- 1 pound ground dark-meat turkey
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices sweet onion, grilled
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
- 4 (1.6-oz) sesame seed buns,
1. In medium bowl, gently mix together turkey, garlic, paprika and cumin.
2. Form turkey into 4 (4-inch) patties; season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat grill to medium-high; cook, turning once, until burgers are just cooked through (about 7 minutes per side). Serve with desired toppings and buns.
For 1 Turkey Burger: Calories 324, Fat 11g, Saturated Fat 2.7g, Monounsaturated fat 3.3g, Polyunsaturated 3.9g, protein 28g, Carbohydrates 28g, Fiber 1g, Cholesterol 75mg, Sodium 387mg.
Healthy Grocery Store Tips
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store for nutrient dense foods (produce, meats/seafood/poultry, dairy).
- Plan ahead. Create weekly menus based on seasonal foods/sales and make a grocery list before shopping.
- Never shop hungry. Avoid purchasing high calorie/high fat foods by eating a small snack before going shopping.
- Choose whole grains instead of refined grains for more fiber, B-vitamins and minerals.
- Read nutrition labels carefully. Choose nutritious products with less fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and sodium.
Here’s where we make ½ of our plate fruits and vegetables:
- Choose a colorful rainbow of produce that are rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
- Purchase produce that is in-season for maximum flavor and value.
- Wash produce under running tap water just before consuming it as it will spoil faster when washed.
Go lean with protein:
- Choose boneless, skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets, lean beef and pork, and seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and trout.
- Eggs are a great inexpensive protein source.
- Broil, grill, roast, poach or boil meat, poultry or fish instead of frying.
- Avoid processed meats high in sodium such as ham, sausage, frankfurters, and luncheon or deli meats.
- Store raw meat, poultry and seafood on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator so juices don’t drip onto other foods.
Dairy foods are an excellent source of bone-building calcium and vitamin D:
- Select non-fat or low-fat dairy options.
- Aim for three cups per day.
- Good sources include 1% or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese.
- Make this section of the store the last on your shopping list and refrigerate promptly.
Ways to add in more fruits and vegetables in your diet!
How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you consume in one day? The recommended amount is 5-9 servings. Many people fall short of this goal. How do you measure up? Here are some example serving sizes and ways you can sneak some more fruits and veggies in your diet!
- Fruit - size of tennis or baseball or 6 oz juice (Limit 1 serving of juice per day)
- Vegetables: 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw
What you need:
- Snack sized baggies, reusable plastic containers or small containers for dips/dressings
- Fruit/vegetables of choice, fresh or frozen, pre-sliced
- Low fat or light yogurt or greek yogurt
- Light Italian dressing (or make your own from olive oil, balsamic vinegar and seasonings)
- Light ranch dressing (or make your own from greek yogurt - check out this recipe)
- Light vinaigrette dressings (love Paul Newman dressings!)
- EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- Low fat cheese cubes
- Egg Beaters
- Wheat or corn 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 serving 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 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 add a salad each night at dinner.
* Make a rule to bring at least one fruit or vegetables with you to work or school 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.
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Here are some refreshing smoothie recipes that you can take advantage of this spring to help detox those winter diets! Now that more fruits are in season, try to make a smoothie a couple times a week to get in your fruit servings. These are quick to make and you can even freeze them to make popsicles (just pour into Dixie cups and freeze!)
Banana Berry Smoothie
- 1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt or Greek yogurt (Try Dannon 80 cal yogurt)
- 1/2 medium size ripe banana, peeled, sliced
- 3 Stevia packets (a natural sweetner)
- 1/2 cup frozen unsweetened whole strawberries
- 1/4 cup frozen unsweetened red raspberries
- Combine yogurt, banana, stevia and lemon juice in blender or food processor. Cover. Blend until smooth.
- Add half of frozen fruit. Blend until smooth. Repeat with remaining frozen fruit.
- Add ½ to 1 scoop of whey protein powder for added protein.
Orange Creamsicle Protein Shake
- 2 scoops whey protein in vanilla (Use 1 for less calories)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or skim milk
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1-2 packets Stevia
- 3-5 ice cubes
- Blend fruit, water.
- Add ice and banana.
15 Ways to Burn 100 calories!
Now that the Easter holiday has come and gone, it is time to get focused on getting ready for those summer clothes! Ditch the chocolate bunnies and peeps, and burn some calories with these exercises below.
