Nutrition Tip of The Week
Christmas Recipe Makeover Ideas - Desserts!
Now that Thanksgiving is over, the serious planning for Christmas meals and desserts has most likely begun for most of you. But, just like Thanksgiving, Christmas doesn’t have to be a time of making every high-fat, high-calorie, holiday recipe known to mankind. Right now, let’s focus on a few general dessert makeover tips, since making desserts in advance is often a key strategy to avoid being completely overwhelmed on the actual day(s) of festivities.
- Identify the high-fat, high-calorie ingredients in each recipe and find a lower fat
- Full-fat dairy products (heavy cream, butter, whole milk, full-fat cream cheese, etc.) –You can use reduced fat or 2% for most of these items
- Butter and oils – Try using applesauce instead of oil (using 1:1 ratio) or use light butter.
- Eggs – It is usually possible to substitute 2 egg whites for one egg or use egg substitute.
- If you can find lower-fat versions of some of these ingredients, it is unlikely to affect the taste and texture of the recipe (such as using reduced-fat milk in place of whole or lower-fat cream cheese in place of full-fat). So try making those substitutions where you can. However, recipes that use heavy cream do that for a reason, but if you limit your heavy-cream-using recipes to one or two, you won’t overload yourself with calories and fat.
- Check out some websites specializing in the art of healthier dessert recipes:
- Cooking Light: www.cookinglight.com
- Eating Well: www.eatingwell.com
- Taste of Home: www.tasteofhome.com
- And check out the Mayo Clinic’s complete guide to substitutions!
Stay tuned for more Christmas recipe makeovers next time! And may your holiday dessert planning go well!
Need a tasty vegetable dish to add to your dinner meal?
Try this roasted Parmesan cauliflower recipe! (Always works great with broccoli).
1 head cauliflower (chopped into small florets)
Fresh or canned Parmesan cheese (~1/4 cup)
Olive oil (in a diffuser is the lowest calorie way)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400-425 degrees
- Chop cauliflower and spread on a baking sheet (covered in tinfoil for easy clean up!)
- Spray olive oil (using a diffuser for lowest calorie options or toss with 1-2 tbsp oil)
- Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt (I like the taste of sea salt the best) and cracked pepper.
- Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring, turning veggies at least 1-2 times.
- Take out and sprinkle on cheese. (Can even add tbsp balsamic vinegar as well).
- Put back in oven for about 5 minutes.
Viola! You're done!
Staying Trim Around the Holidays
Now that the holidays are officially upon us, so are all the festive baked goods and holiday parties!
Here are some tips to help you maintain your weight this holiday season!
1. Keep your normal exercise routine and stick to it! Meet a friend or join a class – but be sure to burn those calories!
2. Stick to your normal food routine during the work week. Pack your lunches and snacks so you stay on track. (Save the treats and dining out for the actual holiday parties!)
3. Drink up! Water that is! Staying hydrated will not only help your skin this winter but help keep you fuller and more energized!
4. Ditch the dining out and fast foods when you can. People typically dine out more in December due to various holiday parties and running around shopping. Try to prepare some quickie meals to pop in the oven or crock pot for after school or work so you have some healthy on hand.
5. Aim for at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day! This will help fill you up and curb your appetite!
Top 10 Tricks to Slim Down Your Thanksgiving Feast
Here are 10 tricks on how to whittle down those calories without skimping on taste this Thanksgiving season. Best tip for the holidays? Skip the items you can eat on a regular basis and treat yourself to a few of your favorites. Just be sure to watch the portions! And don’t forget to sign up for a local turkey trot run or walk to burn off some calories beforehand!
- Turkey is naturally low in fat (think the white breast meat) but try to skip the high fat skins.
- Baste your turkey with white wine or low sodium broth instead of butter to save on fat calories.
- Swap low-sodium chicken broth for most of the butter in your stuffing. This saves at least 50 calories per serving and cuts the fat in half.
- Add more vegetables to your stuffing! Onions, carrots, mushrooms and celery are all tasty additions
- Use low-sodium or reduced-fat varieties of cream of mushroom (or cream of celery) soup. Per can of condensed soup, you'll save 120 calories and 16 grams of fat by going with reduced-fat version.
- Switch out the high fat whole milk for skim or 2% milk and replace the butter with a heart healthier substitute such as Smart Balance or Brummel and Brown.
- If making candied sweet potatoes, cut the sugar in half or use a low calorie sweetener instead.
- Instead of high fat croissants or biscuits, aim for mini whole grain rolls from your local bakery to increase your fiber intake.
- What’s Thanksgiving dinner without gravy? Significantly cut calories by skimming the fat from your pan juices before making the gravy.
- Skip the top crust if you can and aim for fruit based pies such as apple or pumpkin. A typical slice of pie can pack in as many as 400 calories so portion size and moderation is key!
Holiday Recipe Makeover Tips – Thanksgiving!
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 for making 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 the 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. (Try using Google for some glaze ideas)
- And 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!
Hummus can be similar to Greek yogurt: Either you LOVE it or you HATE it! What is hummus you may ask? Hummus is a dip made from cooked or mashed chickpeas blended with oil, tahini paste, herbs and spices. The chickpeas are a good source of protein and dietary fiber. Nutritionally speaking, hummus is high in iron and vitamin C, and it also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6.
Hummus is a great addition to your diet. One thing to keep in mind is to check the oil content. Some companies oil content calories are more than double that of other companies. (I like Cedar’s Hummus, only 45 kcal/2 tbsp serving).
Here is an easy, healthy, no processed hummus recipe from allrecipes.com:
- 1 can garbanzo beans 15 oz, drained, liquid reserved
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp cumin
In a blender, combine ingredients and 1 tbsp of the reserved liquid until smooth.
I suggest pairing hummus with one of the following:
- pretzels or pita chips
- chopped veggies such as green/red peppers, carrots, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, etc
- pita bread
- wholegrain crackers
Healthy Fall Snacks!
Try some of my fall favorites this November! Great for snacks!
- Pumpkin peanut butter dip for apples
- 1/2 can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (I use Splenda)
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut or almond butter
- Roasted pumpkin seeds: Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, and add a layer of pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle the seeds with a dash of sea salt and then roast them at 325 F for about 25 minutes or until toasted.
- Popcorn: Place kernels in paper lunch bag, spray with olive oil cooking spray, fold down top of bag two times and microwave on popcorn setting. Add some fall spices to spruce your popcorn up! (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and ginger).
- Honey Crisp apple and slice of cheese
- Thomas’ Pumpkin Spice English Muffins with natural almond butter or peanut butter. Try to limit the topping to one tablespoon.
Happy Halloween Tips!
Halloween week is finally here! As I mentioned last week, it’s important to prepare for the big day by making mindful choices and planning out some fun activities to take your mind off candy. Let’s explore some other strategies to think about for the day, especially if you have any food-related events planned.
- If you are going out to eat at night, pay attention to what you eat during the rest of the day. Shoot for lower-calorie, higher-fiber items to keep you feeling full while minimizing calories, such as oatmeal for breakfast or a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with a side of carrot or bell pepper sticks for lunch.
- Don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated and functioning at your best. Aim for 64-80 fluid ounces (around 8-10 cups) for the whole day.
- Before the event, make sure to eat a snack high in protein and fiber before you leave so that you won’t feel extra hungry. Try Greek yogurt with a few slivered almonds; a string cheese stick with some whole grain crackers or apple slices; hummus with veggie sticks or whole grain pita bread; or even a piece of fruit with a tablespoon of nut butter. Get creative!
- At the party or other event, choose lower-calorie options if possible. Avoid fried, oily and sugary foods and choose grilled, steamed, broth-based, etc., options if you can. Choose low-calorie beverages as well, like water and unsweetened or artificially sweetened tea. If you are to drink a sweetened beverage limit yourself to one cup only.
- Of course, feel free to pick one or two special treats to enjoy at the party. Choose carefully and you won’t derail your diet. Make sure to savor that treat like you mean it!
- If you are not going to a party or an event and are just staying at home passing out candy, you can still follow the same strategies mentioned above and enjoy a treat or two at home.
- Also, if you’re passing out candy, don’t keep the candy bowl or bags in plain sight all day – hide them in a place you won’t be looking at constantly and take them out only when the trick or treaters start coming to your door.
