Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"Savor the Flavor of Eating Right"

March is National Nutrition Month® and the theme for 2016 is "Savor the Flavor of Eating Right." The goal of National Nutrition Month® is to promote an overall healthy eating plan and physical activity habits.

Here are a few useful tips to guide you through a healthy month:
  • Consider how, when, why and where you eat, not just what you eat. Appreciate the locations, memories and interactions with others when you are experiencing your nutritious meal.
  • Be mindful of your food choices. Take the time to enjoy the taste of foods.
  • Involve your family and friends to create food traditions that add flavor in a healthful way.
Use herbs and spices to flavor your dishes:
  • Sprinkle cinnamon in your oatmeal, rice pudding and tea.
  • Combine cilantro with pasta, salads or salsa.
  • Add rosemary to chicken, potatoes or mixed vegetables.
  • Blend mixtures of rosemary, lemon and/or mint to make an infused-water.
It is possible to enjoy the taste of foods while still eating healthy, so get creative in your cooking!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Healthy Holidays

'Tis the season to be jolly. Cheers to the holiday season. The chilly breeze leads to snuggling indoors in the warmth. The holidays are also filled with hearty meals and decadent desserts. A cocktail or two may be consumed at multiple gatherings filled with holiday spirit. Try to be mindful of your lifestyle indulges this time of year to avoid feeling sluggish and packing on extra pounds.
  • Exercise. Regular exercise can beat those winter blues, prevent weight gain, and boost your immune system. At times, it can seem easier to be cuddled on the couch watching holiday movies, but get up. Move. Even if you do not want to face the bitter cold to exercise outdoors or defrost your car to make it to the gym, try at home workouts. You can effectively use your body weight. Put your technology to good use by downloading exercise apps or videos.
  • Avoid skipping meals. Consistent meals can help control blood sugars and maintain your metabolism. You're looking forward to indulging at a holiday event, so logically you skimp on your earlier meals. However, this can lead to overindulging at the event, especially if you have a drink or two - drinking on an empty stomach can lead to mindless eating. Enjoy those special "treats" in moderation.
  • Remember to eat fruits and vegetables. The goal to aim for at least 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables daily doesn't change during the holidays. Try roasted vegetables or making a warm soup. Eat a salad prior to going to your holiday party to help reduce the overindulges. If you're craving sweets throughout the day, first grab a piece of fruit or drink a smoothie. 
  • Stay hydrated. Focus on maintaining adequate hydration to help food cravings, skin integrity and energy. It's easier to think about drinking water to quench your thirst when it's hot outside, but water remains just as important in the winter. Other hydrating beverages include sparkling water, seltzer, calorie-free sports drinks, clear soup and caffeine-free tea. 
During all the holiday cheer and stress, remember to be kind to others. Be grateful and thankful for your experiences and the people in your life. Spend time with loved ones, give back to your community and volunteer at a local charity event. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Back to School

Summer winds down as the school schedule returns in full swing. Sometimes a shift in schedules, throws your meals for a loop. Whether you are a parent sending your little ones on the bus, driving to high school or college students in the dining hall, proper nutrition is essential to fuel your day. Positive dietary habits can start in childhood and carry throughout your lifespan.

Continue to be conscious of your choices during a busy schedule.  I've heard it before: "It's time consuming to cook healthy." Running to school and after-school activities, but nutrition is key to keep your body functioning. Utilize nutrition to take control of your health and help prevent illnesses. Being sick can also be costly and time consuming.

