Nutrition Tip of The Week
Low Fat Green Bean Casserole
Just in time for the holidays!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and sliced into 1 1/2inch pieces
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
- 1/3 cup fresh whole-grain bread crumbs
Heat oil on low heat in large skillet. Gently cook onion slices for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are golden. Remove onions from skillet and transfer to a plate.
Meanwhile, steam or boil green beans for 5-6 minutes, then plunge in a bowl of cold water to keep the vibrant green color and stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
Add finely chopped onion, garlic to skillet, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, until they release their juices. Sprinkle flour and thyme over vegetables. Gradually stir in nonfat milk. Increase heat to medium and stir constantly until sauce thickens. Season with a tsp of salt if desired and some freshly ground black pepper.
Spread green beans in a 1 1/2-2 quart casserole dish. Pour mushroom sauce over green beans. Top with onions and bread crumbs.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden. Serves 6
Per serving: Calories 125, Calories from Fat 19, total Fat 2.2g (sat 0.4g), Cholesterol 1mg, Sodium 92mg, Carbohydrate 20.9g, Fiber 4.2g, Protein 5.7g
Thanksgiving Makeover Ideas!
As we all know, the holiday season is fast approaching, which means lots of turkey and other festive favorites! You may be feeling overwhelmed by the prospects of high-fat foods in your future, but with a few ideas you can make your Thanksgiving fare lighter; you might not feel so unprepared for the holidays after all. Here are some ideas to try:
- Take out extra butter in recipes wherever possible. Try substituting chicken broth for butter in stuffing recipes or baste the turkey with broth instead of rubbing it in butter. You can also omit the butter in gravy recipes by using pan drippings after skimming off the fat; this process keeps the flavor without the fat.
- Give cooking from scratch a try -- some homemade recipes may actually be lower in calories and fat, especially if you pay close attention to the ingredients you’re putting in them.
- Instead of traditional green bean casserole, give steamed green beans a chance. You can toss them with a little olive oil and/or lemon if you desire.
- Substitute reduced-fat versions of dairy products for their full-fat counterparts, such as the sweetened condensed milk in pumpkin pie.
- Instead of whipping up the typical sweet potato casserole with marshmallows galore, try roasting or mashing the sweet potatoes and adding a glaze of some sort (you can google glaze ideas online).
- Lastly, here are a few ideas for your own personal success during that day:
- Make sure to eat a balanced breakfast; it can keep you from feeling ravenous and remind you that you don’t have to stuff yourself later in the day just because the food is there.
- Skip the skin on your turkey -- doing so reduces both calories and fat.
- Try adding some exercise if you can, such as taking a walk after the big meal or getting in a workout before the festivities begin.
- Most of all, don’t beat yourself up or go overboard on restrictions -- enjoy the day and eat mindfully. You can do it!
Here are three easy and delicious recipes for any party this holiday season!
Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dip
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter (or crunchy!)
- 1/2 cup sugar (or use Splenda or Stevia to lower sugar count)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Blend! Serve with sliced apples or celery!
Greek Yogurt Vegetable Dip
- 18-ounce container 2% Greek yogurt- Plain flavor
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
What to Do:
- Mix and store in fridge. Serve with chopped veggies.
- Sprinkle some green onions on top to add some pop!
Holiday Cheese Ball
- 8 oz. light cream cheese
- 8 oz. reduced fat Kaukauna cheese spread
- 2 tablespoon green pepper, diced
- 2 tablespoons red pepper, diced
- 2 tablespoon onion, diced
- 1.5 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 -1 cup Grapenut nuggets
- Mix all ingredients (except Grapenuts) and form into a ball. Roll cheese ball in Grapenuts. Chill before serving. Serve with whole grain crackers.
- (1 tablespoon): 32 calories, 2 gm fat, 2 gm carbs, 1 gm fiber, 2 gm protein, 87 mg sodium. Recipe yields 32 tablespoons.
National Eat Healthy Day!
Heart disease and stroke affect everyone in this country--you, your coworkers and your loved ones. Beating these deadly diseases doesn’t have to mean radical fad diets and crazy exercise trends that are only temporary fixes. A long life of heart health is about taking small steps each day to change how you eat and live. As those small steps add up, you'll change your life for the better. The first step is to celebrate the American Heart Association’s National Eating Healthy Day on Wednesday, November 4!
What are healthy foods?
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Choose fiber-rich whole grains.
- Eat fish, especially those with omega-3 fatty acids.
- Limit sodium and added sugars.
- Choose fats wisely.
- Eat nuts, seeds and legumes
Fruits and Vegetables!
- Try to eat 4-5 servings of each per day.
- Fruits and vegetables are typically high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, and low in calories, saturated fat and sodium.
- Their fiber and water content can help you feel full which may help with weight management.
- Add a serving or two of fruits and vegetables to every meal and snack and replace salty and sugary snack foods.
What's a serving?
- 1 medium fruit (about the size of a baseball)
- 1 cup raw leafy vegetable
- 1/2 cup fresh, canned or frozen vegetable or fruit
- 1/2 cup 100% juice
- 1/4 cup dried fruit
Tips for adding produce to your diet
- Top yogurt, oatmeal and cereal with berries or sliced fruit.
- Eat the rainbow: Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables of many different colors.
- Add veggies to your wrap or sandwich.
- Keep a bowl of whole fruit handy on the desk, table or countertop.
- Enjoy fruit for dessert most days and limit traditional desserts to special occasions.
- Start your meal with a side salad and cut up veggies.
Find heart healthy recipes at:
Turkey Pumpkin Chili
I tasted this DELISH turkey chili at a class of mine last week and wanted to share. Maribel, the dietitian for Meijer, came to do a demo and tasting. I highly recommend! Pair it with some cornbread, whole grain noodles or a side salad for a complete meal. Enjoy!
Ingredients (Serves 8):
- 20 oz. lean ground turkey, 93% lean, 7% fat
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup diced white onion*
- 1 cup diced sweet bell pepper blend*
- 2 jalapeño peppers, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can Meijer diced tomatoes with green chilies (not drained)
- 1 (15 oz.) can Meijer 100% Pure Pumpkin
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. chipotle chile powder, if desired
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- 1 (15.25 oz.) can True Goodness™ by Meijer™ Organic Whole Kernel Corn, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 oz.) can True Goodness™ by Meijer™ Organic Low Sodium Black Beans, rinsed and drained
In a pot, add turkey and cook until browned. Remove turkey from pot and set aside. Heat oil in pot. Add onion, bell pepper blend, jalapeños and garlic and cook until onion is translucent and tender, or about 4 to 5 minutes. Add turkey, tomatoes, pumpkin, chili powder, chipotle chile powder (if desired), cumin, salt and pepper to onion mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans and corn. Cover pot and cook while stirring occasionally for 25 to 30 minutes.
Time-saving tip: *Pick up pre-cut onion and bell pepper in Meijer produce department.
Nutrition Information (per serving): 245 calories, 8g fat, 52mg cholesterol, 498mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 19g protein
Serve with True Goodness™ by Meijer™ Blue Corn Tortilla Chips.
Toppings: Reduced fat shredded cheese, diced avocado, or chopped cilantro
Source: Chef Maribel Alchin, MBA, RD, LDN, Health & Wellness Regional Advisor
Happy Popcorn Popping Month!
Did you know corn/popcorn is a whole grain? It is! Popcorn can be a great way to boost your intake of whole grains and fiber.
Here are some other corny facts…
- Americans consume nearly 13 billion quarts of this whole grain, good-for-you treat. That’s 41 quarts per man, woman and child.
- Compared to most snack foods, popcorn is low in calories.
- Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup. Oil-popped is only 35 calories per cup.
- Most U.S. popcorn is grown in the Midwest, primarily in Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri. Courtesy of www.popcorn.org.
The healthiest way to eat popcorn is by popping it yourself. (I do not recommend microwave popcorn, even the fat free variety due to the chemicals and palm oils that are used).
Here are three ways to make homemade popcorn (which truthfully, do not take much extra time at all, I promise!)