- If you’re between busy trick or treat times, find something else to do rather than staring at the candy. Try reading a book, listening to music, cleaning or doing another project while you wait for the other costumed kids to arrive.
Planning ahead with these tips can help you enjoy the day even more!
Have a Happy Halloween!
Healthy Halloween Tips
Halloween is just around the corner and with it usually comes tons of candy and treats that last for weeks – or maybe just a few days, if you like to eat the sweets all at once! But even during this candy-laden holiday, you can easily find ways to add a healthy twist. Here are some do’s and don’ts to make your Halloween both happy and healthy.
- Do enjoy a treat or two during that day. Set a little time aside to actually savor the treat you choose, rather than scarfing it down super-fast.
- Do substitute little toys, cheap school supplies or other trinkets if you’re giving out candy and usually get tempted by the leftovers. Not having it around can help eliminate the urge to eat it!
- Do try to get in some exercise, talk to a friend or do some other activity that will take your mind off sweets and eating.
- Do schedule a special activity that does not involve food, like going for a fall hayride or taking a walk through a haunted corn maze.
- Don’t stock up on all the candy you can get your hands on. Instead, choose a few types or pieces to savor throughout the actual day and call it quits after that.
- Don’t use the candy as an excuse to go all out with your holiday eating. Be sensible and if you’re going to have some candy, cut back on other treats and less-healthy foods throughout the day.
- Don’t forget to stay safe when you’re outside and/or on the road.
- Don’t give up – put these ideas into action and you can have a great holiday!
Winter Squash… a Fall favorite!
Fall produce like winter squash (pumpkin, acorn squash, etc.) is a healthy way to save money while offering maximum flavor. According to the USDA’s www.choosemyplate.gov, including squash as part of a regular diet may reduce your risk of developing certain chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, obesity and type-2 diabetes. Since it is rich in potassium, squash may also lower high blood pressure, reduce your risk of developing kidney stones and prevent bone loss. Squash is also naturally low in calories which can to help you achieve and/or maintain a healthy body weight.
Winter squash can be added to your menu in a variety of ways.
- Incorporate pumpkin by adding it to your favorite baked good recipes instead of oil. Fresh pumpkin pureed with water or canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) can be used in a 1:1 ratio instead of oil. For example, if the recipe calls for 1/2 cup oil, use 1/2 cup pumpkin instead.
- Fold canned pumpkin with fat free whipped topping and enjoy alone as a creamy dessert or paired with angel food cake.
- Swap pasta noodles for spaghetti squash. Simply cut a whole spaghetti squash in quarters, pour 1/4 cup water in a microwave-safe dish, place squash cut-side down in dish, and microwave for 7-10 minutes or until soft. Simply remove the “noodles” with a fork and enjoy!
Source: Hungry Girl
Oven-Roasted Squash with Garlic and Parsley
- 5 pounds winter squash (such as butternut, buttercup, kabocha or hubbard), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks (see Tip)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Toss squash with 4 teaspoons oil, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until tender throughout and lightly browned, 30 to 45 minutes (depending on the variety of squash).
- Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Toss the roasted squash with the garlic and parsley. Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve.
104 Calories; 3 g Fat; 0 g Sat; 2 g Mono; 0 mg Cholesterol; 21 g Carbohydrates; 2 g Protein; 6 g Fiber; 357 mg Sodium; 555 mg Potassium
1 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 starch, 1/2 fat
Nutrition Note: Vitamin A (430% daily value), Vitamin C (50% dv), Potassium (16% dv).
Makes 10 servings, about 3/4 cup each | Active Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour
Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-What?
Omega-3 and Omega-6s are essential fatty acids in the human diet. Omega-3s are less commonly found in the American diet than the Omega-6s. Common sources of Omega-6s are safflower, corn, cottonseed and soybean oils.
Sources of Omega 3s
- Vegetable oils: flaxseed, soybean and canola
- Greens: brussels sprouts, kale and spinach
Omega-3s Functions and Health Benefits
- Controlling blood clotting
- Building cell membranes in the brain
- Protection against heart disease
- Protection against stroke
- Benefits for cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
Should you supplement? If you diet is not rich in Omega-3s, you can supplement. The recommended dosage is 500mg. If you are at risk for heart disease, ask your doctor about increasing your supplement.
Salmon with Lemon and Dill
- 1 pound of salmon fillets
- 1/4 cup butter
- 5 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of fresh or dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
- Place salmon in the baking dish. Mix the butter and lemon juice in a small bowl, and drizzle over the salmon. Season with dill, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper.
- Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven or until salmon is easily flaked with a fork.
Skinny Tips for Crockpot Cooking!
Fall is here, which means… it's crock-pot time! But slow cooking doesn’t have to mean hearty, high fat dishes. Check out these tips to lighten up some of your favorite slow cooker recipes!
- Try browning your meat before you put it into the crockpot. Browning the meat, especially ground meat, will help get rid of excess fat and grease and adds flavor to the dish you’re making.
- Experiment with herbs and spices in recipes rather than adding cream soups or other fatty ingredients.
- Let the steam do it’s thing. Steam actually makes the meat more tender and juicy, so be sure you don’t lift the crock-pot lid unless the recipe calls for you to do so.
- You can cook vegetables in the crock-pot too! Believe it or not, crock-pots can actually turn out some pretty delicious vegetables! Click here for an example of a crock-pot vegetable and chickpea curry from Cooking Light.
- Check out some other healthy crock-pot recipes for meats, soups, stews, sandwiches and even breakfast, from Cooking Light’s website.
Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili
- 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
- One (1) 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (you could use crushed)
- One (1) 14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
- Two (2) 16 oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
- One (1) 15 oz can of corn, drained
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 large chicken breasts, frozen or thawed (cook longer if frozen)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 tsp chili powder
- Toss everything into slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4-7 hours on high.
- Remove chicken and shred it with two forks. Return to slow cooker.
- Top with cheese (2%), sour cream (fat free or light) and avocados.
- Drink plenty of water the day and night before the race
- Skip the sodas the night before as they will dehydrate you.
- Drink at least 2 cups of water or Gatorade the morning of the race
- Drink a half cup water at each aid station and 1-2 cups after race. More if it is hot or humid the morning of the Cougar 5K.
- If it is hot or humid, increase the water intake during race
- If you are 1-2% dehydrated before a race, it can lead to a 10% decline in performance (and less calories burned!)
- Limit yourself to one caffeine drink the morning of race
The Night Before
- You do not need to eat any more than usual the night before a 5K
- Keep in low in fat (easy on butter, fattening meats, sauces, dressings)
- Have at least 1 form of carbohydrates (a baked potato, rice, pasta, bread) with some lean protein and a vegetable
- Drink 2 cups of water race morning (at least)
- Eat a light breakfast (nothing new!)
- i.e. Small banana, granola bar, half bagel with jelly, toast with peanut butter
- Keep in low in fiber and fat ( NO High FIBER breads or bars!)
- Remember to leave in time to allow for parking and lines in at the bathroom before the race
- First of all, congratulations, enjoy yourself!
- Typically the best post workout snack is a carbohydrate and protein
- A light yogurt, a protein shake, whole grain sandwich
- Best if in liquid form and taken within a 45 minutes window of exercise
Apples, apples and more apples -- it’s apple season!
Eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Although this common saying may not be entirely true, it is true that apples are healthy for you.
Fun Apple Facts
- Apples really pack a vitamin C punch. The antioxidant power of that apple is equal to more than 1,500 milligrams of vitamin C.
- Apples also contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps lower blood cholesterol. Since apples are high in fiber, they help to feel that full sensation in your stomach.
- Fruit consumption has also been linked to cancer prevention and lower weights.
- There are about 2,500 known varieties of apples grown in the United States alone! (Who knew?)
- Apples are best stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Ways to Add Some Apples Into Your Diet
- Apple and peanut butter
- Chopped apple in green salads or fruit salads.
- My favorite! Bake apples with cinnamon and a small amount of brown sugar and a sprinkle of oats (heat in oven for 20-30 min at 350 degrees).
- Cooked apples with vegetables such as carrots, winter squash and sweet potatoes can make vegetables a bit sweeter.
Where Can You Find Apples
Apples go out of season by early winter, so pick some today. Here are some local farms to check out:
Water- Keep Hydrated!
