Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

            Happy early St. Patrick’s Day everyone!  This is one of my favorite holidays of the year.  I love the color green and am proudly 25% Irish.  And, who couldn’t forget the fact about the great food and green beer?

            Yes, St. Patrick’s Day is an awesome day.  However, like all holidays, it can be a recipe for disaster.  If you are trying to lose weight, bring down your blood pressure, or just be healthier, this holiday may turn into a minefield.  There are temptations all over the place!  Before you go grab a corned beef sandwich, shamrock shake, or shepherd’s pie, be cautious.  Most traditional St. Patrick’s Day foods are riddled with calories, fat, and salt! 

            So, what to do?  Totally disregard this holiday?  I wouldn’t go that far.  Here are some ideas for a healthier St. Patty’s Day celebration:

  • Get all decked out: Dress up!  Wear all green and wear festive accessories to celebrate this holiday. 
  • Spend time with your family.  Holidays are a great opportunity to get together and share in each other’s company. 
  • Enjoy nature!  Hopefully, where you are winter has run its course and it’s finally green outside.  Take a walk in the park or run through the trails in the forest.
  • Finally, cook something healthy and green.  There are so many great recipes online you can check out.  Some examples include green smoothies, garden salads, green peppers, broccoli, spinach & eggs, and even green mac & cheese.  Check out this website for more!




Keep working to eat, move, & improve!



Be Wary of Fad Diets

This past month, U.S. News ranked the most popular diets from best to worst.  You can read them here: http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-overall-diets

Fad diets and special diets are popular for their promises for weight loss and a healthier life.  This is pertinent especially in January when everyone has made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.  However, some weight loss diets are more effective and safer than others.  Some weight loss diets are just downright wacky.  U.S. News ranked the Dash Diet, the TLC Diet, and the Mediterranean Diet as the best 3.  The worst 3 diets included the Dukan Diet, the Paleo Diet, and the Raw Food Diet.

Still having trouble choosing the correct diet for you?  Want to find out if a diet is a fad diet?  Here are some things to look for to find a fad diet:

  • If the diet promises rapid weight loss
  • If the diet does not recommend exercise
  • If the diet has special rules and regulations
  • If the diet claims to be a “scientific breakthrough”
  • If diet claims tend to be too good to be true

As Always, Trust Your Gut!

Go Lean with Protein

Go Lean With Protein

            This post is my 6th in a series named “10 Simple Steps to Make Healthy Habits More Delicious”.  These posts are inspired by SCAN: The Sport, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition Group.

            Protein choices come in many forms.  They include meat, poultry, seafood, beans/ peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds.  Protein is an essential nutrient and helps in building and maintaining muscles as well as maintaining normal body functions.  The majority of meat we eat should be from “lean” sources.  What does it mean to be a lean protein?  A protein that is lean is low in calories and fat and is mostly only protein.  Below are some tips for choosing lean protein sources:

Start with a Lean Choice

  • For beef: Choose round steaks & roasts (eye of round, top round, bottom round, round tip), top loin, top sirloin, chuck shoulder, and arm roasts.
  • For pork: Choose pork loin, tenderloin, center loin, and ham.
  • For ground beef: choose extra lean ground beef.  Anything over 90% lean is a great choice. The closer to 100% lean the better.
  • For poultry: Choose skinless, boneless turkey & chicken.  If skin is included, remove the skin before preparation.
  • For luncheon meats: Choose less processed and low fat lunch meats such as turkey, ham, roast beef instead of high fat choices like bologna and salami.

Keep it Lean

  • Trim away all visible pieces of fat before preparation and drain fat from the pan during cooking.
  • Instead of frying in oil and fat, broil, grill, roast, poach, or boil your meats.
  • Limit the amount of fat you add while preparation & cooking.  Skip or limit the breading you put on meats.  Add seasonings on beans & peas instead of cooking them in fat or gravies and sauces.

Vary Your Choices

  • Varied protein sources give you variety to your meals & keeps them exciting.
  • Choose fish at least twice a week.  Opt for seafood high in Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, and herring.
  • Instead of meat all the time, switch it up with beans, peas, nuts, or soy products.

As Always, Trust Your Gut!


Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables

This post is the 3rd in a series of 10 called “10 Simple Steps to Make Good Habits More Delicious” courtesy of the Sport, Cardiovascular, and Wellness nutrition group.

Hopefully, by now, you have seen USDA’s MyPlate.  This replaced the Food Guide Pyramid in 2010.  This plate is a great visual on meal planning and eating healthy.  Today, I will highlight one half of this plate.  The half we tend to fall short on.  The USDA recommends that we fill half our plate with fruits and vegetables.  How come we struggle with eating enough fruits & veggies?  Probably because they sometimes are expensive, take time to prepare, or aren’t our favorite dishes.