- Use air popper, just throw those kernels in!
- On the stove in a pot, add kernels with a few tablespoons of canola oil.
- Or put desired amount of kernels in a brown paper lunch bag, spray with olive or canola oil from a mister. (Check out the one I have from Bed Bath and Beyond) and fold down bag a few times. Pop on your microwave setting in microwave.
Now time for the toppings!
Here are some butter/oil suggestions for you, along with a list of yummy toppings to sprinkle on!
- Good ole fashioned unsalted butter*
- Kerrygold butter (from grassfed cows)
- (Suggested by fellow RD Laura Tobias at http://www.nwcrossfit.com/team/laura-tobias/)
- Olive oil, canola, avocado or coconut oil*
*(Not a huge fan of spray margarine’s loaded with chemicals, ESPECIALLY for kids).
Now time to get creative! You can mix and match any of these depending on your mood.
- Sea salt* (I just really like the taste of it)
- Black pepper Garlic (Who doesn’t love garlic?)
- Chili powder
- Mrs. Dash seasonings
- Parmesan cheese
- Italian seasonings
The sky is the limit!
It's that time of year...Pumpkin Spice is everywhere!
But keep in mind...just because pumpkin is a vegetable, it does not mean that it is necessarily healthy!
A grande pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks will net you:
- 380 calories
- 14 grams of fat
- 52 grams of carbohydrates (50 grams of sugar!)
= NOT GOOD!
Here are some ways to lighten up your latte:
- Opt for skim milk instead of 2% or whole
- Skip the whip
- Get a short (or at least a tall) instead of grande
- With all those changes you are down to 130 calories and 0 grams of fat. This is still not something to drink daily due to all the sugar!
Foods you can add pumpkin spice to for some added fall flavor by purchasing a jar at your local store. Just sprinkle in:
- Muffins or cookies
- Brummel and brown butter (mix with seasoning and add to whole grain toast)
- Oatmeal with nuts and a half apple
- Butternut squash baked in the oven
- Greek yogurt
- Into hot cider or hot chocolate!
Are you hungry yet? I am! Enjoy this fall season, just with a little less calories!
Eating Smart in College
Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day! Start your day with a mix of carbs and protein to boost that metabolism and help cut down on hunger cravings during class!
- Packet of oatmeal with a banana
- Fresh fruit such as apples, oranges, bananas, with a packet of trail mix
- Whole grain bagel topped with an egg
- 2 slices whole grain toast with peanut butter
Instead of a midnight pizza, try one of these satisfying snacks:
- Nuts such as almonds or cashews
- Fresh fruit such as apples, oranges, bananas, etc.
- Baby carrots with hummus
- Pretzels with peanut butter
Go Light at Lunch
Going light or skipping dressings, mayonnaise, and other "extras" will help you avoid consuming excess calories. Instead, try an olive oil and vinegar mix for a dressing that’s high in healthy fats, which will help your body absorb the vitamins and minerals from the salad greens and other vegetables.
Stay or Get ACTIVE!
Try activities you find fun. Exercise is important for staying healthy, and avoiding illness. The increased blood flow to your brain keeps you alert and smart too. Try something new with a friend such as a Zumba class at the Shannon Center.
Don’t forget to DRINK…Water!
Chose water over other options. Only water properly hydrates you with zero calories.
Build Your Own Trail Mix!
Choose 1-2 items from the starch list: (1/2-2/3 cup):
- Cheerios (any flavor)
- Oatmeal Squares
Choose 1 item from the fruit list: (2 tbsp-1/4 cup):
- Dried strawberries
- Banana chips
Choose 1-2 items from the protein list (2 tbsp-1/4 cup):
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Add in some sweet on occasion:
- Dark chocolate chips
- Small pieces of chocolate
- Yogurt covered raisins
This Saturday is Better Breakfast Day!
Want to build a better breakfast? Try foods that are high in fiber and pair them with some protein (~20-30 grams) for a healthy balance! Here are some options to get you out the door and ready for your day:
Whole Grain Options
- Whole grain cereals like Kashi, Cheerios and oatmeal
- 100% whole wheat English muffins, bagel thins, toast (I recommend Today’s Temptation)
- Fruits (as a side item or to add to cereal or yogurt)
- Tropicana 50/50
- Light or Greek yogurt
- Egg/egg whites
- Ham, turkey sausage or bacon (on occasion, can be salty)
- Whey protein powder
- Peanut butter
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts. pistachios)
- Flax seed
Enjoy Your Breakfast!
Let's Get Ready for Some Football!
Football season is upon us once again and that means tailgating, concession stands and football game get-togethers. Most often, these activities come with high calorie, high fat foods and beverages that can sabotage healthy diets. But football season doesn’t have to sabotage your efforts to lose or maintain your weight! Check out these snack and entrée ideas for you next tailgate!
Instead of regular ole chips n’ dip, bring a tray of pretzels, pita chips or cut up veggies and pair with either hummus, low calorie dressings made with Greek yogurt or salsa.
Green Goddess Dip! (Use for a pita or veggie dip).
- 2 cups trimmed watercress (about 2 bunches)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup canola mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and pulse 8 to 10 times or until just combined. Scrape the mixture into a bowl or serving dish. Cover and chill for 8 hours or overnight.
Chili is also a favorite when it comes to the fall and football season.
Some tips to lighten up your chili are:
- Use the leanest cut of beef or substitute for lean ground turkey
- Use 2% shredded cheese
- Limit the sour cream
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 (10.75 ounce) cans low sodium tomato soup ( or I substitute 1 can diced tomatoes for 1 soup)
- 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder (The more the merrier in my case)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place turkey in the skillet and cook until evenly brown; drain.
- Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray, and mix in turkey, tomato soup, kidney beans, black beans and onion. Season with chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, allspice and salt.
- Cover and cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
Some other options for calorie cutting are:
Substitute the brats and hotdogs for chicken sausage, chicken or beef kabobs, or turkey burgers.
Enjoy the game!
Quick and Easy Chicken Wraps
Life doesn't always go according to plan, and when you are in the midst of racing home from work and shuttling kids to various activities, sometimes your plans for dinner don't seem to pan out! (Yes, this happens to me too!) Instead of resorting to a drive thru for dinner, this is my favorite go to. My motto, and favorite quote by Ben Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”
Ingredients: Chopped up chicken*, about 2 oz. per wrap. (Make as many or as little as you want) Low carb or whole grain flour or corn tortillas. (Mission carb-balance, or Azteca ultra-grain, no preservatives).
- Black beans (canned in pantry)
- Cheese (I use 2% shredded)
- Tomatoes/onions/lettuce/avocado or any veggie on hand
- Generic green and red pepper strips
- Frozen sour cream
- Light rice (I love the Uncle Bens individual whole grain brown rice cups or, although high in salt, I am digging the Uncle Ben's Santa Fe or Brown Rice, and Quinoa microwave packets). If you have more time, then slow cooking rice is the best option if you want that as a side.
Options to Cook:
Fastest way, is to microwave your chicken. Microwave or warm your tortillas on the stove and put together your wraps with your various sides. I love adding beans as a side to boost the fiber intake of your meal along with a lot of fresh veggies.
Chicken Options: When I am in a super bind, I use the Tyson grilled chicken breast strips and sauté them on stove with some peppers or I microwave them. I try and keep frozen chicken on hand for quick meals.
- Buy a rotisserie chicken on sale and shred the meat inside. (Quick!)
- Throw a few chicken breasts (bone in) in a dish and cook at 350 degrees with lid on (30-45 minutes). I typically do this the night before as I prep lunches for the next day.
- Toss a few chicken breasts in the crockpot with a jar of salsa and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. Shred and add to your tortillas or on top of a salad. (Note, use Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avocado dressing for the salad... SO YUMMY).
- If I have chicken on the menu for dinner, I will try to cook extra chicken breasts, cut in strips and freeze for later.