Your body is about 60% water and every system in your body requires water. It is very important to drink water to avoid dehydration and keep your body functioning well. Feeling tired, or have a lack of energy? Even, mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you feel tired.
How much is enough?
Men need about 13 cups a day, while women need about 9 cups a day. In extreme heat, be sure to drink more water. There are factors that affect this recommendation. Exercise, environment, illness, and pregnancy may increase your fluid or water needs. A typical exercise session of an hour or less, drinking about 1.5 cups to 2.5 cups of water should be sufficient. Hot, humid weather makes your body sweat more, which also means your body needs more water. If you are ill, with a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea your body is losing more fluids than normal. You should drink more water to replenish these lost fluids.
What about other fluids?
Milk, juice, coffee, soda, and sports drinks can hydrate you, however, your main source of fluid should still be water. These other drinks may have high sugar contents. Water is calorie-free, inexpensive, and readily available.
Food also hydrates you. On average, about 20 percent of total water intake comes from food. Fruits and vegetables contain the most water. For example, watermelon and tomatoes, are 90 percent or more water by weight.
Ways to Drink More Water
- Have a glass when you first wake up
- Drink water with meals and snacks
- Carry a water bottle with you
- Try infused water- add cucumbers, strawberries or lemons to your water
Try the “pee test”
When you urinate, the darker the color, the more dehydrated you are. So drink up! If your urine is totally clear, you are probably drinking too much. Your urine should be pale yellow in color.
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 tail gate!
- Instead of regular ol’ 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.
- Substitute the brats and hotdogs for chicken sausage, chicken or beef kabobs or turkey burgers.
- Chili is a favorite when it comes to the fall and football season.
- Some tips to lighten up your chili:
- Use the leanest cut of beef or substitute for lean ground turkey
- use 2% shredded cheese
- Limit the sour cream
Slow Cooker Quinoa Chicken Chili
- 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
- One (1) 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (you could use crushed)
- One (1) 14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
- Two (2) 16 oz cans of black beans, rinsed, drained
- One (1) 15 oz can of corn, drained
- 3 Cups chicken stock
- 2 large chicken breasts, frozen or thawed (cook longer if frozen)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 tsp chili powder
- Toss everything into slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4-7 hours on high.
- Remove chicken and shred it with two forks. Return to slow cooker.
- Top with cheese (2%), sour cream (fat free or light), avocados
Shopping List and Product Suggestions
Grains (think high in fiber!)
- 100% whole wheat breads (aim for 3-5 grams fiber per slice)
- Raisin Bread (with peanut butter for a quick breakfast)
- Brown/wild rice (Uncle Ben's packets and individual serving sizes)
- Barilla Plus/Dreamfields/Ronzoni pastas (great for spaghetti night and pasta salads)
- All Bran cereal and snack crackers
- Kashi or Special K cereal, cookies, snack crackers, waffles and frozen meals
- Quaker Oats (mix with skim milk; add walnuts/raisens/splenda/cinnamon for flavor)
- Low sugar/Weight Control oatmeal packets
- Kashi whoel grain crackers
- Nutrigrain waffles
- Thomas light english muffins
- Boboli wheat pizza crust
- Rice cakes
- Bagel Thins
- Sandwich Thins
Dairy (think low fat!)
- String cheese (less than 5 grams fat per serving)- Try Sargento low fat or low sodium
- Weight watchers/Fit n Active/Skinny Cow/Laughing Cow (individual low fat cheese servings)
- Light yogurt (Dannon lit n fit, Yoplait light)
- Greek yogurt
- Low fat Cottage cheese
- Skim or 1% milk
- Eggs, (best kind will be egg whites or Egg beaters)
- Kraft 2% cheeses
- Brummel and Brown butter, Smart Balance and Benecol margarines
Protein (think lean!)
- Fresh fish, pork tenderloin, pork chops, chicken breasts, turkey, 90-95% lean sirloin, flank steak, filets
- Tyson grilled chicken breast strips (precooked)
- Tyson frozen chicken breasts
- Peanut butter (Skippy or natural)
- Unsalted nuts (almonds, pistachios and walnuts are best)
- 3 or 6 oz pre packed tuna in water
- Whey protein powder
- Low sodium lunch meat (turkey or chicken from deli counter)
- Chicken sausage
Fruits and vegetables
- Fresh is best!
- Frozen fruit or vegetables without added sauces, cheeses or sugars
- Green Giant low fat steamers
- Canned- rinse vegetables well in sink before heating up
- Light dressings (Hidden Valley Ranch light, spray dressings, Paul Newman light dressings)
- Light mayo or miracle whip
- Low sugar Smuckers Jelly
- Light syrup
- Fat free or light sour cream
- Light or 1/3 less fat cream cheese
- Southbeach diet
- Special K protein
- Fiber One
- Southbeach diet
- Healthy Choice
- Lean Cuisine
- Smart Ones
The Great Pantry Clean Up!
Now that summer is winding down and people are heading back to school, it is a great time to reorganize your pantry and get ready for the upcoming school year. To make your life just a little bit easier, go through these steps one by one to clear out the clutter so you won’t have an excuse to not make healthy meals! (Start with your pantry and repeat for other food cabinets and your refrigerator/freezer)
1. Take EVERYTHING OUT. It cannot be avoided.
2. Clean and sanitize!
3. Now start to look at expiration dates. Toss and/or recycle what you can. You will be amazed at some of the expiration dates on the foods in your house. I won't admit to some of the expired dates that I found in my pantry last week! Stick with my rule, if in doubt, throw it out!
4. Put aside foods that are not the healthiest choices. (Such as boxed meals, sugary cereals, etc). Donate them to your local food pantry.
5. Organize your pantry so the supplies and food you need for packing lunches is up close.
- Purchase some bins to store your Ziploc baggies or plastic containers in so you can pull them out and put back easily.
- Put your baking goods in the back or up higher as you do not use those as much.
- When unpacking groceries, try to put the new groceries behind the older ones so the old ones get eaten first.
6. Make a grocery list. Plan out and shop for meals for at least one week.
7. Stay tuned for next week’s shopping guide!
Healthy Lunch Tips for Adults and Kids Too
- Think outside the box when it comes to preparing sandwiches. Mix your bread products (and aim for at least 3 grams of fiber per serving!). Try whole grain pitas, bagels, Sandwich Thins or whole grain or corn tortillas instead of plain white bread.
- Add vegetables by adding some to the “sandwich.” On the side, pack some sliced tomato, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce or even some avocado. (Make sure it’s on the side or else it will make the bread soggy).
- No pop or sugary drinks! Instead, drink water!
- Aim for a fruit and/or vegetables in every lunch. Cut up fruit or vegetables and add a fun dip such as yogurt for fruit or light ranch for vegetables.
- Don’t forget to add in some calcium! Toss in a yogurt, string cheese stick, slice of cheese on a sandwich or, better yet, a carton of low-fat milk!
- For a side item if needed, watch the extra calories in chips and junk food. Instead opt for pretzels, goldfish, baked chips, fruit leathers or Sun chips.
- Add in a sweet treat by adding a pudding cup, Jell-O, Fig Newton’s, graham crackers or pretzels dipped in dark chocolate.
- Switch it up! Instead of a sandwich, pack some whole grain peanut butter and crackers, turkey or ham rollups made with low fat cream cheese and whole grain tortillas, or broth based soups in a thermos. Think outside the lunchbox!
- Prep for the week after shopping on the weekend -- slice up any fruits, vegetables or side items. Package them in small dishwasher safe containers or snack sizes baggies.
- Check out this great blog, www.momables.com, for a great resource on healthy lunches for kids.
Packing lunches can take some time but once you get in a routine, lunches should take no more than 10-15 of prep time the night before work or school.
Check out this yummy wrap recipe!
Corn on the Cob!
What says summer like a fresh piece of grilled corn on the cob? Instead of the usual butter and salt, spice things up a bit! Here is one recipe to use but you can also add a wide assortment of fixings to your corn on the cob such as light mayo, hot sauce, cilantro, basil, oregano, lime juice, Mrs. Dash seasonings, salsa, garlic, you name it!
Grilled Corn on the Cob
- 6 ears of fresh corn
- 1/4 c butter (use less butter for lower calories!)
- 1 tbsp Garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 lime juiced
- Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate.
- Heat the garlic and butter in a small saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes
- Stir together the salt, black pepper, and cumin in a small dish.