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
- Rake those leftover leaves from fall for 20 minutes
- Life weights for 20-30 minutes
- Playing tennis for 20 minutes
- Play Wii boxing or tennis for 20 minutes
- Swim laps for 12 minutes
- Mow the lawn for 20 minutes
- Running Stairs for 6 minutes
- Yoga for 20 minutes
- Jump rope for 9 minutes
- Dance class (or just dance!) for 9 minutes
- Cleaning the house for 30 minutes
Optimize Your Workouts!
- Eat smaller more frequent meals throughout the day (every 3-4 hours). This helps to maintain steady blood sugars and energy levels, leading to better quality workouts in the afternoon/evening hours. Eating more frequently also helps to maintain lean muscle mass and decrease fat stores.
- Plan ahead. Create weekly menus based on seasonal foods/sales and make a grocery list BEFORE shopping
- Skip the fast foods. By packing and bringing foods with you each day, you ensure the foods you are eating are in YOUR control.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Skip the sodas and sugary coffee drinks, and drink plenty of water (64-80 oz. a day at least).
- Carbohydrates are more important prior to vigorous exercise.
- Aim for 30-60 grams of easily digestible carbs one hour before exercise. (Lay off the fiber!)
- Keep snacks low in fat and fiber to avoid an upset stomach.
- ½ sandwich and a banana
- Protein bar
- Yogurt with granola and fruit
- Protein and Carbs are key for recovery.
- 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.
- 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
- A protein/carbohydrate bar
- Chocolate milk
Exercising for Weight Loss
- If your pre- or post-workout snack is close to a meal, skip it.
- No need to refuel after light workouts (walking, yoga or any workout under 60 minutes).
- Skip the sugary drinks and drink water instead.
- Don’t skip meals throughout the day. This will decrease your energy levels and set you up to overeat later.
Spring Clean Your Diet!
It’s time to spring clean those kitchen cabinets and pantry! Every now and then it's nice to clean up your diet and weed out some of the junk that may have snuck into your cabinets over the winter. Here are some tips on what to clear out and what to add in.
- Go through your kitchen (cabinets, pantry, freezer and refrigerator) and throw out all of your expired food and/or half empty bags of stale food. Don’t forget to recycle all of the cans and cardboard. Also, keep your local food pantries in mind when getting rid of food.
- Sanitize your fridge/cabinets so that bacteria have no room for growth. Clorox works great. For a safer and less harsh way to sanitize, try equal parts warm water and vinegar.
- Purge the leftover candy hanging around from the recent holidays.
- Skip fast food, vending machines and gas station snacks and foods. Instead, go grocery shopping on a WEEKLY basis. This ensures that you will stay on budget, decrease last minute fast food drive thru’s and skip the vending machine/gas station foods altogether. When you go shopping, make a list so you have healthy foods available for the whole week.
- Aim to eat at least one fruit or vegetable at each meal or snack every day. This will help to cut back on sodium and “snack foods”. Even pretzels, 100-calorie packs and protein bars can have excess salt and fats in them. Adding more fruits and vegetables adds fiber and rich antioxidants in our diets and helps to decrease your hunger.
- Skip the artificial sugars, sodas and energy drinks and replace with water or non-sugary teas.
- Focus on the quality of the foods you are eating. It’s more than just calories in, calories out. Are you consuming enough calcium? Vitamin D? Vitamin A? Iron? Fiber? Journal your foods for a week and see where you can make some improvements.
- Not sure if your diet is missing nutrients? Seek out a registered dietitian who can analyze your diet and make recommendations based on your age and goals. (See below for Kelly’s contact info.)
Snacks by Carbohydrate Amount
7 Snacks with 10 Grams of Carbohydrate or Less
1. Low-fat string cheese
2. Celery, cucumbers, pepper strips in 2 tbsp. hummus or low-calorie dip
3. V-8 Juice
4. Six almonds or walnuts
5. 10 peanuts
6. Hard-boiled egg
7. Five olives
7 Snacks with 15 Grams of Carbohydrates or Less
1. 1.5 graham cracker with 1 tbsp. peanut butter
2. Popcorn, 3 cups
3. 1 oz. low-fat cheese and five wheat crackers
4. Light yogurt (carbohydrates vary, read the label)
5. Small apple with 2 tsp. peanut butter
6. Two rice cakes and spreadable cheese
7. ½ cup cottage cheese and ½ cup melon
14 Snacks with 30 Grams of Carbohydrates or Less
1. ¾ cup Cheerios and ½ cup skim milk
2. ½ banana with 1 tbsp. peanut butter
3. ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese and ½ cup berries
4. Protein bar (read label for carbohydrate content)
5. Selected low-sugar granola type bars (read label for carbohydrate content)
6. Pear and 1 oz. low-fat cheese
7. 12 crackers and spreadable cheese
8. Two slices of whole wheat bread with ¼ cup tuna salad or sliced turkey
9. 1 oz. soy nuts and three cups popcorn
10. 12 low-fat tortilla chips and salsa
11. ½ cup of oatmeal with ½ cup milk
12. Sugar-free Carnation Essential packet in 1 cup milk
13. Light fruited yogurt with sprinkle of walnuts
14. 1 oz. pita chips, veggies, and 4 tbsp. hummus
The Non-diet Diet Approach
Often times, people use the word “diet” to mean they are changing their food habits, restricting calories, etc. to lose weight. But diet can mean so much more. A person’s diet reflects the food they are eating, day in and day out. Here are some ways you can start to change your attitude about “dieting” to improve your overall health and diet.