Weight Loss Tips:
- Instead of tortilla and rice, pick one type of carbohydrate or add a side salad to substitute rice or beans
- Always use grilled chicken and not chicken tenders
- Limit the portion of avocado, cheese and sour cream as this will up your calories fast
- Add more veggies to help fill you up!
Bon Appétit! ~Kelly
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Back to School Lunch Ideas!
You don’t have to pack wheat grass shots and sticks of celery to make your lunch a healthy one! Many times it is a matter of switching out some products for healthier ones and balancing the lunch better.
Eat this! Not that!
- 100% whole grain or 100% whole grain white bread, pitas or crackers; NOT white bread
- Nitrate-free fresh lunch meat from deli or sliced grilled chicken; NOT pre-sliced lunch meat
- Snack foods with less sugar and dyes such as: pretzels, fruit leathers, or graham crackers; NOT snack foods with Red Dye #40 and excess sugar
- 100% fruit juice, milk, water or chocolate milk; NOT sugary juice boxes or pop
- Greek yogurt or low sugar yogurt; NOT sugary yogurts
Try aiming for each of the food groups!
- Dairy- milk or yogurt (chocolate milk is fine once a day too!)
- Protein- lunch meat, ham and cheese rollups, cottage cheese, grilled chicken strips, hard-boiled egg, or nuts (if allowed at school)
- Produce- grapes, berries, apple, banana, carrots or green peppers with hummus, side salad, or veggies for your pita or sandwich
- Whole grains- 100% whole grain bread is recommended, wraps, pitas, tortillas, or crackers
Not to say, you can’t have fun every now and then but moderation is key! If you are stuck in a rut, email me for help at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelly Devine Rickert MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN
Back to School with Breakfast
It's that time of year, back to school time!
Did you know a recent study showed that elementary kids who were given breakfast at school had 25% better math grades along with higher grades in reading and science compared to kids who didn't eat breakfast? Yes, college students, this applies to you too!
Aim for a high fiber breakfast, paired with some protein for a healthy balance! Here are some options to get you out the door and ready for your day!
- 2 whole grain waffles, 2 tbsp. peanut butter on top (can drizzle some honey for sweetness or add chopped banana or berries as well), 1 cup of milk or orange juice.
- High fiber bagel, bagel thin, or toast paired with 2 tbsp. peanut butter, banana and 1 cup milk
- Bowl of oatmeal made with milk and chopped apple, 6 oz. orange juice (add nuts to oatmeal or have a hard boil egg on side for added protein).
- Pizza for breakfast! Open English muffin, spread some red sauce on top, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, pinch of basil and toast in oven until cheese starts to brown
- Good 'ol eggs and toast! Add a piece of fruit and glass of milk and you're in business! For a time saver, you can microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute!
Here is a time saver: Hard boil a dozen eggs on the weekend for a quick way to add protein during the week!
Cheers to a great start to the school year!
Start brown bagging that lunch! Bringing your lunch from home allows you to control the portions and calories while also saving money. (Win, win!) Below are some quick and healthy lunches you can start to bring to work!
- Buffalo chicken wrap: Heat a Mission Carb Balance tortilla and top with 2-3 oz. of warmed grilled chicken strips with your choice chopped veggies and 1 tbsp. buffalo sauce. Serve with celery sticks and 2 tbsp. light ranch.
- Veggie burger: Heat a veggie burger and top with veggies, a slice of Sargento thin sliced cheese on a whole grain bun or Sandwich Thin. Serve with a side of celery and 1 tbsp. peanut butter.
- Make your own protein plate: Mix and match these items to munch on:
2 oz. cold grilled chicken, 1 oz. 2% cheese cubes, 1 hard boiled egg, 7 whole grain crackers, snap peas and 10 grapes.
- Burrito bowl: Add 1/2 cupcooked brown rice with 1 cup peppers and onions with 3 oz. grilled chicken, topped with salsa. Add some whole grain tortilla chips as a side if desired.
- Apple walnut chicken salad: Toss 2 cups salad greens with 3 oz. roasted chicken breast, half a diced apple, 2 tbsp. chopped walnuts, and 2 tbsp.
In good helath,
Kelly Devine Rickert MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN
Last Tuesday was National Chocolate Milk Day!
Chocolate milk gets a bad rap because of all the sugar BUT, it has some redeeming qualities!
Did you know that chocolate milk is a great post workout recovery drink? It will help you replenish your tired muscles thanks to its high protein (8 grams per 1 cup) and carb content. Some companies (Horizon is one) have started selling chocolate milk boxes in the juice aisle of your store. Throw them in the cooler for an after workout snack before dinner time.
Research also shows that kids who were given chocolate milk each day were more likely to meet their daily calcium and Vitamin D recommendation, than kids who were not given the option. (The rule in my house is once a day the kids can have chocolate milk!)
5 Veggies to add to your Summer Grill!
What better way to eat your veggies than throwing them on the grill? Here are 5 side items to add to your dinner the next time you grill out.
(Quick tip: Use a grill basket, or place tinfoil down on grill so that less veggies are lost and for a quicker clean up!)
A powerhouse of nutrients, folate and antioxidants! After grilling, toss with lemon juice and some shaved Parmesan cheese.
Always a staple in my house. Add some corn on the cob to the grill this year! (I husk corn first then grill to get more flavors). I use Brummel and Brown yogurt spread; then choose from different herbs and other condiments to add some more flavors such as: garlic, pepper, cilantro, Parmesan cheese, light mayo, sour cream or Greek yogurt spread, the sky in the limit!
- Mixed veggies
Dice up your favorite vegetables, toss lightly in olive oil and throw in some garlic for flavor and viola!
Choose any combo from the following: Tomatoes (deseeded), onions, red, green, or yellow peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, etc. I typically place some tin foil packets of these veggies where there is room left on the grill. Steam for 10-15 minutes.
- Green Beans
Toss lightly with olive oil and some salt and pepper and grill for about 10 minutes in the grill basket.
- Pineapple (I know, I know, not a veggie but still packed with nutrients!)
Throw some slices of pineapple on the grill to add to your grilled chicken sandwiches!
Here is a great recipe if you ever want to try grilled pizza!
- Pizza crust dough, either homemade or bought readymade (Too thick of crust and you risk not cooking the dough all the way through)
- Fresh vegetables (olives, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes)
- Olive Oil
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Fresh tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce
Brush grill grate with garlic flavored olive oil. Carefully place one piece of dough on hot grill (or use a pan safe for grilling). When the bottom crust has lightly browned, turn the dough over using two spatulas. Working quickly, brush oil over crust, and then brush 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce. Arrange 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/8 cup sliced black olives, and 1/8 cup roasted red peppers over crust. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons basil. Close the lid, and cook until the cheese melts. Remove from grill, and set aside to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the second pizza. Depending on the size grill you use, you can make a couple smaller pizzas or 1 large pizza.
Enjoy with all of your favorite pizza toppings!
Kelly Devine Rickert MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN
Ragnar Relay Race
A few weekends ago I participated in the Ragnar Relay race from Madison, Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois with 23 of my fellow running club teammates.
Check out a video I made that pretty much sums up my experience!
The Ragnar Relay race is a 200 mile relay where two vans of six runners leapfrog from exchange to exchange exchanging a baton (a slap bracelet) as they run from Madison to Chicago. The race starts on a Friday morning, we started at 7 a.m., and continues until you cross the finish line in Chicago, meaning you run in all weather, day or night until you finish. Each team consists of 12 people in two vans, we had two teams so no runner was ever running alone. Each person completes 3 legs of the race, totaling anywhere from 13 miles to 21 miles in total distance over 1.5 days.
So what did I learn participating in this cool race?
1. You can do more (physically) than you realize.
I hear so many people I coach say "I can't do that, I can't run, I will sign up for that 5K in 6 months, etc.” What about now?! You don't need 6 months to start running or walking to enter a 5K. Sign up for it now! If you can walk 3 miles, I assure you, you can run/walk a 5K! It's more of a mental game than a physical game. If you are cleared for exercise, don't be afraid to push your limits from time to time. It's amazing how your body will respond.