- Stir into the butter mixture along with the lime juice and hot sauce until evenly blended. Brush the ears of corn generously with the garlic butter; reserve remaining butter.
- Cook the corn on the preheated grill, rotating occasionally until the corn is hot and tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Brush the corn with the remaining butter as the corn cooks.
- Sprinkle with chopped cilantro (optional)
Add a nice fresh salad with fruit and nuts for a vegetarian meal or pair with some turkey burgers or chicken kabobs to make it a meal!
Spaghetti squash is a great low-carb alternative to pasta. Pasta nets about 220 calories per serving vs. only 42 calories in spaghetti squash! This is a great way to lower your calories and carbs if you are watching your weight. (You can also microwave the squash for quicker cooking time). You can put homemade tomato sauce and some parmesan cheese over the squash as an alternative or try the recipe below for a slight twist. Enjoy!
- 1 spaghetti squash (about 4 pounds), halved lengthwise, seeds removed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 tablespoon packed light-brown sugar
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup blanched hazelnuts (1 ounce), toasted and coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush cut sides of squash with oil, and sprinkle with sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Place squash, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly on sheet on a wire rack, about 10 minutes.
- Scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands. Place in a large bowl. Add oil, Parmesan, parsley, cilantro, hazelnuts, one teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve immediately.
- Martha Stewart Living, January 2008
Greek Yogurt Smoothies and Popsicles
One of the best parts of summer is the abundance of fresh, in season, cheap fruits and vegetables. Why not make some homemade smoothies and treats with all those extra fruits lying around? Smoothies are great because you really don’t need a recipe. There are three main versions of smoothies:
- Fruit, ice, juice and water (fruit smoothie)
- Fruit, ice and yogurt (yogurt smoothie)
- Fruit with yogurt, juice or water, and protein powder (protein shake)
Whichever method you like best, all you need to do is pick two or three fruits, blend with some Greek yogurt, low sugar juice or water, and viola! You have yourself a smoothie. You can also save your leftover smoothie and freeze it into popsicle molds or freeze in small dixie cups with a stick in middle. (Enter popsicle molds into any search engine and results will show fantastic molds available to purchase.)
Greek Yogurt Smoothie
- 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons old fashioned oats
- 1-2 tablespoons agave
- Combine strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, banana, Greek yogurt, oats, agave and 1 cup ice in blender until smooth.
- Serve immediately.
- You can combine any fruit combos in a smoothie. Add 1 scoop whey protein powder for some added protein.
Strawberry Mango Yogurt Swirl Pops
- 3/4 cup pureed strawberries (about 1 1/2 cups of whole ripe strawberries)
- 3/4 cup pureed mangos (about 1 1/2 cups of ripe mango slices)
- 1 1/2 cup white grape juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 16 ounces Greek yogurt (I used Yoplait honey vanilla, but any flavor will work!)
- In a blender, puree strawberries with 1 tablespoon of honey and 3/4 cup white grape juice, set aside.
- Clean blender, then puree sliced mango with 1 tablespoon of honey and 3/4 cup white grape juice, set aside.
- Layer the popsicles as follows; 2 teaspoons strawberry puree, than 1 teaspoon yogurt, 2 teaspoons mango puree and repeat. Make a fruit puree your last layer. Use a small spoon to drag vertically from the bottom to the top of the mold a few times to create a swirled pattern. Gently tap the molds on the counter top to remove any air bubbles.
- Insert the popsicle sticks, then freeze for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
Quickie Microwave Egg Breakfast!
This is a GREAT quickie breakfast for you to make before heading out to work or school. I also encourage kids and teens to try this as well.
- 3 large or extra-large egg whites OR 1-2 large or extra-large eggs
- Place desired diced veggies in a bowl with a splash of water and cover with a paper towel. Microwave for about 30 seconds so veggies are cooked through.
- In a small to medium microwave safe bowl, place the egg whites or egg with veggies and add seasonings (sea salt, pepper, garlic, basil, oregano, paprika, cumin, chili powder, you name it. Pick a few and get creative!).
- Using a whisk or fork, mix until frothy. (Add a dash of milk if wanted.)
- Place in microwave and cook on full power. Cook egg whites for 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds or regular egg about 30-45 seconds.
- When finished, sprinkle some shredded cheese on top and microwave for 10-15 more seconds.
- Add cooked egg to a whole grain or low carb wrap, bagel thin or English muffin (I recommend Thomas Light English Muffins).
This is a great way to start off your day with more protein. Balance out your eggs with a side of carbs or fruit and a glass of milk or juice. Enjoy!
Watermelon… Magic Fruit?
Having difficulty with eyesight? Body fat reduction? Or cardiovascular health? Who knew watermelon can assist with all of these issues! Watermelon is not only an amazing and fun summer treat, it is also beneficial in the following ways:
- Body Fat Reduction: Watermelons contain the amino acid citrulline, which goes through a series of steps that results in our fat cells creating less fat than usual.
- Bone and Cardiovascular Health: Large amounts of watermelon has been linked to improved blood flow through relaxing blood pressure. Additionally, watermelon contains lycopene which promotes bone health, due to the lessening of oxidative stress, therefore improving bone strength. Watermelon also contains potassium which assists in calcium retention in ones bones.
- Antioxidant: Watermelon is rich in flavonoids, carotenoids and triterpenoids. Lycopene is a cartenoid that reduces chances of inflammations by eliminating free radicals that can infect the body.
- Diuretic and Hydration: Watermelon is about 92% water content. Therefore it is a natural diuretic that increases urination without putting stress on the kidneys like alcohol or caffeine does.
- Improves Eye Health: Watermelon is a wonderful source of beta-carotene or vitamin A. Vitamin A assists in skin, teeth and eye health.
So make sure to indulge in this sweet treat as often as possible this summer!
3 cups watermelon
1 1/2 cups strawberries
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup ice
sugar, to taste (I use Stevia sweetener)
Read More: Watermelon Strawberry Smoothie Recipe
Here are some suggestions on how to navigate summer BBQs without adding on the pounds!
- If you know you are heading to a party, cut back a little on calories the couple meals before you go. For example, eat a salad instead of a sandwich for lunch.
- Add in some extra time in your workout if you know ahead of time you are heading to a party. Or if you overdid it at the party, tack on extra time in your workout the next day.
- Don’t go to your party hungry! Eat a small snack an hour or two before you head out so you don’t start picking at all the appetizers at the party.
- Scope out the buffet ahead of time to see what's on the menu. Then pick and choose.
- Limit items with mayo (potato salad, coleslaw, pasta salad).
- Always choose salad, vegetables or fruit as one of your sides.
- Choose leaner meats such as grilled chicken. If you are serving hamburgers, make the patties out of 90-95% lean sirloin instead of the boxed burgers from the freezer section.
- Limit the chips and desserts. If you choose one just watch your portions.
- Don’t forget that high calories beverages (alcohol, soda, lemonade, etc) can add in a lot of extra calories.
- The main goal is to not overeat, so watch your portions but don’t forget to have a great time!
Have a safe and fun filled Fourth of July Holiday!
God Bless America!
Wave Your Flag Cake
- 1 quart strawberries, divided
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 pkg. (8 serving size) JELL-O Brand Gelatin, any red flavor
- Ice cubes
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 (12 ounce) package pound cake, cut into 10 slices
- 1 1/3 cups blueberries, divided
- 1 (8 ounce) tub COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
- Slice 1 cup of the strawberries; set aside. Halve remaining strawberries; set aside.
- Stir boiling water into dry gelatin mix in large bowl for 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Add enough ice to cold water to measure 2 cups. Add to gelatin. Stir until ice is melted. Refrigerate 5 minutes or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites). Meanwhile, line bottom of 13 x 9-inch dish with cake slices. Add sliced strawberries and 1 cup of the blueberries to thickened gelatin; stir gently. Spoon over cake slice.
- Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Spread whipped topping over gelatin. Arrange strawberry halves on whipped topping for ‘stripes’ of ‘flag.’ Arrange remaining 1/3 cup blueberries on whipped topping for ‘stars.’ Store leftover cake in refrigerator.
During these hot summer months it can be difficult to stay motivated to run or stay active. Intrinsic motivation is key to continuing to run throughout the summer. Try using running in the morning as a mechanism for relaxation -- prepare and plan your day and clear your mind as you run.