There is still time to add fruits and veggies to your plate!  These are great additions to your meals since they are low in calories, sodium, and fat.  They have many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.  Below are some way you can add fruits and veggies to your plate:

  • Start Early: Grab some fruit for breakfast!  You can eat them whole & fresh, or add them into your yogurt or cereal!
  • Take the Easy Route: Many fruits and vegetables are available precut and prewashed.  Buy these packages and follow the directions on the package for quick preparation!
  • Keep them in Sight: Research has shown that when we see food, we will eat it.  (unless you have ridiculous self control).   Therefore, put a bowl of fruit out on the counter for an easily accessible snack.  Keep fresh veggies on the shelf at eye level in the fridge so that you see them first.
  • Eat a Rainbow of Fruits and Veggies: No one can argue that fruits and veggies aren’t colorful.  Each group of colors (orange, red, white, green, etc) have their own unique set of nutrients.  So, it is important to get a variety of color to reap the benefits of all these nutrients.  Try carrots, red onion, tomatoes, asparagus, eggplant, etc.
  • Eat in All Forms: Vary the forms of fruits and vegetables you buy.  You can get fruits fresh, canned, frozen, dried, or in juice.  You can get veggies fresh, canned, frozen, and juiced too!
  • Try them Fresh: Fruits and vegetables are naturally crunchy and juicy!  They are great for low calorie snacks alone or with a low calorie dip.
  • Make Every Meal Count: Add at least 1 fruit or vegetable at each meal and snack and you will be in great shape!

As Always, Trust Your Gut!

Switch Out The Saturated Fat

This post is the second in a series of 10 called “10 Simple Steps to Make Good Habits More Delicious”

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that we limit our intake of saturated fats.  These fats come from animal products such as milk, meat, and butter.  A diet high in saturated fats has been linked to cardiovascular disease and other illnesses.  Therefore, these guidelines recommend that Americans replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats.  Unsaturated fats are from vegetable products and are usually in their oils.  

Eating a diet that has less then 10% of their calories from saturated fats has been found to lower your risk for cardiovascular disease.  A diet with less than 7% of calories from saturated fats have an even better impact on cardiovascular health.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines also recommend Americans to limit their trans fat consumption as close to 0 as possible.  Trans fat can be found in butter spreads, some fried foods, and some packaged foods.  Avoid any food that includes :hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list.

You may be asking, so how do I switch from saturated fats to more unsaturated fats?

Switch from……………………………………To

High fat meats                                      more lean meats

Butter                                                    tub margarine or vegetable oil

Ice cream                                              frozen yogurt

Whole milk                                            skim milk

Mayonnaise                                          low fat mayonnaise

Regular cream cheese                         low fat cream cheese

 As Always, Trust Your Gut!

10 Simple Steps To Make Good Habits More Delicious

Recently, I ordered a promotional handout from one of my Dietetic Practice Groups SCAN (Sport, Cardiovascular, & Wellness, Nutrition).  This pamphlet has a lot of great information and recipes with 10 realistic and sustainable changes you can make to drop weight, improve performance, or just be healthier.  For the next 10 posts, I will outline these steps in more detail.  Here is a sneak peak of what’s to come:

1. Size Your Servings Right

2. Switch out the Saturated Fats

3. Make Half Your Plates Fruits and Vegetables

4. Eat Less Salt

5. Watch out for Solid Fats and Added Sugar

6. Go Lean with Protein

7. Make Half Your Grains Whole

8. Make Healthy Plates with MyPlate

9. Be Food Safe

10. Move More!

Shout out to SCAN DPG, Country Crock, and I Can’t Believe It’s not Butter for creating this neat little handout.

As Always, Trust Your Gut!

Get Lean with Protein

Meat black background

Protein is essential to your health.  Protein is used in your body to build & repair muscles.  Protein is also essential to create enzymes that carry out your bodies processes.  So, what kinds of foods provide you with protein?  and, how much is enough.

For the most part, animal products contain the most usable and largest amounts of p but in smaller amounts.  Soy, nuts, seeds, and grains contain small to moderate amounts of protein.

When choosing protein sources, make sure it is lean.  What does lean mean?  Lean means that a protein is low in fat.  Some animal foods can be high in fat & protein.  Examples of these include red meat, fried foods, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and luncheon meats, etc.  

Lean meats contain low amounts of fat,  Great lean sources of protein include chicken, fish, pork, and eggs.  When choosing beef, read the label and choose meats that are 97% lean.  This will ensure that the product is low in fat.  To avoid adding fat to a lean meat, I advise you to cook them without fat.  Great cooking techniques include grilling, baking, broiling, and boiling.

So, how much protein do you need? It depends.  The USDA recommends the average person to eat 56g of protein each day.  However, each person is different.  Everyone’s unique protein needs depends on their age, weight, sex, activity, and even muscle mass.  Basically, each person needs about .8-1.2 g of protein /kg of body weight.  The more active you are, the higher your protein needs are.  A serving 3 oz of meat contains 21g of protein on average.  Plan accordingly!