During my race, I ran 7.5 miles, then sat and slept in a van for 6 hours, then ran
5 miles in the middle of the night, then slept in a van, then finished with 6 miles
in the sun.
Did I feel fantastic the whole time? NOPE! But man WHAT A FEELING when I finished! You will NEVER know what your body is capable of, until you test its limits!
2. Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork
Participating in a team event is so much more fun than just running a race by yourself. Nothing boosts you up more than 11 people screaming your name when you are running into the chute to pass a baton to the next teammate. I highly recommend looking into team events. And that does NOT mean you have to do a 200 mile race. There are smaller events all over that are team based. Try it with a group, train together, dress up, act goofy.
It was a blast. I will be doing one again. That being said, you also learn patience while eating, sleeping, running and not showering when you live in a van with 6 people for 36 hours. A sense of humor helps as well!
3. Life is too short!
Running this race really helped me to realize how much I love this sport and how I really need to make it more of a priority in my life. Life gets busy with kids and family, with work, with obligations. But running this race made me want to put running and my goals up higher on the list. To do this, I need to plan better, wake up early (go to bed earlier as well!), and start to bring my kids to races so they can a) see their momma do something she loves, and b) get motivated to start running themselves.
What are some of your goals that you are putting on the back burner? Don't wait! Get going on them now!
Take five minutes and watch the video if you can. I have a feeling it will motivate you to get out there today and get your workout done!
Kelly Devine Rickert MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN
National Picnic Month
Whether you’re at the beach, park or in your own backyard, use these tips to create the perfect summer picnic and celebrate National Picnic Month! Enjoy!
- Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot! The FDA recommends that food not sit out longer than 2 hours if cooler than 90 degrees or longer than 1 hour if warmer than 90 degrees. Keep cold foods in cooler and hot foods in an insulated container to keep temps from going out of range!
Healthy food items to pack!
- Try and stray away from the average sandwich and potato chips. Here are a few items to try for your next picnic!
- Substitute broccoli slaw for your standard coleslaw
- Cut up raw veggies and hummus
- Fruit and cheese kabobs (Can serve Greek yogurt on the side to dip!)
- Grilled wraps on high fiber tortillas
- Black bean salsa and whole grain tortilla chips (Here is a link to a great Black Bean Avocado salsa recipe!)
- Add some protein with hard boiled eggs and raw nuts
- Make sure and drink plenty of water based fluids at your picnic to avoid dehydration. Water bottles, Vitamin Water Zero and Sobe Life waters work great! Try and avoid sugary beverages if you can!
Avoid creamy items!
- Avoid packing mayonnaise-based dishes (potato salad, pasta salad, creamy dips, etc.) and ice cream. These items can easily spoil and melt in the sun and typically are higher in fat and calories.
Who is Bringing What?
- Decide ahead of time whom is bringing each item! Planning ahead will make life easier and help you to avoid duplicate items at your picnic lunch.
Pack Staple Items
- Don’t forget essential picnic items like utensils, cups, plates, napkins, blanket, sunscreen, bug spray and trash bags.
REVVED UP ROADTRIPS: 5 Tips to Eating Healthy on the Road
It’s that time of year again! Families far and near are shuffling kids, moms, dads, aunts, uncles and grannies into the car for the illustrious family road trip vacation. But when you’re on vacay, and your family crams into one car, it’s hard to find something portable that you can also feel good about giving your family.
Below are 5 tips fit for tots, teens, and parents alike. Most importantly, they’ll withstand 70 miles per hour, potty pit-stops and backseat fights.
- Plan, Plan, Plan!
By planning your meals and scheduled stops, and bringing along healthy beverages and snacks, you will save time, money, and a lot of excess fat and sugar calories! Sit down and make a plan on when you will stop for meals.
First in that cooler needs to be water and 100% fruit juice boxes. This way, your family will stay hydrated during your road trip. Stay away from pop, sugary juice, tea, sports and energy drinks. Along with saving a lot of excess calories, you will save a lot of money avoiding gas stations and vending machines!
- Pack healthy snacks
By packing healthy snacks, you can decrease the excess fries and chips and the “I’m hungry” whines in between meal stops! I recommend packing snacks into smaller snack bags so people can grab individual portions from the cooler. (Side note: Eating in the car does increase the choking factor especially for very small kids. Be mindful of this when choosing what snacks to bring).
- Hummus and whole-wheat pitas (Now sold in little packs at the store!)
- String cheese sticks
- Fruit and Veggie Snack Packs, bag of apples
- Sunflower seeds and nuts/trail mix
- Animal crackers, pretzels, Goldfish, etc.
- Stop and eat meals
Sometimes it may seem like it’s easier to power through your drive by utilizing fast food restaurants and not stopping to eat, but that may backfire. Take the time to stop and eat, stretch your legs and move around a bit before you continue on your trip. Add a side salad or a fruit to your meal instead of the usual fries and chips. If you want to go the fast food route, try and order sandwiches but supplement the meal with the snacks you have packed in the car. This is a HUGE cost saver on road trips!
Take the time on your potty breaks to move your legs a bit, especially if you have young kids in the car. If the tensions are getting high in the back seat, it may be time for some fresh air! Many rest stops have trails and playgrounds now. A great app to download is USA Rest Stops which will help you find what rest areas are closest to you.
Now that you’ve got your summer road trip snack pack prepared, you’re ready to head out on a road-bound vacation you can truly feel good about.
Kelly Devine Rickert MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN
Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics
Registered Dietitian and WELL CARE Health Coach
- Set a goal for the length of time you will exercise or the distance you will cover while exercising.
- Don’t forget to bring your walking/running shoes to work. (Side note from Kelly: Buy a GOOD pair of RUNNING shoes from a RUNNING store (Running Excels or Running for Kicks!)
- Schedule a convenient time during your workday to work out and do it!
- Make plans to meet a coworker for a walk break.
- Write in your planner when you will exercise.
- Warm up for a few minutes before getting into a faster paced exercise.
Getting to work:
- Ride your bike to work!
- Park your car as far away as possible and allow extra time to walk.
- Come to work a half hour early, or stay after to jog or walk.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
At your desk:
- Stretch throughout the day.
- Squeeze a tennis ball to help strength your hand and wrist.
- Try doing bicep curls with a paperweight.
- Using a chair to brace yourself, do some calf raises to increase muscle strength.
- Use your speakerphone for conference calls and stand instead of sitting!
- Shoulder rolls, forward ten times, then repeat going backwards.
- While sitting at your desk, rotate one foot to “write” each letter of the alphabet. Switch feet and repeat.
- Do wall sits during those conferences calls or on your break.
- Get out of your chair and move around for a few minutes every hour.
- Shoulder shrugs are a great way to loosen up tight muscles. Repeat 5-10 times.
- Keep a water cup close by, but don’t forget to get up and keep filling it up! Everyone should drink 8-10 glasses of water a day.
- Stretch your lower back. While seated, slowly bend forward at the waist. Reach forward with your hands until they reach the floor. Hold for 15 seconds before slowly coming up.
- Move your feet and legs while you are sitting at your desk to burn calories and increase energy.
Take a break:
- Spice up your breaks with a jaunt around the building.
- Do you need to clear your head? Get up and take a five minute walk.
- If you can take a break for 20 minutes, try taking 10 min walks twice daily.
- Leave a few minutes early for meetings to allow time to stretch your legs a bit.
- Using the phone to talk to the person down the hall? Get up and get moving. The walk will do you good.
- Top off your lunch break with a 15 minute walk.
- Going out to lunch? Why not choose a spot some distance away and walk.
- Eat some whole grain carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables for energy.
- Going on a trip? Take advantage of fitness facilities at your hotel.
- Walk instead of using the moving airport walkways.
- Pack hand and ankle weights for strength training on trips.
- Try selecting indoor and outdoor activities
- Grab a buddy; exercising is always more fun with a friend!
- Join a local health club for workday workouts.
- Keep track of your mileage. Choose a vacation spot and walk to it.