In order to continue running for long-term, you need to find one main reason why you enjoy it and focus on that reason every time you want to skip a day.
Most important part of running in summer is hydration!
- Compete against yourself and others: sign up for that 5 or 10K or simply run with a neighbor every morning or try to improve your mile each week.
- Challenge yourself: try logging more miles in July than you did in June.
- Join mall walking or biking clubs to stay active this summer!
- Participate in water aerobics or swimming lessons with the kids
- Incorporate physical activity in every family outing
- Start everyday of a summer vacation with a long walk or run to appreciate where you are
- Get together a picnic bag and go for a hike
- Bike ride on Lake Shore Drive for a great view of the city!
Source: Runner’s World Magazine.
Here are 15 ways to incorporate fresh vegetables to vegetable haters!
- Vegetables/fruit smoothie: Banana, peanut-butter, milk and kale smoothie
- Grilled vegetable kebobs
- Serve them as the only appetizer: vegetables and humus
- Add vegetables to dishes you already love: macaroni & cheese with peas
- Sneak vegetables into spaghetti and pizza
- Celery sticks with peanut butter or light cream cheese
- Stuff tomatoes and bell peppers with brown rice, spices and vegetables
- Add sundried tomato to sandwiches
- Stir fry vegetables
- Mix vegetables into your morning eggs
- Sauté vegetables with a sprinkle of cream cheese and add to your oatmeal
- Use squash as noodles
- Try a veggie grilled cheese
- Bake an egg in an avocado
- Lightly coat kale with olive oil and a pinch of salt and place in oven for kale chips
Fresh Vegetables This Summer Include:
- High fiber, antioxidants and vitamins C and K
- Try them in pasta dishes and spinach artichoke dip
- Asparagus contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E and the antioxidant GSH
- Try them grilled or roasted with fresh parmesan cheese or lemon sprinkled on top or in pasta or salad dish
In addition: spring onions, radishes, baby carrots, rhubarb, fennel, leeks, mint, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, fava beans and beets.
June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month!
It’s time to start hitting those Farmer’s Market’s! A common complaint people make about produce is the amount of produce they throw away from spoilage or from not being used.
Here are some ways to store your fruit & vegetables for optimal flavor.
Store in the Refrigerator
- Fruit: apples (more than 7 days), apricots, Asian pears, berries, cherries, cut fruits, figs, grapes
- Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, green beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cut vegetables, herbs (expect basil), leafy vegetables, peas, mushrooms, radishes, spinach, sweet corn
Ripen on the Counter First, then Refrigerate
- avocados, kiwi, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums
Store Only at Room Temperature
- Fruit: apples, bananas, citrus fruits, mangoes, melons, papayas, pineapple, plantain, pomegranate
- Vegetables: basil (in water), cucumber, eggplant, garlic, ginger, onions, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes
Refrigeration can cause cold damage and prevent ripening to an optimal flavor and texture. For example, pink tomatoes will ripen and turn red only at room temperature. Keep fruits and vegetables away from direct sunlight, store in a well-ventilated pantry. Rinse produce under running tap water immediately prior to use.
Summer, Sun and Eating Smart!
- Eat before going to a party.
- Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables and the other half grains and protein sources.
- Avoid sitting or standing near food tables.
- Use smaller plates, and fill it ONCE!
- Avoid crème based foods.
- Split your dessert with someone.
- Stay hydrated.
Tomato & Mozzarella Kabobs
- 20 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 20 fresh basil leaves
- 20 small balls fresh mozzarella cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 20 toothpicks
- Using a toothpick, spear a half of a tomato, a leaf of basil, a mozzarella ball, and another half of a tomato. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- Place on a serving dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix the vinegar and oil together in a small bowl to serve as a dipping sauce.
Tropical Chicken and Brown Rice
- 3 ounces raw, skinless, boneless chicken breast (thawed)
- 1 cup frozen vegetables (Green Giant Antioxidant Blend: Olive Oil Seasoning)
- 1/3 cup bagged dry brown rice
- 4 ounces pineapple
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 dash Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper, lime juice, lemon juice (optional)
- Place dry rice in rice cooker. Add roughly 2/3-1 cup of water. Close lid to rice cooker and press button to start.
- Season chicken as desired (optional).
- Turn griddle on to medium heat. Allow to heat up for roughly 10 minutes. (The low heat setting may not cook the chicken completely, while the high heat setting may char the chicken or cause it to cook too dry.)
- Place chicken on griddle. Flip chicken as soon as downside of meat appears cooked. Remove chicken from griddle when other side appears cooked. (Before eating, cut into chicken to make sure that it is white all of the way through, with no pinkness or rawness even in the middle. If chicken is found to not be thoroughly cooked, place back on griddle until it is fully cooked through.)
- To steam vegetables in microwave, follow instructions on package as directed.
- Putting it All Together
- When rice, chicken and vegetables are finished cooking, place prepared rice, chicken and vegetables on each plate
- Add pineapple, reduced-fat shredded cheese and seasoning as desired (optional).
- Enjoy your tropical creation!
Don't forget! Shannon Center Eight-Week Nutrition Counseling Class begins on Wednesday, June 4. There will be eight classroom lessons (a mix of in-person sessions and online lessons) provided from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Shannon Center. If you are interested, please Contact Kristy Allen at 773-298-3586 or email@example.com.
Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas
Broccoli and Feta Omelet and Toast
(Yields 1 omelet, 2 pieces toast):
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
- 2 slices rye bread, toasted
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add broccoli, and cook 3 minutes.
- Combine egg, feta and dill in a small bowl. Add egg mixture to pan. Cook 3 to 4 minutes; flip omelet and cook 2 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with toast.
Per Serving: Calories 390, Fat 19g, Saturated Fat 6g, Monounsaturated fat 5g, Polyunsaturated 2g, protein 23g, Carbohydrates 35g, Fiber 6g, Cholesterol; 440mg, Sodium 550mg,
BBQ Turkey Burgers *15 Minutes
(Yields 4 burgers):
- 1 pound ground dark-meat turkey
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices sweet onion, grilled
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
- 4 (1.6-oz) sesame seed buns,
1. In medium bowl, gently mix together turkey, garlic, paprika and cumin.
2. Form turkey into 4 (4-inch) patties; season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat grill to medium-high; cook, turning once, until burgers are just cooked through (about 7 minutes per side). Serve with desired toppings and buns.
For 1 Turkey Burger: Calories 324, Fat 11g, Saturated Fat 2.7g, Monounsaturated fat 3.3g, Polyunsaturated 3.9g, protein 28g, Carbohydrates 28g, Fiber 1g, Cholesterol 75mg, Sodium 387mg.
Healthy Grocery Store Tips
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store for nutrient dense foods (produce, meats/seafood/poultry, dairy).
- Plan ahead. Create weekly menus based on seasonal foods/sales and make a grocery list before shopping.
- Never shop hungry. Avoid purchasing high calorie/high fat foods by eating a small snack before going shopping.
- Choose whole grains instead of refined grains for more fiber, B-vitamins and minerals.
- Read nutrition labels carefully. Choose nutritious products with less fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and sodium.
Here’s where we make 1/2 of our plate fruits and vegetables:
- Choose a colorful rainbow of produce that are rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
- Purchase produce that is in-season for maximum flavor and value.
- Wash produce under running tap water just before consuming it as it will spoil faster when washed.
Go lean with protein:
- Choose boneless, skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets, lean beef and pork, and seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and trout.
- Eggs are a great inexpensive protein source.
- Broil, grill, roast, poach or boil meat, poultry or fish instead of frying.
- Avoid processed meats high in sodium such as ham, sausage, frankfurters, and luncheon or deli meats.
- Store raw meat, poultry and seafood on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator so juices don’t drip onto other foods.
Dairy foods are an excellent source of bone-building calcium and vitamin D:
- Select non-fat or low-fat dairy options.
- Aim for three cups per day.
- Good sources include 1% or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese.
- Make this section of the store the last on your shopping list and refrigerate promptly.
Ways to add in more fruits and vegetables in your diet!
How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you consume in one day? The recommended amount is 5-9 servings. Many people fall short of this goal. How do you measure up? Here are some example serving sizes and ways you can sneak some more fruits and veggies in your diet!