- Skip any sort of meal plan that restricts or cuts out entire food groups. It is not realistic, nor healthy.
- Focus on getting more bang for your buck from the food you consume. For example, which option is healthier: a 100 cal pack of cookies or a piece of fruit? The fruit will give you fiber and antioxidants, among other benefits. Take a look at your typical day. Which choices can you improve? Zone in and make small changes each day.
- Stop the guilt trips! Contrary to popular belief, the universe will not stop if you eat a cookie! Everything in moderation is key and that includes indulging from time to time. If you are craving a food or meal, give in every now and then, watch the portions, savor it and move on. This way you won’t keep thinking about that cookie that you are craving all day!
- Eat for your mind, body and spirit! Fuel yourself with foods that will make you stronger, think clearer, have more energy. Switching the focus from, “I have to cut as many calories as I can” to “I am eating wholesome foods to give me more energy” is changing your thinking in a more positive direction.
Most important meal of the day… Breakfast!
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! It jump starts your metabolism first thing in the morning after a long period of rest. Many people skip breakfast because they don’t know what to eat or don’t make the time for it. Here are some ideas for quick grab and go items. My rule is to start the day out with some lean protein and fiber.
- Light or Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup low fat granola and 1 piece of fruit
- 1 100%whole wheat Bagel Thin with 2 tbsp peanut butter, glass of milk and banana
- 1 oatmeal packet with handful of walnuts
- 2 wheat waffles with honey and peanut butter, 1 cup milk
- Protein bar and pc fruit
- Smoothie/protein shake and banana
- 3 egg white omelet with chopped vegetables and sprinkle of 2% cheese, side of fruit or toast with glass of milk
Aim for about 250-400 calories for your breakfast depending on your calorie needs
Don't forget to take the 5 minutes to eat!
Weekends tend to be a tough time for people to stay on track of their diet and exercise program. Why is this? There are many reasons, but here are a few: change in routine, less meal times, eating out more, higher calorie foods at parties, restaurants, alcoholic beverages, errand running, you name it!
So what can you do on the weekend to stay on track?
- Plan your big meals.
- Bring along healthy snacks so you can still stay on track with your small meals
- examples: protein and granola bars, protein shakes, 100 cal packs of nuts, fruit, pb sandwich
- Always have a water bottle on hand
- Use your slow cooker for Saturday and Sunday evening meals
- Skip the restaurant/fast foods
- WATCH THE SALT!
- Weigh yourself every Monday morning
- Journal, journal, journal!
- Don’t go to parties hungry
- Eat breakfast
- Wake up early Saturday morning and work out
- Shop, cut up and set aside food for easy meals during the week
A study from Tufts University looked at the link between sugary drinks and the nutrition habits of over 900 adults. Results showed that those who drank the largest amounts of sugary drinks were at a higher risk of obesity and had a lower intake of fiber. What does this mean for you? Cut out the sugary, empty-calorie drinks! Take a look at some common offenders.
Grams of Sugar
|Monster 16 oz||200||54 g|
|Frappuccino Café Vanilla||420||70 g|
|Coke 20 oz bottle||239||67 g|
|Medium McDonalds Sweet Tea||184||45 g|
|16 oz Lemonade||232||62 g|
See how just a couple sugary drinks per day or even in a week can add up in calories and grams of sugar? The best advice is to cut out all sugary drinks and replace with pure water. But if you are in the mood for something a little sweeter, try one of these low-sugar drinks:
- Crystal Light
- Sobe Life Water
- Vitamin Water Zero
- Sugar free teas (Diet Liptons)
- Unsweetened tea
- Water with cut up slices of lemon, strawberries, cucumbers or oranges
At a minimum, try to consume 64-80 oz of water per day. This number should increase if you are exercising (add 16 oz), if it is very hot or humid weather, or if you have consumed a high salt meal. With this weather we are having, sometimes we don’t think about our water intake like we should.