- Have you met your goal? Don’t forget to reward yourself.
- Bring along an iPod to play your favorite songs.
- Habits are much easier to keep if you ENJOY them. Find something you like!
- If you aren’t too excited about a strenuous workout, try something more key like a walk or yoga. The important thing is just to keep moving!
- To prevent boredom: change activity or location of activity often.
- Don’t get down if you miss a workout, just schedule your next one.
- Keep a record of your daily workouts.
- Get a co-worker to join you for a lunch or break time walk.
- Pick activities you like to do!
- Buy some new exercise shoes (I recommend running shoes) and clothes.
- Just Do It! 10 minutes is better than none at all!
- Join one of the many Shannon Center exercise classes!
Did you know June 17 is fresh vegetables day?
Here are some ways to incorporate fresh vegetables in all of your meals and snacks!
- Add chopped spinach, onion, peppers (all colors!), tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. to a cooked omelet!
- Make a fruit/veggie smoothie to start your morning.
- Jazz up that sandwich or wrap with some colorful veggies like lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, etc.
- Throw in some fruits and veggies to make your lunch time salad more colorful!
- Besides your normal side salad, sauté some veggies or add to the grill for some extra flavor at dinner.
- Grill asparagus, zucchini, onions, peppers, etc.
- Make your vegetable the main part of your meal. Try zucchini boats or spaghetti squash for starters.
- Dip hummus or light salad dressing with some raw vegetables
- Celery and peanut butter is an oldie but goody as well!
- Toss cucumbers, onions and tomatoes with some Italian dressing for a light snack.
Eating Healthy on a Budget!
Think eating healthy has to be expensive? It doesn't have to be with careful planning! Below are eight tips on how you can save money while still eating a nutritious diet:
- Before you start your grocery list, look at your weekly planner. You can't plan five meals for the week if you aren't even going to be home! Check to see what nights you may have more time to make a dinner versus nights where you need something quick and easy.
- Plan, Plan, Plan! Start with your grocery store newspaper ads (or smart phone apps). I advise starting with the proteins first as that tends to be the priciest part of the meal. If lean pork chops and chicken breasts are on sale, then you can start to plan your meals from there. I recommend sticking with leaner sources of protein such as chicken, fish, turkey, lean pork and lean beef. Variety is key to a healthy diet!
- Keep in mind my mantra of, "Cook Once, Eat Twice"! Is there a meal you can make and plan to have leftovers so the next nights meal is halfway done? Example: You have grilled chicken, veggies and a baked potato Monday night but you make extra chicken breasts to have for chicken fajitas on Tuesday night!
- Next up after your proteins, plan your side items. Always aim for at least one to two vegetables and a starch. Baked potatoes, brown rice or quinoa packets are quick additions to any meal. Fresh or frozen veggies are best but canned vegetables are an economic way to add produce to your meal. Buy the unsalted versions or be sure to rinse canned veggies before cooking to decrease sodium content.
- A good money saving tip is to go meatless once a week. In my house this is typically a whole grain pasta night with side salad and whole grain garlic bread.
- Stick to your grocery list! The more random impulse items you grab at the store, the higher the bill!
- Drink water, 100% fruit juice and milk! Ditch the excess juice, pop, sports drinks, coffee and energy drinks as they tend to add up quickly. Example: If you drink 1 diet coke from a vending machine and 1 coffee from a shop each day, during the month you will spend $71.00! Save that money and invest in some healthier foods for you and your family!
- Ditch the dining out! Anytime you plan your meals versus dining out (which can mean fast foods, sit down restaurants, vending machines and gas stations), you will save money! Planning is key to staying on a budget!
Kelly Devine Rickert MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN
Beat the Heat…Hydrate!
Guess which nutrient is calorie free, salt free, sugar free and fat free? Water...the most important nutrient for your body! Why is water so great? Water helps to flush out excess toxins, maintains regularity, transports nutrients and oxygen, and best of all, increases energy and helps fight fatigue! Most people when tired head to the vending machine for a soda or local coffee shop for a pick me up. Caffeinated and sugary drinks will give you an initial boost of energy but will inevitably give you that crash a few hours later. Instead, water will help to keep you hydrated leading to more consistent energy levels throughout the day.
But are you consuming enough? How much is enough? You can start with the minimum of 8- 8 oz. (1 cup) glasses of pure water per day. Another way to gauge how much fluid to consume is to take your body weight and divide by 2, which equals how many ounces of water you should drink per day.
Not a fan of water? Start slowly so your body can get used to the extra fluid you are consuming. I recommend trading one caffeinated or sweetened beverage and replacing with 20 oz. of cold water every day until you are mostly consuming water. (And NOT the bottled water kind! Did you know that 25% of bottled water comes from the same place your tap water comes from?)
Try using a BPA free water bottle to reuse throughout the day or an insulated cup like the Aqua Tally cups that I use. It keeps my water ice cold all day AND helps to count how many glasses you drink! If you are in the mood for something besides water, jazz it up a bit.
- Try infused water. Add sliced lemon, strawberries, orange, or cucumber, etc. into a water pitcher, fill with ice and water and leave in fridge overnight. Pour into your water bottle for some added flavor throughout the day.
- Try unsweetened ice tea with a slice of lemon to give you a different flavor without adding any sugar calories.
This summer as the temps start to rise, reach for that reusable body of water instead of iced coffee, pop or lemonade!
They say good things come in small packages...well blueberries fit that saying quite well!
Blueberries are currently in season and at only 80 calories per cup. They are loaded with fiber, Vitamin C, manganese, and antioxidants that help fight heart disease, cancer and other inflammatory diseases.
Here are a few quick ways to add some blueberries to your diet!
- Add 1/2 cup to your morning oatmeal with a sprinkle of cinnamon
- Sprinkle over your Greek Yogurt for a quick post workout snack
- Blend into a pre or post workout shake
- Mix 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup water or milk, 1 serving whey or plant based protein powder a with 1/2 cup ice. Add some lemon juice for some tartness.
- Simply stack blueberries, yogurt and granola in a glass or bowl—or make your parfait in a disposable cup to take with you
Race Day Nutrition Tips!
The Ridge Run and many other summer races are around the corner and it’s time to stop and think about what to eat and drink before, during and after the race.
Night before the race:
I suggest having an early dinner (5 to 6 p.m.). Make sure to eat a balanced dinner with a generous serving of carbohydrates (pasta, rice, potatoes etc.). Take it easy on the fats (cheese, salad dressing, butter) so you don’t feel weighed down on race day. And don’t forget to hydrate yourself all day! It might be a good idea to cut the colas and sugar drinks out and replace with water.
Get up early so you have time to eat before the race. I would keep it light (low in fat and fiber), and always test out your race morning breakfast before race day! This week when you do your run, test out your race day breakfast to make sure it doesn’t upset your stomach. Here are some ideas of what to eat: a piece of white toast or 1/2 bagel with peanut butter and 1/2 banana, or a low fat granola bar and a piece of fruit. I would eat this about 2 hours before the race begins. And don’t forget to hydrate! Leave the house early so you have enough time to get to the race early, park and have one last bathroom break before the race starts. Nothing is worse that starting a race with a full bladder!
During the race make sure and have at least a half a cup of water at the water stops. The rule of thumb is to drink a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water every 15 minutes. So if you plan on finishing in 30 minutes that equals at least 1 to 2 cups of water. Remember if it’s hot or muggy out, you may need more fluids to replace what you are losing in your sweat.
After the race the first thing to do is hydrate yourself. It is also recommended to eat a carbohydrate and protein snack within an hour of finishing the race. Some ideas: fruit smoothie made with yogurt, fruit and string cheese or a protein bar.
Last but not least, have fun and have a great race!
Need some ideas for your next healthy snack?
- Blueberries and a hardboiled egg
- Hummus and baby carrots
- Peaches with whipped topping and almonds
- Celery sticks with ranch dressing and almonds
- Vanilla yogurt and raspberries
- Popcorn and cranberries
- Whole-grain cereal and strawberries
- Bell pepper and cashews
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1/2 cup peaches
- 1 serving apple chips and 1/4 cup nuts
Visist Fruits and Veggies More Matters to find more healthy snacks!
Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice for Runners
Looking for a way to speed up post workout recovery and decrease inflammation? Look no further than tart cherry juice! Numerous studies have found a link between decreasing muscle pain during intense exercise when tart cherry juice is consumed before and after long-distance races and training. Runners also experienced a quicker recovery in strength and less muscle pain compared to those who drank a different choice of beverage*. (Studies have also proven the effects of tart cherry juice on people suffering from osteoarthritis and insomnia as well!)
Try mixing 1 oz. of pure tart cherry juice into 7 oz. of water (You can also add to a can of La Croix sparking water if you want to add some fizz!) a few days prior to, the day of and for 2 days after a strenuous race. You can always incorporate the tart cherry juice as a regular part of your diet as well if you are an avid runner/exerciser for its anti-inflammatory effects.
Shedding the Pounds for the Summer Running Season!
There are many reasons why people run. For some it's to challenge themselves, for others it can be for stress relief but many times people run to help lose weight and get healthier. All of these are great reasons to run! But by using running alone and not thinking about your nutrition, you are missing a vital step. Whether you want to lose weight to get your mile time down or just for weight loss in general, use these tips over the next couple of months to help you slim down a little faster!
- Meal timing is of great importance. Try eating every 3-4 hours throughout the day. This helps to control hunger levels and keeps you from binging late at night. At these meals you want to combine a high fiber carbohydrate (fruit, whole grain bread or crackers) with some lean protein to fill you up (grilled chicken, low fat cheese, nuts, peanut butter).
- Eat breakfast. Every single day! (Especially if you are a morning runner!) Examples: Oatmeal with nuts and berries, side of Greek yogurt or a whole grain bagel with almond/peanut butter, sliced banana and cup of milk.
- Skip the high calorie juices, pops and coffee drinks and replace with water or tea.
- Log your foods in a journal so you are more aware of what you are eating. Don't forget to write down your workouts so you can see your progress! There are many apps out there now to make it a bit easier for you. (Lose It, My Fitness Pal, Fitbit etc.).
- Plan ahead! Pack your meals and snacks from home. This will cut out major calories from fast food restaurants and convenience foods.
Don’t forget to aim for a realistic weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. Good luck!
Kelly Devine Rickert MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN
Devine Nutrition Inc.
Visit www.kellydevinenutrition.com for a FREE newsletter and blog!
Use this simple recipe to make a regular pasta night more delicious!
Pasta with Turkey Sausage
- Kosher salt
- 12 ounces bow tie pasta (whole wheat if possible)
- 2 bunches broccolini, cut into bite-size pieces
- 8 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs, adding the broccolini during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Then drain the pasta and broccolini.
Meanwhile, roll the sausage meat into about 20 small meatballs. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Pour off any drippings from the skillet, then add the olive oil, the garlic, red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring, 1 minute. Add the pasta, broccolini and meatballs. Add the low-fat alfredo sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide the pasta among bowls. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
Happy Garlic Day! (April 19)
Garlic, one of the more popular spices, is a fat and salt free addition to many recipes. Garlic should be stored in a cool, dark place for up to several weeks.
Try this great recipe!
Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp and Vegetables
Makes: 4 servings, about 2 cups each
Active Time: 30 minutes; Total Time: 30 minutes
Diabetes appropriate | Low calorie | Low saturated fat | Heart healthy | Healthy weight | High calcium | High fiber | High potassium |
- 6 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
- 12 ounces peeled and deveined raw shrimp, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook 2 minutes less than package directions. Add shrimp, asparagus, bell pepper and peas and cook until the pasta is tender and the shrimp are cooked, 2 to 4 minutes more. Drain well.
Mash garlic and salt in a large bowl until a paste forms. Whisk in yogurt, parsley, lemon juice, oil and pepper. Add the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts (if using).
Per serving: 385 calories; 6 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 168 mg cholesterol; 53 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 34 g protein; 10 g fiber; 658 mg sodium; 887 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (130% daily value), Vitamin A (71% dv), Folate (60% dv), Iron and Magnesium (35% dv), Calcium & Zinc (28% dv), Potassium (25% dv).
Next Sunday is National Grilled Cheese day! Who knew?!
Almost everyone can think back to their childhood or times with their children, and remember eating a grilled cheese. The two warm slices of bread and delicious cheese oozing out from the middle. You can now make a grown-up grilled cheese that will be healthier for you, but still give you that comfort feeling! Here is a recipe to try:
Chicken and Avocado Grilled Cheese
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (or I use Brummel and Brown spread)
- 2 slices multigrain bread
- 1/2 tablespoon honey mustard
- 1/2 grilled chicken breast, sliced thin
- 1/8 avocado, sliced
- 1/8 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 1/2 ounces low-fat Swiss cheese (I like Sargento thin slices)
Brush olive oil on one side of both slices of bread and place oil-side down on a cutting board. Top each slide with half the cheese and brush honey mustard on top. Layer chicken, avocado and bell pepper on top of one piece of bread, then top with other piece. Place sandwich in a pan over medium-high heat and place a plate on top to act as a weight. Turn the heat down to medium after a minute and cook for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, checking every minute or so, until melted to your liking.
Nutrition score per serving: 511 calories, 22g fat, 30g carbs, 46g protein
Recipe provided by Spencer Rubin of Melt Shop
Spring Clean Your Pantry!
Alright, it is time to toss the junk food and stock your pantry and fridge with fresh and healthy foods! The weather is looking brighter, so why not make our food choices brighter? Here are some helpful tips for cleaning out your pantry/fridge and keeping it clean!
- Get rid of all the junk food and expired products: Getting rid of some of the junk food will help with the process of trying to eat
well! Some of those items would be:
- Soda: lots of sugar and added calories
- Chips: lots of sodium, fat, and calories
- High fat cheeses, dips, etc.: just that – FAT!
- Fruit drinks/juices: a lot of added sugars, minimal fruit juice
- Ice cream: lots of sugar, fat and minimal nutrient value
- Processed foods/TV dinners: a lot of sodium, minimal nutritional value
- Make a Spreadsheet: This will be very helpful if you have a larger pantry or additional space for storage. The spreadsheet will be a useful way to remember what you have without buying doubles or triples of an item. The spreadsheet can be separated by location and items. (dry/refrigerator/freezer).
- Store Like with Like: Try to keep all like items in the same location (Example: All pastas in the same pantry location; not a few boxes in multiple locations). This will make the spreadsheet run smoother and you will always know what you have at home. The spreadsheet will also help you make your shopping list. You will not be spending extra money on items you do not need.
- Use what you have left; be creative: There are some apps (depending on phone type) and websites that you can put what ingredients you have and it will search for a recipe (www.supercook.com). This is a nice way to put those ingredients to good use before they expire!
Here is a recipe using that website: The ingredients selected were: mushroom soup and chicken.
Easy Lemon Chicken
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
- 1 cut up chicken or 6 chicken breasts
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 1 lemon, juice of
- Salt and pepper
- Place chicken in bottom of baking dish, pour mushroom soup over the chicken, squeeze lemon juice on top, add water and salt and pepper. Serve with rice.
- Bake at 350° about 45 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.
Going meatless once a week can reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity along with reducing your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel (meatlessmonday.com). I encourage people go to meat free once or twice a week as it has many benefits!
- Helps to increases your fruit and vegetable intake throughout the day.
- Helps reduce your carbon impact. Decreasing meat intake has been shown to slow pollution, and water usage.
- Going meatless is much cheaper! Plant based proteins are cheaper than fresh or frozen meat and poultry.
- Helps to reduce your intake of saturated fats and helps to reduce inflammation in your diet.
Sources of protein for meat free dinners:
- Soy, tofu, legumes, beans, lentils, nuts and nut butters, eggs and yogurt are all great alternative sources of protein.