- Fruit - size of tennis or baseball or 6 oz juice (Limit 1 serving of juice per day)
- Vegetables: 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw
What you need:
- Snack sized baggies, reusable plastic containers or small containers for dips/dressings
- Fruit/vegetables of choice, fresh or frozen, pre-sliced
- Low fat or light yogurt or greek yogurt
- Light Italian dressing (or make your own from olive oil, balsamic vinegar and seasonings)
- Light ranch dressing (or make your own from greek yogurt - check out this recipe)
- Light vinaigrette dressings (love Paul Newman dressings!)
- EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- Low fat cheese cubes
- Egg Beaters
- Wheat or corn tortillas
* Dice up green peppers, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, spinach, etc. and put into small baggies or containers or buy frozen bags of each to keep handy in freezer. Throw in an Egg Beater scramble in the morning for a quick veggie omelet. Wrap in a wheat tortilla with some salsa to add some fiber.
* Chop up your fruit and vegetables and put into snack sized serving baggies or containers so in the morning they are ready to go. Also buy small salad dressing containers to add in dips.
*Make a fruit kabob (great for kids). Put cut-up fruit and low fat cheese cubes on a wooden kabob. Dip in low fat yogurt.
* Throw one piece of fruit and one light yogurt in blender for a quick smoothie.
* Instead of a plain sandwich with bread and meat, add lettuce, tomato, spinach, onion, etc to add more volume and fiber. (Don’t forget the whole grain bread and lean low salt lunchmeats from the deli.)
* Try to add a salad each night at dinner.
* Make a rule to bring at least one fruit or vegetables with you to work or school each day to snack on in between meals.
* Add vegetables to chicken kabobs over brown rice with a salad for a quickie dinner.
The key is preparation! Those fruits and vegetables are not going to cut themselves! When you get home from the store, cut up all your produce so it's more accessible throughout the week.
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Here are some refreshing smoothie recipes that you can take advantage of this spring to help detox those winter diets! Now that more fruits are in season, try to make a smoothie a couple times a week to get in your fruit servings. These are quick to make and you can even freeze them to make popsicles (just pour into Dixie cups and freeze!)
Banana Berry Smoothie
- 1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt or Greek yogurt (Try Dannon 80 cal yogurt)
- 1/2 medium size ripe banana, peeled, sliced
- 3 Stevia packets (a natural sweetner)
- 1/2 cup frozen unsweetened whole strawberries
- 1/4 cup frozen unsweetened red raspberries
- Combine yogurt, banana, stevia and lemon juice in blender or food processor. Cover. Blend until smooth.
- Add half of frozen fruit. Blend until smooth. Repeat with remaining frozen fruit.
- Add 1/2 to 1 scoop of whey protein powder for added protein.
Orange Creamsicle Protein Shake
- 2 scoops whey protein in vanilla (Use 1 for less calories)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or skim milk
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1-2 packets Stevia
- 3-5 ice cubes
- Blend fruit, water.
- Add ice and banana.
15 Ways to Burn 100 calories!
Now that the Easter holiday has come and gone, it is time to get focused on getting ready for those summer clothes! Ditch the chocolate bunnies and peeps, and burn some calories with these exercises below.
Ways to burn 100 calories!
- 15 minutes of an aerobics class
- Elliptical machine (arms and legs) for 12 minutes
- Walking or running 1 mile
- Biking for 20 minutes
- Rake those leftover leaves from fall for 20 minutes
- Life weights for 20-30 minutes
- Playing tennis for 20 minutes
- Play Wii boxing or tennis for 20 minutes
- Swim laps for 12 minutes
- Mow the lawn for 20 minutes
- Running Stairs for 6 minutes
- Yoga for 20 minutes
- Jump rope for 9 minutes
- Dance class (or just dance!) for 9 minutes
- Cleaning the house for 30 minutes
Optimize Your Workouts!
- Eat smaller more frequent meals throughout the day (every 3-4 hours). This helps to maintain steady blood sugars and energy levels, leading to better quality workouts in the afternoon/evening hours. Eating more frequently also helps to maintain lean muscle mass and decrease fat stores.
- Plan ahead. Create weekly menus based on seasonal foods/sales and make a grocery list BEFORE shopping
- Skip the fast foods. By packing and bringing foods with you each day, you ensure the foods you are eating are in YOUR control.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Skip the sodas and sugary coffee drinks, and drink plenty of water (64-80 oz. a day at least).
- Carbohydrates are more important prior to vigorous exercise.
- Aim for 30-60 grams of easily digestible carbs one hour before exercise. (Lay off the fiber!)
- Keep snacks low in fat and fiber to avoid an upset stomach.
- 1/2 sandwich and a banana
- Protein bar
- Yogurt with granola and fruit
- Protein and Carbs are key for recovery.
- Aim for at least 8-15 grams of protein and 15-60 grams of carbohydrates. Snacks in liquid form are your best option, but solid food can also work.
- A fruit smoothie made with yogurt or one scoop of whey protein powder
- A sports drink that contains protein
- Greek yogurt and a piece of fruit
- One cup of skim milk and one scoop of chocolate protein powder
- A protein/carbohydrate bar
- Chocolate milk
Exercising for Weight Loss
- If your pre- or post-workout snack is close to a meal, skip it.
- No need to refuel after light workouts (walking, yoga or any workout under 60 minutes).
- Skip the sugary drinks and drink water instead.
- Don’t skip meals throughout the day. This will decrease your energy levels and set you up to overeat later.
Spring Clean Your Diet!
It’s time to spring clean those kitchen cabinets and pantry! Every now and then it's nice to clean up your diet and weed out some of the junk that may have snuck into your cabinets over the winter. Here are some tips on what to clear out and what to add in.
- Go through your kitchen (cabinets, pantry, freezer and refrigerator) and throw out all of your expired food and/or half empty bags of stale food. Don’t forget to recycle all of the cans and cardboard. Also, keep your local food pantries in mind when getting rid of food.
- Sanitize your fridge/cabinets so that bacteria have no room for growth. Clorox works great. For a safer and less harsh way to sanitize, try equal parts warm water and vinegar.
- Purge the leftover candy hanging around from the recent holidays.
- Skip fast food, vending machines and gas station snacks and foods. Instead, go grocery shopping on a WEEKLY basis. This ensures that you will stay on budget, decrease last minute fast food drive thru’s and skip the vending machine/gas station foods altogether. When you go shopping, make a list so you have healthy foods available for the whole week.
- Aim to eat at least one fruit or vegetable at each meal or snack every day. This will help to cut back on sodium and “snack foods”. Even pretzels, 100-calorie packs and protein bars can have excess salt and fats in them. Adding more fruits and vegetables adds fiber and rich antioxidants in our diets and helps to decrease your hunger.
- Skip the artificial sugars, sodas and energy drinks and replace with water or non-sugary teas.
- Focus on the quality of the foods you are eating. It’s more than just calories in, calories out. Are you consuming enough calcium? Vitamin D? Vitamin A? Iron? Fiber? Journal your foods for a week and see where you can make some improvements.
- Not sure if your diet is missing nutrients? Seek out a registered dietitian who can analyze your diet and make recommendations based on your age and goals. (See below for Kelly’s contact info.)
Snacks by Carbohydrate Amount
7 Snacks with 10 Grams of Carbohydrate or Less
1. Low-fat string cheese
2. Celery, cucumbers, pepper strips in 2 tbsp. hummus or low-calorie dip
3. V-8 Juice
4. Six almonds or walnuts
5. 10 peanuts
6. Hard-boiled egg
7. Five olives
7 Snacks with 15 Grams of Carbohydrates or Less
1. 1.5 graham cracker with 1 tbsp. peanut butter
2. Popcorn, 3 cups
3. 1 oz. low-fat cheese and five wheat crackers
4. Light yogurt (carbohydrates vary, read the label)
5. Small apple with 2 tsp. peanut butter
6. Two rice cakes and spreadable cheese
7. 1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1/2 cup melon
14 Snacks with 30 Grams of Carbohydrates or Less
1. 3/4 cup Cheerios and 1/2 cup skim milk
2. 1/2 banana with 1 tbsp. peanut butter
3. 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese and 1/2 cup berries
4. Protein bar (read label for carbohydrate content)
5. Selected low-sugar granola type bars (read label for carbohydrate content)
6. Pear and 1 oz. low-fat cheese
7. 12 crackers and spreadable cheese
8. Two slices of whole wheat bread with 1/4 cup tuna salad or sliced turkey
9. 1 oz. soy nuts and three cups popcorn
10. 12 low-fat tortilla chips and salsa
11. 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 1/2 cup milk
12. Sugar-free Carnation Essential packet in 1 cup milk
13. Light fruited yogurt with sprinkle of walnuts
14. 1 oz. pita chips, veggies and 4 tbsp of hummus
The Non-diet Diet Approach
Often times, people use the word “diet” to mean they are changing their food habits, restricting calories, etc. to lose weight. But diet can mean so much more. A person’s diet reflects the food they are eating, day in and day out. Here are some ways you can start to change your attitude about “dieting” to improve your overall health and diet.