Another way to gauge if you are drinking enough is the “pee test”. When you urinate, the darker the color, the more dehydrated you are. So drink up! If your urine is totally clear, you are probably drinking too much.
RD Approved Heart Health Tips!
With the holiday season behind us (and hopefully this winter weather soon too!), it is time to refocus your goals and get back on track with healthier eating and more activity. What better time to start than National Heart Month?
Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of Americans? Here are 10 Heart Healthy tips on how you can reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Get moving! Incorporate more physical activity every day, outside of scheduled workouts. Walk when possible, take the stairs, and park further away from the entrance. Wearing a pedometer such as a Fitbit can also increase your day to day activity.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Research shows the higher your BMI, the more at risk you are of heart disease, diabetes and other health problems.
- Ditch the salt shaker! Trimming your sodium intake to 1500 mg or less a day can help keep your blood pressure levels within normal range. (Normal blood pressure is less than 120 mm Hg systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic or <120/80)
- Increase the omega 3s. Aim for at least two servings a week of an oily fish such as salmon or a heart healthy nut such as almonds or walnuts.
- Aim for five (to nine) a day! Fruits and vegetables pack quite the punch! The more produce you eat, the higher your intake will be of heart healthy soluble fiber and antioxidants! Fruits and veggies help fill you up and also help to ward off hunger.
- Quit smoking! Smoking can damage your entire circulatory system and increases your risk for coronary heart disease among other problems. Enlist the help of your physician and contact your local hospital for Quit Smoking programs.
- Maintain healthy cholesterol/blood sugar levels. Many people don’t realize how much of a role your cholesterol levels and blood sugars play in your heart health. The Heart Association considers diabetes one of the six major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Aim to reduce or keep your fasting blood sugar under 100 mg/dL.
- Fiber is your friend! Did you know that a diet high in fiber can actually reduce your blood cholesterol levels? For men aim for 30 grams/day and for women 25 grams. Oatmeal, produce, nuts, whole grain cereals, breads and pastas are a great source of fiber.
- Watch the Fats! We can’t talk about a heart healthy diet without discussing fats, the good vs. the bad. Aim for most of your fat intake to come from heart healthy sources such as nuts, seeds, vegetable based oils like canola or olive, and avocados. Decrease the saturated and trans fats when you can, found in many processed foods such as fast foods, packaged snack foods and fatty, darker meats such as pork, beef, sausage and bacon.
- Keep a log. Keeping a log of your foods can help you determine what lifestyle choices you need to focus on. By writing down everything that you eat and drink, you become more aware of what foods you are consuming. You can also try a electronic app such as Lose It! Or MyFitness Pal.
Heart Healthy Trailmix
- 1 cup cereal, 100% whole-grain (Kashi Heart to Heart or Cascadian Farm Cinnamon Crunch)
- 2 tablespoons nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, or pecans)
- 2 tablespoons fruit, dried, assorted (such as raisins, cranberries, or chopped apricots)
- 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips (optional)
Combine the cereal with the nuts, dried fruit and chocolate chips (if using) in a sealable sandwich bag.
Weight Loss Ups and Downs
I hope all participants are having some great successes in the Biggest Loser Challenge. If you are losing weight at a consistent rate, great job and keep up the work. If you are not able to lose as much or as fast as you would like, here are some tips for keeping up the momentum.
- Fat weight loss will be slower so don’t expect to post huge numbers the whole program. Many times people lose a lot at first (5-10 pounds the first month) but the weight loss eventually slows to 1/2 to 2 pound weight loss per week. This is normal and you are ensuring that it is fat weight you are losing and that it will stay off for good!
- Don’t forget to weigh in! No matter how frustrating it is, keep up with the weekly weigh-ins. This keeps you accountable and on track throughout the program.
- Don’t forget to do the food journal. By and far, this is the one consistent trick people use to lose weight. I know it can be tedious, but it will hold you accountable for every food choice to make. You can keep a paper journal or download a free app for program such as Lose It! Or My Fitness Pal. (I prefer Lose It!)
- 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 foods too much? Are you drinking too much soda and not enough water? Are you exercising? Take a look and see for yourself how you are doing. 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 with me every day so I don’t snack on candy or go to the vending machine).
- Don’t forget to increase or change up your exercise routine! Interval workouts are great. Try Bootcamp 101 in the Shannon Center Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. for a new workout in your routine. Bootcamp can typically burn from 400-700 calories in an hour!
- Vary your food from day to day. Many times 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 two to four choices for breakfast, lunch and your snacks. This way you will be eating different combinations of foods each day.
- Watch those leftover sweets from Valentine’s Day! A few chocolates a day add up fast!