Meat free meal ideas:
- Veggie omelets with feta cheese, side of fresh fruit
- Pasta dishes (can use Morning Star Farms veggie meat crumbles to add to sauces, tacos and chilis!)
- Veggie Pizza with home-made or premade wheat crust
- Breakfast for dinner: buckwheat pancakes, whole grain waffles, etc.
- For more recipes and info visit: www.meatlessmonday.com
Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Feta Cheese
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
- 1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fresh linguine
- 3/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, drained
- 1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons pre-shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
- Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain through a sieve over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pan.
- While pasta cooks, place tomatoes and next 6 ingredients (through black pepper) in a food processor; process until finely chopped.
- Combine tomato mixture and the reserved 1 cup cooking liquid, stirring with a whisk. Add to pasta; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with feta.
Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):
Calories: 300 Calories from fat: 30% Fat: 9.9g Saturated fat: 3.3g Monounsaturated fat: 3.9g Polyunsaturated fat: 1.6g Protein: 12.3g Carbohydrate: 42g Fiber: 4.3g Cholesterol: 61mg Iron: 3.1mg Sodium: 570mg Calcium: 141mg
Use this Jumpstart Plan to hit your Biggest Loser Challenge weight loss goals!
Are you hitting a plateau with your weight loss? Or have you not hit your goal yet? Here are some tips on how to jump-start your weight loss for the last few weeks of the challenge!
- Drink up--Water, that is! Ditch the soft drinks, wine with dinner (yes, I know) and extra calories in your coffee drinks. Replace with good old fashioned ice cold water!
- Ditch the processed foods (aka salty snack foods). The more salt (or sodium) you consume, the more water you retain, which increases your weight. Try to limit foods such as crackers, pretzels, baked chips, 100 calorie packs, desserts, prepacked pasta and rice mixes, etc.
- Increase the produce! Eating more servings of fruit and veggies will ensure you are getting more minerals and vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals, but you will also be consuming more of nature’s natural appetite suppressant… FIBER! Fiber helps fill you up. Aim for 5-9 servings a day!
- Watch the dining out and salt consumption on the weekends. Often times this is where people go astray in a weight loss program. Buckle down these next few weekends and stay on track.
- Keep up those workouts! If you haven't already, switch up your workouts so you don't get bored. Try some intervals, a new video or workout app or take a class at the Shannon Center.
- Try replacing one meal a day with a green protein smoothie. There are tons of recipes out there, but try this one:
- 8 oz. water
2 giant handfuls of spinach
1 mango, peeled and diced (or 1 cup pineapple)
2 heaping tbsp plant-based or whey protein powder (ideally vanilla flavor)
1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
8 Ways to "Bite" into a Healthier Lifestyle!
March marks the start on National Nutrition Month! Here are 8 tips on how to dedicate yourself to a healthier lifestyle.
- Eat Breakfast. There’s no better way to start your morning than with a healthy breakfast. Include
lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Try oatmeal cooked with low-fat
milk, sliced almonds and berries, or top a toaster waffle with low-fat yogurt and
fruit. Find more quick breakfast ideas at www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets.
- Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables. Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber
to your plate. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Don’t
let cost stop you from enjoying produce. Frozen and canned are great alternatives.
See “20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits and Vegetables” at www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets.
- Be Active! Regular physical activity lowers blood pressure and helps your body control stress
and weight. Start by doing what exercise you can for at least 10 minutes at a time.
Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and
adults should get 2 hours and 30 minutes per week. You don’t have to hit the gym—take
a walk after dinner or play a game of catch or basketball.
- 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.
- 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.
- Enact Family Meal Time. Research shows that family meals promote healthier eating. Plan to eat as a family
at least a few times each week. Set a regular mealtime. Turn off the TV, phones and
other electronic devices to encourage mealtime talk. Get kids involved in meal planning
and cooking and use this time to teach them about good nutrition.
- Fix Healthy Snacks. Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals. Whenever possible, combine
your snacks. Choose from two or more of the MyPlate food groups: whole grains, fruits,
vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy, lean protein or nuts. Try low-fat yogurt with
fruit, or try a small portion of nuts or peanut butter with an apple or banana.
- Explore New Foods and Flavors Add more nutrition and eating pleasure by expanding your range of food choices. When shopping, make a point of selecting a fruit, vegetable or whole grain that’s new to you or your family. Try different versions of familiar foods like blue potatoes, red leaf lettuce or basmati rice.
For more free info and tip sheets for National Nutrition Month, visit http://www.nationalnutritionmonth.org/nnm/
Here are some tips to stay motivated when trying to lose weight:
- Fat weight loss will be slower so don’t expect to post huge numbers the whole program. Often times people lose a lot at first but the weight loss eventually slows to 1/2 to 1 pound weight loss per week. This is normal and helps to ensure that it is fat weight you are losing and that it will stay off for good!
- Weigh yourself once a week and keep track of it so you can track your progress. No matter how frustrating it is, keep up with the weekly weigh-ins!
- Don’t forget to do the food journal. By and far, this is the one trick successful people use to lose weight. I know it can be tedious, but it will hold you accountable for every food choice you make.
- If you are not losing as fast or as much as you would like, reassess your food journal once a week. Here are some things to look for: Are you skipping meals? Are you bored or stress eating? Are you eating out or eating fast food too much? Are you drinking too much juice and soda (regular or diet) and not enough water? If you notice one area that needs improving (example, I keep eating a candy bar in the afternoon) then make a goal (I will bring a healthy snack to school or work every day so I don’t snack on candy).
- Are you not hitting your goals for exercise? Take a look and see for yourself how you are doing. Don’t forget to increase or change up your exercise routine! Interval workouts are great.
- Vary your food from day to day. If you eat the same foods day in and day out, your body gets used to your diet and you will stop losing weight. Change things up a bit. Alternate about 2-4 choices each for breakfast, lunch and snacks. This way you will be eating different combinations of foods each day.
How to Lower Sugar Intake… Myths and Suggestions
When trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, cutting out excess sugars is usually a recommendation. (A pretty good one at that!). But still, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to sugars. How much should one consume? What about sugar substitutes? Sugar alcohols? Natural vs. added sugars? Natural sweeteners, such as honey and maple syrup? The list goes on!
How much sugar should I have in a day?
- The least amount possible from ADDED sugars such as white or brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc. These added sugars are what increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes and what increases your weight over time. When trying to eat healthy and to lose weight, cutting out processed carbohydrates (white breads, buns, snack foods, junk foods, etc.) and added sugars is always my first recommendation!
- NATURAL sugar is the sugar that comes from fruit, yogurt and milk products (AKA, lactose and fructose). These sugars are ok in moderation. (I advise 2-3 servings of low sugar dairy products like milk, light yogurts and 2-3 servings of fruit a day to minimize your natural sugar intake).
- Sugar substitutes are ok in moderation but I do suggest eating "real" wholesome foods vs. a lot of fake/sugar free foods (i.e. sugar free jello, pudding, cookies, etc.). You will be more satisfied and crave less sweets if you treat yourself every now and then to the "real" food. If you are going to use artificial sweeteners, I recommend Truvia, Stevia or Splenda. (I do also recommend decreasing as much diet drinks as you can out of your diet and increase the water!).
- "Natural sweeteners" such as table sugar, honey and syrup are still added sugars so decrease as much as you can.
- Don't forget to look at the ingredients on ALL of your food labels. Sugar sneaks it's way into a LOT of foods!
The less sugar you eat, the less you crave! I recommend eating small frequent meals with a combo of whole grains (think foods HIGH in fiber) with some lean proteins to help minimize sugar and carb cravings.
Winter Diet Reboot!
Do you find yourself stuck in a food rut? Even though the groundhog saw its shadow and we have another six weeks of winter, doesn’t mean it’s too early to start spring cleaning our cabinets! Here are some simple tips to reboot your winter diet.
- Prep, prep, prep! That healthy snack or lunch is NOT going to magically appear before you when it’s time to eat or snack. You first need to make a grocery list and go shopping. Think you’re done? Wrong! Help yourself out and take a couple minutes after grocery shopping to cut, chop and package those fruits, veggies, nuts, low fat cheeses and pretzels into ready to go containers or baggies.