Tips to power up each meal or snack:
  • Aim to pair a fruit or vegetable with every meal and snack.
  • Start your day with breakfast.  Even if you are like me, waking up at the last second possible to be on time, grab a quick breakfast.  Breakfast will help you focus and can negatively impact your test scores if skipped.  Maintain a healthy weight with including lean protein such as eggs, yogurt, nuts and skip the processed meats (bacon & sausage).
  • Greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese with fruit, protein smoothie, hard-boiled egg with fruit, flaxseed muffin, whole wheat toast with peanut butter, oatmeal mixed with nuts or seeds.
  • Pack satisfying snacks to give you a boost in between meals.  I remember the days watching the clock for the last lunch period.  Keep snacks handy to help regulate your blood sugar, but resist grabbing for cookies or candy.
  • Peanut or almond butter with whole wheat crackers/toast/English muffins, mixed nuts & fruit/dried fruit, hummus with vegetables, 100% fruit or vegetable juice with unflavored protein powder.
  • Healthy lunch choices can also be leftover dinner.  Skip the side of chips or fries.  Fill up with fiber and lean proteins to energize the rest of your day.
  • Prepare meals on Sunday night or one night that you have a little extra time.  Prepare a larger portion for dinner and separate a portion to freeze or place into individual containers to have left overs for lunch.
  • Black bean soup, vegetarian chili with mixed beans, stuffed peppers with lentils and brown rice or quinoa, tofu stir fry, chicken fajitas, greens with beans/nuts/avocado, pita with hummus and fresh veggies.
Enjoy being back in the learning atmosphere!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cool off this Summer

July had a wave of heat, but summer has not ended.  Enjoy the weather and socializing with good food and beverages. However, be aware of the temperature as well as the heat index, and put extra attention towards staying cool in the sizzling summer sun.   

Maintaining hydration and chilled beverages
  • I’m not referring to chilled beer or the ice in your cocktail.
  • Aim for a daily minimum of 64 ounces of fluids, focusing on water. This may need to be adjusted depending on body weight, medical conditions and physical activity levels. 
  • Drink even if you do not feel thirsty. 
  • Alcoholic beverages can be dehydrating. Alternate an alcoholic drink with a glass of water.  Water will help you cut calories and keep you hydrated, especially in the summer sun. 
Cold foods 
  • Take advantage of fresh local produce available.  Use summer as your time to increase plant foods into your meals.  
  • Refresh your meal with a chilled soup such as cucumber-dill or gazpacho with lots of chunky vegetables.
Food Safety 
  • Cover your foods to keep bugs out. 
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Do not leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours or one hour if hotter than 90°F. 
  • Do not cross-contaminate. Keep raw animal products away from ready to eat foods such as fruits and vegetables. 
  • If outdoors, keep perishable food in an insulated cooler with ice. 
  • Organize coolers; consider packing beverages in one with food in another. Keep coolers closed for as much as possible.
Protecting your skin 
  • Sun exposure can cause skin problems including wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer, so be mindful of your skin care. 
  • Caution near water: Water can reflect the sun's damaging rays and increase your risk for sunburn. Also, be aware that clouds do not block UV rays but diffuse them, so you can still get sunburned on a cloudy day. 
  • Wear your sunglasses to protect your eyes.  
  • Look for skin changes: Examine your skin monthly, and report concerns to your physician. 
  • Review tips established by the Environmental Working Group to select a non-toxic sunscreen. Check out the database that rates the safety and effectiveness of skin care products. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Select a water-resistant cream. Choose SPF (sun protection factor) 15 to 50.
Don’t forget about your pets; make sure your animals have adequate water and shade too. 

Stay safe and enjoy the nice weather!


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tips for Healthy Traveling

While vacation is meant for indulgences and relaxation, you can also balance your healthy lifestyle. Stay in tune with how you feel when you skip your water intake and guzzle down that extra cocktail or overeat with large portion sizes. Try to limit lifestyle choices that leave you feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation. Whether your vacation is a local day trip or a planned destination away from home, remember to enjoy your foods and replenish your body.

Here are some tips to fuel your body and stay active:
Snack Smart
  • Small handful of almonds (or other mixed, unsalted nuts)
  • Fill a small bag/container with carrots, celery and strips of bell pepper
  • Mini-snack box of raisins (or other dried fruit without added sugar)
  • Create your own trail mix with whole grain cereal, unsalted nuts, dried fruits (even mix in a few chocolate chips)
  • Kale chips
  • Apple slices 
  • Air popped popcorn
Stay Moving
  • Walk around your new destination
  • Rent a bike to limit your reliance on a car or public transportation (packing a raincoat is helpful as I learned along the countryside)
  • Check out free outdoor events such as yoga on the beach 
  • Mix up your exercise class routine with signing up for a drop in class at a local gym

Find a local farmers' market to explore the cuisine of your destination, pick up some local snacks or meals, and walking gets your steps in.

