Saint Xavier University Chicago Campus

Nutrition Tip of the Week

Nutrition Tip of The Week

Below are nutrition tips for the current year. They are updated on a weekly basis. If you would like to see nutrition tips from previous years check out our archives to the left.

April 2017

Week of April 17

Tip to go here.

Week of April 10

Easter Holiday Tips

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 even better...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. (Check out my two favorite water cups, Aqua Tally and Hidrate Bottle!)
  3. Get a moving! Below are some quick ways to burn 100 kcals.

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
  • Jump rope for 9 minutes
  • Dance class (or just dance!) for 9 minutes
  • Cleaning the house for 30 minutes

Week of April 3

Devine Nutrition April Sit-Up Challenge!

Time to get those abs ready for summer! Try our April Sit-Up Challenge!


  1. Sign up online for the April Sit-Up Challenge!
  2. Download the April Sit-Up Challenge Tracking Form (PDF) and each day/night as you do your sit-ups, put your initials in the box. You can choose a beginner or intermediate level. 
  3. Scan and email or fax your logs in by May 5, 2017 to be entered into a raffle to win one free month of the Devine Nutrition On the Go Menu Planner and an Aqua Tally water cup!

Good luck! Feel free to invite your family and friends!

March 2017

Week of March 27

Let's Talk Exercise!

Whether you are trying to get in shape or lose a couple of pounds, combining exercise and diet is the best way to go. Here are some tips on how to get started and some general exercise guidelines.

How to get started!

  • Make a goal and stick with it (i.e. I will workout three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 6 p.m.)
  • Record your exercise in your food journal so you can add up how many times a week you exercised or how calories you burned in a week.
  • Start slowly! Nothing is worse that going full steam ahead your first day of working out. You will either get injured or be so sore you won't go to the gym the next day! Moderation is key!
  • Aim for at least 3-6 days of cardio a week and 2-3 days of strength training per week.
  • If you are unsure on how to use the equipment, hire a personal trainer for a couple of sessions. Think of how much money you spend on fast food or coffee drinks. Use that money instead on your health! Your body will thank you!
  • Choose a race to train for at and click on race calendar. There are many races over the summer that you and friends or family can train for together!

Try to burn at least 300-500 calories a day during exercise for weight loss.

Exercises equivalent to 100 calories:

  • walking or running 1 mile
  • biking for 20 minutes
  • playing tennis for 30 minutes
  • 15 minutes of an aerobics class
  • Elliptical machine (arms and legs) for 15 minutes

Circuit training workout at home:

  • Pick 5-10 exercises and lay out appropriate equipment.
  • Do 30 seconds of an exercise, rest for 30 seconds.
  • Move onto to next exercise.
  • Repeat until all exercises are done.
  • Once you need more of a challenge, increase the exercise time to 45 seconds and the rest time to 15 seconds.


Strength Cardio
Planks Walk in place
Push ups Jog in place
Sit ups Stairs
Lunges Jumping Jacks
Squats Jump Rope
Wall sits  
Tricep dips  
Burpees (advanced)  

Week of March 13

Corned Beef and Cabbage

This reciepe is for the slow cooker. It serves six people, takes about 30 minutes to prepare and cook.


  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchstick pieces
  • 10 baby red potatoes
  • 1 onion quartered, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 (4 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet
  • 6 ounces beer
  • 1/2 head cabbage, coarsely chopped


  • Place the carrots, potatoes and onion into the bottom of a slow cooker
  • Pour in the water and place the brisket on top of the vegetables
  • Pour the beer over the brisket
  • Sprinkle on the spices from the packet, cover and set the cooker on high
  • Cook the brisket for about 8 hours
  • An hour before serving, stir in the cabbage and cook for 1 more hour

Devine Nutrition On the Go Weekly 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 $4.95 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!

Week of March 6

8 Ways to "Put Your Best Fork Forward!"

"Put Your Best Fork Forward" is the theme for National Nutrition Month® 2017 which serves as a reminder that each one of us holds the tool to make healthier food choices. "Making small changes during National Nutrition Month® and over time, helps improve health now and into the future," says Kelly Devine Rickert, registered dietitian and Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Media spokesperson.

  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 on this NNM web page.
  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 1/2 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" on this NNM web page.
  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 two 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 in 2017. 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, make your snacks combination 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 a small portion of nuts 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 information and tip sheets for National Nutrition Month, visit their website!

February 2017

Week of February 20

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 to 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. (Found often in low fat microwave popcorn, peanut butter and cracker packages and non dairy coffee creamers!)

Recipe on how to Make your own trail mix 

  1. 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.
  2. 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!) Omit if wanting to lose weight or lower blood sugars.
    • 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, M.S., RDN, CSSD, LDN

Week of February 6

Need some weeknight inspiration? Check out these two quick recipes!

Southwestern Quinoa and Egg Breakfast Bowl


  • 1/4 cup raw quinoa
  • 1/2 avocado, pitted and diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup no-salt-added, frozen corn (thawed)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (optional)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • hot sauce (optional)


  1. Cook quinoa according to the package directions. Remove from heat and let sit.
  2. Prepare the remaining ingredients: pit and dice the avocado half; chop the tomatoes; rinse the canned corn; chop the scallions, and chop the cilantro.
  3. Divide quinoa between 4 bowls. Arrange the avocado, tomatoes, corn, scallions, and (optional) cilantro between each bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and warm over medium-high heat. Crack each egg into the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook until egg whites are set but yolk is still runny, about 3 to 4 minutes. Use a spatula to carefully transfer each sunny-side-up egg into each bowl. Garnish with hot sauce and serve.