- Aim to eat a meal or snack every few hours to boost your energy levels and curb hunger. Beside your lunch, pack at least 1-2 healthy snacks so you always have something on hand to munch on. Try to keep the snacks low in fat and aim for some protein as well as a healthy carbohydrate. Some examples: apple and a tbsp. of peanut butter, 1/2 cup trail mix, 1 serving of pretzels and a string cheese or some chopped veggies and hummus.
- Skip the processed foods. The more foods you prep and cook from home, the more control you have over what foods (AKA fuel) you put into your body. For your meals, aim for fresh lean proteins such as chicken, turkey or fish paired with fresh vegetables and a whole grain starch (quinoa, sweet potato, whole grain pasta to name a few).
- Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables a day to boost your intake of key vitamins and minerals! Skip the supplements and eat real wholesome food first!
Looking to meet your New Year, new you goals? Want to jump start that weight loss? Here are some diet pitfalls I often see and how to avoid them!
Diet Pitfall #1: Skipping Meals
Skipping meals only leads to being more hungry later in the day which leads to overeating and loss of control in the evenings. Start your day with breakfast, then try and eat something every 3-5 hours to maintain steady blood sugars. Skipping meals or fasting does NOT equate to long term weight loss.
Diet Pitfall #2: Eating diet, sugar free or fat free foods all day
Real food will fill you up and satisfy you. “Franken-food” will not. (AKA food that has been chemically processed). Eat real, wholesome foods. You will feel better. Look better. Have more energy and less cravings.
Diet Pitfall #3: Not exercising
You can lose weight by diet alone but it is very rare when someone can maintain long term weight loss without some exercise involved. Get moving! 30 minutes a day for long term results. You will have more energy, fit into your clothes better, lose more inches with exercise AND diet vs. diet alone.
Diet Pitfall #4: Not drinking enough water/drinking diet pop or coffee all day.
Water is the BEST way to hydrate yourself. Add a slice of lemon, cucumber or sliced berries to flavor your water naturally. Increasing the water will hydrate you better, give you longer lasting energy levels AND help you burn more calories when you work out.
For nutrition/exercise questions or for more tip ideas, email Kelly at email@example.com.
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Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Water is essential to healthy living. The minimum amount for people to drink a day is 64 oz. a day but that amount should be increased as you exercise or feel thirsty. Especially with the dry air of winter, try to make increasing your water a priority this week.
Here are 5 tips on how to increase your water intake:
- Before having that second cup of coffee, drink a bottle of water first before refilling your mug.
- Drink a bottle of water first thing in the morning to re-hydrate yourself after a long night sleep.
- Bring a BPA free water bottle with you to work and refill often.
- Rule of thumb: Drink 8-16 oz. water for every 30 minutes you exercise.
- Flavor it up with natural flavors such as lemon, cucumber, or berry slices.
For nutrition/exercise questions or for more tip ideas, email Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit kellydevinenutrition.com to sign up for a FREE monthly nutrition newsletter!
Detoxification and cleanses
Detoxification and cleanses are becoming quite popular now. The idea behind them is to “purge” your body of all its unwanted toxins that get built up in your system over time. Most detox systems claim you can lose up to 10 pounds of undigested matter from your colon (pretty image isn’t it?), get more energy, lose inches off your stomach, etc. etc. etc.
The problem is sometimes these cleanses are just expensive forms of fiber supplements and some products can even interact with your medications. Here is a plan on how to detox the healthy way and it is dietitian approved!
First foods to REMOVE: (Try this for a solid two weeks)
- Soda (including diet!)
- Energy and caffeine drinks
- Artificial sweeteners
- Prepackaged foods (100 calorie packs, granola bars, pasta and rice sides, etc.)
- Fast foods
Basically anything that comes from a package or has more than 3 ingredients gets eliminated for 14 days.
Here are some foods and beverages to ADD to your diet to detox your system:
- Plain, old water! (Flavored with a slice of lemon or cucumber if needed)
- Aim for 8-10 cups of water per day
- Green tea
- Aim for at least 1 serving a day (No added sweeteners)
- Aim for 2-3 servings per day
- Vegetables- the more the merrier! (Don’t forget to rinse before eating)
- Whole grains
- 100% whole grain bread on occasion is ok
- Lean, fresh proteins in small amounts, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs
- Limit the cheese, nuts and peanut butter as it tends to slow down digestion
- Can add more of these in after the first 2 weeks
Notice your energy levels. The goal is to have more energy, flush out any excess sodium or fluid you have carrying with you, sleep better and have consistent bowel movements each day.
All of these are good side effects of a healthy diet!
Is it a Fad Diet? You be the judge!
It’s that time of year again when contests, new diets, resolutions and promises to make you lose 10 inches in 6 weeks abound EVERYWHERE you look. On TV, in mailers, on social media, at your work, in magazines, at your gym, EVERYWHERE. So how can you tell if a plan is right for you? Is it a fad? Is it healthy for you? Check out the list below to get your answers!
If you answer yes to the following questions, it’s a fad diet.
Does the weight loss plan…
- Promise to lose X amount of inches or X amount of pounds in less than 12 weeks
- Consist of an all liquid or mainly liquid diet
- Require frequent fasting
- Require expensive supplements with little or no research supporting the truth their claims
- Cut out major food group(s)
- Teach you zero knowledge of nutrition and meal planning
- Have support from a company or people not training with a medical degree, Registered Dietitian license or state license credentialing them to practice nutrition
So what defines a legitimate diet and exercise plan?
Many things! But here are a few:
- It is a diet that you can adhere to for the long term
- It is a plan that not only works for you but for your family as well
- Involves real food
- Involves education about meal timing, what to eat, portion sizes, etc.
- The best plans truly educate you on sound nutrition and exercise principles
- Involves a wide variety of foods
I advise you to thoroughly research any program you would like to start. You can also email Kelly, the Shannon Center RD, at email@example.com to help you decide if the program or product would be a good fit for you.
One great program at your fingertips is the SXU 8-Week Nutrition Weight Loss program! Taught by Kelly, the class includes food demos, grocery store tours, education on nutrition and exercise and more! Next class will start again Tuesday January 20! For registration information, visit http://kellydevinenutrition.com/group-weight-loss-class/or for questions contact Kristy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Almost time to start making those new years resolutions! With 2014 ending and looking towards 2015, we need to focus on our health and fitness goals once again! What are your New Years Resolutions? Did you meet all of your health and fitness goals last year? If not, here are some tips on how to make a better New Years Resolution!
- Write down all of you goals for the up coming year and keep them in a journal or in a safe place so you can reference it often. (I keep mine in my wallet so I can look at them every now and again).
- 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 for January! Look over your goals every month so you can evaluate if you are on task. If you aren't, it’s not the end of the world! Give yourself a break. Set a new goal and you’ll be on track again in no time!
Need accountability in reaching your goals in 2015? Look no further than the SXU 8-Week Weight Loss Class starting January 20! For more information, email Kristy at email@example.com.
Here are some great healthy New Year's resolution ideas:
- Avoid soft drinks and teas that are sweetened with sugar
- Take the stairs instead of elevator
- Exercise as soon as you come in from work
- Park your car at the opposite end of parking lot (when safe to do so)
- Get only the smallest portion sizes when eating fast foods (kids meals)
- Include vegetables or fruit at all meals
- Bring your lunch 4 days a week
- Walk on a break at work daily
- Train for a local 5K race (www.chicagoaa.com)
- Share an entree when eating out
- Start an exercise group with friends or colleagues
- Go down one size in your jeans
- Run a half or full marathon
- Get your yearly physical
- Learn a new sport
- Eat only when hungry
- Drink at least 7-9 glasses of water per day
- Go grocery shopping once a week
- Moderate your drinking
- No late night snacking
- Try a new sport
Devine Nutrition, Inc.
Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CPT
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Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics
Registered Dietitian and ACE Certified Personal Trainer