Have a relaxing and enjoyable summer!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Gardening this Spring

April showers bring May flowers, so it's time to start planning your garden!

Consider the size of the area you have available for plants - will your garden be indoors or outdoors?
  • Choose organic seeds from a quality company.
  • Visit greenhouses or nurseries for plants.
  • Gather basic gardening tools - shovel, gardening gloves.
  • Experiment! Your garden may not flourish at first, but keep practicing.

In small pots in your kitchen, try planting a variety of fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, mint, oregano, lavender or rosemary. 
  • Can be used to flavor dishes or creating flavored water.   
  • Add a fresh scent to your kitchen. 

Increase your vegetable intake with your own homegrown vegetables.
  • Clear the area to get ready for planting.
  • Utilize planters on your deck for produce such as tomatoes or peppers. 
  • Check your local area for involvement in community garden plots. 
  • Research what grows best in your area based on weather, soil and sun exposure.

Both Indoors and Outdoors
Select a variety of plants indoors and outdoors.
  • Decorate your home.
  • Reduce air pollution.

Happy gardening - enjoy the fresh air! 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

"Bite Into A Healthy Lifestyle"

March is National Nutrition Month® and the 2015 theme is "Bite Into A Healthy Lifestyle." 
National Nutrition Month® is an annual campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which the Academy and its members are a credible source of scientifically based food and nutrition information.

While the month of March is devoted to increasing education and awareness towards a healthy lifestyle, these positive habits are intended for every day practice. Living a healthy lifestyle can be a complex balance between nutrients consumed and energy exerted. Also, your choices and actions can have an impact on the environment, so consider the manufacturing methods used for your products. Here are some tips to bite into your healthier routine:

Choose beneficial food and beverages
  • Fill your plate with a colorful variety of plant-based foods that are nutrient-dense and low in calories.
  • Aim to consume wholesome, fresh foods while limiting processed foods and simple, refined sugars.
  • Control your portion sizes and think all foods can be part of a well-balanced diet in moderation. 
  • Maintain hydration, and be mindful of your consumption of calorie-dense drinks (sodas, juices, alcohol). 
  • Involve the entire family; it is never too young to get children involved with meal planning to learn about foods for growth.

Engage in daily physical activities
  • Exercise can reduce stress and chronic diseases while maintaining your desired body composition or weight.
  • Plan your meals and snacks to fuel your body and exercise.
  • Sit less; try stationary exercises and stretches while watching television or stand up after sitting down for long periods of time at work to help you refocus. 
  • Find exercises you enjoy and people to join your activities to stay motivated. 
  • As able, increase your daily routine with walking, taking the stairs, parking your car further or joining a gym. 

Consider your environment
  • Think eco-friendly and support companies who conserve their resources to minimize waste. 
  • Try to eat in season to aid in eating healthy on a budget, improve flavor and reduce preservatives.
  • Know your food, and where it comes from; visit your local farmers to reduce transportation resources and learn about sustainable practices. 
  • Limit your exposure and usage of chemicals (in your foods, storage and cleaning).
  • Recycle and reuse bags (try cotton or canvas bags that are washable and biodegradable) as an economical choice and reduce emissions. 

Wednesday, March 11th, is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day. What are some of the many benefits of seeing a RD?
  • RDs are food and nutrition experts who bring the science of nutrition into obtainable positive lifestyle choices.
  • Improve your overall health and fight disease.
  • Provide individualized therapy and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Separate information about fad diets.
  • Connect you to community resources to allow healthy eating to become possible.
Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website for more information and finding a Registered Dietitian near you.