One-Dish Beefy Rice Casserole


  • 6 cups shredded cabbage or 1, 14 -oz. packaged cole slaw mix
  • 1 cup brown rice (uncooked)
  • 1 lb. extra-lean, ground sirloin
  • 1, 10-oz. canned, diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1, 14- oz. canned, low-sodium beef broth
  • 1, 15- oz. canned black-eyed peas (rinsed, drained)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large oven-proof pot, layer the cabbage, rice, meat, , tomatoes and green chilies, and beef broth.
  3. Cook, covered with foil or lid, 1 hour 40 minutes, stirring after 40 minutes, and continue cooking, covered, until rice is tender and liquid absorbed. Stir in the black-eyed peas and season to taste.

January 2017

Week of January 23

Meal Timing and Weight Loss

Looking to start a weight loss plan and don't know where to start? Follow these quick tips to jumpstart your energy levels and weight loss! No fad diets needed!

Eat a snack or meal every 3 or 4 hours throughout the day. When you go longer than 4 hours without eating, your blood sugar starts to drop and you are more likely to overeat at your next meal. To prevent hunger and overeating, try to combine a complex carbohydrate (see list below) and a source of lean protein, at all meals spaced every 3 to 4 hours.


  • Whole wheat breads, English muffins, buns
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Brown or Wild rice, Quinoa, etc.
  • Fruits (no fruit juices)
  • Dairy; milk, yogurt
  • Whole wheat crackers
  • Oatmeal or high fiber cereals (All Bran, Kasha)
  • High fiber/protein bars (Kasha, Kind, etc.)

Lean Proteins

  • Boneless, skinless chicken or turkey
  • Lean ground turkey or beef
  • Lean pork chop or tenderloin
  • Egg or egg whites
  • Nuts (small handful) or peanut or almond butter
  • String cheese, Laughing Cow cheese, 1-2% cottage cheese
  • Whey or plant based protein powder
  • 1/3 cup of beans
  • Greek Yogurt

Healthy Snacks

(For in-between meals; include a complex carbohydrate and a lean protein.)

  • 1/2 banana and handful nuts
  • 1 fruit and low fat string cheese
  • Yogurt or yogurt fruit smoothie
  • 1/4 cup of 1% cottage cheese and 6 whole grain crackers
  • Hardboiled egg and 15 grapes
  • 1-1.5 tbsp peanut butter and sliced apple

Start a food journal. Write down all the foods you eat, portion sizes and meal timing. This will help keep you accountable.

Kelly Devine Rickert
Shannon Center Dietitian

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Week of January 16

Healthy Recipes to Jumpstart Your Day!

Check out the two super healthy recipes below to jumpstart your day!

Looking for more information on healthy eating and weight loss? Check out the new 8 week weight loss program starting Tuesday, January 31 at the Shannon Center!

Email for more info!

Recipes brought to you by SuperSwap Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner!

  • Dawn, fellow Chicago RDN, just published a book, The Superfood Swap.
  • Why do I love this book? The recipes are nutritious, easy to prep and prepare.
  • It's filled with simple yet fun messages on how to swap out unhealthy ingredients for health promoting foods and it's science based.
  • No fad diets. No gimmicks. The real deal. You can find it on her website!

SuperFood Scramble Bowl

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup of avocado, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  1. Scramble the eggs in oil over medium heat.
  2. Assemble your bowl. Place the spinach in a medium bowl and top with warm egg and quinoa. Top with avocado and veggies. Add juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper!


410 kcals, 23g fat, 31g carbs, 9g fiber and 21g protein.

(You can reduce total kcals and fat by reducing the avocado portion and/or by substituting 1 egg yolk for 2 egg whites.)

Time saver: Use frozen precooked quinoa in grocery store or make a big batch and save in smaller portions to reheat.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins

  • Topping
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 c finely diced pecans
  • 1/4 c coconut water
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup of unsweetened milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp flax seed (ground)
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 10 cups of a muffin tin with apper liners.
  2. Make the topping. In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for the topping. Mix together and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, stir together the oats, milk, eggs, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Divide mixture between the 10 muffin cups. Top each muffin with 1 tbsp. of topping mix, Bake for about 30 minutes until set. Refrigerate uneaten muffins in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


2 muffins 370 kcals, 21g fat, 36g carb, 6g fiber and 10g protein.

Week of January 9

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,
  • 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.

Week of January 2

It's that time again. A time to reflect on the past year and make goals for the new one.

What are YOUR New Year's 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 Year's Resolution!

  • Write down all of your goals for the upcoming 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
  • Make short and long term goals with an end date in mind.
  • Be realistic!
  • 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.
  • 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 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! Set a new goal and you'll be on track again in no time!

Need accountability in reaching your goals in 2017? Contact me today!


Devine Nutrition, Inc.
Kelly Devine Rickert, M.S., 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