- Skip any sort of meal plan that restricts or cuts out entire food groups. It is not realistic, nor healthy.
- Focus on getting more bang for your buck from the food you consume. For example, which option is healthier: a 100 cal pack of cookies or a piece of fruit? The fruit will give you fiber and antioxidants, among other benefits. Take a look at your typical day. Which choices can you improve? Zone in and make small changes each day.
- Stop the guilt trips! Contrary to popular belief, the universe will not stop if you eat a cookie! Everything in moderation is key and that includes indulging from time to time. If you are craving a food or meal, give in every now and then, watch the portions, savor it and move on. This way you won’t keep thinking about that cookie that you are craving all day!
- Eat for your mind, body and spirit! Fuel yourself with foods that will make you stronger, think clearer, have more energy. Switching the focus from, “I have to cut as many calories as I can” to “I am eating wholesome foods to give me more energy” is changing your thinking in a more positive direction.
Most important meal of the day… Breakfast!
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! It jump starts your metabolism first thing in the morning after a long period of rest. Many people skip breakfast because they don’t know what to eat or don’t make the time for it. Here are some ideas for quick grab and go items. My rule is to start the day out with some lean protein and fiber.
- Light or Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup low fat granola and 1 piece of fruit
- 1 100%whole wheat Bagel Thin with 2 tbsp peanut butter, glass of milk and banana
- 1 oatmeal packet with handful of walnuts
- 2 wheat waffles with honey and peanut butter, 1 cup milk
- Protein bar and pc fruit
- Smoothie/protein shake and banana
- 3 egg white omelet with chopped vegetables and sprinkle of 2% cheese, side of fruit or toast with glass of milk
Aim for about 250-400 calories for your breakfast depending on your calorie needs
Don't forget to take the 5 minutes to eat!
Weekends tend to be a tough time for people to stay on track of their diet and exercise program. Why is this? There are many reasons but here are a few: change in routine, less meal times, eating out more, higher calorie foods at parties, restaurants, alcoholic beverages, errand running, you name it!
So what can you do on the weekend to stay on track?
- Plan your big meals.
- Bring along healthy snacks so you can still stay on track with your small meals
- examples: protein and granola bars, protein shakes, 100 cal packs of nuts, fruit, pb sandwich
- Always have a water bottle on hand
- Use your slow cooker for Saturday and Sunday evening meals
- Skip the restaurant/fast foods
- WATCH THE SALT!
- Weigh yourself every Monday morning
- Journal, journal, journal!
- Don’t go to parties hungry
- Eat breakfast
- Wake up early Saturday morning and work out
- Shop, cut up and set aside food for easy meals during the week
A study from Tufts University looked at the link between sugary drinks and the nutrition habits of over 900 adults. Results showed that those who drank the largest amounts of sugary drinks were at a higher risk of obesity and had a lower intake of fiber. What does this mean for you? Cut out the sugary, empty-calorie drinks! Take a look at some common offenders.
Grams of Sugar
|Monster 16 oz||200||54 g|
|Frappuccino Café Vanilla||420||70 g|
|Coke 20 oz bottle||239||67 g|
|Medium McDonalds Sweet Tea||184||45 g|
|16 oz Lemonade||232||62 g|
See how just a couple sugary drinks per day or even in a week can add up in calories and grams of sugar? The best advice is to cut out all sugary drinks and replace with pure water. But if you are in the mood for something a little sweeter, try one of these low-sugar drinks:
- Crystal Light
- Sobe Life Water
- Vitamin Water Zero
- Sugar free teas (Diet Liptons)
- Unsweetened tea
- Water with cut up slices of lemon, strawberries, cucumbers or oranges
At a minimum, try to consume 64-80 oz of water per day. This number should increase if you are exercising (add 16 oz), if it is very hot or humid weather, or if you have consumed a high salt meal. With this weather we are having, sometimes we don’t think about our water intake like we should.
Another way to gauge if you are drinking enough is the “pee test”. When you urinate, the darker the color, the more dehydrated you are. So drink up! If your urine is totally clear, you are probably drinking too much.
RD Approved Heart Health Tips!
With the holiday season behind us (and hopefully this winter weather soon too!), it is time to refocus your goals and get back on track with healthier eating and more activity. What better time to start than National Heart Month?
Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of Americans? Here are 10 Heart Healthy tips on how you can reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Get moving! Incorporate more physical activity every day, outside of scheduled workouts. Walk when possible, take the stairs, and park further away from the entrance. Wearing a pedometer such as a Fitbit can also increase your day to day activity.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Research shows the higher your BMI, the more at risk you are of heart disease, diabetes and other health problems.
- Ditch the salt shaker! Trimming your sodium intake to 1500 mg or less a day can help keep your blood pressure levels within normal range. (Normal blood pressure is less than 120 mm Hg systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic or <120/80)
- Increase the omega 3s. Aim for at least two servings a week of an oily fish such as salmon or a heart healthy nut such as almonds or walnuts.
- Aim for five (to nine) a day! Fruits and vegetables pack quite the punch! The more produce you eat, the higher your intake will be of heart healthy soluble fiber and antioxidants! Fruits and veggies help fill you up and also help to ward off hunger.
- Quit smoking! Smoking can damage your entire circulatory system and increases your risk for coronary heart disease among other problems. Enlist the help of your physician and contact your local hospital for Quit Smoking programs.
- Maintain healthy cholesterol/blood sugar levels. Many people don’t realize how much of a role your cholesterol levels and blood sugars play in your heart health. The Heart Association considers diabetes one of the six major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Aim to reduce or keep your fasting blood sugar under 100 mg/dL.
- Fiber is your friend! Did you know that a diet high in fiber can actually reduce your blood cholesterol levels? For men aim for 30 grams/day and for women 25 grams. Oatmeal, produce, nuts, whole grain cereals, breads and pastas are a great source of fiber.
- Watch the Fats! We can’t talk about a heart healthy diet without discussing fats, the good vs. the bad. Aim for most of your fat intake to come from heart healthy sources such as nuts, seeds, vegetable based oils like canola or olive, and avocados. Decrease the saturated and trans fats when you can, found in many processed foods such as fast foods, packaged snack foods and fatty, darker meats such as pork, beef, sausage and bacon.
- Keep a log. Keeping a log of your foods can help you determine what lifestyle choices you need to focus on. By writing down everything that you eat and drink, you become more aware of what foods you are consuming. You can also try a electronic app such as Lose It! Or MyFitness Pal.
Heart Healthy Trailmix
- 1 cup cereal, 100% whole-grain (Kashi Heart to Heart or Cascadian Farm Cinnamon Crunch)
- 2 tablespoons nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts or pecans)
- 2 tablespoons fruit, dried, assorted (such as raisins, cranberries or chopped apricots)
- 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips (optional)
Combine the cereal with the nuts, dried fruit and chocolate chips (if using) in a sealable sandwich bag.
Weight Loss Ups and Downs
I hope all participants are having some great successes in the Biggest Loser Challenge. If you are losing weight at a consistent rate, great job and keep up the work. If you are not able to lose as much or as fast as you would like, here are some tips for keeping up the momentum.
- Fat weight loss will be slower so don’t expect to post huge numbers the whole program. Many times people lose a lot at first (5-10 pounds the first month) but the weight loss eventually slows to 1/2 to 2 pound weight loss per week. This is normal and you are ensuring that it is fat weight you are losing and that it will stay off for good!
- Don’t forget to weigh in! No matter how frustrating it is, keep up with the weekly weigh-ins. This keeps you accountable and on track throughout the program.