- Keep in mind, everything in moderation. If you have a big event coming up, where you know you will consume more calories, eat a little lighter during the day or get in some extra time at the gym to compensate for it. Weight loss is a journey and it’s not realistic to cut yourself off from social events. You can fit anything in your diet as long as you plan for it!
To journal or not to journal?
Food journaling is one of the easiest 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 drink and how much (portion size).
- If you are a smart phone or tablet user, I suggest downloading Lose It! or MyFitnessPal to journal electronically. You can add me as a friend at email@example.com.
- Journal the food as you eat it, not at the end of the day when you have trouble remembering everything you consumed
- Don’t forget the drinks such as Gatorade, juice or supplements.
Some things to review once you have been journaling for 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 a day.
- Are your portions too large? Aim for 250-400 calories per meal if you can.
Stay tuned next week for more tips on portion sizes! Happy journaling!
For Kelly’s FREE online nutrition newsletter, sign up at www.kellydevinenutrition.com.
Are detoxes and cleanses a good idea?
Detoxes and cleanses have become quite popular. The idea behind them is to “purge” your body of all 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, gain energy, lose inches off your stomach, etc.
The problem is that 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 - dietitian approved!
Try this detox plan for a solid two weeks:
REMOVE from your diet:
- soda (including diet) drinks
- energy and caffeinated drinks
- artificial sweeteners
- cookies, sweets & candy
- prepackaged foods (100 calorie packs, granola bars, pasta and rice sides,etc)
- fast foods
Basically, you should eliminate anything in your diet that comes from a package or has more than three ingredients for 14 days!
Here are some foods and beverages to ADD to your diet that will help 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 okay)
- 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 back in after the first 2 weeks.)
Notice the difference in your energy level! 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 the results of a healthy diet!
Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RD, CSSD LDN, CPT
The Shannon Center Nutritionist
www.kellydevinenutrition.com for a FREE newsletter!
Biggest Loser Fitness Challenge
Good luck to all of the Shannon Center Biggest Loser Fitness Challenge contestants! Here are some tips to jump start your weight loss.
- Keep a food log.
- Plan your main meals one week in advance (and make a grocery list when planning).
- Cut out the fast foods and vending machine foods.
- Water, water, water, water, water. Did I mention you should increase your water intake?
- Exercise! The more you move, the faster you lose!
Now that the holidays have come and gone, it's time to clear the house and office of all the leftover candy and cookies and replace them with healthy, energizing foods to help you meet your fitness goals of 2014!
What foods should you be eating? With all the wealth of nutrition and fitness information out there, it can be confusing. Here are some simple tips to reboot your winter diet.
Prep, prep, prep! That healthy snack or lunch is NOT going to magically appear before you when it's time to eat. You first need to make a grocery list and go shopping. Think you're done? Wrong! Take a couple of minutes after grocery shopping to cut, chop and package up those fruits, veggies, nuts, low-fat cheeses and pretzels. Once these foods are in ready-to-go containers, aim to eat a meal or snack every few hours to boost your metabolism and energy levels. Pack your lunch and at least 1 or 2 healthy snacks so you always have something ready 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 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, ½ cup trail mix, 1 serving of pretzels and a piece of string cheese, or some chopped veggies and hummus.
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 (i.e. quinoa, sweet potato, whole grain pasta). Carbs don't have to be your enemy - in fact, they should be every runner's friend!
Are you looking for some healthier snacks to munch on during the day? Try this quick recipe. Pair with some cut up veggies such as red or green peppers, or 1 serving of pretzels or whole grain crackers.
Chunky Vegetable Hummus Dip
- 1 container hummus
- 1/2 cup chopped cucumbers
- 1 plum tomato chopped
- 1/4 c feta cheese
- 1/4 c chopped red onion
Mix well and add to 1 serving of whole grain crackers
Also, here is a list of 50 clean eating healthy snacks! Enjoy!
Looking to get a jump start on your weight loss this winter? Look no further than the SXU weight loss class! Registration is open for the 8 Week Nutrition Weight Loss Class that begins on Tuesday, January 28, 2014!
Contact Kristy Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-298-3586 with any questions.
New Years Resolutions: Your Jump Start Plan!
Now is that time of the year to throw out 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 jump started!
- Cut out ALL drinks except water, sugar-free teas, 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 Lose It on your smart phones if you want to journal electronically. (Find me as a friend by searching my email email@example.com)
- Eat five to six 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. Weight loss will go faster if you cut back on these foods. If you are having a carbohydrate at a meal, measure it and record in your journal.
Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, CPT
Twitter: @Devine Nutrition
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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
Owner, Devine Nutrition