- Don’t forget to do the food journal. By and far, this is the one consistent trick people use to lose weight. I know it can be tedious, but it will hold you accountable for every food choice to make. You can keep a paper journal or download a free app for program such as Lose It! Or My Fitness Pal. (I prefer Lose It!)
- If you are not losing as fast or as much as you would like, reassess your food journal once a week. Here are some things to look for: Are you skipping meals? Are you bored or stress eating? Are you eating out or eating fast foods too much? Are you drinking too much soda and not enough water? Are you exercising? Take a look and see for yourself how you are doing. If you notice one area that needs improving (example, I keep eating a candy bar in the afternoon), then make a goal (I will bring a healthy snack with me every day so I don’t snack on candy or go to the vending machine).
- Don’t forget to increase or change up your exercise routine! Interval workouts are great. Try Bootcamp 101 in the Shannon Center Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. for a new workout in your routine. Bootcamp can typically burn from 400-700 calories in an hour!
- Vary your food from day to day. Many times if you eat the same foods day in and day out, your body gets used to your diet and you will stop losing weight. Change things up a bit. Alternate about two to four choices for breakfast, lunch and your snacks. This way you will be eating different combinations of foods each day.
- Watch those leftover sweets from Valentine’s Day! A few chocolates a day add up fast!
- Keep in mind, everything in moderation. If you have a big event coming up, where you know you will consume more calories, eat a little lighter during the day or get in some extra time at the gym to compensate for it. Weight loss is a journey and it’s not realistic to cut yourself off from social events. You can fit anything in your diet as long as you plan for it!
To journal or not to journal?
Food journaling is one of the easiest ways you can help ensure weight loss success! Why is that? Journaling everything you eat and drink helps you to become more accountable for your food decisions. Food journaling can also help you troubleshoot your diet to see why you may not be hitting your weight loss goals. Here are some tips for keeping a food log.
- Keep a small notebook close by to record the time of your food intake, what you ate or drink and how much (portion size).
- If you are a smart phone or tablet user, I suggest downloading Lose It! or MyFitnessPal to journal electronically. You can add me as a friend at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Journal the food as you eat it, not at the end of the day when you have trouble remembering everything you consumed
- Don’t forget the drinks such as Gatorade, juice or supplements.
Some things to review once you have been journaling for a week or more:
- Are you a bottom heavy eater? (Eating most of your calories at night?) If so, start eating more food earlier in the day.
- Are you heavy in your fat consumption? Aim for no more than 40-50 grams a day a day.
- Are your portions too large? Aim for 250-400 calories per meal if you can.
Stay tuned next week for more tips on portion sizes! Happy journaling!
For Kelly’s FREE online nutrition newsletter, sign up at www.kellydevinenutrition.com.
Are detoxes and cleanses a good idea?
Detoxes and cleanses have become quite popular. The idea behind them is to “purge” your body of all unwanted toxins that get built up in your system over time. Most detox systems claim you can lose up to 10 pounds of undigested matter from your colon, gain energy, lose inches off your stomach, etc.
The problem is that sometimes these cleanses are just expensive forms of fiber supplements and some products can even interact with your medications. Here is a plan on how to detox the healthy way - dietitian approved!
Try this detox plan for a solid two weeks:
REMOVE from your diet:
- soda (including diet) drinks
- energy and caffeinated drinks
- artificial sweeteners
- cookies, sweets and candy
- prepackaged foods (100 calorie packs, granola bars, pasta and rice sides,etc)
- fast foods
Basically, you should eliminate anything in your diet that comes from a package or has more than three ingredients for 14 days!
Here are some foods and beverages to ADD to your diet that will help detox your system!
- Plain old water (flavored with a slice of lemon or cucumber, if needed). Aim for 8-10 cups of water per day.
- Green tea - aim for at least 1 serving a day (no added sweeteners).
- Fruit – aim for 2-3 servings per day.
- Vegetables - the more the merrier! Don’t forget to rinse before eating.
- Whole grains (100% whole grain bread on occasion is okay)
- Lean, fresh proteins in small amounts - fish, chicken, turkey, eggs
- Limit the cheese, nuts and peanut butter as it tends to slow down digestion. (Can add more of these back in after the first 2 weeks.)
Notice the difference in your energy level! The goal is to have more energy, flush out any excess sodium or fluid you have carrying with you, sleep better and have consistent bowel movements each day. All of these are the results of a healthy diet!
Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RD, CSSD LDN, CPT
The Shannon Center Nutritionist
www.kellydevinenutrition.com for a FREE newsletter!
Biggest Loser Fitness Challenge
Good luck to all of the Shannon Center Biggest Loser Fitness Challenge contestants! Here are some tips to jump start your weight loss.
- Keep a food log.
- Plan your main meals one week in advance (and make a grocery list when planning).
- Cut out the fast foods and vending machine foods.
- Water, water, water, water, water. Did I mention you should increase your water intake?
- Exercise! The more you move, the faster you lose!
Now that the holidays have come and gone, it's time to clear the house and office of all the leftover candy and cookies and replace them with healthy, energizing foods to help you meet your fitness goals of 2014!
What foods should you be eating? With all the wealth of nutrition and fitness information out there, it can be confusing. Here are some simple tips to reboot your winter diet.
Prep, prep, prep! That healthy snack or lunch is NOT going to magically appear before you when it's time to eat. You first need to make a grocery list and go shopping. Think you're done? Wrong! Take a couple of minutes after grocery shopping to cut, chop and package up those fruits, veggies, nuts, low-fat cheeses and pretzels. Once these foods are in ready-to-go containers, aim to eat a meal or snack every few hours to boost your metabolism and energy levels. Pack your lunch and at least 1 or 2 healthy snacks so you always have something ready to munch on. Try to keep the snacks low in fat and aim for some protein as well as a healthy carbohydrate. Some examples: apple and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, ½ cup trail mix, 1 serving of pretzels and a piece of string cheese, or some chopped veggies and hummus.
Skip the processed foods. The more foods you prep and cook from home, the more control you have over what foods (aka fuel) you put into your body. For your meals, aim for fresh lean proteins such as chicken, turkey or fish paired with fresh vegetables and a whole grain starch (i.e. quinoa, sweet potato, whole grain pasta). Carbs don't have to be your enemy - in fact, they should be every runner's friend!
Are you looking for some healthier snacks to munch on during the day? Try this quick recipe. Pair with some cut up veggies such as red or green peppers, or 1 serving of pretzels or whole grain crackers.
Chunky Vegetable Hummus Dip
- 1 container hummus
- 1/2 cup chopped cucumbers
- 1 plum tomato chopped
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
Mix well and add to 1 serving of whole grain crackers
Also, here is a list of 50 clean eating healthy snacks! Enjoy!
Looking to get a jump start on your weight loss this winter? Look no further than the SXU weight loss class! Registration is open for the 8 Week Nutrition Weight Loss Class that begins on Tuesday, January 28, 2014!
Contact Kristy Allen at email@example.com or 773-298-3586 with any questions.
New Years Resolutions: Your Jump Start Plan!
Now is that time of the year to throw out all the leftover cookies, dust off that treadmill and make those New Year’s resolutions. Focus on LIFESTYLE changes this year, not just quick fixes. Here are some tips to help you get jump started!
- Cut out ALL drinks except water, sugar-free teas, Crystal Lights and coffee (minus the sugar and creams). This includes juices, caffeine/energy drinks, sweetened teas and soda pops (diet and regular).
- Start a food journal so you can keep track of the following items: time you eat, food or drink you consume, portion size, amount of time exercised, and weekly weight. If you are not losing at least 1 pound per week, go through the journal with a highlighter and see where you can improve. I recommend downloading Lose It on your smart phones if you want to journal electronically. (Find me as a friend by searching my email firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Eat five to six small meals throughout the day about every 2.5 to 4 hours. This will increase your metabolism and cut down on the amount of food you consume at your large meals.
- Cut back on your portion of carbohydrates such as potatoes, fries, chips, buns, rice, breads, cookies, sweets, donuts, etc. Aim for a lean protein source at each meal with 1 or 2 vegetables. Weight loss will go faster if you cut back on these foods. If you are having a carbohydrate at a meal, measure it and record in your journal.
Devine Nutrition, Inc.
Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CPT
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Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Media Spokesperson
Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics
Registered Dietitian and ACE Certified Personal Trainer